Middlesex Community College Assesses the Present and Looks to the Future

Leaders of Middlesex Community College are pleased with the rapid transition to remote learning in response to the pandemic.

They also have one eye on the calendar as they prepare to advocate for sufficient state support during the coming academic year.

“At our campuses in Bedford and Lowell, we have seen the college move almost entirely to remote teaching and learning along with remotely managed support services,” wrote President James C. Mabry in an opinion piece a few days ago. “We have quickly adapted new technology tools and methods that allow us to stay connected with our students and help them stay engaged with key faculty and staff members.”

“We are planning to keep the college in remote mode until the end of the semester and are currently assessing our summer programs,” he wrote. “We will celebrate our graduates with a virtual graduation ceremony on May 21.”

Mabry said that as the state develops higher education recovery plans, the community college system should be “recognized for the critical role we play serving students of all ages and backgrounds… We will do everything we can to ensure that we are well-positioned to help provide the skilled workforce to power the economy.”

He pointed out that “many of the workers now serving at the front lines are alumni of our community colleges. Critical fields such as nursing, criminal justice, advanced manufacturing, and health care professionals are populated with hundreds of our best students.”

The president stressed that the college adjusted to the challenges posed by the virus-induced shutdown speedily and creatively.

He applauded faculty members for adjusting quickly to “new technologies and methods of teaching,” and added that they are also “helping one another to effectively teach in remote formats.” The tools include not only techniques for remote teaching but also advising and support systems and o virtual small- and large-group meetings.

College leadership is paying special attention to the wide-ranging needs, including unexpected emergencies, of its student population. ChromeBook laptops were distributed or delivered to students who needed them, and wireless hotspots were identified for students lacking internet connectivity. Some students have been given emergency funds to subscribe to internet services.

“Faculty are actively working with Student Affairs staff to contact students who may be struggling or have expressed that they have issues hindering their learning,” President Mabry wrote.

He noted that “many of our students have lost their jobs and access to critically important social services. This pandemic has left many of our students without a steady income and wondering if they will be able to purchase groceries and pay their housing costs. We continue to safely provide students with access to the services of our food pantries on both campuses.”

The Middlesex Community College Foundation established the Student Emergency Appeal to support students who are directly affected.


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