Mission: Muhlenberg is committed to fulfilling our mission and providing a rigorous academic experience and a holistic education. Our mission and institutional values serve as the foundation for planning and decision-making.
Health, Safety and Emotional Well-being: The health, safety, and well-being of all members of our community are prioritized throughout every stage of planning and decision-making. Planning and decisions rely on evidence-based scientific principles and incorporate guidelines and resources for higher education institutions. Guidelines from each level of our government also play a central role in our planning decisions. We are continually aware of the significant emotional toll the pandemic has had on members of our community. Sense of loss, stress, anxiety, fear, additional familial responsibility, financial distress, and continued uncertainty are emotionally traumatic and will have long-lasting community-wide effects that we must grapple with in all of our future planning.
Equity and Inclusion: Planning will be thoughtful and inclusive, recognizing the disparate impacts that the current health situation has on members of our community. We are committed to ensuring that all students have access to a quality academic program and that faculty and staff have the support and services they need to fulfill job responsibilities.
Honoring Multiple Perspectives and Shared Governance: The planning process will be informed by guidance from Muhlenberg College health experts, academic and administrative units, and key stakeholders across the College community. Taking inspiration from AAUP Principles of Academic Governance, the faculty will have primary responsibility for decisions related to academic matters, including pedagogy, faculty status, curriculum, methods of instruction, and those aspects of student life which relate to the educational process. We will solicit timely and informed advice from college and faculty governance committees in crafting our plan. Expertise and guidance from local, state, and federal agencies, including the Allentown Health Bureau, local health care agencies, the Pennsylvania Department of Health and Pennsylvania Department of Education, and the CDC will also inform our planning.
Digital pedagogy as part of our residential, liberal arts mission: Prior to COVID-19, our liberal arts mission and fundamental values compelled us to explore the possible uses and purposes of digital tools to help ignite students’ social imagination--their capacity to construct visions of what should be and might be in their fields of study, their communities, and a society in need of new solutions and approaches to repair some of our most intractable problems and renew a sense that other worlds are possible. As we move through the pandemic and toward a post-pandemic new reality, continuing to center digital inquiry means that we will continue to promote and support the integration of digital technologies and spaces in activity that advances the College’s institutional values and commitments to the life of the mind and to knowledge in the interest of the public good. In our planning and future thinking, digital learning will not be seen as an “alternative to” in-person learning, but rather a critical component of the holistic educational enterprise of a forward-thinking liberal arts education.
Flexibility & Adaptability: We recognize that these are unprecedented times and that we do not have absolute clarity about the future. Planning and decisions need to be flexible to account for the evolving nature of the health situation. We recognize that we must be innovative in developing new mechanisms for supporting our mission and agile in implementing these strategies as the trajectory of this health crisis changes.
Fiscal Sustainability: Planning and decision-making must consider not only the short-term financial stability of the College, but long-term fiscal health to ensure institutional excellence now and for the future.