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President wants to bring college to new level

President wants to bring college to new level

By Antonio Garcia

Currently at ‘flat enrollment’, Harold Washington College is around 2,360 student short of meeting its enrollment goal for the 2018 fiscal year.

The college, which as of October had around 10,600 students enrolled, is looking to move from ‘flat enrollment’ to increasing enrollment by increasing from 12,836 enrolled students in 2017 to 12,960 students for the current fiscal year, according to number provided at the schools October state of the college meeting. 

“We know that it is a heavy lift to be able to move to this kind of enrollment target and the district is sympathetic to that,” said Ignacio Lopez. 

In addition to enrollment ,the college is also looking to increase its retention to 71 percent, graduation rate to 20 percent and transfer rate to 56.76 percent by January. 

“I believe that there really is this opportunity to recruit,

retain, graduate and transfer our students,” added Lopez. 

By sharing with the faculty and staff districts stretch goals in terms of enrollment, Lopez hopes to achieve one of four “high-level’ points that relate to his role as president of the college under the leadership of new CCC Chancellor Juan Salgado. 

“I’ve had at least four or five folks come into my office and [say] ‘This is great Dr. Lopez we’re hearing a lot from Chancellor Salgado, what does that mean for the role of the college president,’” said Lopez. “This is his mission, to demystify who we are as a city colleges, but really also for us here at Harold Washington to demystify who we are and what our brand is and what we’re trying to do to support our students [who attend] to Harold Washington College.”

Moving forward under the leadership of the new chancellor, establishing an identity and brand, trust and open dialogue, fundraising and pursuing partnership locally and nationally and support for the strategic direction of the college will be crucial for his role as president of the college, according to Lopez. 

“We are at the tail end of the five-year strategic plan that was put in place under the old chancellor,” said Lopez. “We are heading into an opportunity were in the spring and summer of next year, engaging across the college to be able to say ‘what are some additional [key performance indicator’s] that we feel we should be accountable for and other strategies and ideas that we can all bring to the table to bring the college to new levels over the next [three to five] years.” 

In other news, Lopez and Michael Heathfield, who is heading the efforts of the college’s accreditation, commented on the school’s upcoming review for accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission on Oct. 2, 2018 at an October state of the college meeting.

The entire accreditation process has included over 55 HWC faculty. In its report, the college plans to include how ‘Reinvention’, a plan introduced by former CCC Chancellor Cheryl Hyman in 2010, affected the college and how rebounding from the struggles of ‘Reinvention’ influenced the new mission statement. 

“Some of the things that occurred were great, the goals were fantastic and entirely appropriate but some of the things that happened were not great and our report will honestly and authentically reflect on those things to look at the various ways those things played out,” said Heathfield. “It’s a great privilege to be able to stand in this position and have the opportunity to stick my nose in, sniff around and find out about every single aspect of the functioning of Harold Washington College.”

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