President’s Newsletter — January 2020

Three Rivers President

Dear Colleagues,

Welcome back for the start of a new semester, a new year, a new decade! I hope the semester has started smoothly and that students are attending classes, actively participating in classroom discussions and completing assignments in a timely fashion. As I mentioned to you earlier, the enrollment numbers for spring are lower than anticipated. We will be doing an analysis to determine what activities we can promote to help increase the fall enrollment numbers. At the same time, we need to focus on retaining the students who are enrolled at the College.

This semester we will be focused on conducting surveys with faculty, staff and external stakeholders to collect data for our Achieving the Dream project. This feedback will help us assess the work that we are doing at the College and hopefully inform us of areas where we can improve. It is reassuring to know that many faculty and staff are very interested in how we can improve student success for minority groups at the College. We have the opportunity to make a difference for our students so let’s take advantage of this opportunity.

Have an amazing spring semester getting to know your students and seeing them achieve!

With best wishes,

Mary Ellen

Achieving the Dream Update

  • ATD introduced a new self-assessment tool known as the Institutional Capacity Assessment Tool (ICAT). It is based upon the seven capacities that ATD has determined that a college needs to be successful to meet its goals of improving student success and building a student focused culture. The seven capacities are: 1) Leadership and Vision, 2) Data and Technology, 3) Equity, 4) Engagement and Communication, 5) Teaching and Learning, 6) Strategy and Planning, and 7) Policies and Practices. The self-assessment ICAT survey was sent out to faculty, staff, administrators, and external stakeholders on February 4 by April Hodson. Please complete the survey by February 25. The survey will provide a basis for developing action plans as we move forward with student success work.
  • On January 31, the Equity Champions attended their first meeting. The group is formed of faculty and staff volunteers who want to find ways to dismantle the barriers facing underserved students and for each student to receive what they need to be successful. The meeting began with a hard look at the Achievement Gap and was followed by table discussions on equity and brainstorming on the first small changes we can make to lessen the gap.

Professional Development Focuses on Student Success

On January 31 at Professional Development Day, sponsored by CFT, Three Rivers faculty and staff benefited from two collaborative sessions on student engagement and crisis. Guest speaker Dr. Michael Reder is the Director of the Joy Shechtman Mankoff Faculty Center for Teaching & Learning at Connecticut College, where he teaches contemporary literature & culture. He led an interactive workshop, “Student Success: Student Engagement, High impact Experiences and their Relationships to Student Learning,” that encouraged participants to reflect upon what it means to effectively engage students at Three Rivers. The workshop included self-reflection and discussion with peers.

The second guest speaker, Jeffrey V. Nixon, has been involved with Emergency Management and Public Safety since 1985 and is currently an Instructor of Criminal Justice at Three Rivers. His seminar was adapted from his full-day interactive workshop (Effective Response to Emotional Crisis). Faculty and staff learned about interpersonal dynamics in communication and the idea that crisis is in the eyes of the individual. Nixon discussed how our own observations and understanding directly impact our ability to find calm and respond mindfully and with empathy to those in crisis.

Professional Development Day

Meghan La Casse shares her experience with Dr. Reder and the audience during the Student Engagement portion of the program.



The TRC Foundation is off to a busy start in 2020 and has passed over $6 Million in assets as of December 31, 2019!

The Dominion Nuclear Scholarship Application DEADLINE is February 15.The ONLINE application can be found at

The ONLINE Scholarship Application for high school seniors, new, continuing, or graduating students can be found at  The deadline is April 1, 2020.

KUDOS to Professor Diba Khan-Bureau! She coordinated grant funding from the Community Foundation to support Environmental Engineering Technology students.

    • Two students are receiving paid internships at the CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection in Hartford working with analysts at landfill sites to monitor leaking contaminates. They are working on the list of leaking underground storage tanks which help them learn about environmental law and regulations to protect our natural environment. They are also learning how to monitor and report environmental noncompliance issues and any potential factors that could impact the environment.
    • Another student works as a paid tutor for the environmental students as well as students in the Principals of Environmental Science, Environmental Engineering Technology program courses, which includes STEM courses. Students meet three times per week in the lab to go over homework assignments and to prepare for tests.
    • A fourth student is a paid teaching assistant who works along side Professor Diba Khan-Bureau.  She helps organize environmental activities including working in the vegetable and rain gardens and is currently working on installing bat houses at TRCC.
    • The funding also paid for a bee expert to give a lecture to the College and community.

Enviortmental Engineering Technology Students.


Student Leader Training 

On January 21, the Student Programs office partnered with Nancy Hunter-Denney, the Director of Lead365, and Dr. Jermaine Davis, Professor of Communication at Century College, to bring a small taste of a leadership conference to our students. Students completed leadership priority assessments, worked in groups to navigate proper customer service behavior, and listened to Hunter-Denney and Davis lecture on the importance of time management, self-reflection, and reputation. At the end of the day, the students received a certificate of completion from the Three Rivers Community College Leads initiative that Student Programs is developing.

Student Leadership Conference.

Legislators Learn about the Expansion of Manufacturing Programs at the Annual Legislative Update

On Monday, January 27, Three Rivers Community College hosted a Legislative Update that included a thorough briefing on the expansion of both credit and non-credit Three Rivers manufacturing programs. In attendance were State Senator Cathy Osten (D-Sprague), State Representative Doug Dubitsky (R-47), State Senator Paul Formica (R-East Lyme), and State Representative Gregg Haddad (D-54), as well as local business and school leaders, Three Rivers College Foundation Board Members, members of manufacturing associations, and faculty, staff, and students from the College. Learn more here. 

Student Panel at Legislative Update

Super Saturday Draws Crowd

All hands were on deck for Super Saturday, held on January 11. 92 students checked-in at the welcome desk in the clock tower entrance and were directed on to the resources that they needed. The cashier’s office assisted 70 people, 67 students were registered, and 76 students were advised! Great job A-Wing and many thanks to all who came in on a Saturday to help.

New Student Orientation Shows Incoming Students the Ropes

On January 16, the Student Programs office held a new student orientation to welcome the newest members of the Three Rivers community. Among other things, they were introduced to Blackboard and MyCommnet by Amanda Caffary, were taught College 101 by Jodi Calvert, and spent time with the Student Programs Office to learn about all that they offer.

New Student Orientation

Legislators Visit TRCC to Discuss PACT

State Senator Will Haskell, State Representative Gregg Haddad, and State Senator Cathy Osten visited campus on Monday, January 27 to discuss PACT, the state’s debt-free community college program. The three explained the new program, how it will be funded as well as its limitations.

The program begins this fall and allows qualified Connecticut residents to pursue a degree or certificate tuition- and fee-free. To participate, students must enroll full-time, be Connecticut high school graduates, be first-time college students, complete their FAFSA, and apply and register prior to July, 15 2020. To learn more visit

Osten and Haskel discuss PACT

Senator Haskel discusses PACT while Senator Osten looks on.

Save the Date:

2/5 – Environmental Issues Seminar: Bird Conservation across Connecticut and Specifically in the Lyme Forest Block

2/12 – Using GPS to Reveal the Secret Lives of Mountain Lions

2/14 – Classes not in session, college open

2/17 – Classes not in session, college closed

2/19 – Approaches to Eating in the United States: Consequences of our Health and Environment

2/26 – The History of the Green Lawn Dilemma: Coastal Water Quality Challenges in Connecticut

2/28 – Last day to apply for spring (May ’20) graduation

2/28 – Last day to apply for summer (August ’20) graduation

3/4 – Algal Diversity and Environmental Health

3/11 – The Management of Recreational Fishing and what it means for Connecticut’s Economy and Environment

3/16-22 – Spring Break – classes not in session

3/25 – International and National Concerns of Stormwater Pollution: Stormwater and Low Impact Design

In the Gallery

Barbara Hocker

Barbara Hocker, “Waterfall Library,” 16 hardcover accordion books, pigment prints, konzo paper, moire satin, ribbon, variable dimensions, 2018.

Paper as Metaphor, a curated show by Matthew Best featuring works by Barbara Hocker and Karl Goulet, will be featured in The Gallery at Three Rivers from Thursday, January 16, 2020 through Wednesday, February 19, 2020. The opening reception will be held Friday, February 7 from 6:00 to 8:00 pm. Learn more here.