December Update

As we head to the December break, I wanted to share updates of recent developments at the College.

Gaming and Careers

A group of our 2013 Game major graduates were in town for a wedding of one of their classmates a few weeks ago, and they visited the College to see what is going on. I had the opportunity to spend some time with them.

Almost all of them are working in the industry. They credit their Champlain education with helping them launch their careers successfully, and their Core education for giving them a leg up on graduates from other schools because of the interdisciplinary thinking they learned while here. I left the meeting inspired by how well our Champlain educational approach has helped our alums pursue their career dreams. The meeting was one of my year’s highlights.

On a related note, I want to recognize the Trustees who participated in our Mock Interview sessions for students in all majors. I saw Brad Robertson at the session I participated in yesterday, and trustees Nicole Carignan and Terry Breen, along with emeriti Laura Dagan and Michael Metz, also signed up to participate. These interviews are so important to our students’ development as career professionals. Thank you.


CPS enrollment remains strong. Most notably, the yield on our marketing efforts have been more productive as a result of shifts our CPS team has made and the switch to a new enrollment center vendor. Our total number of students is 27% higher than Fall 2016, with one quarter of those coming from CPS Standard students and truED students making up the balance.

Traditional undergraduate applications remain unpredictable across the industry. Our sources tell us that some schools are seeing 50% declines or greater. The hypothesis is that high school guidance counselors are not making the big push to apply early that they made last year. Applications for Champlain are almost even with last year at this time, and we are well ahead of two years ago.

We welcomed 200 high school students for our annual New England bus tour, where we send buses to high school throughout the region and bring them to Champlain. I had the chance to talk to the students in the Champlain room. Without their parents in the room, the students asked insightful questions. We typically yield a high number of these students in enrollment, and so it was great to see such a high number of them visit.

Strategic Budgeting

Under Shelley Navari’s leadership, we have begun a strategic budgeting process where departments throughout the College are identifying the strategic priorities and activities necessary to fulfill their mission. Given that we have been talking about changing our budget processes for a while, I am grateful that, owing to Shelley’s efforts, we have begun this process. Strategic Budgeting will provide us with a better understanding of the activities we should start, stop and continue. Our teams are embracing this new approach.

Diversity and Inclusion

Angela Batista relaunched a reconfigured Diversity Council, the group that advises me on what Champlain should be doing to increase inclusion on campus. I met with the Council and shared my goals for their work in the coming year. The same day, Eric Ronis, Assistant Dean in CCM and Special Advisor to the Provost for Diversity and Inclusion in the Classroom, hosted a session where faculty shared how they incorporate D&I into the classroom. All of these efforts will contribute to our Board discussion in April, when our theme is D&I.


We announced the organizational appointments  to the College community. Katie Hawley is our permanent VP of People, Strategic Communications and External Relations. Angela Batista is our VP of Student Life, while continuing in her role as Special Advisor to the President for Diversity and Inclusion. Katherine Birrow has been promoted to Chief of Staff in the Office of the President and joins Cabinet. I appreciate these leaders for their willingness to take on these responsibilities. We are making additional changes under the Vice President areas, and these will be announced as we finalize them. The Cabinet has embraced our new configuration with excitement and renewed energy as we strengthen our teamwork.

External Relations

Champlain College hosted the Vermont Energy and Climate Summit, attended by leaders in the energy sector from around the state. This was a great opportunity for Champlain, and I want to thank trustee Neale Lunderville for his leadership in bringing this to us. I announced Champlain’s pledge to join the Burlington 2030 District effort, a public-private partnership aimed at achieving environmental and energy efficiency goals.

GMHEC efforts continue, and the enterprise software project has been named “Project Ensemble.” We are working to identify the implementation partner who will assist us with the technology implementation.


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