Release Date: 
Saturday, April 11, 2020

Good news and good deeds: Henry Ford College coronavirus response

During the unprecedented coronavirus pandemic, many members of the HFC community are making extraordinary contributions to support their communities, save lives, and make a difference in whatever ways they can. We will share as many of those stories as we can on this website and HFC social media.

If you have an inspiring story to share, tell us about it! Write to so we can inspire others and expand the great stories of our community.

School of Health and Human Services provides life-saving equipment and supplies

HHenry Ford College teaches students in our health professions programs to support and save lives.

During the coronavirus pandemic, local hospitals and health systems are being stretched to their limits to provide life-saving care to people suffering from COVID-19.

Ventilators are especially needed, and are in short supply. To respond to this need, on Saturday, March 28, the College sent five ventilators -- used for training respiratory therapists and nurses at HFC -- to Henry Ford Health System to support patients.

Read more about the HHS donations...

School of STEM donates supplies to Beaumont

STEM supplies

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, HFC continues to donate medical supplies to area health systems.

In late March, the HFC School of Health and Human Services (HHS) provided ventilators and my other supplies to area hospitals. In early April, the HFC School of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) donated the following to Beaumont Health:
• Hand sanitizer
• Surgical masks
• Nearly 300 boxes of Nitrile gloves
• 4 boxes of disposable lab coats

Read more about the STEM donations...


HFC instructor volunteers at two coronavirus testing sites

William Carrington

HFC instructor William Carrington has been volunteering during the coronavirus pandemic at the Detroit coronavirus community test site and at the Wayne State University Physician Group (UPG) community test site. He participates on the tester, intake, and support staff.

“By volunteering my time, I am a part of something bigger than myself. I am trying to make the world better a better place, one action at a time. My philosophy is that I must make my brothers' and sisters' problems my own and help solve them together,” said Carrington, a Knoxville, TN native who currently lives in Pontiac.

Carrington is a Data and Quality Manager at the Wayne State School of Medicine. He teaches sociology at HFC and Oakland Community College. This is his first year teaching at HFC.

Read more about William Carrington's work...


HFC instructor helps create one-millionth face shield

Hassan Taleb

In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, HFC adjunct professor Hassan Taleb wanted to do his part to support the people on the frontlines – doctors, nurses, healthcare workers, firefighters, police officers, grocery store workers, and so on.

“I have nieces who are doctors and clinical pharmacists. They are literally living at the hospital trying to save lives. God bless them! I feel the need to help in whatever way I can,” said Taleb, of Plymouth. He works as an IT Manager at Ford Motor Co. He has taught engineering and mathematics at HFC since 2011.

A native of Africa, Taleb earned his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and his master’s degree in business administration from Lawrence Technological University, his master’s degree in electrical engineering from Wayne State University, and his master’s certification in IT project management from George Washington University in Washington, D.C. Through Ford, he is a 6-Sigma Green Belt and Black Belt.

Read more about Hassan Taleb's work...

HFC creates HawkStrong Fund to support student emergency needs

HawkStrong graphic

Henry Ford College remains strong because of our commitment to a spirit of community. We share values of lifelong learning and caring for one another. We uphold the well-being and success of our students above everything else.

The coronavirus has created burdens for many of our students. Before the crisis arose, some of you were already working two jobs, supporting your children, caring for your parents or elders, and working to keep up in your classes.

During the pandemic, some of the employers that often hire our students -- such as restaurants, convenience stores, and gas stations -- have been forced to eliminate jobs, leaving numerous students facing unemployment or other hardships.

Learn more about the HawkStrong fund...


60 SAFE packs

photo of donated items

The SAFE@HFC initiative provides support for students in need, including LGBTQ+ and others.

The group received 1,717 donated items form HFC employees during the SAFE-Pack donation drive earlier this spring. The goal was to help HFC students who are facing difficult times and who need some extra help. The number of donated items exceeded the 2017 drive by approximately 500. Also, $1,250 was donated by various unions and members of the HFC Cabinet.

As a result of this outpouring of kindness and generosity, SAFE@HFC was able to put together 60 SAFE-Packs, or backpacks filled with clothing and other supplies. HFC team members Lisa Masi, Troy Gibson, Katie Fitzner, and Rich Fitzner generously donated their time to assemble the SAFE-Packs.

Learn more about the SAFE-Packs.

189 free laptops

Cristina Bailey

This reflection was written by Cristina Bailey, HFC Director of Academic Services, on April 13, 2020. She has volunteered to hand out laptops to students who needed computers to complete their HFC online courses during the coronavirus pandemic. Cristina has been going to campus, passing out laptops, and creating a safe way to do this within CDC guidelines for physical distancing.

On the same week we were asked to work from home, we started the distribution of free, loaned laptops to students who requested them, or instructors who sent requests on behalf of students in need. I feel very proud to work for a college that, in spite of the difficult times and the many decisions to be made, kept its mission and values at the center of discussions and decisions. Two VPs, Dr. Michael Nealon and Dr. Daniel Herbst, took the time to think about the students' needs first by searching, purchasing, and borrowing these computers for them.

The distribution took place almost every day these past three weeks, and will continue with one or two days a week now, as the need arises. We have distributed 189 laptops so far.

In order to protect the safety of all involved, I decided to allow just one student at a time into the atrium of the N building. I kept a student table for the loan agreement signature and another, about 10 feet away, for my computer station and laptops. There are gloves available for students, and I asked them to bring their own pen for signatures.

Many students voiced their relief to be able to complete their courses, and their gratitude for such a generous act from the college. They said things like: "They really do care about my success"; "I'm so grateful the College let us know about this, and sent us emails and made phone calls"; "I'm so glad I'm an HFC student!"; "Are you sure this is free?" Special thanks to Patti Flogaus of Student Affairs for her diligent work creating and maintaining the request list.

A funny side story: One day last week, President Kavalhuna was about to enter the building. I signaled for him to stop and wait outside, because I was serving one student already. With his baseball cap and jeans, I did not immediately recognize him! However, he obliged and waited for me for the enter signal. I'm glad he was such a good sport about it, and followed the safety rules just like everyone else!


Instructor Mike Hill uses video and writings to encourage students

Mike Hill

Michael D. Hill is an English instructor at Henry Ford College. He wrote this reflection, which originally appeared in the Press and Guide on April 6.

I never expected to teach students who were in bunny slippers and SpongeBob pajamas. I never wanted to see students’ dogs or undershirt-wearing uncles. I never asked for classroom contributions from the spouses of students.

I’ve been teaching college for over 20 years and this semester marks the first time I’ve ever taught someone while they ate cereal. And, yet, given the drastic distances now within our society, I’m proud to say that Henry Ford College is open and thriving online.

Needless to say, online education at HFC and at colleges across the nation is a bit wild and wacky at the moment. No student or professor who signed up for a face-to-face class expected to have to complete this semester in a rushed, uncertain, and largely unplanned virtual setting.

Read more of Mike Hill's reflection...

See also: "Surviving in Hill's Classes" 5-minute YouTube video
"Surviving the Semester: CEP" 5-minute YouTube video

Reflection from Todd Browning, HFC Cisco Lead Instructor

Todd Browning with group

HFC Cisco instructor Todd Browning shared the following message on social media. Todd is pictured at left in this photo.

I'm not a writer, but felt I needed to share...

I know many students today are facing a lot of issues in the midst of the coronavirus. I teach Cisco Networking courses at Henry Ford College and I am amazed at how resilient our student body truly is. These students, many of which registered for face-to-face courses taught in the evening due to work schedules, are juggling family life, work life, personal life and trying to manage continuing education -- all of which have changed significantly.

The characteristics of today's student is among the most focused and dedicated I’ve ever seen. These students are under an enormous amount of stress due to the many unknowns they are facing. My heart aches watching them navigate through so much uncharted waters in so little time. Some are facing work-related issues that could have serious financial impacts. Many are trying to balance their family lifestyle, that now may include responsibilities of not only their children, but also their aging parents and perhaps neighbors too. I often wonder how they can even focus on my course, which has changed from what they registered for. The face-to-face course is now 100% online, yet they continue to persevere.

These students have really IMPRESSED me with their determination and dedication to succeed. I feel very fortunate to be working with them because I know they will change the stigma of “kids today”, many of which are not kids. They inspire me to not only be a better teacher, but also a better person. To be honest, I knew there was something different about these students at the beginning of the semester. I’m thankful to be working with them! I would encourage all of my educational colleagues to dig a little deeper and go another extra mile… more than you do already. Our students need and deserve our support.


HFC Virtual Chorus performs Pro Bono Omnium

Photos of virtual chorus singers

To bring you cheer during the Stay Home, Stay Safe era, 47 individual singers took part in a professional Zoom chorus of the school song, Pro Bono Omnium (For the Good of All). Thanks to Kevin Dewey for his hard work and creativity in bringing this to you! And thanks to all members of the Virtual Chorus.

Dewey says he has received a lot of positive feedback. "I'm starting another one this weekend, and have tentative plans for up to three original composition commissions, which would be premiered online, via Virtual Chorus!"

Stay tuned for more beautiful music from HFC during this challenging time.

Dean's family on the frontlines

David and Christopher Shunkwiler

Health and Human Services Dean Susan Shunkwiler and her husband have service in their DNA. They have passed on these values to their children, and two of their sons are serving on the pandemic frontlines.

One, David, is a nurse at Henry Ford Hospital's ICU. The other son, Christopher, helps people safely get the fresh food they need to stay healthy, while allowing vulnerable coworkers to avoid potential exposure to the pandemic.

As a mom, Dean Shunkwiler confesses to a bit of worry about both sons. But, the pride and generosity outweigh the worry. "David is facing the risks of nursing with clear eyes. He has no regrets, and tells us, 'Don't feel sorry for me.' Chris says, 'People need food, and this is how I'm going to help.' What they are both doing is really worthwhile."

Learn more about the Shunkwiler brothers' stories.

Other stories

Have a story about the HFC coronavirus response that you'd like to share with us? Email it to or tag us on our Facebook page or via Twitter.