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Coronavirus Update 04-16-2020: Undergraduate Students

April 16, 2020

I begin this email with the hope that you and your loved ones continue to be healthy. This is certainly a challenging time for us all as we learn how to lead so many aspects of our lives in new ways. I know this is the case for me! At a time when I would usually be basking in the joy of spring semester, taking pride in the academic programs and awards ceremonies that celebrate student success—I find myself working from home, learning technologies that are new to me, and staying connected to people in innovative ways.

In other words, I am probably functioning much like all Bay Path students are, and how many of you have been functioning at TAWC for years! Yet, despite the distance, I continue to hear about student achievement as faculty brag about you. I even had the pleasure of attending our first virtual induction ceremony for Psi Chi honorees. And, some of you have reached out personally and I love hearing from you. In many ways, I am enjoying this new world.

But I also know that this is an unsettling time. Perhaps the most challenging aspect of this pandemic is that we cannot predict with any certainty how the coming weeks and months will unfold. My primary job, as president of Bay Path, is to make sure that the University is prepared to serve you and help you successfully achieve your degree, no matter what the future holds.

In keeping with this commitment, we have been working on a plan to make sure the Fall 2020 semester provides the kind of flexibility that will maximize your options. As you register for fall courses soon, you will notice that changes have been made to align the undergraduate calendars for the traditional and TAWC programs and to consolidate course offerings.

You may be wondering why we have done this. Here are the most important reasons:

  • The adjusted calendar provides new options and formats that may allow you to juggle your course loads in new and more flexible ways. However, we will ensure that offerings that you were expecting to complete your degree requirements are still available so that your program completion progress is not negatively impacted.
  • The opening of session-based course offerings, in addition to the usual semester length courses, provides more flexibility and a wider variety of course options across nearly every academic program. Additionally, many of the accelerated offerings use low-cost course materials that will save you money and new forms of technology that will adapt the learning to your unique learning preferences and needs. Student support services are in place to help you stay on track, especially if you are new to the pace and expectations of accelerated courses.
  • Through the adjusted calendar and the combined undergraduate offerings, all undergraduate students will have the opportunity to take financial aid eligible coursework before and after the traditional academic year (classes in August & May). This provides you greater flexibility as you juggle other life obligations, like work and family, and may even help you accelerate the time to graduation. We believe the combination of online and on-ground/hybrid offerings in this model will better accommodate our students’ complex and busy lives.
  • Should there still be challenges that prevent us from coming together on campus in the next academic year, this new model also ensures stable, continual and reliable delivery of all courses fully online, so you are still able to complete your degree requirements and stay on your timeline to graduate without any interruption.
  • Whether we are able to resume on-ground courses or not, all of the resources you have come to depend on—your faculty, the library, tutoring, career services, technology support, health services, and the counseling services—will still be accessible to you, even in a virtual environment.

While all of this may seem new to some of you, I can assure you that it is not new at Bay Path! For many years, Bay Path has been a leader in building virtual communities—for example at The American Women’s College and through our many graduate programs—and in developing very supportive online environments where students grow as learners and leaders. As I noted above, my primary responsibility as president is to make sure you have every opportunity to flourish and succeed. This is my promise to you and it is shared by the faculty and staff who are here to support you.

We also recognize you may have questions as you register for the Fall 2020 semester. Click here for Frequently Asked Questions, which includes contact information for individual support.

Best of luck to you as you complete the spring semester and as you look forward to the fall. I am cheering for you, virtually, and you remain in my thoughts. Be well.


President Leary