Northern Pennsylvania Regional College (NPRC) is a mission-driven institution and Founding President Joseph T. Nairn recognizes that the team built within the organization is committed to showing up every day for all the right reasons. “Every day that we do our jobs well we change people’s lives, we give people opportunities they may not have had, or we expose them to gifts that they don’t recognize they had because they were never given that opportunity,” expresses Founding President Nairn.
When the Educational Consortium of the Upper Allegheny (ECUA) began discussing this approach to instructional delivery, they kept in mind all the barriers that may have prevented those in our region from finishing a college degree or even starting one. Full-time English Instructor, Ben Blood, shares, “Community college students, me included when I went through school, and the students I have now, we work. We’re parents, we’re employees, or we have many other responsibilities outside of the classroom. Even our traditional students are working full-time jobs and still trying to go to college as well.” Some students may admit that having to drive two hours to campus or pay to live off-campus may prevent them from going to college or finishing their degrees. “The fact that we are able to provide live instruction to these [regional] students, allows us to reel in, speak to, and provide an opportunity to those underserved areas,” says Blood.
The possibility of being a model for the future is there. The fact that NPRC is not investing in bricks and mortar, we’re not asking for students to live on campus, building gymnasiums and cafeterias, or developing other amenities typical of other residential colleges, is saving us money. NPRC is pioneering a new approach to higher education that is replicable and can work in other similar parts of the country. Founding President Nairn shares that NPRC represents “a way to serve rural Americans, a way to serve these underserved communities that don’t require people to uproot themselves and go somewhere to study.”
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