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September 2022

Hello and welcome to my E-News publication! I am absolutely thrilled to be in my new role as president of Frederick Community College (FCC) as of July 1st, and a new resident of the City and County of Frederick. The genuine hospitality extended to my two teenage children and me is simply overwhelming and, the reason I’ve coined the phrase, #EveryDayIFindANewReasonToFallInLoveWithFrederick! Try fitting all that on a t-shirt!

The last two months have been a whirlwind in the best of ways, since my move to Maryland from Minnesota, where I served as president of St. Cloud Technical & Community College. My children and I have had fun exploring the area restaurants, attractions, and all the beautiful scenery around us. To say we are happy here would be an understatement. But it is my pleasure to also join with the citizens of this community and contribute via FCC, to what makes all of us love the Frederick region more and more each day.

The news I share in this monthly publication with all members of our College community – our students, employees, Board of Trustees, partners, and other community stakeholders – will be yet more evidence of FCC’s contribution to the vibrant citizenry of Frederick County. So read on, enjoy, and engage with us in this continuous learning environment of FCC.

Many thanks to you all for the warm welcome, and I look forward to more opportunities to connect as the semester and year continues. As our College seal says, “avec marchon progress en avant”, translated as “Let's move forward with progress."

All my best, 

Dr. Annesa Payne Cheek
President of Frederick Community College

Welcoming Students Back to FCC

The fall semester is officially underway at FCC! It feels wonderful to walk around our bustling campus and see so many students working toward their academic and career goals. The events welcoming and celebrating them were energizing and inspiring. I look forward to listening and learning more about their dreams, their visions for the future, and how FCC can best support them in living their best life.

My Video Message to New Students

As part of our online orientation for new students, I created a video message that includes a few tips about being the "newbie" on campus. To be sure no one missed out, feel free to share this video message with any new students you may know.  

Welcome to FCC! 

Watch & Share the Video

New Food Lockers Available, Highlighted in the Frederick News-Post

Our Student Affairs team has set up a new contactless system to help combat food insecurity among our students. Each week, up to 18 students in need of food can now access it for free through a locker system on campus.

“Students can’t sit in a class and do well if they’re hungry,” said Dr. Benita Rashaw, Associate Vice President for Student Affairs. “As a college, it’s imperative that we provide more than academic support. We need to be thoughtful of providing what I call ‘when life happens’ support. Doing so adds to the overall success of our students, and that’s our highest priority.”

The Student Affairs team sends out a sign-up link for the food lockers through its weekly NewsBlast sent to students. Once signed up, a student will receive their locker number, code, and a deadline for picking up the items.

This new initiative was highlighted in a Frederick News-Post article. Read the article or the FCC press release for more information.

To support this initiative at FCC, you can do so by donating through the FCC Foundation website and choosing the “Student Hunger at FCC Fund” designation. Any support is most appreciated.

FCC & Project GUIDE Partnership
Provides Free Trades Training

FCC recently partnered with Empowered to Live to provide free hands-on trades training to local residents aged 16 to 24 years old. The training was part of Project GUIDE (Geared to Understanding and Identifying Desired Employment), and was a five-week program that offered participants basic construction skills training.

Project GUIDE also connects them with local businesses in fast growing industries to secure internships and employment. I had the chance to visit this program in action at our Monroe Center, which houses many of our workforce development programs. It was incredible to hear from these students on all they’ve learned during this training, and how they plan to use it to better their futures.

I am inspired by and grateful to Tiffany Green, President and Chief Executive Officer of Empowered to Live, for providing positive youth development programs in the Frederick County area. She is a dynamic leader who is truly making a difference in our community.

I thank Caitlin Brandenburg, FCC Business Solutions and Strategic Initiatives Manager, for her leadership with this training, and Brett Maceikis, Course Instructor. This partnership is a powerful example of how FCC can support our community members in their pursuit of creating a better future for themselves and their families. 

Gathering Together to Mark the Beginning of the Fall Semester 

Our employees recently gathered together as a College community for our Fall Convocation, the theme of which was “Creating the Right Conditions.” A quote that resonates with me quite often in our work as a community college is: “Under the right conditions, all students can be successful. It is our job to create the right conditions.” I also believe that in order to create the right conditions for our students, we must also commit to creating the right conditions for one another, from an employee perspective.

I invited Timothy J. Nelson, President Emeritus of Northwestern Michigan College, to join me for a conversation on this theme and how it applies to our critical work as professionals in higher education. We discussed the role of culture, strategy, and leadership in ‘creating the right conditions’ for students and employees; the power of design thinking; and how we as a college have a calling to help every student live the life they want to live. It was a thought-provoking employee engagement and important to convene as colleagues on a common mission devoted to the success of our students and each other.

FCC Senior Leader Chosen for
Aspen Rising Presidents Fellowship

The Aspen Institute College Excellence Program announced Dr. Nuriyah “Nora” Clark, Vice President for Student Affairs at Frederick Community College, is one of 31 leaders selected from across the nation for the 2022-23 class of the Aspen Rising Presidents Fellowship.

This program, delivered in collaboration with the Stanford Educational Leadership Initiative, prepares the next generation of community college presidents to transform institutions to achieve higher and more equitable levels of student success.

I am proud to be an alumna of the inaugural Aspen Presidential Fellowship program and am thrilled that Dr. Clark will have this opportunity. In order to advance a national agenda to improve student learning, completion, and employment participation after college, you need effective leaders. Dr. Clark is a key leader here at FCC and this class will benefit immensely from her insight, energy, and die-hard love for our students and their success.

Visit our news page to read the press release on this announcement.

FCC Receives $350,000 Grant to Provide Training in Growing Biotechnology Field

FCC has been awarded a $350,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) that will bring affordable training in a cutting-edge cell and gene therapy field to Frederick County.

The grant will fund a new initiative to address the growing need for skilled cell therapy and flow cytometry technicians. The former refers to the exchange or replacement of the body's diseased cells with healthy ones and the latter refers to a technique used to detect and measure characteristics of a population of cells or particles. However, this book definition is as far as I will go in addressing the subject matter!

The focus on flow cytometry will make FCC one of the first community colleges in the country to offer education in this innovative technique.

I am grateful to Dr. Savita Prabhakar, Dr. Valerie Cousins, Pamela Dubitsky, and Dr. Kathi Groover for their teamwork on this grant. This exciting new program is expected to kick off in Spring 2023.

Getting to Know My Colleagues

As a new member of FCC and this community, I have a lot to learn. One of my biggest priorities, as I orient myself in this role, is connecting and engaging with as many College stakeholders as possible to gain an understanding of who we are and how we work with one another in service to our students and our community.

To that end, I’m hosting “Chat with Cheek” sessions with my colleagues to listen and learn their different perspectives, as well as simply getting to know them better. I thank all those who attended these events thus far. Our shared dialogues are productive and insightful. I look forward to hosting similar sessions for our community members, so stay tuned!

Thank you!

Thank you for reading my first issue of the FCC President's E-News. This is a monthly publication to share our College news. See you in October!

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