April is celebrated as Community College Month, and Spoon River College has normally celebrated with annual events and social gatherings for students, employees, and community members.
Unfortunately when COVID-19 walked in the door, normal walked out. When that happened, Spoon River College did what community colleges are known for doing. It adapted.
Faculty moved their classes online – a process more challenging than one might think – and services for students were also moved online, such as advising, testing, registration, orientation, tutoring, library services, and the computing help desk. The Bookstore offered curbside service and faculty arranged times for students who needed to be on campus to complete labs.
The SRC Foundation established an emergency hardship fund for students who had lost their income or had additional pandemic related expenses, and also purchased laptops that students could check-out. The Community Outreach offices continued to reach out, offering creative videos and learning opportunities via social media and Zoom.
Community colleges are known for certain advantages; they offer personalized attention from faculty who know the names of their students, and they’re a good value close to home and a place to get general education classes—the same ones required the first two years at a university at a much higher cost. They also offer a quicker road to employment through career and workforce education, both for those just entering the workforce and for those wanting or needing a new direction.
Community colleges are a place for those who aren’t sure what they want to do yet. Students often find their calling while attending a community college. It happens in a class, in a conversation with a teacher, in an extracurricular activity, when sometimes quite suddenly, something clicks and the future comes into focus.
Community colleges may not have the glitz and glamour found at big universities, but community colleges have heart and soul. Community colleges support and celebrate their students, leading them towards success. At Spoon River College, that success can be the achievement of a degree or certificate, completing the GED program, or gaining personal enrichment. Success comes in all sizes for students at a community college, and student success is the first priority.
When Canton Community College first began in the second-floor wing of Canton High School, the focus was on teaching and learning. Sixty plus years later, a lot has changed, including the name, but the focus on teaching and learning remains the same.
Spoon River College serves three educational purposes: to strengthen individual’s academic skills; to offer occupation specific education and training; and to prepare students for transfer to a four year college or university, all of which ultimately serve the community. Because that’s what community colleges do.
Our celebrations and events will look different for now, but we’re still standing strong, still celebrating, and still keeping student success as our number one priority.