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Spring semester planning engagement sessions scheduled

December 8, 2020

Cardinal Update News Newsletters

In an effort to provide the best educational and, in Winona, residential experience for students this spring semester, a task force has been commissioned to review what we learned throughout the fall semester and to recommend actions to improve operations and the student experience in 2021. The work of the task force is centered on optimizing instruction and learning in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A series of virtual engagement sessions via Zoom for students, faculty, and staff will be held in the coming days to gather input.  The dates and times for faculty and staff are:

  • Thursday, Dec. 10, at 8 a.m. and 3 p.m.
  • Friday, Dec. 11, at noon
  • Monday, Dec. 14, at 9 a.m.
  • Tuesday, Dec. 15, at noon

Please sign up for a session.

The engagement sessions for student leaders are being scheduled and the Office of Student Affairs will be communicating directly with participating students. The dates for students in our Schools of Graduate and Professional Programs will be shared in Thursday’s CommUNITY.

All faculty and staff are welcome to attend a session as we collect feedback on everything from instruction to facilities to student services to residence life to IT support and learning resources.

The sessions will supplement input and feedback already gathered through a series of fall surveys of students and faculty at the College and SGPP that focused on the academic experience. While the survey results are positive, there is always room for improvement and we want to broaden the input. We encourage you to review the survey results, which include a narrative overview as well. We are committed to taking action where possible. One example of a change we will already make in the spring — based on the survey data we collected — is the addition of two  “wellness/mental health” days for College students to be built into the schedule. After consultation with chairs, these days are scheduled for Tuesday, March 9, and Wednesday, April 28.  We anticipate making other improvements like this based on the feedback already gathered and additional input this month.

Other resources being used to plan for the spring semester are information from the Minnesota Department of the Health, the Center for Disease Control, executive orders, and various higher education materials.

The task force consists of representatives from across the university, and the co-chairs are Ann Merchlewitz, senior vice president and general counsel; Ben Murray, executive vice president and CFO; and Brian Schmisek, provost and dean of faculties. Recommendations will be presented to Father Burns and the President’s Cabinet before Christmas break. Those recommendations that are approved will be communicated by early January.

Please see the related story on spring semester dates.