Fall '19 Semester Kicks Off at NCCC
SARANAC LAKE – A new instructional site at Akwesasne, a new English track to the college’s Liberal Arts program, and residence halls filled to capacity in Saranac Lake are among the highlights as North Country Community College opened the fall semester on Monday.
Through a new partnership with the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe, the college is offering two classes at Akwesasne this fall: English Composition, a college-level writing course required for all NCCC degree programs, and Productivity Computing, a versatile course that’s essential to many degree programs and professional settings.
A total of 28 students are enrolled in the two courses, which are being taught by full-time college faculty and held in the Ionkwakiokwarò:ron Tribal Administration Building.
“For me, being from the reservation, it’s always been an interest of mine to get more native students enrolled at the college,” said Bruce Kelly, NCCC’s Malone Campus Coordinator. “In the last couple years, we started to have more serious conversations about it. When they built their new administration building, which included a dedicated classroom, their education director, Stephanie Cook, said it would be a perfect time to get classes in there. So we started talks in earnest, came up with class ideas, and worked out the details.”
Kelly said it’s been a true “team effort” between various departments at the college and the tribe. The classes include both traditional and non-traditional students, he noted.
“The idea is that it will give them a taste of college, literally right at home,” he said. “It’s convenient for them, and it makes it comfortable as they experience the academic side of things. And so far, we’ve had a very positive response. I think the numbers in the classes testify to that.”
The college is planning to hold additional classes at Akwesasne next semester.
Also on the academic side, students in one of the college’s most popular degree programs will now have the option to focus on growing their writing, communication and research skills through a specialized course of study.
Beginning this fall, the college is offering an English track as part of its AA Liberal Arts: Humanities and Social Science degree. It includes composition, literature and writing classes that are designed to build each student’s knowledge and skill as a writer, reader and thinker.
“Our hope is to foster a culture in which inquiry and intellectual curiosity are supported and given room to grow,” said Bruce Rowe, NCCC’s Humanities Department Chair. “The English track will provide our students in the Humanities with a greater opportunity to focus on writing and literature as a transfer path into a bachelor’s degree in English, or comparative literature, ethnic studies, creative writing, journalism, communication, education, law and many other related degree and career paths.”
Residence halls full
In Saranac Lake, the college’s residence halls are filled to capacity with 97 students, and there’s a waiting list. Elizabeth Quinn, director of the NCCC Association, which runs the residence halls, attributed the strong numbers to putting out housing contracts to students early, waiving a $200 fee for contracts submitted prior to May 1, and the college hosting its first new student registration sessions earlier than in years past.
Students who live on campus will also be able to enjoy some new amenities this year. Crews are currently building an outdoor basketball court next to the residence halls, to complement a sand volleyball court that was completed this summer.
Following orientation and a series of Welcome Back Weekend activities, students started classes on Monday. In a message to all students, new NCCC President Joe Keegan wished them success.
“We know that a college education is powerful and, as such, can transform lives,” Keegan said. “At its best, a college education introduces us to new and diverse ideas, challenges us to grow and develop, imparts new ways of thinking, apprehending and experiencing the world. We learn new skills and have opportunities to practice them, we meet new people, and we discover part of ourselves that we didn’t know were there. We know that all that and more awaits you here at North Country and hope you immerse yourself in all that we have to offer.”