Harper College

Harper joins area colleges for Community College Collaboration Series

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Harper College joined an initiative with McHenry County College, College of DuPage and Rock Valley College to share the classes offered by each to older adults. Through adversity came the opportunity to band together to offer classes to these students in an online format.

Each college was committed to maintaining a lifelong learning program, but the level of interest in online classes was unknown. Some older students were hesitant to embrace new technology. The Community College Collaboration Series came together when Dee McConnell, program leader of Harper’s Lifelong Learning Institute, joined with Dori Sullens from McHenry County College, Julie Konczyk from College of DuPage and Tammy Lewis from Rock Valley College to design a strong educational community in northern Illinois through class sharing.

By this vision becoming a reality, students who were previously bound by lockdowns, location or transportation barriers now engage with new faculty, topics and students. Sharing courses such as Civilian Conservation Corps, Crisis of Freedom America 1790-1815, Inside the CIA, and Jazz, Civil Rights and the Avant Garde Movement enriches each program by serving hundreds of students.

“Creating this kind of working relationship, that will hopefully go on for years, is the kind of cooperation that community colleges should be engaging in,” said Scott Cashman, who manages the Community Education program at Harper. “The direct education that we are providing to people who were not getting out during the pandemic gave them the contact and stimulation that they need to continually enrich their lives. It has also helped us all to realize the opportunities that will stay with us as we return to some sort of normal.”

Last Updated: 3/14/24