PIQUA — The COVID-19 pandemic may be keeping people apart physically, but that did not keep Edison State Community College from bringing the community together online for its annual State of the College address.
Edison State Community College President Dr. Doreen Larson went live on Facebook on Tuesday morning to deliver the college’s annual State of the Address, emphasizing its affordable programs, the 100 percent tuition scholarships to local high school graduates, and partnerships with faculty and the community.
“At Edison State, we have had historic strengths as an institution,” Larson said. She highlighted those strengths as the college’s part-time and full-time staff, partnerships with the community, and its fiscal responsibility. “They’ve been able to sustain us as an intuition.” She added their strengths have also allowed the college to continue to grow and create, even during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Larson said that, at Edison State, its mission statement is at the forefront of everything they do, which is, “Edison State Community College provides the learning opportunities, support services, and commitment that enable students to complete their educational goals and realize their dreams.”
Larson emphasized the affordability of Edison State’s programming, as well as how there is “nothing less” about receiving credits. For a full-time, full-year student, the cost of studying at Edison State is less than $5,000 a year, and she added, “Those credits transfer to any university.”
“Those credits lead to great careers,” Larson said. “There’s nothing less about those credits other than the cost.”
As part of its ongoing efforts to help alleviate anxiety during the COVID-19 crisis, Larson also discussed how Edison State is offering a 100-percent tuition scholarship for all graduating high school seniors in the Edison State service area and College Credit Plus (CCP) partner high schools.
Larson said students who want to apply for those scholarships should also apply for financial aid and other scholarships, but then Edison State will pay the difference between what the student’s financial aid will cover and what it will not.
“Most of our programs go right into a career,” Larson said.
Edison State’s faculty has also “stepped up,” Larson said, with helping students transition to online learning. She credited that partnership between faculty and students as to being part of why Edison State had “very few students” who needed to withdrawal and “very few students” who were not able to graduate due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Edison State also had a number of successful healthcare-related programs graduate students this semester who will now be joining the fight against COVID-19.
“They’ll be in that much needed workforce now starting this summer and fall,” Larson said. “You want these students serving you. They are top quality.”
Larson then transitioned to the recent economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, saying that even in the midst of this, “Our foundation has continued to thrive.” Larson encouraged people to donate to the college’s foundation if they are able, saying, “These are dollars that go directly to our students.”
Larson also complimented the trustees of Edison State, saying, “They’ve really positioned us well to weather this storm.”
Edison State also has five critical areas the college emphasizes for its strategic planning that it has been able to maintain, Larson said. Those include supporting faculty, sustaining the CCP partnerships, expanding its marketing to focus on transfers and the career outcome for its associate’s degree programs, strengthening its academic and co-curricular programming, and also valuing their community partnerships.
“Edison State transfers to any four-year program,” Larson said. She added students can also “go into a great career right with the associate’s degree.”
To help give back during this pandemic, Larson said Edison State has also “positioned ourselves as the point of distribution of toilet in Miami County.”
Edison State has also helped local healthcare facilities in need through the donation of Personal Protective Equipment. Edison State’s health sciences programs have recently donated 4,200 gloves, 500 masks, 90 lab coats, and 100 gowns to Wilson Health, Wayne HealthCare, and the Greater Dayton Area Hospital Association. The college has also donated over 1,300 reusable tote bags for school lunch distribution.
Larson ended the presentation with a video showing the college’s growth since 1973, noting how they have seen increased enrollment since 2015 in regard to online learning.
Larson also urged community members to prioritize their health and keep themselves safe during the pandemic.
“We are a strong community. We are a very strong country,” Larson said, adding the community can rebuild and recover. “You can’t recover your health. You can’t recover the health of a loved one … Keep yourself safe.”