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CLC President Hara Charlier: Distance Learning & Mental Health at CLC

Schools and universities across the country are setttling into a new normal of a sustained, distance learning situation.  We spoke with Central Lakes College President Hara Charlier about how her staff and students are facing the challenge. 

At CLC, the top priories are: 

1. The health and safety of the people that are the college: the staff and the students

2. Helping students be successful as they finish the semester.  

Addressing the health and safety of staff and students, Charlier noted that access to mental health support is integral to fulfilling this goal.  Mental health is a significant priority at CLC and has been for a long time.  In many ways, people are struggling as they navigate Covid-19 situation and to this, CLC  students and staff have 24/7 access to counselors who can help.  Charlier noted that the message, "it's ok to not be ok" is a one incredibly meaningful to her faculty and staff at CLC.    Open, honest conversations (virtually) as well as an increase in mental health resources are key to fulfilling the mental health needs of her staff and students.  

In terms of ensuring the success of students as they move into a full-time, on-line course experience, Charlier noted that distance learning looks drastically different depending on which instructor is facilitiating and the subject area.  While it's a huge transition, CLC staff has been  incredibly positive, unified and creative as they face their challenge of moving classes to the web.  Logistical challenges such as reliable access to broadband and reliable hardware  are hiccups they are working around on a student by student basis.  

How is the distance learning transition going at your house?  Send an email to! 

Katie Carter started at Northern Community Radio in 2008 as Managing Editor of the station's grant-funded, online news experiment Northern Community Internet. Since 2016, she's produced Area Voices showcasing the arts, culture, and history stories of northern Minnesota. She's our local host of NPR's All Things Considered and CBC's As It Happens every weekday from 4-7pm.