Higher education has been hard-hit by the coronavirus pandemic. Students vacated their dorms, classes moved online, and eventually hybrid forms of online and in-person learning returned. Students and their families felt the financial pinch, one of several issues contributing to a significant drop in enrollment — all in an era of declining public funding for higher education. In this panel, we’ll discuss COVID’s effect on community colleges and universities. Topics will include student success, financial repercussions, enrollment, changes brought about by the pandemic, and what the future might look like now that vaccines are widely available.
Chip Minemyer, editor of The Tribune-Democrat, will moderate.
Dr. Steve Nunez became the fifth president of Penn Highlands Community College in January 2020. His 23-year career in higher education has included positions such as Vice President of Academics and Student Services at Sauk Valley Community College in Dixon, IL. Dr. Nunez earned a Doctorate of Education in Community College Leadership from Ferris State University in Big Rapids, Michigan; a Master of Science in Biology and a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia; and an Associate of Science from Southwest Virginia Community College in Cedar Bluff, Virginia.
Dr. Janet Grady is Vice President for Academic Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, where she is also Professor and Chairperson of the Division of Nursing and Health Sciences. Dr. Grady served for eight years as Principal Investigator on the Office of Naval Research-funded project “Nursing Telehealth Applications Initiative.” She received a doctorate in Public Health from the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, a master’s degree in Nursing from the University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing, and bachelor’s degrees from both the University of Pittsburgh and St. Francis University. She has been inducted as a Fellow in both the Academy of Nursing Education (ANEF) and the American Academy of Nursing (FAAN).
Dr. Kara Laskowski is Professor, Communication Studies at Shippensburg University, one of the 14 schools in the Pennsylvania State System Higher Education (PASSHE) system, which includes IUP, Slippery Rock, California University and others. She serves as Chair, Department of Communication Studies at Shippensburg University, President of the Shippensburg University chapter of the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties (APSCUF), and as Chair/Spokesperson for the State APSCUF Meet and Discuss Committee. Her teaching and research emphases are in the topics of interpersonal, identity, gender, cultures, and conflict resolution. Dr. Laskowski is passionate about public higher education, higher education affordability, collective bargaining, and her commitment to students.