April 06, 2014
In rankings released on April 3 by the Center for Digital Education, Northampton was rated fourth in the nation among large community colleges in the use of technology to serve students, faculty and administrators. The purpose of the annual survey is to recognize and showcase community colleges that are providing a high level of service to their students, faculty, and communities through their use of information technology.
"Leading in technology" is one of five areas of strategic focus announced by Northampton a year ago. "We know that students are learning differently, so harnessing technology to maximize student learning is central to our college's success and the success of our students," says NCC's president, Dr. Mark Erickson. "Our focus on enhancing infrastructure and empowering our faculty to utilize the latest technology in their classrooms is paying dividends, so the recognition is gratifying, but we also know there is much more to do."
According to Dr. Deborah Noble Burak, dean and chief information officer at Northampton, the Center for Digital Education's ranking are based on how technology is used throughout the institution - in teaching, in assessing institutional effectiveness, in decision-making, in professional development, in communication, in improving campus security, and in supporting campus operations.
The creation of an Innovation Lab in which faculty can use emerging technology to promote student learning garnered significant attention this past year. The lab is serving as the model for the College's new Monroe Campus, which will incorporate cutting edge technology, including digital signage, video walls, interactive projectors, tablets and computers in classrooms and science laboratories, and advanced networking and wireless capabilities.
Northampton has been offering classes online since 1999, expanding students' access to education. In addition to providing 141 courses and 26 degree programs online, the College makes many student services available online including registration, career planning, and study skills.
Students can register for classes, contact their instructors, see their grades, check assignments, and access financial aid information on their phones and other mobile devices. They can even find their way around the Main Campus using Google Maps.
In classrooms and labs, students use technology such as ipads, interactive response systems, 3D printers and projectors, simulations, laptops, and computers mounted on articulated arms for accessing patient information in nursing and dental hygiene programs.
Burak says "The award recognizes our recent accomplishments and future plans for leveraging technology in support of teaching, learning, operations and student success. It also reflects the creative and collaborative contributions of faculty and staff throughout the College in continuously improving and advancing the use of technology in higher education."
On April 6 Erickson and Burak represented Northampton in Washington, DC, at an event honoring the colleges rated in the top ten.
To review Northampton Community College's guidelines for public comments, click here