I hope you, your families and loved ones continue to stay safe and healthy.
March 10, 2020 marked a serious shift in the way we deliver on our commitment to providing the best educational experience for our students. We have also seen how lives across the world were, and continue to be, altered due to COVID-19; we could have never expected it to this degree. As I review the past year, including the past two months or so, I’m extremely thankful for and proud of the Roosevelt University community for everything we have accomplished, our positive outlook, and our selfless and ongoing devotion to our jobs and students.
Yes, we have had to face many challenges and disappointments. I was looking forward to our traditional way of ending the academic year, being on campus for classes, personal interaction, welcoming the newly integrated Robert Morris community, the 75th anniversary of Roosevelt, our Commencement, birthdays — everything that we had to miss, at least in person. It has affected us all.
But, as I’ve witnessed, it is in these times that we are the strongest — this is our mission. Our legacy is anchored in breaking down the barriers and challenges that people may face. Being committed to the pursuit of success, especially of our students, and making a difference in our community continues to be who we are.
We are resilient, focused. You have adapted as we put in place contingency plans due to COVID-19, and we have accomplished a lot this year prior to COVID-19 and as a result of it. We successfully integrated with Robert Morris, expanding course and program offerings for our students while increasing experiential learning opportunities, and continued onboarding our new colleagues into Roosevelt. I would like to specifically thank Susan Lamparter’s office, which has been remarkable in developing and providing virtual training and learning for faculty and staff. Our contingency plans presented a lot of challenges related to technology, e-learning, Zoom access, grading, Blackboard and so on. These training programs helped alleviate some of the pressure and knowledge barriers around the types of tools that we have had to use during this time. We are planning for the future, being on campus, but everyone will need to continue to adapt to the virtual learning environment that we are exploring. Please check Inside Roosevelt for Susan’s schedule of ongoing training and information sessions.
We had record fundraising for the Laker Grant, raising over $54,000 and awarding at this point all but $4,000. As you may recall, this fund provides critical financial support to our students who are in need of emergency assistance. We continue to raise funds, so please consider your ongoing support for this initiative. Advancement is also doing a lot of work to raise funds that will provide tuition aid for students in the fall, named the Stronger Tuition Grant. You will hear more information about this new fund in the very near future.
I am going to be hosting a live, virtual Town Hall on Friday, May 8 at 10:30 a.m. CST where I will expand on the fall and discuss our anticipated approach to coming back to campus. We are optimistically planning and preparing for a healthy and safe return to campus, including in-person instruction and residence life operations, while considering evolving public health guidelines like social distancing and other contingency plans that may need to be put in place. I will also discuss other updates, including the CARES Act, graduation alternatives and more. I hope everyone will “attend.”
Be proud of this year. I am certainly proud of our collective success, and I appreciate your work and efforts during this unprecedented time. Please, continue to visit the COVID-19 website for updates, information and resources.
With warm regards,
Ali R. Malekzadeh, Ph.D.