Hollins Announces Plans for January Short Term and Spring Term 2021

Guided by public health experts who advise that the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to have an impact nationally well into the coming year, Hollins University is striving to ensure the well-being of the campus community with a comprehensive plan for conducting January Short Term (J-Term) and Spring Term in 2021.

“We are preparing now for how we will move carefully onward,” said Hollins President Mary Dana Hinton.

Students will not be returning to campus for J-Term this year and residence halls will remain closed. In-person, virtual, and/or hybrid seminars will not be offered during this year’s session, and the J-Term academic requirement for credit has been suspended for the 2020-21 academic year. Virtual internships, independent study projects, and remote theses are the only activities that will be approved for credit this J-Term.

“The time away during Winter Break (which begins December 11) and the month of January will provide a meaningful opportunity to rejuvenate from a challenging fall semester and prepare for what will be an equally demanding spring semester,” Hinton said. At the same time, she noted that the university will be organizing “a robust calendar of curricular and co-curricular events and programs to keep our students engaged and connected, academically and socially, during this longer break between terms.”

Spring Term classes, which will be taught in-person, online, or through a hybrid mix of those forms of instruction, will begin on February 10, 2021, instead of the previously announced date of February 3.

“Students who are studying remotely this fall will have the option of continuing in that mode or returning to campus for in-person or hybrid instruction,” Hinton explained. “Likewise, students living in residence halls this fall and taking in-person or hybrid courses may choose to stay at home for the spring and learn remotely.” She added that students who decide to take all of their classes remotely will not be able to live on campus during Spring Term.

Information regarding a phased return to campus for the start of Spring Term will be provided to students later this fall, while plans for COVID-19 testing of students, faculty, and staff will be announced in January. Because Spring Term is starting one week later than originally planned, Spring Recess is cancelled this year, and residential students will be encouraged to remain on campus for the duration of Spring Term once they arrive back at Hollins in early February.

Hinton praised the campus community for making the return to on-campus living and learning during Fall Term a success. “You have supported our Culture of Care philosophy and risen to the challenges of our COVID-19 protocols with tremendous spirit and dedication,” she stated in a letter to students, faculty, and staff. “I commend you for your mutual accountability and collective responsibility as we navigate our way through this crisis.”

Hinton acknowledged in her message to campus that while Hollins’ plans for J-Term and Spring Term “are probably not unexpected, I nevertheless understand how disheartening it is to anticipate disruption throughout the rest of this academic year. Despite this disappointment, you should be extremely proud of how you are taking care of yourselves and one another during this difficult time. I am confident that our profound sense of community will sustain us as we continue to make these necessary sacrifices; I know we have the character and fortitude to persevere in the weeks and months to come.”

 

 

 

 


Hollins Announces New Partnerships with Graduate Programs in Health Sciences, Engineering

To further help qualified students pursue advanced degrees and meaningful careers in high-demand fields, Hollins University has finalized admission agreements with Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences at Mary Baldwin University (MDCHS) and the Virginia Tech College of Engineering.

At MDCHS, Hollins students who meet qualifications will be guaranteed the opportunity to interview for the following programs: Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies, Doctor of Physical Therapy, and Doctor of Occupational Therapy.

Students who take an outlined course sequence at Hollins can gain early acceptance to Virginia Tech’s Master of Engineering in Computer Science program. The alliance between Hollins and VT Engineering seeks to increase the number of liberal arts students who are growing the tech talent pipeline in Virginia.

“These new agreements, along with our existing partnerships with some of the nation’s most selective graduate and professional programs, provide our students with a wide range of opportunities to build upon a strong undergraduate liberal arts and sciences foundation,” said Alison Ridley, Hollins’ interim vice president for academic programs. “Our students are thus able to position themselves to thrive in the fast-paced and innovative world of the 21st century.”

In addition to partnering with MDCHS and VT Engineering, Hollins has agreements in place with Carnegie Mellon’s Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy; the University of Virginia’s Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy; the Middlebury Institute for International Studies; the University of Pikeville’s School of Optometry, School of Osteopathic Medicine, and Coleman School of Business; and the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine.

 


Hollins Track and Field Team Earns Academic Honor

In just their first season of competition, Hollins University’s indoor track and field team has been named a 2020 Division III All-Academic Team by the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.

The team finished the 2019-20 academic year with a cumulative 3.24 GPA.

Hollins is one of eight schools from the Old Dominion Athletic Conference to receive All-Academic Team recognition this year.

To be eligible for the award, teams must have finished the 2019-20 season with a cumulative GPA of 3.1 or higher.


Hollins, NACAC Affirm “Test-Optional Means Test-Optional”

Hollins University is among the more than 400 college and university members of the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) that have signed on to the association’s letter confirming that students will not be penalized for the absence of a standardized test score for admission in Fall 2021.

Hollins and many other four-year colleges and universities will not require applicants to submit ACT or SAT scores next fall. The policy is intended to alleviate uncertainty for students and families as they weigh concerns about the safety of going to test centers or the feasibility of testing from home during a global pandemic.

“By going test-optional, institutions are making a definitive statement that they will not need test scores to make admission decisions this year,” the letter says. “Despite the change in policies, high school students and their parents are asking, ‘Does test-optional really mean test-optional?’ The answer, simply put, is YES.”

The letter’s signatories pledge that the lack of a standardized test score will in no way negatively affect the way students’ applications are assessed. “Together,” the statement concludes, “we strongly endorse a student-centered, holistic approach to admission….”

“The message to students and families is simply that…students won’t be subject to penalty if they do not present a test score during the upcoming admission cycle,” explains NACAC Chief Executive Officer Angel B. Pérez. “The institutions that have signed our statement support our approach and are affirming that students without a test score will not be disadvantaged.”

Founded in 1937, NACAC is an organization of nearly 14,000 professionals from around the world dedicated to serving students as they make choices about pursuing postsecondary education. NACAC is committed to maintaining high standards that foster ethical and social responsibility among those involved in the transition process.

 


Hollins Announces Eleanor Ray as 2021 Niederer Artist-In-Residence

Brooklyn-based painter Eleanor Ray is the Frances Niederer Artist-in-Residence at Hollins University for 2021.

Each year, the artist-in-residence program brings to campus a nationally recognized artist who produces work and teaches a special seminar. The program is named for a beloved art historian who taught for many years at Hollins.

Ray makes small-scale paintings of encounters with specific places, including well-known or art-historically significant sites, and others more anonymous. As art critic and curator John Yau described her work, “The unoccupied interior or landscape becomes a sacred space, a place of solitude and reflection. The windows remind us that there is an exterior and interior world, and that we always occupy both.”

Ray earned her B.A. in English and art and the history of art from Amherst College, and her M.F.A. in painting from the New York Studio School. Her work has been shown in solo exhibitions at Nicelle Beauchene Galler, New York; Howard’s, Athens, Georgia; and Steven Harvey Fine Art Projects, New York. She has been the recipient of an American Academy of Arts and Letters Purchase Prize and a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in Painting, and her work has been supported by residencies at Steep Rock, the Motello Foundation, Yaddo, Ucross, Jentel, The Edward Albee Foundation, and the BAU Institute. Her work is in the collection of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney.

 

 


Hollins Student-Athletes Earn Unprecedented ODAC All-Academic Honors

In acknowledgement of their excellence off the field of competition, a record number of Hollins University student-athletes have been named to the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) All-Academic Team.

Hollins boasts 60 honorees this year among the more than 2,600 student-athletes cited by the ODAC for 2019-20, an all-time high for the conference.

Eligibility for the ODAC All-Academic Team is open to any student-athlete that competes in a conference-sponsored sport, regardless of academic class. Prospective honorees must achieve at least a 3.25 grade point average for the academic year to be considered for ODAC All-Academic Team recognition.


Marilyn Chin Named Louis D. Rubin Jr. Writer-in-Residence for 2021

An award-winning author whose books have become Asian American classics and are taught in classrooms internationally has been announced as Hollins University’s Louis D. Rubin Jr. Writer-in-Residence for 2021.

Marilyn Chin, whose most recent book is A Portrait of the Self as Nation: New and Selected Poems, will work with graduate and selected undergraduate students next spring.

Born in Hong Kong and raised in Portland, Oregon, Chin’s other books of poetry include Hard Love Province, Rhapsody in Plain Yellow, Dwarf Bamboo, and The Phoenix Gone, the Terrace Empty. She has also written a book of wild girl fiction, Revenge of the Mooncake Vixen. Her honors include the Anisfield-Wolf Award, the United States Artist Foundation Award, the Radcliffe Institute Fellowship at Harvard, the Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship, two National Endowment for the Arts awards, the Stegner Fellowship, the PEN/Josephine Miles Award, five Pushcart Prizes, and others. In 2017, she was recognized by the Asian Pacific Islander Caucus and the California Assembly for her activism and excellence in education.

Chin is featured in a variety of literary anthologies and appeared in Bill Moyers’ PBS series The Language of Life and in the 2020 series Poetry in America. She has read and taught workshops all over the world and has served as guest poet and lecturer at universities in Beijing, Shanghai, Singapore, Hong Kong, Manchester, Sydney, Berlin, and elsewhere.

The poet Adrienne Rich said, “Marilyn Chin’s poems excite and incite the imagination through their brilliant cultural interfacings, their theatre of anger, ‘fierce and tender,’ their compassion, and their high mockery of wit. Reading her, our sense of the possibilities of poetry is opened further, and we feel again what an active, powerful art it can be.”

Chin is professor emerita at San Diego State University and is a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.

 

 


Interim President Gray Updates Plans For Fall Reopening

Hollins University Interim President Nancy Oliver Gray has shared further details on the school’s progress in preparing to resume in person instruction in late August.

The update follows Hollins’ announcement on June 12 that the university would reopen as a residential campus this fall, starting classes on August 31 and ending in-person instruction on November 20, the Friday before Thanksgiving. After Thanksgiving, there will be one more week of remote instruction (November 30 – December 4), followed by Reading Day (December 5) and five days of virtual exams and projects (December 6 – 10). The last day of fall term will be December 10. The change in the calendar allows students to leave campus before Thanksgiving and not return until the university’s January Short Term begins. Fall Break, originally scheduled for October 15 – 16, has been cancelled, and classes will take place during that period.

“Although the nature of the COVID-19 pandemic means that these plans may have to change, we are preparing carefully and working to ensure our plans align with our institutional mission and the Culture of Care philosophy that helps to guide us,” Gray said.

Hollins’ updated plans include the following:

Student move-in and orientation

Hollins is implementing a phased move-in schedule for residential students and extending the number of days during which students may return to campus in order to adhere to physical distancing requirements and maximize community safety. A phased and hybrid orientation model will be offered that includes in person and online activities.

Plans to ensure the well-being of community members

Students and employees are required to wear face coverings (facial shields or masks) in campus interior spaces, including classrooms. When outside, community members are required to wear a face covering whenever it is difficult to maintain six feet of physical distance. Students and employees will be provided one washable face mask, a thermometer, and hand sanitizer, and will be expected to monitor their own health daily via a checklist of symptoms, including a temperature check. Students will be tested for COVID-19 at the Student Health and Counseling Center if they are symptomatic or have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive. After being tested, residential students will be quarantined in the Williamson Road Apartments until test results are known. Symptomatic employees will be required to stay at home and expected to contact their health providers for further guidance.

Teaching modalities and changes to classrooms

Classes will be taught during the fall term using a variety of teaching modalities including in person (while allowing for permitted students to learn remotely); hybrid, meaning partially in person and partially online; and completely online. “Offering a variety of delivery methods helps to reduce overcrowding in classroom spaces for health and safety purposes and to accommodate individual needs,” Gray explained. “Regardless of the teaching modality, we are committed to offering the interactive and close-knit Hollins community experience.” The layout of classrooms will be adjusted to ensure six feet of physical distancing between students in classroom spaces and between the students and the instructor. The use of shared objects in classrooms and lab spaces will be minimized, and increased emphasis will be placed on cleaning and disinfecting in all campus buildings.

Adjustments to residence life and dining services

Dining services will be open for residential students only. The exercise room/weight room and pool in the gymnasium will be available to students only.

Policy changes related to campus visitors and events

Only current Hollins students, faculty, and staff are permitted within any building. No outside visitors or guests, including family members, may enter campus buildings other than prearranged essential institutional partners and vendors, and guests of the admission office. Events and public spaces such as the Eleanor D. Wilson Museum and the Wyndham Robertson Library are closed to outside visitors. Performances held on campus will be exclusively for the Hollins community following physical distancing guidelines. The general public will not be allowed to access the main part of campus or any campus buildings, but they are permitted to walk the loop road following proper physical distancing and face covering protocols.

“Throughout the summer, our COVID-coordinating campus team will continue to work diligently to address additional details and complexities,” Gray said. “As plans are finalized, they will be shared with the campus community.”

Read in its entirety Interim President Gray’s June 30 update to the campus community on how Hollins is getting ready for the fall term. Additional information on the university’s plans to reopen can be found at www.hollins.edu/onward.

 

 


Hollins Welcomes Fulbright Scholar-In-Residence for 2021-22

A public health expert from Kenya with particular expertise in parasitic diseases will be spending a full academic year at Hollins as a Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence (S-I-R).

Isabell Kingori, who teaches in the School of Public Health at Kenyatta University in Nairobi, is coming to Hollins for the 2021-22 academic session to further infuse a global perspective into the university’s public health curriculum.

In January, the Fulbright S-I-R program, which supports international academic exchange between the United States and more than 160 countries around the world, approved a joint proposal by Hollins and Virginia Tech to bring an S-I-R to their respective campuses, with the individual spending 80 percent of their time at Hollins. The S-I-R will provide an international point of view to the undergraduate public health programs launched at both universities during the 2019-20 academic year.

The residency, which was originally scheduled to occur during the 2020-21 academic session, was postponed for one year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kingori, who also serves as the curriculum coordinator in Kenyatta’s Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, holds both a Master’s degree and a Ph.D. in applied parasitology. Between earning her advanced degrees, she taught part-time for eight years and also worked at the African Medical and Research Foundation.

Kingori Immunological Study
Kingori works with primary school children in Kenya on an immunological study.

“Dr. Kingori has taught a lot of different undergraduate and graduate courses and units during her teaching career, including parasitology, immunology, epidemiology, environmental health, and much more. We’re excited by the breadth of options she might be able to cover,” said Elizabeth Gleim, an assistant professor of biology and environmental studies at Hollins who co-authored the proposal to bring an S-I-R to Hollins and Virginia Tech with Gillian Eastwood, an assistant professor of entomology at VT.

“The Fulbright program requires applicants to select two specific countries from a particular continent from which to draw potential candidates for the Scholar position,” Gleim explained. “Gillian and I narrowed our choices to Kenya and South Africa. Africa has so many fascinating disease systems, and in those two countries, scientists are conducting some very interesting research. Also, approaches to and access to healthcare in Africa are different than what students might be familiar with here in the U.S. Because diseases don’t recognize borders or boundaries, it’s important that our public health students have an understanding of these different health care settings around the globe and that they are familiar with disease systems outside of the U.S. regardless of whether one plans to work domestically or internationally.”

Gleim noted that the existence of an endowed fund created specifically to bring international faculty members to campus was instrumental in gaining approval from the Fulbright program. “Without a doubt, Hollins’ financial support of the S-I-R via the Jack and Tifi W. Bierley International Professorship significantly enhanced our proposal.” She added that small liberal arts colleges are among the colleges and universities to whom the S-I-R program gives preference, particularly those who are seeking to grow service to minority populations.

Established in 1946, the Fulbright Program is funded by an annual appropriation from the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State. Its goal is to increase mutual understanding and support between the people of the United States and other countries while transforming lives, bridging geographic and cultural boundaries, and promoting a more peaceful and prosperous world.

 

 


Committed To “A Culture Of Care,” Hollins Announces Plans To Reopen This Fall

Hollins University has announced plans to reopen as a residential campus this fall, starting classes on August 31 and ending in-person instruction on November 20, the Friday before Thanksgiving.

After Thanksgiving, there will be one more week of remote instruction (November 30 – December 4), followed by Reading Day (December 5) and five days of virtual exams and projects (December 6 – 10). The last day of fall term will be December 10. The change in the calendar allows students to leave campus before Thanksgiving and not return until the university’s January Short Term begins.

Fall Break, originally scheduled for October 15 – 16, has been cancelled, and classes will take place during that period.

“Over the last several weeks, President-elect Mary Dana Hinton and I, along with members of our faculty, staff, and administration, have been assessing the evolving public health situation, studying guidance for higher education from the CDC and the Virginia Department of Health, and planning for the coming year,” said Interim President Nancy Oliver Gray.

She stated that Hollins “will adapt our ways of learning, living, and working in order to protect the health and well-being for all. For example, in most cases, classes will be limited to 25 persons, and there will be changes to campus dining. Informed by guidance from the CDC and the Virginia Department of Health, students will be tested for COVID-19 by Student Health if they are symptomatic or have been in contact with someone who is confirmed to have tested positive. If the test is positive, the Virginia Department of Health will initiate contact tracing.”

Gray added that everyone on campus will be required to wear facial coverings when indoors in the presence of one or more people, and maintain a physical distance of six feet from others. “Further, we will introduce more rigorous building cleaning and sanitation protocols, reconfigure some offices, and adjust teaching spaces in order to abide by the six-foot physical distancing requirements.

“We are committed to a culture of care, and as members of the Hollins community, we share a mutual responsibility to adhere to health and wellness guidelines.”

Noting that the university will keep students, faculty, and staff informed throughout the summer as additional plans and guidelines are finalized, Gray said, “We are considering not only the present situation, but also the very real possibility that dramatic changes in the trajectory of the coronavirus may require changes in our plans. Even though we place a very high priority on learning in a residential community, we must remain flexible in response to changing public health conditions and local, state, and federal guidance.”

Additional information on Hollins’ plans to reopen this fall can be found at www.hollins.edu/onward.