Chesapeake College gives opportunities for all regional residents
In recent years we’ve heard much discussion about the “value” of higher education. The student debt crisis, volatility in some industries, and rising wages in others, have prompted many questions about higher education.
Community colleges are positioned to answer many of these questions and offer solutions to problems at both the national and local levels. Community colleges provide low-cost degrees, certifications, and skills training that prepare students for the workforce, help them advance or change their careers, and allow students to earn bachelor’s degrees for less than they pay at four-year colleges.
For five decades, residents of Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s and Talbot counties have depended on Chesapeake College for courses of study that lead to associate’s degrees, skills for the workplace, or transfer to a four-year college. Noncredit students pursue workforce training, English as Second Language, high school diplomas, and personal enrichment.
Our vital role in the community remains the same, but the ways we fulfill our mission for the Mid-Shore change with the needs of our students, area employers and other forces.
Those “other forces” include impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Like educational institutions across the country, we quickly developed online delivery of our services and made adjustments as needed. When it became safe to do so, we brought students back to campus and resumed as many in-person activities as possible.
We’ve learned valuable lessons from this crisis, and I believe our services are improving as a result. As we continue our recovery from the pandemic fallout, we can see hopeful signs of progress.
An infusion of federal and state funds for COVID-19 relief, allowed more students to receive grants for tuition and fees. Also, students in noncredit career programs such as skilled trades and healthcare are now receiving financial assistance to help cover education costs.
Chesapeake will always be a great starting point for students to earn an associate’s degree or complete transfer credits toward a bachelor’s degree at a four-year institution. However, we also believe we have a duty to provide robust workforce development for the Eastern Shore. Innovative workforce training, we believe, will help residents of our region face the challenges of tomorrow.
Working with industry partners, local business leaders, and with our K-12 partners, Chesapeake is creating pathways for our students in various fields. We provide our students with the tools to pursue meaningful and rewarding careers right here in the Mid-Shore region
Chesapeake performs a comprehensive self-study every eight years, and we’ve just begun our latest review. This is a campus-wide exercise that closely examines our programs, policies and procedures, keeping us accountable to our students and ourselves.
The self- study also serves as a renewal of our chief commitment to serve our five-county region. We know that higher education and workforce training improve the community at-large by building a productive and engaged population. With reflection and self-examination, we are able to innovate and grow in ways that align with the needs of our community.
Dr. Clifford Coppersmith is the president of Chesapeake College.