A Message from President Glickman
May 13, 2020
Dear Community Partner:
We are all painfully aware that the COVID-19 shutdown has impacted our region in ways that we never could have imagined. Brockton, home to our main campus, has been particularly hard hit.
Although we did our best to stay on campus for as long as it was safe to do so, by March 12, we sent our students home. A thriving college environment depends on students – they are the lifeblood of our institution, and our campuses have not been the same without them. Simply put: we miss them.
Since that day in March, however, we have been singularly focused on one thing: ensuring continuity of instruction for those students. This has meant a shift to online or remote instruction for nearly 1,000 spring semester courses. As a designated essential entity, we have spent the last two months transitioning and teaching remotely and our campus remains accessible to faculty and staff to support our students.
We are fortunate to have experience with distance learning and an incredible team to support faculty and staff in training and technology. Our faculty have worked tirelessly, our students have been adaptable and flexible, and our staff have made sure that our students have access to what they need to continue their educations. To date, we have called more than 3,000 students to check-in with them, to ask how they’re doing and how we can help. Some have lost jobs, are working more hours, or are trying to home school their children while juggling their own courses. Some have personally dealt with the virus, had family members test positive, and others have lost loved ones. Yet they have persisted in their coursework. Some of our students have even gone into the workforce early, with our nursing and respiratory care students going to work on the front lines.
Many of our students are uniquely dependent on our institution – we may not operate dorms, but our food pantry, computer labs, libraries, and a range of other individual supports mean that our students are less likely to fall through the cracks and more likely to finish their degrees. In the absence of these in-person supports, the solutions our community have developed have been nothing short of miraculous.
Massasoit has done what it’s needed to do to ensure our students have what they need – educationally and otherwise. We’ve distributed laptops and hotspots and mailed out grocery gift cards in lieu of our in-person food pantry. In April alone, our Foundation gave out over $10,000 in need-based aid. And we have so far distributed over $1 million in CARES Act funding to students. I am so proud of Massasoit over the last several weeks and I’m grateful for our partners who help financially support our students with the greatest need.
Community colleges hold a unique place in any community. Accessible, affordable, and nearby, each year we educate, train, and support thousands of students from 35 cities and towns in southeastern Massachusetts – students who are the first in their families to go to college, who returned to college after time away, or who may be seeking their own path in life. We are deeply proud to be a part of the communities we serve. Community colleges are ready and able to provide for the workforce needs of our region. We just need to ensure that state funding, which we know is spread very thin, remains at least stable. We believe that Massasoit will be an important component to economic recovery for the Commonwealth and particularly for the South Shore.
When you are ready, we’ll be ready – to help bring your business back to where it was, and to get your employees back to work with either new or enhanced skills for your business.
We have announced that this year’s commencement ceremony will be held in December. While we did contemplate a virtual ceremony, our students have worked too hard not have the opportunity to walk across the stage in a cap and gown to receive their diploma. The Class of 2020 will be unlike any other in the history of Massasoit Community College – but we are committed to ensuring that we properly honor their accomplishments.
While our summer semesters will all be online, we look forward to bringing students back on campus as soon as it is safe to do so – many need to finish the hands-on component of their courses. We’ll be making a decision by July, if not sooner, about the fall re-opening with guidance from the Commonwealth and the CDC.
I will continue to update the community periodically. Please always feel free to reach out by email with questions or comments – I look forward to hearing from you.
Gena Glickman, Ph.D.
Massasoit Community College