After a long, uncertain summer, we start classes next week knowing that almost all of MSU’s undergraduate courses will be taught entirely online. Over 1,000 faculty have taken professional development courses from the Hub for Innovation in Learning and Technology, the College of Education, or their own colleges. Students, who took online courses this summer in record numbers, have likewise enrolled in a record number of courses this fall. There is good reason to be optimistic about how our students and faculty will work together online this fall.
Since we “went remote” nearly 200 days ago, I have tried in these columns to emphasize the positive and to encourage us to take advantage of the opportunities that the pandemic is providing. But the cold hard truth is that most of us are exhausted. Preparing for multiple scenarios and managing uncertainty during a time of a shrinking budget all while trying to maintain work/life balance prevented us from taking time during the summer to recharge. And, as we head into an online fall semester, we are asking more of each other than ever before to ensure that our students are engaged and well supported.
Recognizing all of this, I asked the editors to focus this month’s Student Success Newsletter on some of the exciting and creative approaches that our colleagues are taking. They found stories about approaching challenges with grace and empathy, about improving how we police the campus community, and about extraordinary efforts by our counselors to support the mental and emotional health of the MSU community. It is all good news, and it epitomizes what we mean when we say, “Spartans Will.”
Both individually and collectively, we are doing great work during a very difficult time. Our task for the next four months is to remember that we are a community and we all depend on one another. As John Jackson tells us, “With patience and kindness we will learn together this semester, I promise.”