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KCTCS president visits Ashland as part of tour

ASHLAND, Ky. — Dr. Paul Czarapata, KCTCS President, kicked off his “All E.A.R.S Listening Tour” Tuesday morning by meeting with college leaders at Ashland Community and Technical College.

He was joined by KCTCS’ Lisa V. Desmarais, Board Chair, Mary Hemlepp, Director of Communication Strategy, and Hannah Rivera, Chief of Staff.

Czarapata also attended a luncheon hosted by the Ashland Alliance where Senator Mitch McConnell provided updates from Washington, D.C.

Following the luncheon, Czarapata met with ACTC faculty, staff, and students to discuss his vision and the 2022-2026 KCTCS strategic plan.

Czarapata was named KCTCS President in April. Prior to that, he served as interim following the retirement of Dr. Jay Box.

“Becoming President in such a turbulent time was very interesting to say the least,” Czarapata said to those in attendance for the afternoon session. “I can’t say how much I appreciate what you all have done in the past year in a half.”

He also expressed his appreciation to ACTC faculty and staff for their efficient transition to remote instruction last March in response to the pandemic.

“Literally in what seemed like overnight, we flipped a switch and we kept business going, and we kept educating Kentucky, and we kept helping people succeed in their lives.”

During his discussion, Czarapata shared his vision for online learning, projects happening at the System Office, and the development of the KCTCS 2022-2026 strategic plan.

Czarapata posed four questions to guide the discussion, each revolving around improving the education and opportunities provided to KCTCS students.

When asked about his views on online education versus in person instruction, Czarapata said he recognizes that online classes aren’t for everyone, so there will continue to be opportunities for face-to-face instruction at ACTC.

He also says there will be a focus on making online courses more interactive.

Czarapata also took questions centered around the relationship between the academic affairs and student services departments, ways to make KCTCS more equitable and inclusive, how to recruit high school students as the pandemic continues, and how ACTC can help curb issues with homelessness in the Ashland area.

Faculty and staff have the opportunity to respond to a survey that will be used to guide the drafting of the 2022-2026 strategic plan.