Making a Difference for Students

Published Tuesday, April 21, 2020 at 10:59am

Dear Alumni and Community Friends,

I am reaching out with hope that you are well and keeping yourself and those you love safe.

We at MCC are united in robust efforts to continue to provide our students a quality education while keeping our campus community healthy in the midst of the coronavirus threat. I have been so inspired by the dedication, courage and innovative spirit of our MCC team.

After an extended spring break, on April 6 classes that had been on campus or in a hybrid format were transitioned to online or remote learning formats. Faculty and staff came together with tireless assistance from our Center for Teaching and Learning team to achieve a robust remote learning environment. Knowing that learning remotely is brand new to some of our students, we reached out to make certain they felt comfortable they could succeed and had the computers for course participation.

At times working through the night, MCC IT staff prepared 456 laptops and 50 iPads, sharing 51 with one of our sister colleges, to ensure students had the technology they needed. Prepping required collection of devices from all across our campuses, sanitizing the system, creating a specialized software image with instructions for students, and packaging the system in a sanitized bag.

When students arrived to pick up their assigned device, staff used a touchless system to photograph the student’s ID, license plate, and computer barcode before placing the device in the trunk of the student's vehicle. Here are some of our amazing laptop distribution teams in action.

The MCC free, vital services such as tutoring, advising and counseling are still available via chat, email and phone and can be found on the Remote/Online Student Services web page. Staff in student service units, counselors, Disability Resources Services, and advisors are working with students on a daily and sometimes hourly basis, making sure our learners have what they need to thrive while coping with COVID-19.

Always proud of our role as a partner in our community, we were honored to donate medical protective gear to Banner Baywood and Phoenix Children’s Hospital to help health care workers on the frontlines, many of whom are former Thunderbirds.

As we struggle to cope with our new “normal,” I urge you to take extra special care of yourself. Here are some brief videos I’ve created for faculty and staff at MCC that may inspire you, too. Join me on a Mesa Mile, find some ways to be active outside safely and explore some indoor activities to bring wellness into your day.

Another way to lift your spirit is to take actions that can make a positive difference in these turbulent times. I invite you to join me in making a gift to the MCC Student Financial Emergency Assistance Fund. This fund assists students in crisis for things like food, living expenses and internet access so they can continue to pursue their educational goals. Your support provides vital relief to our most financially vulnerable students, at a time they need it most. A gift of any size matters. Through the Maricopa Community Colleges Foundation you can make your gift here and select the option you would like to support, then designate MCC. These are extraordinary times for MCC and for the world. Together, we can and will make a difference in the lives of our students and their families.

Although classes will remain in online and remote formats throughout the summer, staff and faculty are scheduled to return to campus May 11, depending on health experts and government guidelines.

Be strong and be caring!

Lori M. Berquam, Ph.D.
Interim President
Mesa Community College