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A Newsletter for Alumni, Parents, and Friends of Greenfield Community College and the GCC Foundation

The GCC Experience

Posted on Thursday November 21st 2013

GCC President Robert Pura - photo by Gerald Martins
GCC President Robert Pura - photo by Gerald Martins
GCC President Robert Pura - photo by Gerald Martins

There is something transformational that begins to happen as you drive into Greenfield Community College. It is on that half mile, winding road, that one begins to feel the transition from a world of increasing individualism and isolation to one of inclusion and collaboration. The word “community” defines GCC as a college. More than a definition of whom to serve, community identifies an environment created by faculty, staff and students that encourages engagement, nurtures learning and cultivates sustainable change. Community defines the GCC environment created for teaching and learning.

GCC President Robert Pura – photo by Gerald Martins

GCC faculty and staff have always understood the powerful potential and privilege of small classes and the need for individualized attention. Students get to know college faculty and staff – and they get to know each other. Instead of large lecture halls and teaching assistants, students at GCC experience teaching and learning in small intimate learning communities and develop lasting relationships on which to grow and develop. Instead of waiting days or even weeks to get an appointment with a teacher or advisor, GCC students are welcomed into studios at the center of faculty offices, teaching and learning together. From the Library to the Dinning Commons, from the Math and Business Studios to the Science and Humanities studios, and from the Art Gallery to our new (almost) energy neutral Greenhouse, GCC students find more than an answer to an algebraic formula or the keys to unlock the mystery of a poem – students discover a feeling of belonging to a community of learners on a courageous journey to a better life.

GCC faculty are wonderful artists and scientists, writers and mathematicians, nurses and doctors, lawyers and police officers, accountants and entrepreneurs. But ask them, and they will tell you – members of the college’s faculty are teachers, first and foremost. That is why they choose to work at GCC; they love teaching, learning and students just a tad more than their subject area. GCC faculty and staff see their students’ potential even before the student does and together they work hard to achieve it.

I have the great privilege of hearing the stories of our alumni as I travel around town. More significant than even the chuckle that comes from the memory of a train delayed class at Arch Street, I get to see the look in their eyes as they talk about the number of heartfelt stories of life changing relationships that are so significant to those graduates’ memories.

That is the GCC experience. In a world of growing isolation and individualism, GCC creates community, encourages collaboration and develops life-sustaining relationships. And what impact does that experience have on student success? According to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Board of Higher Education, GCC has the highest rated student success scores (graduation, retention and transfer rates) of all 15 community colleges over a six-year period of time.

As you know, there is a wonderful small pond at the center of our campus, ducks paddling or nestled into the grassy bank. At different times of the day the sun and water join to create reflections of the buildings, the hills and trees or people walking to and from class.

At least once per day, at the right moment and at just the right angle you are able to see that GCC is but a reflection of the very best of the community that we serve.

As we have every fall semester for the past 51 years, GCC has once again opened its doors to all who seek a better life for themselves and their families. Lives will change for the better as a result, then families will grow stronger and so too our community. On behalf of our students, faculty and staff, the Boards of Trustees and the GCC Foundation, I thank you for all that you do to make that possible and for your help fostering and sustaining the GCC experience.


GCC receives VIP treatment from Springfield Armor

armor-2014

GCC President Bob Pura hosted a great evening of “GCC Night at the Springfield Armor” with a road trip on March 21st to a basketball game at the Mass Mutual Center. Members of our community joined GCC alumni and employees for a wonderful night of VIP treatment, including reserved courtside seating, dinner and great camaraderie while watching this area’s minor league basketball team play to win. This sold-out game was the Springfield Armor’s final home game of the season.

GCC Art Program: Welcome to “Face Nook”

face-nook

For the past 5 years, an anonymous donor has supplied a $100 award to a GCC painting student each semester to be used to purchase painting supplies. In return, the students have created a miniature self-portrait on a canvas supplied by the donor. Award recipients are art program majors, nominated by the painting faculty, who have demonstrated a commitment to the medium and are producing work of a high standard. We are pleased to announce two exciting opportunities related to this initiative:

1. A collection of these mini portraits will now be offered for sale as part of a unique fundraising exhibit to benefit GCC’s Art Department, hosted by Nina’s Nook in Turners Falls in November 2014.

2. In addition to the existing collection, current and former painting students of the college are also invited to submit their work in this event using 6″ square canvases. The exhibit, to be called “Face Nook,” will open November 14 and close December 6. All work must be delivered to Nina’s Nook by November 5, either in person to the gallery or shipped to: Nina Rossi, 21 Central St, Turners Falls MA 01376. For details contact Nina Rossi, naban@verizon.net.