April is Community College Month and Clinton Community College will be celebrating throughout the month.
Once again our theme for the month is our connections —connections to our students, our alumni, our faculty and staff, and our local communities. We know that each of these groups has enriched our college and we are thankful for the connections we have developed throughout the years. I invite you to celebrate with us! There will be a variety of activities on campus to mark the month — I hope you will consider joining us.
This year is a very special year for us as we will be preparing for our 65th commencement exercises. Sixty-five years of graduates. Sixty-five years of assisting students to reach their goals. Sixty-five years of connections between our students and staff and our college and the communities we serve. We are proud of our history and our many connections and are very humbled to be able to serve this area.
Over the last 65 years many things have changed. We have grown as a college. Our enrollments have increased and we have expanded our facilities. We have worked to improve opportunities for our students. We have worked to expand our curriculum and the technology used in our teaching. We have become more mature as a college and have established many partnerships with four-year colleges and employers to assist our students as they complete with us.
However, there are many things that have not changed since our first graduating class 65 years ago. CCC’s commitment to access, quality and affordability remain important values for us today. We continue to be committed to providing quality higher education opportunities to our communities.
The expansion of our facilities has provided access to our residents in both Clinton and Jackson counties. A curriculum that prepares students for either transferring to a four-year college or university or preparing them for the workforce allows our students to stay close to home while continuing their education. Training in our local industries assists businesses to maintain a qualified workforce without having to leave the community. And, our Adult Basic Education programming provides individuals the foundational skills needed to begin their education.
A focus on quality has been a part of everything we do. We are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission through the Academic Quality Improvement Program. This is a process in which we develop ongoing projects using continuous quality principles to maintain our accreditation. We have developed a strong curriculum that is taught by outstanding faculty who choose to be a part of CCC. Our service areas provide support services for our students that are based on best practices and delivered by strong staff.
The Board of Trustees of the Eastern Iowa Community Colleges, of which CCC is one of the colleges, has established a strong commitment to affordability. Through their work our district has maintained reasonable tuition costs for our students. A financial aid staff that works with students as they complete their application for aid provides great help for our students. Our Paul B. Sharar Foundation provides a variety of scholarships for students attending CCC. Many of the scholarships provided by the foundation are funded by local groups and individuals- — people who are connected to CCC.
Access, quality and affordability are values that have not changed during our 65 graduations at CCC. These values connect us to all we do at CCC and guide us as we plan for our future. These values connect us to those we serve.
April is Community College Month. If you have not been on campus lately, I invite you to visit us and become connected to CCC.
Karen Vickers is the president of Clinton Community College.