Dear Hunter Community,
After extensive consultation with a variety of campus constituencies, Hunter College is pleased to submit this comprehensive plan for the fall semester of 2020 to support education, student services, and critical research both on campus and online. The plan covers four of the College’s campuses including the Main Campus at 68th Street, Silberman School of Social Work, the art facility at 205 Hudson St., and the Brookdale Campus as well as the Hunter College Campus School building on 94th St. and Park Ave. Other facilities such as Roosevelt House, Parliamo, and our 41st Street buildings will remain closed for the fall semester.
In accordance with the memo from Chancellor Matos Rodríguez and after consultation with faculty, staff and students, Hunter will transition most courses to an online format while offering limited on-site classes.
As we prepare to move the majority of classes to a remote format, we are working closely with our dedicated faculty to provide them with training and resources to support top-quality online instruction. We are grateful for the faculty training provided by CUNY through the SPS, and have encouraged our faculty to participate. We have also developed a robust menu of in-house training options for Hunter faculty and provided compensation for this work over the summer. In addition, we are endeavoring to provide faculty with both the hardware and software they need, as well as limited access to specialized campus spaces to record or prepare classes to ensure their success in remote instruction.
In the same way, we have reached out to our students to prepare them to become the best possible online students. To begin, we have ensured they have full access to information about their fall courses. Working through CUNYFirst, students can now learn whether each class will be offered:
- Fully online
- Fully in person
- Synchronously: At the time designated on their schedules
- Asynchronously: Instructors will assign coursework and lectures that students can complete at their own pace
Our art students have returned to their studios at 205 Hudson and this summer has seen increased and sustained enrollments for fall.
We understand that for many students remote learning will require adjustments to their usual study habits. Hunter faculty and staff will, therefore, be available to assist students during this transition and provide the support they need to successfully participate in classes online.
We are also offering students the technology support they need to complete their courses, like laptops, Wi-Fi assistance and the materials and software they would usually access while on campus. And we are working with faculty to ensure that students can access all these materials in an efficient and safe manner.
We have developed plans to offer limited on-site instruction, particularly in the following three areas: The lab sciences; Studio art, film and performance arts; and Clinical training.
We understand that learning in these areas is especially enhanced when it takes place in person, and so we have developed plans to accommodate these limited courses on campus in a manner that meets all State and University safety and physical distancing guidelines. This includes protocols that follow the strict guidelines of the New York State Department of Health.
Among the many measures we are taking, we have developed increased cleaning and sanitation procedures and installed physical-distancing signage and hand sanitizers. All staff, students and faculty who arrive on campus will need to take an online safety training course and complete a health screening survey each day before arriving on campus
As part of this strictly controlled process, our Focus on Fall Planning Committee in consultation with our Student Services Team have proposed reopening limited areas to support student learning and development. These include the Student Success area of the library, a limited number of computer labs and study spaces, the food pantry, music practice rooms, art studios and other areas supporting creative activity.
Where possible some graduate students will return to their work in science labs in the Main Campus and the Belfer Building. In addition, art students will be allowed to return to their individual studios after certifying that they will comply with all safety protocols.
Hunter College is also proposing to reopen our Brookdale Dorms which are comprised of individual occupancy rooms. This proposal meets all State and CUNY health and safety guidelines.
Supporting students, while taking every possible step to ensure their health and safety, remains our highest priority. We have added a new counselor to our team of mental health professionals and introduced support groups specifically for students affected by COVID-19, and our mobile food pantry is distributing food, feminine hygiene products, laptops and other supplies.
We know that for many students, COVID-19 has created financial uncertainty, and so we are reaching out to make sure they know they can apply for financial aid to ensure they receive as much assistance as possible. We are also making more scholarship funds are available to help students stay in school this fall and continue their studies.
In summary, we at Hunter are preparing for a safe, meaningful and productive Fall 2020 semester. We are committed to supporting students, faculty and staff, and we look forward to welcoming everyone back, whether virtually or in person, as they continue to advance higher education in these uniquely difficult times.
We are pleased that this summer we had a significant increase over last year in both enrollment and the number of credits achieved for both graduate and undergraduate students. We are also gratified that our Fall enrollment is steady or slightly increased in all categories over last Fall.
Thank you for your assistance in this planning process and we look forward to your feedback and guidance on our proposal.
Jennifer J. Raab