To be certain, the rearview mirror has lessons to teach us about “2020” and at Bossier Parish Community College we are turning that learning into better ways to serve our students, our employees, and our community. Leveraging the challenges of last year, 2021 will see BPCC take full advantage of the clarity and visibility of the windshield and accelerate toward our vision to be the nation’s premier two-year college.
We have set ourselves up for success in 2021. BPCC is launching two new degree programs this spring – Fire Science and Practical Nursing. We are proud to honor the work of first responders everywhere by continuing to train and upskill frontline workers. The Fire Science degree is 100% online—recognition that our community of firemen work irregular hours and need flexibility in their schedules to attend classes.
Our Practical Nursing program is meeting a local need in the healthcare ecosystem. The program has been designed with a hybrid approach including evening and online classes to accommodate working adults. The addition of this program is a critical component in the healthcare talent pipeline leading to high-wage, high-demand jobs. These PN graduates will be on a pathway to become Registered Nurses while reinforcing the troops on the COVID frontlines.
BPCC is nudging toward normalcy this spring by returning more services to campus and offering more face-to-face courses in a safe and secure environment. We continue to make investments in our campus infrastructure to ensure that our faculty, staff, and students are safe when they come to campus to learn. At the same time, we understand that our industry has been permanently altered by the COVID experience. Consequently, we’ve invested in our distance learning infrastructure and now offer more than 30 online degree and certificate programs (more than any other community college in our state).
Finally, we see even more clearly that to serve today’s students requires that we meet them where they experience challenges and that we support them in inventive ways. Our Cavalier Care Center is up and running serving students and addressing issues like food insecurity, regional social services, and mental health services. In 2021, we will grow the capacity of the center and are proud to announce, thanks to an anonymous donor and in partnership with the BPCC Foundation, a permanent endowment has been established to address the financial emergencies of our students through Dire Need Grants. This funding will help students address non-curricular challenges of an emergent and dire nature. I’ve said before that too many of our students are one flat tire away from having to drop out of college and abandon their educational dreams. This new fund will help us address these issues that become barriers to student success.
At BPCC, we are focused on what lies ahead and our commitment to the NWLA community is strong. We will continue to work every day to demonstrate this commitment by helping our students succeed on their educational journeys. Happy New Year, and… Go CAVS!
Dr. Rick Bateman | BPCC Chancellor