Office of the Provost: Planning for the Fall

Dear Faculty and Staff, 

I hope that you are approaching the end of the spring semester with a sense of accomplishment and relief. The way you’ve worked together to complete the semester and meet the needs of our students has been inspiring to witness. Thank you for all of your energy and effort.

I want to share an assessment of our current situation and vision for the fall semester that, I believe, effectively balances the needs, uncertainties, and hopes of our community and puts us in the best position possible as we sail into the uncharted waters of the 2020-21 academic year.

Our ongoing community-wide scenario planning process has produced key insights to guide us forward. It is clear that the lack of reliable COVID-19 testing, the absence of a viable and widely available vaccine, and the likelihood of continued surges and shifting state and local actions to limit gatherings—not to mention the various ways these will all factor into student, family, staff, and faculty comfort levels—require us to embrace maximum adaptability. For the next academic year, we must be as prepared as possible for all modes of instruction for our courses and all types of engagement with our current and prospective students.  

On a practical level, this adaptive approach requires us to:
Mobilize to build an outstanding academic experience that can, if necessary, be delivered fully online for the fall semester (and possibly spring 2021);
Design and deliver an on-campus experience that aligns federal, state, and local guidelines and recommendations with what students and families are willing to pursue.This means that we must be prepared to meet a wide range of needs;
Align staff and support resources quickly and efficiently to be prepared for the full range of fall scenarios. This will require us to temporarily shift work and priorities for some so that we are as prepared as possible to meet the needs of our students and rise to the challenge of our adaptive strategy.
I am working with our Faculty Senate, Staff Council, Adjunct Union, the rest of the Academic Affairs team, and President’s Cabinet to determine the best way to resource and deliver on these ambitious goals.  

Time is valuable, so we must move quickly to prepare to welcome our students back to Arcadia this coming fall. If we continue to adapt smartly, the collective effort we are about to undertake will form a strong foundation for innovation and excellence in the years to come. 

We will hold a community-wide discussion during the next #ArcadiaStrong Friday Forum at 2:30 p.m. on May 8 to discuss the plan and answer any questions. 

I am energized to embark on this journey with you. Thanks, again, for everything you do.  

Sincerely,

Jeff Rutenbeck
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs