Christine’s Remarks at the Provost’s Reception on 9/15

Spoken remarks by Christine Mangino, Ed.D.
as the new Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
on September 15, 2016
Wow- thank you. Thank you President Gomez, Vice Chancellor Rabinowitz, Linda and Charles. Thank you to everyone who is here tonight and for your ongoing support. I have felt supported by so many of you throughout the search process, through my time in this position as interim, through my time in academic affairs, and my time at the college. The college grabbed a hold of my heart my first time on campus interviewing for a faculty line in the education department. I met CarlosAcevedo in the parking lot and he gave me a tour of the college even before my interview started. I don’t have to tell you how the warmth of the people at Hostos radiates throughout the campus, and I knew this was where I wanted to work. I really fell in love with this school once I was in the classroom and met our students- and experienced their strong dedication and determination to be here.
Like many of our students, I too was the first in my family to attend college, and I started at a community college with the same fears that I wasn’t so sure I was prepared for college work and had no idea how to select a major. I did graduate with an associate’s degree in hotel restaurant management before I realized what I really wanted to do with my life. Many varied jobs- from cleaning hotel rooms, an aerobics instructor, a live-in counselor for a group-home of teenage boys, taking phone orders for a wallpaper company- led me through a few other degrees and into a classroom as a teacher. By the time I made it to a Hostos classroom, I had taught pre-school, elementary school, remedial math, and doctoral students. Another similarity that I would share with my students on the first day of class, is that like many of them, I too was a single parent working a few jobs to make ends meet and the students and I would make a pact that I would never miss a class or be late and that I expected the same from them. I love teaching and never imagined I would leave the classroom.
But I did leave the classroom and I believe I have been able to have a positive impact beyond just our early childhood students. Together with many of you in the room tonight, we have accomplished some amazing things over the past several years and I look forward to the many opportunities that are still ahead of us. This semester, I am reading a recently published book with a group of our senior faculty on what matters most in undergraduate education- the 6 elements the book focuses on will not come as a surprise to anyone- learning matters– and obvious at the forefront of that is student learning, but just as important for an institution of higher education is being a learning organization, where there is a promotion of learning at all levels and across all faculty and staff. Relationships matter and Hostos is already the epitome of an environment of collaboration and relationship building. And for Hostos it is not limited to the relationships within our walls but also the relationships we have within our community. Expectations matter– across the board we need to set clear and high expectations for our students, but with that we must have the scaffolding and support systems to enable students to meet those expectations. We are doing that is some ways with supplemental instruction, the math and language labs, the first year seminar, but there are still many things we need to put in place. Alignment matters– as an institution we are focused on a completion agenda and that means our time, energies and resources need to be focused on those things that will have the most impact on students graduating and ideally graduating on time. Improvement matters– assessment, data, learning about national best practices and continually pushing ourselves to improve makes a difference and we have seen the results in the number of students who are exiting remediation every semester and our well-touted latest graduation rate. But I am going to keep pushing each of you, as well as myself, to continually look for ways to improve and continually push our students further along the path of success- which is not just about graduation but also about getting the best quality education we can provide them. And finally leadership matters– at all levels. Every single person on campus makes a difference in our students’ education and our students’ experiences on our campus. Not only do we need to empower everyone, we need to provide people with the leadership skills to help pull people along with them, to help them make a difference and to work toward continuous improvement. We have been working on leadership development at a number of different levels over the past few years and I am committed to continue that work- one person only has time to do so much, but with everyone working for the same thing- the sky is the limit- or in our case, making sure that every student who enters our doors with the intention of leaving with a degree does so. So I will keep pushing, nudging, challenging, cajoling, but not anymore than I will be pushing myself.
There has not been a day in my 13 years at the college where I didn’t enjoy coming to work and I feel absolutely privileged to have been given the opportunity to grow in my career and still be able to stay at Hostos. I also feel extremely privileged to work with so many people who are so passionate about what they do and care so much about making a difference to our students and to the community. Again, thank you all for your support- not just for tonight but each and every day. Thank you to the great team we have in Academic Affairs. Thank you to Luz Rivera for all the work, time, and energy you and your team put into making tonight so wonderful.  Thank you to Desiree, Noelia and Victor from the President’s office and Nelson Ortiz and the Conference Center. We all know what it takes to pull something like this off. And thank you to the president for your ongoing and unwavering support of me and for sponsoring tonight’s event.
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