March Update

I wanted to provide you with this update on what is happening at Champlain College.

Munich Cyber Security Conference

Last month, I traveled to Munich to participate in the Munich Cyber Security Conference, an offshoot of the Munich Security Conference. This exclusive gathering brought together business, government and IT executives from around the world to discuss cyber issues. Presenters included Rob Joyce, the White House coordinator of cyber security, and Eugene Kaspersky, owner of Kaspersky Labs.

Our hosts, Markus and Claudia Geier, owners of ComCode and friends of Champlain, arranged for Devin Paden, Assistant Professor and Program Director for the Computer Network and Cybersecurity at Champlain, and me to present our program to a select group of 100 executives and to pitch our students as intern candidates. ComCode hosted a cyber security student last summer with great success, and Markus and Claudia have been great advocates for our program. On behalf of the College, I presented to an exclusive group of IT executives.

I had an opportunity to tour the new Internet Security Hub at Munich Airport. After the tour of the state-of-the-art facility, the director of cyber security at the airports asked if Champlain could provide him with two interns this summer to work at the Hub. Markus and Claudia have talked to several other companies in Munich about hosting Champlain interns. If we can find enough students interested in spending the summer in Munich, we could see four to six students working there this summer.

Information Services

We have launched our national search for a new VP of Information Technology. In the interim, AVP Diana Matot is serving as our CIO. Diana reports to me. She has worked at Champlain for 25 years and has played leadership roles in our Datatel/Colleague implementation and more recently in our GMHEC implementation efforts. She also played a leadership role in the Target X implementation supporting Enrollment.


CPS enrollment, and especially truED, remain strong. We received nice coverage of our survey of adult students.

TRAD student enrollment is on par with last year. Lisa Bunders’ team is actively engaging students with a variety of communication and social media tools. We had a highly successful event this past month, which included deposited, admitted, and prospective high school juniors and seniors. The attendance at the February event surpassed last year.

Standard and Poor’s Rating

S&P reaffirmed our BBB debt rating following their annual review of our financial status. This is due in part to our delivering a significant increase in net assets (a result of our $4.4 million surplus and investment gains) and our continued stable enrollment results. This is a great result for our first bond rating review.

GMHEC (Green Mountain Higher Education Consortium)

GMHEC launched the ERP replacement project in January. The project is named Project Ensemble. The majority of campus business units have now completed the process redesign sessions and shared services deep dives. We have received the final reports that summarize these plans, with additional suggestions from our consultants. We now are entering a decision-phase across the three institutions to determine and prioritize what is implemented immediately and what is a second or tertiary priority.

BOT Activities

The Committee on Trusteeship has finalized our new committee membership. Thanks to Sarah Tischler for her leadership and to all of our trustees for their support in this journey to reinvent the work of the BOT.

The Champlain community is energized by the vision I outlined in January to connect our professional education with students’ desire to find purpose and meaning. Efforts are underway to identify individuals to attend the conference in June at the World Positive Education Accelerator. Please let Robert Caldwell or me know if you, or someone you know, would like to support our efforts philanthropically.

Published by Don Laackman

Leader with non-profit, higher education, and private-sector consulting experience.