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Important information on the shift to distance learning

March 18, 2020

To our students,

I am writing as both Augustana’s chief academic officer, and as a member of the faculty, to follow up on the note you received today from President Bahls. The president announced our decision to complete the spring semester entirely in a distance-learning format. That was a really painful decision for us, though not a terribly hard one. The scientific evidence and government direction both pointed to the same conclusion: We needed to be apart to keep you safe.

Much of college life occurs outside the classroom, from the practice fields to the res hall lounges, and that’s foreclosed to us now. We regret, with you, those lost opportunities. For now, the best we can do is to minimize the confusion and uncertainty by providing you direct resources and clear answers to your questions as quickly as we can. 

In the coming days, you will receive many communications from the college with key pieces of information to help you with your academic questions in the short term (e.g. how will my courses look and feel?) and longer term (e.g. what if I need to declare my major?).

Here are the keys things we need you to know: 

  • Read your Augie email. You must commit to read and respond to your Augustana email at least once a day as this will be the primary way you will receive communication from the college and from your instructors. 
  • Look for a note from each of your professors. You will hear from all of your faculty members by 5 p.m. Friday, March 20, as they check in with you. 
  • Respond to our upcoming questions about your tech access. Watch for an email later this week from the college requesting information regarding your access to technology. This information will guide faculty decisions as they prepare for inclusive distance-learning practices.
  • Check the college’s website for all the details on managing in this new world. Many of your questions about changes to academic procedures, policies, deadlines and resources can be seen on the Registrar's page
  • Take care of people. We remind our entire campus community to exercise patience, flexibility and compassion as we work through this challenging time together. It’s easy to get frustrated and either shut down or respond rudely to others. Please don’t. It’s important. In particular we want you to remember to practice self-care. 

We pride ourselves on our strong culture of community that values the importance of relationships and our understanding of what it means to be a member of the Augie community. Please take this opportunity to stop what you are doing, set up a group chat with friends, Facetime your roommate, reach out to a classmate, your teammate, or a faculty member (they’re missing you more than you know) and connect. 

Dr. Wendy Hilton-Morrow
Vice President of Academic Affairs
Provost and Dean of the College
Professor of Communication Studies