President Hinton Updates the Campus Community on Fall Reopening Plans

Dear Hollins community,

We hear you.

Thank you to the 659 members of our community who completed our recent survey about our reopening plan, and for sharing your feedback and ideas. Words such as “excited,” “anxious,” “hopeful,” and “concerned” resonated throughout your responses, and we are right there with you in experiencing these feelings.

We are also very grateful to those faculty, staff, administrators, and SGA leaders who took the time to talk with us about the plan. We shared the various scenarios we face and discussed two key questions:

  • How do we deliver the best Hollins experience we can given the current constraints and changing landscape?
  • What resources or support could be provided to enhance your comfort level with a face-to-face, on-campus semester?

What came through clearly in both the survey and in our conversations was that while a vast majority desires to be together in the fall, our community also wants greater individual flexibility in how they might receive their education and deliver their courses in the fall term.

To be clear, we remain fully committed to providing the best on-campus, in-person learning environment we can offer, given the conditions, for those who want it. That said, we are also exploring ways we can honor individual students’ and faculty members’ interest in greater flexibility and learning online, and to provide the best experience possible for them in that environment. Likewise, we aim to be responsive to the concerns of staff, and are exploring ways to accommodate the needs of our employees. Please understand that there will be inevitable and necessary trade-offs in our efforts to address the interest in expanded flexibility. You will receive additional information once changes made in this regard are finalized. We ask for your patience and grace as we navigate this space.

The desire for safety is one shared by all of us in the community. We want to be together and remain physically healthy, and we need to have our emotional and social needs met as well. A healthy campus can only be achieved if we ALL commit to doing it together. If, as our survey results suggest, 10 percent of us ignore these guidelines, this effort will fail.

No president, cabinet, faculty, student, or other individual or single group can assure everyone’s health and well-being without the support and effort of us all. In a sea of unknowns, what we do know is that we have to make our communal health our top priority. In order to be on campus, we have to prioritize mutual accountability and responsibility for our communal well-being. To that end, the Culture of Care commitment is forthcoming and will need to be signed by all within our campus community. Our togetherness depends on our ability and commitment to keep one another well. Every action counts and matters.

While we continue to move toward a more flexible reopening, the reopening plan continues to be dynamic and ever evolving in response to the pandemic. That is an essential part of our work. We were asked several times in our meetings to be as transparent as possible, and to communicate about these matters regularly. As such, you will receive weekly updates so that you are aware of our actions, and updates will continue being made regularly to our Carefully Onward reopening site.

We also heard a desire to understand not only the decisions we are making, but why we are making them. We have updated our FAQ at Carefully Onward to outline the rationale behind some of our decisions. We share this in order to be transparent and to help our community members make informed decisions.

I want to end by sharing the point made quite often in our conversations: We want our students back on campus. We want the campus enlivened with your energy and voices. We think it is especially important for our first-year students to come to campus and be engaged with the Hollins experience. We also want to honor the concerns of all in our community, even as it is clear how varied – and sometimes in respectful opposition – those concerns might be.

In this time of uncertainty, what I do know with absolute certainty is that we can only be together if we work together. With this pandemic, we are only as strong as the community member least interested in our collective health and safety. We heard as much from many of you – faculty, staff, administrators, and students – who mentioned “consequences” and “enforcement” as it relates to the Culture of Care. As such, we will be sharing next week our Culture of Care conduct expectations and outcomes for noncompliance.

We fully believe in this community and what it can be if we unite in committing to a Culture of Care to look out for and protect one another.

Sincerely,

Mary Dana Hinton
President
Hollins University


University Chaplain Offers Hollins Students Encouragement and Support

 

The Rev. Dr. Jenny Call, our university chaplain, has shared this message of hope and comfort with our students.

 

 

 

 

Dear friends,

In this time of uncertainty, my thoughts, care, and prayers are with you.  As your chaplain, I remain here as a support to you. Whether you are grieving the loss of the familiar and worried about missing out on plans, concerned about the news or the unknown, or a mix of this and more, we are connected in sharing these feelings, as we are in our hopefulness that all, eventually, will be well. Things may look different than we planned, but we will journey through this together with strength and care.

It is hard to be apart from one another, and yet I trust that we are finding new means of connection. I am available for one-on-one or small group conversations via phone or Zoom. Please reach out by email at CallJF@hollins.edu if you would like to set up a time to talk.

I will also be interacting on Facebook using the hashtag #OnlineChaplain, sharing regular inspiration, practices, and resources that may help nurture your emotional and spiritual well-being during this time.  Weekly Sanctuary meditations will continue on Tuesdays at 4:30 p.m. through Facebook Live on the Hollins University Chapel Facebook page.

If you are interested in receiving my newsletter with occasional inspirational resources and reflections, you may sign up here.

May we remember our motto, Levavi Oculos, which reminds us to lift our eyes to seek the source of our help and strength. May this strange time be an invitation to seek meaning and purpose, to pause and find strategies to care for ourselves and others.  Take care, my friends, and please reach out if I can be of help to you.

With care,

Jenny

 

Rev. Dr. Jenny Call

University Chaplain
Office of Spiritual and Religious Life


Wilson Museum Announces Temporary Closure

The Eleanor D. Wilson Museum at Hollins University is closed to the public, reflecting the university’s shift to an early Spring Recess and remote instruction in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

To ensure the health and safety of students, faculty, staff, and visitors, all museum events and programs are cancelled through at least the week concluding Friday, April 10.

The Wilson Museum is working on ways to host online exhibitions of its upcoming shows, and will provide updates on its website and Facebook page. Currently, a PDF of the catalogue for the Robert Sulkin: Photographs 1973-2019 exhibition is available for download on the museum website’s publications page, as are several catalogue PDFs for past shows.

 

 


Coronavirus: Sharing Their Expertise

Two Hollins professors have been interviewed recently for their expertise in areas related to the COVID-19 coronavirus concerns impacting the country and the regional community around Roanoke.

NOTE: The Hollins University administration is maintaining and regularly updating a coronavirus-related web page for full information on how the school is approaching the situation as well as linking to key external resources including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Virginia Department of Health. You can find this at https://www.hollins.edu/coronavirus-preparedness/

On March 2, visiting professor of public health Cynthia Morrow was interviewed by local TV station WDBJ7 seeking her advice and recommendations for how those concerned should best approach the situation as it presently stands. Morrow was a Commissioner of Health in New York during the H1N1 – or swine flu – pandemic back in 2009 and offered several practical bits of advice including good hand and overall hygiene as well as “social distancing,” or maintaining a safe distance during interactions with others. You can view her interview below or see the full WDBJ7 report here.

Peter Chiappetta, a visiting assistant professor of business and financial consultant, was interviewed by WDBJ7 on March 9 to discuss concerns around the impact the fears and realities of the coronavirus outbreak were having on the financial markets, including a temporary halt in NYSE trading earlier that morning. You can view his interview below or see the full WDBJ7 report here.