Finding the Right Path


By Kenneth Ender, Ph.D.

On March 19 - the day before the official start of spring – my dog, Sammy, and I were on the trails at Parvin State Park. It’s been a tough winter for Sammy and me, since my herniated disc has slowed down our running substantially. However, I’m pleased to report that the disc is better and the running schedule has become a bit more regular, which makes Sam and I - and all who live with us - happier.

This morning it was hard to decide which path to take, since there are many to choose at Parvin. Short and circular? Long and straight? Long and hilly? Scenic? The possibilities are endless. We picked short and circular, since the winter has been long. And I spent most of the circuit thinking about the similarities between choosing the best path for us this morning and the questions we are currently posing at the Cumberland County College.

Some of you may recall January’s column. The theme of that column was the college’s quest for greatness. Since that writing, I have had the opportunity to spend a couple of intense “thinking-out-of-the-box” days with our campus administrative staff. During that time, we discussed many paths we may take during the next five years. Would all paths lead to greatness? What is a great Cumberland County College, anyway?

Well friends, we’re seeking answers to these questions. And currently we have many more questions than answers. In fact, getting to the right questions is our top priority at this stage of our self-examination. We don’t know the path we shall take; however, we know that the questions we should pose to ourselves have to do with more than Cumberland County College. We think they should be questions that address the college, the county and our country. They are questions that - if answered well - can help assure the success of many more of our county residents as measured by a life style that approximates the middle class or better. And they are questions that will lead to a Cumberland County College, a P-12 educational program, a One-Stop, and a Workforce Investment Board being better aligned with respect to assuring the economic vitality of our community.

So, just as the paths at Parvin are many, so are the possible paths for Cumberland County College. We believe that our path is directly tied to the success of our county. So, it is critical for us to choose the best one. In the months ahead, we will search for that path, articulate that path and align ourselves with other educational partners to assure the path is well traveled.

Stay tuned.