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TC3 President Haynes Cites Accomplishments, Challenges in Annual “State of the College” Message

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TC3 President Haynes Cites Accomplishments, Challenges in Annual “State of the College” Message

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Delivering his annual “State of the College” message to the Tompkins County Legislature, Tompkins Cortland Community College President Dr. Carl Haynes characterized the year as one of exciting accomplishments in the context of financial challenges.

“If you look at TC3’s accomplishments this past year, you might find it unlikely that a college so clearly committed to developing cutting-edge, innovate programs finds itself in the midst of one of the more financially challenging periods in its history,” President Haynes said.  “But through all of the challenges…we have maintained our commitment to developing programs that respond to community needs and have also managed to strengthen our commitment to student success through a variety of initiatives.”

Among the many accomplishments President Haynes highlighted were the successful new Farm to Bistro program; a 10-acre solar farm to provide 90% of campus power, honoring the College’s commitment to become a sustainable campus, and main campus building and Library improvements to better serve students, as well as a Network Peer Mentor program through the Office of Multicultural Services; a successful global connections program; and professional staff development and workforce-focused programs.

The College’s new financial reality, he said, is evidenced by a decline in enrollment, influenced by increased restrictions in Federal and State student aid and increased competition for students from four-year colleges experiencing the same dynamic, as well as increased media attention on higher education that calls into question the “value” of a college degree.  Taxpayer support is also down—with State support per full-time equivalent student still $168 below its level of five years ago, and State dollars supporting only 26% of the College’s budget.  The demand for accountability and compliance, he said, continues to increase, which can be taxing on resources.  The College, he said, has accepted this reality and is excelling in dealing with it—creating cutting-edge programs that meet employment needs and prepare our students for work and transfer.  With 82% of employed recent graduates working in New York State, and a little more than half of them working in our area, he called TC3 “an essential component of local workforce development,” which continues to innovate and remain ahead of local needs.

“TC3 has always believed that change is good. And we understand that not all change is easy,” President Haynes concluded. “Recent changes have provided serious challenges. But we have not shrunk from those challenges. We have not hidden in our shell and cried for assistance. We have made our own way, never breaking from our vision and our mission of student success.  From introducing a revolutionary Farm to Bistro concept, to developing new classrooms and a solar farm that moves us toward energy independence, we have continued to innovate and ensure that taxpayers get the most from their investment.”