As we enter the final quarter of 2020, it is important to take time to look back over not just the challenges faced this year, but also the accomplishments of 2020 and thank those who helped make those accomplishments possible. Like everyone else, at Bossier Parish Community College, our vision for 2020 took a sharp turn in March and now in hindsight it is important to evaluate what went right this year and embrace the ways that facing the pandemic head-on has made our College stronger.
As I have said before, at BPCC, we take seriously the word “community” in our name. It is important for our community to know how much you are appreciated and to know all the things we are doing at BPCC to help our community be a great place to live, work, and play.
In looking over the past year, BPCC experienced significant change and growth into new frontiers that will forever shape and impact the northwest Louisiana community. Through the adversity of the COVID-19 pandemic, our faculty rose to the challenge of growing our online programming this spring. Due to their efforts, we are now able to offer 13 Associate Degree programs and 16 Certificate programs 100% online for students. This will allow students from all over Louisiana and beyond to take advantage of a College education. These offerings will be a permanent and welcomed change that will help our College grow and embrace the next generation of online learners.
The COVID-19 pandemic has hit our College community hard including our students. We are grateful that BPCC had the foresight last year to envision and plan the creation of the Cavalier Care Center. This Center delivers a host of nonacademic services to students in need who might others drop out of college. We are BPCC Proud that our Center was able to serve hundreds of students during this difficult time providing food from our USDA-approved food pantry and Chromebooks to our students who did not have the technology to continue with remote learning after the pandemic hit. Food insecurity is a problem in Colleges across the country and we are making great strides in addressing that concern for students. Our Center also organized mental health services for student struggling with the unknown surrounding the pandemic. We are looking forward to cutting the ribbon on the Cavalier Care Center soon, but I am proud of our people who lead that initiative for meeting the needs of students in advance of the official opening.
Before the pandemic hit, BPCC was honored in early 2020 to receive two prestigious business awards – Bossier Chamber of Commerce’s Business of the Year and the NLEP Top of Mind Award. Both awards acknowledge BPCC’s leadership in our community working for the benefit of students and our industry partners in northwest Louisiana. In looking back over this unique year, it is important to remember the challenges faced and the victories experienced that will help the College continue to lead our community into 2021 and beyond.
As we close the book on 2020 and look ahead to 2021, BPCC will launch new initiatives to help reboot our regional economy, grow enrollment, increase retention, and improve graduation rates. Our commitment to the northwest Louisiana community is strong and we look forward to continuing our vital role in the community as an economic driver and as a leading education and training provider.
Dr. Rick Bateman | Chancellor, Bossier Parish Community College