Provost Update to AUSB Students – 4/3/20

Dear AUSB Students,

As you read in Assistant Vice Chancellor of Student Success (AVCSS) Melissa Kirk’s letter, the university is committed to student support during this exceptional time. System-wide initiatives have been put into place to ensure the quality of remote teaching and learning, and the best possible support in academic and student services. Faculty and staff have been hard at work these past few weeks, and have kept your educational experience in the forefront of their minds as we make these rapid changes to adapt to the current environmental challenges.

Student Access Fund
One of these initiatives is an emergency student access fund, which has been established to provide support to continuing students who may be struggling due to job losses and other financial difficulties related to this public health emergency. If this fund may be relevant to your situation, please email: [email protected], and cc me. Our Assistant Director of Financial Aid Jennifer Mahone and I will follow up.

International Students
For international students, our appointed Principal Designated School Official (PDSO) Emee Dacanay, who serves as the Executive Director of Enrollment Management and Student Services at our sister AULA campus, will continue to provide support to AUSB students with their documentation needs and will be formally updating the Student Exchange and Visitor Program (SEVP, Department of Homeland Security) about our extended remote instructional period. Emee can be reached at [email protected].

Student Services and Resources
As we extend this period of remote instruction and all other services through June 30, 2020, we will continue to provide the range of university services you are accustomed to, plus more, in Financial Aid, Student Accounts, Student Services, Disability Support Services, Veteran’s Services, Registration, Admissions, Library, Writing Center peer tutoring services, Human Resources, and within all academic departments. In fact, our Director of Library Services Dr. Christine Forte will be reaching out shortly to offer a Zoom overview for students who have an interest before the next quarter gets underway.

Given the ongoing social distancing situation, the continued spread of the coronavirus, and the critical importance of prioritizing the health and well being of all students and our community, we will be postponing the annual commencement ceremony, which had been scheduled for June 12. Commencement is about celebrating this significant academic and personal milestone with family and loved ones. The faculty and staff look forward to celebrating your achievements each year, thus this decision was not an easy one.

Degree Completion
While the formal pomp and circumstances will be postponed, we will explore alternative ways to honor the commitment and sacrifice made by you and your family. We ask for your patience and understanding as we continue to develop creative solutions in the upcoming months ahead. We intend to reschedule the formal commencement ceremony at a time in the future when it will be safe to gather in such large numbers. And please know that this will not impact the recording of your respective degrees, which will continue to be awarded, along with your diplomas.

A New Way of Being in the World
We are a caring, compassionate, and dynamic learning community, and I remain confident in our individual and collective capacity to be supportive of each other and engage in activities that contribute to the greater good during this challenging time. In the weeks ahead, and to prevent national blood shortages, the Red Cross will be seeking volunteers. That is just one way to assist others during this period.

Additionally, please take the time you need to pace yourself with breaks, enjoy nature, connect with loved ones, sleep, and re-energize during this collective new way of being in the world. I thank you for standing together as a community, as we take the steps necessary to slow the spread of the highly infectious coronavirus during this unprecedented time.

I encourage everyone to maintain contact with academic program chairs, directors, coordinators, and supervisors and welcome you to contact me directly with questions or concerns.

Best wishes for health and safety.

Warm regards,

Barbara Lipinski, PhD, JD
Provost and Chief Executive Officer
Antioch University Santa Barbara