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New MVCC dean sees bright future in Rome

Mike Jaquays
Staff writer
Posted 10/25/22

External partnerships are the key to success for Mohawk Valley Community College and its students, said Jennifer DeWeerth, the new dean of the Rome campus and community outreach.

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New MVCC dean sees bright future in Rome


ROME — External partnerships are the key to success for Mohawk Valley Community College and its students, said Jennifer DeWeerth, the new dean of the Rome campus and community outreach. That community outreach means reaching out to area residents to tell them about the offerings at MVCC while hearing about their own activities at the same time.

“I just love meeting the people around Rome and hearing about all of the exciting things happening around here,” she said. “The future of Rome is bright and our job is to prepare the workforce for that thriving future.”

She was promoted to her new position Oct. 1. DeWeerth has been with MVCC for 18 years, starting as the director of its student service center in November 2004. Most recently DeWeerth served since June 2019 as the Rome campus dean of student enrollment, she said.

“I’ve always gotten to work on interesting projects,” she said. “I enjoy being able to work with the students and help support their academic pursuits.”

DeWeerth said some of her favorite programs at the Rome campus include the Wednesday luncheons served by their hospitality students, the remote-piloted aircraft system and drone soccer training, and GEAR UP - an acronym for Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduates Programs - that works with Rome City School District students.

There is also the Propel partnership with Madison-Oneida BOCES, where regional high school students take college classes on the MVCC Rome campus for credentials and certificates during their junior and senior high school years.

MVCC can even customize training for people and businesses who need to upgrade their skills or their employees’ skills. There is also fast track short-term training for people who need skills to get into a better job or get back to work, but can’t invest the full amount of time for regular classes, DeWeerth added.

The cutting edge technology education is especially important right now as it prepares students for well-paying jobs in fields that are no longer as scientifically advanced as they once seemed.

“This is not the future any more - it’s now,” DeWeerth said.

MVCC will also soon begin a construction project that will add a dental hygiene program and clinic to the Rome campus. They expect to start construction sometime next year and have it open by 2024 or 2025, she said.

DeWeerth is originally from Minnesota and has a Bachelor of the Arts in Political Science from Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania and a Master of Divinity in Theology from the University of Chicago.

Her husband Stephen Ellingson is a professor of sociology at Hamilton College in Clinton. They have two sons, Zachary and Mesafint, who are in college in Florida and Rhode Island respectively.

With COVID restrictions easing, DeWeerth said they have gone from a 50% virtual classes just a year ago to more than 75% in-person today, although they remain committed to providing education for the people who need the online classes as well.

“I’m happy to see students and faculty back in the classes - the energy level is really high around here,” she said. “That’s where our vibrancy comes from.”

There are traditional-aged students, adult learners and retired senior citizens all studying at the MVCC Rome campus, DeWeerth said.

“People know they can provide a better life for their families if they have an education,” she explained. “We provide that stepping stone at every stage of life.”


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