Courtesy of Gavilan College President Kathleen Rose:
I feel compelled to remind everyone at the start of my monthly First Friday column that it is October. If you, like me are wondering what happened to spring and summer, it is a reminder of the impact of living through a historic global pandemic that continues to overshadow our daily activity. The evenings are cooler and darker, the full moon (with a view of Mars) came and went, and here we are in October. I hope you continue to stay safe and healthy during this incredible time, and are enjoying your courses at Gavilan.
I know that the learning environment we are providing you is challenging, that you often feel isolated and digitally divided. I recently heard that more than 1.6 billion learners are online all over the globe. The virtual world has become our “new normal” of collaboration and communication. All of us at the college are continuing our focus on YOU, providing as many services as possible to wrap around your learning experience and keep you strong. I urge you not to lose site of your academic goal….as I have said many times before, the world needs you now more than ever.
In the 2020 Survey of America’s College Students conducted on behalf of The Panetta Institute for Public Policy and Hart Research Associates, I am learning what students are concerned about throughout the country. Some of the key findings (paraphrased) relevant to our students at Gavilan include:
- College students have been deeply impacted by COVID-19 with the coronavirus being the top issue facing the country.
- Students also believe that climate change is a serious problem.
- More students are registered to vote this year than ever before.
- Student miss in-person classes for a variety of reasons, although few students believe that they will be able to return fully to campus life in the foreseeable future.
I also heard this week –on a webinar with speaker Michael Moe, Founder and CEO of GSV (Global Silicon Valley)–that with each generation of children who begin kindergarten, only ¼ will complete college. More than 60% of today’s jobs will require a college degree. How do educators work together to provide learning that is meaningful, has purpose, and generates innovative ideas for the future of our planet? This is a tough time for higher education, but one that will be even more critical as the pandemic begins to ease and learning methodologies expand.
We must continually strive to do better in all aspects of what we provide at Gavilan. Thanks to the CARE ACT funding, our Emergency Student Aid fund, the Housing Insecurity grant and our new federal Title V grant, we will be steadfast in our work to promote the “ethos of care” that is a distinct characteristic of Gavilan. We will also provide listening circles, forums, and individual opportunities to hear and value one another. The pandemic may indeed overshadow our daily lives, but it is uncovering a resilient spirit that will support the work of the college and the lives of our students. As we continue through October and the fall season, I wish you continued good health and persistence….the knowledge that our students acquire will continue to bring hope to our future.