PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (WAGM) -The President of the Maine Community College system was in the County today, allowing students at Northern Maine Community College the opportunity to provide feedback about their college experience.
President David Daigler: “I think higher education in general is going to focus in on the population of students it serves best, those are the students that a community college serves and that’s where we need to do better work.”
The students that Maine Community College System President David Daigler is talking about, are those from NMCC’s trade programs. Thursday, these students had the chance to share their experiences with Daigler, who is visiting each of the seven Maine Community College campuses
Daigler: “One of the remarkable experiences about coming onto the campuses and looking at the work being done is how the students respond to the faculty, the supports are there, the caring is there. How can we do a better job of making sure that those faculty, the staff that support that faculty, the staff that supports the students in financial aid, how can they be better resourced to meet the need of those students.”
Students and faculty spoke about a number of topics such as; course structure, improvements that could be done to the campus, and scheduling. One thing a lot of people were talking about was the continuation of online courses.
Daigler says he can see where they are coming from.
Daigler: “I do think that students are finding flexibility, adaptability in online learning but they also need that personal approach, that personal touch, and so a question we need to be asking ourselves is how can we bring those two together to make sure that that human contact is there, to make sure that caring touch is there while also providing a certain amount of content online that gives them the fliexibility they need to continue with their education, to continue with their lives.”
Daigler adds that NMCC along with the other six community colleges are seeing a large number of people who qualify, utilizing the free college tuition program established by Governor Mills.
Daigler: “The free college program has been very instrumental to bring students back who especially during the pandemic stepped away from education, stepped away from higher education just stopped going to college and stopped their learning, they also when they did that, many of them from the classes of 20 and 21 are recognizing that they put the brakes on their career opportunities that they really needed that education they also needed the financial resource to get them back in college. So we’ve seen a tremendous number of students who wouldn’t have gone to college if it weren’t for the free college program and they’re now in our classrooms and they’re now gonna be able to help our businesses fill those vacancies that exist.”
Currently, Daigler says, there is a bill before the legislature that if passed would expand the free college program to make more students eligible to receive a no-tuition higher education at any of Maine’s Community Colleges.