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Derrick J.V. Sawyer was a lieutenant about 15 years ago when he met Ted Bateman, a Community College of Philadelphia instructor who foretold his future in the Philadelphia Fire Department.

“He was actually one of the first teachers who said that he believed I could become a commissioner,” said Commissioner Sawyer, a native Philadelphian who now leads the city’s 2,300-member Fire Department.

Bateman taught in the Fire Academy and, since 1985, in Community College of Philadelphia’s Fire Science program, where he serves as coordinator. “Derrick stood out,” he said. “He really did. One of the ways that he stood out was the questions he asked. He was looking ahead.”

Sawyer, who earned his associate’s degree from the College in 2004, worked his way up the Fire Department’s promotional ladder during his 29-year career. Mayor Michael Nutter appointed him to the top post in May 2014.

“I was only the second person in my immediate family to have a college degree,” Sawyer said.

Along with Commissioner Sawyer, the College has prepared legions of other firefighters since it began the Fire Science program in 1974. This fall semester, 53 students are enrolled in the Fire Science program and 90 percent of them are firefighters from Philadelphia or surrounding departments, Bateman said. Philadelphia Fire Department employees receive extra promotion points if they have a college degree. Five of the eight executive team members at the Philadelphia Fire Department have received formal education and training from the College, according to Executive Chief Peter Crespo, a 2010 Fire Science graduate who is included in that number. Sawyer appointed Chief Crespo, the first Hispanic executive to hold that position.

Since its founding in 1964 and its opening on September 23, 1965, Community College of Philadelphia has served more than 685,000 individuals. Its graduates have risen to leadership ranks in business, government and education. During the 12 months leading up to its 50th anniversary, the College will profile distinguished alumni like Sawyer whose contributions are moving Philadelphia forward and transforming its communities.

In the fire service profession, where training and preparation can be the difference between life and death, the College provided the commissioner with up-to-date industry knowledge, and helped him to identify and explore his potential. “The advice I would give to someone interested in fire service is to start at community college. It will not only help you get your degree, it will help you become more of a professional in your field,” Sawyer said.

Sawyer entered the fire department in 1985 at age 25. He attended the College off and on throughout his career initially taking one course at a time. Along the way, he encountered many memorable instructors who are experts in their fields. A class taught by retired Deputy Chief Thomas Garrity, who teaches a Fire Science course on strategy and practice, was especially helpful. “His class was actually so good that I took it twice,” the Commissioner said, adding that he needed the review when he was seeking promotion to chief.

He realized the top position was within reach when he became a Deputy Commissioner, which is the second-to-the highest rank in the Fire Department.

As Commissioner, his goal is for the City to become the safest in the country in terms of fire safety. “We believe that we will have fires, but we also believe that no one ever has to die in a fire, and that fire is everyone’s fight,” Sawyer said. To accomplish that objective, all citizens must make sure their homes and businesses have working smoke detectors, fire alarms and, if possible, sprinkler systems, he said.

Every family needs to have a home escape plan that is practiced, so everyone living in the house has walked through the home to identify and inspect all possible exists and escape routes.

“We don’t think about fire safety on a daily basis but if you practice it on a daily basis, we know that the City will have fewer fire fatalities,” Commissioner Sawyer said.

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President Donald Guy Generals convened the first of several planned All-College meetings on October 13, as he pledged to keep College faculty, administrators and staff informed on key issues and promote transparency.

In a memo to employees, Dr. Generals said the purpose is to “continue the conversation about the future” of Community College of Philadelphia. The presentation was video-streamed online to allow participation by employees at the Northeast, Northwest and West Regional Centers.

During the hour-long forum, Dr. Generals covered a range of topics offering updates on Middle States accreditation, enrollment management, emergency response planning, ongoing efforts to support degree and credential completion, the importance of the 50th anniversary and new data driven analytic tools from Civitas Learning Inc. that can guide and inform decision-making.

Recently, Community College of Philadelphia received recertification as a Leader College for Achieving the Dream, a national nonprofit dedicated to helping more students earn a college certificate or degree. Since the College earned this designation based on recent advancements in student performance, Dr. Generals led the audience in applauding this achievement and congratulating those who had worked hard to support student success.

He, again, shared his vision for developing a community of learners, where stakeholders commit to professional growth and benefit from shared endeavors. He shared a definition of learning from Professor of Psychology Barbara Rogoff of the University of California at Santa Cruz: “Learning occurs when the community participates and engages in shared endeavors stemming from a common belief system as it relates to social, cultural and educational roles.”

In addition, Dr. Generals shared other goals:

  • Expand course offerings and services available on the Main Campus on Saturdays starting in Spring 2015.
  • Identify a common hour in which there are few classes so that more students can participate in clubs and activities, and faculty and staff can meet and engage in critical dialogues.
  • Hire a professional emergency management firm to inventory security and crisis communication needs and help update the College’s plans and protocols.
  • Promote, organize and systemize the College’s efforts to promote civic engagement and participate in service learning and experiential learning opportunities.

PHILADELPHIA, October 17, 2014—On October 17, Community College of Philadelphia will showcase alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles that help reduce harmful emissions during its National Alternative Fuel Vehicle (AFV) Day Odyssey event.\

The event, scheduled from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Community College of Philadelphia’s West Regional Center, 4725 Chestnut St., is part of Odyssey, a biennial event created and coordinated by the National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium (NAFTC) at West Virginia University. This year marks the 12th anniversary of the event, which is themed “Driving Toward a Clean, Secure Energy Future.”

The Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission is sponsoring this event. The College’s Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management program will provide lunch for registered attendees. Nationwide, Odyssey expects to attract more than 250,000 attendees at 100 sites across the country.

In Philadelphia, more than 60 students will participate from area schools including Thomas Alva Edison High School/John C. Fareira Skills Center; Jules E. Mastbaum High School; Swenson Arts and Technology High School; A. Philip Randolph Career and Technical High School, The Workshop School, and Universal Audenried Charter School.

In the morning, industry experts will give 20 minute presentations. From noon to 3 p.m. an AFV auto show will feature hybrid, compressed natural gas (CNG), biodiesel and electric vehicles from leading manufacturers including BMW, Toyota and Honda. In addition, AFV buses and vehicles used by SEPTA, Philadelphia Gas Works and other organizations will be on display.

Presenters include: Daniel Reed, an assistant professor at Community College of Philadelphia, who teaches in the Transportation Technologies Management program and will discuss hybrid technologies and safety; Robert “Mickey” McLaughlin, executive vice president of sales, marketing and new development for U-Go Stations, a Pennsylvania corporation working to develop the infrastructure for electric vehicle public charging stations; and The Eastern Pennsylvania Alliance for Clean Transportation (EP-ACT), a coalition of public and private stakeholders sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy to promote the development and use of alternative fuels and AFVs.

Dozens of businesses and nonprofit organizations that are stakeholders in the alternative fuels industry will also participate. For more information about National AFV Day Odyssey, visit www.afvdayodyssey.org.

 

 

Community College of Philadelphia enrolls more than 34,000 credit and non-credit students. It offers day, evening, weekend and online classes. Visit us at www.ccp.edu. Follow us on Twitter. Like us on Facebook

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PHILADELPHIA, October 20, 2014—Dr. Donald Guy Generals, Community College of Philadelphia’s new president, reveals several key priorities in fall 2014’s edition of Pathways Magazine, including a desire to establish an internal culture of innovation and stronger focus on community well-being.

“Bold thinking and cutting-edge initiatives are needed to connect students, graduates, and the City’s unemployed directly with transfer options and emerging employment opportunities,” Dr. Generals said.

Dr. Generals shares his vision for the city and the College in the cover story for Pathways, a Community College of Philadelphia publication that keeps regional business leaders abreast of vital career, training and academic innovations. He will speak at the magazine’s breakfast launch, an invitation only event that begins at 8 a.m., October 21 in room C2-5 of the Center for Business and Industry, on 18th and Callowhill Streets.

This upcoming issue also features stories about new student support services, study abroad, STEM education initiatives and new post-degree proficiency certificate programs.

“I think the role of community colleges should be enhanced,” Dr. Generals said. “We need to roll up our sleeves and get into the community and find ways to educate, to train and to help the communities whom we serve.”

The College’s workforce development mission is one of the important ways the College impacts the community. The Morozin Family- owners of The Dining Car in Northeast Philadelphia - has repeatedly turned to the College’s free entrepreneurial workshops and training programs, which have helped the business to prosper and prepared it for expansion. Morozin family members plan to be among those attending the Pathways breakfast, alongside students, faculty, administrators and College trustees.

Within the College, Dr. Generals said he is interested in fostering a learning community where faculty and staff continually sharpen their own skills to enhance student success.

“I think to the extent that we foster curricula that encourage critical inquiry, that encourage creative thinking, that encourage an entrepreneurial spirit, I think that we add to the overall direction and soul of the City,” he said.



Community College of Philadelphia enrolls more than 34,000 credit and non-credit students. It offers day, evening, weekend and online classes. Visit us at www.ccp.edu. Follow us on Twitter. LIke us on Facebook.

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