SIDNEY — The year 2020 has proven challenging in most aspects of life, higher education included. In early 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Edison State Community College was faced with the challenge of continuing to provide the same quality education it had delivered for the last forty plus years through remote learning. The focus was placed on making sure students were able to succeed while also continuing to serve as a resource to the community.
As Edison State made many difficult decisions, student success remained at the forefront. Students were asked to upend everything they know about the traditional higher education learning experience and replace it with a non-traditional learning experience as they transitioned to an online-only distance-learning environment in just a few short days. Faculty and staff also overcame challenges and with much disappointment, gave up necessary in-person contact with students only to communicate through email, Blackboard, or conference calls. Events were either canceled altogether or modified to follow the State’s latest safety protocols.
Through it all, Edison State Community College celebrated success.
The Class of 2020 proved they had what it took to balance the many stresses of a pandemic while also completing their academic goals. Graduates had the opportunity to celebrate their success in a drive-through style diploma pick-up, complete with a presidential photo-op and a roll of toilet paper.
Another breakthrough occurred in Fall 2020 when Edison State was one of a few colleges nationwide to see an increase in enrollment. Years of faculty development, investments in online software and equipment, and online teaching and learning positioned the college for success during the COVID-19 pandemic. Edison State experienced an increase of 7.1-percent in overall headcount and an 11.7-percent in credit hours.
Edison State President Dr. Doreen Larson explained, “Our response to the COVID-19 pandemic did not require a complete and disruptive shift in teaching and learning. For us, the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated our trajectory towards our goal of 100-percent online program availability.”
Her report continues:
The college was also aware of the stress this challenge had placed on individual homes and communities. Graduating high school seniors were no exception as they faced uncertainty along with difficult decisions about their plans for starting college in the fall.
As part of its continued support and ongoing commitment to both students and the communities served, Edison State decided to expand its College Credit Plus (CCP) tuition scholarship offer to include a larger population of students. This expanded opportunity, unique in many ways, offered a 100-percent tuition scholarship for all graduating high school seniors in the Edison State service area and CCP partner high schools regardless of their level of participation in the CCP program.
Edison State historically reports a high level of successful student transfer to four-year universities. Within this environment of uncertainty, I am confident in the continuing strength of our transfer partnerships along with the unsurpassed teaching excellence that Edison State offers. This scholarship incentive was designed to promote the community college option to more high school graduates and their families.
The mission of Edison State is to provide comprehensive resources for educational achievement that align with the dreams and aspirations of our students. We did not want any high school graduate to set aside their dream of attending college, even for a short time.
While times continue to be uncertain and learning delivery methods may not be as rewarding, Edison State Community College is committed to being agile in unlikely scenarios such as these, still making it possible for students to work toward their goals and achieve their dreams–and that is considered a success.