NCC Learns and Adapts During the Pandemic
Nearly one year into the COVID-19 pandemic, faculty and staff at Nash Community College have learned and grown together while continuing to educate the local workforce despite many unknowns and obstacles.
In March 2020, NCC adjusted campus operations and transitioned 90 percent of NCC’s in-person courses, in part or in whole, to the online learning format. “We never closed,” NCC President Dr. Lew Hunnicutt said. “During spring break, we assessed what the future of instructional delivery would look like and we implemented continuity plans with student success and safety as our priorities. We have had a remarkable response from students and employees throughout the transition of instruction and services to a remote format.”
Emergency medical services, law enforcement, fire, healthcare and other programs deemed essential in the response to the pandemic were among the programs that continued to meet on campus with strict safety protocols in place. “Our content required face-to-face course sessions for skills assessments and mastery,” Emergency Management Services Department Chair Olivia Moss said. “The students attended clinicals in the hospital and in our high fidelity simulation laboratories.” The increased demand for essential employees due to the pandemic resulted in enrollment increases in first responder programs.
In the summer, a mix of on-campus, online, virtual and hybrid offerings continued with Cosmetology, Electric Line and other programs returning to campus. Approximately 85 percent of students remained online.
On-campus offerings increased slightly in the fall semester with approximately 20 percent of students returning to campus.
Instructors continue to find new and innovative ways to approach lessons that historically have been done in-person.
This semester, about 80 percent of students are learning online and approximately half of the employees are back on NCC’s campus, working diligently to provide a productive academic experience and support services.
Extra measures are in place to ensure instructional support and accessibility for students who have not returned to campus just yet.
However, NCC’s challenges are no different from what others face around the country as families and students have had to adjust to working and learning from home.
“I use a phrase often that defines Nash Community College for me and it is Nighthawks Forward. I use it very often these days as it truly defines NCC…whether you are a faculty or staff member, or a student…we progress, we move forward, we succeed,” Hunnicutt said.
Dr. Hunnicutt said the spring semester is moving along smoothly with a student headcount consistent with spring 2020. In May, faculty, staff and most especially students will celebrate with an outdoor, socially-distanced graduation ceremony modeled after the October 2020 graduation event.