Marland Cole addresses higher ed response to Covid-19 during Facebook Town Hall

Evolve502 Executive Director Marland Cole spoke about the higher education response to Covid-19 during Mayor Greg Fischer’s Facebook Town Hall on April 30.

In addition to Cole, the panel included Dr. Neeli Bendapudi, president of the University of Louisville, and Dr. Ty Handy, president of Jefferson Community and Technical College.  Fischer moderated the panel.

Cole spoke about the questions and concerns high school students have about attending college, as well as how education will be essential to Louisville’s economic recovery after the pandemic passes. In addition, she talked about the work Evolve502 is doing to support students and partner organizations in the community who serve students. The Evolve502 Student Success Team works with students at five Jefferson County Public Schools to help them stay engaged and on track for college and career. At the start of the pandemic, their work included making sure students could access and engage with Non-Traditional Instruction.

Early in the process, students were concerned about how they would learn and get grades, but the conversation is pivoting to their futures, Cole said.  

“Now students are settling in a little bit more and now do have questions about what college will look like for them,” she said. She added that students are excited about getting acceptance letters, but are still concerned about what college online learning will look and the affordability of college. Many students work. Some have lost part-time jobs, while others are working more hours right now to help support families during the pandemic.

“We’re really sharing that our universities care about you. Jefferson and UofL do a tremendous job providing supports to students. We’re here to help them as well to stay motivated and continue to move forward,” Cole said.

Watch the full Facebook Town Hall below.