This is the time of year when the season brings to mind all the things that we should be thankful for. KPC has plenty to be grateful for and first on the list are the students who have made KPC their college of first choice.
More and more Alaska students are realizing just how fortunate they are to have a local campus of the University of Alaska on the central peninsula and are taking advantage of the excellent educational opportunities available to them.
Next on the list to be thankful for are the incredibly talented full- and part-time faculty who dedicate their lives to the students they teach. The professors who teach full-time at KPC are top in their fields and represent an incredible foundation of knowledge that maintains the high standards required at all University of Alaska campuses. An equally important component of instruction at KPC comes from the adjunct faculty who "fill the gaps" that the limited number of full-time faculty cannot. It must be emphasized, and then repeated, that KPC would not be able to offer the large number of programs and general interest classes it does without the dedicated experts who teach part time. Most of the adjunct faculty work full-time jobs during the day, but still make time to prepare for and deliver quality education to their KPC students.
Although most people think of the college as primarily students and faculty, in reality it is a multifaceted organization. The business division that manages the nuts and bolts of the college infrastructure plays an important part in the overall functioning of KPC. The staff that takes care of the procurement of goods and services, accounts payable and receivables, travel and management of grants and human resources issues are essential to KPC in the most fundamental way. Without the hardworking business office staff, the college could not function. These people work daily to carry out the mission of the college and need to be recognized and appreciated for what they do.
Without Student Services, KPC would have scores of students aimlessly taking classes without any assurances that they are on the right track for their degrees. Students depend on this department to help them put together the pieces of the college "puzzle" that can sometimes get very complex when planning a program that meets all requirements.
The counselors, peer advisers, Career Center, financial aid and admissions and records offices that compose the Student Services department are vital to the overall success of students at KPC. Many students would not be attending college without the assistance they have received from Student Services.
College wouldn't be college unless you could go to the library and study. And at KPC, the library staff specializes in making sure students have the resources they need to properly research any subject they might encounter.
The librarian and library assistant work hard to maintain a full-service, up-to-date facility that can meet the needs of any student who walks through the door. Students know they can always depend on the KPC library to help them through any term paper or research project, and for that, they are thankful.
With more than 100 different computers, scores of printers, scanners, fax machines and a large complex phone and satellite system, any person who works or attends classes at KPC is thankful for the Information Technology department. Not a day goes by when some computer or related piece of equipment on campus causes turmoil for someone. And it's the heroes from the IT department who always come to the rescue. Thankful is not quite a strong enough word to describe how much this department means to the campus.
Although a college is much more than the buildings it's housed in, the physical plant at KPC has a team of dedicated professionals that keep things running smoothly. The maintenance department accepts the daily challenge of making sure the college is clean and warm and the parking lot is plowed and sanded.
Although the administration at KPC is not a large group, the director and the staff that composes the administration team carry a full load. These folks have diverse jobs with multiple responsibilities that, on some campuses, cover several job descriptions. Being able to handle multiple tasks and switch gears rapidly are absolute requirements to keep the administrative aspects of the college moving forward.
Together, the individuals who compose all these different departmental areas make KPC function as it does today. But KPC does not operate in a vacuum and recognizes that the communities that are served by the college deserve special thanks for supporting the college mission. Together, we are a community college with the advantages that come with being a part of the University of Alaska, and we can all count our blessings for that.
This column is provided by Suzie Kendrick, community relations coordinator at Kenai Peninsula College.
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