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COVID-19: Fall debrief and spring planning

January 12, 2021

Cardinal Update News Newsletters

Saint Mary’s University created an Ad Hoc Coordinating Team to assess fall 2020 operations related to the COVID-19 pandemic and develop recommendations for spring 2021 to sustain and enhance the effectiveness of university operations.

Based on the successes and challenges identified, the following recommendations have been made to the Pandemic Assessment and Coordinating Team (PACT) for spring 2021:

  • Develop a comprehensive communication plan (including social media, timing, all stakeholders)
  • Update training on protocols
  • Review facilities and revise as needed
  • Develop a list of wellness resources
  • Develop additional guidance for virtual work
  • Continue to support the CardinalFlex model

These recommendations are based on the successes and challenges identified through the assessment process which included stakeholder engagement and resources from student and faculty surveys; virtual engagement sessions with students, faculty, and staff; the Minnesota Department of Health; and the Education Advisory Board.

The Ad Hoc Coordinating Team is co-chaired by Ann Merchlewitz, J.D., senior vice president and general counsel; Ben Murray, executive vice president and chief financial officer; and Brian Schmisek, Ph.D., provost and dean of faculties.

Coordinating team members and their areas include:

Academic Affairs and Student Services

  • Andrea Carroll-Glover, vice provost for Online Strategy and Programs
  • Eden Wales Freedman, Ph.D., vice provost for Faculties and Academic Affairs
  • Susan Cosby Ronnenberg, Ph.D., dean of the College
  • Alisa Macksey, dean of Student Success and First Generation Initiative

Student Affairs and Students

  • Tim Gossen, Ed.D., vice president for Student Affairs
  • Marisa Naryka, Ed.D., assistant vice president for Student Life

IHM Seminary

  • Fr. Bob Horihan, Ph.L., rector, Immaculate Heart of Mary Seminary


  • Jim Bedtke, vice president for Facilities
  • Tim Stensgard, facilities manager

Operations and Personnel

  • Gena Bilden, director of campus operations, Twin Cities
  • Tianna Johnson, director of IT and User Services

Marketing and Communications

  • Kelly Shannon, vice president for Marketing and Communication

Enrollment and Admissions

  • Tim Albers, vice provost for Enrollment Management