News from LaGuardia Community College
Welcome, April. What a wonderful month, especially this year, as we emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic, hungry for the warmth of spring, and the tulips, daffodils, magnolias, and other perennial treasures of this season of rebirth. LaGuardia history faculty remind us to thank Julius Caesar for extending April. After all, the Roman general and statesman added its 30th day when he created his Julian calendar in 46 BC. When Pope Gregory XIII tweaked Caesar’s calendar in 1582, yielding the Gregorian calendar most of us use today, the fourth month emerged unscathed. I’ll take that extra day of spring, thank you!
When not distracted by the joys of spring, we’re busy planning for the fall. This is complicated because we don’t have all the information we need to determine how many classes to offer in person, what services to provide remotely, and so on. Provost Paul Arcario is leading our Fall Re-opening Planning Committee. The group is working out different scenarios so that we will be prepared for evolving CDC guidelines. It’s all moving in the right direction. Stay tuned.
Despite some uncertainty one thing’s for sure – we won’t be going back to life at LaGuardia exactly as it was pre-Covid. Things will be different, and in some ways, better. For example, we are incorporating more permanent online options into our course offerings—making earning a college degree or professional certificate more accessible, especially for older, working students, for whom traveling to Long Island City for daytime classes is a logistical challenge.
Finally, I encourage everyone to #VaxUpCUNY. The sooner everyone is vaccinated the safer we all will be. And remember, the person administering your vaccine might be a LaGuardia Nursing student (see below).
Happy Spring!
Kenneth Adams
LaGuardia’s Wellness Center Team Steps up to Support Students during Covid
Throughout the pandemic LaGuardia’s Wellness Center has provided essential support to our students. It is where students dealing with anxiety or coping with personal challenges turn for free, confidential counseling. It also provides students with virtual dog therapy, yoga, and other alternative wellness practices to manage stress, as well as group counseling sessions to cope with college and life stress. Recently, the Center launched an Asian-American Wellness Group to help students explore their reactions to racism and violence against Asian-Americans. I spoke recently with Wellness Center Director Frank LaTerra-Bellino and two counselors, Shante Bassett and Stacey Chen, about helping students throughout the pandemic and more.  
Business Administration Becomes LaGuardia’s First 100% Online Degree
Business Administration is the most popular major offered at LaGuardia. Beginning this fall, students will have the chance to complete their Business Administration degree entirely online, making it the first LaGuardia Associate degree program that can be completed remotely. Now you can be in Astoria, Oregon, Hollis, New Hampshire, or Corona, California and study at LaGuardia, though I might suggest you come to Queens to pick up your diploma so you can see the real thing.
New Aspen Grant Supports International Exchanges
Speaking of distance learning, thanks to a new grant from the Stevens Initiative of the Aspen Institute, LaGuardia faculty will lead a virtual exchange program that will give students the benefits of international exchange without having to leave New York City. “Global Scholars Achieving Career Success” is a collaboration between LaGuardia with four CUNY schools—Borough of Manhattan Community College, Guttman Community College, Hostos Community College, and Queens College, along with four schools in the Middle East-North Africa region: Abdelmalek Essaâdi University, Morocco; The American University in Cairo, Egypt; Jordan University of Science and Technology; and Palestine Ahliya University. Students will work together on experiential learning projects that explore UN Sustainable Development Goals within their communities, as well as engage in career development activities.
You Knew this Was Coming: Nursing Program Ranked #1
LaGuardia’s Nursing Program is now the #1 Associate Nursing Program in New York State—reflecting our graduates’ perfect pass rates on the national nursing licensing exam. As I shared previously, 100 percent of LaGuardia nursing students passed their licensing exams on their first try for eight quarters in a row—all of 2019 and 2020. Throughout the pandemic, LaGuardia nursing faculty and staff have been working incredibly hard to ensure that our students get the in-person, hands-on learning opportunities that help them succeed. Recently, New York State granted approval for LaGuardia nursing students to accrue clinical hours by participating in vaccine distribution at NYC Health + Hospitals facilities. If you see someone wearing scrubs with a LaGuardia logo when you go for your shots, say hello and thanks!
First-Year Seminar Makes a Difference
Encouraging college students to stay in school and get to graduation is a nationwide challenge—particularly for low-income, first-generation students. To help, new students at LaGuardia take a First-Year Seminar (FYS). FYS introduces them to campus resources, facilitates connections with faculty, advisors and fellow students in their major, and provides a means for students to reflect on their academic and professional goals. A new case study uses institutional data and student surveys to measure the effectiveness of LaGuardia’s FYS program. The findings confirmed that FYS helps students transition to the college environment, learn about their personal strengths and goals, and explore their majors. Importantly, FYS boosts retention rates and GPAs – both essential for student success.
Welcome Ron Edwards, Executive Director of Human Resources
Ronald Edwards, MPA, brings more than three decades of experience in human resources and personnel management to LaGuardia as our new executive director of Human Resources. Ron is also serving as LaGuardia’s interim chief diversity officer/affirmative action officer/Title IX coordinator/504-ADA coordinator. Prior to joining LaGuardia, Ron was executive director of Human Resources for Long Island University. Previously, he spent almost 18 years at New York Health + Hospitals—most recently as personnel director for its Queens Health Network, which employs approximately 3,500 people. Ron is a CUNY graduate—having earned his Bachelor’s Degree from Hunter College and a certificate in executive leadership from Baruch. He also holds certificates in labor relations from Cornell University’s ILR School, and a Master of Public Administration from Long Island University.