A few hours ago, you received a message alerting you that Arcadia University has made the necessary decision that all academic courses and experiences will remain online for the rest of the Spring 2020 semester.
This challenging moment reminds me of why I came to Arcadia University two years ago ‒ to join a student-centered community that values justice and courageous leadership, two principles that are at the core of all of our decision-making. Challenging situations require us to adapt quickly, and I am so proud that we continue to approach the needs of our community in a smart, calm, and effective way. Your support and confidence is greatly appreciated.
Of course, thank you to our students who embrace Arcadia as their home. As we pass the midpoint of our academic year, I am proud of your adaptability. You put so much hard work into your classes, research, events, performances, exhibitions, auditions, interviews, and competitions; to have them canceled, postponed, or moved online is not what any of us wanted. To our seniors, I am deeply affected by what you are being asked to endure during your last semester at Arcadia. However, your resilience is inspirational, and Arcadia will support you in all that you need to succeed this semester and beyond.
I want to thank our faculty for your flexibility during this ever-shifting situation. Moving all courses online is unprecedented for Arcadia, and you’ve adapted with energy and creativity. The teaching and mentorship you provide students inside and outside the classroom are the heart and soul of Arcadia, no matter the modality by which we operate. While many of you have had to cancel global and experiential aspects of your courses that enhance learning and speak to the mission of the institution, you continue to provide expert instruction to your students.
Our staff support is equally important, and I want to recognize the lengths our organization goes to ensure our ability to sustain university operations. I am consistently impressed by the pride that you take in your work. Our systems and support teams have worked diligently to ensure operations online would serve our business and community, and our Facilities, Public Safety, Residence Life, and Maintenance staffs, who often perform under extraordinary circumstances, have again been at the forefront for Arcadia. Simply put, the institution could not run without you.
The Arcadia emergency team, from our main campus extending around the world, has done extraordinary work with their swift action in coordinating our University’s global response. As news trickled in from our connections in China many weeks ago, you moved immediately to crisis preparation. We are grateful for your leadership.
We acknowledge the service of our local, county, and state leaders and the painstaking decisions they are making to protect the health and safety of our community, particularly our health care workers, law enforcement, EMTs, maintenance and facility workers, and others who have admirably performed crucial tasks during this unprecedented crisis.
Thank you to our alumni and donors for all of the support you have extended to our students. There is perhaps no greater example of this University’s tight-knit community than our alumni and donor leadership. To those of you who have inquired about ways to support our great institution — particularly at this extraordinary time — I thank you. Your financial support is so deeply encouraging to the campus.
Lastly, to our parents and families, thank you for your engagement with us and for your flexibility. I hope you are able to connect with your students in deep and meaningful ways during spring break. I plan on hugging my children tight tonight and every night to remind them that they are safe, secure, and supported by so many in our community.
Provost Rutenbeck’s earlier message outlined the necessary decision to continue all academic courses and experiences online for the rest of Spring 2020 semester. We know you have many unanswered questions; we ask for your patience as our leadership team solidifies our process and communicates details. We have centralized all information and updates from the University at arcadia.edu/coronavirus.
During the next few months, let’s reflect on how the higher education landscape has shifted forever, and how our courage and experience can help us grow and thrive in a world of uncertainties. Indeed, some of the practices we are adopting during this crisis may, in fact, become opportunities for learning, especially those that are a great benefit to our community.
However, what can’t go unnoticed in this work are community members who are most vulnerable to the coronavirus or most affected by the decisions we make. I am certain that the misfortune of COVID-19 won’t be shared equally among our stakeholders. Please know that we will do everything we can to support you during this difficult time.
We are...forever, Arcadia Knights and #ArcadiaStrong.