Published: March 31, 2020

Studio culture

Coming together after spring break

Welcome (virtually) back ENVD students, from what was very likely a somewhat strange spring break. I hope this note finds all of you and your families healthy and doing well through this unprecedented event. I know that many of you are adjusting to the remote version of ENVD. Faculty and staff understand the mixed emotions that everyone is going through. It is perfectly normal to be experiencing some frustration, some anger, some disconnect, and especially for seniors, some loss. We are all feeling those things and we all empathize.

But now we are back from spring break and we all have to work together to make the rest of this semester as positive and successful as we can make it. This will, in fact, take all of us working together. Faculty worked diligently over the course of spring break to adjust courses, get technical issues resolved and to develop assignments that reflect our situation. Staff are also working to make sure you have what you need to succeed, to figure out how all the changes are affecting our students, and on making sure you feel connected to this program. Each of you now has a role to play in making the rest of this semester a success. We are not asking for anything more than normal—attend class, give it your best effort, and feel confident in your work. Will everything feel different—yes.  Will things go smoothly every class—no. Will we work as hard as we can to make sure each and every one of you succeed—absolutely.

There have been some major developments while you were away on break that you need to make sure you are aware of. Pass/Fail grading is now available for every class this spring. It is student optional, so make sure you read the new guidelines and processes. But be aware—ENVD grade requirements for advancing in some courses are higher than a D- grade which gets a P in the university.  Make sure you check with your advisor if you have any questions.

Summer session: For those who are considering taking coursed during the summer session, Maymester, A, and C terms will be remote learning. B term will be decided by April 15, 2020. The courses will still happen, but expect remote learning and look for a final word on B term.

Graduation: I know many of you that are graduating are disappointed that the May ENVD ceremony is being postponed. However, know that we are planning for an in-person ceremony at a later date. We are trying to determine what that date will be. Stay tuned—you will get that opportunity to walk across the stage and have your parents applaud your accomplishment. We will not abandon that event.

Things are going to be unstable as we continue. We will get you information as soon as we have it. However, many times we are receiving the information just as you are. So, know that we are not holding anything back. I will also have a weekly online Zoom session where you can ask me or any of the other ENVD leadership team questions. Look for that announcement in this newsletter.

Thank you for being patient with us during this time. I do want you to know that you have my word and the commitment of all the faculty and staff that we are putting everything we have into making this a successful semester. The ENVD students are our number one concern. I won’t lie to you and say everything is going to be perfect, but I will say that I have confidence in you, in our faculty, and in our staff that we can demonstrate to the rest of the university how to make this a successful semester.

Welcome Back and remember – We are ENVD!

Paul Chinowsky
Director, Program in Environmental Design