Message from the Chief Academic Officer
Welcome to the University of the District of Columbia—an exciting place to study and grow intellectually and socially. We strive to offer our students the most acceptable learning environment led by faculty whose priority is teaching. Whether undergraduate or graduate, full-time or part-time, our students receive personal attention from faculty and experience academic programs consistent with the finest of liberal, professional, applied, clinical, workforce development, continuing, and life-learning. With the start of a new academic year just a few days ahead, I write to share some personal thoughts with our Firebird community, along with some important updates about our return to campus.
The past two semesters (Fall 2020 and Spring 2021) have taught us to RISE to any debilitating situation. It has been a time of great adversity, but unsurprisingly our university community proved equal to the challenge. Even amid the most significant disruption to our standard teaching, learning, and operating methods, we were able to pivot and still deliver quality instruction and support services to our students and employees. Most inspiring to me is you — our students, faculty, and staff pushing forward and working together to foster our legacy of excellence and achievement. At its core, a university is its people—in all of our differences and similarities. The University of the District of Columbia (UDC) is the model for a modern and inclusive urban, land-grant, Historically Black University because your dedicated efforts — day in and out — make it so. I am so proud of your perseverance, ingenuity, and commitment. Thank you sincerely for all you have done and continue to do to live up to our mission and values.
The ongoing vaccination efforts across the District and region bring increased anticipation for ramping up our safer return to campus, and we are actively preparing to “repopulate” campus as much as circumstances safely allow. This is an exciting time, and I am looking forward to greater community engagement on campus after several consequential months of being away from our learning community.
We developed a phased plan that delineates our teaching, learning, and working approach based on the latest public health recommendations. We have intentionally work to balance delivery modes by offering face-to-face, limited HyFlex, remote/virtual, and online instruction in terms of teaching. Fall 2021 will be a transitional time as we move from largely virtual education to a more robust on-campus mode. As conditions continue to improve, by Spring 2022, I expect that we will be operating predominantly in-person with minimal restrictions on our activities; however, we will continue to follow the science and best guidance from public health officials.
A critical component of our planning and preparations requires that all students and employees returning to campus provide proof of vaccination through the Health Portal. The University has also imposed a mask/face covering mandate on campus, including vaccinated and approved exemptions. The RISE website continues to be the authoritative source for UDC information related to the pandemic, our response, and our planning.
I also add a personal plea to get vaccinated if you have not already. Welcome back to campus!
Lawrence T. Potter, Jr., Ph.D.
Chief Academic Officer