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Dr. Lawrence Potter - UDC Chief Academic OfficerWelcome to the University of the District of Columbia (UDC)—an exciting place to study, grow intellectually, and socially. We strive to offer our students the finest 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 that are consistent with the finest of liberal arts, professional training, clinical and applied practice, workforce development, and life-learning.

The University’s mission is to educate students for rewarding careers, responsible citizenship, and fulfilling lives. As the only exclusively public  Historically Black Urban Land-grant University in the United States, we have a unique educational purpose based on the merging of our predecessor institutions to educate citizens of the District of Columbia, the region, and the world.  The cornerstone of a UDC education is our “learn-by-doing” philosophy that joins theory with practice and prepares our students for the working world. UDC remains committed to providing students with the highest-quality education possible and serving as a vital resource to the region and beyond.

At present, we find ourselves educating students in one of the most unprecedented and uncertain times facing the world—a global pandemic known as COVID-19. Yet, we remain vigilant and deliberative as a Firebird family—rising to serve our students, employees, and the general welfare of our community!

History teaches us that the Sankofa bird is a mythic bird in Akan culture, which flies forward (or stands with feet forward) with its head turned behind it, sometimes holding an egg in its mouth or on its back. The Phoenix symbolizes revival and rebirth. Rising from the ashes of the past, the  Phoenix suggests a sustained renewal, as well as a fiery passion. The combination of the Sankofa and the Phoenix makes sense symbolically for our time right now. The Sankofa bird reminds us that it is not wrong to bring pieces of your past with you, as long as you continue forward. The burning wings of the Phoenix suggest the potential for rebirth with renewed passion and energy. Bringing these two symbolic signs help to define the Firebird spirit in each UDC student, faculty, staff, alumni, friend, and supporter.

The Firebird represents transformation, renewal, and ascension. These are the qualities that characterize the UDC. As a result of COVID-19, the fall 2020 semester reopening will be different than anything we have experienced. Ultimately, our plans seek to sustain the legacy of quality teaching and learning at UDC, as we continue to prepare our students for success in reaching their highest level of human potential.  We open this fall with the knowledge that we all will play a role in completing the semester successfully. The health of our campus depends on each of us acting for the good of the entire community. UDC’s response to COVID-19 reflects the legendary spirit of the Sankofa and the Phoenix. In the face of opportunity or adversity, UDC will RISEResponding with Institutional Success and Excellence!

We all have a part to play, and I am asking each of you to fulfill your role by wearing a mask, practicing physical distancing, washing your hands frequently, self-isolating if you have symptoms, and using good judgment regarding social activities. Our daily choices will directly affect the lives of our friends, families, and colleagues, and support a successful fall semester.

Over the summer, our community, like countless others, was also shaken by the murder of George Floyd. His death, along with the senseless killing of Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor and the disparate impact of COVID-19 on people of color, has profoundly affected our nation and our University.  We will continue to be guided by our core values, our institutional and individual commitment to social justice in the spirit of community, diversity, and excellence.

And while the way we connect, learn, and live is changing, many important things remain the same. The UDC community is as strong as it has ever been, and we remain committed to our tripartite mission of teaching, research, and service that inspires us to take on the world’s most significant challenges. Our UDC RISE vision was created to prepare us for unforeseen challenges and opportunities in higher education, and we are ready to show the world what we can do.

You will, for the rest of your lives, answer questions about this moment in your lives. What was it like to experience COVID-19? How did you react to unfolding events? When your children ask, be able to say that you stepped forward to comfort the discouraged; you stepped forward to serve your communities; you stepped forward to make sure that your education meant more than a degree hanging on your wall. As the Chief Academic Officer of the University, I believe all UDC Firebirds will RISE to ASPIRE.ACCOMPLISH.TAKE ON THE WORLD.

Welcome back, Firebirds!

Lawrence T. Potter, Jr. Ph.D.
Chief Academic Officer



All UDC Faculty have two categories of need to visit campus.  Planned/Scheduled and Unplanned/Unscheduled.


  • You have a lab or class that is currently programmed in 25live.
  • Must complete health status via LiveSafe each day before coming to campus.
  • Must present “green checkmark” at check-in point and receive wristband.
  • Check-out upon leaving campus
  • Must wear mask at all times.

Click here to see video on how to access campus for a planned/scheduled visit.

Unplanned / Unscheduled

  • Faculty will need to reserve space being requested in 25Live at least 48 hours in advance and gain CAO approval.
  • Faculty cannot come to campus without CAO approval.
  • Once approved faculty must complete health status via LiveSafe each day before coming to campus.
  • Must complete health status via LiveSafe each day before coming to campus.
  • Must present “green checkmark” at check-in point and receive wristband.
  • Check-out upon leaving campus
  • Must wear mask at all times.

Click here to see video on how to access campus for an unplanned/unscheduled visit.

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