I have worked my entire career in higher education and as a result, I have very specific memories and expectations for certain months in the academic year. August is always the time when we celebrate the start of another academic year. This spirit of celebration is even more important right now as the pandemic continues to create some uncertainties and questions about this upcoming fall semester.
I would like to share how we have prepared for the start of this new school year. Waubonsee Community College employees started returning to our campuses in late July after working remotely since March. During those four months, we experienced much success in serving our students and our community as a virtual college and we also recognized that many of our programs and services are more effective when also offered in person. So, we have been working diligently to prepare the campuses, our students and employees for a phased return to campus.
We have implemented new health and safety protocols that include air quality, water quality, state-of-the-art cleaning and sanitizing, and student and employee virus screening guidelines. We have launched a “Wash Up, Mask Up and Measure Up” safety campaign.
In collaboration with our faculty, we developed the MyChoice Initiative, which includes five choices for students in how they take classes. These choices are Online, Scheduled Online, Face-to-Face, Hybrid, and Flex. In addition, we are offering student support and academic support services both virtually and in person.
We are also excited about our recently-renovated Plano Campus that is home to our new Innovation and Design Center. This campus will host our new Cybersecurity Program and our Welding Program.
Another enhancement for the fall semester is the newly-renovated Von Ohlen Hall. Home to most of our music, art and design classes, Von Ohlen Hall had not been updated for many years. Today, the classrooms, offices and public spaces inspire creativity and feature state-of-the-art technology.
So, I hope you will agree that good things are happening at Waubonsee Community College. I am excited about the start of this new academic year and I look forward to seeing our students, faculty and staff online and in-person.