Montclair State University’s Dr. Susan Cole made a difficult address today on the state of the University, the financial impact of COVID-19 and how its affecting both the University and students. Cole spoke of how the transition quickly made the transition to online learning in two weeks time.
“We have heard that angels can dance on the head of a pin, but is dancing on the head of a pin the best use of an angel’s time and resources? We have proven that we can dance on the head of a virtual pin, but now we need to stop. We need to get back to building and being the University that for 112 years has dedicated itself to supporting the progress of our state and the larger nation and world, back to helping determined students realize their potential, get back to the work of leveling the playing field for all segments of the population who come to us with the desire and the ability to prepare themselves for constructive engagement in the world.
If we accept that core principle, then, given the practical realities of where we are, what must we do?”
Cole then addressed what Fall 2020 might look like for students and faculty under three different scenarios the University has planned for. Says Cole:
“Under scenario A, the University is fully open, or close to fully open in September, with relatively normal instructional protocols in place. Under scenario B, the University is open, but there are health-related protocols and constraints placed on our instructional activities that require a hybrid model for all or most instruction, that is, a combination of face-to-face and remote learning. Under scenario C, the University is forced, once again, to rely solely on remote learning methodologies. What I yearn for is scenario A; what I think is most likely is scenario B; and what I despair to see again is scenario C. But we need to be ready to go with all three scenarios, and, while the circumstances, as they unfold and change over the next two to three months may cause us to think it will be A, B, or C, it is my judgment that we will not truly know with any certainty which way we will go until the end of July. So, to repeat, we need a plan in place for all three possibilities, and, this time, we have more than two weeks to do it.
To accomplish this task, I have asked each college and school dean and director to lead a planning effort, working with their faculty and staff to develop a complete plan for those three instructional scenarios, building on the foundation of the instructional plans that have already been completed for the fall. The provost’s office will provide coordinative guidance to the process to insure sharing across colleges and schools of the best ideas, to assure consistency, where there should be consistency, and to encourage specialized plans where those are required by the particular needs of a specific discipline. While the academic units are working on these plans, the finance and budget units will be working side by side with them to understand the financial implications of the various plans.”
View the entire message from Dr. Cole here (starting at 9:40 mark)
Read the transcript here.