March 27, 2020
To our Explorer Community:
On Monday, for the first time in La Salle’s 157-year history, all course instruction will continue through remote learning channels, through the end of this semester. I know this transition to new learning platforms will be unsettling for some of you, while for others, you welcome the opportunity to teach and learn in this manner. Certainly, this was not how any of us envisioned the second half of the Spring semester, and we may encounter some challenges and bumps along the road as we make this transition. However, I am confident that, as Lasallian educators and learners, we are up to the task.
Our faculty colleagues have spent the last two weeks engaged in training to pivot their courses onto digital platforms, utilizing tools like Zoom and Canvas to connect and create virtual classroom communities. Similarly, our dedicated staff have worked tirelessly to ensure a smooth transition to our new “normal.” I am proud of the creativity and dedication that you have demonstrated to ensure that our students continue to have the best possible learning experience over the balance of this semester. Thank you for continuing the legacy of Saint La Salle through your commitment to excellence in teaching and learning.
For our students, this may be a new way of learning and engaging with your faculty and classmates. I encourage you to view this situation as an opportunity to challenge yourself in new ways as we continue to prepare you for what lies ahead in your life after La Salle. While the lessons of this pandemic are many, there will undoubtedly be a new emphasis on the meaning of work and how we gather—or don’t gather—in workplaces into the future. This moment in time is unprecedented, but I know that you will face the rest of this semester with the determination, adaptability, and resilience required to finish strong. I have heard from so many of you and ‘seen’ you on social media over these past days; it has been wonderful to see you continue in your modified communities. While we are clearly doing our part in embracing physical distancing, I am proud to see that we are emphasizing our social connecting. If you have questions or concerns about the next several days, please contact your professors directly. Together, we will find innovative solutions.
We know that this shift to remote learning has also impacted the valuable teaching and learning that takes place outside of the academic curriculum. Staff are working diligently to develop virtual programming for the weeks ahead that will help us stay connected and engaged as a University community. A great example of this is our Spring Job and Internship Fair, which will be held April 6–10 in a fully virtual format. I urge you all to take full advantage of these opportunities to connect and to continue to engage fully with those beyond our walls.
For our graduating students, I know this is not how you envisioned your final weeks at La Salle. The postponement of Commencement is still hard to believe for all of us. Know that we are committed to helping you finish your semester strong. You have my word, when this is all over, we will come together in person to celebrate the Class of 2020, and to formally launch your “Life After La Salle”.
Be sure to visit the page on the University’s website dedicated to COVID-19 information, including the latest La Salle announcements that you have previously received in your email. There, too, you will find a University FAQ with additional information and recommendations on how best to stay healthy in these times.
Next Monday will be a new milestone in our history at La Salle, as we embrace comprehensive online learning across our community. Whatever your worries as a result of COVID-19, related and unrelated to La Salle, let us all come together in knowing that we have the skills and support necessary to thrive during this moment. Try to see these challenges as opportunities that, if embraced, will leave you stronger after this period than you were going into it. In this time of unpredictability, let’s commit to being extraordinary. I have the utmost confidence in our students, faculty, and staff.
Together and by association, we are stronger.
Saint John Baptist de La Salle, pray for us.
Colleen M. Hanycz, Ph.D.