April 16, 2020
Dear Faculty and Staff Colleagues:
Thank you for your engaged participation in last week’s Webex faculty/staff meeting. In these strange and unsettling times, it was a rare comfort to be together, as a community, to discuss our collective work in addressing the challenges of COVID-19. I am writing to discuss further the three working groups—on academic, campus life, and business continuity—that I mentioned in my report both to clarify their purpose and to invite your ongoing participation.
The groups have been established in coordination with campus governance structures to address the myriad disruptions created by this global health crisis. The purpose is to evaluate the issues and make timely recommendations to ensure the health of the campus and the continuity of academic, campus life, and business operations.
The first phase of work in early March focused on urgent matters related to flattening the contagion curve. These included moving students safely home; shifting to remote teaching and teleworking arrangements; creating new COVID-19 leave policies; and adjusting our on-campus workforce in response to a reduced student body, canceled programs, and government orders.
We are now in the second phase, focused on contingency plans for the future, including summer and fall academic programs; calendar options for a healthy fall; and post-pandemic financial sustainability. Members of the senior administration are co-chairing the students, faculty, and staff on each group to coordinate the range of issues being addressed. All groups are charged with working in coordination with campus leadership, local health authorities, colleagues across the NESCAC, and especially with each other, to ensure the strongest vantage point for decision-making.
Below you will find the groups’ charges and membership. You can expect to receive an update on their work at the next faculty/staff meeting this month. In the meantime, I invite you to share ideas directly with the members by using the google forms linked below.
I thank you once again for your engagement. As I said at our meeting, the impressive, collective action of this community in the past weeks demonstrates the equity-mindedness, the hard work, and the openness to change that have defined the character of Connecticut College from the beginning. It also reveals our nimbleness and strength as an institution, qualities that I know will help us persist through this crisis and emerge stronger in the future.
Working Group on Academic Continuity
This group is focused on the continuity of summer and fall academic programs both on and off campus. First and most importantly, the group is considering a variety of scenarios for a healthy reopening of the campus in fall 2020 and spring 2021, including potential adjustments to our academic calendar and models that feature both residential and remote instruction. In concert with the fall academic program, the group is making recommendations about the viability of college-sponsored travel in the fall, including study away programs and international conferences. Summer programs under consideration include those associated with the Summer Science Research Institute, the Child Development Lab School, athletics and arts camps, as well as internships and college-funded fellowships. The group is also exploring a possible pilot of online summer courses for our own students—with the aspiration of offering limited online courses during future summer and winter breaks.
Use this form to contact the Academic Continuity working group, whose members include:
Jeffrey Cole, Jefferson Singer, co-chairs; Anne Bernhard, Sheetal Chhabria, Jenny Doak, Amy Dooling, Danielle Egan, Libby Friedman, Noel Garrett, Karen Gonzalez Rice, Christopher Hammond, Heidi Henderson, W. Lee Hisle, Beth Labriola, Andrea Lanoux, Laura Little, Sean Martin, Jessica McCullough, Benjamin Meyer '22, Jacob Nozaki '22, John Nugent, Ken Prestininzi, Michael Reder, Doug Thompson, Derek Turner, Pam Wrinn
Working Group on Continuity of Campus Life
This group is focused on the co-curricular dimensions of the calendar for 2020-2021. In coordination with the academic and business continuity groups, the campus life group is evaluating implications of each calendar scenario on key areas of the student experience. Such areas include: community health and wellness, housing, dining, athletics, New Student Orientation, student engagement, equity, and inclusion. Different enrollment scenarios are being reviewed along with government guidance related to COVID-19 mitigation.
Use this form to contact the Campus Life Continuity working group, whose members include:
Victor Arcelus and John McKnight, co-chairs; Ingrid Bushwack, Sarah Cardwell, Stanton Ching, Lucie Englehardt '23, Julia Ferrante, Sam Kilpatrick, Emily Morash, Geoff Norbert, Sara Rothenberger, Ariella Rotramel, Mary Savage, Daniel Varela '22, Mo White
Working Group on Business Continuity
This group is tasked with providing a clear roadmap toward the recovery of normal business operations, including measures to facilitate the continuity of operations in the wake of the pandemic. Planning is focused on emergency management; campus health and safety; financial scenarios related to changes in enrollment and workforce; and the maintenance of campus assets, including endowments, buildings, and grounds.
Use this form to contact the Business Continuity working group, whose members include:
Rich Madonna and Pamela Dumas Serfes, co-chairs; Merrill Collins, W. Lee Hisle, Samirah Jaigirdar '22, Jean Kilbride, Sam Kilpatrick, Andrea Lanoux, Trina Learned, Amanda Mayfield, Cheryl Miller, Rachel Spicer, Miles Sax, Andrew Strickler, Madeline Vanech '23, Kimberly Verstandig