The Courier

A Question and Answer with COD’s new provost

Julie Connelly

Julie Connelly

Kimberly Wilson, Opinion Editor

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Mark Curtis Chavez is College of DuPage’s first provost. His role will be to help further develop the college’s Pathways Program and Academic and Student Affairs Divisions and aid in overall student success at the college.  

 

Kimberly Wilson: What made you decide to apply for the provost position?

Mark Curtis-Chavez: Well, No. 1, I love challenges. This is a very challenging role, having both academic and student affairs reporting to me. To the position, you know, it’s a little unusual. There are other provosts that have a similar structure. But it’s uncommon, and it’s at such a wonderful institution. College of DuPage has a national reputation; that was very attractive to me. If it’s not the largest community college in the nation, it’s pretty close. We do have four centers, but all of those things coupled with the fact that, wow, the great suburbs of Chicago, was very attractive to me.

KW: Can you go into some detail about what your role as the new provost will be?

MCC: Yes. Well, as I mentioned, the fact that academic and student affairs reports to the provost, a big part of my job will be alignment. So, aligning both areas, because in most colleges they’re very separate areas with different philosophies sometimes, but a big part of what I do is to make sure that we’re all communicating, understanding one another and seeing how we fit together. In a way, we’re all doing the same thing. We’re about student success. But helping us work with each other a little better, kind of like making sure the gears fit together, will be a big part of what I do.

KW: What are the main goals you hope to accomplish as COD’s new provost?

MCC: Well, No. 1, as I mentioned, is to make sure that we’re aligned. And probably preceding No. 1, but fitting into No. 1 is Guided Pathways, making sure that that gets implemented. We’ve got a year under us right now in implementing Guided Pathways, but I wanna make sure that we get that done, and that all the voices are put together so that we have the best answer for students. Because often times students at community college, they wander, in terms of the courses they take, and then they end up with all these extra credits that they don’t need, and they don’t always–because of that–get the opportunity to figure out where it is that they actually want to be. And so Guided Pathways helps them find that path that fits them, and that they desire, and then helps keep them on the path. All related to that is student success. That’s No. 1. Everything that we do at this institution is about student success. From providing that open access for students to come into the institution to graduating, transferring, getting a job. All those things, that’s very important for me.

KW: Is there anything you’re planning to change or implement to help further develop the college’s educational programs and student services division?

MCC: Sure. I think we have such wonderful faculty and staff at this institution. A lot of this is already happening. I think part of my role is just to help us come together. We’re already there on Guided Pathways in terms of working together, but there’ll be some other things. I think part of what I want to bring into the institution that’ll be a little bit different is to implement a strategic enrollment management plan. It’s a way to harness the resources we have in order to serve students well. So that’s gonna be a big project for me.

KW: How are you planning to help increase enrollment at COD

MCC: Well, just as I mentioned, the strategic enrollment management plan is one way to do it. It is every part of the college. It’s our financial resources. It’s the facility resources that we have. It’s the human resources that we have. We put all of those things together to help bring students to the college, to help them be successful, retain them here at the college, and then help them be successful at the end of the whole process. It could be simply that we work on improving our online course success, because we find that we have resources that can help us. Maybe it’s a technological resource that we’re not utilizing. Strategic enrollment management helps us find that because it brings everyone, all the constituents of the college, together to talk about these things. So that’s what the strategic enrollment management plan will do for us, so that we can bring in more students and help those students be successful. Because the more successful students are, they’ll remain with us.

 

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A Question and Answer with COD’s new provost