When the COVID-19 pandemic caused universities across the country to switch to online instruction, it wasn’t just students who had to navigate the switch. Faculty, administrators and staff had to find ways to cope with such a sudden change midway through the past spring semester, now continuing through the fall 2020 semester.
LMU announced that the majority of classes would be held online in the upcoming fall semester on July 14. Similar to the spring semester, many students will be forced to complete their studies at home in an online learning environment.
During his first online class last semester, assistant professor of entrepreneurship Jason D’Mello brought a guest speaker who was an expert in managing stress and remaining healthy in the midst of a stay at home order. D’Mello also said he spent time during class listening to his students and redesigning the class with them.
In regards to what will be his second semester teaching online, D’Mello stated that, “Obviously we want everybody to stay healthy and we don’t want anybody to be affected by this, but at the same time we want students and other stakeholders to get the value that they expect out of their experience and the people to be able to do the work that they came to LMU to do.”
Robbin Crabtree, dean of the Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts (BCLA) said that she believes that while the transition in the spring was difficult, it went well “all things considered.”
Crabtree works to maintain a sense of community at LMU by meeting frequently with other deans and colleagues. “I’ve become more proficient at all the remote working modalities and some of the tech tools for it, just as our students and faculty are doing,” said Crabtree.
Crabtree remains optimistic about the fall semester, despite it being held fully online for the majority of students, and hopes students will continue to pursue their degrees.
“Obviously, we are all concerned about [the] continued spread of the pandemic, and the health and safety of all our students, faculty, and staff. And of course, lost revenues and additional costs caused by the pandemic will take time for LMU (and all universities) to overcome,” said Crabtree. “But I have NO concerns about the faculty’s ability to deliver an LMU quality education, and am amazed by how hard faculty have worked through the summer to reimagine and retool their courses.”
Crabtree wants to remind students that the situation is temporary, and to “keep going.”
“These learning modalities are the way of the future, and there is no doubt that one day your on-the-job training and professional development will be done online, many of your graduation degrees will be pursued through all or mostly online programs, and your kids will one day find today’s learning challenges completely normative. You will be prepared,” said Crabtree.
“I’ve always thought about … how can I prepare my entrepreneurship students to develop [a tough] mindset [and] this ability to conquer anything, and while it’s really scary and disturbing what’s going on, not just the pandemic but with everything in the world right now, this is a critical time and it’s going to serve a greater purpose,” said D’Mello.
Dionne Scrivens, senior administrative coordinator for the College of Business Administration, said that she wants students to know that “faculty, administration, and staff are all here to support them on their academic journey,” even in “unusual” times.
D’Mello is urging his entrepreneurship students to remain resilient. “Stay optimistic. Entrepreneurs are delusionally optimistic and there’s a good reason for that. The only thing you can change [or] control is your attitude.”