Spring Term Will Continue Mostly Virtual
In order to deliver a quality college education safely during a pandemic, Nicolet College will continue to provide most of its instruction in the virtual world for the upcoming 2021 Spring Term.
“The college was well-positioned to transition the majority of classes to online delivery and we will continue with that format in the upcoming term,” said Kate Ferrel, executive vice-president of academic and student affairs. “The safety of our students and staff is our top priority, and after seeing how well both students and the college adapted to this unprecedented change, we decided the best route was to continue down this path.”
Currently, about 80 percent of Nicolet classes are being delivered online. When students do have to be on campus for hands-on, lab-based instruction, schedules are staggered to limit the number of students in a lab at any one time and masks are required when indoors.
Along with having the infrastructure in place to ramp up online learning even more, another big factor leading to the successful transition was the robust level of student services available to those attending Nicolet, said Erika Warning-Meyer, dean of enrollment at the college.
“Many students face challenges,” she said. “And we let our students know that we are behind them 100 percent. Whether they need additional help with their studies, financial assistance that can come in many forms, or counseling services for personal challenges, we’re here to help. Student safety and student success are our top priorities.”
College officials have also noticed that the disruptive nature of the pandemic led more Northwoods students with their eyes set on a bachelor’s degree to enroll in Nicolet’s University Transfer Liberal Arts program.
For the current Fall Term, the program saw an enrollment bump of 39 more students over last year at this time.
That dynamic – of local students looking to stay closer to home instead of heading off to four-year campuses in larger metro areas – is expected to continue for the Spring Term, Warning-Meyer said.
“We’re seeing that there is a degree of unease among Transfer students, as well as their parents, about heading off to large four-year campuses,” she said. “And we’ve heard from many of these students that they plan to stay at Nicolet for the time being and then transfer their credits to their four-year college of choice once the pandemic subsides.”
Nicolet currently has more than 80 credit transfer agreements with numerous four-year colleges and universities. These include all campuses in the University of Wisconsin System, including UW-Madison, and many other public and private institutions.
While total enrollment is currently down slightly over last year, Warning-Meyer said that she’s heard from students in programs other than University Transfer that they also want to keep moving forward toward their career goals despite the challenges and continue taking classes at Nicolet.
“They know that a college education will lead to a better life and brighter future,” she said. “Nicolet works extensively with local employers in order to provide graduates with the exact skills they will need for successful careers. The pandemic is not going to last forever, and while students are dealing with added challenges now, they know that all of their hard work and perseverance will pay off in the end.”