WCC representatives at the 2017 COMBASE conference.
(Photo: Courtesy of Sunywcc.edu)

Community colleges across the nation brought new, innovative ideas to the COMBASE 2017 conference hosted by Borough of Manhattan Community College, CUNY on Sept. 24. COMBASE, an abbreviation for community base, is a group of leading community or technical colleges dedicated to sharing innovative solutions to meet the challenges of our nation’s changing economy, according to the COMBASE website.

The organization was established in 1974 and recognizes the importance of education and training beyond high school. They know the importance of being prepared for college in order to attain a good job and living wage.

According to the COMBASE website, America has turned to its community colleges to deliver what students and employers need. Community colleges offer new and innovative programs that could provide partnerships between students and employers not only within their communities, but across the nation.

The conference was titled Building the Future to Economic Prosperity, and gave speakers a chance to share their ideas pertaining to serving students while supporting economic growth.

COMBASE hosts conferences in hopes of bringing the best innovative partnerships, workforce solutions, adult education, and operational frameworks together to provide a better experience for students, according to their website.

Members of COMBASE include different community colleges across the nation. The organization brings them together at their conferences to share their new ideas and gain insight from all over the country. According to the website, COMBASE wants their attendees to leave each conference with new ideas and the support to implement them. They also focus on building relationships with experienced presidents and chancellors.

WCC was represented by President Dr. Belinda Miles, Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Vanessa Morest, Dean of School of Business and Professional Careers Dr. Carmen Martinez-Lopez, Vice President and Dean of Workforce and Community Education Teresita Wisell, and Director of Institutional Advancement Dr. Laurie Miller McNeill.

The leading college of innovation in the Hudson Valley, WCC presented Building Capacity of Students and Colleges to Meet 21st Century Opportunities. According to WCC’s website, this presentation was interactive and allowed panelists to share insight on how to retool and build capacity to serve students while supporting economic growth.

Representatives from WCC asked panelists to reflect on their own practices at their institutions and how they connect their college to the business community. They also asked what changes could be made to transform students’ experiences.

Questions about how community colleges could adapt to world changes were also posed. They asked what leadership and cultural attributes are necessary in order to meet these advancements.

The focus of WCC’s presentation was ensuring that the students, as well as the entire institution, are up to date and capable of taking on the always changing economy.

Presidents and chancellors from national and local community colleges gave their insight on the discussion. COMBASE puts an emphasis on building relationships with these experienced men and women.

“Transforming how we serve students takes collaborative effort and a shared mission,” Miles said. “To facilitate student success there has to be a strategic alignment of resources with institutional goals and an investment in the people who serve our students.”

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