Community Message: September 16, 2020

A message from President Harring to the Muhlenberg College community

 Wednesday, September 16, 2020 02:30 PM

To the Muhlenberg Community,

We are now three weeks into the semester and the Muhlenberg community has proven to be a stellar example of what can be accomplished when we work together. It took a couple of weeks for all of us to settle into new routines, but everyone is working diligently to do their part to ensure our success continues.

We are conducting weekly surveillance testing and will implement our protocols for handling positive tests when necessary. You can keep track of our progress through our COVID-19 dashboard which provides College updates on Thursdays and Pennsylvania updates on Fridays. Our success to this point has been based on our community’s efforts to follow the guidelines. It remains critical that students, faculty and staff continue doing their part.

Our faculty and students continue to deepen their expertise in liberal arts digital learning. I’m pleased to share a sample of the creative work across the academic program. Assistant Professor of History Tineke D'Haeseleer has built a website in Berg Builds for her Material Culture of China in a Global Context class through which her students have been blogging. Professor of Biology Richard Niesenbaum is using a variety of platforms in his Sustainability Studies course to make synchronous classes more interactive and asynchronous learning more connected. He recently had students work in Zoom break-out rooms to generate ideas on sustainability issues and then brought everyone back together and used Jamboard, a collaborative virtual whiteboard, to draw connections between ideas. His students are also blogging and using Twitter to connect their online learning to a wider community. And Assistant Professor of Film Studies David Romberg is having students in his Documentary Storymaking class (which includes students from Muhlenberg, Lehigh and Lafayette) use Instagram to share their documentary work.

Our virtual programming and activities have been well attended. The weekly Virtual Events Calendar has featured a little bit of everything—from club meetings and yoga to trivia and academic programming, like the election series. Our Fall virtual events have been far reaching and even more robust with additional offices, departments and student organizations taking part. We’ve also launched our #MulesatHome initiative—a joint program between the Dean of Students Office and the Student Government Association (SGA). This event is an opportunity for remote students to engage in discussion and share ideas about issues facing students and the College. #MulesatHome events take place on most Fridays. Please look for details in the weekly Virtual Events Calendar email.

I want to thank all of our students, faculty and staff for their commitment to our College community. It is our people that make Muhlenberg such a special place. Together we are creating new and innovative experiences to support academic excellence, community and connection.


Kathleen Harring