Change is Constant

January 2, 2014

Dr. Dustin Swanger

Our world changes at a very rapid pace. As the New Year approaches and I reflect on where Fulton-Montgomery Community College has been and consider where it is going, I am reminded that indeed, change is constant. There are those who do not like change. They remember things the way they were as homage to the past. However, I believe that we tend to remember things as far more idyllic than they actually were at the time.

Now, in my eighth year as the president of FM, I think about the changes that we have made. We have eliminated some outdated and/or under-enrolled programs. We have updated dozens of other programs bringing in new technologies and learning outcomes. We have greatly enhanced the facilities on campus. And we have developed stronger relationships with several constituent groups in the community. Many people have shared with me their pride and approval regarding what FM is doing on campus and in our region. 

There is more change to come. Think about the technology that we used ten years ago and the technology that we take for granted today. FM needs to keep up with those changes in technology in order to remain relevant. We need to provide it on campus and use it in our classrooms. Equally as important, we need to teach our students to use it so that they can be productive employees in our modern economy. 

There will likely be changes in the way we teach on campus. We now better understand how students learn than we did in decades past; that understanding continues to evolve. Colleges are experimenting with a concept called “flipping the classroom.”  This theory relies on students to read materials and watch simple lectures outside of class and then apply those lessons in the classroom with the professor. Think of it as attending the lecture at home and then doing “homework” in class. It offers the opportunity for the professor to better expand on and apply the concepts presented through video – an interesting technique and one to watch.

We still have much work to do to our campus facilities as well. Our Facilities Master Plan identifies needed work in our classroom building, our student union, our physical education building, and with our infrastructure. The supervisors from each county have approved projects for this coming year that will focus on technology upgrades on campus. These are the first capital funds provided by the counties in five years and we appreciate their support.

We recently announced the development of “The Global Village at FM.”  The vision for this new endeavor is to provide additional student housing, housing for young professionals in our area, and a “college town” atmosphere that will attract more people to FM and the region. It is a college project and a project for our community. Phase two of the concept will build a field house on campus, while phase three will create a contemporary living space for those more senior members of our community who want to live and learn in a college town setting. Many members of our community have already approached me expressing interest in this new project.

Indeed, change is constant. We can choose to embrace change and master it; or, we can sit and wait for it to constrain us. At FM, we choose the former.

Dr. Swanger is President of FM.

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