First and foremost, I hope this finds you well. I hope you, your family, and your loved ones are doing well and staying healthy. Coast to coast and around the globe, we have many wonderful Doane alumni and friends and we have certainly been thinking about you during the pandemic.
On March 12, we announced that due to the initial threat of COVID-19, we would be extending spring break one week for our residential students on the Crete campus and all of our academic instruction would shift to an online/virtual format for the remainder of the semester/term. This abrupt disruption proved to be an initial shock for our Doane community, understandably so. Our May graduates would not be able to see their professors and classmates in person again for the rest of the spring. Our faculty were forced to quickly adapt their course plans, shifting all materials to a remote learning environment. And our staff worked diligently to adjust their operational plans, ensuring that continuing to serve students, despite the unusual circumstances, would remain at the forefront of our work.
In the last six months, we have witnessed extraordinary resolve, ingenuity, and resilience of our Doane community. Our faculty and staff led us to successfully complete the spring semester/term in a virtual format and our students showed a great deal of understanding and grace, recognizing the challenges this quick pivot would create. Thankfully, since we have expanded our online learning infrastructure in the last few years, we were well equipped to transition our courses to a remote learning environment. We had a number of faculty and staff step up to support others during the transition.
Doane students showed a great deal of resiliency themselves, navigating uncharted waters to complete their coursework in a new environment. Once the decision was made to reopen our campuses in August, our faculty and staff worked tirelessly to prepare our campuses to safely operate in person this fall.
As I am writing this now, it is the end of August and it has been a joy to welcome back our students to our campuses. I have been very impressed with the commitment our community has shown to following protocols we have put in place. Our campuses may look a little different, but the same Doane spirit remains at heart -- that is, that we are one community, we are Tigers Together.
I recognize there are many uncertainties that lie ahead with the pandemic. While our community has rallied to do everything possible to create a safe environment for our students, faculty, and staff on our campuses this fall, should the situation become unsafe on a particular campus, we are prepared to make the difficult but necessary decision to shift our academic instruction to a remote learning environment once again. The health, safety, and wellbeing of our community is always our highest priority and will continue to remain so, global pandemic or not.
As many of you reading this are alumni and friends of the university, I ask that you please join our faculty and staff in supporting our students during this unique time. When we were in college, we could not have imagined going to school in the middle of a pandemic -- wearing masks and staying physically distanced from our closest friends. While our students have become more accustomed to new norms in our society during the pandemic, the seriousness of the virus looms and remains at the top of many of our minds.
I hope this edition of Doane Magazine can be a bright spot in your day as you read compelling feature stories on some very talented Doane alumni and remain up-to-date on the latest happenings around the university.
Stay safe and healthy, Tigers!
President, Doane University