Like many students around the world, 157 Holy Cross students completing semester-long or year-long courses of study abroad found their programs suddenly cut short last month due to the worldwide coronavirus pandemic. After first prioritizing the safe return of these students to the U.S., the College worked with its partners abroad to help students continue their studies remotely where possible. For students who were unable to continue with their host institutions, the College issued a call to Holy Cross faculty for new courses, running from March to May, that would allow these students to complete their semester of study. The overwhelming response from faculty exceeded expectations with over 40 course proposals and, in an extremely short timeframe, resulted in 10 offerings of new courses on a range of topics.
“The response from faculty was quick and enthusiastic, with the number of course proposals submitted greatly exceeding the number of courses needed,” says Loren Cass, Dean of Experiential Learning and Student Success. “It was gratifying to see how quickly colleagues responded to this latest challenge, which involved not just envisioning how to offer the material in an online course, but how to develop one on a different ‘semester’ schedule and to do so within a short timeframe.”
Classes cover subjects such as “Industrial Organization and Public Policy,” “Introduction to Astronomy,” and “Women in War and Revolution.” The range of courses offered includes ones that address common area requirements and some major requirements as well as courses of general interest. Some of the offerings are particularly timely and relevant for students today, including “Health Psychology,” “Theological Perspectives on Medical Ethics,” and “Home and Belonging in an (Im)mobile World,” which will contextualize some of their discussions with current examples from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The College is committed to ensuring that students complete the semester and make progress toward graduation,” says Cass. “Students worked with me, their Class Dean, and advisors to ensure they selected classes that they found compelling and that advanced their courses of study. Faculty members really stepped forth to support students in creating these classes, and we think that their efforts will help make this semester as rewarding for students as possible under the circumstances.”
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