Interview to Dr. Jose A. Vicente MDC West Campus President
by Elizabeth Sanchez Vegas.
Dr. José A. Vicente has served Miami Dade College in various capacities for close to four decades. Notwithstanding his current role at the helm of the North and West Campuses as Campus President, Dr. Vicente has held numerous leadership positions within the College stemming from Associate Dean of Academic Support, Dean of Academic Affairs as well as Administrative Services, founding president of the InterAmerican Campus, and president of the Hialeah and Medical Campuses.
He remember when, Dr. Eduardo Padrón and the District Board of Trustees had the foresight to establish a campus in the City of Doral. MDC West Campus opened in the spring term of 2006 with an enrollment of 150 students. The enrollment growth in the past six years has demonstrated the need for the Campus and the much needed services offered to the community. The current annual student enrollment is over 8,000.
In a city where almost one-third of the county’s population resides, the Campus is located between three major interstate highways; the Florida Turnpike, Route 836 and Route 826. Following MDC’s mission, West Campus provides the City of Doral’s residents with high quality, accessible, and affordable education offering the opportunity to change lives through said education while working in partnership with a dynamic and multi-cultural community.
What’s your impression of the Doral Community and its interaction with the MDC West Campus?
“Local government, business, industry and community leaders have enthusiastically embraced MDC West. We have enjoyed collaborations with the City and its officials at various campus events including art gallery openings showcasing local artists as we as municipality agencies that have contributed to our educational activities. The Campus is also active with the Doral Business Council. We have worked closely with Univision in hosting the Miami-Dade County Mayoral Debate and have been able to offer our students the opportunity to meet local, state and national political figures” said Dr. Jose A. Vicente.
What is your Biggest Challenge as MDC West Campus President?
J.V: As you know, I serve as Campus President of two campuses and one center; North Campus, West, and the Carrie P. Meek Entrepreneurial Education Center. I find that each one of these entities offers its own set of challenges and rewards. The small campus environment at West brings a strong student service aspect that keeps our students coming back. As an example, even with construction, student enrollment has not experienced a drastic decline. We have worked diligently to keep our students at the center of the decision-making process.
MDC West Campus offers developmental education for college preparation courses, English as a second language, and general education courses in Communication, Social Science, Natural Science, Humanities, Computers, Mathematics, and Business for students working towards an Associates in Arts or Associates in Science degree. “Additionally, we have a variety of non-credit, continuing education courses, to meet the needs of the surrounding community and businesses”, said Dr. Vicente.
“The gallery at West has enjoyed a stellar lineup of art shows including local, national, and international artists. One of the major shows held was an exposition including 31 Cuban artists and their sculptures. These events have had a strong draw from not only this city but the entire county. We look forward to expanding our cultural repertoire”.
What are some of your goals and vision for the MDC West Campus?
(J.V) In the future, it is our vision to increase the academic programs at West; offering degrees and certificate programs in Computers, Criminal Justice, Economics, Mathematics, and Psychology. Additionally, to increase the facilities to include more classrooms and science labs”.
MDC West offers students the Federal Pell Grant and the MDC Grant (the Middle Income Grant for students who are not eligible for the Federal Pell Grant but still demonstrate a financial need). In addition MDC West offers three $1,000 scholarships from the City of Doral among other scholarship opportunities.
Describe MDC West Campus students.
J.V: “MDC West has the highest proportion of first-time in college students, Associate in Arts degree seeking students, and Hispanic students. West also has the highest percentage of students age 20 or younger, over 52% are female students, and over 61% of students are US Citizens”.
Describe MDC West Campus Staff and collaborators
J.V: “A true testament of the talent and commitment of our staff and faculty is the enrollment growth that West has enjoyed. Students repeatedly tell us that the small campus environment combined with the professional, yet nurturing support that they receive, accounts for their success. At West, the staff has truly mastered the art of multitasking and cross training in the departments. They are truly excepcional”.
Please give us a message for the students who are considering a career in MDC West Campus but are not very sure about it.
J.V: Beginning the spring term, January 2013, West will have a new parking garage structure with 1,800 parking spaces and an outdoor amphitheater. This will enhance the student’s experience on campus to include performances and an outdoor seating area. Additionally, with the completion of a new academic resource lab, science labs and student resource area, including a new and exciting Student Life center, we will have the ability to greatly enhance campus life. West is the place to be.
What do you think MDC students aspire to and how does the time that they spend in the college classrooms help them achieve those dreams?
J.V: “Our students want careers and professions in dynamic and rewarding fields. They want the ability to be able to compete successfully in a global market. They look at Miami Dade College to give them the tools that they need for this challenge. Through our ten learning outcomes, we commit to preparing our students to fulfill their dreams”.
2. Quantitative analysis
3. Critical/creative thinking and Scientific Reasoning
4. Information Literacy
5. Global, Cultural, and Historical Perspectives
6. Personal, Civic and Social Responsibility
7. Ethical Thinking
8. Computer and Technology Usage
9. Aesthetic Appreciation
10. Natural Systems and Environment
What have you learned over the years about your students?
J.V: That they are resilient and determined individuals with a strong desire to achieve and be successful. Sometimes they have insurmountable challenges with multiple commitments at work, at home, and with their families and they still manage to be successful and do well in an academic setting.
Last message to the Students and to the Doral Community.
J.V: Miami Dade College is pleased to have established its newest campus in the midst of the Doral community. Any person wishing to acquire a degree or further their educational and/or professional skills should consider Miami Dade College as their top school of choice. We have a strong academic program including Honors College, School for Advanced Studies, and Dual Enrollment opportunities. One of the most exciting opportunities we have for students is our Baccalaureate degrees in Education, Nursing, Film Television & Digital Production, Physician Assistant Studies, Public Safety Management, Supervision and Management, Electronics Engineering Technology, and Biological Sciences.
For more information, please visit MDC West website at www.mdc.edu/west or call (305)237-8000.