Jefferson Community College’s new president shifts focus to address falling enrollment

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWTI) — Jefferson Community College started the week with a new president.

Dr. Daniel Dupee, II, was officially inaugurated as the college’s seventh president on Friday, March 15. The change was marked by an official ceremony at the Watertown campus.

Dr. Dupee was joined by Jefferson Community College officials, community leaders and SUNY Chancellor John B. King, Jr.

“[Dr. Dupee] knows the job market and his local industry partners, what they have, what they lack and what they need. He knows who can help and what might hinder. He knows what ideas will fly and which ones to shoot down,” Chancellor King said during the inauguration.

With a new presidency, came a new mission and focus.

President Dupee said that Jefferson plans to add more technical programs to attract new students.

“We’re looking at making a pivot and some of the things that we do, obviously, we want to keep to our core what we’re very good at,” Dr. Dupee said in an interview. “We’re good at liberal arts transfer. We need to make, you know, dip our toes into some applied programs and some workforce programs.”

This was partially to combat the college’s falling enrollment rates. Full and part-time enrollment dropped to 2,252 students, according to data from SUNY. This was the lowest enrollment level JCC had seen in the past decade.

Enrollment peaked in 2013 at 3,931 and has seen a steady drop, SUNY data confirmed.

During his inauguration, Dr. Dupee launched JCC’s Community Impact Fun. He said this will help support the new technical programs in Watertown.

“The Community Impact Fund is really about making sure that we have the funds available to start some of those programs and being able to partner with other organizations,” Dr. Dupee explained. “These are opportunities that we typically wouldn’t have or we’d have to find grants to do that. We want to make sure we have the opportunities to pivot too.”

JCC recently partnered with Mohawk Valley Community College to offer a Surgical Technology Associate program. The college also hopes to partner with Monroe Community College to soon offer a dental hygiene degree.

Dupee expressed that he hopes these new opportunities will launch JCC forward.

“We know that we need to make some changes moving forward on the job market and what programs we need. So we’ll be looking at that into the future and supporting our local employers with the students and with the career programs that they need,” Dr. Dupee stated. 

President Dupee holds a Doctorate in Education from Northeastern University, a certificate of advanced study in educational leadership from Le Moyne College, both master’s and bachelor’s degrees from Columbia College, and an associate degree from Onondaga Community College.

He completed the League for Innovation Executive Leadership Institute in 2019, the SUNY Executive Leadership program in 2013, and the Jefferson Leadership Institute in 2012. A North Country native, Dr. Dupee is a graduate of Watertown High School.

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