President Akakpo's Updates | BCTC

President Akakpo's Updates

July 29, 2021

Dear Colleague,

I'm sorry to get today's email out late. As you know, we are hearing from the CDC and our state officials that the Delta variant is making an impact on the counties we serve. I've been holding off on sending today's communication to see if we got more information from the Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE) who is the governing body of higher education. KCTCS, other college and university leaders, and I are waiting on direction from CPE that we should receive early next week. 

As we have done from the beginning, we will keep you informed of any updates for our college community. For now, those who are not vaccinated and anyone who feels more comfortable doing so are encouraged to wear a mask when indoors. This is a personal choice.

Again, as of now, I'm looking forward to seeing you at the kickoff as planned. However, we have a contingency plan if it becomes necessary due to COVID guidelines. I hope you will wear your Together Stronger t-shirt we distributed in June. We'll have them available at kickoff for those who didn't get one yet.

If you haven't already, please register for the kickoff today so we may plan for the meals and you'll get into the sessions you most prefer. You can learn more about the kick-off and sessions offered here.

So everyone can attend, I'm closing all campuses Friday, August 6, 8 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Continental breakfast sponsored by our friends Bellevue University will be served at 8-8:30 a.m., and the morning session will begin at 8:30 a.m. A box lunch will be provided at the end of the morning session, and the afternoon will consist of concurrent sessions that will help us build resilience. 

We received some good news this week regarding vaccinations on campus. HealthFirst Bluegrass will offer a vaccination clinic on the Newtown Campus August 24 and 26, 9 a.m.-12 p.m. Employees and students are eligible for vaccinations.

As we face some challenges while preparing for our new school year, I want to share another quote on resilience by Gever Tully, "Persistence and resilience only come from having been given the chance to work through difficult problems."

Take time today to show kindness, learn something new, and make a contribution to our world.

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

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July 22, 2021

Dear Colleague,

As we wind down our summer term and prepare to welcome students back to campus this fall, I'm so proud of the work you are doing! Our enrollment continues to increase. As of this morning, we are -5.1, compared to -6.3 last week. 

Our next big collegewide push will be open enrollment August 2-5 and 9-13 in Danville, Lawrenceburg, Georgetown and Winchester, and in the Classroom Building at the Newtown Campus. If you know students, new or current, who have not enrolled for fall classes, please make sure they know about this event.

As we think about returning this fall, I wanted to give you an update on our construction projects. Our Danville Advanced Manufacturing Center, the renovation in the Science Education Center, the Lawrenceburg Campus fiber backbone replacement project, and the Leestown renovation of B Building for the new Orthotics Program will all open for the fall semester.  The Den, where admissions, financial aid, advising, the bursar and bookstore will be in one location on our Newtown campus, is scheduled to open in mid-September. We are excited to have students on campus this fall to enjoy these new facilities and updates.

We also have changes to our campus bookstores. We're pleased to welcome Katlyn Nutter, our new BCTC bookstore manager. I'll share more about her next week. In preparation for the opening of the new bookstore in The Den at Newtown, the Cooper Campus bookstore is now permanently closed. The Leestown bookstore is open to students and the public and will handle our fall inventory. 

In addition, we'll continue to offer online book order delivery on the Newtown Campus in room 123 of the Classroom Building. If students are interested in ordering books to be picked up at Newtown, they can use the Barnes and Noble link. Orders can be picked beginning the first week of August.

Have you registered for fall kickoff yet? Please register for the kickoff today so we may plan for the meals and you'll get into the sessions you most prefer. You can learn more about the kick-off and sessions offered here.

So everyone can attend, I'm closing all campuses Friday, August 6, 8 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. We'll meet, as we have in past years, in the Megowan Gym for the morning session. Continental breakfast sponsored by our friends Belmont University will be served at 8-8:30 a.m., and the morning session will begin at 8:30 a.m. A box lunch will be provided at the end of the morning session, and the afternoon will consist of concurrent sessions that will help us build resilience. 

As we prepare for kicking off our new school year, I want to share a quote by Alain de Botton, "A good half of the art of living is resilience."

Take time today to show kindness, learn something new, and make a contribution to our world.

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

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July 15, 2021

Dear Colleague,

We've had a great week at BCTC. Our Explore BCTC enrollment event Tuesday was a success with 73 attending, over 90 volunteers, and several students applying, making advising appointments and enrolling. I want to thank all faculty and staff for making this a great event; you exceeded our expectations!

Everyone is going above and beyond to tackle our enrollment deficit. This week, we gained 1.7 percent. Our enrollment is now -6.3. Keep up the great work!

In addition to getting our students enrolled, we need to help them take the next step toward employment. Next week, our Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) PACT and the Career Center teams are doing just that. BCTC PREP Day an opportunity for students to practice resume writing, develop a personal brand statement, practice interview skills and dress for success. We want our students to be ready for their next interview.  Be sure to encourage your students to attend July 21, 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. 

I'm so proud of how we're working as a team to attract, retain, and serve students. You are certainly creating a culture of care where we help each other and our students achieve success. Their success is truly our success.

Napoleon Hill, who wrote one of the top ten best selling self-help books of all time, said: "It is literally true that you can succeed best and quickest by helping others to succeed." This is our work.

Take time today to show kindness, learn something new, and make a contribution to our world.

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

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July 8, 2021

Dear Colleague,

As the summer heats up, activity at BCTC is increasing. Last week, we were able to welcome students to the first on-campus orientation this year. We were excited to see a big crowd, even on a rainy day. 

Our Early Alert Team is busy as well with SignalVine communications with students who need to submit their No Show Verification Assignments.  As of June 30, the no show drops are down 41% compared to 2020, 12% compared to 2019, and 53% compared to 2018. We are minimizing unnecessary drops so our students can stay enrolled and on rack to academic success.

I know you are all working hard to increase enrollment because we have gained 1.2 percent.  Last week we were -9,2, this week we are -8 percent from this time last year. Thank you for your work.  Please keep this trend going!

Next week is the Explore BCTC event July 13, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. We'll have a radio remote, pizza and BCTC swag and showcase BCTC programs and services. We still need volunteers. I hope you will sign up here. Please let your students and others who may be interested know about this event.

This week, we rolled out new processes supported by our system office. Our payroll is now handled there, so if you have questions or concerns, you can contact Payroll@KCTCS.edu or call 859-256-3456. In addition, the new searchable digital catalog went online yesterday. The link to it is available as a tile in MyPath.

In addition, MyPath v2 is now live! The new and improved site gives a better user experience, and news is served to you based on your interests and classification. Our BCTC announcements, The Buzz, are now on MyPath v2 and updated daily.  Please watch this video to see how to submit announcements to The Buzz. If you have any questions, please contact Michelle Sjogren or Dong Zhou.

In The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald said, "I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer." This statement is certainly true for us as we emerge from the pandemic. Enjoy your summer and the new beginnings it brings to us all.

Take time today to show kindness, learn something new, and make a contribution to our world.

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

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July 1, 2021

Dear Colleague,

I'm excited to welcome all staff back to campus today. Our state, college and each of you have done your part to make this day possible. Being back on campus, collaborating in person with colleagues and serving students makes our college better, and I believe makes each one of us better. In August, we'll welcome our faculty and students back and begin our return to "normal," or at least the new normal for which we have all longed.

As we transition to working back on campus, LET and I decided to offer an option to work from home one day a week. This option may not be for everyone and approval will be based on the nature of your job and administrative discretion. You may apply for remote work for the fall semester. In order to take advantage of this opportunity, you, your supervisor and your VP must complete an agreement form. Contact your supervisor to discuss this option.

Looking at fall enrollment, we are down 9.2 percent, compared to this time last year. We each have an important role to play. Please continue to do your part to increase enrollment.

Don't forget about the Explore BCTC event July 13, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. We'll have a radio remote, pizza and BCTC swag and showcase BCTC programs and services. If you are interested in volunteering, you can sign up here. Please let your students and others who may be interested know about this event.

Next week, we'll say goodbye to weekly announcements in our email accounts and welcome The Buzz on MyPath. This new news site will launch July 6, 2021. Please watch this video to see how to submit announcements to The Buzz. If you have any questions, please contact Michelle Sjogren or Dong Zhou.

Lech Walesa said, "We hold our heads high, despite the price we have paid, because freedom is priceless." I wish you a Happy July 4th, and I hope you enjoy, cookouts, fireworks, and time with friends and family. I also hope you take a moment to express gratitude for the freedom our nation provides.

Take time today to show kindness, learn something new, and make a contribution to our world.

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

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June 24, 2021

Dear Colleague,

I hope you are enjoying your summer. We certainly have had some beautiful days this week! And, we have a new holiday on Friday to look forward to as our system observes Juneteenth this week.

We still have some Lextran Class Passes that are valid through December 31, 2021. If you or someone you know needs a free bus pass, apply online. When you complete the online form, you will receive an email telling you how and where to pick up your pass.

This week's enrollment numbers show we are down by 7.9 percent compared to this time last year. I know that you all are working in your areas and cross-functionally to improve that number. Thank you!

A great opportunity to affect fall enrollment is the event planned at Newtown. Explore BCTC will take place July 13 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. We'll have a radio remote, pizza and BCTC swag, while showcasing BCTC programs and services and encouraging enrollment for the fall semester. If you are interested in volunteering, you can sign up here. Please let your students and others who may be interested know about this event.

Enrollment is our biggest challenge right now, but I know it is a challenge we can overcome. Michelle Obama said, "You should never view your challenges as a disadvantage. Instead, it's important for you to understand that your experience facing and overcoming adversity is actually one of your biggest advantages."

Please remember we are all in it together, are overcoming together, and will come out stronger.

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

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June 17, 2021

Dear Colleague,

As you have probably heard, temperatures are rising but our tuition isn't. This is great news for recruiting and our students. As we are working toward increasing fall enrollment. We are currently down about six percent from this time last year, but we have time to increase our numbers and beat our enrollment from last fall. I know we can do it!

Although we are well into summer, things have not slowed down at BCTC. We have an enrollment event planned at Newtown. Explore BCTC, which will take place July 13 from 5:30-7:30 p.m., will offer a look at BCTC programs and services and encourage enrollment for the fall semester. We need all hands on deck for this opportunity to promote the college in the community we serve. 

On July 21, we'll offer a virtual career fair, the BCTC PREP Day. Here, students will learn skills in resume writing, creating a personal brand elevator speech, interviewing, and dressing for success. Employers will also be on site to speak with potential applicants. Please share this registration link with students.

Thanks to the generosity of LexTran, our unused Lextran Class Passes for 2020-21 were validated through December 31, 2021. If you or someone you know needs a free bus pass, apply online. You will receive an email telling you how and where to pick up your pass.

Finally, I'm excited to announce the launch of MyPath version 2, July 6, 2021. This newly formatted platform will provide news and SharePoint access for students and employees.

On the updated MyPath page in July, you'll find the Buzz BCTC's new announcement and news platform. This will replace the announcements you are currently receiving Wednesdays in your email.  You are going to love the layout and convenience of the Buzz. News will appear on the right side of the screen on your MyPath page and will be updated daily. An exciting thing about the Buzz is that it personalizes news for your interest based on your classification (student/employee) and team sites you follow and visit.

As you can see, we have a lot going on and a lot to look forward to in the coming months.

LLCool J says, "Once you achieve one goal, you should be looking forward to building onto the next thing, and not just getting comfortable with what you're doing." We have accomplished much through this pandemic, but there is so much more to achieve. Let's continue the momentum you've started.

Please remember we are all in it together, are overcoming together, and will come out stronger.

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

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June 10, 2021

Dear Colleague,

It is hard to believe we are already into June. What a difference from this time last year! I look forward to being together on our campuses again this fall.

The theme of our fall kickoff is Resilience. I look forward to celebrating the resilience you all demonstrated this past year and looking at ways we will continue to serve our students and encourage this very important trait of resilience in them.

What does resilience look like? It is credentials up 26% and graduates up 22% in 2021, despite the pandemic. It is being the only college in our system with enrollment increase in fall 2021. Most importantly, it looks like the BCTC faculty and staff, YOU, who made this all possible.

My hope is that we will exceed what we accomplished in 2020-21 in the upcoming year. At this time, we're not seeing the enrollment numbers for summer or fall that we would like to see. I'm asking that each of us, no matter our role, consider what we can do to affect enrollment. As we work together, we will meet our goals and help prospective students meet theirs. 

Nelson Mandela once said, "Don't judge me by my success, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again." Resilience is getting back up, no matter the struggle. I'm so proud to see that every day in our work, and the work of our students. We are truly resilient at BCTC.

Please remember we are all in it together, are overcoming together, and will come out stronger.

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

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June 3, 2021

Dear Colleague,

Our community is returning to some sense of normalcy with COVID cases declining and vaccinations rising. We are excited to plan for the fall semester that will look a bit more like what we are used to. We'll return to on-campus orientations this month and look forward to welcoming all staff back to campus July 1, and faculty August 1.

Many of our students, and you, are looking forward to enjoying the collaboration and comradery that happens when we are together. There is nothing like a new school year with the campuses buzzing with activity and excitement of fall and an academic beginning.

I want you to know that your health and safety is our highest priority. We will continue to follow all federal, state and local health and safety guidelines as they become available. Our plan is based on current data and guidance. However, as has been the case throughout this pandemic, all plans are subject to change when new guidance is provided by federal, state and local officials. 

Attached to this email is a Q&A prepared to answer some of the questions you may have. If you have questions that are not answered here, please speak to your supervisor, or you are free to contact me. You have all done a fantastic job rising to every challenge. I'm sure that will continue.

Strangely enough, as things are opening up our enrollment is not increasing. In fact, we are still down for summer and fall. We have Summer II beginning soon, and it would be great to finish summer strong. Please do all you can to encourage enrollment for both summer and fall. Research has shown that education and community are the answers to many of the problems created by the pandemic. It is our privilege to be part of the solution.

I love the saying that "compassion is often the solution." It is our compassion for our students, the community and each other that will move us out of the challenges brought by the pandemic and bring success this year.

Please remember we are all in it together, are overcoming together, and will come out stronger.

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

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May 28, 2021

Dear Colleague,

It has been a busy week here at BCTC, and I know we are looking forward to a long weekend.

This week we found out that our film and theatre departments won a Bronze Telly for BCTC Presents Antigone and another Bronze Telly for The Covid Monologues. Telly Awards recognize video and television content that is judged by a group of leading video and television experts including WarnerMedia and NBC News. Congratulations to our students and faculty!

I'd also like to recognize our staff and faculty who have been working hard to increase enrollment for summer and fall 2021. We still have a way to go, but we are moving in the right direction. Keep the momentum going!

You probably have noticed that our college directory has been added to the top navigation bar on our home page. This week, we are releasing the new directory page that looks a little different. However, unlike what we initially were told, part-time employees WILL be included and you WILL be able to update and edit your own information in the directory. 

Each entry will have your photo (if you choose), name, phone, email, title and department. If you sent us a photo in January or already had one uploaded in ITES, that photo has been moved to the new directory. 

We're asking that you take a look at your "Profile" in ITES and make sure your information is correct. You will find the link to your profile in the upper right top of the ITES homepage. Please complete web/ITES request in the BCTC Service Center if you notice an individual from your area who is no longer with the college.

If you would like for us to take a professional head shot, Megan Taul will be at the kick-off August 6, and at campuses on the dates and times below. We'll follow up closer to those dates with locations for the photo shoots.

  • 9/6 – 9-10am – Danville 
  • 9/7 – 9-10am – Georgetown
  • 9/8 – 9-10am – Lawrenceburg
  • 9/9 – 9-10am – Winchester
  • 9/10 – 9-10am – Newtown; 10:45-11:45am – Leestown; 1-2pm – Cooper

Finally, I want to remind you Friday, May 28, is the last day to submit a kickoff presentation proposal. The theme of the 2021 Fall Kickoff is Resilience, which you have all demonstrated this year. What can you share with your peers that will make us all better in 2021-22? 

John Kennedy said, "We celebrate the past to awaken the future." Celebrating the past and looking forward to the future is the fun part about this time of year; it is a time of joy and hope. 

I hope you all enjoy the long weekend! Please remember we are all in it together, are overcoming together, and will come out stronger.                     

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

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May 20, 2021

Dear Colleague,

It seems we barely took a breath before it is time to begin a new term serving students. I hope you took time last week to celebrate each other and your accomplishments. We also got some good news last week that some of the restrictions on our campuses are lifting.

Based on the CDC recommendation, individuals who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 are no longer required to wear face coverings on our campuses. Unvaccinated individuals must continue to wear a face covering on campuses until June 11. Online check-ins are no longer required, but entry point check-in stations will continue to operate through the end of May. I encourage you to follow CDC guidelines and be respectful to those around you.

We are making plans for fall based on these new guidelines. Your supervisor should be communicating with you this week regarding your area's return to campus plan. It is exciting to think about getting back to normal.

Now, we are busy with new classes and enrolling students for summer and fall. I know you are diligently working to increase our enrollment numbers as we are seeing a decrease in summer and fall enrollment is even with last year. I have utmost confidence that you will do just that.

Our race to increase enrollment numbers is a marathon, not a sprint. I strongly encourage you to take some time off to rest and refresh, and then get back in the race. Collectively, we are like a team of relay racers, each running their legs then passing the baton to the next racer. Through this team effort, our work continues.

I like what CEO Lakshmi Mittal says: "The torch relay is an excellent embodiment of all that the Olympic Games have come to symbolize - a celebration of the human spirit. Personally, it represents striving to be the best in whatever we do, never giving up despite the odds." 

It may seem when we begin with a deficit that we are fighting the odds, but I know we will overcome because over and over I see you all striving to be the best at what you do. Your best ensures our students will become their best.

As we enter summer and look toward fall 2021, remember we are all in it together, are overcoming together, and will come out stronger

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

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May 19, 2021

Dear BCTC Community, 

Based on the new Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommendation and the Governor's amended executive order, individuals who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 are no longer required to wear face coverings. 

Therefore, effective today, BCTC will not require face coverings on our campuses for those who are fully vaccinated, except as stated in the Governor's amended order. 

Further guidance:

Unvaccinated individuals must continue to wear a face covering on BCTC campuses until June 11, 2021, per the Governor's order.

Employees, students and visitors should continue to practice measures that prevent the spread of virus such as handwashing, covering the nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing, allowing social distance, and not coming on campus when ill.

Employees and students should follow CDC guidelines and be respectful to those around them.

Online check-ins are no longer required, but entry point check-in stations will continue to operate through the end of May.

As has been the case since the beginning of the pandemic, all guidance and campus protocols are subject to change based on federal, state and local direction.

Thank you for your diligence in following the guidance provided. Your efforts are helping us turn the corner on this challenging time.

Sincerely,
Dr. Koffi Akakpo

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May 13, 2021

Dear Colleague,

You have done it! We completed a full school year while fighting a global pandemic. I want to, once again, tell you how impressed I am with your commitment to serve students, regardless of the challenges you faced at work and in your personal lives. Because of you, we are standing on this side of 2020-21 celebrating success.

We had an awesome 2021 Drive-thru Graduation Celebration this past weekend. I enjoyed celebrating and honoring our graduates with many of you. If you were not able to attend, I hope you will check out the video and photos on YouTube and Flickr.

I also want to invite you to watch our 2021 virtual graduation ceremony. It was made available yesterday, but if you haven't seen it, I hope you will watch it. We are #BCTCProud of all of our graduates.

Yesterday we honored our colleagues who were recognized by their peers. Congratulations to all of our awardees! You are all winners in my book.

I encourage us all to stop, take a deep breath and celebrate a successful year. So often we just move on to the next project or goal without fully taking in all that we have accomplished. Pat each other on the back and pat yourself on the back for a job well done! 

As I give you a virtual high five, I'll close with these words by Roy T. Bennett: "Your hardest times often lead to the greatest moments of your life. Keep going. Tough situations build strong people in the end."

This has been a challenging year, but we were all in it together, are overcoming together, and will come out stronger.

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

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May 6, 2021

Dear Colleague,

It was great to see so many of you this week when we visited the campuses. I look forward to having more of us on campus this summer and fall. 

If you did not get the Together-Stronger t-shirt at your campus this week, we will have some available in the Administration Building at Newtown and HR at Leestown. If you need to pick one up from a regional campus or Cooper, contact michelle.sjogren@kctcs.edu

Graduation week is the most exciting week of the year. Our drive-thru graduation celebrations are Friday and Saturday. These are fun events you won't want to miss! If you haven't signed up, it's not too late,  sign up here. We'll wear regalia or BCTC apparel if you don't have regalia. If it rains, we'll have rain ponchos and you may choose if you want to wear your regalia. 

See our graduation page for details and the campus routes. I hope you will also send a message to our graduates for the graduation video

This week we celebrate our graduates. Next week we celebrate our colleagues. Please join LET and me at our virtual year end celebration on Teams Wednesday, May 12 at 1 p.m. We're excited to honor retirees and recognize your accomplishments, our faculty and staff award recipients, and years of service. 

As we wrap this year up, please don't forget to sign up for a brief information session about the 2022-2028 Strategic Plan. This plan will direct our efforts for the next several years and belongs to all of us. 

Your input is very important, so we're offering additional sessions. Please join one of the virtual sessions with a link below.

Thank you to those who have participated in the strategic plan presentation and given input. 

This is a busy time of year and stress levels can be high. I'd like to close with encouragement to laugh more. According to the Mayo Clinic, laughter improves your immune system, relieves physical pain, increases coping ability, and reduces depression and anxiety. The best thing about laughter is all of these positive results spill over to those around you.

Our graduation celebrations this weekend are a great opportunity to enjoy some laughter! I hope to see you there.

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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April 29, 2021

Dear Colleague,

As we approach Derby Day, we are certainly nearing the homestretch of our 2020-21 academic year, and what a year it has been. I'm so proud of all we have accomplished this year, regardless of the challenges we faced.

To thank you, LET and I will be visiting each campus with a small token of our gratitude for the work you've done this year. Please come see us at your campus on the date and time below.

Monday, May 3

  • Employee Thank you – Lawrenceburg Lobby   9-9:30 a.m.
  • Employee Thank you – Danville Lobby    10-10:30 a.m.
  • Employee Thank you – Cooper – Oswald Lobby   1-1:30 p.m.
  • Employee Thank you – Leestown Outside HR in Building C   2-2:30 p.m.

Tuesday, May 4

  • Employee Thank you – Winchester Conference Room  9-9:30 a.m.

Thursday, May 6

  • Employee Thank you – Georgetown Lobby 9-9:30 a.m.
  • Employee Thank you – Newtown CB Lobby 11 a.m. – 12 p.m.

We all need help from time to time working through challenges, so I'm pleased to announce CPE has provided a resource for our students. Therapy Assistance Online (TAO) is a new platform linked on our counseling page with over 150 brief and effective educational sessions covering over 50 common topics and skills related to mental health, wellness, and substance use issues.  Students can participate in interactive sessions, mindfulness exercises, and practice tools designed to help them reach their goals. 

I hope you will take a look at this free resource and promote it to our students. We will still offer personal counseling through our counseling office. TAO is another resource to help us serve students. While it is primarily for students, faculty and staff are welcome to use it too. If you have any questions about the platform or its use, contact Anita.Nelums@kctcs.edu.

As you know next week is finals week, this may be a good time to share this resource to encourage your students to reduce stress and finish strong.

Our drive-thru graduations also take place next week, May 7 and 8. Have you signed up to participate? If not, it's not too late you can sign up here.  I hope you will also send a message to our graduates for the graduation video. Please submit your message here.

Thank you to all who participated in our spring student call campaign! I know with your help, our students were encouraged to finish strong. This is what one student said: "Thank you so much for the encouragement. I actually needed that I am a little stressed and just needed to hear that. Thank you so much."

I'd like to close with a great quote by Henry Adams: "A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops." Many of you hold the title teacher, but the rest of us may operate under some other name: coach, mentor, counselor, or advisor. You teach by giving your time, showing the way, and offering creative solutions to problems. Thank you for affecting eternity in all you 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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April 22, 2021

Dear Colleague,

Happy Earth Day! Not exactly the spring day we usually experience in April, but I'm learning to expect the unexpected when it comes to Kentucky weather.

I imagine many of you are in the middle of calling students for our spring call campaign. Again, thank you for taking the time to do this. We know that it makes a difference to many students who may not ask for help otherwise.

If you are hearing any good stories or positive comments, I would love to hear about them. Please reply to this email and share your experience or student story.

As we learned last night, we have a new president. Dr. Paul Czarapata will lead our system. Dr. Czarapata has been serving as the interim president of the system since October. Prior to that he was a KCTCS vice president and chief information officer responsible for the technology needs of the 16 colleges and Versailles office. He joined KCTCS in 2000 and has served in technology leadership roles leading up to his appointment of vice president.

I want to remind you if you are interested in getting a COVID vaccination you can register here. As more and more of us are vaccinated, our campuses and communities become more resistant to COVID-19. I am looking forward to a fresh start with our students on campus this fall.

Speaking of fall, our 2021 College Kickoff is August 6. Similar to fall classes, we will offer a face-to-face and virtual experience. The theme is resilience. We'll discuss how to support our students and each other as we move past the difficulties of 2020. Do you have a great idea for a presentation to your peers? Please consider sharing your proposal. The deadline is May 28.

It's always good when technology helps us be more efficient and communicate more effectively. You probably read in the announcements yesterday that there will be some additions to the MyPath platform which will provide our college news. We are excited about the fresh look and feel of the new news platform for employees and students. This will replace our weekly announcements email. I hope you will participate in the naming survey for our BCTC news and  give some feedback on the weekly announcements.

Finally, I want to encourage you to check out BCTC's virtual Art Exhibitions. You can see artistic representations of the common read, student art projects, and the main student, staff and faculty main art exhibition. I'm so impressed with the talent of our faculty, staff and students!

Thank you to all who bring BCTC art before us because as Neil Gaiman said, "The world always seems brighter when you've just made something that wasn't there before." Please take the time to brighten the world 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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April 15, 2021

Dear Colleague,

We are less than a month away from the end of our semester and this is a busy time of year. I hope you will take advantage of the opportunities listed below, especially celebrating our students.

On Tuesday, April 20, you can learn more about the candidates for KCTCS President as they answer questions submitted by KCTCS employees. Then, you will have the opportunity to provide feedback to the KCTCS Board of Regents via a survey. Follow this link to the Virtual Presidential Forum at the times listed below.

  • 10 a.m. – Dr. Anton Reece 
  • 12:30 p.m.  – Dr. Casey Sacks 
  • 3 p.m. – Dr. Paul Czarapata   

You will also have the opportunity to meet the BCTC Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) AVP candidates this Friday, April 16. I hope you will add your voice to the conversation with our candidates. You can find more details and links to join on Teams by following this link

Our final speaker in the Social Justice series, Renaldo Thompkins-Jones, a social worker and social justice educator, will discuss the importance of building relationships, education through consciousness-raising and the sharing of personal experiences, the search for connections to others in those experiences, and addressing conflict and inequity through individual, group, and institutional social action. Join us on Zoom at 12 p.m. on April 16.

If you are interested in getting a COVID vaccination, you can register here. Be sure and say hi to our nursing students who are assisting at this site. 

Have you signed up to participate in the drive-thru graduation celebrations May 7 and 8? If not, you can sign up here.  I hope you will also send a message to our graduates for the graduation video. Please submit your message here.

Our final spring student care call campaign begins next week. You should have been contacted by your division about participating. I hope you will join me and your colleagues as we offer assistance and encourage our students to finish the semester strong. It is our great privilege to guide our students toward their goals.

"The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away," said Pablo Picasso. Thank you for your gifts and the rich generosity with which you give them away.

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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April 8, 2021

Dear Colleague,

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. However, we are happy that we may include more of you in our drive-thru graduation celebration this time around. Those of us who were able to participate in December quickly realized what an exciting event this can be for our graduates and BCTC family. 

Our graduation committee has worked hard to plan this event to celebrate our graduates, but your participation is key to the event success. Unless otherwise notified by your supervisor, there is no requirement to participate in the celebration this year. However, I hope many of you will want to participate. I promise it will be a memorable experience. You may even find, like many of our students did, that this is better than a traditional graduation.

We will have drive-thru celebrations at each of the regional campuses and at the Newtown campus. Because we need to plan for the number of participants, we're asking that you sign up for the campus location you prefer.  The times and dates are below:

  • Danville Campus             
    • Friday, May 7       4-4:30 p.m.
  • Lawrenceburg Campus
    • Friday, May 7       5:30-6 p.m.
  • Newtown Campus
    • Saturday, May 8   9-10:30 a.m.
  • Winchester Campus
    • Saturday, May 8   11:30 a.m.-12 p.m.
  • Georgetown Campus
    • Saturday, May 8   1-1:30 p.m.

If you are unable to participate on these dates, you can still celebrate our graduates by contributing to and watching the celebration live stream and video. The celebrations will be broadcast live on Facebook and YouTube. During the live event, we would love to display messages from BCTC faculty and staff, such as congratulations on their accomplishments or offering wisdom for the future. You can submit your message here. Please keep your statements to one or two short sentences.

Congratulations signs at the drive-thru were also a big hit! I encourage you to work with colleagues to create signs that celebrate the graduates from your particular discipline or create a sign with a message from your department. If you have questions, please contact a member of our graduation committee.

Still unsure how all of this works? I've attached images of each drive-thru route or you can view the photos and video from our December celebrations. This is truly a grand production and great celebration. I hope you will join me and your colleagues in celebrating our graduates!

Tony Robbins' quote reminds me of what we learned this fall: "Life is about the moments: Don't wait for them, create them!" I am excited to join you as we create powerful moments for our students in 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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April 1, 2021

Dear Colleague,

Yesterday we received our final report for spring enrollment which was -6.4 percent. While being down is never positive, I want to thank you all for your hard work that helped us stay within the top two positions in the system for spring enrollment.

We began enrollment for summer and fall at the beginning of this month, and now we have a new goal ahead of us. As more vaccinations are available and the positivity rate in our communities drops, we are able to offer additional in-person classes to our students. 

To prepare for welcoming more students back to campus, we are talking with UK about potential vaccinations for students soon. All faculty and staff are already eligible for vaccinations. In addition, the Healthy at BCTC committee is working on the Return to Campus Plan and Q&A. As soon as this information is available, I will share it with you. 

Please encourage your students to meet with their advisors and get signed up for summer and fall 2021. You have proven that BCTC is able to beat the odds and keep enrollment up when everyone else is falling behind.

Next week we will launch the new BCTC Service Center. We are updating and streamlining the work order systems for Strategic Communications (CARS) and Information Technology Services (BITS). This combined platform will launch April 2. When you come back on Monday and need assistance, simply go to the Faculty and Staff page and you will see a tile that reads: BCTC Service Center. The M&O work orders, business cards and printing will remain on ITES. You can learn more about the BCTC Service Center ticketing system here.

The pandemic has had positive and negative effects on our college. One positive is our expanding use of technology to attract students. A great example is the new virtual campus tour on our website. What you see now is version one. We will be filming on campus in June to create an even better virtual tour for the website.

Another positive for our students is the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) II grant. Thanks to the work of our Financial Aid Office and Bursar, we were able to award credential-seeking students with financial need, as identified by the 2020-2021 FAFSA, $625 each. This will help our students who are struggling right now. Hopefully, it will encourage them to continue with their education.

"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," Leigh Cooper advises. Thank you, as always, for stepping into those opportunities every day.

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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March 25, 2021

Dear Colleague,

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.

For instance, our Changing Classroom Cultures Conference which is focusing Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Civility is happening this Friday, March 26. We are excited to welcome guest speaker Dr. Lisa Hoeffner and offer an engaging lineup of sessions. If you haven't registered yet, sign up today

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 encompass almost 10,000 square feet of the existing structure. An addition of 9,500 square feet will be added to incorporate 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. The new 13,780 sq. ft. 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.

Also popping up on campus are opportunities to help our students. I hope you have noticed the HEART donation boxes located near our campus libraries. If you are able, I hope you will contribute to this great program that serves our students. 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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March 11, 2021

Dear Colleague,

I hope you have had the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful spring weather we've had this week. Sunny days lift spirits and cause us to anticipate warmer weather and the activities of spring and summer.

One spring ritual that we missed last year was graduation. Some of you have been asking about our plan for the 2021 graduation. Although the situation is certainly improving, current restrictions do not allow us to plan for a traditional commencement in May, but we are determined to give our graduates the recognition and celebration they deserve. Therefore, we have decided to have another drive-thru graduation 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. 

Hopefully, unlike December when COVID guidelines were very strict, we hope to have many of you participate in our drive thru graduation celebrations at the campuses. As we get closer to the dates below, we'll share more specific instructions for participating. I can tell you that if possible 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.

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.

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. 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 Colleagues,

Our 8-week session starts Monday, so that means we are halfway through the spring semester. Next week we welcome students to our final session. Your work empowers them as they move toward the finish line, whether that be the semester or May graduation. Thank you for all you do.

Spring is (almost) here; the vaccine is here; life is good. Don't forget that we are part of phase 1c, which is eligible for the vaccine. If you have not signed up to get your vaccination, do it today on one of these sites: vaccine.ky.gov, vaccine.ukhc.org , Kroger.com/rx/guest/get-vaccinated or a pharmacy near you.

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.

We are currently working on opportunities to experience and share art at BCTC. Please complete this short survey to help us provide the arts related programming in which you have interest.

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 you and 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

February 25, 2021

Dear Colleagues,

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. Thank you for keeping our college running and serving students remotely. These past 12 months have certainly taught us to adapt to anything.

Our enrollment is 8,814 a decrease of -5.8 percent from this time last year. Thank you for continuing to try and close that gap. Next week is the final enrollment push for the 8-week session which begins March 8. 

We received good news from Governor Beshear this week. Those in phase 1C will be eligible on March 1 to sign up to get a vaccination. This phase names essential workers, which includes college and university employees. On March 1, BCTC employees can go to the state website, vaccine.ky.gov, to sign up to receive a vaccination. Some proof of employment will be required when you get to the vaccination location. If you do not have a college ID, contact our Healthy at Work Officer at Beecher.McCarty@kctcs.edu.

Are you looking for something new? We have some 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

The pandemic created many challenging situations that your innovation and teamwork have helped us overcome. This is a great time to recognize those who helped us pivot or who went above and beyond in service of colleagues and the college. Do you know someone who deserves a faculty or staff award? I encourage you to nominate your colleague. The application is simple, only taking a few minutes to complete, and the recognition could mean so much to those who gave so much this year.

Finally, I want to remind you to submit your photo for our new directory that launches on March 2. The deadline for submitting your photo is extended to this Friday, February 26. You can learn more about submitting your directory photo here.

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 and gratitude. "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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February 18, 2021

Dear Colleagues,

Did you think the weather could get worse than last week? It seems 2021 will not be outdone by 2020. The bright side? A post pandemic snow day. Who would have thought we'd ever have one of those again? I hope you are staying safe and warm, and enjoying the beautiful scenery today.

Our enrollment is 8,815 a decrease of -5.6 percent from this time last year. I know you all are working hard to try and close that gap. We will continue the final enrollment push for the 8-week session which begins March 8. 

As you know, I announced some changes last week that realign how we serve students. I know change can be hard, but I'm excited about the potential for streamlining our services and ensuring that we make the process as easy for our students as possible. Life can be challenging. We want to eliminate roadblocks to our students' success. 

The pandemic has been hard on everyone. Many of us know someone struggling with mental health issues or want to be prepared to help if we meet someone in this situation. I hope you will consider joining our Social Justice Speaker's Series event with mental health experts, Friday at 12 p.m. In addition, BCTC Workforce Solutions is offering a Mental Health First Aid course to help you identify and assist a person who is developing a mental health problem or experiencing a mental health crisis. If you or someone you know is interested, you can register here.

Being available for one another is important, especially as we move through this pandemic. This reminds me of a quote by Mr. (Fred) Rogers: "We live in a world in which we need to share responsibility. It's easy to say, ‘It's not my child, not my community, not my world, not my problem.' Then there are those who see the need and respond. I consider those people my heroes." Take some time today to say a kind word and check on your student, colleague, friend or neighbor. You'll be glad you did.

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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February 11, 2021

Dear Colleagues,

The weather outside is frightful, but there is much warmth being generated through the work you are doing on and off campus. We have so many exciting things going on.

For instance, our Counseling Department is hosting a series of workshops on stress management and mental health. The 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.

Clearly, the pandemic and cold weather can't keep us from staying connected. I'm so proud of our faculty and staff who creatively ensure our students needs are met either in-person or virtually.

We continue to try and catch up with last year's spring enrollment. Our headcount went up this week from 8,701 to 8,801. However, our enrollment compared to this time last year showed a decrease from -4.0 last week to -6.1 percent this week. We will continue the final enrollment push for the 8-week session which begins March 8. In addition, Friday is the 12-week payment arrangement deadline. Please talk with our students and remind them of this and that we have payment options available

I want to give a shout out to our Financial Aid department that has seen a 37 percent increase in FAFSA applications compared to last year. February is Financial Aid Month, great time to lead our students to resources that will help them make a financial plan for the fall, including BCTC scholarships. Financial struggle is real for us all, but it may be especially hard for our students right now.

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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February 4, 2021

Dear Colleagues,

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. 

Our enrollment report yesterday was one such bright spot. Right now, enrollment is 8,701, which is a 4.0 percent decrease from this time last year. Your work has moved the needle over one percent from the previous week. Keep up the good work during the final enrollment push for the 8-week session.

Student success stories also brighten my day. Heather Farley, who earned her GED last year during the pandemic, was recently featured in a KET online story. Despite setbacks in her life, this mother of three was determined to complete her GED with the help of Anderson County Skills U. Heather is now attending BCTC and working on her associate degree. She is just one of many students you have served and empowered to reach their dreams during the pandemic.

Many of us are waiting to get more information about when the COVID-19 vaccination will be available. As Dr. Czarapata shared this week, 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 everyone of us 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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January 28, 2021

Dear Colleagues,

I hope your semester has gotten off to a good start. We heard great things about you from students during our call campaign this past week. One student sums up best what we heard on so many calls: "I am smiling as I talk to you because I am so happy with the way the semester is going." 

Because of the time and commitment many of you put into this, we have been able to identify and assist students by providing information and tools they need for success this semester. Thank you!

As I have said before, communication is a significant way we can retain our students and grow enrollment. It is much easier to keep a current student than gain a new one.

Yesterday, our enrollment was 8,582, which is a 5.3 percent decrease from this time last year. Our 12-week session begins February 8, so we have a little time to enroll students for this session. The 8-week session begins March 8. We are utilizing many tactics across our college to contact and enroll prospective students. 

Another obvious element of our communication with our students is their ability to contact us. As you saw this week, KCTCS is launching a new directory systemwide that can be accessed from our homepage. This will be available to us March 2. 

I encourage you to add your photo to this directory because it puts faces on our institution. People want to interact with other people. Seeing another person's face and knowing where they work makes visitors feel a more human connection to the college. Students/visitors may feel more comfortable reaching out when they think they know who will be answering their call. You are not required, but encouraged to do this.

As was stated, the new directory will be available to the public from our home page.  Employees, students and the public will still be able to access our internal directory, that includes part-time employees, from the "Faculty and Staff" link located on the homepage under "Quick Links." If you have questions, please contact michelle.sjogren@kctcs.edu.

Finally, there is good news related to COVID-19. Colleges and universities are in phase 1c of the vaccine rollout. At this time, the vaccination sites are limited and designated by state and local leadership. If you are interested in signing up to be notified when you are eligible for the vaccine, follow this link to that information. If you live outside Fayette County, this information may vary. Please be aware, you are NOT required to get a vaccine to be on campus.

With the distribution of the vaccine in our state, I would say we can see a light at the end of the tunnel. This reminds me of what Kobi Yamada says, "Believe that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Believe that you might be the light for someone else." 

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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January 21, 2021

Dear Colleagues,

Our student call campaign began this week and will run through January 27. As you know, this simple gesture is very meaningful to many students and helps us identify those who need assistance. We have helped hundreds of students with each call campaign.  I appreciate the time that many of you are putting into this important outreach to our students.

We made it through the semester drop for non-payment arrangements with only losing a couple of percentage points.  I appreciate the many efforts to reduce the number of students on the drop for non-payment arrangements list.  Today, our enrollment was 8,489 students, which is a 4.9 percent decrease from this time last year. I know you will continue to work toward gaining enrollment for the 12 and 8 week sessions. Your hard work and dedication are paying off. Our students benefit from your efforts.

Throughout the pandemic, we have made adjustments in scheduling, facility operations and how we provide service to students. We have worked to alleviate inequity among our students in relation to technology and access. We have found ways to meet physical needs through our food pantry, the HEART. All of this has been done to improve our processes and ensure success for all students. 

Times of reflection almost always result in a better tomorrow. This semester let's explore other opportunities to care for another. What more can we do to recognize student need? What additional adjustments can we make to meet them where they are? Who needs a word of encouragement today? Where can we spend a little more time to move a student toward his/her goals? 

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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January 14, 2021

Dear Colleagues,

At the end of the first week of the spring semester, your efforts are getting us closer to our enrollment goal. Today, our enrollment was 8,431, which is a 3.4 percent decrease from last year at this time, but we still have enrollment opportunities for the 12 and 8-week sessions. We are chipping away at the enrollment deficit. Great job!

Through the work we do, students find a place of purpose and hope that helps to move them through the pandemic. I'm so proud to do this important work with 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 yourselves 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. Each of us may experience a myriad of emotions and may need time and space to process these emotions. 

When you engage in open dialogue in your professional and personal lives with others or through social media, please remember the KCTCS policies on free speech and responsible use of technology that you will find below. While faculty and staff have the right to speak freely, we ask that you exercise good judgment to ensure your views on social media or other forms of communication cannot be interpreted as an official position of KCTCS. 

During this time, I know our BCTC family will remember the importance of respecting and supporting one another and upholding BCTC's deep commitment to our values of diversity, inclusion and equity. At BCTC, we welcome all people and points of view. Please offer each other flexibility, empathy and compassion as we stand together in the common goal of serving our students.

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.                                     

*KCTCS Policies can be found here:  

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

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2020

December 16, 2020

Dear Colleagues,

This has truly been a challenging year. We have travelled together on a journey through unprecedented times and you always rose to the challenge!

In appreciation for all you have done, I would like for you to start your holiday season a little early on Friday, Dec. 18. We will be closing all campuses at 12 p.m.*

I hope you have a very merry and restful holiday season with those you love.

Happy holidays!

*Cooper campus will be closed all day Friday due to the high school football championships at Kroger Field.  If your office is at Cooper, please contact your supervisor regarding Friday morning.

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

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December 10, 2020

Dear Colleagues,

We have only one week to go before our winter break. But before we go, we will celebrate our students in the much-anticipated graduation drive-thru. Unfortunately, we all cannot participate due to COVID restrictions, but you can join us as we broadcast live on the BCTC Facebook page. The dates and times are below. If you can't make it live, these will be available on our YouTube channel later.

Saturday, December 12

  • Lexington, Newtown Campus: 9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.
  • Winchester Campus:  12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.
  • Georgetown Campus: 3:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Sunday, December 13

  • Danville Campus: 1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.
  • Lawrenceburg Campus: 3:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Bringing this semester to a close, we look forward to winter break. It would be easy for us to coast through the next week. However, I know you are not one to coast. This year, you have turned instruction and student services on a dime. You ensured we did not go down in enrollment when most other colleges did. You leaned into our Students First culture by improving the "new normal" in the fall semester and helping our students find success. You are ready to finish as strongly as you began 2020.

This week, I encourage you to reach out to our students and make sure they enroll for spring. This is an uncertain time for us all. A little encouragement could prompt someone to stay on their educational path.

Our advisors will be holding the Spring into 2021 enrollment event Dec. 14-18, and be available to assist students with registering for the spring semester. You can direct students to this form  and an advisor will contact them.

As we continue to keep moving forward toward our enrollment goals for spring, despite the challenges the pandemic has brought, consider these words from Henry Ford, "When everything seems to be against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it."

And 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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December 3, 2020

Dear Colleagues,

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. Let's go above and beyond to help our students successfully complete and get registered for next semester. In our call campaign we reached out to over 10,000 students and these calls revealed 500 students who were ready to enroll but had not done so and 230 who needed help to resolve issues. Thank you everyone who participated and reinforced our Students First BCTC culture. Your work matters!

I wanted to let you know KCTCS and the Kentucky Lottery have a new campaign featuring musical artist B.Stille to promote our Work Ready Kentucky Scholarship program (see ad below). Our marketing department has begun a soft launch of this campaign on social media and outdoor advertising. The big launch will take place later this month and the first week of January. Please make sure our students and others in your sphere who may qualify for this scholarship are aware. This is a great opportunity, especially for adults displaced by the pandemic and looking for a new career.

This campaign comes at a good time because we are still trailing in enrollment from this time last year. Reach out to your students, encourage them to take a class in the Winter Session and enroll for spring. I've been hearing from many commentators that community colleges will be the place of hope and rebuilding when we come out of this pandemic. Let's continue to welcome them in.

As we close 2020 and this semester, 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

November 19, 2020

Dear Colleagues,

Following guidance from the Governor, CPE and KCTCS, 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. 

All classes except for previously approved technical classes go entirely online as of Monday, November 23, to complete the semester. 

For the limited amount of in-person services offered on our campuses, we will continue to follow our effective Healthy at BCTC protocols and follow the Governor's guidelines for business operations. 

Your supervisor will be in touch with you prior to Friday, November 20, with your work schedule and campus location through December 18.

Due to your innovation, hard work and the current plan, we're in a good place to finish strong.

Thank you for continuing to follow protocols to keep our campuses healthy and safe, and all you continue do during this pandemic to serve our students and each other.

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

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November 12, 2020

Dear Colleagues,

We are about a month away from completing the fall semester. It is amazing how quickly the time has passed. Spring enrollment is coming along, but we are still behind where we were last year. Please continue to encourage our students to enroll now for the winter session and spring semester.

To promote enrollment for spring and help push our students over the finish line this fall, we are launching our fourth student call campaign beginning next week, to run November 16 -25. Some of you have already committed to participate with us again. I want to thank you in advance for helping us make this important contact. As many of you may have experienced first-hand, these calls mean a lot to our students. In our last campaign, we made over 500 connections for additional support services to help students. Our support can be a gamechanger.

As you know, 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.

Finally, I want to thank those of you who have given to our employee annual giving campaign. It ends this week, but it's not too late to donate or renew your payroll deduction. If you need information on how to do this contact emily.nugent@kctcs.edu. We'll report the results of how we came together to support our students next week.

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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November 5, 2020

Dear Colleagues,

We made it to the finish line with fall enrollment. Our official CPE numbers were posted this week, and we maintained our fall enrollment increase. As we look to spring, clearly, you are not resting on your laurels. The numbers we are seeing so far for spring enrollment indicate that we are still leading the System in spring enrollment. Thank you for continuing to encourage our students to enroll now for the winter session and spring semester.

With more exciting news, I'm pleased to announce that our First Year Center has a new name, Student Success Hub, and has expanded its mission to assist all students in achieving success at BCTC. The Hub will offer services such as tutoring (in-person and online), peer mentoring, orientations and student success strategies. We are excited about the students first service this team provides.

As we saw this week in the annual giving communication from the Foundation, Alplato's story illustrates our impact far beyond BCTC. Clearly, there is a tremendous return on the investment you make in our students. Thank you for all you do! Congratulations to this week's donor winners. I've heard you have not claimed your prizes in HR at our Leestown Campus. Don't forget to stop by and spin the wheel for a great prize.

This is our final week of the annual faculty and staff giving campaign, so I encourage you to join your colleagues. We still have $725 left of the Kentucky Bank match. If you have not made a gift or renewed your payroll deduction, take advantage of this chance to double your investment this week. We hope to reach one hundred percent faculty and staff giving, regardless of the size of the gift, as we empower students to achieve their dreams.

We continue to closely monitor the increase in COVID cases in our communities and work with our Healthy at BCTC Officer, local health officials, CPE and KCTCS as we complete the fall semester. I encourage you to faithfully practice our #HealthyAtBCTC protocols to protect yourself and the people around you. If there are any changes to our COVID response, I will communicate this with you immediately. 

In planning for the 2020-21 school year, we anticipated there may be a rise in cases, so we scheduled most classes to be online after Thanksgiving and into the spring semester. We also continue to provide many student services virtually. As always, we are committed, first, to your safety as we deliver quality education and outstanding service to our students.

As we near the end of the semester, I encourage you to stay focused. Nelson Mandela said, "It always seems impossible until it's done." 

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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October 29, 2020

Dear Colleagues,

Due to your outstanding work, we are still leading the System in spring enrollment. Thank you for continuing to encourage our students to enroll now for the winter session and spring semester.

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 to 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 our students.

After a week of not so good news, I have great news for you. Thanks to your generosity, we met our $1000 Nash Homes match. Those of you who contributed this week doubled your gift. If you did not give this week or are interested in doubling your gift again, more great news! Kentucky Bank has generously agreed to provide a $1000 match for next week. Take advantage of this chance to double your investment and provide opportunity for our students.

I hope those of you who were selected to spin our prize wheel will come to HR at Leestown to claim your prize soon. We have added some new items to the wheel that I think you'll like. If you haven't seen the list of winners, please check your Monday email from the Foundation. We'll draw winners again from this week's donors and announce them next Monday. Be sure and open that email from the Foundation!

It's fun to have prizes and double your gift, but the best part of participating in our annual giving campaign is the difference you make in students' lives. You've seen many of your students who benefited from your gifts to our foundation. We've told you Ocean's story and this week Whitney's story. As you can see, there is a tremendous return on the investment you make in our students.

As you know we hope to reach one hundred percent faculty and staff giving, regardless of the size of the gift. We only have a week to go, so I encourage you to continue to help students achieve their dreams.

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." Our students are determined. Let's make sure they are unstoppable by eliminating a financial obstacle, especially during this pandemic. 

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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October 22, 2020

Dear Colleagues,

We have passed the halfway point in our fall semester and BCTC enrollment continues to thrive through 2020. Once again, I want to recognize your excellent efforts to encourage our students to plan ahead and register for the spring semester. We continue to lead the System in spring enrollment!

BCTC is also doing an amazing job attracting dual credit students. Did you know if our dual credit program were a stand-alone campus, it would be our second largest campus? The growth we have realized in this area is phenomenal. This group certainly made it possible for us to show growth in our overall enrollment this fall. These students are an important part of our mission and college community.

This week, we had some good media coverage for Thriving through Transfer event. Once again, BCTC is leading the way in participation. Friday our BCTC team will be live working with transfer students who still need assistance. Check out the innovative Thriving through Transfer platform. This is another great example of stepping up with technology to accomplish what we cannot do in person due to COVID.

I imagine many of you also saw one of your students in our thank you video this week. This truly brings to light the real impact and real power of investing in our students. And, thanks to a $1000 matching grant from Jimmy Nash Homes, you can double your gift this week with the Nash match.

In addition to the satisfaction of meeting student need, we also want to make this fun for you. So, the first five individuals who gave last week and the first five who gave this week will be able to spin the birthday wheel to win great BCTC swag, like polo shirts, thermal cups/water bottles and much more. We'll do this every week so the more you participate, the greater your chances of winning.

We hope to reach one hundred percent giving, regardless of the size of the gift, so we all can continue to help students achieve their dreams. Last year, we reached 50 percent, and student need is so much greater this year due to the pandemic. Please remember the amount of the gift is not as important as is our unified commitment to our students through this campaign and the opportunity to change a life.

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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October 15, 2020

Dear Colleagues,

I'm so excited to see once again this week that our spring enrollment is leading the System. Keep up the great work by encouraging our students to plan for winter and spring terms during priority enrollment this month.

As we look forward to 2021, we are anticipating some great things. Our Danville Campus Advanced Manufacturing Center and the Den on the Newtown Campus will open in 2021. We will also launch a new program, Orthotics and Prosthetics Technology in fall 2021, one of only seven programs like it in the United States. Let's help build the excitement with our students for these opportunities.

We also want to build excitement for Thriving through Transfer, a virtual transfer fair that will take place next week during National Transfer Student Week. Students who intend to transfer can learn more about nearly 50 universities and connect directly with representatives who will answer questions. Students can view those partners and register online.  

In the past few weeks, we have seen a steady increase in COVID-19 cases in our state, and it is projected that this may continue to 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.

Finally, I hope you enjoyed Ocean's story this week in the email from the BCTC Foundation. She is one of the many students who have benefited from your generosity and commitment to Students First. As our employee giving campaign continues this month, please remember the amount of the gift is not as important as is our unified commitment to our students through this campaign.

Sir Winston Churchill said, "We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give." 

You have given so much as we created our new normal and worked to help our students be successful within it. Thank you for what you give to our students and each other every day. YOU make our community great!

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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October 8, 2020

Dear Colleagues,

I'm pleased to report our fall enrollment remains up thanks to your hard work and dedication. Our 8-week courses start Monday, so that means we are half way through the fall semester already. I'm also so excited to see that our spring enrollment is leading the System. Keep up the great work! In addition, I continue to hear good stories about how students are experiencing our new normal and finding success on many levels because you are committed to them.

At seven months in, this pandemic is wearing on us all. I'm so proud of how our BCTC family comes around one another and supports each other both on and off campus. Please also take the time to encourage our students to complete the semester strong and plan for the spring semester. As you know, priority enrollment for the winter and spring semesters began last week, and FAFSA and BCTC scholarships are open.

We can also assist our students, especially those who are financially struggling during this pandemic, through the BCTC Foundation faculty and staff annual giving campaign. Your commitment to this campaign last year raised employee participation from 15 to 50 percent. Thank you! With that growth last year, it's not unrealistic to think that we can reach 100 percent participation this year. The amount of the gift is not as important as is our unified commitment to our students through this campaign.

I'm very excited to share with you over the coming weeks stories of student success fueled by our Foundation and those who give. I hope you will consider joining your colleagues and me in investing in our students.

As we move closer to November, I encourage you all to pursue whatever method you choose to make your voice heard. 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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October 1,, 2020

Dear Colleagues,

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, but demonstrations are not allowed to be restricted to free speech zones. Any outdoor portions of campus are statutorily available for free speech activities as long as those activities 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, BCTC and 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 which is 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.

We should take care not to create the impression that our personal opinions are those of BCTC or KCTCS by leaving job titles and positions off of personal social media posts and refrain from expressing personal opinions in official communications (such as emails from a kctcs.edu email address or in a document printed on official letterhead).

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 from a public bulletin board may not be removed 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 Jane Goatley, Director of Human Resources. We all have the opportunity and responsibility to provide examples of civil discourse and respect for our students and the college community. Thank you for helping us do this at BCTC.

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

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September 24, 2020

Dear BCTC Family,

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. There will be opportunities for discourse provided by our Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. The first of these opportunities, Race in America Part 2, will take place virtually on October 1,  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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September 17, 2020

Dear BCTC Family,

You've done it! Enrollment is now up over last year by 1.2 percent. We are the only KCTCS college showing an increase in enrollment from Fall 2019, with an increase in adult learners, dual credit, credential-seeking students and students 25+, and we are almost there with students 18-24. 

I applaud the hard work and determination it took to achieve this milestone, despite a global pandemic. THIS IS A BIG DEAL! Many in higher education institutions would be happy to "not lose too much" or "stay even" – our team has exceeded! 

This was an excellent parting gift to Dr. Box from BCTC as he retires this month. Many of you may have viewed the virtual celebration Tuesday. If you missed the live event, it is available online. From Hazard Community and Technical College President to KCTCS President, and all of his roles between, he has developed a legacy of student access and success. He is certainly a leader who made Better Lives possible for many Kentuckians. However, in his last blog as KCTCS President, he gives the credit to you, KCTCS faculty and staff, for helping our students attain those Better Lives and inspiring him every day. 

You can see there is much to celebrate, but we still face some challenging and stressful times. There is uncertainty about when this pandemic will end, and we can go back to "normal" life. We are adjusting to the new way our jobs must be done, while trying to ensure our children are getting the education they need at home. Kudos to our entire BCTC family for adjusting so well and always giving your best to our students and each other.

While we learn to deal with the pressures above, we are also facing social unrest and the upcoming election season. These are certainly 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. This 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.

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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September 10, 2020

Dear BCTC Family,

I hope you had a well-deserved rest this weekend. Everyone has been working so hard all summer and during our return to campus. 

I'm pleased to report that our ongoing efforts are getting us closer to exceeding fall 2019 enrollment. We don't have far to go. We are less than one percent down and enrollment for Fall II is looking good. As you continue to work as a team to beat last year's numbers, I'm confident that we will make it.

Late last week, we got more good news regarding our accreditation. Thanks to the dedication of the entire college, BCTC has been informed by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) that we are accredited for 10 more years. I want to express my sincere appreciation for the role each of you have played to make our accreditation a reality.

I also want to let you know that System Office and our web team are making some changes to our website homepage on September 23. We are updating the images in the banner and the links at the top. MyPath has a new home in the top navigation. You asked for it and it's here. No more clicking on Employees and then searching for the MyPath link. It's right there in the top left-hand corner of your desktop. See the document for more details on the changes.

As we continue our transparency related to the pandemic and work with our local and state officials, per Governor Beshear's request, every college and university is posting the number of positive COVID-19 cases of students and employees who have been on campus. This will count only people who have been on campus working in offices, teaching in a classroom or attending a class on campus. 

You can find the information broken out by college on the KCTCS dashboard. There is also a link to this data on our HealthyAtBCTC page on the website. Data is updated on Tuesdays and Fridays. Tuesday numbers include reports from Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. Friday includes numbers reported on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. 

As we have told you before, 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 and colleagues for alerting us of their diagnosis as soon as they were aware. We send wishes for quick recovery. I thank you all for following the BCTC protocol, it's making a difference. Working together, we will remain #HealthyAtBCTC.

Although some days are taxing, as I visit your classroom and offices, I see you are rising to the challenge. On the tough days, I try to remember a quote I read by Drew Barrymore, "Life is very interesting. In the end, some of your greatest pains become your greatest strengths."

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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September 3, 2020

Dear BCTC Family,

This week, I've been enjoying visits to our campuses. I'm very impressed with what I'm seeing. Students and colleagues are practicing #HealthyAtBCTC procedures to help us stay safe on campus. In classrooms, students are engaged and telling me how much they like and appreciate the flexibility of their instructors and our new normal offer. Because of faculty ingenuity, they can choose to participate in class through multiple modes of instruction, and most are taking advantage of all modes. Outside the classroom, our staff is helping students get settled into college life and assisting when they are lost or confused. We are certainly a Students First culture!

I'm pleased to report our Fall 2020 Student Call Campaign is complete. Thanks to your commitment, we called over 9500 students. I've had the opportunity to brag on you to our CPE president, legislators and the media. It is no small feat to call that many students. In addition to making it clear that we care at BCTC, we were able to identify and assist over 500 students who had issues to resolve. Although this was very time consuming, the rewards are great.

As we continue our transparency related to the pandemic, I'm sharing that nine students and one colleague who have been on campus tested positive for COVID-19. We have been working with our Healthy at BCTC team to gather information, and I can 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 and colleagues for making us aware of this situation as soon as it came to light. We send wishes for quick recovery. I thank you all for following the BCTC protocol, it's making a difference. Working together, we will remain #HealthyAtBCTC.

There is certainly a lot of change and unrest in our society right now, but you are all playing an important role in providing students stability and hope for the future. Through your leadership and guidance, our students will realize "after every storm the sun will smile; for every problem there is a solution, and the soul's indefeasible duty is to be of good cheer." – William R. Alger

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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August 27, 2020

Dear BCTC Family,

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

You continue to work hard to keep our enrollment up. This week, I want to especially thank the team that worked on reinstating students who were dropped for nonpayment. We are getting many of them back. Helping these students is important to our enrollment numbers, but more importantly we are helping the person behind that number. This pandemic has knocked many of us for a loop, and perhaps BCTC is exactly what a student needs to rise out of a downward spiral.

Speaking of helping our students, our Fall 2020 Student Call Campaign to check in on our students is going very well. A huge thank you to all of you who are making time to call students while doing your regular job tasks. I want you to know this really matters. We have already identified students who need assistance and helped to resolve their issues.

This is what one student had to say about the calls: "The first week was a piece of cake, which is shocking because I haven't been in college in quite a while. All in all, everything was great. Easy navigation and AMAZING and attentive instructors. Thank you for taking the time to check up on things" -Briana.

These accolades belong to all of you. You put Students First and they notice!

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 our students, returning to campus during this pandemic can be stressful. I encourage you to reach out if you need help. Speak to your supervisor, our Healthy at BCTC officer, Mr. Beecher McCarty, or a friend. You can also call the KCTCS Employee Assistance Program (EAP) for help to resolve issues that you and your household may be facing. 

I am so proud to serve with each and every one of you. Your courage, strength and commitment to serve our students and community 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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August 20, 2020

Thanks to the great work of a lot of good people, we had a phenomenal start to our fall semester. We welcomed faculty, staff and students from 200 in-person classes onto our campuses without a hitch. Masks were worn, temperatures were checked and social distancing was practiced. We will remain #HealthyAtBCTC because you are doing your part. Additionally, I'm so impressed with your teamwork when problems need to be solved and colleagues and students need help. Well done everyone!

Next week as we will welcome many more students to campus, I anticipate the same smooth operation. If you have any questions about our #HealthyAtBCTC protocol, please review the web content we have created to answer these questions, reach out to your supervisor or AD, review the Healthy at Work Officer Q&A, or reach out to Beecher.McCarty@kctcs.edu. Success depends on all of us doing our part.

As we continue our transparency related to the pandemic, I want to let you know I was notified this week that one of our colleagues 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 colleague 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.

We are so close to meeting enrollment numbers from last year because of your incredible work and commitment to our students. Please continue to work to increase our enrollment by encouraging and assisting prospective students to register for our 12-week courses. I know many of you are working outside regular hours on nights and weekends to make sure that every student is served. Thank you!

Your dedication is getting us through this pandemic, increasing our enrollment and making sure that we continue our commitment to putting Students First. You are the embodiment of this quote by Jonathan Mills, "Successful people demonstrate their resilience through their dedication to making progress every day, even if that progress is marginal."

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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August 13, 2020

Dear BCTC Family,

It's hard to believe, but the fall semester is here. Classes begin Monday. Enrollment this week has been phenomenal. Your hard work and determination never cease to amaze me! We are very close to last year's enrollment number, and for the first time, we have advisors working with students through the weekend. You are making sure this pandemic does not beat us and our students. Your efforts are ensuring that our students and the community are getting an education that will move all into a better life. Together, we work hard and will celebrate our success. 

Speaking of success, congratulations to all who made our first-ever virtual kickoff a big hit! This event involved 494 registered colleagues and 43 concurrent sessions led by 62 presenters and 11 moderators. As you can see, this was no small undertaking. From Ms. Maria Torres and our HR department for impeccable planning and execution, to the IT support and moderators who ensured everything ran smoothly, to presenters who provided engaging content, to each of you who participated, WELL DONE! Once again, you exceeded my expectations. 

As we implement what we learned and welcome our students next week, I want to remind you that for the first week only, the majority of fall classes will be delivered by online/remote instruction. This will give instructors the opportunity to contact all students the first week to explain how in-person instruction will work, minimizing any confusion, especially for those who add a course during add/drop. Communication is critical for this process. There will be a few classes that will meet in person the first week. The instructors for those classes will notify their students this week.  

Whether in person, online or remote all faculty will communicate with their students prior to the start of classes. Week two, the current plan will resume with the hybrid model planned for the semester. 

My expectation is that we will all follow the #HealthyAtBCTC protocol so we will be able to welcome students back on campus, and following this protocol is critical to us staying on campus. 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. Our students will look to us to take the lead and set the healthy example. I'm counting on each of you to take this very seriously. In addition to your efforts, 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, please review the web content we have created to answer these questions, reach out to your supervisor or AD, 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 make our college stronger than ever. 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

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August 6, 2020

Dear BCTC Family,

We have started the countdown to fall 2020 and today marks 11 days until our start. There are some swings in our enrollment numbers, but I know you are all continuing to help students get enrolled. We are seeing many inquiries of prospective student interest, and I know you are working hard to push them over the finish line into fall classes. I also want to thank our faculty and all staff who are working diligently to prepare for our students. Together, we work hard and will celebrate our success.

Tomorrow is the virtual kick-off. I'm expecting you to attend and will be closing campus tomorrow morning so all employees can attend online.  If you haven't registered for the kick-off, please do so today. You can learn more about the kick-off and sessions offered here. Also, if you would like to add a BCTC background to your teams video, download them from our Flickr account.

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. This will give instructors the opportunity to contact all students the first week to explain how in-person instruction will work, minimizing any confusion, especially for those who add a course during add/drop. Faculty should work with their AD regarding any exception to this plan. Students will receive more specific information about the first week plan for their classes as we get closer to August 17. It is important to know and communicate that 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 colleagues (socially distanced of course) on campus sporting masks.  We want the Governor, our students and the community to know we are following all procedures to remain #HealthyAtBCTC. 

Communication is one of the important aspects of our procedure during this pandemic. Thus, I want to let you know I was notified this week that one of our employees 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 colleague for making us aware of this situation as soon as it came to light. We send wishes for quick recovery. 

With that said, I do understand that we may feel a bit of anxiety as we come together again to serve students. I want to reassure you that Beecher McCarty, our Healthy at Work officer, the entire administrative team and many of your colleagues 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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July 30, 2020

Dear BCTC Family,

Wow! You all are really moving the needle on our enrollment. Our Pathways to Enrollment event last week netted 223 student enrollments. This plus your virtual experiences, drive thru events, email and text communication, and Students First service is continuing to move us out of the enrollment deficit caused by the pandemic. As of the last enrollment report, we are down to -2.6% in comparison to this time last year. I'm so proud of the work you are doing. Keep it up!

All of this work is in anticipation of welcoming our students to the 2020-21 school year. The virtual kick-off on August 7 will prepare us to do that. If you haven't registered for the kick-off, please do so today. We will be closing campus that morning so all employees can attend online. I'm expecting you online. You can learn more about the kick-off and sessions offered here

One new development that is in line with our Students First mission is to, for the first week only, have the majority of fall classes begin with only online/remote instruction. The goal is to give instructors the opportunity to contact all students that first week to explain how in-person instruction will work, minimizing any confusion, especially for those who add a course during add/drop. This will ensure that the first day of in-person instruction is a better experience. Faculty should work with their supervisors regarding any exception to this plan. Students will receive more specific information on the first week plan for their classes as we get closer to August 17. 

It is important to know and communicate that the in-person move to completely online is for the first week ONLY. After that, the current plan will resume with the hybrid model planned for the semester. With that said, we must also remain mindful that the pandemic decides when and how plans shift. Regardless, we will be ready to serve our students.

For those who have not completed their Living Well Promise, I want to remind you the deadline is August 14 and historically the site gets overloaded on the day of the deadline. I have attached to this email a Q&A about completing the promise. In addition, if you would like to attend a webinar that assists with the process, you can sign up here.

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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July 23, 2020

Dear BCTC Family,

Well, we have certainly entered the dog days of summer. I hope you all are staying cool in this hot, hot weather. I see, however, the heat is not slowing you down as you work toward increasing our enrollment for fall. As of the last KCTCS enrollment report, we have reduced our deficit to 3.5%. You are continuing to move us toward where we were last year at this time and beyond. Well done!

We are excited to return to campus and welcome students. Our virtual kick-off August 7 will prepare us to do that. If you haven't registered for the kick-off, please do so today. We will be closing campus that morning so all employees can attend online. I'm expecting you there. You can learn more about the kick-off and sessions offered here. Also, I will be conducting a Q & A at the kick off and welcome your questions. Please complete the Q & A with Dr. Akakpo form.

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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July 16, 2020

Dear BCTC Family,

It's mid-July. Where is our summer going? We are in full-swing preparing to welcome our students this fall. Yesterday, I enjoyed welcoming some of those new students with pizza and a t-shirt drive thru at our Newtown Campus. I've shared a photo with you.

Remember, we have two enrollment events coming up: Pathway to Enrollment will take place July 20-24, Monday through Thursday 9-5 and Friday 9-4, and open enrollment August 3-6 and 10-13. We expect to see more and more folks on campus. We'll continue to follow all CDC, CPE and KCTCS guidelines for #HealthyAtBCTC practices. Thank you for all you are doing to increase our fall enrollment.

If you haven't registered for the kick-off, happening virtually on August 7, please do so today. We will be closing campus that morning so all employees can attend online. I'm expecting you there. You can learn more about the kick-off and sessions offered here.

As you know, we had our first colleague test positive for COVID-19 last week. With the increase in cases in Kentucky, we may see more colleagues and students with positive test results. I want to assure you that our Healthy at Work Officer, Beecher McCarty, and his team are keeping us informed and our campuses healthy and safe.

We, also, have a role to play in this. Complete your health checks, wear your mask and observe social distancing every time you come to campus. If you are not feeling well, don't come to campus. If you or someone with whom you have had close contact tests positive, contact Beecher McCarty right away at 859-368-6738 or beecher.mccarty@kctcs.edu. If we all work together, we can minimize the impact to our community.

In addition, I want you to know that we will continue to remain transparent about any positive cases on campus. If we do have a case, the health department will complete contact tracing and notify anyone they determine has had significant exposure warranting further action. By following our Healthy at BCTC protocols, risk of exposure is minimized for everyone.

I know these are uncertain, challenging and, sometimes, scary times. Anurag Prakash Ray once said, "Hard times are sometimes blessings in disguise. We do have to suffer but in the end it makes us strong, better and wise." 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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July 9, 2020

Dear BCTC Family,

We are well into summer and moving closer and closer to fall each day. I've enjoyed seeing more of you on campus serving our students. We continue to increase enrollment and move out of the deficit caused by COVID-19, thanks to the heroic efforts you make every day!

In addition to all you are currently doing, we have two enrollment events coming up. Pathway to Enrollment will take place July 20-23, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., both online and in person at the Newtown Campus. This campaign will be heavily promoted by BCTC and KCTCS. A follow-up enrollment event will take place on Newtown campus August 3-6 and 10-13. This is the typical open enrollment event we have each fall, but due to need for social distancing, we are extending the length of the event.

Whatever your role, I encourage you to support our enrollment efforts. It is important that we keep our numbers moving in the right direction. One fun way to celebrate our enrollment is the BCTC Spirit Video Contest. Students are asked to create a short video sharing why they are excited to start at BCTC this fall. The best video entries will win laptops. Please help us share this opportunity with students.

We are also looking forward to our virtual fall kick-off August 7. You can learn more about the kick-off and sessions offered here. If you have not already registered for the kick-off, please do so today!

With all that this pandemic is throwing at us, we must continue to embrace our mission to put Students First. As Gever Tulley said, "Persistence and resilience only come from having been given the chance to work through difficult problems."

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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July 2, 2020

Dear BCTC Family,

I hope your summer is going well. We are gradually seeing more students and employees on campus and are pleased to welcome everyone back. Thank you for your continued commitment to keep our campuses safe and healthy, increase our enrollment, serve each other and put Students First, whether in person or remotely.

We are already looking forward to our fall kick-off, which will give us the chance to set the course for Fall 2020 and the opportunities that lie ahead. You can learn more about the kick-off and sessions offered here. If you have not already registered for the kick-off, do it today!

This week we celebrate the USA, despite 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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June 25, 2020

Hello BCTC Family,

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 seeing more folks on campus, socially distanced of course.

Thank you to all who are making our new normal work. I know we have adjustments to make as we follow practices that keep us Healthy at BCTC. Those who are on campus are participating in check-in procedures and wearing masks. You are also seeing 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 our 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 students this fall and keeping everyone healthy and safe on campus will depend on our attentiveness to this plan.

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

I'm so proud we continue to lead our system in fall enrollment. You are doing a great job of getting our new students excited about fall. Yesterday, we welcomed some of those students 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. Encourage enrolled students to enter for a chance to win a laptop!

We have much to celebrate in our response to this pandemic. Steve Maraboli best expresses this idea: "Life doesn't get easier or more forgiving, we get stronger and more resilient." Thank you for your resilience and determination to put Students First every day!

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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June 18, 2020

Hello BCTC Family,

I cannot say enough how proud I am of the contributions you make every day as we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. The past three months have not been easy for anyone, and you have risen to meet every challenge and put Students First daily.

Attached you will find our Welcome Back Plan that describes operations for Summer II and Fall 2020.  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.

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. While we are still encouraging remote service, students who need in-person service should to make an appointment.

If you have been notified by your supervisor that you will return next week or you are coming to campus to perform certain tasks, remember our check-in procedures that include completing the COVID-19 Reopening Training and your daily health employee health check-in.

Please wear your mask and enter at the designated checkpoint on your campus before going to your work site.

CHECK-IN locations

Leestown Campus - Rear entrance of Building C near the bookstore
Newtown Campus – Lobby of the Classroom Building
Cooper Campus – Loading ramp entrance near the mailroom at the Oswald Building
Regional campuses – Main entrance of each regional campus

In addition, to assist public health officials with contact tracing if you test positive or are exposed to COVID-19, you must keep documentation of work shifts, work locations, meetings and in-person college or visitor contacts. If you have questions about any of these procedures, please contact Beecher McCarty.

For health and safety reasons, the water fountains and vending machines will not be available on campuses. Please plan accordingly for your day. Bottle filler stations will be operational, and there will be bottled water at campus check-in stations.

As we continue to add details to the plan, please know that every decision is made with the health and safety of our faculty, staff, students and community as our highest priority.

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 welcoming our students this fall.

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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June 11, 2020

Hello BCTC Family,

Thank you for your work this week. We are approaching the end of Summer I. Due to your efforts, our students are successfully completing their online classes and our enrollment for summer and fall is growing. We continue to lead the system in enrollment gains. Well done!

As we approach the next phase of returning to campus, our Healthy at Work Officer, Beecher McCarty, his team and our cross-functional leadership taskforce are busy planning and preparing our campuses. My update next week will have the details of our plan for Summer II. For now, we want to share a bit of what our new normal will look like.

We prepared the Healthy at BCTC video for you and our college community. You will see the focus is providing for your safety and the safety of our students as we return to campus. If you have questions about the Healthy at BCTC plan, please email them to beecher.mccarty@kctcs.edu.

Let's consider these words from Joshua J. Marine as we prepare 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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June 4, 2020

Hello BCTC Family,

This has been a sad week in the history of our nation. Not only did we reach 100,000 deaths by COVID-19, but we also saw deaths due to police violence and responses to it. There is so much anxiety, pain and confusion in our world today. This makes me more convinced than ever that each of us should try every day to make the world a better place for the people around us.

I pray for unity because as J.K. Rowling stated, "We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided."

I have seen unity in your response to these challenging times. It is hard to believe you have already completed week three of Summer I, our second term of operating during the Covid-19 pandemic. I want to commend our faculty who are continuing to provide excellent instruction online and meeting the needs of our students. Also, much gratitude to staff who are working hard to prepare and maintain our buildings within the "new normal," and all other staff who are providing excellent customer service and student engagement remotely. Your efforts were recognized by our board members at the BCTC Board meeting last night. I am #BCTCProud of you all!

This week, you received an email from our Healthy at Work Officer Beecher McCarty who provided additional information on procedures as we return to campus, and many of you are already practicing these procedures. He and his team are working hard to keep us #HealthyAtBCTC. If you have questions for him, please email them to Beecher McCarty. We are setting up a Q&A webpage where Beecher will post the most commonly asked questions and answers.

I'd like to close with a quote from the man we all know as Superman, Christopher Reeve: "A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles."

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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June 2, 2020

Hello BCTC Family,

I am sickened and saddened by the events that began on May 25 and continue today. My heart goes out to all of those who have been, are, and will be hurting from this terrible situation.  As our country grieves over the unjust death of George Floyd and many others. There is no greater time than now for unity. I encourage all BCTC faculty, staff, and students, to engage in a moment of silence to encourage peace in our nation.

Justice and equality are rights of all citizens of the United States, and a core value of BCTC. Through our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion department, we are reaching out to bring our campus community together to listen and understand the unique qualities each member offers. Our rich and diverse community makes us all better. Commitments to diversity, equity, inclusion, and human rights are fundamental traits we all should carry.

If you need support, or would like to speak to someone during this time, I want to remind you that counseling services are available to you through the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) website or call 888-293-6948.

In addition, Taran McZee, BCTC Associate Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, will host BCTC's Conversation on Race in America Thursday, June 4, 1-2:30 p.m. You can join here.

As a college, we will continue to ensure equity and inclusion on all of our campuses for students, employees, and the communities we serve. We will lead with compassion, respect and appreciation for all. This is our responsibility and privilege.

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

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May 28, 2020

Hello BCTC Family,

Welcome to summer! I know the calendar doesn't say so, but after Memorial Day and the beginning of Summer I, it certainly feels like summer, even during the pandemic.

Once again, I want to begin by expressing my gratitude to you all for your work this week. Thanks to the efforts of our outstanding faculty and staff, we have been able to move our students who still have work to complete for the spring semester one step closer to completion.

Our faculty prepared labs and lessons, and learned the new protocol to welcome students to the classroom. Our facilities and security personnel made sure everyone was safe and healthy, and it all went well. This is a good trial run for when we are allowed to come back to campus #HealthyAtBCTC.

As I mentioned in my previous communication, a few of us may return on June 1. If you are one of these individuals, your supervisor should have already contacted you. We will go back to campus in phases determined by our state government, CPE and KCTCS. Your safety and the safety of our students is our primary concern when making decisions.

When it is time for you to return to work, your supervisor will let you know and review all of the safety procedures with you. There will be changes, but some things remain the same: Our commitment to serving our community. Our commitment to safety for all and delivery of quality education. And, most importantly, our commitment to put Students First in all we do.

Coretta Scott King said, "The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members." We will continue to do all we do with compassion and commitment because we are a great community.

As always if you have questions or concerns, please contact me. 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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May 21, 2020

Hello BCTC Family,

I'm not sure about you, but I am looking forward to the 3-day weekend coming up. I know we have all been working hard to celebrate our graduates, enroll students for summer and fall, and provide orientation to new students. You are doing a great job!

Let me give you a little data to back that up. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all KCTCS colleges are down in enrollment compared to the last year, but we're coming back. As of last week, we are only down 9.9%. Normally, I would not celebrate a decrease, but I will celebrate that the BCTC decrease is the lowest in the system. Well done!

Unfortunately, this is also a sad week because we have to say goodbye to so many amazing employees as they retire. We are so grateful for all they have contributed to the college. Usually, we get to celebrate them in person, but like our graduates, they did not get that special time. So, we decided to celebrate our retirees and recognize years of service virtually with this video. Enjoy celebrating your colleagues!

As I mentioned in last week's email, with Kentucky's economy reopening, BCTC will resume campus operations and bring employees back to on-site work locations in stages, as approved by the CPE and governor. Some of us will return June 1.

When we transition from remote work to on-site work, things will look and feel a little different; we are implementing our #HealthyAtBCTC plan to ensure our campuses are following state guidelines and keeping us all healthy at work. To assist with our #HealthyAtBCTC return, we have prepared a training video to cover the safety steps you must observe every day while working on-site.

ALL employees returning to on-site work MUST take this mandatory training prior to coming to campus.

The training is available in the Safe Colleges platform.  You can get to the training by going MyPath and clicking the Compliance tile.

In addition, before coming into any college building for any reason, you must complete a daily employee health check. You will find this link on MyPath with a tile that reads BCTC Employee Check-in.

Those working remotely DO NOT have to complete the daily health check or mandatory training until they come on campus.

Attached to this email are detailed instructions for completing each of these requirements and a FAQ to answer student questions that may arise. Please read these so you will be familiar with the procedures. If you have any questions, please contact our Healthy-at-Work Officer, Beecher McCarty, at beecher.mccarty@kctcs.edu, or 859-368-6738.

I want to emphasize that these requirements are ONLY for employees who are working on campus.

Despite these changes and days weeks at work, I try to remember what Bryant McGill said, "The greatest joys in life are found not only in what we do and feel, but also in our quiet hopes and labors for others." The work we do here is labor for others, and you all do it so well. Thank you!

As always if you have questions or concerns, please contact me. 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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May 14, 2020

Hello BCTC Family,

Well, you have done it! The spring semester is complete. I can't thank you enough for your heroic efforts to boost our students toward completion and your continued work to serve them. This week, we honor our graduates and look toward summer and fall.

Monday, a communication went out to students eligible for the CARES Act funding for expenses incurred due to COVID-19 this spring. Our financial aid team is working hard to process the requests and get funding to as many students as possible. This is a big job. I thank them for their work.

As you see in the news and around you each day, our communities are looking very different in the shadow of this pandemic. We are figuring out how we can return to the activities and people we love while protecting ourselves. This is the situation we also face on our campuses as we work toward cautiously reopening and keeping our campuses safe and healthy.

To recap the current plans for students, all Summer I classes will be online, with the majority of classes online for Summer II. For fall, the vast majority of classes will be hybrid or completely online.

We are working within Gov. Beshear's guidelines and with utmost caution to complete on-campus classwork with students who received an IP (In Progress) grade for courses this spring. As soon as we get approval, a limited group will be on campus to assist students with completing their course requirements. Only those assisting these students will return to campus prior to June 1.

As you read in Dr. Box's email, we anticipate a June 1 opening of our campuses to a limited number of employees, if postsecondary institutions receive approval from the Governor and CPE to be included in Kentucky's Phase 2 reopening schedule. After June 1, we will continue to gradually reopen and return employees to campuses in stages that are in line with the direction of health officials.

To prepare, we have a task force working on our plans for a safe return to campus. These plans include the appointing of our Healthy at Work Officer, Beecher McCarty, personal protection for each employee, appropriate social distancing and supporting signage, daily self-reported health checks, training for extra sanitizing processes and other recommendations from the governor's office, CDC and CPE. Our campuses will look quite different as we make sure we are Healthy at Work.

In light of the uncertainty and constant change we face in our personal lives and workplaces, this quote by John Wooden is good advice: "Things turn out the best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out." If we work as a team to meet the challenges before us, we will succeed, for ourselves and our students.

If you have questions or concerns, please contact me. 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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May 12, 2020

We are changing the fall 2020 schedule to include a robust online component for each course.  This change will allow us to prepare our students better if a quick transition to entirely online is needed.  Also, the change will assist in our efforts to limit the number of students on campus at any one time.  The plan is that most in-person (BP) courses will change to hybrid or online (BW, BL, or HB).

Over the weekend, we modified the mode and day pattern in 900 course sections for fall 2020.  We are sending an email and following up with a phone call to each student whose fall schedule was changed.  If you are working with a student who has questions or concerns about their fall schedule and you cannot answer their questions, please refer them to the advising form below.  After completing the form, an advisor will reach out to the student.

Advising Contact Form: https://legacy.bluegrass.kctcs.edu/forms/contact/index.php?gid=6

Thank you for your dedication and support as we work to continue serving our students while keeping our BCTC community healthy and safe moving forward.

If you have any questions, please contact Karen Mayo at karen.mayo@kctcs.edu

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May 7, 2020

Hello BCTC Family,

Happy Thursday. It is hard to believe, but as of tomorrow, we will complete the spring semester, and what a semester it has been. Each of you has risen to the many challenges thrown our way and performed like champions.

As we look forward to returning to our campuses as Dr. Box mentioned in his email this week, we will face new challenges, but I know we can do it for our students and each other because you have proven it.

To recap the current plans, all Summer I classes will be online with the majority of classes online for Summer II. For fall, the vast majority of our classes will be hybrid or completely online.  In addition, this summer we are hoping we can work within Gov. Beshear's guidelines to complete some on-campus classwork with students who have assignments to complete for spring semester.

As I told you in the last communication, we have a task force working on our plans to return to campus, and we will make sure our campuses safe and healthy for everyone. We will be communicating that plan with you soon.

Sunday was supposed to be graduation day, as I'm sure you're aware. We have some nice surprises planned for our graduates including banners at Newtown and all of our regional campuses, a mailed card and social media campaign. Please reach out to our graduates and congratulate them. Even though we plan to celebrate commencement with them December 12, I'm sure they will be feeling disappointment on Sunday.

Regarding the CARES Act funding, we received word yesterday that the qualification criteria for has been finalized. The current plan is that students who qualify will be notified and information will go up on our website tomorrow.

The final encouragement video went out to students on Tuesday and is up on social media. I want to thank all of you who participated in this project. Our students loved it! Please remember to continue to encourage students through the summer semester and fall. None of this will be "normal," and they will want and need that extra boost from you.

This quote by Doe Zantamata reminds me of all you have accomplished this semester and what we can help instill in our students: "It is only in our darkest hours that we may discover the true strength of the brilliant light within ourselves that can never, ever, be dimmed."

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

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April 30, 2020

I hope this message finds you well and getting more settled in our new normal. Every day brings opportunities to be creative in the way we do our jobs. This can make us feel a bit uncomfortable, but I believe we, and our work, are becoming more innovative due to these changes.

As you know many states, including Kentucky, are working on reopening. I have appointed a cross-division taskforce to develop a plan to return to campus with wellness and safety as a top priority. They are reviewing and developing practices in line with the directives of the Governor's Office and KCTCS. We are even looking at protective facemasks with our logo on them. This is one promotional item for which I never thought I would give approval.  Strange world we live in. I will share our opening plan with you and our students once it is completed and approved by the System Office.

We have also been working on plans for graduation. As you know our May date has been canceled. However, we will not let May pass without celebrating our graduates. We have some nice surprises planned for them including banners at Newtown and all of our regional campuses, a mailed card and social media campaign. And, I am pleased to announce today we finalized our graduation date. We will hold the 2020 BCTC graduation ceremony December 12 at EKU.

We also received word today that the Kentucky Air National Guard will present a two-ship C-130 flyover across the commonwealth of Kentucky on Friday, May 1. The aerial demonstration is part of Operation American Resolve, a nationwide salute to all those supporting COVID-19 response efforts. They will fly over our Newtown Campus at 3:20 p.m. tomorrow.

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 criteria. We're waiting on their final directions and hoping that will come next week. There is a communication plan in place to make sure students know when to apply.

As you know, next week is final exam week. Thank you to all of you who have been calling our students and encouraging them! I also would like to thank faculty for going the extra mile to completely change your course delivery and help students adjust to a new normal. This has not been easy for anyone. Finally, I encourage all of us who have contact with student this week to encourage then to finish strong. Thanks, too, to those of you who have submitted videos. This will be going out to students today.

What you are doing matters. As Bryant McGill said, "The greatest joys in life are found not only in what we do and feel, but also in our quiet hopes and labors for others."

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

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April 23, 2020

Hello BCTC Family,

Let me begin with thanking you! Every week I see more and more of your determination to not only push through these difficult times, but excel in them.

As many of you know, we have been making calls to students to encourage them as they work through challenges. A few weeks ago, we established a plan to contact all students with an individual phone call. Thank you to all who made those phone calls. In addition to encouraging students, you helped us determine student need and connect them with resources at our college or in the community.

This week, we began a new call campaign to see if students need any help registering for summer or fall classes, and to encourage them to finish strong as they approach finals week. This contact means so much to our students, as expressed in this social media comment from a student:

Just got a call from BCTC volunteer who is reaching out to students to see how they are doing. She wanted to let me know that there is school support and to hang in there. She also wished me well with my finals. I wish I had this kind of support and kindness and my first college 30 years ago. Amazing. Who does this kind of thing? The people at BCTC, that's who!

Well done team! This is who we are. You are fulfilling our mission. Thank you, too, to all who have submitted encouragement videos. This is the video going to students today.

Another opportunity to support students is the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.  You may have heard about the funds set aside for student hardship during this pandemic. In case you have not, I wanted to include some information and where we are as a college on this topic in case a student asks you about it.

The CARES Act provides funding to assist students with education related expenses resulting from the coronavirus. Expenses include food, housing, course materials, technology, health care and childcare.

We are working with the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) and the US Department of Education on the process for awarding these funds.  Information will be communicated to students through email, social media, text messages and the website as soon as the process has been finalized.

Another thing you may have been wondering is when we will go back to work? Dr. Box sent an email today stating we would work remotely until at least May 18.

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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April 16, 2020

Hello BCTC Family,

As I write this email, it occurs to me that it has been almost a month since we began working remotely. Each week brings new challenges and opportunities for us to come together and serve our students, community and each other.

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 work life, we are also adjusting to less contact with those who are important to us. Your creativity in connecting with social distance is impressive!

In fact, your efforts have been noticed throughout our college community. I have received emails, phone calls and text messages from students expressing gratitude for all you are doing. I am abundantly grateful, and so are those you serve. I'd like to share a few examples of the work our BCTC family has been doing.

The admissions team has continued to connect with prospective students and introduce them to BCTC through emails, virtual tours, virtual admissions sessions and daily program showcases. To connect with current students, our student engagement and retention team has been providing food, encouragement and virtual student activities to help reduce stress.

To address the need to provide hands-on filming and editing experience in Filmmaking and Cinematic Arts classes, students are recording and editing their favorite film, and creating their own films, using a camera or a cell phone. These student films will be entered in national student quarantine film competitions!

And, our entire college community is connecting through virtual meetings. I see us all getting more proficient in Teams. Well done everyone!

Many of you are encouraging students via video. This is the video going out to students today. If you have not sent one, it's not too late! Send it to megan.taul@kctcs.edu. These go out to students every Thursday.

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."

Clearly, we are all experiencing a difficult and unprecedented situation, a time of great stress and uncertainty. This month has not been business as usual. However, please know in this moment in time our connections and our work are most critical. Again, thank you for all you are doing.

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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April 9, 2020

We have almost finished another week of remote instruction and service, and you have been serving our community and students well. You have been creative, patient and putting students first every day. Some staff, faculty and BCTC graduates have made the news:

You make me #BCTCProud! It is my great honor to serve with you.

I have a few updates. The all Summer 1 sessions (4, 6 and 8-week) will be online, and possibly the Summer II session as well. In addition, our orientations will be online through June 14. We have not made a final decision about the new date for graduation, but I will let you know as soon as a decision is made. Change seems to be the new norm. I appreciate how you adapt for the good of our students.

The world we are living in challenges us every day, and some days are harder than others. As I'm figuring out working and staying healthy at home, I sometimes get overwhelmed by the daily news and struggle to stay focused.  I received this blog and worksheet link that may provide some assistance, so I wanted to share it with you.

I encourage you to take time for yourself with activities that nurture your mind and body. We have a great opportunity this weekend to do this, while being mindful of social distancing.

Don't forget that Friday is a half-day which provides an early start to this holiday weekend.

Finally, I want to thank you for sending videos that encourage our students. I was so pleased to get responses from many of you! Due to the number of responses, we have been able to make several messages to our students. The first one will go out in the email I'm sending students today and will be posted on social media Friday.

We wanted to give you a preview of our amazing staff and faculty encouraging students. If you sent one, and don't see it here, it will be published in coming weeks. We hope to send a new video each week to our students.

If you have not sent one, it's not too late! Send it to Megan Taul this week. Robert Ingersoll said, "We rise by lifting others."

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

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April 2, 2020

As we approach the end of another week in our new reality, I am overwhelmed with gratitude at how, despite your own personal challenges, you continue to serve our students, community and each other.

This week we have seen our college family deliver handmade cards and treats to a nursing home. Some of you have gathered and delivered PPE to our medical partners and created protective face shields in your homes. You have answered phone calls, attended planning meetings online, virtually engaged our students to reduce their stress, and developed innovative ways to serve our students. Thank you!

Since you do this so well, I am confident that we will successfully continue our college business through April 30, as Dr. Box communicated this week.

Despite the fact that we cannot see our students in person, we can stay connected with them virtually, as we do with each other. I would love for each of us to share a message with them from our home workplaces. We will compile these into a video for students that encourages them to stay the course and finish the semester strong.

I hope we get so many submissions that we are able to make multiple videos. Below are instructions for creating and submitting a message:

  • 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
  • Include a brief, encouraging message such as:
    • "You've got this!"
    • "Finish the semester strong!"
    • "Keep pushing forward!"
    • "We believe in you!"
    • "You can do great things!"
  • Try to wear something with the BCTC logo
  • Include your pet or child
  • Email to Megan.Taul@kctcs.edu the file (20MB or less) or a link to One Drive, Dropbox or Google Drive (more than 20MB) by April 5.

I can't wait to see your messages!

Please remember what Randy Pausch said, "We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand."

Be safe by following the guidance of the CDC, and state and federal officials. Take care of yourselves and your families in the upcoming week. We are all in this together, will overcome together and will come out of it stronger.

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March 27, 2020

Video Message from Dr. Akakpo

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March 26, 2020

As I'm sure you read in Dr. Box's email yesterday, the decision has been made that all KCTCS colleges will continue to offer instruction online through the end of the semester, and the graduation ceremony has been postponed for now. In addition, we will continue to work remotely through April 17, pending no new developments.

These are certainly unsettling times. I hope this information creates a bit more stability through the end of the semester. I mentioned in my communication last week that we were about to enter a new challenge with all instruction going online. You have certainly risen to that challenge!

I am so impressed with how each and every one of you have found new and creative ways to serve our students and the community. I'm even more impressed with how you have come together to help one another.

You show me every day that we are all in this together! One day soon, we will look back on this time and see that it has made us a better and stronger college community.

Continue to watch the COVID-19 Updates page. We are adding new resources there every day. If you have suggestions for these pages, please let us know.

Remember, we are transforming lives and changing our communities. The work you do is very important. Please keep yourself and your families safe.

Thank you for all you do every day!

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March 22, 2020

I want to sincerely express my deep appreciation and heartfelt gratitude to each and every one of you for the patience, resilience and cooperation you have displayed during this unprecedented time. Your commitment to our college and each other is evident.

The crisis at hand is like none we have ever experienced. I appreciate this is not an easy time for any of you. Decisions we have been forced to make have caused difficulties and inconvenience for everyone. However, please keep in mind that our mission of transforming the Bluegrass Region-one student, one employer, and one community at a time has never been more important than it is today.

Although the path before us is unknown, our commitment to delivering quality education to our students is clear and unwavering. I assure you we will continue to lead our esteemed college by doing everything possible to provide the education our students deserve and our communities need. You have my word on this.

As we move into another challenging week, I encourage everyone to seek creative ways to maintain our sense of community, increased collegiality and service to our students.

In addition to experiencing an increased level of anxiety associated with COVID-19 and social isolation, many students are likely to encounter difficulties navigating a new mode of instruction and communicating with us about services. Let's remember their success is our success. Let's earn their trust by doing everything we can to help them adapt to this new reality. We are making a profound social and economic impact in our communities and will continue to do so today and into the future.

If you notice a student is struggling, please share the attached information with them, encourage them to make an appointment with BCTC personal counseling or you can complete this referral form. If a student needs assistance with Blackboard or online learning, please direct them to the online learning resource page we created. You can also refer them to tutoring services and a video on how to access online tutoring.

I am directly communicating with students to provide this information as well. Please remind them to check their college email often. If you become aware of a student who is not receiving this information through their college email, please let me know.

I also want us to help each other. I know in the coming days, many of us will experience a myriad of anxiety and emotions, including being irritated and even a little sad about the whole situation. Let's be there for each other and care for one another as you have been doing. If you or a family member needs professional help coping, our Employee Assistance Program (EAP) can offer assistance. Call 888-293-6948. Please feel free to contact HR should you have any question or need further assistance with this.

We will continue to update our BCTC COVID-19 webpage with new messages and resources. This site provides links to online learning support, updates from KCTCS leadership and tips to stay healthy.  Also, there are a wide variety of resources that can be found on our website and BCTC Teams sites to assist you in the upcoming weeks. We are working on gathering links to all of those services on a COVID-19 resources webpage.

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. 

On Monday March 23rd, we will begin a new phase of our unprecedented reality. I strongly advise that most students and employees not return to campus as we all practice social distancing. Our college is NOT closed; we are offering remote services.

For the next two weeks, and until further notice, we will continue to provide services remotely and all classes, except some clinical rotations and related programming for certain programs, will be taught online.

If I could, I would give each and every one of you a HIGH FIVE for the work you have done all year, but especially in the last few days, to put our students first!

I have been amazed how you have come together to plan and implement the required online course work in such a short period of time, developed alternative means of providing your essential services and assisted each other. Clearly, you chose this profession because of your deep commitment to student success.

LET and I want to offer our support as we, together, navigate our mission over the next weeks. YOU are vital to providing student access, success and completion.

As you continue to serve students, please check your email and our COVID-19 webpage frequently and stay in touch with your supervisor. As you are well aware, information and required response change daily.

While you will remain in regular contact with your direct supervisor, please do not hesitate to reach out to HR, IT, LET or me with any questions or concerns in the coming days.  LET and I are here for each of you.

We want to assure you that we are in this together. Because of your commitment, BCTC is uniquely positioned structurally and creatively to weather this storm. We hold a deep confidence that our college community will emerge from this extraordinary challenge stronger and more united than ever.

I believe in you and have never been more proud to lead this college.

Warmest regards,

Dr. Koffi Akakpo
Dr. Greg Feeney
Dr. Palisa Williams Rushin
Lisa Bell
Mark Manuel

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March 19, 2020

Thank you all for your continued patience as we work with local, state and federal leaders to make decisions to protect the health and safety of our faculty, staff and students. I understand this is a challenging time for everyone.

Next week, the majority of BCTC employees will continue working remotely March 23-27. We will provide college services via email, phone, the website and online tools.

In addition, next week we will begin online instruction that will continue through April 4. To assist you with questions you may have, we developed an online resource page that can be found on the COVID-19 Updates webpage.

We are mindful that some students and employees may need technology access to complete work. We are working on a plan to address those needs and will share more details as they become available.

In addition, we are working on a plan to boost our outdoor internet access for use in campus parking lots. We will let you know more details related to campus technology access as we finalize plans.

Clearly, the health and safety of our college community is our first concern. The leadership team and I will continue to monitor the ever-changing developments and response to COVID-19 and follow guidance from local, state and national leaders.

Our plan is to communicate any new information each Thursday, or sooner if necessary. Therefore, you will receive my next communication on March 26 regarding plans for the upcoming week.

As always, thank you for partnering with us as we navigate these unprecedented events.

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March 17, 2020

We appreciate your patience as we have been working with KCTCS leadership, and state and federal officials to gather information on the ever-changing status and response to COVID-19. In partnership with you, we are committed to ensuring a safe and healthy community while supporting each other and our students in these challenging times. This is an unprecedented situation, but we will get through it together.

With the understanding that plans change day-to-day based on the information we receive, we want to share our plan for March 18 - 22.

During the remainder of spring break, March 18 - 22, BCTC will not provide in-person assistance, our employees will continue to work offering services through email, phone calls and online services.

At this time, we are asking that all employees work with their supervisors on a plan to work remotely and minimize person-to-person contact. You can find additional information about how to do so on MyPath.

If you are approved to work from home, the expectation is that you will be fulfilling your job responsibilities as if you were on campus. Our students and community should feel we are accessible. If due to caring for children or illness, you are not able to complete your job functions during the hours you and your supervisor determine, you must take vacation or sick time.

Our goal in this plan is to be as equitable as possible. We will work with those whose job responsibilities require them to be on campus. We are committed to ensuring all will remain employed and paid during this time.

We are continually monitoring and assessing developments and will communicate updates to you in a timely manner. Please make sure you are regularly checking your email, even on the weekends, for these updates from me.

As plans are made, our focus is on our college community, faculty, staff and students, and the families to whom they go home. We will move beyond this difficult time together.

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March 16, 2020

The Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) includes a centralized System Office located in Versailles and 16 Colleges with campus locations across the Commonwealth.  KCTCS understands the disruption in your everyday lives caused by COVID-19, the coronavirus.  As the leaders of KCTCS, we are united in our goal to provide access to classes and student support even while regular campus activities are restricted.  Of utmost importance are the health and safety concerns of students, faculty, and staff.  To guide us in our decision making, we are carefully monitoring information and directives from the Centers for Disease Control, the Governor's Office, and the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education-the state coordinating agency for higher education.

All College faculty and staff are hard at work to quickly ensure that coursework continues remotely. Depending on the course, this could include online, email, video communication, and other means to keep students engaged and successful. While this is new to many students, support is available, including access to limited technical and computer labs on campuses, drive-up wifi availability in some parking lots, full online library resources, and support through the KCTCS Mobile App. Students will use this new way of taking classes in concert with support from their faculty members.

Virtual student services are also available on campuses-see each College's website for information. Students may call the 24-hour KCTCS Call Center at (855) 465-2827 for assistance but should refer to College websites for College-specific information.

Most of our colleges have recently completed spring break.  Bluegrass Community and Technical College, Jefferson Community and Technical College, and West Kentucky Community and Technical College have spring break this week. To keep you better informed about the latest changes to classes, all KCTCS College students, faculty and staff should keep close watch on College email, websites, social media, and other information sites.  Each College president will be sharing information pertinent to their College's offerings, staffing, and location information.

Protecting the health of College employees is also important. Many employees are working remotely while essential staff are keeping College services open and following appropriate social distancing and cleaning guidelines.

We will continue to be flexible and adaptable as the COVID-19 pandemic national and state responses evolve. We believe this continued access to higher education will create better lives for a better Kentucky and we will work with students, faculty and staff to ensure continued support for student success.

  • Dr. Jay Box, President, KCTCS
  • Dr. Larry Ferguson, President of Ashland Community and Technical College
  • Dr. Sherry Zylka, President of Big Sandy Community and Technical College
  • Dr. Koffi Akakpo, President of Bluegrass Community and Technical College
  • Dr. Juston Pate, President of Elizabethtown Community and Technical College
  • Dr. Fernando Figueroa, President of Gateway Community and Technical College
  • Dr. Jennifer Lindon, President of Hazard Community and Technical College
  • Dr. Jason Warren, President of Henderson Community College
  • Dr. Alissa Young, President of Hopkinsville Community College
  • Dr. Ty Handy, President of Jefferson Community and Technical College
  • Dr. Cynthia Kelley, President of Madisonville Community College
  • Dr. Steve Vacik, President of Maysville Community and Technical College
  • Dr. Scott Williams, President of Owensboro Community and Technical College
  • Dr. Carey Castle, President of Somerset Community College
  • Dr. Phil Neal, President of Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College
  • Dr. Vic Adams, President of Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College
  • Dr. Anton Reece, President of West Kentucky Community and Technical College

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March 15, 2020

The coronavirus (COVID-19) developments in our community are rapid and unprecedented. We understand the anxiety some are feeling.

In that light, we will be flexible and thoughtful making fact-based decisions as we work to meet the needs of our college community, while continuing to stay open to serve our students and community.

Therefore, we are considering ways we may assist with social distancing to minimize spread of the COVID-19 virus. One way we may do this is to allow some employees to work remotely. This option is dependent on the employee's job responsibility in relation to college operation and is temporary.

The guidelines below apply to the approval process:

  • Work at home may be appropriate on a temporary basis for some, not all.
  • Our goal is for college leaders to be flexible with employees while ensuring the health and safety of our college community and that the college work is done.
  • If employees make a request to supervisors, the employee must also submit a temporary remote work request form that they will receive from their supervisor.
  • Supervisors will work with the appropriate vice president to make the approval decision.
  • If temporary remote work is not possible for an employee, supervisors may consider flexible or rotating work schedules that will allow college work to continue.

During spring break, the Lexington campus hours are 7 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. 

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March 13, 2020

As you know, the COVID-19 virus situation is very fluid and changing quickly.  The newest developments are the closing of k-12 schools in our state and travel concerns that may impact some of our faculty and staff. Therefore, we are sharing the following:

For BCTC employees traveling:

  • If you are currently traveling out of state or internationally, you are asked to contact Human Resources before returning to work.
  • If you are planning on traveling out of the state or internationally after Friday, March 13th, we will ask you to notify Human Resources and your supervisor of your travel plans.

For BCTC employees with child care responsibilities: 

  • Because the Governor has closed k-12 schools across Kentucky, we understand that some will have childcare issues.  We are working on a process to provide work at home opportunities.

This is an unprecedented time in our state and the country.  We must work together to assist each other and put students first, to the best of our ability. We will continue to communicate regarding any new developments and processes.

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March 11, 2020

Dear College Community,

The leadership team and I are committed to making fact-based decisions and keeping you informed and protected as we consider the information provided by health officials about the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Your health, safety and well-being is always our first concern.
After extensive conversations with officials dealing with this virus, we are operating in an abundance of caution by announcing the following:

  1. BCTC students will be on spring break March 15 - 21. After spring break, March 22 - April 4, instruction will take place online. The goal is to resume normal course delivery April 5.
    • We will continue working with faculty, staff and students regarding the specifics of online course delivery. Since we understand there may be challenges for some students in accessing online instruction, our campuses and computer labs will be open normal hours. Course specific labs will be scheduled by each instructor.
    • We will continue to work closely with health officials to evaluate updated information about COVID-19 and communicating with you as we move toward April 5.
  2. Staff operations will continue as normal.
  3. BCTC sponsored or endorsed domestic or international travel is suspended until April 30. After that date, decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis.
  4. BCTC sponsored student activities and on-campus BCTC events scheduled during spring break are cancelled, including the PTK regional conference and the Job Fair at the Winchester Campus. After spring break, we will be evaluating other campus events on a case-by-case basis to ensure community health.
  5. Workforce Solutions activities will continue as scheduled until further notice.
  6. The April 3 New Student Orientation will be rescheduled. Those registered will be notified.

During spring break and the online instruction period, we'll continue cleaning our college facilities as recommended by the CDC and offering college services at all campuses. As any change in our plans or procedures arises, we will communicate directly with you.

As always, our goal is to provide a safe and healthy environment for our community.  We encourage you to be mindful of your health and the health of those around you. Thank you for partnering with us.

Dr. Koffi Akakpo
BCTC President

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