By President Emerita Judie Wexler April 7, 2020
Dear CIIS Community,
All of us are forging new ground as we run an entire university in a virtual space. The great news is that it’s working better than we expected; getting out ahead of the virus by mobilizing in late January, having a strong and comprehensive planning team, and going virtual before many other universities—and before the local and state shelter-in-place orders—helped immensely to this end. We are also learning much from the challenges of teaching, studying, and working from home, as I’m sure you are.
As I consider how we move forward together, I find myself constantly returning to our CIIS core values and the words that continue to define us: deep inquiry, holistic education, consciousness, resilience, equity, spirituality, and ecojustice. No university is committed to the whole of these as we are. CIIS is a very special place, which is why so many of you chose to make it your home.
We will have more physically isolated days ahead, and while it is difficult, we are going to emerge from this. While the stress looms large at times, we must not allow that to distract from our focus on why we are here, what brought us here, and what we are trying to achieve together. The CIIS community is here to stand with you, motivate you, and help you move forward—so I applaud you, especially now that you have continued to concentrate on and do work that matters.
It’s now also clear that the remainder of the Spring Semester will continue with virtual webinars. Summer Semester for the School of Undergraduate Studies and ACTCM begins on May 1. SUS will remain online throughout Summer. ACTCM will start online; and a decision will be made shortly if that will continue after the shelter-in-place order is lifted. Summer Session for the Schools of Professional Psychology and Health, and Consciousness and Transformation starts on May 29. We are currently planning for virtual classes to continue until further notice. As well, we will continuously monitor the public health projections and advise as we make our decisions.
A Community Together
The news remains daunting as we learn about the spread of the virus and the economic impact. This is a time of high anxiety, and so, also a time to practice the things we have learned and know about taking care of ourselves and doing things that give us a sense of meaning and wholeness. Many people in the CIIS community have offered ideas and practices to help with this. You can find them in the wellness section of MyCIIS and on the COVID-19 website.
As we plan for the future, the two most important things are keeping our community safe and supporting our students to continue to strive toward the goals that brought them to CIIS. We want to mitigate the effects of coronavirus disease in this time, take precautions, and continue to be proactive. We want to ensure that when we reopen our campuses and return to face-to-face classes, everyone is safe. We’ll stay on the cutting-edge of caution.
Please continue to reach out to one another and especially to our students. We want to help everyone remain focused on their goals and progress toward achieving them. Let’s make this time of being home not one of hibernation and isolation, but rather one of growth and community.