Harcum College Maintains Personal Connections – the Hallmark of Its Instruction – Amidst Pandemic

Images via Harcum College.

Personal attention is the hallmark of instruction at Harcum College and one of the many reasons an education there is so valuable.

Thus, when the COVID-19 pandemic forced the closure of schools across the commonwealth, Harcum’s leaders acted swiftly and efficiently to ensure that, during the college’s transition to online instruction, student learning would not skip a beat.

“All faculty worked hard to keep students engaged, motivated, and on track to complete their courses,” Dr. Julia Ingersoll, Executive Vice President at Harcum College, said, noting that the college loaned laptops to students who did not have access to a computer.

Fashion Design students received online sewing instructions and online critiques of their clothing lines. Occupational Therapy Assistant students are completing their field work needed for graduation and certification through telehealth clinical rotations. Early Childhood Education students designed online classrooms. Photography students experimented with new software and shot pet portraits from home. Students in the Dental Hygiene and Fashion Merchandising programs have completed collaborative video projects.

Also, guest speakers have addressed classes via Zoom, and award ceremonies were held virtually to recognize outstanding graduating students in selected programs.

“I am especially proud of the telehealth program developed and delivered by the Occupational Therapy Assistant program that paired college students and adults with autism,” said Dr. Ingersoll. “As a result of COVID-19, adults with autism had lost access to social therapy programs.

“Harcum College students delivered diverse and engaging programs online. The programs were designed to develop and maintain occupational skills. The adults who received online programming, and the caregivers who participated in and learned from the programming, are grateful for this creative collaboration.”

The college is planning its first-ever Virtual Commencement that will showcase each graduating student later this month.

“There is a deep commitment from the Student Life team and Harcum community to recognize, honor, and celebrate our graduates and to effectively support our graduates’ future endeavors by facilitating virtual opportunities to interact with potential employers and four-year colleges/universities,” said Ed Kovacs, Harcum’s Dean of Student Life.

“Throughout the pandemic, we have remained committed to and connected with our students, reminding them of all the campus resources and supports available.”

As for prospective students, Rachel Bowen, Harcum’s Vice President of Enrollment Management, and her team have been finding creative ways to work with applicants. Virtual information sessions through Zoom enable future students and their families to meet with admissions counselors, program advisors, and even alumni from their program of interest, all at one time.

“Our goal is to provide that one-on-one attention in a way that conveys what Harcum is about,” said Bowen. “I couldn’t be prouder of our enrollment team. They are truly going above and beyond to make sure they connect with their students and keep them on track. We have also been providing our own institutional scholarship called the Harcum Cares Scholarship to help those who may need additional financial assistance during this difficult time.”

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