President welcomes faculty and staff back to NC; new initatives underway for 2013

I would like to extend all faculty and staff a warm welcome to the start of the Winter term and best wishes for a happy and healthy 2013.

Jan. 7 marked the start of classes for returning and new students. For our new January-start students, we held two days of orientation activities last week, including program information sessions, entertainment and social activities designed to give them the best start possible here at NC. Our continuing priority in 2013 will be to ensure all students have the services and supports they need to be successful from day one through to graduation.

Coming up in the next few months are several important initiatives. With enrolment growth, new programs, and new initiatives, construction projects are underway at both campuses. The new International Centre expansion, underway at the Welland Campus, will provide much needed space to support our rapidly growing International student enrolment, and is slated for completion by mid-year. The construction of the new CFWI Research Centre at the NOTL campus is also underway. Announced last September during the Countess of Wessex’s Royal Visit, the CFWI Research Centre reinforces NC’s leadership in innovation and applied research. Expert faculty researchers, students and graduates will utilize the Research Centre to collaborate with industry in areas such as product development, nutritional analysis, sensory and consumer testing, and commercialization. The Research Centre will officially open later in 2013.

The annual Key Performance Indicator (KPI) survey will be administered in February. The KPI survey is an important tool that identifies what we’re doing well along with areas where we can improve and grow. Over the next month, you will receive further communications regarding the KPI surveys, including a call for survey administrators. I urge you to get involved in this important process.

Niagara College’s new Strategic Plan is being finalized over the next several weeks. Our current strategic plan was launched in 2009, and we have accomplished much of what the plan set out to do, including our campus expansions, new program launches, enrolment growth, a successful capital campaign, and the launch of our sustainability initiatives. As such, we have re-assessed where we are, and are finalizing our new Strategic Plan to provide a roadmap for continued growth and success as a leading college in Canada, and a leader in the ongoing transformation of the Niagara economy. Many of you have had the opportunity to provide input to the new Strategic Plan over the past year, and I thank you for your valuable contributions. Stay tuned for updates and more details over the next few months.

The 2013-2014 budget process is already underway, with the focus on maintaining the quality of our programs and services, while continuing to value the resourcefulness of staff in identifying new efficiencies during challenging economic times. As we prepare our budget, we are aware of the challenges faced by the provincial government in addressing the province’s deficit. Therefore, we recognize that there may be additional pressure on our operating budget and we are factoring this possibility into our budget planning. Our goal is to present the 2013-14 budget to the Board of Governors for approval in April.

Finally, you’re reading this message through InsideNC, our home for news and information for NC staff. InsideNC is a dynamic and interactive channel for communications here at the College. I encourage you to make it a part of your day by bookmarking insidenc.niagaracollege.ca/content/ and to provide story ideas via e-mail to insidenc@niagaracollege.ca.

Your hard work and continued commitment to our students made 2012 a year of great accomplishment, and has positioned us well for continued growth and success this year. Once again, thank you for your contributions, and best wishes for 2013.

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