Commentary: Thank you, Edmonds College leadership and staff, for service to students during pandemic

It’s the season when we often take time to reflect on things we are grateful for, and rising to the top of my list is the exceptional community of people at Edmonds College, where I’ve had the pleasure and privilege of serving as chair of the Board of Trustees, since July. It’s been an incredibly challenging time for the education sector in the last two years, and it’s gratifying for me and my colleagues on the Board to witness the administration, faculty, and staff, under the leadership of President Amit Singh, find creative ways to serve our students’ changing needs despite the major challenges of COVID-19.

I’ve been impressed by President Singh’s decisive action in handling the enormous task of moving an entire college – operations and classes – online, and then slowly back to campus again. Not only has his focus been on the health and well-being of everyone on campus as well as maintaining the high quality of online instruction, but his focus has also been on caring for “the whole student” by increasing student support services in a time when needs — physical, financial, emotional, and academic — are greater than ever before.

At the same time the pandemic has demanded the lion’s share of everyone’s attention, the college has not slowed its pace of leaning into the future to meet our community’s needs. Plans are in place for a new Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, featuring classes, workshops, and training for small business owners and those who want to take the leap into entrepreneurship. Additionally, four new Bachelor of Applied Science degrees programs have been developed based on industry-identified needs in IT Application Development, Advanced Manufacturing and Materials Science, Robotics and Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Integrated Healthcare Management.

The staff and faculty’s agility in constructing these new learning pathways is key to giving our students access to valuable and quality education. The college’s use of innovative labor market analysis technology, and partnerships with employers throughout the region will ensure relevant, sustainable careers.

Many of EC’s students have had to overcome incredible obstacles just to seek the next step on their educational journey. As someone who came up through the community college system myself, it’s rewarding to be a part of an institution that is working to remove barriers to high-quality, family-wage jobs and careers.

As we reflect on the pandemic’s disruption of everything we once knew as “normal,” the Board of Trustees offers our thanks to President Singh and every employee — from faculty in the classrooms to the crew who make the campus a welcoming place — for their dedication to the success of our students. Everyone’s willingness to pull together, to keep making progress, and to hold students at the heart of it all, is what makes Edmonds College such a community treasure, and something we are grateful for this season.

— By Wally Webster II
Chair, Board of TrusteesEdmonds College

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