2021 was to be the year that we said a relieved good riddance to the pandemic. It wasn’t. Instead, it was a year of creative resiliency in how we teach and where we teach. It was a year of increased transparency in how we work and what we work on. It was a year of change in our workforce with many farewells and welcomes. It was a year like no other. We marked 2021 with the hashtags #emergestronger, #engagestronger, and #explorestronger to brand our changed work with inspiration and hope.
New laptops, new technology, and new hyflex classrooms allowed us to create new flexibility for our students and engage in technology in unfamiliar yet exciting ways. We made new engaged partnerships that allowed for apprenticeships and programs with Concord Hospital, the Department of Corrections, and Concord Orthopaedics. We explored new ways of offering our education with badges, microcredentials, accelerated 8-week online modalities, and our Living Language Academy, bridging non-credit and credit programs. It was a strong year of reinvention and change.
2021 was a year of deep reflection: Beginning the third year of my presidency, it was a time to peel back the past two years to make important improvements going forward. Together, the college assessed our campus climate and created tools, committees, and councils to build intentionality in how we work with each other. We made changes to our shared governance model and added a new Staff Council to represent staff voices and experiences. We developed communication tools like our Master Shared Calendar to ensure that everyone knew of and could participate in all of the rich activity on campus. We dug deep into our data to reflect upon disparities and to seek solutions to support all students that resulted in a new retention program for our athletes. We strategized to ensure that our data was useful, disseminated broadly and developed a data governance plan. Faculty mobilized around learning outcomes assessment to review data, track results, and enrich students’ learning experiences. It was a year of critical analysis and change.
It was also a year of physical change. For with new space comes a new positive, bold attitude. With our Arts programs making its home in Farnum Hall, we created a beautiful space for student artists on campus. A reimagined Learning Commons Library now held more open space for peer-to-peer collaboration and connection. Our new outdoor hoop house grew pumpkins, and oxen plowed fields preparing the gardens for fruit trees and new outdoor study, learning, and relaxation. New colorful outdoor banners, an electronic sign welcoming you to campus, refreshed painting, new photo montages all captured the full, colorful experience of life at NHTI. It was a year of vibrancy and change.
We partnered in it all. Our community of students became NAMI peer-to-peer counselors and Lynx Navigators to help other students transition back to campus. Faculty explored new grants and improved ways to outreach and retain our students. Staff served our students with kindness and care. Our sister colleges exchanged best practices and explored shared programs and courses. We held a state-wide Badging and Microcredential consortium to deepen value and collaboration on these new digital tools. We dedicated the Mary Stuart Gile Early Learning Center with our community hero the Boys and Girls Club of Central New Hampshire. Foundations and advisory board members and private citizens donated scholarships to our neediest of students. It was a year of generosity and change.
We welcome 2022 with the knowledge that this year will also be a year of great change for the college. For in the words of Albert Einstein: “The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.”