At Northeast Community College, students, faculty, and staff displayed their strength and tenacity as they successfully navigated a quick move to remote learning and remote work in late March due to the COVID-19 situation. We demonstrated our ability to respond quickly and continue to serve our students and our region.
Many of the 125 full-time faculty and several part-time instructors taught remotely from off-campus, while several others met with their students from their offices on-campus. While abiding with social distancing measures, faculty members worked diligently to ensure their students’ educational needs were still intact.
This truly showcases the innovation and adaptability of our faculty as they converted their course content to online delivery so that quality instruction continued to be their top priority. Also, instructors engaged with their students on a more personal level as a group and incorporated the important element of human interaction in the learning process.
In addition to teaching in alternative delivery formats, Northeast Community College worked with employers to place our students in positions prior to the end of the semester. In addition, instructors spent a considerable amount of time producing a countless number of face shields for healthcare workers in area counties while staff members have sewn fabric facemasks.
We expect the uncertainty to continue. Northeast Community College is planning for a unique fall semester providing a combination of remote learning, on-line courses, and smaller on-campus labs. Classes will begin a week earlier in August in order to end the semester by Thanksgiving. The adjusted schedule is designed to ensure the delivery of a quality educational experience for Northeast students while reducing the risk of any health hazards associated with COVID-19 due to travel. Our faculty will be working through the summer to ensure each of their courses meet our standards of academic excellence even though they may not be presented in their preferred format.
Nebraska community colleges are affordable and have standards for teaching, instruction, and service. They are uniquely situated and statutorily obligated as outlined in Nebraska legislative tenets. Our institutions are “student-centered, open-access institutions primarily devoted to quality instruction and public service” backed by four legislative educational priorities - applied technology and occupational education; transfer education, public service, including continuing education; economic and community development, business and industry training, and personal development; and applied research.
Northeast Community College has learned so much as it prepares for its next normal. Our institution will be ready to train our workforce to address the needs of our region – broadband access; additive manufacturing to support the supply-chain gaps that have become so evident during the pandemic; cyber security and information technology priorities; agriculture technology – again the supply-chain gaps in meat production, regenerative practices, and precision agriculture; and the intersection of energy and agriculture.
We will continue to approach our work with a mission-driven focus connecting with our partners in healthcare, agriculture, energy, cyber security, information technology and education to educate the workforce and prepare traditional-aged students for our next normal.
Northeast Community College can trace its roots back to the early 20th century in the establishment of Norfolk Junior College. Now nearly a century later, our institution has thrived by adapting to societal changes in meeting the educational and workforce needs of our constituents. With an ever-changing world that is happening right before our eyes, I am convinced the work of Northeast Community College and the other Nebraska community colleges will be a critical component to help train and retrain millions of people to reopen America.
Steve Anderson, Chairperson
Northeast Community College Board of Governors