I Know What You Did This Summer!
This has certainly not been a typical Southeastern summer. The campus has been quiet and somewhat deserted. Other than a handful of face-to-face courses in Term II, most classrooms have been silent and unoccupied. One might be tempted to ask, “Where is everyone? What are they doing?”
But I know. I know what you did this summer. You embraced our first Summer Online and provided 428 distinct online courses to more than 4,000 students, the largest group of summer students since 2014! You welcomed our new freshman class through a new virtual orientation and held individual advising appointments (2260 and counting!) through video conferencing. You did what was needed to ensure another successful Southeastern summer!
In the midst of this record-breaking summer, you also watched the ever-changing landscape of this COVID-19 pandemic and waited to see if it would affect plans for Fall 2020. It did.
After announcements in May that Southeastern planned to resume on-campus operations in the fall, Dr. Crain’s June 22 update provided additional guidance. While the plan was still to deliver fall courses in the scheduled format, changes would likely be needed for classes scheduled as face-to-face and he emphasized, “ALL classes will need to be prepared to transition to remote delivery on short notice, should the need occur.”
From the beginning, the response model for delivering high-quality courses in this pandemic has been to empower academic departments and colleges to create discipline-specific plans that best meet the needs of their unique areas. What works for a sculpture class may not work for a history class, so design and development decisions should be in the hands of the experts. The result has been a faculty-engaged approach with individualized solutions for each course. I remain committed to this model and I know it is working because deans and department heads have boasted of your efforts throughout the summer!
- You shifted from an emergency remote teaching mode to a well-planned, best practice mode by supporting each other, serving as or relying on mentors, participating in training such as the Summer with the Center series and completing the Teaching Online at Southeastern course.
- You reimagined course structure, curricula, assessment plans, in-person components, assignments and final exams.
- You created flipped classrooms, interactive virtual environments, opportunities for engaging students in and out of the classroom, and remote options to accommodate the individual health circumstances of students.
You did, and continue to do, all this and so much more.
Southeastern is truly blessed with extraordinary faculty and staff. You continue to overcome the enormous challenges and uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic and provide educational opportunities to keep our students on track. You did in the spring, you did this summer, and I know you will in the fall. My sincere thanks for all you do!
My very best,