University of St. Thomas Magazine COVID-19 Special Edition

their priority,” a first-year shared in a March video of undergraduate students sharing their experiences shifting online. “Professors and staff members are here for us and willing to support the students.” “My professors have been so understanding and so nice and accommodating to help us through this transition,” a sophomore student added. “That’s a blessing, to me, to know they have my backs through this.”

to communicate, proactively reaching out, and increasing flexibility with universal design for learning. “There is real intentionality with the Faculty Development Center and STELAR to have an eye toward equity,” said psychology Professor and DEI Fellow Bryana French, who pointed toward the loaning of technology to students and the option of pass-fail grading as signals of equitable thinking. “We’re on the right track and doing good things.” Certainty amid uncertainty

Another element of the shift online has been for faculty to maintain the university’s convictions of equity and inclusion; seminars and trainings for faculty have been well attended throughout the spring. “We knew right away we needed to make sure that focus didn’t get lost,” said Ann Johnson, associate vice provost for faculty advancement, who has helped develop and will lead extensive DEI training throughout the summer. “Diversity, equity

As so much of life at St. Thomas and around the world continues to be uncertain, the past months have shown a confirmation of the university’s mission and academic values. Dougherty Family College Dean Alvin Abraham expressed well what many in the St. Thomas community have seen. “Every single person on our team, students included, have really rallied and tried to figure out how best to navigate their personal lives and show up fully

and inclusion is integral to

everything we do in terms of teaching; we’re not going to lose touch with that. Diversity is one of our convictions and we will maintain it through this [shift to online learning].” One such seminar on April 16 focused on helping faculty create effective and inclusive online communities. Tips included being transparent about building a community, using multiple channels

to do everything they can to do their job well,” he said. “It’s so telling of our team and students. They’re committed to their education, and our team is committed to providing a high-quality experience for students, even with all this going on. The future in a variety of ways is unknown, but there’s a lot of hope. We’ve all risen to the challenge in fantastic ways.” n

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