As an institution, we have begun evaluating a number of potential scenarios for the fall that cover the full range of possibilities. We are exploring various options so we will be prepared to respond as the situation evolves. Central to the planning process is our responsibility to provide a high-quality academic experience with the support that our students have come to expect. We must do this in an environment that respects the health and safety of the entire community. The guiding principles for our fall planning are below.
Interim Provost Bruce Anderson and Vice President of Student Affairs Allison Gulati lead a group charged with evaluating scenarios for the fall to determine what practices and policies would need to be put in place to implement each option. The working group includes representatives from the faculty, academic affairs, student affairs, campus safety, plant operations, information technology and the Health Center. The membership of the working groups and assigned subcommittees are linked below.
The group began its work on May 11. It will provide a written report of its recommendations to the president and senior staff by early June, providing adequate time to consider options and develop detailed implementation plans. The working group will continue to be consulted by the president and senior staff as the fall decision and plans are finalized. The Muhlenberg College Board of Trustees will remain informed and provide feedback on recommendations and decisions.
The College plans to announce the decision on the status of the fall semester by mid-summer—the same timeline many of our peer institutions are using.
While we hope to be on campus for the fall semester, we recognize that even with a return to campus, some students, faculty and staff may need to continue remote learning and work at home for health or personal reasons related to COVID-19. In light of this reality, we have implemented digital learning training for all Muhlenberg faculty this summer. Muhlenberg is in a uniquely strong position to do this and do it well. Our digital learning team has a fully developed program to help faculty understand how students learn best in digital environments so they can create courses to meet these needs. Another advantage the College has is that a significant number of our faculty have already been through this extensive training and are serving as digital learning fellows to help facilitate the summer training program. This work not only builds on our digital learning foundation but more broadly leverages the increased digital capacity the College has acquired during the spring semester.
We have many resources at our disposal to inform fall planning. Crucial to our work is guidance from local, state and national public health agencies, as well as advice from our public health experts, including the executive director of health and counseling services and the director of Muhlenberg’s public health program.
We recognize that the uncertainty of the future creates a great deal of concern for all of us in the Muhlenberg community—students, parents, faculty, staff and alumni. We are committed to making thoughtful, evidence-based decisions that take into account the perspectives and experiences of many. We will continue to update this page as information is available.