Scheduling Updates for Fall 2020
Dear Fashion Design and Fashion Merchandising Students,
On behalf of Director Dr. Valentine, the faculty, and staff of the School of Fashion Design and Merchandising, we congratulate each of you on the completion of the 2020 Spring Semester! To say that it was an unusual and stressful semester experience would be an understatement. Nobody ever anticipated at the dawn of the semester back in January that it would have ended the way it did. There were many disappointments along the way, cancellation of study away, internships, academic experiences and events, and the closing of the campus that all occurred in a very short time frame. You are to be commended on the efforts you made in all your classes to stay focused and engaged, especially with the pivot toward "remote learning" of which you had not planned. As a School, we were very cognizant of the challenges and emotions you faced; yet, your resiliency and positivity are to be celebrated! We are proud of your achievements and wish you a, hopefully, restful summer break.
As we look ahead to the 2020 Fall Semester, we want to provide you with some general information on how we will operate within the School of Fashion. The decisions we make will be thoughtful, deliberate, and focused on providing a safe teaching, learning, and social environment. Our operations will be based on guidance received from the University, which is rooted in protocols from Public Health officials and the Center for Disease Prevention and Control (C.D.C.). This is the first of a few emails that will update you on our academic and operational plans for the Fall Semester.
Clearly, the impact that social distancing will have on any university environment will be significant and substantial. Capacities of learning spaces, laboratories, and studios will need to be reduced to achieve appropriate social distancing protocols. As a School with a student enrollment of nearly 1,700, we are reviewing all our spaces, its limitations, and layouts so we can determine appropriate social distancing. Obviously, there are class sizes that will not lend itself to social distancing, in which case the delivery of the course will need to be altered.
The School has determined that approximately 90% of all Fashion courses could be delivered “remotely.” This means that if you have a course that is scheduled MWF at 11:00a, your instructor would more than likely meet with the class using Blackboard Collaborate, for example, or some other software that is appropriate for the learning outcomes of the class. In another scenario, if you’re enrolled in a course that is already scheduled as 100% online, then how that course is delivered does not change.
The remaining 10% of the courses would work best if they were offered face-to-face. Most of these courses are within the Fashion Design curriculum due to the nature of the teaching process, learning outcomes, and specialized equipment used.
There may also be a scenario where an instructor may teach the course remotely; but, there may be the option to invite students to a face-to-face “special session” or “meet-up” where extra guidance, further learning, or meetings may be held. These sessions would adhere to social distancing protocols. Please keep in mind that if a course is scheduled as “remote learning,” then any “special face-to-face sessions” would be offered remotely, recorded, or which allows for participation in some other mode. In other words, being on campus would not be a requirement to participate in such class sessions.
An important part of the planning process for the Fall Semester also requires a contingency plan should State Health Officials and the University once again decides to close the campus due to a significant resurgence of COVID-19 cases. We are better prepared for this contingency today than we were back in March. We are very hopeful, however, that this will not be necessary.
During the next several weeks, your class schedule will be updated to indicate whether a course of which you are currently enrolled will be changed from a scheduled classroom to “Remote Learning.” We strongly advise you to make no changes to your current schedule until it is determined which of your courses will be changed to "remote learning." Always check with your academic advisor before changing your schedule so you remain on track with your academic plan.
We recognize that how your courses are delivered (remote, online, or traditional face-to-face) has a significant impact on your housing plans for the fall semester. Many of you are required to make a housing decision very soon or have already made such a decision. While we are still several weeks away from finalizing the fall schedule on a course-by-course basis, the insight we can give you at this point is that about 90% of all FDM courses will be offered as “remote learning.” If you decide that you are not going to be on campus or living locally this fall, please know that we will be doing everything possible to ensure that your fashion courses continue to be offered as planned, whether remotely or face-to-face. Our goal continues to be to keep you on track toward your planned graduation timeline.
The Fall Semester in the School, and throughout Kent State University, will be very different than what we are all accustomed. The use of face masks, continuous cleaning of high-touch surfaces throughout the day, and social distancing will be new to all of us. Academic advising procedures will be different as well. How the various student organizations operate will also change and be limited in the ability to hold public events and meetings face-to-face. We will be looking at creative ways to communicate all the collective activities, initiatives, and achievements that celebrate our special community of fashion design and fashion merchandising students. Together, we will make the best of this and continue to move forward. We are optimistic that in the not-too-distant future, we will be able to look at this pandemic in the rear view mirror.
Finally, I know that you will join all of us as we welcome our new freshman class to our School this fall! I think you will agree that this is a very special group of students who had a very unpredictable and less than desirable ending to their high school years ... lost experiences and traditional senior year memories that can never quite be duplicated. And as they launch their college years in an abnormal time, we are looking forward to welcoming them to our School of Fashion community.
We thank you for your patience and understanding as the details of how the School will operate in the fall will continue to unfold throughout the summer.
Undergraduate Program Coordinator
School of Fashion Design and Merchandising
Kent State University