Did you know spending two years at QCC then transferring to a four-year college or university can save you a boatload of money? It’s true… tons of money. More and more students are finding one of the best ways to get a bachelor’s degree is by attending a community college, then transferring to a four-year college or university. Community college is one of the most affordable ways to get a higher education. Tuition and fees are the lowest around, plus there are no room and board costs to incur. To sweeten the pot a bit more, attend a community college like QCC and earn your associate degree then transfer to a four-year school and you can earn two degrees for the price of one! Sound good?
Quinsigamond Community College has begun a new chapter in Southbridge with Southbridge Public Schools. Our Southbridge location moved from Optical Drive to a much larger space within Southbridge Middle High School. The strengthened partnership will allow us to become more embedded in the community and bring new possibilities to high school students.
Wednesday mornings mean food at QCC… and lots of it. That’s when Bonnie Coleman,Terry Vecchio, and the amazing Facilities staff head over to the Worcester County Food Bank to pick up (literally) 2000 pounds of food. Week after week they show up and have one hour to load all 2000 pounds onto a conveyor belt, weigh it and load the van. Once the van is full, they bring their catch back to campus to get it ready for students in need.
On a typical day, the PTK Honor Society at QCC office is bustling with students. The door is always open to current, former and prospective members; there is always someone there to hear you out and guide you in the right direction. But as the pandemic hit, the advisors and officers of Phi Theta Kappa had to re-think all the ways students are supported in our local chapter and they didn’t miss a beat. Before you knew it there were a series of remote engagement activities and new ways to connect with students in order to provide a sense of normalcy, involvement, leadership, scholarship support, and fellowship- everything our chapter and QCC strives for on a daily basis, pandemic or not.
It’s time to get motivated, set some new goals and have the coffee pot on standby for the late night study sessions because back to school is here again. Sounds easy, right? We know starting college for the first time, or coming back after a long time (or even a summer break), can be challenging. But starting a new semester in college during unprecedented times like these – well, you may have to dig a little deeper.
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.
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.
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.
QCC's President Luis G. Pedraja, Ph.D., released a strong statement denouncing the recent guidelines by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) that will force international students to leave the U.S. or transfer to another college if their college or university offers classes entirely online this fall. According to the guidelines, international students will not be issued new visas for those colleges and universities that are offering all programs completely online.
“The new guidelines are a direct violation of our students’ human rights. Our international students should not be subjected to such blatant discrimination. The decision of colleges and universities to continue with remote instruction this fall is for the health and safety of all students; not a chosen few,” said President Pedraja. “Our international students are an integral and valued part of our higher education system. They expand our students’ and our campuses horizons by opening them up to worldwide perspectives, which is so important in today’s global economy. Additionally, they typically pay out-of-state tuition, and do not receive financial aid. International students free up much needed resources, to allow the under-served and underrepresented members of our community the ability to access higher education. To put this type of pressure on international students and institutions of higher education is reprehensible.”
QCC has chosen to continue with remote instruction this fall, with a limited number of labs and clinical experiences that require direct hands-on participation offered in-person. The decision was made by the college to ensure the health and safety of students, faculty, staff and the community.
“No one should have to choose between pursuing an education or deportation. Forcing students to choose between education and their health is unfathomable. In this current scenario, if there is a surge in the virus and in-person classes are moved to remote instruction, what are these students supposed to do?,” President Pedraja said. “We must all stand together to support our international students and decry this vicious attack on individuals trying to realize their ‘American Dream.’”
Zuheyry Encarnacion has found her secret weapon, her motivation and her self confidence. Since she started criminal justice classes at Quinsigamond Community College, she's has had the support and guidance of a special woman - Dr. Natalie Anumba, a forensic psychologist and assistant professor at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. It could have been fate, it could have