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Dean's Message on Adapting the AU Forward Plan July 30, 2020

Greetings SOE Community,

I’m writing because I’m sure you received the message from President Burwell announcing that all undergraduate and graduate courses will be online due to the spread of COVID-19 across the country. For us in the School of Education, this means that the small number of “in-person” courses will be moved to an online format. Our graduate courses were already scheduled to be online.  

As far as our work in the School of Education, I feel confident that we will be able to honor our commitment of excellence given our strong track record of offering high quality online experiences. We are certain that our students’ online learning will be an experience they can deeply value — one that will prepare them for the changed world they will enter upon graduation. Building on our existing online offerings, we are crafting courses and experiences that will take advantage of the best that online and digital learning has to offer, giving unparalleled access to faculty and to peers. Our courses will combine thoughtful and engaging learning experiences, accounting for a range of time zones and providing unprecedented curricular flexibility. Capitalizing on what we know and have learned about how online communities thrive, we are designing approaches that will foster cohort and community in numerous ways, ensuring that our students build and maintain a network of colleagues, friends, and support systems that will last beyond their time at AU.  

Regardless of modality, online or in person, SOE has continued to make important progress in our equity-oriented educational experience this summer that will begin to be realized in fall 2020. Undergraduate and graduate students have been meeting all summer to share experiences and perspectives on how SOE can come to realize our antiracist aspirations, and these voices have been integrated into our summer planning. From analyzing syllabi, to doing deep self-interrogation work, to improving antiracist hiring processes, to reading and discussing antiracist books, grant-writing to decolonize our curriculum and more, SOE is working to center students’ voices and we are ON THE MOVE!  

Students, soon you will hear from your program directors and coordinators with additional information about the fall semester. If you have questions or concernsabout scholarships, the 10% discount, etc, please reach out to Assistant Dean of Academic Administration, Julie Sara Boyd at   

I, along with our staff and faculty, look forward to virtually welcoming you in August.  

The world needs education, now more than ever. And the world needs you, now more than ever, as well.  

Onward together,

Cheryl Holcomb-McCoy, PhD
Dean and Professor
School of Education