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2011 December 12 - 12:00 am

COVER STORY: The Student Voice

The Student Voice:
Instilling Confidence Crucial to Success

In each edition, Community College Week strives to address the top issues affecting the thriving two-year college sector. We bring readers the views of top administrators, the stories of college faculty and the activities of education associations and workforce development experts.

Sometimes lost in that reporting, however, are the voices of the students whose lives are so intimately affected by the work being done on community college campuses. But students have something important to say, and in this edition, CCWeek focuses on the student voice, publishing nine essays from students from across the country.

The material comes from the 2010 essay contest sponsored by CCWeek and NISOD (National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development). Entrants were asked to describe their most rewarding learning experience with a faculty, staff, or administrator at their college. They were encouraged by cash: a $1,000 scholarship to the student, a $1,000 award to the faculty or staff member and a yearlong membership in NISOD for the college.

From more than 1,000 entries, we selected 10 finalists, and then a winner. The winning essay, by Christina Anthony, was a heartfelt appreciation of Iva Balic, an assistant professor of English at Harrisburg Area Community College (Pa.). We printed it in our edition of May 16, 2011, and Anthony and Balic were honored at the annual NISOD conference a couple of weeks later.

In this edition, we print the remaining nine essays. They come from students from around the country and represent students of every stripe. They show that what seems to work best in achieving community college success is the commitment and dedication of instructors. If there is a common thread, it is this: Making students believe in themselves seems like the key to unlocking the door to academic achievement.

CCWeek and NISOD are now preparing for our 2011 contest and we’re looking forward to again being inspired, motivated and moved by what matters most in community colleges – the work of students and teachers collaborating together.

— Paul Bradley


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