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May 13, 2020 - Virtual Family Open House with Andy Feinstein, UNC President; Dan Maxey, Chief of Staff; Mark Anderson, Provost and Katrina Rodriguez, Vice President of Student Affairs.
Whitney Bonner (00:00:00):
Hello, everyone. My name is Whitney Bonner, and I'm the interim director of recruitment for the UNC Office of Admissions. Today, I am so excited that you're able to join us to connect with three of our campus leaders, to learn more about what our plans are for this fall. As things start quickly changing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we want to let you know we are going to do our best to answer all of the questions that you have for us today.
Whitney Bonner (00:00:25):
During the programs, all mikes are going to be muted, but you are able to ask questions using the Q and A feature you'll see at the bottom of your screen if you're in full-screen view. Feel free to go ahead and start using that Q and A feature right now, so you can start entering in those questions. We will also follow up after the program with any questions that we weren't able to address during this webinar. With that, I'd like to introduce you to your moderator for the remainder of this program. Dan Maxey is our UNC chief of staff, and I'll turn it over to Dan.
Dan Maxey (00:01:03):
Thank you, Whitney, and welcome to our prospective students and their family members. I'm glad to be here today to moderate a discussion among three of UNC's leaders and colleagues of mine. Our President Provost and Vice President of Student Affairs, Dr. Andy Feinstein is the 13th president of the University of Northern Colorado. He has devoted his career to teaching and learning, research and scholarship, and student success, which has been his top priority at UNC. President Feinstein's career in higher education spans 30 years, and prior to coming to UNC, he served for five years as provost, and senior vice president for academic affairs at San Jose State University.
Dan Maxey (00:01:41):
Dr. Mark Anderson is UNC's chief academic officer, the provost and senior vice president for academic affairs. Dr. Anderson joined UNC as provost in the spring of 2019. Dr. Anderson most recently served as dean of the College of Science and Mathematics at Kennesaw State University. As provost, Dr. Anderson oversees everything from enrollment management to advising, to our academic programs. And finally, Dr. Katrina Rodriguez is UNC's vice president for student affairs, where she oversees everything from the Dean of Students' office to residence life, dining, campus, recreation, the career center, and student life.
Dan Maxey (00:02:21):
I'm grateful to have these three with us today and also to have all of you here. We have over a hundred future Bears joining us today. Though some of you may have met Andy, President Feinstein, during a campus visit, I'll let him kick things off by introducing himself and telling you a little bit more about UNC, what's happening here today, some of what we've experienced this spring, and where we're headed for the Fall semester.
Dan Maxey (00:02:47):
Our provost and vice president for academic affairs will follow President Feinstein, giving some comments and updates, and then we'll have a few words from Vice President for Student Affairs, Katrina Rodriguez before we take your questions. We'll keep these introductory comments short so that we can reserve as much time as possible for discussion with all of you. So, I will turn it over to President Feinstein.
President Feinstein (00:03:16):
Thanks, Dan, and good afternoon, everybody. Thank you so much for joining us. I know you have a lot of questions and we'll get to those in just a moment. It truly has been an unprecedented semester here at UNC and across the country in addressing the coronavirus pandemic. We made the difficult decision in early March, right before spring break, to go to an online instructional modality. Very proud of the faculty and staff and the work that they did to make that happen. A lot of hard work went into delivering on our promise to our students.
President Feinstein (00:03:48):
Last Friday was the last day of school finals, and we had lots of celebratory events virtually on Saturday and over the weekend to recognize a number of our graduates. Looking into the Fall semester. I'm optimistic that we'll have online instruction in some form. I don't believe it's going to be the same as it's been certainly in previous semesters, but looking at Colorado and higher education landscape, there seems to be some flexibility, easing of social restrictions across the country.
President Feinstein (00:04:18):
I certainly don't know yet what that means for us in late August. I have a group of some of our most talented leaders on campus, as well as faculty, students, and staff, meeting every single week to talk about these challenges. It's a reentry taskforce. I'm sure Mark Anderson, our provost, can talk about that in a moment, as well. We're spending a lot of time thinking about the possibilities of what fall looks like, and we're going to follow all the state, federal, and local requirements and guidelines and policies to ensure that our students, staff, faculty are safe. But I am optimistic about the fall, and we can talk more about that through your questions. So, I'll now hand over the conversation to our provost, Mark Anderson. Mark.
Mark Anderson (00:05:02):
Thank you, Andy. I am also really happy to welcome you to this webinar. I wish it could be in person, and I look forward to meeting you each in person in the fall. As Andy said, we're very optimistic that we will have face-to-face classes in some form in the fall. I'm extremely proud of the university community, our faculty, staff, and students. As Andy said, we made the difficult decision right before spring break to go to a virtual teaching environment. We were among the first universities in the state of Colorado to make that decision. We were one of the first universities in the state of Colorado to look at the pandemic and how it was impacting our operations. We started to warn our faculty and students about travel early in March, and then we made the call to go to an all-virtual environment very early.
Mark Anderson (00:05:59):
That allowed our faculty to adjust their teaching over a longer period of time, and so the second half of the semester was just about as good as it could possibly be under the circumstances. We had faculty teaching their classes synchronously, so basically, at the same time as it normally would of. We had faculty teaching asynchronously, recording material, and posting it online. We had individual instruction in music and theater, and we had laboratory instruction. One of the things this allowed us to do was really focus our instruction around the intended outcomes. And as we changed the modality of delivery, maintain that focus on the outcomes that we were hoping the students would accomplish, allowed us to think about how we provided that instruction and doing it perhaps in a different way, but achieving the same outcome goals. As Andy said, the last day of the semester was last Friday, and we believe, although different, it was a very productive and good semester for us.
Mark Anderson (00:07:07):
We anticipate that the fall is going to be even better because we have plenty of time to get ready. We have plenty of experience in this new environment that we are facing with... I'll just address one of the quick questions that I see in the Q and A, from Rachel Rieger. We anticipate that lab classes will be offered in the fall. They'll be different. The focus on the lab class will be on the outcome goal and less on the manipulations. We'll have to take very good care of our faculty, staff, and students to ensure that the health and safety of everybody is paramount. So, that might mean the lab classes have fewer students in it. It definitely will mean that there'll be personal protective equipment. It also means that we'll be very mindful of the cleanliness of shared equipment and things like that.
Mark Anderson (00:07:59):
But we're very bullish, or I should say Bearish, on the Fall semester, and we look forward to having you here on campus. And I won't [crosstalk 00:08:09]
President Feinstein (00:08:10):
Mark, I'm going to add one thing to that, with labs and also art studios and working on specialized pieces of equipment and research. In Colorado, right now, we're actually allowed to, through permission, offer some classes that are not conducive to online instruction, provided that we practice social distancing rules, which is six feet apart, no more than 10 students together. And so, we're actually working around that right now for some of our specialized lab classes and research. I think that's something that I can see expanding in the future, given some of the easing of social restrictions in the months to come.
Mark Anderson (00:08:48):
Some of the questions-
President Feinstein (00:08:49):
What I like to think about is, yeah, that we're basically, what, 50 days into some of these social distancing regulations in Colorado? We have about 110 days before school starts. So, there's a lot of work to be done, but I also think that there's a lot that can happen and will happen over the next several months.
Mark Anderson (00:09:09):
No question about that, and the loosening of those restrictions, which allow us to do some laboratory exercises, even now, gives us an opportunity to really understand how we can do that really well and in a larger environment in the fall. With that, I will turn it over to the Vice President for Student Affairs, Dr. Katrina Rodriguez.
Katrina Rodriguez (00:09:34):
Hi, everybody, and thank you so much, Mark. It's so great to be with you today. Again, as Mark said, to get to meet you in person will be a great opportunity when we all are back on campus, and certainly, looking forward to that in the fall. We have had an opportunity to really make some adjustments as we had to, in the spring, really think about how do we continue community because that's really important to us. Students, of course, wanted to remain on campus, in their residence hall rooms and doing the activities and opportunities to engage with each other. I think that was hard for students to leave, and I'm really proud of our residence hall staff, our dining staff, really just working very closely with students and families in terms of meeting their needs at that particular time.
Katrina Rodriguez (00:10:33):
We went to a virtual format in terms of connecting with students, checking in to make sure they were doing okay. We had about 500 and something students who remained on campus and wanted to continue being here, and we were able to do that safely. And again, another 50 resident assistants wanted to be here to be able to help out. So, I guess what I'm conveying to you is our staff and faculty, our student leaders, have a huge commitment to the UNC community and ensuring that all students feel a sense of belonging and really making this your place, your campus, your place to engage in and take on that identity as a Bear, which you already are.
Katrina Rodriguez (00:11:17):
I think in terms of what we were able to do in the spring, we had a lot of engagement. Our counseling services were virtual, so you could meet individually with a counselor online. The same thing with our disability resource center. All of those meetings and opportunities were put online, as well as working with faculty in the classroom and providing accommodations. So, that was really a powerful opportunity to keep those services going without any interruption. Our Center for Career Readiness, we had hundreds and hundreds of jobs that were coming in, being posted by employers. Career readiness works with students and alumni in preparing resumes and looking at interview skills and practicing those interviews. Obviously, in a time right now, we certainly want our students to avail themselves of the kinds of things that career readiness specializes in terms of working with our students. Those are just a few things. I could go on and on. There were a lot of tremendous opportunities, student-to-student videos, and other outreach.
Katrina Rodriguez (00:12:26):
Again, we care about our community, students care about other students, and so really making those connections. For the fall, we're working very quickly on putting together a number of our fall activities. They may likely be in another format based on how many folks we can have in a particular space. We certainly want... Meaning, a large activity, or a comedian, or something. We've got to figure out some logistics because, overall, safety is what matters for our campus community. But we are looking at all kinds of ways and looking at our promising practices in our profession to ensure that we deliver the types of community and opportunities for students to get involved and to seek leadership positions that they so enjoy. And so, we're really excited to be putting those pieces together and the staff is doing a great job with that.
Katrina Rodriguez (00:13:21):
I will stop there and allow... I think we're going to open it up for question and answer.
President Feinstein (00:13:28):
I can see there's been lots of good questions already coming through at a pretty rapid pace, so this is going to be like a rapid question round, I can see. Or answer round, for that matter.
Dan Maxey (00:13:37):
Yep. We have a whole team of admission staff behind the scenes who are helping to collate those questions for us, and I want to thank all of the folks again, behind the scenes, who are helping to keep this organized. The first question up, and I know that we've discussed this in some different iterations here, is about whether classes will be in person, online, or in a hybrid approach. I wonder, in particular there, if Mark and Andy can speak a little bit to what some of the hybrid options might look like, or some of the limitations that we may face around delivering courses in person.
Mark Anderson (00:14:19):
I think at the moment we're planning for all possible modes of delivery. Even in a regular semester, we have in-person classes, online classes, and hybrid classes. Our distribution probably is going to be different this fall, simply because of what public health considerations will allow us to do. A hybrid class is going to have some mixture of face-to-face and virtual meeting patterns, and so we've talked a lot about different scenarios. One of which is to have the typical lecture material delivered through a video or a recorded video, and then the face-to-face being a discussion. That really gets at a very active and engaged kind of learning environment, and even in the absence of the COVID-19, that's the way a lot of our faculty teach anyway. And so, we have a whole crew of instructional design folks that are helping faculty understand best practices for delivering material through an online environment and then maintaining an active and engaged classroom.
Mark Anderson (00:15:40):
Some classes, like lab classes, will probably also be in a hybrid environment, but the face-to-face piece will be the manipulation, the data gathering aspect. We anticipate that we will have all different types of modalities for delivering the content. Generally speaking, those will be indicated in the registration, so you know if you're signing up for an online class or a hybrid class. For the fall, however, I think we're listing all of our classes as a hybrid delivery in anticipation of not really knowing what we're going to be allowed to do in the fall. But we're planning for all possible scenarios. So, we're very optimistic that we will be, at least in some capacity, face-to-face, but I would imagine that any one student is going to have a schedule that is a mixture of face-to-face, hybrid, and potentially, some online as well.
President Feinstein (00:16:39):
And, Mark, I'll just add to that. One of the great benefits of UNC is that we have small classes and we have a lot of space on campus. What I can see as a possibility in practicing social distancing is ensuring that our classes are small and that we're spacing students out throughout the room. We may also, we're talking about this, utilizing our conference spaces, our basketball arena, other venues that we have that allow for even more social distancing, and I think that will come into play.
President Feinstein (00:17:13):
Also, what Mark was talking about, hybrid classes. Imagine, for instance, and this was an area of research in instructional design that I did, imagine a class that typically meets on a Monday and Wednesday or Tuesday and Thursday, where you would come into... We'd split the class up, let's say in half. Half the students would come in on Monday, in person. Half the students would come in on Wednesday, in person. And then, on the alternate days, they would be receiving instruction virtually or online. It still provides all the benefits of an in-person experience. It also leverages technology to assist in ensuring that we practice social distancing.
President Feinstein (00:17:46):
So those are some of the discussions that we're having with our faculty, students, and staff right now, on the task force I described. I think that we're going to see a lot more evolution of those iterations of how we're going to be teaching in the weeks and months to come before school starts.
Dan Maxey (00:18:03):
Great. Thank you both for that. We have had some questions about social distancing and how that might impact class sizes, and I think that depending on the spaces and some of our decisions about modality, we may see some different, different options available or different ways that that will work. We do have a question here, whether any of these practices about social distancing or moving toward hybrid approaches, anything that might limit the number of students who can be in a particular class, might affect the number of sections that are available, and whether students will be able to have access to all of the classes that they need to make progress toward their degree at graduation.
President Feinstein (00:18:41):
Well, I'll just start with some general ideas, and I think Mark can certainly fill in some details. We're looking at every single technology and mechanism to ensure that our faculty, students, and staff will be safe in the fall. One of those, certainly, is social distancing and discussing ways in which we can ensure that we're practicing whatever those requirements are. Right now, they're six feet. But also looking at contract tracing technologies and how they can be utilized in classes in a way that certainly protects the privacy of our employees and our students. And also, rapid testing technologies, which is evolving very quickly.
President Feinstein (00:19:18):
Dan, you can probably tell the audience about what's happening on campus. We have just opened up a very large testing facility in partnership with one of the largest national grocery chains in the country, Kroger, to provide rapid testing and testing for our community, but I can see us leveraging those technologies for also our students, faculty, and staff in the fall. So, I think that's part of it, is combining contact tracing and rapid testing technology, social distancing, the uses of PPE, to ensure that we have a safe and healthy environment for all of our members of our community. And then again, we have plenty of physical space, so it may be the case that we have to limit the number of students in a class to ensure that they're spaced out appropriately, and we may have to have more sections.
President Feinstein (00:20:10):
That's some of the discussions that Mark and the academic affairs team, the deans, and the faculty are having as we spend the next 110 days preparing for our Fall semester.
Mark Anderson (00:20:23):
Just to follow up. In hybrid environments, we can have a class, let's say, of 40 people, but if it's a Monday, Wednesday, or Tuesday, Thursday class, arrange it so that only half of those folks are meeting in person, at any one time. One of the things we're doing is looking at our classrooms and understanding what the class capacity is in a social distancing environment. So, that will potentially mean that sections will have a different size. It may mean that, for especially large-demand classes, that we offer more sections and things like that.
Mark Anderson (00:20:59):
Just quickly. I see a question from Ethan about lab classes, studio classes, art, in particular. I think, ultimately, where equipment is being shared, we have to be mindful of best public health practices, and that's typically with personal protective equipment. With shared equipment, particularly touching shared equipment, we need to be making sure that we have latex gloves available, and coming out of a science background, that was standard practice. I think that will become more standard practice. And then, we have to be mindful of cleanliness, and so we'll have to be sure too that we're cleaning shared equipment in a regular manner.
President Feinstein (00:21:47):
I'll just add to that. We have a pretty robust facilities program here. We have a lot of our own internal mechanisms for ensuring that we're disinfecting our facilities, even right now. We have lots of washing, hand-
President Feinstein (00:22:03):
... disinfecting our facilities. Even right now, we have lots of hand washing stations, but I can imagine also the need to have additional stations with hand sanitizer, and ensuring that our community is practicing proper hand washing and hand cleaning techniques. We still are discussing what we're going to do and what the requirements are for other PPE, like gloves or masks. I think there's lots of discussion about whether or not we can mandate or require every student to wear a mask on campus, and what would happen if a student refused to wear a mask, and how we would deal with that. And the same thing with faculty, we have faculty who may not be able to teach classes in that kind of an environment. And so those are the kinds of conversations we're having with our leadership team, to ensure again, that the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff is a priority.
Dan Maxey (00:22:56):
I want to follow up on Mark's comments about labs and those sorts of spaces. We have some questions from perspective on music students and their families as well here, and naturally, if you are in a jazz band or an orchestra, and you're studying music performance, it's a little bit harder to wear a mask and PPE, if you have to play a musical instrument. How do we imagine right now that performances and rehearsals for students in performing in visual arts might look a little bit different in the fall?
Mark Anderson (00:23:35):
So a lot of the instruction in music is individualized instruction, and the faculty in our school of music are among the leaders in helping the campus understand how to do instruction in an online environment. So the individualized instruction, it turns out, works very well in an online environment. The ensemble, and group instruction, again, we're going to have to pay attention to what we are allowed to do in terms of the size of the groups. But we have performance halls that are fairly large, that allow us to maintain appropriate social distancing, but we may have to go from a full orchestra to more of a chamber music kind of an environment with smaller groups, depending upon the size of the group that we're allowed to do.
Mark Anderson (00:24:29):
But the good news is that the College of Performing and Visual Arts is a very strong college and has a great reputation. And our faculty have really been leaders of campus at addressing some of the challenges with respect to this virtual environment that we went into. And so the individualized instruction is pretty well set. The ensemble, or the bigger groups, will have to adjust based upon what we're allowed to do, but we have the spaces to allow fairly large groups, but for the fall, one contingency is to work in more of a chamber music ensemble type of arrangement, if we're not allowed to have groups of 30 or 40. And so that's the plan for the School of Music.
President Feinstein (00:25:22):
Well, to add to that, a little sales pitch, and we have a brand new $72 million performance art venue on campus. So we have two very large performance venues, but our brand new one in the campus comments, if you haven't seen it, is absolutely gorgeous. And it seats over 600 people and it's a world-class performing arts venue.
Mark Anderson (00:25:42):
It is amazing. And like I said, I think our faculty have really risen to the occasion, and they're prepared for the environment that we'll find ourselves, in regardless of what that environment is in the fall.
Dan Maxey (00:25:59):
Great. Thank you. I know that Andy mentioned in his introductory comments that naturally we will respond to and work with any of our state, local, federal guidance about what we're permitted to do on campus, whether we're allowed to be together. If we see a resurgence of Coronavirus in the fall, and we are encouraged or directed by government officials to change our mode of instruction, are we prepared to do that? Or what sort of preparations are we making, that if we need to make a rapid shift in the mode of instruction, that we can be prepared for that? Similar to what we experienced here in the spring, but maybe with a little bit more planning and preparation involved?
Mark Anderson (00:26:51):
I think our response in the spring speaks volumes. We are able to pivot very quickly, with very little lead time. And so I think, given the time between now and the beginning of the fall semester, we've asked our faculty to really prepare for every possible scenario, including the need to pivot during the semester. And so, one of the reasons why we're really thinking about most of our classes is in a hybrid environment, is so that as we start the semester, again, optimistically in a face to face environment, that should we need to, we'd be able to rapidly change into a very robust online environment for our instruction. So I have a high level of confidence that we would be able on a moment's notice to continue our instruction in a way that meets the needs of the students very quickly, should that be inevitable.
President Feinstein (00:27:52):
Yeah. Our plans this summer is, we're doing a lot of scenario planning. And so, trying to figure out what would happen if we did have to go to a stay at home order, or what would happen if we were had to decrease the number of students we could have in a class to 30. That's the work of this summer, is coming up with multiple versions of what could happen and then coming up with plans and strategies to address them. And that's the work of a number of leadership teams on campus. And that's what we're focusing on for the next several months.
Dan Maxey (00:28:24):
Before I move into some student life questions, I've got a couple of other questions related to classrooms and academics that I'd like to ask. And then I'll ask this as a double-barrelled, quick question. First, if classes either start off or end up being either in a hybrid format or mostly online, do we anticipate that tuition price will change for those? And the follow-up on that, naturally those admitted students who are planning on enrolling with us in the fall are anxious to know when they can get started on enrolling in classes and when they should start to register?
President Feinstein (00:29:02):
Well, regarding tuition price, I think if we're delivering on the promise to our students in whatever modality we're using, I don't see us giving a refund or a reduction of costs associated with delivering on that. Our faculty are still working. We're actually delivering even more robust instructional modalities with online instruction. So I don't see us reducing the price of instruction based upon whether or not we had to go back and forth, online, in person, instruction.
Mark Anderson (00:29:32):
One of the things we found in the spring is that our faculty, again, adjusted to the situation really well and brought new ideas and new opportunities into their classroom. A lot of our faculty were able to leverage their professional context to bring experts from industry or government as guest lecturers, to participate in classroom discussions. And in an online environment, it's a lot easier to bring a colleague in from Washington DC, or from Europe, or China, or what have you, than it is in a face to face environment. And so, although the experience was different, what we found was, many of our faculty were able to actually leverage what was the difficult situation for the benefit of the students in their classes.
Dan Maxey (00:30:26):
Right. Naturally we have a lot of questions about housing. And so the next set of questions, I think, will be applicable to the whole panel here, but I want to have a chance to bring Katrina Rodriguez into the discussion. Do we have a sense yet about what housing might look like? Naturally, we've talked a lot about social distancing here, and there are a lot of questions about whether students will be expected to have a roommate, whether we'll convert most rooms to single occupancy rooms, and whether we'll require students to live on campus, or what options a student and their family might have if they wish to not live in the residence halls and find alternate arrangements?
Katrina Rodriguez (00:31:12):
Thank you, Dan. Yeah. So for the fall, much like our teaching modalities, we're looking at all options in terms of, based on what the guidance is and what is most safe for students. And so right now we are looking at options with potentially singles in rooms, so that each person would have their own room. Where we might have a suite style with a living space, a kitchen area, and a bathroom that might house four students, so two in each room, we may take that down to one student per bedroom. So we're really looking at what the guidance provides to us, what the governor is going to elect for the State of Colorado in terms of how we can design that, so that students have an experience that is also a safe experience.
Katrina Rodriguez (00:32:06):
We are talking with other institutions in the state, across the state, to come together around figuring out the best ways to do this for students. And so I'm grateful for colleagues in the state, as we're all trying to take a look at what's going to be best. So I know there've been some questions around, " Can you have a roommate, or if there's somebody that you would like to live with, if we're able to do that, to have more than one person per room?" You are absolutely able to do that. Dan, you asked another question towards the end, and I don't think I got all of them.
Dan Maxey (00:32:48):
Yeah. If a student and their family feel uncomfortable about their student living on campus, are they able to get out of a housing contract? Is there potential that they could live off campus in the fall, but come back in the spring, and if they don't live on campus, that we give students that flexibility to opt out of housing in their first year, will they receive their deposits back? Those [crosstalk 00:00:33:18].
Katrina Rodriguez (00:33:19):
Sure, sure. We certainly want to work with all students, and we know that students will have a variety of particular needs. And for those who might have some underlying health issues that make them more prone to illness, and to the virus, we certainly want to be cognizant of that. So we will work with students in terms of their choices to potentially live off campus. So we certainly will talk with students individually around that. The deposits were also deferred, I believe August, now, I don't have the date right off top of my head, but we'll get that for you, of when deposits will be due. So wanting to get some lead time, so that families can certainly sign up for a room, housing on campus, but wouldn't have, we could delay your deposit. And there, you are able to get your deposit back up to a particular date as well.
Katrina Rodriguez (00:34:15):
So like I said, we want to really work closely with families. I know there was another question about, a lot of campuses are looking at local hotels in the area, and converting those to residence halls. And I know there was a person who asked, if their first year student is coming here, they might not want them to be in a hotel. And we certainly can understand that. And so we'll be working with our department, if we end up going to hotels, I don't know whether we will or not. We're certainly in conversations around that with some of our local partners here in town. And so we'll be certainly looking at what all of our options are with housing potentially non-first year students in the hotels. I think some people may want that choice and some people might not. So we will certainly work with families individually on those questions.
President Feinstein (00:35:09):
Hey, Katrina, I would just add also, we have, I think, 3,500 rooms both on and off campus. So we have a pretty broad inventory of housing options to accommodate a variety of needs both on and off campus as well.
Dan Maxey (00:35:25):
And we did have some questions here about that, and whether we were worried about running out of housing inventory, particularly if we change rooms that might have been intended for two or three students to service a single student. I know that we have some residence halls that are not fully utilized, and so we have some additional space that's been available, but Katrina, do you have any additional comments on that?
Katrina Rodriguez (00:35:50):
No, we do have a number of buildings that we thought we might utilize in a different way in the fall. And we can absolutely bring all of those back online so that we have some additional spaces. So I think,, as we get all of our housing contracts in and taking a look at our numbers, as well as looking at what the guidance is, we will be looking at all of those pieces, and our desire is to house every single student who'd liked to be housed with us. We want you to have that on-campus experience and enjoy all that that means, in terms of being a resident on campus and having the activities and dining facilities, all of these right at your fingertips. So we are going to work with all of the different aspects to ensure that we can do that, and do it safely.
Dan Maxey (00:36:37):
We've had a few questions about move in. Naturally, move in is a time when a lot of people converge onto our campus to help students move into the residence halls. Do we have any sense of what move in might look like? Particularly for our out of state prospective students, who will be traveling in from other areas and need to start making those plans? Will parents and family members be able to come and join their students to help them to move in? And do we have any sense on how move in dates might be affected by all of this, particularly any social distancing requirements that might limit the number of people that we have moving through a space at one time?
Katrina Rodriguez (00:37:21):
We were just speaking about this today. Our fall taskforce is meeting this week, and we've been preparing the various ways in which we will tackle these kinds of questions, and really thinking about what is a way to rotate, either by appointment. These are, I'm giving you an overview of some of the thoughts that we're having, but where students might have appointments in different, so many per building around campus, so that we can really regulate move in, and have it not, with social distancing, being able to maximize elevators and those kinds of things, and entryways, in a way that remains safe. So we'll be taking a look at that as we get, I would say in the next several weeks, really trying to pin down or process, so we're able to share with families and students in terms of what that process will be like.
Katrina Rodriguez (00:38:13):
I can imagine that we will have certainly protective equipment to be able to do that, again with face masks, hand wipes and other types of cleaning supplies available with wanting to make sure that door handles, or doors are opened, and all those pieces so that we can, again, make this as hygienic as possible as people are coming in and out.
Katrina Rodriguez (00:38:38):
As far as families helping students move in, again, I imagine that as we are able to find a flow that works, so that we can temper the number of people, versus everybody moving in one morning, we'll need to do that a little bit differently, but I can imagine a scenario where folks will know in plenty of time, and know what that staggered approach is.
President Feinstein (00:39:05):
Hey, Katrina, just to add to that, move in is one of my favorite days on campus, I've always been there helping students move in. I'm going to have to find a way to do that in a way that's healthy and safe, but it's something certainly I want to participate in. [crosstalk 00:39:20]
Katrina Rodriguez (00:39:20):
Absolutely. It's so fun to have folks on campus and the excitement of moving in, and getting a room set up and having the opportunity to walk around campus. So, I agree with you, Andy, and we're going to do everything we can to make that special, as it is every year.
President Feinstein (00:39:35):
Dan Maxey (00:39:38):
And Katrina, there was a question about out of state families moving in, and the timeframe between move in and the beginning of classes?
Katrina Rodriguez (00:39:47):
Yes. Again, working on what that schedule is going to look like. One of the things we are very committed to is looking at those days by the time somebody moves in and when classes actually start, and really having a robust schedule of both fun activities, seminar-related kinds of things, like, "How do you deal with a roommate conflict?" Or, "What are the ways in which you connect with your professor during office hours, or through labs," or that kind of thing. So as well as some fun, personality things like, "What color are you, are you a green or a blue?" And they have different characteristics. And so there's some really fun ways to engage students. So we feel very committed to ensuring that we can deliver those programs and opportunities, again, in a way that's socially distant and/or also some might be virtual, so get a broad range.
Katrina Rodriguez (00:40:48):
And so what we'd like to ensure that students aren't just getting there, having days without other students around or things to do. So we will be putting that together, that's already in motion and we're just adding to it and making sure that it's robust. So you'll be getting a schedule of those events. And our intent is to have all first year students attend them. And even if students are living in the local area and not living on campus, like family members here in Greeley area, we would like for students to participate, for all of our first year students, because we think it's really important to get connected right away, and take advantage of meeting other people and really getting to spend time and get to know other students.
Dan Maxey (00:41:36):
Great. Thank you. We've had a lot of questions about various health and safety issues, and I want to acknowledge those, although I know that we, Andy, in particular, addressed some of these earlier, what sorts of things we'll be doing for contact tracing, whether mask wearing will be mandatory, what sort of hand washing options we'll have. And I just want to clarify, there, that we're exploring all of our options there, and we'll have a variety of health and safety measures in place on campus. I don't know that we know exactly what all of those will look like, but you can count on hand-washing. There may be some form of mask wearing.
Dan Maxey (00:42:16):
I don't know that we have guidance yet on contact tracing, but that's an option that we are exploring, but generally, do we have any thoughts on how well prepared we are to support a student if they happen to be sick? Do we have ways to provide a support to them? Will we have any specific facilities set aside where that student can be isolated for a period of time, if they wish to stay on campus, and engaged with their studies? What sorts of things are we exploring there?
Katrina Rodriguez (00:42:56):
In terms of the quarantine? I'm sorry, I was reading a question and then I missed-
Dan Maxey (00:43:02):
Yeah. How will we handle cases? If we have students who become ill in the fall, how will we support them? And what sort of preparations do we think we might have in place to isolate those students if they're ill?
Katrina Rodriguez (00:43:19):
Right. We will create quarantined spaces so that we can move students to a space that they can be away from other students, to rest and to determine whether or not... If they're in a place that they want to stay and rest, they're not, have that exposure to other students. As well as, then, if they're feeling... Opportunity to go to the health center and other kinds of needs. So we will have that set up, and are working on that right now, in terms of where we can do that, and have those spaces so that folks feel like they've got a place to quarantine. In terms of wearing-
Katrina Rodriguez (00:44:03):
Got a place to quarantine. In terms of wearing masks, you were talking about sort of the requirement to wear masks and those kinds of things. I know there were some questions around people who may not choose to, and so looking at those aspects as well with our, one is, helping the community, right? Because if we all wear one, then we help others to not become ill. If we are a carrier and don't have symptoms. Really looking at ways to help support that on campus. As we get to a place of, particularly based on the guidance or if we have additional virus cases increasing, really appealing to our community about wearing the masks. I think we're taking a look at our student code of conduct to kind of see those kinds of things because it really becomes a community issue. I think it's really important for us as a whole community to be able to wear mask to protect each other and do those other kinds of things that help keep our spaces clean.
Mark Anderson (00:45:10):
On the academic side, we're very mindful of any students who might feel sick, who doesn't want to come to class, to provide them opportunities to make sure that they remain engaged in the class if they are sick and they don't feel comfortable coming to class or they are unable to, for whatever reason. As is the case at any semester, we work very closely with our students and our student support services to make sure that students can remain engaged with their classes. They're continuing to get the material, they're continuing to get the support they need, the academic support they need so that they can be successful. I think we have a heightened awareness this fall that these services will be critically important.
Dan Maxey (00:46:06):
I think the answer to this next question is, I don't think that we know quite yet and I imagine this question came potentially from a parent. If social distancing is going to be in our future, if mask wearing and those sorts of things are going to be mandatory in any way, how we'll enforce that, what the sanctions might look like. Again, I know that the answer there is, we're not really sure yet exactly what the requirements will be and what the sanctions will be. But as I heard from both Mark and Katrina here, particularly when we have the potential for individuals who are asymptomatic but infected, it's important that everybody wear a mask.
Dan Maxey (00:46:50):
I think that we will explore a variety of options there and we'll have some guidance as we move through our planning in the summer, in preparation for the fall. We have some questions about things like athletics and intramurals and student activities and I want to make sure we get around of those too. Andy, I know that you've been really involved in discussions about athletics with the Big Sky Conference and your colleagues at other institutions. We have any sense about what sort of sports will be able to take place, what practice might look like and how we'll be able to continue to support our student athletes?
Yeah. NCAA and Big Sky Conference suspended all of the spring sport activities. Right now across the nation we're still unable to practice, our big fall sports that are coming up are football, as volleyball and soccer were Conference Championship in soccer and volleyball this year and I think we were going to be Conference Champions in basketball as well, but we canceled that basketball, actually during the Conference Championships, which was very unfortunate. We're all waiting to see what we're allowed to do with our sports. A big concern of us is soccer, volleyball and football start typically mid August and they need time to practice and prepare for those Conferences. There's a significant amount of lead time in football. You probably need somewhere around six weeks of practice before you can actually play a game.
We're waiting for guidance from NCAA on what we can do and also we're going to follow State and local requirements. There may be a case for instance, that some States allow teams to practice and others don't, California may say that, from just what I've been reading that, there's going to be mostly classes online and there may not be sports at all there. If that's the case, what does that mean for Colorado and Montana and Idaho and Utah. We're really in a wait and see mode.
We're having a large conference meeting in the first week of June, we hope to have a lot more information. I know that our 400 student athletes on campus are certainly antsy to get on the field, and get on the court, and get on the pitch. I'm here to watch them and cheer them on and play the cowbell, the football games, which I do every fall. I'm hoping that we have some guidance information soon. But I think a lot of it is still fluid and we're just going to have to wait and see what happens over the next couple of weeks. Again, the good news is we're mid May. We have several months to work through these issues and challenges, and that's what we're going to be doing here on campus and nationally, in addressing what has been unprecedented disruption in a variety of ways to higher education, including our athletics programs.
Dan Maxey (00:49:47):
Katrina, maybe you can speak a little bit to the intermural side of this and what, not just intramural sports might look like, but what sort of accommodations do we think we may see for student clubs and a socialization among students, all of the sort of elements of campus life that really make for a rich campus based experience? How are we thinking about accommodating those sorts of things?
Katrina Rodriguez (00:50:12):
Absolutely. As you said, Dan, those are some of the things that students get so much out of and really look back on a college experience thinking about the things that they were engaged in and we know that students who are engaged in things that really get them excited and are trying out new things really helps with student success. We are looking at all manner of intramural, how we might do that. Again, the guidance will help us know how many folks can be in attendance or play particular sport. We will certainly as much as we can, we're going to have the opportunity to do those things. In terms of other clubs and organizations, those will be a little easier I think, in cases where we've got large organizations, we may have to think about what are the limits in which folks can be in a space or how do we social distance in a space, in using some of our larger hall rooms and other spaces like that, to be able to have some of those opportunities, but we feel really committed to ensuring that those opportunities exist.
Katrina Rodriguez (00:51:26):
We did quite a bit of connecting virtually in the spring. We will be enhancing those aspects as well as then again, sort of, there may be some hybrid virtual kinds of things, as well as some in-person kinds of things. We'll vary it so that we can really provide a range for students based on how they might want to interact. But I feel like that part's, we're so committed to that, we're going to find lots of ways to make that happen because that's a really important aspect. As well as students who see themselves in leadership positions and really want to take advantage of those things. We want those opportunities to be available because we know how critical that is for our students.
Dan Maxey (00:52:13):
Great. One of the questions that we have here too, is sort of with regard to engagement, students support, various operations and services, we have a Counseling Center, career services and all of these types of supports. The question is whether we have plans in place to make sure that students know how to reach out to these various services and how to access them? Katrina, I'll let you [inaudible 00:52:40] in. But I want to say that I think that one of the things that we did really well in the spring, as we transitioned everything very quickly from being face to face and in-person to being online and other alternate modes of deliveries, is that we fairly efficiently transitioned a wide variety of student support services including tutoring and the Counseling Center and all of these other different functions that students rely on at various stages in their academic careers into various modes of delivery.
Dan Maxey (00:53:14):
Some were phone-based, some were online, Zoom and Teams were utilized in a variety of different ways. I do anticipate that we'll continue to do that. In that fashion, I think that as we transition some of those services to formats that may not be face to face or even if they are face to face, it will continue to have information about how to access those services available. In doing that this spring, one of the main ways that we shared information and connected students, those resources, was that we had one centralized and it's still up if you want to go to see the page website resource with a fairly robust FAQ section and links and references to all of the various services online. That website is www.unco.edu/coronavirus. That's been sort of our hub this semester for communicating about a lot of those different impacts and issues. Katrina, I don't know if you have anything else that you want to say to that.
Katrina Rodriguez (00:54:13):
Absolutely. Through orientation, there will be all kinds of information and opportunities to see what the various resources are. We continue to share that, we've been talking about it, we always have a huge involvement there, where students can learn about various clubs and organizations and services on campus. Again, looking at ways to do that face to face in the fall, as well as virtually. Those resources are really shared with students constantly. I guess the other thing I really would like to say and probably where I feel so much pride and excitement, the staff that work in the Cultural Centers, Counseling Centers, Disability Resource, Housing and Dining Campus Recreation, I could go on and on. There are so many and the staff want to engage with students. That's what they do, it's their profession, right? Wanting to really reach out to students and provide resources and connecting points.
Katrina Rodriguez (00:55:12):
They develop student leaders who also reach out to other students. It's almost like one of those things our desire is to put out as much information as possible to students. We know that there's a lot coming at you. We do it at different times and in different ways, so that like, "Oh, I missed that an orientation, but I'm seeing here that our Chavez Cultural Center is having this event. I want to get connected to that, for example." The tutoring that happens in these various Centers and so being able to connect in those ways, there are various modes that we do that virtually now anyway and information from the various areas.
Katrina Rodriguez (00:55:55):
But we'll also get those things on campus. Just know that our mission is for every student to know what resources are available and how to access those resources because for us, that is what helps our students navigate the university and have all of the tools that they need to succeed and people have different kinds of tools that they utilize and feel excited about and so those are the kinds of things that we really want our students to be able to have. Please just know that we find every modality possible to get those to you off.
Dan Maxey (00:56:33):
Great. We're running up on 5:00 and I want to ask two questions. First, my helpers on the admissions team are prompting me to ask a question about dining services. Naturally, dining is another area on campus. Students have to eat and students converging in dining halls might be complicated in the fall depending on how things look, what do we anticipate changes [crosstalk 00:00:56:57].
Presidents have to eat too, Dan. Just saying.
Katrina Rodriguez (00:57:01):
Yes. We all take advantage of our dining rooms and [inaudible 00:57:06] services on campus. Again, looking at distance for tables in a residence hall and chairs, we will not be having self-serve options. We'll have somebody behind the Salad Bar providing you the kinds of toppings you'd like on your salad, that kind of thing. We did a wonderful job in the spring of having the huge variety of take out items that when student come in, they could get food for the whole day, if they wanted all of their meals. They just had a nice variety, almost like you go to a really fancy deli and there's all these different options you can choose from. Some meals could be stored in the refrigerator and then warmed up later for students who might not want to come back later that day.
Katrina Rodriguez (00:57:54):
I anticipate we'll have a huge variety of grab and go options as well as opportunity to be in the dining room, but at a distance. We'll have to take a look at sort of on rotation and times and those kinds of things to ensure that people are getting in and out as they need to in between classes or other events, as well as making sure that we've got some social distance in those spaces. Again, one of his top priorities that we are working on as we speak in order to make sure we've got great food, which we have already added in a way that students can access it and in a safe way. We've always had a really robust grab and go counter. We look forward to that being additionally robust so we can serve students' needs, as well as dietary. We've got dieticians on staff who can, also we can provide meals based on various dietary needs.
Dan Maxey (00:59:00):
Right. Well, one of the health and safety questions that we have is assuming that there may be a vaccine available as we approached the fall. I think that the very earliest I've heard any discussion about a vaccine being available is maybe in August or September on a very accelerated timeline from what we would normally see. If one is available, do we anticipate that we would require students to have a vaccination for the coronavirus, much like we require various other inoculations for enrollment?
Katrina Rodriguez (00:59:32):
I don't know if others have other perspective. I think it's just so early to know. We certainly do require other vaccines for students to attend the university. I would say it's too early to know that, at a point that that becomes, I would imagine at some point down the road, that might be something that's included in our vaccine requirements, but I don't know that I can personally speak to that at the moment. I don't know if Andy or Mark you have-
I don't have an answer for that. That's an interesting question, but I don't see that we're going to mandate vaccines in the next couple of months. Truthfully, I don't think from what I've been reading and seeing, that we're going to have a vaccine available in the next couple of months. I think we're still a bit away from having an actual vaccine for COVID-19.
Mark Anderson (01:00:23):
I think that is correct. Any vaccine that is generated will need to be validated and so, although the science behind creating a vaccine is going at light speed compared to other vaccines, it's still going to be, I'd say a minimum of 12 months before we have a reliable vaccine. I got to take executive privilege here a little bit, Dan, because I started typing an answer to a question by Karen Bartlett and somehow the system froze on me. I want to make sure I get this answered. It's about theater and other types of performance besides music.
Mark Anderson (01:01:04):
I know our Theater faculty have been working really hard on this, and so they will be honoring the social distancing and they'll create classes that will remain robust for theater students, but are safe within the public health restraints with respect to productions. If we are allowed to have small groups, we likely will have productions to small audiences. But the productions will be chosen such that the cast will maintain those types of gathering restrictions as well. It's a little too early to know exactly what that looks like. But I do know our theater, arts and dance faculty have really working hard at understanding how they can deliver the complete spectrum of their curriculum within the context that we have.
Dan Maxey (01:02:00):
Great. We're a little over 5:00 but there is some interest in seeing us go on a little bit longer. If our panelists are able to stay. We still have about 170 participants on the line here. For the benefit of our participants who maybe can't stay on, prospective students and parents, family who can't stay on a little bit longer. I do want to make a few notes here. First, if you have any further questions, please don't hesitate to reach out to your admission counselor. I know that members of the admissions team have been working on answering some of the questions that we're not addressing here directly with individuals who have submitted those questions. Additionally, if you have questions about residence halls and dining, we certainly invite you to attend The Living On Campus Open House, which is scheduled for next Monday at 4:00 PM. That discussion will be facilitated by Dr. Tobias Guzman and Dr. Jenna Finley. You can register for that and any of our other virtual visit opportunities that www.unco.edu/visit. But if our panelists can stay on for a little bit longer, we'll continue with a few more questions here.
Yeah. For those that are stepping up, I want to thank you very much for your interest in UNC looking forward to seeing you this fall and we're here to help.
Dan Maxey (01:03:27):
There are a handful of questions here about what sort of flexibility students might have to leave campus naturally sort of campuses its own contained community in a lot of ways. But those of us who work at the university know some of our students leave campus for the weekend and some go home to visit family or go off campus for other activities. They may have jobs on campus. What do we imagine that we'll see any restrictions around movement, might we advise students to do less of that in the fall as we sort of work to manage the situation?
It's a great question, things that we're discussing. I mean, I think I'd have a hard time telling students they can't go home and see their parents on the weekend. But I think it's something we'll need to discuss. Certainly if that's an issue related to ensuring the safety of our students and their families. It's something we'll be talking about.
Dan Maxey (01:04:30):
One of the questions that we have related to that is, from our out of State students particularly, naturally a lot of our Colorado students travel to visit their family frequently, but where have, what sorts of ways might we have to engage and support our out of State students in particular? Katrina, you might have some things to say about this too. Sort of knowing what that normally looks like for out of State students who aren't able to travel home and leave campuses as frequently.
Katrina Rodriguez (01:05:05):
We offer a lot of opportunities on campus and over the weekend. Sometimes students do go home or you might have, those are maybe from Denver and they have a job in Denver. They do on the weekends. That's not everybody though and so just know that there are a number of activities that happen on the weekends, as well as great sporting events. You get to [inaudible 01:05:30] those sporting events to be available to us certainly, as well as other of our performing arts or those kinds of things. There's a lot of opportunities, residence halls often do various weekend excursions, or maybe they'll go up to the mountains, that kind of thing. Again, we'll certainly want to make things safe but there are plenty of opportunities for students who don't travel, who are from out of State or who might not go home on a lot of weekends. Just know that there-
Katrina Rodriguez (01:06:03):
... not come home on a lot of weekends. So just know that there's a lot to do for students who are here on the weekends.
Dan Maxey (01:06:10):
Great. We've had a lot of questions about student employment. We have students who are employed on our campus in a wide range of areas, both... Dining services I know is one of the large areas where we employ students, but we have students who do work for academic departments and other operations, admissions and various units on Mark's side of the house too. So I wonder if we can talk a little bit about campus employment and how we imagine campus employment might be affected by some of the guidelines that we may see in the fall.
Katrina Rodriguez (01:06:45):
Mark Anderson (01:06:45):
Katrina Rodriguez (01:06:45):
Mark Anderson (01:06:45):
Go ahead, Katrina, please.
Katrina Rodriguez (01:06:45):
Go ahead, Mark. No, you go ahead and start.
Mark Anderson (01:06:53):
I was going to say that we do have a lot of students who do work study. Because we anticipate being, in some capacity, face to face and having students on campus, that we will continue to have work study folks. We also have different opportunities for employment through some of the retail outlets on campus. So we anticipate that there will be opportunities. What it all looks like, I think, is the question that we simply don't know.
Mark Anderson (01:07:38):
One of the things that may happen, particularly as we're entering the fall semester with new sorts of restrictions, is that we might have additional opportunities for work study that we wouldn't have had otherwise. I would say a large proportion of our students do work, and that's part of their educational experience. So one of the things we try to do is to integrate some of those working experiences in a co-curricular way to support their education.
Mark Anderson (01:08:13):
Many of our students work with faculty on research projects and things like that. Oftentimes paid, sometimes in a volunteer basis. We want to continue that, because that's an important aspect of their education. But we want to do it in a way that's mindful of the public health requirements that we face.
Mark Anderson (01:08:37):
Sorry to interrupt, Katrina.
Katrina Rodriguez (01:08:39):
No. I was going to say essentially the same thing. We cannot do what we do on a university campus without our students, and the work that they do, and the ways they engage in our offices, in our labs, in our music studios, and the gamut. So student employment will definitely be something that will be here in the fall, one way or another.
Dan Maxey (01:09:05):
We've had a question about how UNC is dealing with the economic situation that we all face right now, and the potential for a decline in state funding for higher education as the economic impacts are felt here in Colorado. Andy, I'll let you take this one, because I know that you're co-chairing an effort this summer to begin addressing the financial impacts of COVID-19.
President Feinstein (01:09:31):
Well, certainly COVID-19 is going to have an economic impact, not only on UNC, but... And not just on Colorado, but nationally in higher education.
President Feinstein (01:09:39):
The good news for UNC is we have about $40 million of cash reserves on hand to address what I believe to be short-term challenges. The Colorado state just announced basically about a $3.3 billion of declining revenue from taxes next year. Certainly, that's going to impact us. We don't know exactly how yet. It could be flat funding this year. It could be down by 10%.
President Feinstein (01:10:10):
The joint budget committee, which is the group that actually decides on the budget for Colorado, is convening next week. We'll have more information, but my guess is we're probably looking at about a 10% reduction in funding for higher education in Colorado. Our budget, about 25% of our funding comes from state appropriations, so that's about $48 million. So this kind of an impact might be about four to $5 million of less funding for us.
President Feinstein (01:10:38):
But again, the good news is we've got plenty of carry forward reserves and cash reserves to address this in a short term. Certainly, it's not something I want to see moving forward, but we'll be able to absorb that. We will have to make some difficult choices moving forward about ways to reduce costs if that continues. Or if there's other unforeseen circumstances that may impact us, such as housing or reductions in the number of students we have on campus. We'll be working throughout the summer and into the fall to address whatever comes our way.
Dan Maxey (01:11:10):
Great. We've had some questions about... We talked a little bit earlier about the possibility that we would come back in the fall, and that public health orders and other government directives would maybe cause us to transition back online. In the event that that happens, what are we exploring in terms of rebates, refunds, and credits for students who might have residence hall rooms on campus and might be encouraged to leave the residence halls to go home?
Dan Maxey (01:11:40):
Naturally, this semester, we encouraged our students to leave. We kept our residence halls open so that students had a place to stay if they needed a place to stay. And we gave continuing students a credit for future expenses. Not just in housing and dining, but to cover tuition expenses and other charges they might have at the university. Are we thinking about doing that again if we find ourselves in this situation in the fall, or are we thinking about maybe a different approach in handling those?
Katrina Rodriguez (01:12:13):
This is something that we also have been working on and really taking a look at what our possibilities will be. I don't know that I have an answer for that right at this moment, but just know that certainly as we had experienced in the spring and as we take that into the fall, really looking at ways we want to certainly provide the best service to our students, as well as finding ways to accommodate in ways that we can for those kinds of things that might come up if we have another increase in cases with COVID-19.
President Feinstein (01:12:53):
I'll add to that. What we're talking about is if Governor Polis mandates that we have to send all of our students home from housing and that kind of environment, we're most likely we have to refund housing and dining to our students. If there's recommendations that students can still live in housing but can also go home if they choose, that's where we'd have to decide what the next steps are, whether it would be a refund or a credit. Certainly, those are discussions that we're having. It also depends on the complexity of how that would be played out nationally, not only in our state.
Dan Maxey (01:13:30):
We're also getting some questions here about going back to our last question and the economic impact here at UNC. As we're seeking ways to remedy the financial impacts to UNC, is higher tuition something that we're looking at? Students have expressed some concern here in the questions about whether we might increase tuition to fill those gaps, or whether there will be any caps on increases to tuition.
President Feinstein (01:14:00):
Well, the conversations in the state are that... What I've seen by other institutions is no more than a 3% tuition increase is what's on the table right now. That could change. Again, it's going to depend on how much the state cuts our budget.
President Feinstein (01:14:16):
Some campuses have, and I have discussed it as well, whether it'd be a flat tuition or whether we would slightly increase tuition based upon the way in which the state is going to support us. I don't have answers for that right now, because I'm still waiting to see what the state does in funding us. If the state were to drastically reduce our budget by, let's say, 20 or 30%, then we'd have to think about ways in which we can ensure that we fulfill the promise that we've made to our students in providing them with a world-class education, with the resources that we have. So that's something to look out for is what the state's going to do in the next couple of weeks in funding higher education. That's certainly a concern of mine, as well as the other CEOs in Colorado that run higher education institutions.
Dan Maxey (01:15:06):
Great. We have a question here about students who might wish to take all of their classes online. We've talked a lot about hybrid options and having various face-to-face modalities, and the opportunity to have rehearsals, and labs, and different things in person. But what if a student doesn't want to come to campus and they would prefer, at least in the fall, to take online classes? Mark, is that something that we can accommodate? I know that we have some courses online in any normal semester. Would that be a possibility?
Mark Anderson (01:15:40):
That is correct. In any normal semester, we have courses online. I think it's probably easier for a first-year student to do that, because the majority of our online courses are geared towards the liberal arts core, which is a collection of courses that every student takes at the university to fulfill the general education requirement. But those are typically courses that don't build in a curriculum. So it would be possible to do that.
Mark Anderson (01:16:13):
As we're looking at the fall semester, we're looking particularly at large enrollment courses and in trying to ensure that there will be an online option for students. Such as the scenario in the question, the student who wants to stay at home and take an online schedule.
Mark Anderson (01:16:33):
The short answer is yes, it would be possible. Probably you wouldn't have the full complement of the core schedule available to you. So I would very strongly suggest anybody who wants to do that, speak to an admissions counselor but also speak to one of our academic advisors in developing a schedule that assures that you are making progress towards degree, and that meet your own personal expectations for your curriculum.
Dan Maxey (01:17:08):
Great. I've had a handful of questions about health and safety issues that I don't know that we have the answers to yet. For example, about whether the rec center on campus will be open. I think that here in Colorado, even right now, the governor hasn't made any decisions or issued any guidance on gyms and recreation centers. So even as we're allowed to right now at UNC begin bringing back some types of instruction and lab activities and such that can't be conducted online as easily, that is one area where we're still waiting on some additional guidance.
President Feinstein (01:17:45):
Dan Maxey (01:17:47):
We've also had some questions about some of the nuts and bolts of how things might work if courses go online or into hybrid formats if students aren't coming to campus, and how they might be able to receive their books. Katrina, I can let you speak to this a little bit. But I know that here in the spring, for any of our students who rented books from UNC and needed to get those back to campus and return those to the bookstore, that we had shipping labels that were provided to students so that students could ship those back to UNC, to the bookstore. Do we have any sense, Katrina or Mark, about whether those sorts of things will continue if need be?
Mark Anderson (01:18:31):
The short answer is they will continue. Our fundamental principle by which we operate is students first. So as we've transitioned into this new environment, we've had to look at all of our operations and ask the question, "Is what we're doing focused on students first?"
Mark Anderson (01:18:55):
As we have transitioned into the online environment for the spring... We did that over spring break, and so some students didn't return to campus. We had to think about ways that students could continue their education, but also how they transition at the end of the semester out of the student housing, and returning things to the library, to the bookstore, et cetera. I think the entire campus has really risen to the occasion and has come up with clever and different ways from the way we normally would have operated, to accommodate the students and continue to be a students first institution.
Dan Maxey (01:19:43):
Great. We had another question here that I was going to ask, but it disappeared from the Q&A. I'm not sure where it went to. We have had a lot of questions that we've answered here. As we're approaching 5:30, I think that we are moving through or have moved through most of the questions that will be asked.
Dan Maxey (01:20:08):
I want to give each of you an opportunity to see if there are other issues that you'd like to make sure that we address with our prospective students and their families. While we still have about 115 still on the line here, if there are any issues, any comments that you want to make as we close up.
President Feinstein (01:20:24):
Well, I'll just say, Dan, I mean, I know there's a lot of uncertainty out there. There's still a lot of concerns and questions. Keep those questions coming. We'll do our best to answer them in any way that we can.
President Feinstein (01:20:35):
Know that things are still fluid across the country and how coronavirus is impacting our ability to engage in everything from grocery shopping, to talking to our neighbors, to going to college. I think you're going to see it'll be an evolving state for the next couple of months. But I am optimistic about the future in the fall, and optimistic about what's going to happen at UNC. But keep those questions coming throughout the summer. If there's things that we can help with, we'll do everything we possibly can to get that information to you. Thank you and go Bears.
Dan Maxey (01:21:08):
Great. I'm going to make a plug too. I don't think we've mentioned yet. Throughout the spring semester, we had a daily operational status update call. In the beginning, it was seven days a week. Then we rolled that back to five days a week. We ended those last week. But beginning this week, starting tomorrow, we will have a weekly call that will be recorded and posted on our coronavirus website. That will be a way that if you want to keep up with some of the activity that's occurring on campus over the summer and some of the planning that we are working on as we prepare for a return in the fall and what the fall might look like, that's going to be a really good source of information. Typically, those will be posted middle of the day, early afternoon at the latest, on our coronavirus website. Again, that's www.unco.edu/coronavirus. I believe that we're also planning on putting out as sort of a Friday digest email message. We'll work with our communications team to see if we will post that somewhere that might be accessible to parents and prospective students who may not have UNC email addresses yet. That's another way that we'll be communicating with our community as we plan for the fall.
Mark Anderson (01:22:27):
Dan, I would just like to reiterate what Andy said. Thanks for coming this evening and asking your questions. We're really looking forward to seeing you here on campus.
Mark Anderson (01:22:37):
There was one question about math and science majors, which is something that I have a particular fondness for. The liberal arts core actually includes math and science courses. So we do have math courses and some science courses, which are also online. Math and science curricula tends to be a little bit more regimented than many of the others. So our math and science faculty and programs have really been working hard to assure that students have access to those courses throughout whatever modality of instruction that we have.
Mark Anderson (01:23:23):
I'm going to also post my email address in the chat. I would encourage, as President Feinstein did, that anybody, if you have any questions, don't hesitate to reach out to any of us. If you have academic questions, certainly email me and we'll get the answers to you just as quickly as possible.
Mark Anderson (01:23:45):
Again, our foundation is being students first. As we move into the fall, that's really driving all of the decisions that we're making, is to ensure that we are providing the best possible experience, both from a curriculum perspective, but also a university experience perspective. Because your college education is about the entirety of the experience. We want to make sure that when you come to UNC, that it is a great experience for you. Again, don't hesitate to reach out with any questions. We'll answer them just as quickly as possible.
Katrina Rodriguez (01:24:25):
Thank you, everyone, for joining us. We cannot wait to engage with you over the summer with questions that you have, and absolutely in the fall when we begin the fall term. Go Bears.
Mark Anderson (01:24:38):
Dan Maxey (01:24:39):
I'm going to cheat here and ask... I found that question that I was going to ask. I think-
President Feinstein (01:24:45):
Too late. Too late.
Dan Maxey (01:24:45):
... this'll be a quick one. Cheryl asked a question about what's going on with orientation. I want to thank Cami Mathews from the admissions team who reached out to Cheryl specifically. We did make the decision to move our orientation to an online format this summer. The details for our online orientations can be found at www.unco.edu/orientation. If you have questions about how orientation is going to work, I encourage you to look at that website.
Dan Maxey (01:25:17):
As I indicated earlier as we hit the five o'clock hour, naturally, if any of you have continuing questions, if there are issues that you want to discuss, we'd certainly encourage you to reach out to all of us. But remember that you have your admissions counselor as a resource also, and shouldn't hesitate to reach out to your admissions counselor to ask questions and discuss some of these further issues.
Dan Maxey (01:25:40):
As a final reminder, next Monday at four o'clock, Dr. Guzman and Dr. Finley will discuss living on campus and various housing issues. So I know we had a lot of questions about housing. They may still have questions about housing. We encourage you to tune into that discussion at www.unco.edu/visit.
President Feinstein (01:26:02):
Dan Maxey (01:26:05):
Thank you, everyone, for joining us. Thank you.
Katrina Rodriguez (01:26:07):
Mark Anderson (01:26:07):
Thank you very much.
President Feinstein (01:26:09):
Take care, everybody.
- Campus Updates and Information - July 30, 2020
- Living on Campus Open House - July 14, 2020
- Living on Campus Open House - June 29, 2020
- Campus Updates and Information - June 23, 2020
- Living on Campus Open House - June 16, 2020
- Campus Updates and Information - June 9, 2020
- Campus Updates and Information - May 21, 2020
- Living on Campus Open House - May 18, 2020
- Campus Updates and Information - May 13, 2020
- Living on Campus Open House - May 11, 2020