President’s Letter

Welcome to the Fall 2020 edition of Northwest Link, our biannual newsletter. In the spring, our newsletter was focused on how we continued our work in the face of a global pandemic. We continue that focus in this edition as our Campus, our College and, indeed, the world, still grapple with the ramifications of a virus that has come to drastically alter our lives. Amidst all this change, we forge ahead and continue to do the good work that we know our community expects of us.

One byproduct of the pandemic is that we have seen, in a new context and under extraordinary circumstances, the dedication and ingenuity of our staff and faculty. One group we are highlighting in this newsletter is our Campus Facilities Team under the leadership of Facilities Manager Joe Gonzales. This team never stopped working on site and have taken the relative quiet on our Campus as an opportunity to work ahead on projects and prepare for the redevelopment of TCC Northwest. We also have a feature of some of our amazing faculty who have devised some truly innovative strategies in their online teaching, particularly as this relates to student engagement.

In Community Education and Engagement, our team had just completed the first year of a redesign of their Youth Enrichment programming when the pandemic began. They were able to take the structure of that redesign and move it into an online environment. We also have a story about the merging of the Criminal Justice Training Center, Firing Range and Fire Service Training Center into one cohesive unit called the Public Safety Training Center, which is now under the leadership of one director, Steve Keller. This was a year-long effort pursued by Director Keller, Dean Sonya Brown and Vice President of Academic Affairs Judith Gallagher. Their dedication and planning will advance our College’s commitment to public services as well as our ability to serve our community.

Finally, we have two stories about new beginnings at TCC Northwest. First, we have a profile of our new vice president of student development services, Jan Clayton, who began in June and has done a wonderful job despite having to learn a new institution and get to know her colleagues through a computer screen or masked and distanced. I have really enjoyed working with Jan, and I am excited to see the impact of her leadership on our Campus. Second, many of our faculty and staff have celebrated personal milestones since the pandemic began including weddings, graduations and new children. We have a story that profiles Aaly Meherali, instructor of chemistry, and April Trafton, learning lab manager of the Academic Learning Center, who both welcomed new babies into their families during the pandemic. I congratulate them and all of our faculty, staff and students who have celebrated personal milestones this year.

We continue to live through dramatic and tumultuous times. As we approach the end of the fall term and a holiday season where many of us will be away from those we hold most dear, I encourage us all to think about what is most important. At TCC Northwest, one of our Employee Success Commitments is kindness. I encourage us all to reach out to those who make an impact in our lives and let them know that they are important to us. Thank a teacher, talk to a colleague, send a virtual high five to a friend. Thank you for your continued support of TCC Northwest and know that we will continue to serve our students and community as we look ahead to exciting things in 2021.

Warm Regards,

Zarina Blankenbaker, Ph.D