Convocation week began with two exciting days of training and planning for the faculty and staff of Mesalands Community College. Direction and vision were established on the first day, highlighting initiatives and bold direction for the future of Mesalands Community College. The week culminated in Stampede Day, a day of registration and celebration. Prior to Stampede Day pre-enrollment saw a 338% increase over last year.
Dr. Henry Fernandez was the guest speaker on day two giving an informative presentation on “Excelencio Education” and “Guided Pathways”. Dr. Fernandez was joined by Dr. Gregg Busch in the “Guided Pathways” portion of the presentation. Both presentations were groundbreaking opportunities for Higher Education in the state of New Mexico.
Guests from Clovis Community College (CCC) and Central New Mexico Community College (CNM) administration were in attendance to hear the presentations given by Dr. Busch and Dr. Fernandez. “Excelencio Education” is the only national data-driven initiative to recognize programs accelerating Latino student success in higher education. “Guided Pathways” is a movement that seeks to streamline a student’s journey through college.
Dr.Fernandez, an educational policy expert, organizational leader and equity advocate, visited Mesalands Community College from Miami, Florida. Dr. Henry Fernandez is committed to advancing educational opportunities and expanding civic participation. Fernandez has more than 35 years of experience in education and has visited educational institutions in more than 40 states.
Fernandez served as Complete College America’s vice president for strategy, guiding state policymakers and institutional leaders, including New Mexico, to implement evidence-based policies and practices. He administered education grants and scholarship programs for over 10 years for a foundation and two corporations. His experience includes directing the national expansion of the Peace Corps Fellows Program from one location to programs in more than a dozen states, and serving as an elementary-school principal and teacher. Fernandez earned a doctoral degree in education and three master’s degrees from Teachers College, Columbia University, was quoted on-the-record by numerous media outlets, and testified before state legislative and congressional committees. Fernandez was elected by voters twice to a municipal position and to a school board, and has been on the Hispanic Business magazine’s list of 100 most influential Latinos. Fernandez has served on such boards as CICF, Mexican Scholarship Fund, and NALEO.
Guided Pathways provide choices that are structured, as well as clear learning outcomes to help the students obtain success in their educational goals. Studies have shown Guided Pathways increase graduation rates and collaboration opportunities with colleges and universities across the state. The Pathways Model will help Mesalands Community College provide access, success, equity and prudent use of resources to our students and help guide them to completion of their degree.
Dr. Busch presented Dr. Fernandez with a Presidential Medal of Excellence in appreciation for sharing, guiding, and directing Mesalands Community College’s faculty and staff. Convocation week is an opportunity for faculty and staff to prepare for the semester in order to ensure students experience success and access through the semester at Mesalands Community College.