Page 21 - BusinessWest April 28, 2021
P. 21

the same throughout the year, but the way we approached them adjusted as we needed to.” Some of the lessons learned led to positive
developments, said Kerry Cole, vice president for Admissions at AIC. For example, the college used to deliver its certificate of advanced graduate study (CAGS) programs for teachers at 11 physi- cal sites. Once the program was forced online by COVID, administrators began to hear from the
would enjoy this.” One example is online coun- seling services, which are now much more acces- sible to commuter students.
That doesn’t mean students don’t want to return to in-person learning, of course; for the most part, they certainly do. But they’ve handled an unusual year well, he said.
“I am amazed every day how well our students are doing with these protocols. You’ll always have
due to uncertainty about what the academic experience and college life would entail, but most area institutions see the application and enroll- ment numbers on the rise in 2021.
“Along with the rest of the community-college sector, we saw a decline over the past year, but that was an anomaly,” Jordan said. “In most recessions, community colleges do really well, but this was the reverse; this sector was the hard- est-hit. The reason is that low-income students and students of color have been unprecedent- edly hit by this pandemic, and those are our students.”
It’s especially important, then, for community colleges to offer a flexible model during these times, and that’s what GCC is aiming for, he added.
“We want to be sure we’re reaching students at home with kids, so those students can take classes online, and also opening the campus in such a way that students who need to be on cam- pus will get that in-person instruction. Having more flexible classroom options will invite more people back.”
Cole said AIC successfully implemented the plan it thought best for 2020-21, and will now expand upon that.
“We’re very excited about it,” she said, not-
ing that campus tours have begun again, and
the campus hosted its first in-person admissions event of the school year in mid-April. “Gradu-
ate students love virtual info sessions and open houses. Undergrads are a mixed bag, but gradu- ate students will take it all day. So we’ll likely keep
Continued on page 54
“The long and short of it is, we’re hopeful to have a more normal, on-the-ground campus experience for our students and families.”
the occasional mask below the nose, and that’s going to happen, usually because they have a mask that doesn’t fit them well. But we have not really had any issues with students giving people a hard time when they’re entering the din- ing commons to get food. We planned for that; we asked, ‘how are we going to deal with the student who shows up and flat-out refuses to wear a mask?’ But we have not had that happen.”
In fact, the worst incidents have been the occasional group of students who head to the mall and don’t wear masks
grad students that they loved it.
“So, beginning in the fall, we’re moving to a
virtual format throughout the state, where we’re able to deliver licensing programs in a virtual format for all the programs we offer,” Cole said. “That came directly from students. They wanted virtual — not online, but virtual, synchronous, so they can communicate with each other.
“We’re very, very excited about it,” she went on. “Our teachers now need more flexibility than ever. They’re rock stars, and we need to be able to support them.”
Scott agreed, noting that there were many instances where he and others said, “wow, we didn’t realize this would work, that students
in the car.
“They’re not supposed to do it, but there
are far worse things they could be doing and far worse ways they could be violating our pro- tocols,” Scott said. “We try not to have a heavy hand; we try to take an educational approach and make sure they understand the poten-
tial impact, the ripple effect those actions can have on the community. But we’ve been very impressed with the way our students have responded this year.”
Waiting for the Return
Enrollment dipped last year at many colleges
   The School of Education at American International College is now moving to a virtual learning format for all Master’s and CAGS programs. Become a successful educator with the guidance and exceptional support of AIC faculty and a community network of school leaders.
APRIL 28, 2021 21

   19   20   21   22   23