Reflecting on 2019 – now in the rearview for the Gettysburg Campus of HACC, Central Pennsylvania’s Community College – brings back a year filled with many memories. Highlights include incredible student successes; community partnerships; programs that impact our community; and above all else, the journey of living HACC’s purpose: Learning for all; learning for life.

Nursing Program Adds Part-Time Registered Nurse (RN) Evening Cohort

At HACC’s Gettysburg Campus, nursing students continue to focus on excellence. In addition to the 32 students who enroll in the day-time Nursing Program at the campus each semester, a new cohort began in August 2019 when 24 students were admitted to the part-time evening program.

All courses required for an associate in science in nursing degree can be taken on the Gettysburg Campus. This provides nursing students continuity in their educational experience, with highly trained faculty who are dedicated to their success and ultimate goal of becoming RNs.

In May 2019, 29 students graduated from the program to fulfill much-needed positions in local hospitals and nursing homes. In December 2019, another 34 nursing students earned their degrees, with almost 90% of this graduating class already working in various hospitals and areas of patient care. Chances are very good that if you or a loved one needs nursing care, that nurse is a graduate of HACC!

Mechatronics Program in the National Spotlight

A visit by editors from Community College Daily, put HACC’s Gettysburg Campus on the map with a subsequent article in February 2019 on our Mechatronics Program.

The program is in its fourth year, providing students the skills needed to excel in the high-demand job field of automated systems and machines. Students, employees and local industry representatives met with the editors to share the program’s impact in the local manufacturing sector.

Focus on Adams County’s Housing Issue

In March 2019, the campus partnered with @Home in Adams County to host the Adams County Housing Summit and welcomed Matthew Desmond, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “Evicted,” as the keynote speaker. Desmond, a professor of sociology at Princeton University in New Jersey, shared his experience of researching eviction. “Evicted” chronicles the lives of eight families he met and stories he heard while living in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. During Desmond’s lecture, he focused on the life of one of those families. Desmond encouraged listeners to take advantage of the Eviction Lab, which has records of evictions in America going back to 2000.

Highlighting the Summit, HACC students Melissa Addis and Quentina Smith participated in a panel discussion on the challenges that HACC students face in finding affordable housing in a community dominated by low-wage jobs and high-cost housing. The Summit was funded by a generous grant from the HACC Foundation and @Home in Adams County.

High School Students Earn Associate Degrees

HACC’s spring Commencement ceremony on May 11, 2019, included three dual-enrolled high school students who earned their associate degrees from HACC prior to earning their high school diplomas:

• Michael Riggs, who earned an associate of arts in general studies

• Kayla Berger, who earned an associate of arts in general studies

• Gabriel Eaton-Landou, who earned an associate of arts in chemistry

Inclusion and Diversity Efforts

In September 2019, the Gettysburg Campus Diversity Committee coordinated a visit from the Taller Artistico Xuchialt group from Leon, Nicaragua, which performed a traditional Nicaraguan dance in full costume. They also provided lively salsa lessons to a Spanish 101 class and members of the community. All who participated in the lessons had an opportunity to “strut their stuff” at the annual Salsa on the Square in downtown Gettysburg that evening.

Also, in September 2019, the Diversity Committee collaborated with a government and politics instructor to offer “Communicating Across the Political Divide” to 30 students and community members. The free workshop was specifically designed to address the tensions of those on the political left and right. The workshop focused on developing skills to clarify differences while having respectful conversations that affirm the value of relationships and to seek common ground.

Shannon Harvey, retired campus vice president, participated in the Fulbright France International Education Seminar Program in October 2019. During her visit, she served as an ambassador for HACC and community colleges. She spoke with French peers about how the American community college system works, how HACC serves students and how programs and course offerings are determined with the goal of expanding international and global opportunities.

In December 2019, Jeff Griffin, motivational speaker and author of “I’Mpossible: Desire. Dream. Do.,” enlightened and inspired the campus with his incredible personal story. Griffin shared how a tragic accident transformed his outlook on life.

As 2020 unfolds, we at HACC’s Gettysburg Campus look forward to an exciting year serving the educational and workforce needs in our communities.

Kathleen M. Brickner is interim vice president of HACC’s Gettysburg Campus.

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