Dear Faculty Colleagues,

As we prepare to enter another week of fully online teaching and learning, and as more changes take place in our university and in our surrounding communities, I wanted to send you a message of appreciation and hope. 

I want to thank you for working extra hard to meet the needs of your students and to ensure the continuity and quality of instruction for all of your classes. I know many of you have not taught online courses before and I appreciate all of the extra hours and all of the new thinking you have had to do to reimagine face-to-face instruction for an online environment. Even for those of you who have taught online, you probably never expected to teach all of your courses this way, and to have to do this so suddenly. Thank you for your patience and poise during this whole process.

But even more challenging for you--more than all of the endless hours, the uncertainties of online tools, the worries about connectivity and bandwidth--is the sudden and dramatic loss of personal contact with your students. As a Marian faculty, I know your great strength is the interpersonal relationships you have with your students, whether in a classroom, an office, a lab, a studio, out in the field, at a clinical site, in the dining commons, or just passing each other in the hall. This is the community you cherish, the community you have built, and I know this is a heartfelt loss for all of you. Thank you for your extraordinary efforts to create new forms of community online, which will not be quite the same as before, but will still be imbued with the same Marian spirit you bring to all of your work. 

By the end of the semester, we will all experience more losses, I'm afraid to say. At least for the next few weeks, we will not be able to gather to celebrate the good work of the university and to congratulate each other and our wonderful students for a fine year. But we can still be a strong Marian community. We can still commit ourselves to caring for each other in the spirit of our Catholic Franciscan values. Let's keep seeking ways to check in with each other, to help each other, to let each other know when we are struggling or when we know others are struggling.

To that end, I encourage you to complete the survey developed by Liz Osika at We are using these results to respond to your needs and to your students' needs. Although our students are great consumers of technology, they don't necessarily have the experience to learn in an online environment. This takes self-discipline and new forms of thinking, and again, I thank you for recognizing their learning needs and for assisting them during this challenging time.

Please know that all of us in the Provost's office are here to support you and to provide assistance wherever possible. All my best wishes as we begin another online learning week, Alan

Alan J. Silva, Ph.D.
Executive Vice President and Provost
Marian University

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