March 16, 2020
As a new week begins and we grapple with the numerous changes that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to our campus, the Boston area, and the world, I recognize that the days and weeks ahead will require much of us as Boston College faculty members. The challenges of the moment are among the most serious we’ve ever confronted as a community. Each hour’s news deepens the general sense of uncertainty.
It is amid this moment of crisis that I want to express my most heartfelt gratitude for so many of you who have been working steadily over the last few weeks to prepare for the move to online education that will begin this Thursday morning. Every department and school and countless offices have been partnering to ensure that we are able to educate Boston College students for the remainder of the spring semester. It’s been gratifying to learn of the many ways each of you are thinking of our students and colleagues, and working to transition our teaching and learning so as to meet the needs of the moment.
At some point later this year, I’ll look forward to celebrating the work that so many are doing and to express my personal gratitude. For now, though, we’re all focused on the work of preparation this week, followed by the next eight weeks of moving all Boston College teaching and learning fully online. I urge all of us to learn from each other and our students as we adjust to and experiment with new forms of pedagogy. Flexibility, understanding, and care should be operative words in our approaches to our classes and our students in coming weeks. I thank you in advance for helping our students navigate the challenges of your courses even as they are confronting a larger world that has changed so quickly.
Above all, it will be essential that we as a faculty maintain our abiding commitment to the transformative dimensions of a Boston College education. Taking time to reach out to your advisees by email or phone is now more important than ever. Imaginatively devising formats for virtual office hours will be critical. Our students are looking for us to help model a way of working through this crisis, and I am confident that we as Boston College faculty are well suited for the demands of this semester.
I know there are many questions that colleagues have about academic and administrative policies, and plans for this summer and beyond. I can promise that I have been working around the clock with colleagues across campus and that work will continue. We will share further news in coming days and weeks as decisions are made in the face of new developments.
Our work over the next eight weeks will be difficult and will require sacrifices from all of us. Yet I am confident that our students will be well served by our faculty’s commitment to them and to our shared vocation as teacher-scholars. I look forward to working with and supporting you as we bring the very best of Boston College to a student body that needs our talents, our wisdom, and our care for them more than ever before.
From a grateful provost,