Exactly one year ago this week we found ourselves coming back from spring break to a new way of life here at Tallahassee Community College and around the world. We made the decision only days before to move to a remote learning and working environment due to the growing threat of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our IT and facilities staff worked through the break to pivot the College quickly and with minimal interruption. Many of our faculty, staff and administrators moved into the new normal of doing their jobs from kitchen tables and spare bedrooms, as they would continue to do for the next few months. Still others, our essential personnel, remained here on campus to keep it running smoothly.
It was an incredibly challenging time, but due to the dedication and resiliency of our faculty and staff, it was an amazing and proud moment.
This pandemic represents the greatest disruption in the history of education. Every one of our business processes was impacted. We lost the valuable face-to-face interactivity we had taken for granted in meetings and classrooms. And, more alarmingly, like many other educational institutions, early on we saw that a purely online mode of learning would not be enough to meet the needs of our students. At TCC, we created TCC LIVE, a new synchronous format, and began shifting support services from optional to embedded in classrooms in order to reach those who needed them most. Most importantly, we convened a task force, reStart reImagine, to help us create a roadmap to not only a ‘new normal’ but to begin envisioning how we wanted to position ourselves for life after COVID-19.
Now, a year later, I’m proud to say that our College ranked as one of the ten finalists for the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, successfully launched Workday Student, defied national trends of sharply declining enrollments, helped thousands of students impacted by the pandemic with emergency aid grants including those who were facing eviction from their homes, saw an historic 8% increase in annual student success states, and all the while we’ve had no known cases of transmission of coronavirus between employees and students on campus. And that’s just a few of our many accomplishments over the past year.
To learn more about where we are at, please feel free to view Vice President Kim Moore’s “reImagine” presentation on behalf of the College to the District Board of Trustees here.
TCC is a place of grit and determination. I know we’ve all struggled through this period of change and uncertainty. There is, as always, room for improvement. But I am proud of where we are and what we’ve accomplished despite much adversity. As Vice President Moore said it best, we are doing so much great work because of the pandemic, but not for the pandemic. The future looks bright.