Our President | BCTC

Our President

dr akakpo

On behalf of the outstanding faculty, staff and students of Bluegrass Community & Technical College, welcome to BCTC. Whether you are a prospective or current student, parent or community partner, we are happy you have chosen to learn more about us.

When you look at colleges today, you will see similarities in buildings and programs. At BCTC, however, you will experience much more than that. We are a community where students find confidence, collaboration, compassion and success. Then, they take that back into their families and workplaces, strengthening neighborhoods and creating Better Lives.

Over the years, we have made it our mission to transform our region one student, one employer and one community at a time. As a community built on commitment, communication and collaboration, we know that success depends on what happens inside and outside our classrooms. Therefore, our highly qualified and experienced faculty engage students in state-of-the-art learning environments. Our caring staff offer extensive support services including academic assistance, job placement, transfer assistance and student activities, promoting a student-first environment.

BCTC is a regional provider of education and workforce training serving students, businesses and communities at seven campuses in Lexington, Georgetown, Danville, Winchester and Lawrenceburg. You may choose from classes on one of these campuses or a wide-selection of online courses that fit into your busy schedule. We work closely with regional employers and partners to ensure that we are responding to their need and filling skills gaps, as we equip our students.

Upon completion of one or more of our over 40 programs options, you will be prepared for your next step, whether that involves transferring to one of our four-year partners to continue your education, or immediately entering the workforce with a degree or short-term certificate. So, whether you are new to college, have been away from school for a while, have a college credential and desire to increase or improve your skills, or are seeking training for your employees, we are here for you.

Visit one of our campuses, and you will see that you belong at BCTC! We look forward to seeing you on campus!

Dr. Koffi Akakpo
President and CEO

President's Monthly Update


January 2020 Update

Happy New Year and beginning of our spring semester!

Whether is this one of many spring semesters you have begun at BCTC, or this is your very first one, semester beginnings are exciting.

We are all fortunate to have time to refresh, then come back ready to welcome and serve our students. It's inspiring to realize many students have decided that 2020 is the year they will begin working on their goals toward making a better life. What a privilege to be part of that journey!

As we start this New Year, it's clear that your hard work in 2019 set us up for a great 2020. Our enrollment is up because you continue to put students first every day.

Additionally, we are grateful for the stakeholders who support our work here at BCTC. They, too, ensure the success of our students by working with us to build partnerships, fund activities, provide resources and offer students experiential learning. Together, we build better lives, one student, one employer, one community at a time.

One important segment of our stakeholders is our legislators, who just began the 2020 legislative session. We are grateful for their support and attention to the needs of our students. One of the exceptional things they do is give BCTC legislative interns the opportunity to work alongside them during session. I'm looking forward to hearing about their experiences this semester as they share them on social media.

I also look forward to reading more Why Stories from our students, staff, and faculty.

As we begin 2020, I encourage you to choose the quote below that most inspires you and share it with me on Twitter. Then, embrace it this year.

And now we welcome the new year. Full of things that have never been.
- Rainer Maria Rilke

Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.
- Oprah Winfrey

What the new year brings to you will depend a great deal on what you bring to the new year.
- Vern McLellan

Take a leap of faith and begin this wondrous new year by believing.
- Sarah Ban Breathnach

Celebrate what you want to see more of.
- Tom Peters

You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step. 
- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

It always seems impossible until it's done.
- Nelson Mandela

The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.
- William Shakespeare

Happy New Year!
Dr. Koffi Akakpo

February 2020 Update

A month into the new year, we are already finding success. Our enrollment for the spring semester continues to show increase. I commend our entire community. We each play a role in making BCTC the first choice for higher education in the communities we serve.

More great news comes from Emsi, a national provider of research to educational institutions, regarding our economic impact on the community. This report shows we produce a significant return on investment to all stakeholders: students, taxpayers and the communities we serve.

According to the report, in fiscal year 2018-19 BCTC added "$419.1 million in income to the Bluegrass Region's economy, a value approximately equal to 1.2 percent of the region's total gross regional product (GRP). Expressed in terms of jobs, BCTC's impact supported 6,516 jobs. For perspective, the activities of BCTC and its students support one out of every 75 jobs in the Bluegrass Region." If you are interested in seeing more details of this study, they are available on our website.

We hope you will take this information and share it in your communities. We have a significant impact on Central Kentucky and the lives of those who are directly impacted by what you do every day to put students first.

As we reach higher and strive to provide more for our students, I am grateful to work alongside you in this important work. Together, we will grow our enrollment and impact on our communities.

As always, thank you for all you do for our students and BCTC. And please, keep those why stories coming!

Dr. Koffi Akakpo

March 2020 Update

As we discuss budgets and goals, review accomplishments and meet with our governor and legislators it is clear that higher education matters to Central Kentucky and to our state as a whole.

The Emsi study determined Bluegrass Community and Technical College's (BCTC) total annual economic impact on Central Kentucky is $419M in added income and 6,516 in supported jobs. These figures are certainly significant, but our true value is in changing lives and communities.

As BCTC faculty and staff, it is our privilege to provide education that expands and strengthens our workforce and empowers students to step into their better lives. Let me share a few examples.

Entrepreneur Matt Kondik started at a university out of high school but left and came to BCTC to achieve his dream to become a business owner. He now operates his own successful HVAC company in Danville.

Business leader Terri Jones earned an associate degree in computer science and is now a vice president at Central Bank. She also owns the Scout & Molly Boutique in Lexington and serves on our BCTC Foundation Board.

Veteran Tim Leshney served in Iraq, returned home and was accepted into the Advanced Manufacturing Technician (AMT) program where he not only earned his degree debt-free, but was paid to work at Toyota while in school. He is a proud Toyota team member today.

These students, like the 2,200 BCTC graduates who earned over 4300 credentials in 2019, know that higher education matters. Community colleges offer students the opportunity to earn a college education for significantly less. In many cases, they enter the workforce debt-free.

The number of high school students in Central Kentucky who take dual-credit courses that allow them to complete some or all of their first two years of college at BCTC while in high school has increased by 24 percent this year.

Katherine Delgado, a first-generation college student, is one of those students who earned an Associate in Science degree in May 2019, and a few weeks later walked with her senior class at Dunbar High School to receive her high school diploma.

According to the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE), dual credit is linked to higher student GPA's and positive impact for minority, low income and academically unprepared students.

Regardless of when they come to BCTC, we meet students where they are. Skills U programs at our campuses offer college and GED preparation and testing for students like Michelle Lunsford, a mom who worked in the fast food industry for over 17 years. She decided the long hours did not leave enough time for her children and wanted to make a change, but her choices were limited without a high school diploma. She came to BCTC, completed her GED and earned a Data Entry Operator certificate within four months. Today, she is the Lawrenceburg Campus assistant.

We are committed to raising educational attainment in the community as well as expanding access to career options and placing graduates in the workforce at a faster rate. However, not all BCTC classes take place on campus.

For example, Kentucky law enforcement recruits take college courses while they participate in the Department of Criminal Justice Training (DOCJT) program through the BCTC/DOCJT partnership, Educating Heroes. Last month, two law enforcement officers graduated basic training and earned an Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degree.

Additionally, BCTC Workforce Solutions trains and educates employees in their workplaces, such as Webasto. This education helps employees advance their careers and productivity. In 2019, 43 Webasto employees earned their Enhanced Operator certificates, creating a skilled workforce pipeline within the company.

It is up to all of us to tell these BCTC stories. How were you changed by community college education? Who do you know whose life was transformed? When did you know that higher education, especially community college, matters to our communities? Why do you believe in what we do?

I encourage you to answer one, or all, of these questions. Share it with those you influence daily, contact your legislator and submit your WHY on the BCTC website.

Together, we can create Better Lives: one student, one employer, one community at a time.

Dr. Koffi Akakpo


March 2019 Update

Today marks one month of my presidency at BCTC. It has been a whirlwind of excitement, diverse experiences and long days. I may not remember all of the names I've learned in the past 30 days, but I definitely remember why I chose to come here: this is an amazing community full of folks who serve students and welcome newcomers.

From Lexington to Danville, Winchester Lawrenceburg and Georgetown, I've seen engaged staff, faculty and students who embrace our mission to transform our region one student, one employer and one community at a time. You have shown me that we are so much more than buildings and programs, we are a community committed to collaboration, compassion and success.

I've enjoyed sharing an Ale 8 with students, staff and faculty in Winchester and learning how we partner with the community there. I saw our staff members volunteering to serve as pseudo patients to help our healthcare students practice their skills. I met a trailblazing woman who not only learned the male-dominated trade of advanced manufacturing, but came back to us to teach more young women and men. I saw high school students on our campus eager to take the first steps into higher education with us. I met students and community members excited about the opportunities a new manufacturing center in Danville will bring. I learned that we are taking that extra step to meet students where they are by collaborating with the community to make sure that those who want to take the GED® have transportation to get to our services. And, I see the energy at our Newtown Campus as more and more students of many backgrounds come together to learn and engage with one another.

Most of all, everywhere I went, I saw smiling faces engaged in the work we do: creating better lives. As the community's college, we welcome any student who takes the leap of faith to trust that we can and will help them develop the skills they need to make a better life. Our job is to meet each student where he or she is, whether a drop out or valedictorian. It will take us all working together to serve our students. I can see that you are as committed to this as I am.

As I begin my listening tour with our legislators, business and educational partners, I'm learning more about their vision for the community and BCTC's role in that. I'm looking for alliances and alignment. How can we partner with other institutions of higher education, secondary schools, nonprofits, business, community services and government? How can we align to more effectively serve the community? What can we learn from history? What traditions need to be upheld and what innovations need to be made? Our work is key to the growth and success of Central Kentucky.

But all of the conversations are not taking place outside the college. Some of the most important conversations are taking place within our college. With the help of my team, I'm creating opportunities where I can meet with and talk to you about your hopes, dreams and vision for our college. As we build this future together, you are key to the process.

We are on a path to strengthening our position as a driving force in Central Kentucky through responsible fiscal and facility planning, exceptional instruction, student focus, open communication and collaboration on all levels. I look forward to partnering with each of you in this great mission as we serve as the community's college.

Dr. Koffi Akakpo

April 2019 Update

Happy April Fools' Day! In honor of this strange holiday, I found a quote that illustrates what I hope we strive for as a college: "A fool sees not the same tree that a wise man sees" - William Blake.

So what does that mean to us? It is evident to me that in our high schools, communities, and college divisions and departments, we see things that others may not see: untapped potential, more efficient and effective ways to do things, and partnerships with the community that, like an aged tree, add stability and strength to our efforts.

In the past month, I've seen us tap into the potential we see in middle and high school students as we draw them to our college with the Science Olympiad at Newtown and the Science Safari Fair at Leestown. In addition, our staff and faculty see the potential of current students as we work with them in our offices and classrooms every day. This was especially evident at the student leadership conference last Friday.

We're also looking at new ways to do things. As we serve students of all ages and interests, we work to follow the traditional college recruiting techniques, but we must also think outside the box, and the Manufacturing Madness event at Georgetown is an example of this. Several areas of our college came together to make this event a great success. I was also very impressed with the Changing Classroom Cultures Conference. Here, our faculty and staff explored ways we can serve our students in more efficient and effective ways. I love that we are a community of not just educators, but learners.

And finally, I see us investing in the community that supports our efforts. Long after our work day ended, staff and faculty members volunteered with one of our educational partners, KET, to support educational television. We also had staff members, Mrs. JoEllen Reed and Dr. Erin Tipton, recognized for their efforts to build into the communities we serve. This month ended with a celebration of the alumni and community partners who support our efforts at all campuses.

Honestly, it is an honor to get to know the work each of you does and your influence, which makes BCTC a great college.

As I close, I want to leave you with a lighter April Fools' Day quote that is good advice:

"Mix a little foolishness with your prudence: It's good to be silly at the right moment" - Horace.


Dr. Koffi Akakpo

May 2019 Update

We have come to the end of another successful school year at BCTC. It's time to celebrate all we have achieved and the lives that have been changed by our commitment to the students we serve.

To begin, I want to celebrate the college's first open forum. I appreciate the participation of our faculty, staff and students and look forward to many more of these opportunities to get to know each other and discuss college business. I am feeling more and more at home at BCTC and Kentucky. Last week, I was named a Kentucky Colonel by Secretary of State Allison Lundergan Grimes. What a blessing to be a true Kentuckian!

This year's enrollment is a celebration. We have secured increases and are currently leading the system in this area. We're seeing the faces of our fall enrollees at the first orientations of 2019. I spoke to packed rooms at the first two orientations this month. Not only are we recruiting local students, but we are seeing students travel over three hours to come to BCTC. One student I met last week left at 4 a.m. to attend orientation. Now that I'm a Kentuckian, I'm especially happy to see BCTC recruiting students from Ohio.

This year, we celebrate the many scholarships, awards and recognitions earned by our students and alumni. Just a few include the first generation student scholarships, PTK awards, and BCTC NARA alumni Austin Motley and David Mussad training the 2018 Triple Crown winner Justify. I'm especially looking forward to celebrating our students at my first GAR ceremony on Thursday. I hope you can attend.

Our instructors, too, are celebrated, earning state and national recognition for their work with students. And, the programs they lead ensure our student success. For instance, for the sixth consecutive year, Surgical Technology has received the annual merit award from the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA) for achieving a 100 percent pass rate on the CST exam. Dental Hygiene also recently celebrated a 100 percent pass rate and 100 percent job placement for their graduating class.

Finally, we are securing the funds to expand our services to students. This year we celebrated the opening of the newly renovated nursing and allied health facility on the Leestown Campus. This project was funded by a Kentucky Work Ready Skills Initiative investment of over $3M and the support of community partners. Secretary Ramsey was extremely impressed with the facility and our students, faculty and staff at his visit this month. We also celebrated raising the $1M needed to complete funding for the Danville Advanced Manufacturing Center and will break ground on that facility this fall.

As you know, my mantra is "Students First." However, as you can see from our successes, our commitment to students reaches far beyond individual students. It reaches into their families, the places they work and communities where they live. This is how we live our mission every day.
Thank you for all you've done to make 2018-19 a tremendous success!

Dr. Koffi Akakpo

June 2019 Update

As we go into the summer months, I would like to take a moment to reflect on our graduation ceremony and all that it represents to us as an institution.

This year, we saw an over 14 percent increase in both credentials and candidates for graduation. This is because of our college's commitment to empower students to attain their goals. We brought them here through recruitment; we helped them when they faced challenges; we provided the knowledge and experience they needed to succeed in their chosen fields, and we cheered them on along the way. More students reached their better lives because of BCTC.

Our commencement speaker, Susan Elkington, president, Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky, shared her story of hard work, commitment and the roles of the individuals in her life who believed in her. What a relatable story for our students and community! Ron Walker, our board chair, shared why he, and all of you, devote time and resources to our institution. Chair Walker and Ms. Elkington are phenomenal representatives of what community support means to BCTC. They, as do you, believe in our mission and the students we serve. Your support makes our work possible. You provide leadership, internships, scholarships and means to assist our students as they prepare for careers that will contribute to businesses and communities we serve.

Most importantly, the graduates on the auditorium floor represented the hundreds who have BCTC success stories. Students like Katherine Delgado, a first generation college student, received her AS degree and will receive her high school diploma next week thanks to our Opportunity Middle College and dual enrollment. "They told me it was possible to complete my high school and college degrees at the same time. I didn't really believe it," said Delgado, "but I did it!" Delgado will continue her studies in computer science at the University of Kentucky. Tania Delgado, her sister, also attended OMC in the inaugural class of 2009.

Another graduate, Aingaran Satchithanantham, took a different route to his goals. Satchithanantham came to the United States from Sri Lanka in 2016. While working on his language skills, he completed his GED® in only a month and began taking classes at BCTC. Despite the challenges that came with relocating to a new country, he stayed at the top of his class and became an active member of the Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Honor Society. He will continue his education at the University of Kentucky studying accounting and finance.

Mishonda Bush, our new HR assistant and graduate, came to BCTC through our Ready-to-Work program and went further than she originally thought possible, earning an AAS in Administrative Office Technology in 2019. She credits faculty and staff who encouraged her to find her own path, gave her opportunities and made her believe in her abilities. Mishonda is a great addition to our BCTC community, first as a student, now as a staff member!

With these successes and many others in mind, we will prepare for the upcoming year, some of us on campus, some off campus. We're already seeing an almost 10 percent increase in enrollment as compared to this time last year.

In August, we will welcome new and returning students with a rejuvenated commitment to empower them to attain their better lives, one student at a time. This is an amazing journey that we are privileged to take with our students.

Please enjoy this link to a recap of our graduation and the BCTC stories it tells, and have a great summer!

Dr. Koffi Akakpo

August 2019 Update

This is such an exciting time of year at BCTC as we prepare to welcome our students back this month. We are busy getting our facilities cleaned and upgraded for students, hiring staff and faculty and preparing action plans for departments to serve students, and planning courses and lessons to engage our students in the classroom in a couple of weeks.

We also put into place July 1, some organizational updates. First, regional campus directors will now report to Dr. Greg Feeney, vice president, Academic and Workforce Development. To align the regional campuses with college initiatives and academic priorities, campus directors will attend monthly ALT meetings. In addition, each campus will have a full- time student development officer who will report to the campus director to increase flexibility and nimbleness as we serve students and the local community. In addition, the Office of Institutional Planning, Research, and Effectiveness (IPRE) and SACS oversight are under Dr. Feeney's leadership to improve data alignment and management for reporting and performance improvement.

Second, what is now Multiculturalism and Inclusion will become Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and report to Dr. Palisa Williams Rushin, vice president, Student Development and Enrollment Management. The associate vice president of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion will lead this area; we currently have this position advertised. Our goal is to integrate this very important function of our college into all aspects of student development.

The above activities are focused on one goal: student success, which is a product of what each one of us contributes to at BCTC, regardless of job descriptions. Each one of us is needed to fulfill our mission of putting Students First.

As you meditate upon your role in here at BCTC, I hope you are focusing on the "why." Why did you choose your profession? Why do you come to work every day or give your resources to the college? Simon Sinek, author and motivational speaker, famous for the "why" Ted Talk said, "People don't buy what you do; they buy why you do it. And what you do simply proves what you believe."

If I were able to personally ask this question to each one of you, I would guess that your "why" centers around a student, and what you do every day proves that you believe in student success. This is our focus, our passion, our "why."

Sinek also said, "When we help ourselves, we find moments of happiness. When we help others, we find lasting fulfillment." Together, we can find this lasting fulfillment as we put students first this year.

In fact, we are so enthusiastic about this that we are going to feature your "why" stories around campus, in social media and on the website. We encourage you to go to the webpage we've set up to ask, "What is YOUR why?" and tell us. I look forward to reading and sharing these stories that collectively answer the BCTC "why."

Thank you for joining me in this great adventure of serving our students and communities. It's going to be a great year!

Dr. Koffi Akakpo

September 2019 Update

What a great start to our 2019-20 school year! We welcomed over 9,300 students our first week of classes, an enrollment growth trend we hope to continue. As I visited the campuses and classrooms, I saw the excitement and anticipation that fall brings.

You made sure our students got a great first impression of BCTC with Welcome Week activities. I saw you greeting students in the classrooms and hallways, serving students and joining in the fun. You scooped ice cream, played kickball, held open houses and resource fairs, showed BCTC school spirit on College Colors Day, and even danced with students at our G.L.O.W dance party last Thursday night. I can't help but smile when I see our BCTC family putting students first and providing an excellent student experience. Thank you!

Over the past few weeks, it has been my honor to represent BCTC before community leaders and donors. They affirm our reputation for excellence and service to communities. They want to partner with us to support our students and provide more opportunities for them. Without the commitment of our boards, faculty and staff, this would not be possible.

Speaking of commitment, I'm so grateful for your participation in our Foundation's annual employee giving campaign. We are only half way through our campaign and 94 have already made a gift to support our students.  I think it is important to note that 30 of those faculty and staff members are first-time donors.  Haven't made a gift yet?  Please know it is not too late to contribute. The campaign continues through September 15, 2019.  We hope to celebrate 100% support among our faculty and staff by the end of this month.

August was an exciting month, but we have a lot to look forward to this month. We are breaking ground for the new Advanced Manufacturing Center on our Danville Campus, September 12, 2019. Our Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) kicks off this month, helping students learn more about essential skills in the workplace. The SACSCOC team will be on campus September 22-26, 2019, for the accreditation process, and we hope for an affirmation of the great work happening at BCTC. As the month concludes on   September 24, 2019, the New York Times bestselling author Silas House and co-author, Neela Vaswani, will visit the Newtown Campus to read and discuss their novel Same Sun Here and kick off our Common Read.

Finally, I want to remind you to add your "why" to the BCTC why page. Here, a student said BCTC "gave me courage to go after what I wanted and helped me prove to myself I can finish my education, which will make me the best possible version of myself. I am so thankful to be consistently backed by educators who want the best for me." This captures our mission and the heart of what we do. What is your why?

As Oprah Winfrey said, "There's no greater gift than to honor your life's calling. It's why you were born and how you become most truly alive."

Every day my pride for our college and the work done here grows. At BCTC, a culture of Students First thrives, and it is because of the individual contributions of you all.

It is my pleasure to serve our students and community with you!

Dr. Koffi Akakpo

October 2019 Update

I'm told that fall has begun, but the 90 plus temperatures in October are not exactly how I envisioned fall in Kentucky. Is it true that the real fall arrives with Keeneland? Regardless of the heat, we have had a very successful start to our fall semester at BCTC.

As you know, September was all about the final touches for the SACSCOC team visit this past week. I'm pleased to report the visit was a success. Of the 78 standards reviewed, we had only four standards that we will need to address, so well done! From the data you pulled together about your areas, to the spotless facilities, to the digital team that was on call to mitigate any issue, to the finely tuned schedule for our visitors, you made a fabulous impression. The committee could not say enough about our preparation and impeccable hospitality. I thank each and every one of you for coming through in different roles and capacities for BCTC, telling the story of our great college!! 

Also this fall, we begin the advising redesign that emphasizes our Students First mission. Statistics show that about 30 percent of freshmen drop out during or just after the end of their first year of college. However, research also shows that students who receive some coaching in that first year, in the form of support from faculty and staff, are 14 percent more likely to complete. So, what can we do about this? Redesign our advising process.

Our new advising process creates a high touch/high impact approach to new student advising, pairing a professional advisor and student. The main feature of the redesign is the assignment of an advisor to each student as soon as he/she enrolls in courses. This advisor serves as the primary support to the student by reaching out via email, phone, or text to provide assistance and encouragement during the critical first weeks. The student then transitions to a full-time faculty advisor during priority enrollment. Our goal is to help students create a network of support that they can turn to during the first semester. I'm excited to see the impact of the commitment we have made to our students.

I'm also excited to tell you the results of our Students First employee campaign this fall. As of September 30, 2019, 230 employees have given $14,193, which is a 25 percent increase from the previous year. We are pleased to celebrate 45 percent of all employees are participating this year. While the campaign itself has ended, we are still receiving donations from faculty and staff and will continue to track them through June 30, 2020. Thank you to all who are participating!

Finally, we are so pleased to have not one, but two groundbreakings this fall. Thanks to all of you who were able to attend our Danville-Boyle County Advanced Manufacturing Center groundbreaking this past month. We had over 100 people celebrate the beginnings of this asset to the Danville Campus and the communities it will serve. Our next groundbreaking is for The Den, formerly the laundry building, on the Newtown Campus, October 18, 2019 at 10 a.m. We're excited to break ground on the newest addition to Newtown Campus, a state-of-the-art one-stop location for new BCTC students. I hope you will be able to join us. As you can see, it has been a busy month, and we are looking forward to all October will bring.

Take a moment today to put a student first and see how it changes your day!

Dr. Koffi Akakpo


November 2019 Update

Dear Colleagues,

As we begin this month of thanksgiving, I'm reflecting on all of the things for which I am grateful. Much of that has to do with you and what we do here at BCTC. First, I'm grateful for each of you and the important roles you play at this amazing and distinguished institution. I'm also grateful for the relationships I've been able to form with you and our community. Most importantly, I'm grateful that every month of the year we all get to play a small role in changing lives, what an incredible honor.

Each of you has a vital role in supporting the Better Lives our students are attaining.

For months, our Planning and Facilities folks have prepared to build and make possible the ground breakings at the Danville and Newtown campuses. These facilities will be cared for and equipped every day, as are all of our current facilities, to welcome students by the Maintenance and Operations and Information Technology staff. And, somebody has to pay the bills and collect money for all of this to work. For this, I thank our Bursar and Business offices.

Our Academic and Workforce Solutions teams make sure our students are equipped to enter the workforce or continue their education at our partner institutions. We celebrated the evidence of this excellent work last month when the SACS review committee praised what we do here. Kentucky Educational Television (KET) representatives are also visiting our campuses to record and highlight the great work we are doing in classrooms. This month, we will increase academic support for students with the launch of online tutoring services.

Student Development and Enrollment Management teams reach out to those seeking a better life and bring them to BCTC, welcome them so they feel at home here and support them through the journey to completion. This month, we celebrate First Generation Students who have chosen to begin a journey that no other family member has travelled, and we will open our food pantry and professional clothing closet appropriately named, Heart of BCTC.

The Advancement team and BCTC and Foundation boards of directors support all of these efforts through funding, communication and care for our outstanding employees. This fall, you also gave back, more than ever before, in our employee giving campaign to demonstrate you believe in what we are doing here. Your generosity brings a smile to many, and my heart fill with gratitude.

All of these efforts say to me that you are putting students first, every day, as you serve our BCTC communities. Your commitment to this daily operation exemplifies that you "make each day your masterpiece." -John Wooden.

These things that I am so grateful for, you, our students and the impact we are privileged to make, are my "why." I want to hear about your "why," too, and we want to share it with our community. If you have not already, please take a moment to send us your "why" now.

Finally, during this month of reflection, remember the faces and names of those you have served and know that you, too, have something for which you can be truly grateful.

I wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving.

Dr. Koffi Akakpo

December 2019 Update

This has been an extraordinary year at BCTC. We have accomplished much together, and it's time to celebrate!

Our achievements include awarding over 4,300 credentials to 2,215 students, designation as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education site and successfully completing our SACS visit.

Partnerships with our community and the industries we serve were strengthened. We offered Enhanced Operator education as part of Webasto's expansion project, and their first employee cohort graduated this year. We also developed a new partnership with DOCJT to provide first responder heroes the opportunity to simultaneously earn an AAS degree and complete their officer certification at the State Police Academy. Leading the way in the equine industry, our North American Racing Academy (NARA) spear-headed a national horse industry effort to address workforce shortages through the Equine Workforce Management Coalition.

We have seen enrollment growth, expansion and improvement on our campuses, and a college-wide commitment to inclusion and cultural competency. Each of our seven campuses contributed to this success.

At the Cooper Campus, we welcomed more high school students than ever through the STEAM Academy and Opportunity Middle College. We also implemented changes in how and where services are offered to all students, making us more accessible.

The Danville Campus saw increases which include doubling the nursing program enrollment. And thanks to incredible community support, we broke ground on the advanced manufacturing center, expanding the skilled worker pipeline for Boyle and surrounding counties.

The Georgetown Campus continues to be the number one destination for manufacturing. However, there's more than manufacturing at Georgetown, as evidenced by a 57 percent increase in enrollment. This growth is due to additional general education courses, piloting a Middle College program and more dual credit students.

The Lawrenceburg Campus increased enrollment by six percent as we grew relationships with local high schools and recruited 156 dual credit students. Momentum with Anderson County is growing as BCTC becomes the go-to spot for adult education and GED®.

The Leestown Campus opened The Heart of BCTC food pantry and career closet, a place where students can find relief from the stress that outside pressures bring. Additionally, allied health education, the trades and Workforce Solutions projects are booming on campus.

At our Newtown Campus, we began work on The Den to provide a beautiful new facility where students will receive services and find a comfortable place to gather. Newtown has also completed campus beautification projects and new signage.

Last, but not least, the Winchester Campus offered new hemp courses that received state recognition.  We will serve this growing industry and offer students opportunities to explore the history of hemp and the agribusiness career opportunities in production.

I hope you see a common thread running through these accomplishments: we're putting Students First. They are at the center of all we do, and do well, here at BCTC.

We made a difference in students' lives by anticipating and meeting their needs through time, talents and increased participation in the annual employee giving campaign. We welcomed newcomers and said good-bye to dear friends, and we served our community well.

I want to express my sincere thanks to our exceptional faculty and staff, dedicated college and foundation boards of directors, and supportive KCTCS staff and community partners for your devotion to students and tireless efforts to help them be successful. We are fulfilling our Students First mission.

I also want to thank our students for your curiosity and drive, your open minds and commitment to learning. You are what makes BCTC a unique and exceptional place to work and to learn. You are our "why."

I will certainly remember 2019, my first year as president of BCTC, fondly. Serving our students and communities is the highest privilege, and it is my great honor to work alongside you.

My family and I wish you and your loved ones a peaceful and joyful holiday season. As 2019 draws to a close, we also wish you a happy new year.  When we return, we'll begin a new decade, and I look forward to working with you to empower students and make 2020 BCTC's brightest year yet!

Warmest wishes,

Dr. Koffi Akakpo