This past Friday, Dean Tatum Thomas and I hosted a virtual Town Hall for all SPS students. Thank you for joining! The event centered around our commitment to ensuring the safety of our broad community and, specifically, supporting your needs. Many critical issues were surfaced by the questions you submitted. A video recording of the session is available under this listing of major highlights from Friday's session:
- A special SPS task force has been created to represent you and inform me and my Executive Committee on pertinent COVID-19-related issues and challenges;
- We are planning regular virtual Town Halls, with various expert guests, to keep this community apprised of all updates and decisions pertaining to this crisis;
- We are investing to deliver quality virtual instruction, support services, and co-curricular experiences;
- We are preparing to deliver online courses this Summer so that learning and degree attainment are not disrupted further; and
- We are seeing new networks forming and innovative ways that students, faculty, and staff are supporting one another and others during this time.
- We cannot state strongly enough that the health and safety of our SPS community is our top priority. That will never change and the decisions made as a School and University will always tie back to that commitment.
- Please continue to read the “SPS Features” newsletter to see how the business of SPS continues as usual, where possible. We will continue to highlight the work of our programs, students, alumni, faculty, staff, and larger community of stakeholders. And, being one of the most innovative hubs in the University, we believe that we have exceptional faculty, support staff, and students that will allow us to meet a great many challenges together, and find a way to show the world a path toward a better future. That is our mission, and it guides all that we do for you.
- Please continue to communicate with my office and lean on the networks our School has and continues to create for you.
- In an effort to best hear from you directly regarding this unfolding situation, we have created an email alias called sharewithSPS [[at]] columbia [[dot]] edu. This is a venue for you to express feedback, share stories, and offer thoughts to help enhance our coronavirus protocol. I will be personally reviewing inbound queries and we will either provide a response or steer it to the appropriate party for consideration. This is the most direct and effective way to be heard.
- I have personally been working with the leaders of the Student Government Association to better understand the student perspective pertaining to COVID-19 and other key concerns. You will be seeing more of our collaborations on my social media posts, and I encourage you to participate in the online discussions sparked by these topics.
We have all experienced various levels of disruption, caused by COVID-19 and the end of these uncertain times is not clear. What I can say is you have the full support of my office, the leadership of this School, and the leaders of this University. Now is the time to hear your voice; I empower you to continue speaking up online this week. In the meantime, please continue to review the University’s COVID-19 page for updates and announcements.
Jason Wingard, Ph.D.
Dean and Professor