The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

April 14, 2014

Retiring CCC instructors praise college's growth, direction

The Clinton Herald

---- — After more than 35 years of service to Clinton Community College, we would like to offer some pre-retirement observations about the college: its past, its present and its future.

When we arrived at the college in 1976, it had already been transformed from a junior college located in Clinton High School to a comprehensive community college, serving the higher education needs of students of all ages in Clinton and the surrounding area.

We have had the privilege of working with thousands of CCC students. We take pride in thinking that we may have contributed in a small way to each of their successes. Often balancing many different roles in their lives, Clinton Community College students have still been ready to learn, appreciative of this opportunity and eager to prove to their future employers the value of their education.

Former students now work as dentists, chemists, police officers, electronics and drafting technicians, teachers, college instructors, librarians, veterinarians, administrative office assistants and as skilled workers in many other careers. Their efforts at Clinton Community College led them to become valued employees, fulfilled individuals and community leaders. It has been truly a pleasure to work with students with a large diversity of age, ethnicity and background. Clinton Community College remains a higher education institution that welcomes many different types of students. We would like to thank these former students for their role in enriching our lives.

One of the things that we will miss the most is our daily interaction with our colleagues at the college. Over the decades we have been inspired by the caring attitudes and academic expertise demonstrated by Clinton Community College faculty. From those who started in the early years to those who have recently been hired, we have observed dedication to students that is unequaled. Faculty members have been flexible enough to prepare meaningful lessons for students with many different levels of preparedness.

Faculty members have been committed to working with students individually or in small groups for extra study. We also appreciate the administrators with whom we have worked over the years. They have shown leadership in listening to the ideas of faculty members and ensuring that we have facilities and supplies with which to teach. Our administration has provided stability to the college so that the faculty members have been able to concentrate on teaching, and students have been able to concentrate on learning.

CCC faculty and staff have also been leaders within Eastern Iowa Community Colleges, consisting of Clinton, Scott and Muscatine colleges. These collaborative activities have involved efforts to help our students become more self-reliant learners; we all have goals of being life-long learners. In addition, an effort has recently begun to work with employees throughout EICC to build on a solid past to strengthen our Culture of High Aspirations and High Expectations. The districtwide committee is encouraging all associated with the Eastern Iowa Community Colleges to understand our joint identity as an Engaged, Inspired, Committed Community. Thank you, colleagues, for a great collaborative effort.

Part of the job of the faculty of any institution is to ensure that the curricula are current, relevant and appropriate. Outside accrediting agencies such as the Iowa Department of Education and the Higher Learning Commission examine our curricula very closely. We are grateful for the support the college has given us for travel to conferences and even other countries to enrich curricula. We and the rest of the faculty bring back information from these experiences to be shared in our classrooms, with our colleagues and with the community. We keep our curricula current through work with counterparts at the other campuses of Eastern Iowa Community Colleges. We recently completed a project to re-examine our General Education Curriculum. This was a major effort involving instructors and administrators in all subject areas and at all three colleges, Clinton, Scott and Muscatine. The General Education Curriculum ensures that all students have a broad background in areas such as communication, humanities, social science and science as well as in their major field of study. We are grateful for the opportunity to have been participants in this effort.

The citizens of Clinton and Jackson counties also deserve thanks. Because of their support financially and their participation in classes and workshops, Clinton Community College has been able to serve many more people. Our new science addition of 2010 is an example of a specific update in facilities that benefits our students. Lab sessions can be integrated into regular lecture times, reinforcing the concepts being learned. Collaborative learning also is encouraged with the new classroom structure. Tuition costs remain relatively low thanks to state and local support. The possibility of local higher education benefits all of us in Iowa, improving work skills and developing a better educated citizenry in general.

We will be retiring from CCC with confidence that the college will continue to play a major role in the education of the citizens of the area. It will continue to play a greater role in distance learning to people in the global community through our online courses. It will also continue to play a major role in allowing high school students to take college courses for which they are qualified. Through the leadership and work of the faculty, administration and staff the future looks bright for CCC. Community College Month gives us reason to celebrate the wonders and accomplishments of an innovative approach toward higher education. Congratulations and thank you to all who have been a part of serving our communities through enhancing the lives of so many. We leave you with our best wishes for the future.

John and Martha Bonte,