The Virtual Campus of Naugatuck Valley Community College Supports Students, Builds Connections and Reminds us of our Blessings | Read the Latest News from NVCC | Naugatuck Valley Community College

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14 April 2020

The Virtual Campus of Naugatuck Valley Community College Supports Students, Builds Connections and Reminds us of our Blessings

The Virtual Campus of Naugatuck Valley Community College Supports Students, Builds Connections and Reminds us of our Blessings

President Daisy Cocco De Filippis, Ph.D., in collaboration with the deans, administration, faculty and staff collaborated to transition the remaining classes of the spring 2020 semester to an online format in order to minimize exposure to the Coronavirus while making sure that students complete their studies this semester. The new modality was introduced when students returned from spring break on March 23, 2020.

To support this transition, directors of student services including admissions, advising, financial aid, student government, job placement, library and the tutoring center worked to develop content located on the virtual resources page. This landing page is the virtual hub of NVCC’s online campus.

President De Filippis commented on the virtual campus. “NVCC has responded to the COVID-19 threat in generous and creative ways. It is remarkable how faculty members collaborated and moved quickly to an online modality. Our academic and student services colleagues have been there every step of the way, facilitating and providing support for our students. Virtual communications were pioneered by NVCC's student newspaper, The Tamarack, going online, as well as additions to the President's Weekly Bulletin in the form of updates from leaders across our campuses and the creation of a section to capture NVCC Virtual Voices. I am delighted to see this featured in our monthly electronic newsletter.”

Campus-wide collaboration is the hallmark of the virtual campus. The NVCC Admissions Department has been working collaboratively to identify strategies that create meaningful relationships with both new and prospective students. Having evaluated each phase of the enrollment process, they created virtual opportunities to replicate each step. The virtual resources page serves as the NVCC campus while preserving the integrity of the process and connecting with the students they serve.

Noel Rosamilio, Associate Dean of Enrollment Management, commented on the outreach to students considering NVCC for the first time. “Prospective students have the opportunity to participate in virtual information sessions. The admissions team works diligently to maintain opportunities for personalized connections with potential students by offering a robust schedule of live appointments that allow participants to meet and build a relationship with a member of the NVCC Admissions Department, learn about academic offerings and be informed of the steps to apply.”

Fall and summer registration for current students opened this past week with support resources on the virtual campus landing page. Students in need of immediate advising assistance or who are seeking information can utilize “drop-in” office hours. These are offered each day, Monday-Friday, at consistent times through WebEx. They are staffed by NVCC advisors and they afford students the opportunity to engage in conversation in a live setting utilizing both the audio and visual functions of WebEx. According to Bonnie Goulet, Director of the Center for Academic Progress and Student Success (CAPSS), summer and fall registration for current students opened on Tuesday, April 7. “Students are connecting with us. So far our outreach has been very productive for the first week of advising and registration.”

Susan Houlihan, Advisor & Retention Specialist CAPSS shared some feedback from an advisee, NVCC student, Jacqueline Serrano. “My experience with the virtual advising was better than expected. I felt like I was able to ask more questions and get clear and specific answers since we had more time. I also feel that the virtual advising has worked to our benefit because in a way we are all a bit less stressed out.  In my opinion, we now have a better opportunity to communicate more efficiently since we are all going through it together and understand the frustration this pandemic has caused.”

Tammy McBrien Downs, Counselor at the NVCC Danbury campus commented on virtual advising at NVCC. “Every student with whom I’ve held a video chat has truly appreciated the face to face contact. It really helps for them to see my screen as I talk them through their plan.  I also reach out regularly through email. Most students have responded by saying they appreciate my checking in, not just on their academic well-being, but physical and mental. We have developed and sent a list of tips titled, Coping with COVID. Many students were happy to have the outreach.  Overall, students - even those that have had a difficult time adjusting to technology - are coping and appreciative of our concern.”

Director of Student Activities, Karen Blake works with the Student Government Association (SGA) to keep current students engaged and informed. “The SGA had been meeting virtually 3 times a week since classes went totally online at NVCC.  Our goal was to develop ways to communicate online for the immediate future. We hosted our first online SGA Meeting on April 8, 2020 at 4 PM via TEAMS.  Building on this success, we have developed a meeting schedule for the rest of the semester which includes outreach to all student clubs. We are also sending a weekly newsletter starting April 13 to student's email with activities and information.”

Jaime Hammond, Director of Library Services commented on the role of the library on the virtual campus. “The library staff has been helping students through the chat function on our webpages. We have had students send us messages saying how much they miss coming into the library. It's really been wonderful to connect with them and remind them that we are still here for them!”

Rob Sheftel, Director of the Academic Center for Excellence (ACE) reminded the students that the Center is “virtually” there to help. “We at the ACE miss seeing your smiles and your energy. We want to let you know that we are here for you.” Sheftel noted that tutoring requests are still accepted at the ACE, in fact, they offer an online service that accepts tutoring requests until 7:30 pm Monday through Thursday, 4:30 pm on Friday and 3:30 pm on Saturday and Sunday.


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