My first semester as interim president of Mesa Community College is one none of us could have imagined. Our focused commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) allowed us to quickly respond to the social justice protests that swept the nation. Facilitated by professor Rod Golden, cultural sciences faculty member specializing in sociology and African American Studies, the MCC Social Justice/DEI Listening Sessions held June 8 and 11 offered the MCC community a chance to voice feelings, thoughts and suggest next steps to advance healing in our community.
Over the past year, the college Strategic Planning Committee developed MCC’s new Mission, Vision, and Values based on feedback from staff and faculty as well as students, alumni, community members, business partners, and others. The full statements are featured in this newsletter. The Mission, Vision and Values represent MCC’s collective aspirations, and I am excited for how they will inform and guide our work.
We are also navigating through the new realities associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. I am so proud of the extraordinary efforts of MCC staff and faculty who joined together creating innovative ways to help our students through their academic and personal challenges. Due to the need to close our physical facilities in March, MCC quickly transitioned to remote learning and services.
Here are a few of the amazing accomplishments that gave our students an opportunity to successfully complete the spring 2020 semester:
More than 1,860 in-person/hybrid sections transformed to remote teaching formats by 791 instructors. More than 14,600 students transitioned to remote formats.
MCC Information Technology (IT) staff prepared 456 laptops and 50 iPads so students had the technology they needed. Specially formatted and sanitized devices were distributed to students using a “drive thru” process in which I enjoyed participating.
MCC employees donned masks and gloves to distribute loaner laptops and iPads to students.
MCC Nursing and Life Science departments donated more than 416 items to Banner Baywood Hospital and the Scottsdale Community College and Chandler-Gilbert Community College Police Departments.
The power of philanthropy made it possible to provide MCC students with emergency assistance to meet basic needs, usually within one day of receiving their request. So many students are food insecure and housing challenged, especially now due to the coronavirus. I invite you to help them pursue their dreams by contributing to the MCC Greatest Need Unrestricted Fund, available at mesacc.edu/development.
I feel so much gratitude for the extraordinary work of faculty and staff as well as pride in congratulating the success of 2,645 students who collectively earned more than 4,689 degrees and certificates during the unprecedented 2019-2020 academic year. Sadly we were not able to host our traditional May graduation but a tribute is being hosted on the MCC website and a commencement ceremony is being planned for December.
All summer classes are being offered online. The fall schedule has a mix of online, hybrid, and in-person, on-campus classes. Depending on COVID status in the state of Arizona, to ensure health and safety, we may need to move to remote in accordance with current federal and state guidelines.
As we return to our new normal, I encourage you to reach out to find the many ways you can contribute to student success. Our Mesa Market will be more important than ever for students with food insecurities and Career Services always needs clothing for job-seeking interviews and professional attire at work.
Once a Thunderbird, Always a Thunderbird!
Lori M. Berquam, Ph.D.
Interim President Mesa Community College