It is now just over two weeks after the end of C-term. Hard to believe, I know, since it feels like the world has experienced two years of change in that time. In two days, we all begin WPI's first ever totally virtual D-term. It will surely be an adventure—one that everyone at WPI has been working on to keep your education moving forward.
I think that we will be ready, but I know that we will need your help. I also know that I can count on you because our community solves problems. It’s what we do best. I have complete faith that, with your help, we will be successful.
My first request is that you communicate—with the faculty teaching your courses, with your faculty advisor, with the Academic Advising Office, and with each other. Don’t wait for the first day of class, go to the course canvas site now and start to prepare for your classes. Be patient but also be persistent. Let them (and me) know if you see a problem. We are all doing our best and we will learn and improve as we go along. Your thoughtful input is critical for our shared success.
My second request is that you support each other. Look out for each other. WPI faculty and staff have had lots of discussions of ways to help students keep connected, with their classes, with their project teams, and with the faculty. We will need your ideas and help in this. Please remember that some students will struggle more than others in this current virtual environment. Be patient and persistent with each other. Help each other and help us find ways to make this work.
WPI has created a central Coronavirus information site. Go there to see the latest information on the impact of the epidemic on WPI. You will find a link to an ever growing list of answers to frequently asked questions. These are grouped by category to help you find answers to key questions. (For example, PE classes really ARE going online.) You can also submit your own questions to us at CoronavirusQuestions@wpi.edu. More resources are under construction.
In closing, I want to acknowledge that I fully expect that the start of the term will see some bumps in the road. This is new territory, and we will be working through technical, scheduling, and process problems. Please don’t hesitate to let us know if something isn’t working. This is a wicked problem, but the WPI community solves wicked problems.
Arthur C. Heinricher
Dean of Undergraduate Studies
P.S. I cannot resist sharing that all WPI faculty and staff are now working from home and meeting their own special challenges. On the bright side, parking (and snow) should not be a problem.