A Message From the President
It is hard to believe that it is the end of the academic year, my first year at Caldwell University!
I’m thinking of the quote from our recent Research and Creative Arts Day which featured over 130 innovative student projects. St. Francis of Assisi said: “Start by doing what’s necessary, then do what’s possible; and suddenly you’re doing the impossible.”
That quote pretty much sums up this year. Faced with the challenges of the pandemic, our campus community showed up–online or in-person–and beautifully did what was necessary, and then what became possible, and then they did the impossible.
In this newsletter, I’m excited to share some of these stories with you—stories like that of chemistry student Yaman Thapa who is heading to a highly competitive summer research program at MIT; and Natural Sciences Associate Professor Agnes Berki who is sharing with Caldwell students what she learned about COVID-19 research during her sabbatical at the Brooklyn-based health tech company Biota Inc.; and Executive Director of our Health Services Cindy Striano who worked all year with our Pandemic Response Team to implement a strong plan for the health and safety of the campus community; and our veteran Assistant Vice President/Director of Athletics Mark A. Corino who was voted by his peers as the 2020-21 Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) AD of the Year. These are just a few of those who helped keep Caldwell safe and open for students.
We have great plans for the fall, too! We are adding a program to help students with learning disabilities flourish. SOAR (Student Outreach and Academic Resources) will provide students with diagnosed learning disabilities with the tools they need to succeed in a post-secondary setting. In Athletics, we are starting a men’s rugby club program and New Jersey’s first NCAA Division II Women’s Acrobatics and Tumbling program, an emerging NCAA sport.
The renovation of the new lounge in Mother Joseph Residence Hall is taking shape. It will provide our students with a modern living and learning space encouraging interaction and collaboration, an important part of the out-of-classroom learning process at a university. It will mean so much more to our students this fall as, once again, they can be together with friends and peers following a lengthy separation.
We are looking forward to Commencement on Sunday, May 23 when we will hold three separate ceremonies outside on our athletic fields. Wherever you are in our country or world, I hope you tune in via our livestream to watch this special moment for our students. Our students certainly have done the “impossible” to get to the finish line, and they are taking with them a Caldwell University education infused with the core values of Respect, Integrity, Community, and Excellence to make a difference in labs, classrooms, hospitals, boardrooms, and their communities–wherever God takes them! We’ll be rooting for them all the way!
Matthew Whelan, Ed.D.
To the Caldwell University Community,
I write to you today to provide you with an update on our plans for the Spring 2021 semester. First, I would like to express my deep and personal thanks to each of you for your efforts in dealing with the many challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic through the last 13 weeks. We are in the final three weeks of in-person instruction for the fall semester, followed by another few weeks of remote classes and exams. Your diligence and commitment in following our established COVID-19 protocols has helped propel us through the fall semester with very minimal disruptions to date. Due to your efforts, we have been able to avoid the pitfalls faced by some of our colleagues at other institutions such as the temporary or permanent closure of the residence halls, temporary suspension of in-person classes, or a return to remote-only teaching. You are to be commended for your commitment to Caldwell University, your colleagues, fellow students, and the public health efforts we all need to undertake to successfully navigate through this pandemic. Please keep it up; let’s show the world what our small but committed community is capable of when we are all pulling together.
As of today, we are planning to begin the Spring semester in January 2021 as originally scheduled and offer our classes using in-person, on-line, and Hy-Flex learning environments. As required by New Jersey’s OSHE Restart Standards, all courses must have a remote option for students who cannot or choose not to be on campus. While we intend to begin and end the Spring 2021 semester as originally planned, there are modifications to the Spring Break schedule, as approved by the faculty. The revised schedule will split Spring Break into a series of Wellness Days, spread throughout the semester, to give faculty, staff, and students a break from the new learning environment and workplace challenges to engage in physical, spiritual and mental well-being exercises.
Additionally, in January, we are planning to move students into the residence halls according to the existing schedule, and in compliance with OSHE mandated protocols. We remain prepared to implement any changes to public health mandates promulgated by the authorities and will keep you apprised should we receive any updates to the existing regulations. We have asked that all students take their belongings with them when they vacate the residence halls in a few weeks so that we may immediately begin deep and thorough cleaning of those spaces to ensure maximum cleanliness when we return in January.
As always, we remain under mandates to follow the emergency orders and directives from the New Jersey Governor’s Office and the Office of the Secretary of Higher Education (OSHE), as well as guidance from the CDC and local, state, and national public health officials. If changes to the Spring 2021 term plans are ordered by any of these authorities, we will take appropriate action and notify you at that time. In the meantime, let’s finish the semester strongly and remain committed to existing COVID-19 protocols as we wrap up this semester and prepare for the new semester in January.
Whether you are on campus or on-line, and while you are at home or away from campus, take some time to relax as you prepare for the Thanksgiving, Advent, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and Christmas seasons. Remember to remain committed to our core values of Respect, Integrity, Community, and Excellence – and that your efforts protect not only you, but your loved ones and your friends wherever they are. Good luck, God Bless, and I’ll look forward to seeing you on campus soon!
Matthew Whelan, Ed.D.