For adult learners, a stylish space of their own at MCC-Penn Valley
August 28, 2020
By Tim Engle
MCC-Penn Valley's cool new Adult Learner Lounge isn't being enjoyed by students yet, thanks to the pandemic, but it is ready and waiting for them.
The lounge on the zero level of Penn Valley's Campus Center features comfy seating, a coffee station, TVs, a microwave and a mini-fridge. There's also a laptop bar with plenty of outlets, built by Andrew Shaver, Penn Valley Facility Services superintendent.
The Adult Learner Lounge, just steps from the Student Veterans Lounge, was celebrated Aug. 27 with a ceremony and tour, all virtual. "I absolutely love it," MCC Chancellor Kimberly Beatty declared.
"We look forward to being back in person so that our students can take advantage of this space and utilize it so that they can be successful," the chancellor added.
"Adult learners" is the preferred term to "nontraditional students." These students are typically over 25, might have children and might be returning to college after an extended break.
When she came to Penn Valley in 2017, President Tyjaun Lee discovered her campus was a multigenerational one "but we mostly had adult learners." In recent months, campus leadership talked about creating a space where adult learners could "study, relax, have conversation with one another" because "their experience in the classroom is very different than our traditional students in the classroom," Lee said.
As for the room itself, Penn Valley's LaTosha Green and Jenna Miller designed it, found the furnishings and décor online and purchased them — in one week's time.
Now all the Adult Learner Lounge needs is adult learners. "We wanted to make sure you had a place that was comfortable, that would feel like home, like your second home," said Lesha Gregory, PV's interim vice president.
This is not MCC's only lounge for older students, by the way. At the Employee In-Service event last fall, MCC-Longview counselor Gretchen Blythe, as part of a presentation on innovation, proposed a space for adult learners on her campus. That lounge, in the Counseling Services area in the Learning Resources building, was also completed this summer and will open once more students return to campus.
The chancellor says these "adult" students are found across the College; 22% of our 2020 graduates fit into this category.
In addition to those already mentioned, Lee and others also acknowledged the contributions of Penn Valley Student Engagement Manager Chelsia Potts; former Dean of Student Services Eric Thompson; Steve Mudd, Chuck Boggess and Cameron Stephenson in Facility Services; and Davidson Pham in IT.