From the CEO
Supporting students has always been a driving force in the work we do at Norwalk Community College, but it has never been more evident than in this past year. As the world was dealt an unprecedented pandemic, we needed to provide a higher level of support to rise to the occasion.
In the spring, we closed our campus and immediately transitioned to online learning. Students were faced with a new set of obstacles on their road to success. Some were already masters of the required technology, but others needed to get up to speed quickly. And still others didn’t even have computers.
Pre-pandemic, many of our students were already self-supporting and trying to balance school and a job (or two!) to make ends meet. In addition, some faced food insecurity, lacked transportation, even lacked adequate housing. Add to that the challenges of the COVID-19 crisis with the immediate shift to remote learn- ing, and the need for unique student support becomes obvious.
We are grateful to the NCC Foundation, which quickly jumped in and raised funds to purchase laptops for those who needed them, as well as grocery gift cards for students greatly effected by the pandemic.
Student services departments worked dili- gently and creatively to connect with students. Academic counselors communicated via phone, email, or virtual meetings to help students reg- ister for classes. The Tutoring Center provided virtual academic support. Counseling services offered virtual group sessions and other pro- grams to help students through these trying times. The Career Development and Experiential Learning Center worked remotely with students to help them obtain employment, with a focus on essential businesses.
Connecticut State Colleges and Universities implemented a new grading policy during the pandemic and thus NCC was able to give stu- dents the option to convert to Pass/Fail grading so as not to disrupt their GPA.
This pandemic-related support further supplements the great work we have done to help empower students along their journey to completing a degree or certificate, or transfer- ring to a four-year college or university.
Early in the fall, NCC launched myPATH, an exciting new initiative that provides unique support to students as they navigate their own journey. The PATH acronym stands for Plan Ahead, Access Resources, Think Critically, and Head Out Confidently. The initiative is made possible by a grant from the Title V Developing Hispanic-Serving Institutions Program funded by the U.S. Department of Education. A ribbon- cutting ceremony in October officially opened the newly renovated West Campus B-Wing, which displays colorful wall graphics represent- ing the steps of the myPATH initiative.
This year saw other examples of support, including an easier way to apply for financial aid with individual assistance for students. NCC also increased the number of work experi- ence programs built into the curriculum, and boosted ongoing support for Veterans, students with disabilities, and those who need academic and mental health counseling.
I would like to take this opportunity to high- light and commend our incredible students and graduates who stepped into heroic roles, work- ing in local stores and in healthcare facilities during the pandemic. One hundred percent of our 2019 Respiratory Care Program graduates were hired upon graduation and were already working in the healthcare industry. They put their education to immediate use, caring for COVID-19 patients in area hospitals. We are so very proud of them.
I am confident that Norwalk Community College will continue the tradition of excellence and bring high-quality education throughout these challenging times and into the future.
Thank you for your continued support. Sincerely,
Cheryl C. De Vonish, J.D.
Norwalk Community College Chief Executive Officer