It is an absolute pleasure to be back home at Niagara College. In some ways, it is hard to imagine that it has been nine months since Niagara Day, and the subsequent start of my sabbatical.
It has been a tremendous professional development experience, and as a life long learner, I could not have imagined a better opportunity to reflect and gain insights and new knowledge about the important role that colleges play in post-secondary education.
As a visiting fellow at Green Templeton College, Oxford University, I was warmly welcomed into their learning community to pursue my own research interests and share my experiences as a practitioner in leading Niagara College.
It was an extremely rewarding growth opportunity, and I bring back many good ideas and best practices. During my sabbatical, I had access to some of the best and brightest scholars in the field of higher education.
One of the most important things for me was the reaffirmation that Niagara College is, without a doubt, a leader in post-secondary education with one of the best learning environments for students. The College has a caring, committed staff who are second to none in their focus on student success. It’s with great pride that I reconnect with you and the College community.
I am truly grateful for the exceptional leadership of Steve Hudson as acting president while I was on sabbatical and the entire College team who continued to move the College forward. I also want to thank Sean Kennedy who acted as vice-president Academic, Gord Hunchak who acted as vice-president Student and External Relations, and Teresa Quinlin’s continued support in her role as vice-president Corporate Services.
In particular, I would like to thank all of you who continue to make Niagara College the special place that it is.
Over the next couple of weeks, I look forward to seeing everyone. It’s a great time to be back, and my first order of business will be to join the Support team at their professional development day on Friday. Convocation ceremonies follow shortly which is the highlight of the academic year. It is always inspiring to see our students celebrate their accomplishments with their families and friends, and knowing how everyone at the College shares in their success.
As I have indicated, we have a tremendous team at Niagara College, and I am happy to return and reconnect with everyone.