From President Tracy D. Hall

Time to shine for community colleges

Welcome to another school year.  I look forward to continuing our momentum as we drive toward reaching our Focus 2020 goals.

Dr. Tracy D. Hall

As I look to the coming year, I am inspired by the overarching imperative before us: to increase the social mobility of every student who chooses Southwest to pursue their academic goals and life dreams. Whatever their major or career aspiration—emergency medical technician, accounting, communication or other pursuit—when our students complete their course of study, they earn nearly $12,000 more a year with an associate degree or in excess of $5,000 in additional income with a certificate.  I envision us achieving this noble goal not only by broadening our students’ knowledge and technical skills base, but also by sharpening their critical thinking, communication and social skills.

Therefore, I invite you to join me in expanding our definition of student success to include upward social mobility. Upward social mobility is the ability of our students to transcend their current socioeconomic status by improving their earning potential through education and credential attainment. With this description in mind, student success can be defined as students emerging from Southwest far more prepared to compete in today’s global marketplace than when they arrived.

It means our students are not only educated, but also enlightened about what it takes and what it truly means to thrive in today’s economy. It means they are empowered to reap the economic advantages that are bestowed upon those who are eminently qualified to get ahead in tomorrow’s economy. It means they emerge as shining ambassadors who exemplify the skill, talent, dedication and innovation that permeates teaching and learning at Southwest.  It means they are the personification of our brand.

Washington Post Columnist Michelle Singletary wrote a thought-provoking piece recently wherein she extoled the virtues of community college as a great first choice, rather than a last resort. Singletary is a vital national voice in financial matters and she is telling the world what we already know:  community college is more than a financially savvy choice. It is the best choice for getting on the path to a rewarding career.  I hope you enjoy reading the article as much as I did.

So, let’s bask in this national spotlight. The world is seeing and communicating the beauty and necessity of community colleges as never before.  It’s our time, a great time, to continue to share the story of Southwest with the Memphis community and beyond through our stellar work and our beaming, successful graduates.  Upward social mobility is the goal and the standard. Southwest is the launching pad. We are the fuel and the sky is the limit for student success.

Thank you for all you do and let’s have another great year!