What now? Pack up and hit the road or wait for a decision? Or a decision to be reversed? Or change course completely and go fully remote. Over a dozen colleges right here in MA have switched their plans, decided not to let students back on campus or in the dorms. It’s time to take a good hard look at what you want out of college, what you chose, why you chose it and if it still ‘looks’ the way you envisioned and still makes sense. And especially if it still makes sense financially. College is a big decision during normal times and the pressure of a pandemic adds even more weight.
For most of us, this is our first experience with a pandemic, social distancing, quarantine and isolation. That’s a lot for people to take in, especially in the beginning when the weather had us cooped up inside our homes staying warm and dry. As the Director of QCC’s mentoring program it was certainly an adjustment for me, as well as the participants on both sides. We had to find new ways to communicate, keep in touch and keep that personal connection we worked so hard to build. Matching mentors and mentees takes getting to know people and building the relationship once we make the match takes time and effort as well. So, like so many others, we turned to Zoom, Facetime, phones, iPads, laptops and whatever else was necessary to keep our momentum.
“Sometimes, carrying on, just carrying on, is the superhuman achievement.”
-Albert Camus, The Fall.
We have all been inundated recently with new terms, phrases and rules of interaction as we quarantine and slowly reintegrate activities we previously may have taken for granted. As we acclimate to the current situation and try to form new habits (remembering your mask), we also must look at our new ways of doing things with ever-changing rules often have a learning curve. Until then, we continue to figure it out as we go along. One big change has been higher education and how classes are now being delivered.
Writing in an age of pandemics, topics abound. Whether it is trying to offer a word of encouragement, looking towards the future, or tackling challenges, the options abound. Finding the words, however, can be a bit harder. In the past months, I’ve shared with you some of my experiences, celebrated our accomplishments, and tried to address topics relevant to this moment, such as racism, equity, strategic planning, critical thinking, and leadership. With the pandemic continuing to rage havoc, the uncertainty of economic recovery, the continuing struggle against racism, and a growing equity gap, it is hard to imagine the future. Sometimes it seems we are living a bad version of the movie “Ground Hog Day.” For the next few weeks, I hope to offer some insights rooted in my life journey that I hope are relevant to our lives in this age of pandemics and might help us navigate these difficult days.
It is hard to believe that it has been three years since I joined the QCC family. It seems like it was just yesterday that we embarked on our joint journey. As I prepared to assume the presidency, I sought advice from experienced presidents. In their advice, common themes emerged: seek the advice of experts and listen to them; surround yourself with capable people and empower them to get the job done; live with integrity and humility; be visible and accessible; be fair and consistent; when possible seek input, data, and make informed decisions in a timely manner; be respectful; take
criticism gracefully; do what you believe is right for the college and the people it serves; give credit to others when things go right, take responsibility when they don’t; be courageous; etc. But the most important lesson I learned is that leadership is about serving others, not yourself. I do not know if I’ve always been able to live to these ideals, but I will always strive to do so. Throughout the years in various roles, I have learned that while a position might give you authority, respect and trust has to be earned. I hope to continue to earn yours.
Dear college students, high school seniors, parents and guardians,
"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it."—Aristotle
Under the direction and oversight of Dr. Kathy Rentsch, Associate Vice President for Strategic Academic and Workforce Initiatives, as well as the Academic Affairs team, we are pleased to announce that we have executed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Southbridge Public Schools. QCC Southbridge will be moving from 5 Optical Drive to Southbridge High School, 132 Torrey Road later this Summer.
As we acclimate to the changes that have occurred due to the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic, our current and former students and alumni are adapting as well. They are working around the clock to protect our communities as first responders, respiratory therapists, nurses, mental health workers, social service workers, custodial workers, delivery drivers, grocery store and restaurant workers who are keeping essential services running. They have the ability to jump right and and save lives with confidence because of the education they received from their talented, experienced professors.