By Cindy Miller, director, Columbia College Region C2 and Kansas City

In reflecting on this past year, it is safe to say that none of us could ever have predicted how much our lives would change. Restrictions are slowly easing as more folks are getting vaccinated. What seemed at first to be a journey through a completely dark tunnel has in reality become an opportunity for us to find and focus on the light.

For students pursuing a degree with Columbia College, this light shone brightly in our academic programs. We witnessed an enhancement in class delivery options which increased convenience and allowed students to remain engaged and in touch even while staying at home. Our online course platform and e-textbook access allowed for easier sharing of concepts, more classroom collaboration, and deeper conversations in discussion boards.

Students who have different learning styles were able to participate and engage in many ways. Those who have not typically felt comfortable sharing verbally in an in-person setting were able to share synchronously in the chat/text functions in class and asynchronously in posts in the class shell. Provision of accommodations for students who require them has been seamless.

Faculty explored new ways of touching students’ minds and reimagined different ways to assess outcomes of learning. Paper and pencil tests are becoming a thing of the past. Together, we learned and mastered the art of online conferencing. This new skill is valuable and easily translates to multiple working environments. As a result, when the pandemic is a memory, faculty and students will not be done with remote learning – they have fully embraced it and they want more!

The pandemic has engendered change in our personal lives as well. During virtual class sessions, windows were literally opened into each of our lives. We saw and shared our homes, pets, and even children on the screen with fellow classmates. Interaction in classrooms and our work environments became less formal and more personal.

Over the last year, there was a fundamental recognition of what really matters and what does not – we learned that kindness and sensitivity are qualities we share with our colleagues. The rarity of time spent with people outside our core family group made us not only more agile and flexible, but more compassionate. This is not new. Our Kansas City students have always achieved success despite insurmountable odds – job and income loss, divorce, demanding family obligations and many other trials. We are happy to have been a part of your success in getting through the challenge of this last year. As time passes, the pandemic will become a memory, and ten years down the road we may forget many of the difficulties we faced in the last several months. But we won’t forget the how we got through it together – it was a dark time for many, but light shines brightest in the darkest places. We are CC! Also, don’t forget to read the rest of the articles in this month’s newsletter in the column on the right!

Congratulations to our dean’s list honorees!
We are proud to honor the Kansas City members of the Spring 2021 dean’s list! A student must have completed 12 semester hours in a 16-week period and achieved a minimum GPA of 3.5 on a 4.0-point scale. See the list