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Education briefs: Catawba planning for more in-person activities, free summer school tuition

SALISBURY — Catawba College is planning to offer students seven free summer credit hours of courses as part of its return to more in-person programs. Catawba plans to begin its fall semester on Aug. 18 under limited restrictions and registration is now open.

The college will follow a standard calendar including breaks and holidays, using recommendations and guidelines from local and state authorities, as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention strategies being deployed at other schools.

Tuition for the summer courses will be fully covered by a grant, scholarship or credit. A selection of general education, major, and elective courses is being offered and students are asked to register as soon as possible.

Catawba plans to allow for more field trips, clinical rotations, performances, recitals, and other experiences inside and outside of the classroom. Performing arts programs will offer stage performances and recitals, with options for audiences to watch in person and virtually. Internships, off-campus service projects, and course-related overnight travel will be included.

Provost Constance Rogers-Lowery said the college is collaborating with regional healthcare providers  Novant Health and Atrium Health to provide students and staff with a healthy and safe environment.

The majority of courses for day students will be taught in person, with fewer online or hybrid courses. Distance and online education and graduate students will continue to have access to online courses. Students are encouraged tor register for the fall semester as soon as possible to secure their class schedule, and to assist in planning space accommodations that allow for proper physical distancing.

Students must register on CatLink, with guidance from their advisor as needed. The 2021-2022 academic calendar is posted at catawba.edu/academiccalendar. The college will continue to maintain physical distancing in its facilities, but occupancy will increase in accordance with local and state guidance.

Lowery said that the college encourages students, employees and others in the campus community to receive their COVID-19 vaccine. An on-campus vaccination clinic will be held for students and employees on April 30.

Rapid testing and screening will continue on campus.

Catawba College receives audio-embedded bench in county-wide diversity project

SALISBURY — Catawba College has become the third site in Rowan County to receive a “Here’s My Story” audio-embedded bench.

The installation in front of the Corriher-Linn-Black Library was finished on Monday by Cricket Forge of Durham.

“Here’s My Story” is an inclusive public art initiative dedicated to sharing the stories and histories of Rowan County citizens who have been historically marginalized.

It is funded with a $50,000 grant to the Department of Art and Design at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College by the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation. The goal is to highlight ways in which diversity makes Rowan County stronger and more resilient.

“We’re grateful to our friends at RCCC who helped make possible this effort to make the significance of equity and inclusion so accessible and so personal to those who walk the grounds of our campus,” Catawba President David Nelson said.

RCCC is one of only 10 organizations in the state to receive the funding, and the only community college to receive it. Other audio embedded benches have been installed at two other Salisbury locations — RCCC’s North Campus and at Dixonville Cemetery.

All three benches are now operational; however, because of COVID-19 restrictions at Catawba and RCCC, the public is encouraged to use the Dixonville Cemetery bench until an official unveiling is scheduled.

The benches feature a unique S-curve design with seating available on both sides.  When a person sits at a “Here’s My Story” bench, they will hear the recorded stories through speakers embedded in the curves of the bench. This provides an intimate listening experience that allows for quiet contemplation.  

The project has a focus on accessibility with the shape of the bench allowing for wheelchair access. QR codes located on the side panel of each bench connect listeners with hearing impairment or language barriers to access the stories via YouTube where closed captioning is available.

For the past two years, RCCC’s Art and Design Department has been recording stories of members of the community who consider themselves and their voices to be underrepresented in public art. Once recorded, the stories go before a diverse Advisory Committee which selects the stories that are shared with the public. 

Each story is approximately 10 minutes in length and each bench plays around one hour of stories on a loop. After the last story plays, the loop starts back at the beginning. The loop plays continuously throughout the day, and all three benches play the same stories simultaneously. A person sitting on a bench a RCCC could have a shared experience with someone sitting on a bench at Catawba. 

The stories will rotate periodically and new ones will be added.

Community members who would like to share their own stories can email heresmystory@rccc.edu or contact the RCCC Art and Design Department. The storytellers can remain anonymous, if they prefer. While the grant funded three benches, more benches are available for purchase.  Interested parties should contact the RCCC Art and Design Department Chair Jenn Selby at jenn.selby@rccc.edu or by phone at 704-798-5241.

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