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Moving Forward at CCC

Even during this challenging period in our lives, Coconino Community College is making amazing things happen in Coconino County.

The semester is off to a great start, and even though enrollment may not be quite where it was before, faculty and staff across the entire district are working hard to help the semester be a great experience for our students.

This year, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we at CCC have chosen remote delivery methods for most of our courses, in the interest of the health and safety of our students, faculty, staff and community. Going to remote delivery was a difficult decision, because all of us, especially our faculty, want to have that personal contact with our students, and some of our students would absolutely prefer to learn that way. Not everyone realizes that teaching and interacting through a virtual format require countless hours of preparation and considerable time responding to students.

The good news is that our college community is demonstrating incredible resilience in this unprecedented time. Our motto for the semester is “Be Stellar, Be Safe.” We continue to do everything we can to help encourage people to follow guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And staff at Coconino County Health and Human Services has spent considerable time answering our questions on how we can make it as safe as possible at all our locations.

The students are moving forward. The CCC faculty are moving forward. Our employees and volunteers are moving forward.

I have discovered that our success lies in the teamwork taking place across the college through a virtual format, along with a new problem-solving perspective brought about by this pandemic. We cannot do things the way we have always done them, because so many things in our world are different and changing daily. In a time of great need in our country, many of our students are focusing on service to others. Credit hours or programs in fields such as Allied Health Sciences, Fire Science, Administration of Justice and Early Childhood Education have grown. Yes, we are moving forward because of our resilience, and that is CCC.

The District Governing Board members (elected officials from across the county who volunteer their time) have laid out some inspiring goals for the future of our college. These goals and college priorities can be found in the college’s new Strategic Plan that is on track to be approved by the District Governing Board. More than 80 participants from across the college and communities throughout the county helped craft the exciting and innovative priorities for the college that include, among others: student success, progressive business processes, being flexible and responsive to the communities we serve, strategic partnerships, and sustainability through responsible stewardship of economic, public and environmental resources.

For some time, the board members have asked for new and different ideas and processes to be developed so that the college can respond to the needs of our tax-paying communities. They just voted at a recent public meeting to authorize the college administration to seek proposals from private developers to design, build and operate undergraduate student housing at the CCC center in Page as part of a Public-Private Partnership. This type of partnership arrangement is used throughout the United States to develop facilities on college campuses that would be beneficial for students, the college and all partners involved. This particular public-private partnership model would require the developers to finance and maintain a student housing complex that would also include rental possibilities for the local workforce in Page.

Finally, the CCC Foundation, which is led by a very active board of directors, has developed ambitious initiatives in the areas of fundraising, alumni relations and community engagement. The CCC Foundation Annual Meeting and Scholarship Breakfast, which has traditionally been an in-person event held in September, this year will be a virtual event at 9 a.m., Friday, Oct. 23. The goal of the event is to raise funds for students in need and for scholarships. Please save this date and time to support CCC students. Additional details are coming soon. For more information, email foundation@coconino.edu.

All I can say is – what an exciting time to be at CCC with the District Governing Board setting the stage for a bright future.

Be stellar, Be safe! FBN

By Colleen Smith

Colleen Smith is the president of Coconino Community College.

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