Perhaps like every other leader in education these days, the roller-coaster COVID pandemic continues to keep Cliff Coppersmith’s head spinning. For eighteen months, the Chesapeake College president has had to reinvent the community college’s operations on a continuous basis, with every semester presenting unprecedented challenges to students and faculty alike.
Beyond protecting the college community at Chesapeake’s facilities, rapidly pivoting to offer more online learning, or making the Wye Mills campus available for drive-through COVID testing, Coppersmith has also had to deal the severe financial impact the pandemic has caused his institution and his students.
This all becomes all the more complicated since there are no solid data or useful information to help his team predict the future plans of Mid-Shore students. Unlike historical patterns that show that community college enrollments increase during economic recessions, the pandemic has left many young people staginating and not willing or feeling comfortable in committing to that kind of long term goal. And until the dust settles, no one, including the most respected leaders in higher education, have a real clue on what the real aftermath of COVID will mean for places like Chesapeake College.
Nonetheless, the one thing President Coppersmith is clear about is the uncompromising support of the Mid-Shore’s five counties to keep higher education accessible. Along with state and federal recovery funds, the Mid-Shore’s local governments have made it clear the region must maintain its commitment to Chesapeake College and its mission. According to Coppersmith, he couldn’t ask for more.
The Spy sat down with Cliff last week at the Wye Mills campus to get an update on the school as he and his team navigate through the unmistakable fog of COVD in higher education.
This video is approximately seven minutes in length. For more information about Chesapeake College please go here.