April is community college month. Once again, Clinton Community College will be celebrating our many connections throughout the communities we serve. We invite you to celebrate with us and share your connections to Clinton Community College.

My connection with CCC began in March 1984. I was new to the Clinton community and looking for employment. I was offered a part-time position and began my work at the college thinking this would be a short-term stop for me. I marvel at how quickly 25 years have passed.

As I step back, I am amazed with the many changes I have seen during this time. We have added two new buildings, added technology, remodeled classroom space, remodeled service and student space, begun new programs, revised programs, adjusted teaching techniques and begun our on-line degree offerings. We have seen enrollment growth and an ever-changing student body. We created our Business and Industry Center to serve our industry partners, expanded continuing education offerings in the area and have worked to establish a Family Literacy Program for area residents.

We have reached out to our partners in the area school systems to offer students learning opportunities while still in high school. We have established articulation agreements and joint admission agreements with our four-year college and university partners.

Our faculty and staff have learned new processes, new technologies, new requirements and new techniques. We have seen some retirements of our faculty and staff and have added very talented new faculty and staff to our college community.

While we have experienced many changes, many things have not changed.

We remain committed to providing access to quality higher education and services at the lowest possible cost to our students. Our commitment to our students is as strong as ever.

I am proud of my connection to Clinton Community College. I am privileged to work with a faculty and staff who believe in their work.

I see a college community who is eager to serve, eager to learn and eager to help. I see a college community who has embraced the changes we have experienced and have worked to adapt to serve our students in the best possible manner. This is a college community who celebrates the successes of our students and is saddened when students do not succeed.

This is a community who is committed to the college and our students. There are no better student advocates than the faculty and staff at CCC. I cannot imagine working with a better group of people. I am amazed by their willingness to serve, thankful for their commitment and proud of their work.

Each and every day I watch as we work with people to assist them in reaching their goals. It may be a GED student wanting a new start, a new high school graduate wanting to begin their education close to home, a seasoned individual who has decided to return to school or a worker who is taking part in training through their employer. Our students come to CCC from many different places with varying experiences, goals, priorities and life stories. Our faculty and staff take our students as they come and work with them to help them succeed.

Each of us at CCC would agree that we value our connections with our students — our current students as well as past students. It is our contact with students that really keeps us going. We take great pride in our work with our students and great pride in their accomplishments.

We are able to create a unique connection that often times spans a number of years. There are many students who will return after completing their work at CCC to let us know how and what they are doing. We realize that our students put their faith and trust in us when they enroll at CCC and we take our role seriously. We know we are fortunate to be able to work with our students.

As a college, we are fortunate to be connected with many people in our community. Many of our adjunct faculty come from a variety of walks of life and assist in offering our students different perspectives. We are able to offer classes at a great variety of times and in some cases, offer more classes because of their connection to CCC.

We also enjoy the work and support of a variety of volunteers who work with us in our alumni and Paul B Sharar Foundation as well as volunteers on campus. We appreciate their gift of time many have provided us and their willingness to share their ideas with us.

There are also many who are connected to CCC through their contributions to student scholarships. Their connection touches our students’ lives and makes a difference to them for many, many years. We know the support of these groups helps to make us better and allows us to provide programs and services for our students.

Our connections have afforded us tremendous support from the communities we serve. We have been a part of the Clinton and Jackson county area since 1946 and have always appreciated the support we have received. This support has allowed us to grow and has allowed us to expand our services. Our latest growth opportunities are currently in process.

A new science addition to our Clinton building will provide a new space for science offerings for our students. We are excited about this wonderful new space and the possibilities that lie before us.

A new center in Maquoketa will allow us to expand our offerings in Jackson County. We look forward to opening both of these new facilities. Both projects are the result of a successful bond referendum in September 2007; we are well aware that these projects would not have been possible without a connection to and support of communities in the area.

Not too long ago I was representing the college at an event and had a very proud grandmother tell me about her grandson who would be graduating from the University of Iowa this spring. She shared that her grandson got his start at CCC. All of his credits transferred to the university, he was well prepared for his work there and he has done well at Iowa.

At the same event, another woman shared with me that her brother had been in our second graduating class and that he too had gotten a good start at CCC. While these two gentlemen are generations apart, their connection to CCC is the same — both were connected to the college by electing to start their education here.

They are a part of a long history of students who have become connected to Clinton Community College.

My 25-year connection to CCC has gone fast. This connection has offered me many opportunities, many lessons and many wonderful memories. I have been allowed to connect with many, many good people. It is a connection for which I will always cherish and one for which I am very proud.

As we celebrate Community College Month, I do hope you will celebrate with us and share your connection to Clinton Community College.

Karen Vickers is the president of Clinton Community College.

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