Jefferson Community College is one of 64 campuses—and one of 30 community colleges—which comprise the State University of New York (SUNY) system; it is the only institution of higher education whose campus is within a 50 mile radius of the city of Watertown, NY.
The College is supervised by the State University of New York and sponsored by Jefferson County. Its service area is largely rural, with agriculture and tourism the dominant industries. In 1985, the US Army posted the 10th Mountain Division at nearby Fort Drum, bringing some 30,000 new residents to the area and doubling the population of the Watertown metropolitan area. The Fort Drum area has experienced even more recent growth. The US Army has added 3rd and 4th Brigades to the 10th Mountain Division, bringing an additional 12,000 residents to the Watertown metropolitan area since 2003.
Jefferson admitted 119 full- and 221 part-time students to its first class in September of 1963. In the fall 2011 semester, Jefferson’s total headcount was 2,238 full-time and 1,768 part-time students.
The College offers 13 A.A.S. career curricula, 12 transfer A.A. or A.S. curricula, and 6 certificate programs. Six degree programs are available entirely online. To ease transfer, Jefferson has articulation agreements with colleges and universities across the United States, as well as two jointly enrolled programs (Business Administration and Liberal Arts—Childhood Education) with SUNY Potsdam. Additionally, through Jefferson’s Higher Education Center initiative, the College has partnered with several four-year institutions to provide opportunities for community members to earn bachelor’s and master’s degrees locally.
Along with its credit-bearing programs, the College offers a variety of workshops, seminars, and workforce training opportunities. Cultural events, open to the public, routinely include film and theatrical events, lectures, seminars, and art exhibitions. Library resources are open to the public and community members are encouraged to use them. Personal, academic, and vocational counseling are provided to both students and the community.
The Center for Community Studies at Jefferson conducts community-based research and provides a forum for the productive discussion of ideas and issues of significance to the community. Additionally, a SUNY Small Business Development Center was opened on the campus in 1986.
The College campus, located near Interstate Highway 81 on the western boundary of the City of Watertown, consists of eight permanent buildings, athletic fields, and ample parking for its commuter student body. JCC does not have on-campus housing, but there are apartments (Truscott Terrace) in close proximity to campus and within walking of public transit and groceries.
Technology is an integral component of the Jefferson experience. Jefferson’s wireless network provides free, high-speed internet access throughout campus. Classrooms contain “smart” technology, giving the student an immersive learning experience from a range of technological resources at the instructor’s fingertips. Internet applications, including the Blackboard Learning Management System, extend the students’ learning to wherever they are in the world. Students at Jefferson have options including courses in traditional lecture environments, courses with students from other sites in Jefferson’s two interactive Distance Learning Rooms, and completely online courses through the Blackboard Learning Management System. Online courses can be taken by on-campus students or by students in other countries. The possibilities are boundless.
When a student enrolls at Jefferson, they are given access to the Blackboard Learning Management System, the library’s extensive online databases, an email account, online mass storage capacity, access to online course registration, and their student records.