Gavilan College quickly adapted to meet student needs, which became an immediate priority.

Photo courtesy Gavilan College
Christopher High School grad Madeline Clarke, a communications major, took virtual classes at Gavilan College this summer and fall.


By Dr. Kathleen Rose

Dr. Kathleen Rose

The global pandemic has shown that there are a lot of great reasons to continue with your education — and to do it at Gavilan College. Although the classes will be primarily online at any school you choose, at Gavilan you can get personalized support. You will also be learning from faculty that have become highly trained and skilled in online instruction. Whereas a UC will cost $16,000 for a year, and a CSU more than $5,000, at Gavilan your first two years of full-time enrollment can be free.

Students considering enrolling are invited to reach out and talk to one of our peer mentors in the Virtual Welcome Center, at www.gavilan.edu. They can give you a student’s perspective on how to navigate college in this challenging time and help you get started. Spring classes start Feb. 1.

As every facet of our lives has changed and adapted to the coronavirus pandemic, Gavilan College is no exception. Over a two-day period in March, 600 sections of instruction were converted to online format. Since then, we have been working to stay connected with our students and to provide the support they need to stay in college and succeed. It isn’t easy. We know the reality for our students is lost jobs, struggling with new technology, and having to supervise at-home schooling for their own children.

Gavilan College quickly adapted to meet student needs, which became our immediate priority. Summer 2020 classes were all online. For the fall semester, only those classes with a critical need for in-person instruction, such as aviation technology, HVAC, cosmetology, and some nursing and science labs, met face to face. This will continue for spring 2021, with strict social distancing protocols in place.

To prepare our faculty for fully online instruction, Gavilan College designed a series of courses for instructors to help them become familiar with the technology they would be using, and to learn best practices for delivering online courses at the college level. Gavilan faculty became the students in Gavilan Online Teacher Training (GOTT) Academy, learning how to create online instruction while simultaneously navigating an online environment as our students were waiting. Gavilan had 260 faculty members, both full-time and part-time, complete this training.

In addition, we have worked to meet our students’ basic needs during the pandemic. The Gavilan College Education Foundation established a Student Emergency Fund, beginning it with $20,000 and raising more than $26,000 from the community. The college also distributed more than $1.4 million in CARES Act funds for students. In order for students to successfully transition to online learning, we created a laptop lending and WIFI hotspot lending program. In partnership with Second Harvest Food Bank we have held drive-in food distribution events twice per month, open to students, their families, and the community at large. Gavilan College also became one of just seven schools in the state to pilot a Homeless and Housing insecure program for students without a place to live. I am tremendously proud of our faculty, staff and administration for keeping our students at the center of these efforts. We will continue to do so in the months ahead.

The campus has been largely closed since March, and our staff has been working from home, and working harder than ever to support students. Our dedicated staff created a phoning project, reaching out to touch base with every enrolled student they could reach. They transitioned all student services online and created an online Welcome Center with drop-in assistance for registration, financial aid, and solving problems. The faculty went above and beyond to work through the challenges with their students.

Events for students and the community had to change to virtual events throughout the fall. The annual Transfer Day was held online, and the Health Fair was transformed into a series of webinars. Community Spirit Awards, normally presented at breakfast events in each community, were presented by a small traveling delegation from the college, giving us the opportunity to visit our awardees in the places that are important to them. With the support of our trustees, the college remains focused on our central mission…student success.

As the pandemic continues in the spring semester, community support is still needed. You can:

Donate to the Student Emergency Fund; Sponsor a laptop or a hotspot for a student; Rent a room or apartment to a Gavilan College student.

For details on how to give, email [email protected], or go to www.gavilan.edu/foundation.

All of us at Gavilan believe that education changes lives. We will continue to serve all students in our district in 2021 as the world recovers. I wish every community member a happy holiday season, and look forward to connecting with you in the spring.

Dr. Kathleen Rose serves as the superintendent/president of Gavilan Community College.

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