Greetings from the Office of Academic Affairs!
We are so excited to welcome students back to campus this fall. While things will look different in the physical spaces, I am completely confident that the quality of education will live up to what you expect from Franklin College.
With the emergency pivot to online instruction in the spring, faculty quickly learned how to navigate the virtual environment. Most classes will be returning to face-to-face instruction this fall, but to augment instruction, some of what we learned from last spring will carry over into our courses, benefitting the classroom experience in part through integration of new technologies. Using these technologies allows faculty to meet the learning outcomes of the course while respecting our policies around physical distancing and mask wearing. Incorporating technology also allows students to gain familiarity with software and other platforms that are becoming increasingly commonplace in the workforce, such as Zoom, Google Hangouts, and Microsoft Teams. Additionally, faculty have spent time over the summer pursuing additional professional development opportunities to help them meet the challenges of teaching in the current climate. Look for innovative solutions such as Hyflex and Hybrid classrooms, with some instruction coming inside the classroom and other instruction and course activities occurring virtually. We are also exploring the use of our beautiful outdoor spaces, with some faculty holding courses outside to enhance our traditional face-to-face instruction.
We are sensitive to the needs of our students who intended to be out on internships. The pandemic has altered the landscape, with some organizations no longer accepting interns. I’m happy to share that Kirk Bixler, our Director of Career Services, has created a database of organizations that have virtual internship opportunities so that students can still obtain this important professional experience. And while virtual experiences will be our preference, we understand that some upper-class students have already secured internships for the fall semester that are critical for them to graduate on time. With appropriate documentation, the Office of Academic Affairs will authorize these experiences. We have these protocols in place because the safety of our students is paramount.
The values of Franklin College include a drive for innovation and creativity that you will see play out on campus this fall, both inside and outside the classroom. Guided by our commitment to our community, we ensure you that in these turbulent times, our faculty, staff, and administrators are all working towards a common goal to continue to safely provide a transformative liberal arts education.
Kristin C. Flora, PhD
Acting Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the College