From the Office of the President:
A face-to-face start with flexibility for students and faculty was our sincere hope and preference for this fall. Unfortunately, as we shared last week, higher education institutions in California will not be allowed to move beyond virtual instructional modality until the state moves into Stage 3 of recovery.
The most up-to-date direction from Governor Gavin Newsom, as well as the County of San Diego, makes it clear that all public and private colleges and universities will need to continue classes virtually, with limited on-campus housing and operations.
As such, PLNU has finalized its plan to begin the fall 2020 undergraduate semester remotely, on Monday, Aug. 17.
I want to assure you that we have done intentional, creative, and tireless work over the summer to ensure we maintain our strong academic quality, dynamic Christ-centered community, and the academic progress of all of our students.
Our Strong Academic Experience Remains Intact, In More Innovative Forms
This fall’s remote learning experience and environment was built intentionally to prioritize the important elements of classroom learning and interaction that make learning both effective and dynamic. We have built an innovative virtual experience that is instructive, yet communal. It will include:
- Synchronous Zoom class times in addition to asynchronous course material
- Individualized approaches for students in multiple time zones
- Smart video and audio technology in every classroom on campus
- Dedicated faculty office hours for students to access
- Shift to on-campus instruction during the fall semester, when possible
To learn more about what the remote learning experience will look like this fall, students and parents are invited to join PLNU faculty in their disciplines for conversations about the remote experience this week. These include:
- School of Business — Wednesday, July 29, at 2 p.m.
- School of Nursing & Pre-Med — Wednesday, July 29, at 3:30 p.m.
- Sciences — Thursday, July 30, at 2 p.m.
- Arts & Humanities, School of Theology — Thursday, July 30, at 3:30 p.m.
- Education & Social Sciences — Thursday, July 30, at 5 p.m.
The PLNU Community Is Not Diminished — We’ve Just Had to Be More Intentional
We realize, maybe now more than ever, students have deep needs for personal, spiritual, and mental support. We’ve built out support services and community opportunities to fit the current circumstances and needs of our students while they can’t physically be on campus:
- Loma Launch Groups: We have created a way for our first-time freshmen and transfer students to develop real-time, face-to-face connection and conversations with one another in small groups, similar to how you develop tight-knit relationships within your residential hall or floor.
- A menu of options for spiritual growth and engagement through our new Chapel formats:
- Monday Spiritual Life Practices led by campus pastors and student interns
- Wednesday Community Chapels exploring the Love Embodied Chapel theme
- Fresh Fridays: A new first-year student-focused offering which will include breakout groups with Discipleship Ministry student leaders
- Student clubs and groups will continue to meet and work together virtually
- Virtual career coaching and services and one-on-one mentorship opportunities
- Virtual, 24/7 on-demand mental health counseling services through LomaCare
We Are Prioritizing The Academic Progress Of Our Students
The big picture: Taking a semester away is not as simple as it sounds. In addition to possibly putting financial aid at risk, students could also lose significant progress toward a timely graduation. Our approach — and significant investment — has been to prepare for the possibility of disruption this fall. We are ready to accommodate all of our students in their effort to continue or begin their academic journey at PLNU.
We believe so much in the academic progress of our students that we want to do what is within our power to help our traditional undergraduate students make it here. That’s why we decided that, in the event that PLNU moved to virtual instruction:
- We will activate a 10% COVID Disruption Discount: 10% reduced net tuition for the fall 2020 semester.
- If room and board has been charged, it will now be refunded.
- Additionally, if a student is enrolled full time in both fall and spring, they will receive one free Spring Mini-Term course in either January or February 2021 (a $1,500 value).
On average, this will be a 20-25% reduction in a residential student’s academic year costs for tuition, room, and board, depending on the net bill and financial aid package.
Return to Campus
If we are given the approval to return to a face-to-face modality during the semester and are allowed to increase residential housing, there will be a two-week window to affect the transition back to campus. Specifically:
- Oct. 19, 2020, would be the last possible start date on campus.
- We would announce the transition no later than Oct. 5, 2020.
- If by Oct. 5, 2020, we cannot return, we will complete the fall semester remotely.
No matter what, we will accommodate those students choosing to remain remote with remote instruction for the entire semester.
This update represents a significant change in our Fall semester start on Aug. 17 for our undergraduate students, and we know there are many questions you may have.
In addition to this afternoon’s Town Hall meeting at 3:30 p.m., students and parents can expect to receive several updates over the next week with important information from academic departments, residential life, and other campus partners. After today’s Employee Town Hall, PLNU faculty and staff should expect detailed communication from the Provost and Human Resources as well.
This year has brought with it many challenges and uncertainties; let me encourage each of you to remain connected. With your continued input, we will continue to adapt and perform even better until we can come back to campus together as soon and as safely as possible. In the meantime, we will continue to provide the most up-to-date information on the PLNU website and through email.
I am so very grateful for your understanding, feedback, and prayer as we have navigated this uncertain and difficult season together, and as we continue forward.
Bob Brower, President
Point Loma Nazarene University