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Priorities for Academic Year 2010–2011

During the 2010-2011 academic year, Montgomery College President DeRionne Pollard successfully completed many of her presidential priorities and made significant progress on the remaining longer-term priorities.

Select a priority for additional details and status updates.

 Priority 1   Priority 2    Priority 3    Priority 4    Priority 5    Priority 6    Priority 7 


From President Pollard

I came to this listing of priorities based upon information that I gathered from many important sources:

  • the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) analysis from the President’s Executive Council (PEC);
  • interviews with the Board of Trustees;
  • feedback, insights and recommendations from the Presidential Transition Advisory Committee (PTAC);
  • the discussions from the multiple campus forums that have included students, faculty and staff; personal interactions and discussions with other
  • internal and external College stakeholders;
  • pertinent college data; and
  • other current critical trends and issues affecting community colleges and higher education. 

While this may seem like a lot to do in one year, I feel confident that together we can accomplish these tasks and have them serve as a foundation upon which we can build our future.

 Priority 1: Provide leadership and direction for an improved participatory governance process for the College
Priority Details
Status Updates
  • a.  Create a policy that allows for well-defined system of collegial governance and that clearly establishes the responsibilities of the Board of Trustees in the governance process.
  • December 13, 2010—Approved by the Board of Trustees on
  • b.  Appoint a Blue Ribbon Panel charged with making recommendations for a new governance structure in tandem with supporting procedures that transforms the current structure into a more inclusive, participatory governance mechanism in concert with established policy.
  • February, 2011—The Blue Ribbon Panel was established with 24 members, received their charge, and has begun their work to craft procedures that will insure a fully participatory governance process at the College.  Recommendations are due back to the President by the end of April 2011.
  • c.  Develop an action plan for ensuring opportunities for engagement of all appropriate sectors of the College to have “voice” in the planning and decision-shaping process.
  • d.  Support and encourage positive, productive and innovative bargaining unit, non-bargaining unit, and management interactions and working relationships.
  • December 13, 2010—the Board of Trustees adopted Montgomery College Policy 11003, Labor Relations.  This policy reaffirms the Board of Trustees’ commitment “to encourage collaborative approaches to labor relations which establish and enhance positive collective bargaining relationships” and “recognizes that faculty and staff are essential to achieving Montgomery College’s mission.”   The policy further encourages the use of processes which “foster an atmosphere of civility mutual respect, and trust, and ultimately result in sustainable collective bargaining agreements administered in a manner which promotes positive and pro-active relationships with employee organizations.”

  • In keeping with Montgomery College’s practice and commitment to collaborative labor relations, agreements were negotiated and ratified with AFSCME, representing staff members, and AAUP, representing full-time faculty in January 2011 and February 2011 respectively.  The bargaining teams utilized an interest based approach to bargaining and reached voluntary agreements which recognize the current fiscal limitations. The tone of these negotiations was characterized by mutual respect.

  • August 2010—Dr. Pollard took action to implement the Employee Engagement Advisory Group 2010 engagement recommendations.  Dr. Pollard endorsed changes to the personnel grievance process for associate and support staff employees, 34101CP, which encouraged resolution of disputes at the lowest possible level, by, in part, establishing a cadre of employee mediators to assist in resolution.  Additionally, in March 2011, Dr. Pollard endorsed mandatory training requirements for all administrators and staff with supervisory responsibilities to be sure all managers have the tools necessary to help their staff members perform at their best.  These training requirements are effective in Fiscal Year 2012.

  • In keeping with past practices, bi-monthly meetings continue to be held with key faculty and staff leadership groups in order to ensure clear communications, and maintain and foster positive working relationships.
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Priority 2: Develop and execute a strategic budget and advocacy agenda for the coming fiscal Year (FY12) that secures critical resources and advances resource stewardship  
Priority Details
Status Updates
  • a.  Identify critical capital and operational institutional budgetary priorities.
  • The College submitted a balanced budget to the county that recognizes the county's fiscal challenges while protecting the classroom and allowing for the opening of the new Rockville Science Building, a key contributor to building the current and future stem workforce.  The capital budget submittal followed a similar path; focusing on priorities which best serve students and invest in facilities projects which contribute to building an educated workforce for our county and state.  The capital budget was recently adopted by the full council with high praise for the college's willingness to compromise, focus on key priorities and put students first.
  • b.  Design and deliver a unified message to key constituents and community partners that promotes the critical role the College plays as an engine of workforce creation and economic success for our county and state, and aligns with those articulated priorities.
  • The President crafted an advocacy strategy which was reviewed by the President’s Executive Council (PEC) and the Board of Trustees (BOT); it was also shared with Cabinet.  The College is currently immersed in the implementation of that plan.  The messaging is based on a case statement and a fact sheet which detail key facts and challenges facing the college.  Testimony and meeting notes for public  officials and speaking roles at a variety of forums  (Women’s' Legislative Day, budget meeting with county executive, orientation with new legislators, operating budget testimony in Annapolis, Germantown bioscience groundbreaking, etc...) all point to the critical role the college plays as an engine of workforce creation and economic success.  Data on the growth of middle and high skill jobs and the accompanying need for a skilled, education workforce (as noted in the fact sheet and case statement) are frequently cited in testimony, speeches and talking points.
  • c.  Establish a refined organizational structure at the College guided by a solid, strategically integrated fiscal plan that places greater emphasis on institutional needs and aligns both critical resources and supporting infrastructure to facilitate student and college-wide success.
  • The Board of Trustees held a very successful retreat in January 2011 where they focused on fomenting participatory plans for the creation of an institutional strategic plan that will guide all of the work at the College for the future.
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Priority 3: Fill vacant senior administrative positions and develop an experienced, supportive leadership team with highly qualified professionals
Priority Details
Status Updates
  • a.  Establish and charge appropriately staffed search committees to make recommendations to fill vacancies for the Senior Vice President for Academic Services/Chief Learning Officer, the Senior Vice President for Administrative Services/Chief Stewardship Officer, the Senior Vice President for Student Services/Chief Student Engagement Officer, and the Chief of Staff/Chief Strategy Officer with the best and brightest minds in higher education that can help lead the College to our next level of success.
  • February 2011—Search committees were established and all four senior leadership positions were advertised nationally and locally in order to attract and bring the best and brightest in higher education leadership to the College.  It is anticipated that all of these important roles will be filled by July 1, 2011.
  • b.  Make appointments to these positions in time to allow for sufficient overlap with the incumbents.
  • The current senior vice presidents and the chief of staff have all generously agreed to stay on until the successful transition for their replacements is complete.
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Priority 4: Enhance student achievement and success with a concentrated focus on supporting the federal and state completion initiatives 
Priority Details
Status Updates
  • a.  Redefine an existing position into a Senior Vice President for Student Services and recruit for and fill the position as soon as practicable.
  • With the support of the Board of Trustees, this position has been established, and a national search has begun in February 2011 to attract and retain the most talented and experienced individual to fill this important role for serving our students.
  • b.  Promote institution-wide student success by focusing our resources on helping our students reach their educational goals.
  • January 2011—the College was selected of one of 40 community colleges nationwide to be part of the Voluntary Framework of Accountability (VFA) to help increase student success and completion both locally and nationally.  The College has also established an internal team of administrative professionals, faculty and staff leaders to help support this effort and ensure increased success at all levels for our students.
  • c.  Establish recommendations for new institutional achievement goals as part of federal and state Completion Agendas.
  • Internally at the College, the Academic Assembly has established a committee to examine the completion agenda and help define what it means to Montgomery College.  This important work will be in connected with the work of the President’s Executive Council (PEC) to establish meaningful and attainable goals to support student completion.  Externally, leaders at the College are taking part in a joint, state-wide effort to determine the next “best steps” for Maryland’s community colleges as we work together towards student completion.
  • d.  Establish institutional priorities that place
    greater emphasis on instructional needs, student success, and student completion of their educational goals.
  • This was communicated to the academic and administrative units to be included in their FY12 strategic plan which is due to the Office of Planning and Institutional Effectiveness on March 23, 2011.
  • e.  Undertake an aggressive and in-depth review of student achievement, retention, and completion by race, socio-economic background, gender, placement levels, age, and other characteristics and promote the expansion of student life college-wide.
  • To lead this endeavor, the position of Senior Vice President of Student Affairs has been created and is currently under recruitment.  This position will assume the lead role in defining the next best steps for collecting, analyzing, and utilizing this important data that will both guide our institutional strategic planning, and ensure student success at the College and beyond.
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Priority 5: Develop strong and involved relationships with elected officials and key community partners in support of the educational enterprise 
Priority Details
Status Updates
  • a.  Work closely with county and state officials and other significant stakeholders and strategic partners to promote the needs and interests of Montgomery College and the students and community we serve.
  • Since August 2010 and leading up to leading up to a highly successful Student Advocacy Day in Annapolis in February 2011, the government relations staff continues to work daily in order to position the College for a successful budget year in 2012 and beyond.

  • As in the past, the work continues to maintain and build upon existing, and new strategic relationships with key Montgomery County and City of Rockville leadership.
  • b.  Invite members of the community to be part of strategic activities/conversations such as focus groups, task forces, and advisory committees that focus on issues related to the success of the College and its students.
  • Beginning with the work of our all-volunteer Board of Trustees, our all-volunteer Foundation Board, and the members of our Macklin Business Institute Board, along with many other important advisory groups at the College, we have been generously supported by the wisdom and broad experience of our local business community leaders, our supportive legislators, and our many concerned and connected citizens groups and educational partners.  Their involvement has been and continues to be crucial to our institutional success, and all of the College community is extremely grateful each and every day for their involvement and contribution to our success.
  • c.  Create opportunities that bring the community to the College and the College to the community for the purpose of friend-building.
  • Three Business/Community Forums were held on the Germantown, Rockville and WDCE campuses for the purpose of receiving input for the Vision and Mission Statements for Montgomery College.
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Priority 6: Develop the foundational building blocks for the future for the next five (5) years 
Priority Details
Status Updates
  • a.  Initiate the development of an Educational Master Plan that guides future academic and institutional success.
  • This was delayed until the position for the senior vice president for academic services is filled and a Vision and Mission Statement is established.
  •  b.  Develop a “one college” organizational model that focuses and aligns human and capital resources.
  • This is an important “work-in-progress” that will take time to fully accomplish however; the significance of this collegewide effort was communicated to all of the academic and administrative units to be included in their FY12 strategic plans which were due to the Office of Planning & Institutional Effectiveness on March 23, 2011.

  • This year a new Service, Outreach, and Support (SOS) Committee was formed.  Those committed volunteers have accepted the charge to fully examine current College facilities, practices, and processes that impede the sensibility of the “one College” model.  The product of their important deliberations will be new recommendations for improvements that will bring positive change to our sense of place, and in the way that we all work together in providing high-quality services to ourselves and to others.
  • c.  Develop a sophisticated integrated planning process that defines long-term strategies and anticipates and prepares the College for future trends/patterns.
  • This will begin in May 2011 after we have written the Vision Statement and revised the Mission Statement for the College.
  • d.  Further assess the College’s succession planning and professional development programs with the goal of developing recommendations for a more secure future for the College.
  • The Office of Human Resources has implemented new software recruitment and employee development program (Taleo) that is designed with a succession planning model built-in to help us move forward on this important initiative.

  • The Office of Human Resources has also recently implemented a new GL360° Performance Review Program and Talent Management/Communications Initiative to help facilitate positive growth, strengthen management and supervisory skills, and guide the valuable professional development activities for all College faculty, staff and administration.
  • e.  Anticipate and prepare for future trends/patterns that will affect the college in the next year, the next three years, and the next five years.
  • Three Business/Community Forums were held on the Germantown, Rockville and WDCE campuses for the purpose of receiving input of the direction that Montgomery College should approach for the future.

  • The Voluntary Framework of Accountability (VFA) is helping us to do more in-depth reviews of each of these particular areas.
  • f.  Develop long-term strategies to address policy and operational implications of the Facilities Master Plan and the Information Technology Strategic Plan (ITSP).
  • At the Board of Trustees Retreat in January 2011, efforts were begun by the Board and the President for the creation of an updated multi-year strategic plan the will serve to inform and integrate all other plans at the College.
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Priority 7: Strengthen and enhance Board of Trustee relationships and promote Board development 
Priority Details
Status Updates
  • a.  Work with the Board staff and the Board of Trustees in developing a dedicated and cohesive team of successful, seasoned executive advisors working in concert to formulate and institute policies and decisions that successfully fulfill a well-defined, well-understood, and well-measured mission of achieving student success at all levels.
  • In consultation with the President, the Board of Trustees established multi-year strategic priorities to be implemented over a period of three years—Fiscal Years 2010 through 2012. The strategic priorities are focused within five key areas that align with the presidential tasks and priorities— (a) Board/CEO Relationship; (b) Board Advocacy, External Leadership and Communication Stewardship; (c) Resource Stewardship and Alignment; (d) Participatory Governance; and (e) Board Operations and Board Development. Within each key priority area, there are specific action oriented indicators of success which will serve as benchmarks for the Board’s periodic self assessment.

  • In consultation with the President, the Board restructured its public session and executive meeting agendas and retreats to more effectively address issues of policy and to ensure adequate time for strategic thinking, deliberation, and to make informed decisions. The Board has included “Board Briefings” in its monthly meeting structure, which provides board development opportunities and planned occasions to discuss articles and issues relevant to contemporary governance of community colleges and to discuss issues and concerns that could have strategic and policy implications for the College and Board.  Also the Board and President have restructured the Board retreats for professional development.

  • As a unit, the Board of Trustees have attended and participated in local meetings and conferences to equip, empower and enable the Board to better understand and define policy implications, make policy decisions and support the College mission of achieving student success.

  • As an example, the Board is receiving data, information, environment scans and SWOTs to engage in strategic thinking and strategic decision making. The intent and outcome are to ensure that the Board of Trustees and the President have access to timely, accurate, reliable, consistent and relevant data and information. This data and information is essential for the Board and the President to understand and manage risks, make strategic decisions, proactively ensure institutional accountability, and assess institutional performance and outcomes.
  • b.  Develop a mutually beneficial understanding with external partners and stakeholders whereby the College will become known for its relevancy, affordability, accessibility, and innovative service to the community.
  • Among the Board’s focuses has been to better couple and align its strategic planning and decision making by engaging with internal constituents (i.e., Constituent Conversations) and establishing closer working relationships with external partners and stakeholders through purposeful advocacy and outreach, and actively articulating and promoting the Colleges missions, goals and objectives at local community events and activities.

  • Among the Board’s focus has been developing a more intentional governance relationship with the Foundation Board to ensure that the Board and Foundation Board’s goals and objectives are closely aligned and developing a mutual work program.
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