Letters from Dr. Akakpo | BCTC

Letters from Dr. Akakpo

April 8, 2021

Dear Student,

As we approach the end of the semester, many of you are asking for more details about graduation. Although we had hoped we would be able to hold our traditional graduation this spring, circumstances related to COVID still prevent us from doing so. 

Our faculty and staff look forward to it as much as you do. This is why we want to make it a very special event, even if it can’t be what we’d like. Our goal is to make sure we captured the two most important aspects of graduation: celebration and recognition of student achievement.

The drive-thru graduation celebrations will be held at each of our regional campuses and at the Newtown Campus in Lexington. This allows graduates, friends, and family members to safely celebrate with each other as BCTC staff and faculty line the festive drive-thru route at each campus holding signs, waving, and cheering for our graduates. All of this is streamed live on BCTC’s Facebook and YouTube channels.

The virtual graduation ceremony contains the elements of a traditional graduation that recognize students by name and provide words of congratulation and inspiration from the speakers, including poet Nikky Finney

In addition, we are encouraging all students, especially graduates, to submit a photo of themselves holding a poster board or white board with one of the following messages:

Thank you __________ (fill in the blank with the person(s) you want to thank)
I’m grateful for __________
I graduated during the pandemic because_______

You can submit your photo here. Whether you are a graduate or not, I hope you will contribute your message to the video that celebrates our 2020-21 academic year and our 2021 graduates.

We all lost something during this pandemic. Our goal is to replace this loss with a special memory of being truly celebrated and recognized. In fact, several graduates who participated in our December graduation told us this celebration was so much better than any graduation they’d attended.

Tony Robbins once said, “Life is about the moments: Don't wait for them, create them!” Our goal is to create a special moment for our graduates this May.

As always, we are all in this together; we will overcome together, and we will come out stronger.

Koffi C. Akakpo, Ph.D.
President/CEO

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Past Letters

Dear Student,

I hope your semester is going well. We’re looking at just about one month until it is complete. Make sure you are checking your midterm grades and reaching out for any needed tutoring. I don’t know about you, but I feel this spring semester is going very quickly! 

We began enrollment for summer and fall at the beginning of this month. We look forward to welcoming more of you back to campus this fall. As vaccinations are available and the positivity rate in our communities drops, we are able to offer additional in-person classes. If you are not yet comfortable coming back or prefer a remote option, those will be available too.

Selecting your classes now is the best option for getting the classes you want. If you need help contacting your advisor, just let us know. We’re here to help.

I also encourage you to check your college email frequently. This is the best way for us to communicate with you about your classes, student account, financial aid, student activities and events, and much more. 

As you check your emails, be aware of phishing scams. There has been a significant number of them targeting our college and students. Never give your personal information, open an attachment or click a link if you do not recognize the sender. You can learn more about these scams aimed at college students in this article.

I’d like to close with this quote on encouragement from Leigh Cooper: “Never underestimate the power of encouragement. You have the power to change a moment, perhaps even a life if you only step into the opportunity.” I hope you will step into that opportunity today.

As always, we are all in this together; we will overcome together, and we will come out stronger. 

Koffi C. Akakpo, Ph.D.
President/CEO

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March 25, 2021

Dear Student,

I am excited that spring is officially here, although it seems to be spring showers today. However, I’m not going to let that dampen my mood. In addition to warmer weather, green grass, blooming flowers, and COVID vaccine, we have many positive things to look forward to at BCTC.

Are you looking for a job sometime soon? You’ll want to attend a BCTC PREP Day to prepare for that job search, practice your interview skills in a mock interview, and meet with local employers. These events will take place April 2, 9, and 16. Learn more about the event and register here.

One of the best events of the year is the Student Leadership Retreat. This year’s retreat will focus on navigating life in the time of COVID and take place on April 30. It is free for all students. If you register by April16, you’ll also get BCTC swag.

In addition, our new buildings on the Newtown and Danville Campuses are coming along well. We are looking forward to opening both this fall. The Den on Newtown Campus includes renovations to the historic Laundry Building and will house services for students, community history gallery and reception area, and an 85-90 seat auditorium.

The Advanced Manufacturing Center (AMC) on the Danville Campus will expand the Advanced Manufacturing Technician (AMT) and the Electrical and Industrial Maintenance programs by doubling annual capacity. It will include a high bay, open-lab concept consistent with workplaces in the manufacturing field, and four additional classrooms. You can see photos of the progress of The Den and Advanced Manufacturing Center (AMC) here.

Spring also brings midterms. Yes, that IS good. I encourage you to check out the midterm webpage for more information about midterm grades, instructions on how to check your midterm grades and additional resources to help you finish strong. Take a few minutes to check your midterm grades and schedule a follow-up meeting with your instructor and/or advisor. You’ll be glad you did.

Also popping up on campus are opportunities to help each other. I hope you have noticed the HEART donation boxes located near our campus libraries. You can find more information about the Heart of BCTC donation needs or dates open to students here. I’d also like to thank our BCTC Construction Technology students for building these attractive boxes for us. 

Yes, we have a lot to be grateful for and to look forward to in the coming months. I think the pandemic has taught us that what Katy Mixon says is true: “If you're not getting it perfect, life is still going to go around. The world still turns. It's going to be OK. Tomorrow is a new day.” 

As always, we are all in this together; we will overcome together, and we will come out stronger. 

Koffi C. Akakpo, Ph.D.
President/CEO

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Dear Student,

Welcome to those who just joined us for the new 8-week session! For the rest of you, congratulations! You are more than halfway through the semester.

As we get closer to the end of the semester, some have been asking about plans for graduation. Although the situation is certainly improving, current restrictions do not allow us to plan for a traditional commencement in May. We are determined to give our graduates the recognition and celebration they deserve. Therefore, we have decided to have another drive-thru grad celebration and virtual graduation ceremony as we did in December. We’re very excited to announce our graduation speaker, Nikky Finney, American poet and storyteller. 

If you are a graduate, I can tell you this is an event you don’t want to miss! Some said it was better than a traditional graduation. If you have not seen the December graduation video, check it out to have a better idea of what we’re planning for May. Graduation celebrations will take place at all of our campuses on the dates and times below. Graduates received an email invitation to participate today.

Friday, May 7 

  • Danville Campus 4-4:30 p.m.
  • Lawrenceburg Campus 5:30-6 p.m.

Saturday, May 8

  • Newtown Campus 9-10:30 a.m.
  • Winchester Campus 11:30 a.m.-12 p.m.
  • Georgetown Campus 1-1:30 p.m.

If you are not a graduate, we encourage you to join us on our BCTC YouTube channel as we LIVE stream from each campus. Or, you can watch the recorded event later also on YouTube.

Rethinking graduation once again shows we are not yet finished bending to this pandemic. My hope is that later this year we will be able to gather again for forums and graduations. Until then, we remain flexible. As Albert Einstein once said, “The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.”

As always, we are all in this together; we will overcome together, and we will come out stronger. 

Koffi C. Akakpo, Ph.D.
President/CEO

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March 4, 2021

Dear Students,

Our 8-week session starts Monday, so that means we are halfway through the spring semester. Well done! For those of you who are beginning your spring semester next week, welcome!       

Spring is (almost) here; the vaccine is here; life is good. You can see if you are eligible for the vaccination on this site: vaccine.ky.gov. Speaking of the vaccine, I’m proud to announce that our BCTC nursing students are helping to vaccinate central Kentucky. If you get your vaccine at Kroger Field, they may be serving you. Be sure to thank them for helping us get closer to “normal” again.

As we plan for upcoming opportunities and events, we are going to ask for your input. Currently, we are working on opportunities to experience and share art at BCTC. Please complete this short survey to help us provide the arts related programming  you are interested in.

Tomorrow is BCTC’s first LGBTQ+ conference. This is a great opportunity to participate in our inclusive and welcoming college community. The conference is March 5, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Sign up today.

This month we celebrate women who have played a vital role in history. In their honor, I’d like to share a quote by a woman who, like our nursing students, made helping others her life’s work. “Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time, and always start with the person nearest to you.” – Mother Teresa

As always, we are all in this together; we will overcome together, and we will come out stronger. 

Koffi C. Akakpo, Ph.D.
President/CEO

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Dear Students,

Did you ever wonder what it was like to live at the North Pole? We may have had a taste of it last week, well minus the subzero temperatures. I hope you have enjoyed the thaw and have power restored. These past 12 months have certainly taught us to adapt to anything.

Last week’s weather events caused us to extend several selective admission application deadlines. If you are interested in a selective admissions program or want to learn more about the extended deadlines, you can find that information here.

We have exciting first-time college events coming up that you won’t want to miss. Tonight at 7 p.m. is BCTC’s first virtual comedy show featuring Joe Deuce and hosted by the Office of African American Retention and Student Engagement & Leadership. Find out how to join the show here. Next week is BCTC’s first LGBTQ+ conference. This is a great opportunity to learn something you may not know and ensure our college community is inclusive and welcoming to all. The conference is March 5, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Sign up today

I know life has been challenging. You’ve faced so many obstacles, but you kept going. I commend each one of you and would love for you to tell the story of how you persisted toward your goals. 

The Kentucky Community and Technical College System’s (KCTCS) Better Lives video contest gives you the opportunity to do just that and win some great prizes, like a Dell laptop valued at over $1000, a $500 Amazon gift card and the opportunity for your story to be featured in a KCTCS commercial. You can learn more about the contest and how to enter here. I know there are lots of great stories out there that need to be told. I hope you will consider telling your inspirational story.

Reflecting on what we have been through these past 12 months and seeing all of the amazing things you are doing today, I feel so much pride. “The greater the obstacle, the more glory in overcoming it.” This quote by Jean-Baptiste Poquelin is about you. You have and continue to rise to every challenge. Well done!

As always, we are all in this together; we will overcome together, and we will come out stronger.   

Koffi C. Akakpo, Ph.D.
President/CEO

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The weather outside is frightful and the pandemic often keeps us apart, but BCTC virtual activities are designed to keep you connected to the college. We have so many exciting things going on.

Let me share just a few: our Counseling Department is hosting a series of workshops on stress management and mental health. Student Engagement has many virtual events planned, including the Great BCTC Bake-off. We’re celebrating Black History Month with virtual events that explore the African immigrant experience through Canvas and Conversation and topics that matter to us all with the Social Justice Speaker’s Series. We are also preparing for a virtual student, faculty and staff art exhibition April – July 2021. Are you interested in submitting an art entry? The deadline to submit is March 1.

If you are unaware of these events, please be sure to check out our weekly BCTC Announcements that come to your email every Wednesday, and emails from the Student Engagement Office. Clearly, the pandemic and cold weather can’t keep us from staying connected. I encourage you to find a virtual activity to connect with other students, staff and faculty.

Friday is the 12-week payment arrangement deadline. We want to make sure you stay in your classes. If you have a balance, please check out the payment options available. If you have concerns or need help with payment arrangements, please contact the Bursar’s Office at  BL-BursarOffice@kctcs.edu or call 859-285-7405. When leaving a message, be sure to include your student ID number and a phone number.

February is financial aid month. This a great time to explore resources that will help you make a financial plan for the fall, including completing the FAFSA and looking into BCTC scholarships. Financial struggle is real for us all. We understand.

I don’t know about you, but I’m really looking forward to spring and all it will bring. Until then, I suggest we follow C.E. Jerningham’s advice: "To be happy, you must be your own sunshine."

And as always, we are all in this together; we will overcome together, and we will come out stronger. 

Koffi C. Akakpo, Ph.D.
President/CEO

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Dear Students,

It’s February and Pennsylvania's Punxsutawney Phil's wasn’t able to give us good news Tuesday. It looks like six more weeks of winter. Oddly enough since the pandemic began, it has felt like every day is Groundhog Day as depicted in the 1993 Bill Murray film. For those of you who were not born in 1993, I’ve included a link! I’m looking forward to warmer weather and brighter days ahead in 2021. 

One bright spot on the Newtown Campus is The Den. It has been exciting seeing the exterior walls go up, and the interior is taking shape as well. The overall design will incorporate specialty furnishings and well-crafted technology to provide you a very dynamic experience. We’re on schedule to open The Den this fall.

Many of us are waiting to get more information about when the COVID-19 vaccination will be available. There is a new state website, vaccine.ky.gov, and hotline (855-598-2246) that can help us determine if we’re eligible to receive a vaccine and find a local vaccination site.

While we wait our turn for the vaccine, please continue to follow the #HealthyAtBCTC protocols. We are doing a great job keeping each other and our campuses safe.

As we navigate the change, and sameness, that the pandemic brings, I’d like to share this quote from Groundhog Day: “Sometimes I wish I had a thousand lifetimes. I don't know, Phil. Maybe it's not a curse. Just depends on how you look at it,” said character Rita Hanson. I encourage us all to look for the positive in all situations as Rita advises.

And as always, we are all in this together; we will overcome together, and we will come out stronger. 

Koffi C. Akakpo, Ph.D.
President/CEO

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Dear Students,

I hope you have settled into the spring semester and are finding the assistance you need to set and attain your goals. In our effort to ensure you are, we are engaging in our fourth student call campaign this week and next. 

You will receive a call from a faculty or staff member who wants to personally reach out and see how you are doing. This is an opportunity for you to connect with the help you may need, and our opportunity to get to know you better. I can speak for BCTC faculty and staff when I say, we are here for your success! Please let us help.

This semester let’s explore together opportunities to care for one another. Who needs a word of encouragement today? Where can you spend a little more time to help someone in need? What do you have that you could share with someone who has little? What do you need to understand that will make you a better neighbor, friend, or family member?

I’m inspired by the words of Margaret Wheatly: “There is no power for change greater than a community discovering what it cares about.” We are such a community. I look forward to seeing what we can do.

As always, we are all in this together; we will overcome together, and we will come out stronger. 

Koffi C. Akakpo, Ph.D.
President/CEO

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Dear Students,

Welcome back to the spring 2021 semester! I hope you had a great break and enjoyed some well-deserved rest and family time. I’m excited to begin a new year and help you move closer to your educational goals. 

I encourage you to ask for help when you need it and to take advantage of all of the resources we have at BCTC. All services are available to you virtually and/or in-person. Please also check out our scholarship opportunities, including the Work Ready Kentucky Scholarship.

If you or someone you know would like to take additional classes this semester, the 12-week session begins February 8, and the 8-week session begins March 8. You can go to your student account or Starfish to schedule an appointment with your advisor. If you need help with this process, advisors are available. Complete this form, and someone will contact you.

As you know, the COVID-19 state positivity rate is higher than it has ever been, but the good news is the vaccine has arrived in Kentucky. So, in relation to these points, I want to remind you to stay vigilant in your healthy at BCTC practices by following all protocols on campus and protecting yourself when you are off campus. 

Regarding the vaccine, colleges and universities are in the vaccine rollout plan. We are in close contact with local authorities and will keep you up-to-date on when and where vaccines are available to us. And, if you are wondering, you will not be required to get a vaccine to be on campus.

While we continue to process the challenges the pandemic brings, the events in Washington D.C. last week presented another challenge for our nation. If you would like to speak with someone to process your thoughts regarding these events, or other concerns, free counseling is available through the BCTC Counseling department. You can  self-schedule an appointment  or call 859.246.6550. We are also offering workshops this semester that you may want to check out.

We are here for you. Just let us know how we can help.

Baha’U’Llah, the religious leader who promoted peace and unity, reminds us of the value of coming together, “So powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the whole earth.” 

As always, we are all in this together; we will overcome together, and we will come out stronger. 

Koffi C. Akakpo, Ph.D.
President/CEO

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Dear Students,

Welcome back to the spring 2021 semester! I hope you had a great break and enjoyed some well-deserved rest and family time. I’m excited to begin a new year and help you move closer to your educational goals. 

I encourage you to ask for help when you need it and to take advantage of all of the resources we have at BCTC. All services are available to you virtually and/or in-person. Please also check out our scholarship opportunities, including the Work Ready Kentucky Scholarship.

If you or someone you know would like to take additional classes this semester, the 12-week session begins February 8, and the 8-week session begins March 8. You can go to your student account or Starfish to schedule an appointment with your advisor. If you need help with this process, advisors are available. Complete this form, and someone will contact you.

As you know, the COVID-19 state positivity rate is higher than it has ever been, but the good news is the vaccine has arrived in Kentucky. So, in relation to these points, I want to remind you to stay vigilant in your healthy at BCTC practices by following all protocols on campus and protecting yourself when you are off campus. 

Regarding the vaccine, colleges and universities are in the vaccine rollout plan. We are in close contact with local authorities and will keep you up-to-date on when and where vaccines are available to us. And, if you are wondering, you will not be required to get a vaccine to be on campus.

While we continue to process the challenges the pandemic brings, the events in Washington D.C. last week presented another challenge for our nation. If you would like to speak with someone to process your thoughts regarding these events, or other concerns, free counseling is available through the BCTC Counseling department. You can  self-schedule an appointment  or call 859.246.6550. We are also offering workshops this semester that you may want to check out.

We are here for you. Just let us know how we can help.

Baha’U’Llah, the religious leader who promoted peace and unity, reminds us of the value of coming together, “So powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the whole earth.” 

As always, we are all in this together; we will overcome together, and we will come out stronger. 

Koffi C. Akakpo, Ph.D.
President/CEO

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Dear Students,

You did it! You have made it through the last semester of 2020, and your faculty tell me you have done so triumphantly. I think none will be sad to see 2020 go into the history books.

Before you take off to enjoy the holidays with family and friends, be sure you are all set for spring 2021 by checking your student account for any messages regarding financial aid or other important information.

If you have not registered for spring classes, be sure to go to your student account or Starfish to schedule an appointment with your advisor. If you need help with this process, advisors will be available during our Spring into 2021 enrollment event next week. Complete this form, and someone will contact you.

Stay safe and healthy over the winter break. Our staff, faculty and I look forward to welcoming you back in January for a new semester and new year.

I’ll leave you with one last quote from 2020 by an unknown author: “The difference between stumbling blocks and stepping stones is how you use them.”  You have certainly continued on the path you set for yourselves, despite this pandemic. Congratulations!

Please remember we are all in this together; we will overcome together, and we will come out stronger. 

Happy Holidays!

Koffi C. Akakpo, Ph.D.
President/CEO

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Dear Students,

I hope your Thanksgiving holiday was restful and you came back ready to finish this semester strong. I can’t say enough about how proud I am of you all for the amazing work and dedication you have shown this semester. This is truly a #BCTCProud moment for me!

As you know, next week is finals week, and we want to provide any resources and assistance you need to do well. Please make sure you are checking Blackboard for assignments and asking any last-minute questions you need to ask of your instructors. If you need tutoring, take advantage of our tutoring resources.

In addition, the library has exciting new resources available to help you. We have headsets with microphones, graphing calculators, and webcams available for long-term checkout. Just stop by the Newtown or Leestown libraries for assistance.

We also have thousands of films available for you to view through our new streaming film databases. To access, go to the BCTC website library page, scroll down the page and click “Find an Article” on the left-hand side. Scroll down the page to “Film.” If you have any questions about these or other library resources, call 859-246-6713 or use our Ask Us link. The libraries on Newtown and Leestown Campuses are open through December 18 and here to help.

Finally, I want to remind you to register for winter session or spring classes by going to your student account or Starfish to schedule an appointment with your advisor.

As we close 2020 and this semester together, I’d like to share this great quote by Robin Sharma: “Starting strong is good. Finishing strong is epic!” Please remember we are all in this together; we will overcome together, and we will come out stronger. 

Koffi C. Akakpo, Ph.D.
President/CEO

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As we prepare to enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday, I want to take a moment to commend you for your work and dedication in 2020. This pandemic has pushed us to places we were not even aware we could go, much less find success in. I’m grateful that you allowed BCTC to serve you through these challenging months.

I want to remind you that most classes will go online after the Thanksgiving Break, so make sure you are paying attention to your course syllabus during this time. As you complete your semester in the next few weeks, please take advantage of the resources such as tutoring, peer mentoring or personal counseling that we offer you at no charge and register for spring classes by going to your student account or Starfish to schedule an appointment with your advisor.

Due to the guidelines stated by the Governor yesterday, in Lexington, we will focus most of our student services at the Newtown Campus November 23 through December 18. A few services will be available on the Leestown Campus, including the testing center, library, computer lab, bookstore and cashier. With limited staffing, regional campuses will be open to serve their communities.

In addition to these campus locations, all BCTC services continue to be available remotely to our students and the public through December 18. Thank you for continuing to follow protocols to keep our campuses healthy and safe.

Today, I choose to take Charles Dickins advice: “Reflect upon your present blessings – of which every man has many – not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have few.” Count your blessings this holiday and remember, we are all in this together; we will overcome together, and we will come out stronger. 

Koffi C. Akakpo, Ph.D.
President/CEO

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Dear Students,

We are about a month away from completing the fall semester. It is amazing how quickly the time has passed. As you near the end, I hope you are taking advantage of the resources such as tutoring, peer mentoring or personal counseling that we offer at no charge to help you be successful in your classes. Also, I want to remind you that most classes will go online after the Thanksgiving Break, so make sure you are paying attention to your course syllabus during this time.

Looking toward the next semester, I hope you have registered for your spring classes and the winter session, if you are interested in knocking out a class during the break. You can enroll in classes by going to your student account or Starfish to schedule an appointment with your advisor.

Have you participated in the student media preference survey? If not, you can take a quick survey that helps us understand how you prefer to get communication by following this link and entering the password 310920. This is the last week it will be open and the last chance to win some great prizes, like an iPad.

In the past few weeks, we have seen a steady increase in COVID-19 cases in our state, and it is likely we will continue to see this increase as we move closer to winter. You have all done such a great job following our #HealthyAtBCTC protocols. I want to encourage you to continue diligently following them. Masks, social distancing and good hygiene keep us healthy and safe. Let’s all do our part for each other.

Pablo Valle said, “Never underestimate the difference YOU can make in the lives of others. Step forward, reach out and help.”  And remember, we are all in this together; we will overcome together, and we will come out stronger. 

Koffi C. Akakpo, Ph.D.
President/CEO

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I’m pleased to announce the First Year Center has transitioned to the Student Success Hub where we will assist all students at BCTC, not just first-year students. I hope you will visit The Hub (bluegrass.kctcs.edu/sshub) or call (859) 246-6702. Here, we offer assistance and services, such as tutoring (in-person and online) and peer mentoring, that can enhance your success at BCTC. The Hub staff looks forward to expanding their mission and providing support to you in new and exciting ways.

This week, the Governor discussed new recommendations for our state related to the increase in COVID cases. We want you to know that we are closely monitoring this situation and working with our Healthy at BCTC Officer, local health officials, CPE and KCTCS. If there are any changes in our response, I will communicate this with you immediately. We are committed, first, to your safety as we deliver quality education and outstanding service to you.

As we approach election day next week, I encourage you all, regardless of your candidate, to make your voice heard. One vote may seem insignificant, but history has shown it can make a difference in election outcomes and in the society in which we live.

Someone once said, “If you are not willing to learn, no one can help you. If you are determined to learn, no one can stop you.” You are in the last stretch of this semester. Take advantage of the faculty and staff who want to help you and visit the Student Success Hub. Show your determination, continue to work hard and finish strong. I know you can do it! 

Finally, please continue to practice our #HealthyAtBCTC protocols to protect yourself and the people around you as we see local cases continue to rise. And as always remember, we are all in this together; we will overcome together, and we will come out stronger. 

Koffi C. Akakpo, Ph.D.
President/CEO

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Dear Students,

Well done, those of you who completed midterms last week. I continue to be impressed with your ability to not just survive, but to thrive through this pandemic!

I encourage you to continue to do so by planning for your future. You can enroll in classes for winter session and the spring semester by going to your student account or Starfish to schedule an appointment with your advisor. If you are thinking of transfer, I hope you participated in the Thriving through Transfer virtual transfer fair. If you didn’t, it’s not too late to participate and speak live with our BCTC transfer staff tomorrow between 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

You don’t have to be close to graduation to speak with a transfer advisor. In fact, it is best to do so as soon as possible. They can help you determine the best classes for your future major and plan your transfer steps while still at BCTC.

I continue to witness how you are collaborating with one another. Students faculty and staff are coming together as the strong BCTC community we are. Helping one another is more important than ever. 

Denzel Washington says it very well: “At the end of the day, it’s not about what you have, or even what you’ve accomplished. It’s about who you’ve lifted up, who you’ve made better. It’s about what you’ve given back.”

Please continue our #HealthyAtBCTC procedure to protect our college community as we see local cases remain high. And as always remember, we are all in this together; we will overcome together, and we will come out stronger. 

Koffi C. Akakpo, Ph.D.
President/CEO

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Dear Students,

I’m pleased to report we are halfway through the fall semester marked by our second 8-week term that begins Monday. I continue to hear great things about how you are experiencing success on many levels because you are engaged and committed to your goals. 

To help you stay on course, we’re posting midterm grades for this semester. Midterm grades will be posted for all sessions, beginning on October 12. Our midterm information page on the website gives you all of the information you need to check your grades and find resources including tutoring, peer mentoring or personal counseling.  

I encourage you to review your midterm grades, connect with your instructor about your progress in class and seek any assistance you may need. Our faculty and staff are here to help you succeed in and out of the classroom. 

As we look beyond this semester, I know many of you have already begun to plan for the spring. Priority Registration for the winter and spring sessions is going on now through October 31. Enroll early so you can have first pick of upcoming classes by going to your student account or Starfish to schedule an appointment with your advisor to find the classes that work best for you. 

In addition, it is now time to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) which can determine the financial aid for which you may qualify for fall 2021. It is best to file as soon as possible. I also encourage you to apply for BCTC scholarship opportunities.

Moving further into fall also means election season is upon us. I urge you to pursue whatever method you choose to make your voice heard through voting. And, if you have selected a mail-in ballot, we have a drop box on our Leestown Campus for your convenience. Sharon Salzberg said, “Voting is the expression of our commitment to ourselves, one another, this country, and this world.” 

Whether it is election season, the pandemic, or just making it through another week, we are all better off when we help each other through the challenges with kindness and understanding.

And as always remember, we are all in this together; we will overcome together, and we will come out stronger. 

Koffi C. Akakpo, Ph.D.
President/CEO

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Dear Students,

The value of diversity in experience and points of view creates awareness, enlightenment, and betterment of the college community. It pushes us all to reach outside our comfort zones. It causes us to learn about something or someone that we previously did not know. It is in these, sometimes uncomfortable places that we develop a richer campus community and world.

Bluegrass Community & Technical College (BCTC) supports free expression and exchange of ideas on campus.  We ask that this be done within the policies and procedures that respect diversity and inclusion and uphold campus safety.

To accomplish this purpose, BCTC and the Kentucky Community & Technical College System (KCTCS) have established policies and procedures regarding free speech expression. By adhering to these guidelines, we create an environment where we all can thrive.

I’d like for us all to be aware of these policies that guide our behavior on campus.

Student or public demonstrations are encouraged to take place in areas designated for this purpose and are allowed on campus as long as they do not:

  • Interfere with the normal operations of the college.
  • Deny access to an office, building, or other college facility.
  • Threaten physical harm to persons or damage to college facilities.
  • Disturb the campus or community through disorderly conduct.

If speech or behavior becomes disruptive to the work or learning environment, KCTCS may be able to take corrective actions under its policies.

When it comes to posting or wearing messages, or social media communication, unfortunately some offensive, hateful, bigoted, racist, sexist, and other obscene or profane language may not necessarily violate KCTCS policy that must be guided by state/federal law. Thus, in some cases, these messages may not be removed by the college.

However, as we exercise rights provided by the U.S. Constitution, civility, tolerance, openness, and diversity of thought are the BCTC values, and we encourage all to express points of view respectfully and politely.

In addition, public bulletin boards are open forums where any type of message may be posted as long as it is not illegal (no threats to specific persons or groups, nudity or advertisements for illegal activity such as drugs).  Bulletins may not be removed from a public bulletin board simply because of a disagreement with the content. Bulletins may only be posted on designated public bulletin boards.

If fliers are placed on vehicles in the parking lot, security can ask them to stop, and request that they remove any they have already posted. 

If you have questions about any of these policies or procedures, please contact Taran McZee, Associate Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. It is our desire to facilitate an educational environment where you not only learn the information you need to pursue the career of your choice, but where you also are encouraged to explore new ideas and develop skills to respectfully and civilly express those ideas.

Finally, I want to remind you of some important opportunities today, October 1, brings each year.

First, today is the first day you can complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine the financial aid for which you may qualify for fall 2021. It is best to file as soon as possible. Today you may also apply for BCTC scholarship opportunities. I hope you will pursue one or more of the many scholarship opportunities available to you.

Second, today is the first day of Priority Registration for the winter and spring sessions. We give current students the opportunity to enroll early, so you can have first pick of upcoming classes. In addition, if you are interested in adding another class THIS semester, our 8-week fall session begins October 14. It’s not too late to register for those classes. Please go to your student account or Starfish to schedule an appointment with your advisor and enroll in the classes that work best for you.

As you can see, today is a great day to begin your education plans for 2021. Enjoy this beautiful fall day!

Koffi C. Akakpo, Ph.D.
President/CEO

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Dear Students,

This week, we learned more about the historic case regarding the death of Breonna Taylor. My heart goes out to the entire community. Clearly, the impact of this case extends far beyond this family and Louisville because of the racial and social justice implications. 

Each of us may experience a myriad of emotions and may need time and space to process this moment and all that led up to it. We are here for you. Counseling services are available for students through the BCTC Counseling Center.  If you need support, I encourage you to take advantage of these services.  

In addition, there will be opportunities for discourse provided by our Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. The first of these opportunities is Race in America Part 2. The virtual forum will take place on October 1, from 12 – 1:30 p.m. 

As we navigate through this difficult time in our community, I know our BCTC family will remember the importance of respecting and supporting one another. Please offer each other flexibility, empathy and compassion.

BCTC holds a deep commitment to our values of diversity, inclusion and equity. We esteem and welcome all people and points of view. Our greatest strength is diversity; it enriches us as individuals and a community. Embracing our differences will unite us in our common mission to provide opportunity to our community, today and in the days to come. 

Laura Jack said, "Together, we are going to create a world with more love, more understanding, and more compassion. When we see beyond the surface and get to know people for their stories, for their unique experiences, and for their distinct gifts, hate becomes impossible and love becomes inevitable."

We are all in this together; we will overcome together, and we will come out stronger. 

Koffi C. Akakpo, Ph.D.
President/CEO

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Dear Students,

This week, we welcomed more of you to classes and on campus as we started the 12-week term. I’m sure you have found that much has changed since the last class you may have taken, but you’re finding your instructors are innovative, flexible and offering support to ensure your success this semester.

I applaud you all for pursuing your dreams, even when your circumstances are not easy. I know some of you are not only working on your own education, but have become educators of your children until they can return to school. Some of you are caring for aging parents, and some of you are working more than one job and attending college. Some of you are using more technology than you even have in our new world of virtual teaching and learning. None of this is easy.

While we learn to deal with the pressures above, we are also facing social unrest and the upcoming election season. Undoubtedly, these are unprecedented times. As we all strive to be the change we want to see in the world, I hope we remember the importance of respecting each other and showing kindness and tolerance.

The value of diversity in experience and points of view creates awareness, enlightenment and betterment. It is truly a significant part of the college education you seek. In fact, Helen Keller said, “The highest result of education is tolerance.”  It pushes us all to reach outside our comfort zones. It causes us to learn about something or someone that we previously did not know. It is in these, sometimes uncomfortable, places that we develop a richer campus community and world. This truly gives us all Better Lives.

As we move toward tomorrow and whatever that may bring, I implore you to consider this powerful quote by John F. Kennedy, “Tolerance implies no lack of commitment to one’s own beliefs. Rather it condemns oppression or persecution of others.” It is our responsibility as a community to create the environment where we can all thrive.    

Remember, we will overcome together and will come out of it stronger. As always, stay healthy and remember we are all in this together.

Koffi C. Akakpo, Ph.D.
President/CEO

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Dear Students,

This week, many of you are returning to a more familiar BCTC environment with other students on campus and in our classrooms. It has been fun to interact with you on campus, even if it is in our new normal with masks and distancing.

Our faculty and staff are happy to have you on campus too. And, we want to talk to you. So, we have kicked off the Fall 2020 Student Call Campaign to check on you and make sure things are going well. Be on the lookout for one of our colleagues calling soon. We want to know if you need any assistance and help you resolve issues.

Thank you for following all #HealthyAtBCTC protocols including wearing your masks, social distancing, staying away from campus if you are not feeling well and reporting any exposure to the virus. If we each look out for each other, our campuses will remain safe and healthy.

If you have any questions about our #HealthyAtBCTC protocol or requirements for your classes, please review the web content we have created to answer these questions and Healthy at Work Officer Q&A or reach out to your instructors.

As we continue our transparency related to the pandemic, I want to let you know I was notified this week that three of our students tested positive for COVID-19. Since then, I have been working with our Healthy at BCTC team to gather information. I can now report there was limited contact with a few students and employees. 

The health department will complete contact tracing and notify anyone who has potentially been exposed. By following our Healthy at BCTC protocols, risk of exposure was minimized. We would like to thank our students for making us aware of this situation as soon as it came to light. We send wishes for quick recovery. Working together, we will remain #HealthyAtBCTC.

Although we are happy to see each other, returning to campus during this pandemic can be stressful. I encourage you to reach out if you need help. We have counselors here at BCTC who will talk with you and can help you work through stresses that you may be facing. If you need help, please contact our counseling office.

I am so proud of each and every one of you. Your courage, strength and commitment to carry on is heroic. As Bob Riley said, “Hard times don’t create heroes. It is during the hard times when the ‘hero’ within us is revealed.”

Remember, we will overcome together and will come out of it stronger. As always, stay healthy and remember we are all in this together.

Koffi C. Akakpo, Ph.D.
President/CEO

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Dear Students,

It’s hard to believe, but the fall semester is here. Classes begin Monday!

As you begin fall 2020 as a freshman or are about to complete your program, I want to remind you that for the first week only, the majority of fall classes will be delivered by online/remote instruction. The goal is to give in-person class instructors the opportunity to contact you the first week to explain how the class will work and minimize any confusion. 

There will be a few classes that will meet in person the first week. Make sure you are checking your college email and Blackboard for information and directions from your instructor. Your instructor will send you more specific information on your class this week. After the first week, we plan on classes resuming in the originally scheduled format.

Welcoming you back to campus and keeping you on campus depends on us all following the #HealthyAtBCTC protocol. This includes wearing required face coverings while on campus, daily health checks, frequent handwashing, sanitizing work areas and staying home when you are not feeling well. I’m counting on each of you to take this very seriously. In addition to your efforts, our faculty and staff are required to submit daily health checks online and have temperatures checked as they enter the building, and Mr. Beecher McCarty and his Healthy at Work team are working hard to keep our environments sanitized with frequent cleaning, electrostatic sprayers and hand sanitizer stations. Success depends on all of us doing our part. Check out this video from Dr. Stack to college students.

If you have any questions about our #HealthyAtBCTC protocol or requirements for your classes, please review the web content we have created to answer these questions, reach out to your instructors, review the Healthy at Work Officer Q&A or reach out to Beecher.McCarty@kctcs.edu.

None of this is comfortable or easy, but you have proven that you have what it takes to move through this pandemic and continue to attain your goals and chase your dreams. I encourage you to take these words by Gregory S. Williams to heart as we begin this semester, “On the other side of a storm is the strength that comes from having navigated through it. Raise your sail and begin!”

Remember, we will overcome together and will come out of it stronger. As always, stay healthy and remember we are all in this together.

Koffi C. Akakpo, Ph.D.
President/CEO

Dear Students,

We have started the countdown to fall 2020 and today marks 11 days until our start. We are so excited to have everyone back in-person or online. I hope you are following our college social media channels to see the countdown tips we’re posting every day. We are ready to welcome you!

I want to remind you once again that, for the first week only, the majority of fall classes will be delivered by online/remote instruction. The goal is to give in-person class instructors the opportunity to contact you the first week to explain how the class will work and minimize any confusion. We will send you more specific information on the first week plan as we get closer to August 17. Once again, the in- person move to completely remote/online is for the first week ONLY. After that, the current plan will resume with the hybrid model planned for the semester. 

This week, the Governor launched the #MaskUpKy campaign. You may have noticed that I joined him on social media with posts on my accounts and the college’s. I would love to see you share your contribution to #MaskUpKy with a photo of yourself or a group of students (socially distanced of course) on campus sporting masks.  We want the Governor to know we are #HealthyAtBCTC, so use both hashtags in your post.

With that said, I do understand that we may feel a bit of anxiety as we come together again on campus. I want to reassure you that Beecher McCarty, our Healthy at Work officer, the entire administrative team and our faculty and staff have been planning and working hard to make sure you are safe and healthy on campus. We also continue our commitment to keep you informed of any new developments, as we have been doing since March.

Despite having information, we may still feel unsure. When I’m feeling uncertainty, I recall this quote by Dr. Seuss: “Always remember you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, smarter than you think and twice as beautiful as you’ve ever imagined.”

Success depends on us all. Remember, we will overcome together and will come out of it stronger. As always, stay healthy and remember we are all in this together.

Koffi C. Akakpo, Ph.D.
President/CEO

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Dear Students,

It’s hard to believe, but we are only three weeks away from the start of the fall semester. Our faculty and staff are busy getting ready to welcome you back, whether on campus or remotely. 

Speaking of welcoming you back, I wanted to give you an update on the first week of fall semester classes.

For the first week only, the majority of your fall classes will be only online/remote instruction. The goal is to give instructors the opportunity to contact you that first week to explain how in-person instruction will work and clear up any confusion you may have. This will ensure that no one misses the valuable first in-person classroom experience of the semester. We will be sending more specific information on the first week plan for classes as we get closer to August 17. 

At this time of the year, and throughout the fall and spring semesters, it is important for you to check your KCTCS college email, your student account and Blackboard regularly. Your instructors and college staff will communicate important information with you here regarding your classes, advising, financial aid and much more. If you have questions, never hesitate to reach out to us. We are here for you. 

In addition, we offer weekly forums on topics that may be of interest to you. The live forum schedule lists the topics we will discuss live and provide you an opportunity to ask questions. These will continue through the semester. We hope you will join us.

Last week, the Governor mandated that masks are required in public places and reduced social gatherings to 10 or less. This week, he added a recommendation to limit travel outside the state. I encourage you to do all of these things, for this is how we take care of ourselves, our families and those around us. It is also the way we keep our community and college safe so we can have more in-person engagement with each other, something that I feel we all want.

As we shift our “normal” and respond in ways that are for the larger good, let’s reflect on these words of Elizabeth Edwards, “Resilience is accepting your new reality, even if it’s less good than the one you had before. You can fight it, you can do nothing but scream about what you’ve lost, or you can accept that and try to put together something that’s good.”

Success depends on us all. Remember, we will overcome together and will come out of it stronger. As always, stay healthy and remember we are all in this together.

Koffi C. Akakpo, Ph.D.
President/CEO

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Dear Students,

Well, we have certainly entered the dog days of summer. I hope you all are staying cool in this hot, hot weather as you complete your summer classes and prepare for fall classes. 

We are excited to welcome you back in August, whether on campus or remotely. If you have not registered for classes and need help, you can contact our advising department here. If you know someone who has not enrolled for fall, we have an enrollment event coming up August 3-6 and 10-13,  9 a.m. – 4 p.m. daily at the Newtown Campus in the Classroom Building.

For those of you who have enrolled and registered for classes and would like to have a new laptop this fall, I want to remind you about our BCTC Spirit Video Contest. I encourage you to enter and share why you are excited to start at BCTC in August. The best video entries will win laptops!

In relation to COVID-19, we want to emphasize at this time that there is no testing required to return to campus. However, we will continue to limit entry points into buildings and monitor temperatures upon entry.

The Governor mandated earlier this week that masks are required in public places and he reduced social gatherings to 10 or less. This order does not impact our #HealthyAtBCTC plan. We have strategies in place for social distancing on our campuses and have already asked that all persons on campus, employees, students and visitors, wear masks. Our Healthy at Work Officer, Beecher McCarty, his team and I will keep you informed and maintain healthy and safe campuses as we follow all state mandates. 

The CDC health professionals confirm that wearing masks is key to our safe and healthy campuses. Please remember that a mask does not only protect you, but you are protecting others. 

Caring about those around us makes life, even during a pandemic, a little sweeter. Kevin Kruse said, “Life isn’t about getting and having, it’s about giving and being.” Wearing a mask is a small gift of kindness that we each have the ability to give.

Success depends on us all. Remember, we will overcome together and will come out of it stronger. As always, stay healthy and remember we are all in this together.

Koffi C. Akakpo, Ph.D.
President/CEO

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Hello Students,

I hope your summer is going well. We are gradually seeing more of you on campus and are pleased to welcome you to Summer II.

If you are recently enrolled as student for Fall 2020, I encourage you to enter our BCTC Spirit Video Contest. We’d love to hear why you are excited to start at BCTC this fall. The best video entry will win a laptop!

This week we celebrate the USA, despite all of the challenges our country still faces. Let’s remember what President Abraham Lincoln once said: “The best way to predict the future is to create it.” We all have a role to play tomorrow, for ourselves and our community.

I hope you have a safe and happy July 4th! As always, stay healthy and remember we are all in this together, will overcome together and will come out of it stronger.

Koffi C. Akakpo, Ph.D.
President/CEO

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Hello Students,

Summer has officially begun as we complete Summer I and start Summer II next week. We are also entering Stage 3 of our return to campus plan and I’m happy to see more of you on campus, socially distanced of course.

With return to campus, we have adjustments to make as we follow practices that keep us Healthy at BCTC. If you are coming to campus next week or this fall you will be asked to participate in check-in procedures and wear a mask. You will also see physical barriers in high traffic areas, 6’ markers indicating the appropriate social distance, limited use of common areas and shared amenities, and signage posted around campus. This is all to protect and promote your health and safety.

If you have not already read our Welcome Back Plan that describes operations for Summer II and Fall 2020, please do so. In addition, our Healthy at Work Officer, Beecher McCarty, emailed information on contact tracing this week. Please review this information. Our success in welcoming you to campus and keeping you on campus will depend on our attentiveness to this plan.

While we are still promoting remote service, we are offering some services to you on campus and encourage anyone who needs in-person service to make an appointment.

Yesterday, we celebrated some of you who had completed all fall enrollment steps with a drive through pizza and t-shirt giveaway. We will also begin a new student BCTC Spirit Video Contest next week. If you are enrolled, enter to win a laptop!

We have much to celebrate in our response to this pandemic. You are making a great choice by continuing your educational path. Steve Maraboli best expresses this idea: “Life doesn’t get easier or more forgiving, we get stronger and more resilient.” Your choices demonstrate your resilience and determination to reach your goals. Well done!

As always, stay healthy and remember we are all in this together, will overcome together and will come out of it stronger.

Koffi C. Akakpo, Ph.D.
President/CEO

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Hello BCTC Students,

I cannot say enough how proud I am of your courage and determination. The past three months have not been easy for anyone, and you have risen to meet every challenge.

Attached you will find our Welcome Back Plan that describes operations for Summer II and fall.  Kentucky has done a remarkable job of keeping incidents of COVID-19 low, allowing businesses to reopen under specific guidelines. These guidelines, which are reflected in our plan, encourage responsibility for ourselves and for each other. Personal accountability is paramount to the success of our plan and staying on campus this fall. I expect each of us to follow these protocols and guidelines.

Please watch our Healthy at BCTC video, if you have not already, to learn more about what campus will look like when you return.

We will enter Stage 3 of our plan the week of June 29. This means we will still have a limited number of students and employees on campus but will begin to offer a few more in-person services. These services will be offered per state guidelines and social distancing practices. We are still encouraging remote service. However, if you need to meet with one of our student service areas in-person, we highly recommend you make an appointment.

We want to make sure we are meeting your needs as we all return. Please complete this student survey, so we will know how we may serve you better. There are only three short questions, so it will just take a minute.

In addition, I encourage you to join us for the LIVE student forums on the BCTC Facebook channel every Tuesday 3-3:30 p.m. We will answer your questions live and provide great information about this fall. This Tuesday, our Healthy at Work Officer, Beecher McCarty will take questions. If you miss the session, no worries! We’ll record it and you can view it later that day on Facebook or YouTube. Also, be sure to regularly check your email. I’ll be sending updates every Thursday, and others from the college will be sending updates you will want to see.

I’m sure we are all a bit weary from the uncertainty and stress we have experienced in the past months, and we just want “normal” to come back. This reminds me of a famous quote by Vivian Greene: “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning how to dance in the rain.” You have all been doing this so well, and this dance continues as we look forward to our Summer II and fall semesters.

As always, stay healthy and remember we are all in this together, will overcome together and will come out of it stronger.

Koffi C. Akakpo, Ph.D.
President/CEO

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Dear Students,

We are fast approaching the end of Summer I and set to begin Summer II in a couple of weeks. It is hard to believe we are already well into Summer 2020.

In preparation for return to campus this fall, we created the Healthy at BCTC video for you and our college community. You will see the focus is providing for your safety on campus.

As we get closer to the time for students to return to campus, we will provide more details to you. If you have questions about the Healthy at BCTC plan, please email them to Beecher McCarty.

Consider these words from Joshua J. Marine as you make plans for Summer II and Fall 2020, "Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful."

As always, stay healthy and remember, we are all in this together, will overcome together and will come out of it stronger.

Koffi C. Akakpo, Ph.D.
President/CEO

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Dear Students,

As you wrap up this semester by completing your final exams, I encourage you to finish strong and offer you another round of encouragement from your amazing faculty and staff.

Once you ace those exams, I hope you are continuing your educational path this summer and fall. BCTC has flexible learning options, and virtual student support for online and remote classes will be strengthened this summer. We are committed to ensuring you can meet your education goals as we stay safe in relation to COVID-19. If you have not done so, now is a good time to enroll in summer classes.

Our college team is also developing plans to meet social distancing and health requirements for you in class when it is safe to return to BCTC.  Beginning August 17, fall term classes will be offered in a variety of formats.

There will be fully online classes as well as face-to-face classes and some options that are a mixture of both, barring any disruption from pandemic response. Face-to-face classes will have a strong online or remote instruction element, so if in-person classes must move online for a while you will be ready. And, there are a variety of scheduling options, including 16-week, 12-week, and 8-week sessions so you can take classes as they fit your schedule.

If you need help enrolling for summer or fall classes, please contact your advisor.

We are all facing a challenging new real world. You are not alone. BCTC is offering flexible options as we do this together.

Koffi C. Akakpo, Ph.D.
President/CEO

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Well, you have done it! Tomorrow will mark the last day of classes for the spring semester. The last mile in your race is your finals next week.

Your outstanding performance reminds me of a quote by John Wooden: "Don't let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do."  You have certainly proven this true. Each day comes with the opportunity to be the best in your area of strength. If you believe it, you can achieve it.

Regarding when the CARES Act funding will be available to students, unfortunately we don't have an answer yet. There has been much discussion at the federal level about who will qualify and the award criteria. We're waiting on final directions and hoping that will come next week. We will let you know when to apply, as soon as the application is available.

We do, however have big news about our graduation ceremony! I am pleased to announce today we finalized our graduation date. We will hold the 2020 BCTC graduation ceremony December 12 at EKU. You will get details from our graduation committee soon.

However, we will not let May pass without celebrating our graduates. We have some nice surprises planned for you, including banners at Newtown and all of our regional campuses, social media campaigns, and graduates be looking for a fun message from us to you in the mail.

I encourage you to finish this semester strong by preparing for your finals and doing your best! I hope these messages from our faculty and staff will provide the last boost of confidence you need.

Remember, "tough times never last, but tough people do," said Robert Schuller. We are all in this together, will overcome together and will come out of it stronger.

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Let me begin with saying, great job! Every week I see more and more of your determination to not only push through these difficult times, but excel in them. I hope the calls from our faculty and staff are providing the extra encouragement you need.

Some other encouraging news is that the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act has been approved by the United States Congress. These funds are to assist students with education related expenses resulting from the coronavirus, such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care and childcare.

BCTC is working with the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) and the United States Department of Education on the process for awarding these funds.  As soon as the process has been finalized and the application is available, we will communicate that to you through email, social media, text messages and the website.

As the semester ends, I encourage you to complete the course evaluations you got in your student email. You can respond until May 2. This helps us determine what did and did not work in the courses you are taking, so we can serve you better.

I also want to encourage you to finish strong this semester. We are almost to finals week. If you need any help completing the semester or registering for summer or fall classes, please contact us. I have attached information from our counseling department regarding assistance and virtual workshops they are doing. We are here to help.

Speaking of our great staff and faculty, they have created a new video with encouraging messages this week. Check it out!

Finally, we are not out of the woods yet. We need to keep working together and helping each other. As an African Proverb says, "If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together."

Remember, we are all in this together, will overcome together and will come out of it stronger.

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Hello Students,

As I write this email, it occurs to me that it has been almost a month since we all began taking classes and working remotely. Each week brings new challenges and opportunities.

Social distancing, necessitated by the uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus, forces us to physically separate rather than come together. As we struggle adjusting to our new school/work life, we are also adjusting to less contact with those who are important to us.

However, we can create physical distance while finding new ways to socially connect. I encourage you to do that with your friends, families, instructors and classmates.

Do you know that our admissions department offers daily program showcases? If you or someone you know are interested in programs offered at BCTC, you can join one of these sessions. Just check out social media for the sign-up links every day.

Do you need help signing up for summer or fall classes? Our advisors are here to help. Click here to contact them.

Are you missing your classmates? Our student engagement team runs virtual student activities to help reduce stress.

Thanks to technology, we have many ways we can connect virtually when we can't physically gather. In fact, we've gathered some faculty and staff for you today. Check out their encouraging messages to you!

Do you want to send a message back to our faculty and staff? We can help! Follow the steps below and send your video to megan.taul@kctcs.edu. We'll put these together and send them to our faculty and staff next week, and post them on social media.

Record a short (15 seconds or less) video on a smartphone, webcam, etc.
Film in landscape orientation (turn your phone sideways)
Film in a quiet location that isn't too dark
Email to Megan.Taul@kctcs.edu the file (20MB or less) or a link to One Drive, Dropbox or Google Drive (more than 20MB)
These are all ways we make those very important social connections while staying safe with physical distance. Fred (Mr.) Rogers once said, "The connections we make in the course of a life - maybe that's what heaven is."

Finally, I am overwhelmed and deeply touched by how many of you have reached out to me and my family during this time. Thank you! Please, take care of yourselves and your loved ones. And remember we are all in this together, will overcome together and will come out of it stronger.

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Congratulations! You have completed another week and there are only 31 days to the end of the semester. I know you are working hard, learning new things and strengthening your skills every day.

Looking beyond spring semester, I have an update for you. The Summer I sessions (4, 6 and 8-week) will be online, and possibly Summer II as well. I hope you will take advantage of your new online learning skills and this time that we are social distancing to get more classes completed.

As we prepare classes and services for the summer semester, we would love to get your input and find out how you're doing. Will you take a moment to answer five questions for us?

If you are a graduate, I'm sure you're wondering about the new date for the graduation ceremony. We are working to make that decision and will let you know soon.  We are anxious to celebrate your success with you.

Finally, I have a special message for you from our faculty and staff who believe, as I do, that you've got this!

Enjoy this short video that we hope it encourages you as you finish strong!

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Dear Students,

As we approach the end of another week in our new reality, I am so proud of how, despite your own personal challenges, you are continuing your studies and working toward completion of your courses.

Some of you are doing this as you help your children with their online school work. Some of you are doing this with limited technology and internet access. Some of you are doing this with very little experience with technology. But, you are all doing it. Well done! Please know that we are here for you.

I'm also hearing that you are helping each other through virtual class communication, emails and the KCTCS app chat. I hope you will also encourage your instructors and our college staff who are working so hard for you.

Finally, make sure you are utilizing the resources we have collected for you on our student page, taking breaks, enjoying the outdoors as you practice social distancing, and engaging in our virtual student activities.

Be safe. Take care of yourselves and your families in the upcoming week and remember, you can do this. We will end this semester strong, together.

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Dear Students,

We were informed this afternoon by Dr. Jay Box, KCTCS President, that all KCTCS colleges will continue online instruction through the end of the semester.

Your instructor will continue to work with you to complete your spring courses online. The faculty, staff and I understand that this may pose challenges for some. We are working together to provide you with resources to complete this semester successfully. You will find an abundance of online resources and information on the COVID-19 student updates page we set up for you. You can get to this from our home page on the COVID-19 Updates link.

On this student resource page, you will find the latest updates from me, a contact list of services you need, online learning tips and tutorials, access to online tutoring service, IT Help, information about wi-fi access on campuses, information about companies who are offering FREE wi-fi to students, free access to eTextbooks, and even virtual student activities set up to keep you connected.

If you are in a course that includes an in-person lab or clinical instruction, your instructor will work with you on how and when that coursework will be completed, based on the health and safety recommendations of Governor Beshear.

In addition, graduation has been postponed until we can all come TOGETHER and celebrate the success of our graduates. As soon as that date is determined, we will share it with you.

BCTC will continue to provide services to our students and the community remotely through April 17, following guidance from the Governor's Office and the Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE).

I want you to know that faculty, staff and I are here to assist you in any way we can. We have collected a list of contact information for services you may need on the student page to make finding help easier. We are here for you.

I look forward to getting back on campus and celebrating graduation with you in the days ahead!

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Dear Students,

I want to sincerely express my appreciation and heartfelt gratitude to each and every one of you for the patience, resilience and cooperation you have displayed during this unprecedented time. I know that you are dealing with a lot more than taking classes right now.

The crisis at hand is like none we have ever experienced. Decisions we have been forced to make have caused difficulties and inconvenience for everyone. However, please know that we take your success and safety seriously.

You may be experiencing an increased level of anxiety associated with COVID-19 and social isolation. In addition, some of you may encounter difficulties navigating a new mode of instruction. Please know that we are very aware of this and doing everything we can to help alleviate this stress.

If you are struggling, we have resources at BCTC to help. First, you can make an appointment with BCTC personal counseling. If you need assistance with Blackboard or online learning, check out our online learning resource page. We also have tutoring services available. The video on this page can help you access online tutoring.

We will continue to update our BCTC COVID-19 webpage with new messages and resources. Please regularly check this page and your college email.

In addition, please take seriously all health precautions and social distancing recommendations to protect yourself and your family. Please use good judgment and do your part to stop community spread. We are working to not only protect the health and well-being of our college community, but also our loved ones. 

I want to assure you that we are in this together. I hold a deep confidence that you and our college community will emerge from this extraordinary challenge stronger and more united than ever.

I believe in you and look forward to seeing you back on campus when all of this is over.

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Dear Students,

We are aware of the communication you recently received from UK concerning your housing for the remainder of the semester. We understand you have many things to consider and that you may have some questions for us. Therefore, we want to share the following:

In light of the responsibilities associated with your move in the upcoming week, we want you to know our instructors will work with you during this time.

After BCTC online instruction ends April 4, you may want or need to continue online. We will work with you to continue your instruction online and provide details on this process in the coming weeks.

We want to do everything we can to ensure your success this semester. We know these events have been very challenging.

We are here for you. If you have further questions or concerns, please contact our Vice President for Student Development and Enrollment Management, Dr. Palisa Williams Rushin at palisa.rushin@kctcs.edu.

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