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As expressed in AACC’s vision, we are committed to helping people transform their lives for the better. As we like to say, we are here to help people of every age and stage of life “redefine” themselves.

This spring and summer, we have had to redefine ourselves as a college. Starting as early as February, we had to rethink how, when and where we could continue to deliver our courses and services. At every step, we focused on three primary goals for our students and employees: ensuring their health and safety, meeting their ongoing needs during a pandemic, and helping all of us move forward toward our professional and personal goals. At the same time, we needed to maintain a sense of community in a virtual world. I am pleased to say that we have successfully met every one of those objectives during this time.

We also have faced another challenge as a college and community: racial inequity. This isn’t new, however we recognized the need to ramp up our efforts to combat systemic racism. A few years ago, AACC committed to closing the equity gap between white students and students of color. While we have made great strides, we have much work to do to overcome the systemic racism that impacts Black lives and other people of color. For that reason, equity is a central theme throughout a new strategic plan that will carry us forward over the next three to five years. We remain firm in building an inclusive community where all people feel welcome, safe and celebrated.

We know that the past few months have taken a toll on our students, faculty, staff and community. I am heartened by the way we have come together to address these challenges as a community. I am confident that we will come through these challenging times stronger. The only way to make that happen is by working together.