New president talks about values and challenges for MATC

July 3, 2014

From jsonline.com: “New president wants community to see MATC’s evolution” — Vicki Martin had a front-row seat as Milwaukee Area Technical College evolved from preparing young people for the trades to taking on the additional role of helping working adults reinvent themselves in a tumultuous economy.

But she’s not sure the community fully realizes the scope of that change.

The Milwaukee native and longtime administrator, whose first day as president was Wednesday, said one of her main goals is to change that.

“We hear a lot about how we’re the best-kept secret,” said Martin, who was MATC’s provost — chief academic officer — before being promoted to president eight days ago. “This institution is so important for so many people, and just about everyone in the community has been touched by an MATC graduate.”

MATC has 200 academic programs, nearly 400 transfer options leading to bachelor’s degrees, and a Pre-College Education division that helps adults complete high school, prepare for college or enter the workforce. The college has a full-time equivalent enrollment of about 13,000 students at its four campuses. It serves a total of 43,000 students including community education, workforce training, and customized business training and workshops.

Managing enrollment will be key.

Community colleges saw a 5.9% dip in enrollment of students over the age of 24, more than double their overall decline, between spring 2012 and 2013, according to enrollment data from the National Student Clearinghouse. MATC has seen its own declines; enrollment booms — like the 10% increase MATC saw at the peak of the recession — typically taper off as the economy rebounds.

But managing the way the community perceives the school also will be critical.

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