Job Placement, Campus Safety Top 2014-15 Priorities
Because continuous improvement is a way of a life rather than a passing fancy at Mid-South Community College, we are working to enhance efforts to help students find jobs and strengthening our commitment to keeping our campus as safe as possible. Both of those are major challenges for an institution facing dwindling state resources, but we are dedicated to moving to or keeping MSCC at the forefront of those initiatives.
In the career services effort, we’re looking at a number of options. As crazy as this may sound to some, I don’t understand why community colleges aren’t aggressively partnering with public employment placement businesses. Obviously those entities charge fees for their service, but they also deliver professional skill, knowledge, and practice. On the other hand, the traditional college career services model has been to hire, at a fairly modest salary, an individual who has some knowledge of the process.
The problem with that model is that most career service personnel at educational institutions have limited experience performing that specific function in a real-world business environment. And at Mid-South, where our folks wear many hats, we have difficulty providing a career service person the time necessary to do the job most effectively.
So, we’re going to investigate what options we have to partner with a company that does this very successfully in a competitive setting. If we’re not able to do that, we’ll consider hiring someone who has worked in that field. We want to be very cutting edge in connecting our students to jobs, and while we’ve had good success in the past, we want to be better than good.
To understand the importance of campus safety, all you have to do is watch television, access an Internet news site, or pick up a newspaper. School violence shakes us to our very core because we expect campuses to be safe. At MSCC, we have invested a great deal of dollars and personnel in safety and security, but we remain acutely aware of the potential for calamity.
To this point, we’ve provided a place where people can pursue their educational, career, and personal goals while feeling safe and secure, and we’re thankful that we’ve never experienced significant issues on our campus. One of the reasons people feel safe on our campus is that they don’t have to look very far to see a uniformed, armed, qualified, certified, and capable officer trained to intervene professionally, quickly, and effectively if necessary.
Our next step in keeping MSCC as secure as possible is hiring a Director of Campus Safety. The requirements for institutions to have functions such as those carried out by security directors are rising every day because the government expects us to be more proactive in everything we do. Unfortunately, the cost to keep our campus safe continues to climb.
Thankfully, our Board of Trustees understands the challenges before us and has unanimously agreed to allow the College to collect minimal fees, beginning this fall, to support enhanced services in both safety and job placement. The security fee is one that a number of institutions already charge. The career service fee is one that is probably going to be unique to MSCC. I have raised the issue frequently with the state and the other community colleges that we need to be very aggressive at taking people who come to us as students and turning them into somebody’s employee. I believe that in five years every two-year college in the State of Arkansas will be utilizing a career services fee to help their students find good jobs.