Message from the Interim President to Faculty Staff and Students (04/21/20)

Dear BMCC Community,

I hope you and your loved ones are staying safe and strong as we continue our difficult journey through the COVID-19 pandemic. I again want to thank faculty, staff and students for your commitment, creativity and compassion as we moved rapidly to delivering all instruction and support services from a distance. This has been an immense change to completely new ways of teaching, learning, working, and living, and we want to support you as best we can.

We established the COVID-19 Student Emergency Fund to help students facing financial challenges unforeseen prior to the virus and related widespread unemployment. Students interested in more information should contact CUNY has established the Chancellor’s Emergency Relief Fund and through the federal CARES Act, additional funding will be available for students soon, with more details to follow.

This summer, we will continue delivering all instruction and support services from a distance. It’s important that we shift from an emergency response mode to a higher level of excellence and greatly improved experience for all. E-Learning and CETLS will continue to offer a variety of faculty development opportunities to strengthen distance learning pedagogy, and CUNY is about to make the SPS course Online Teaching Essentials available to a large number of faculty. Additionally, BMCC and CUNY are assessing the professional development needs for enhanced online student success services across departments, and will be providing additional support going forward.

We know that the severity and associated trauma of the public health crisis and intensifying economic crisis gives rise to mental health concerns. We will hold Zoom sessions to help faculty (April 22) and staff (April 24) support students’ mental health this week, and a Zoom session for faculty and staff to bolster their own self-care early next week. We know that faculty, including the Academic Senate Instruction Committee, have been discussing the need for resources related to trauma-informed pedagogy; we are grateful for this showing of care and will provide support.

Many have asked what the timeline is for confirming whether or not the fall semester will be delivered entirely from a distance. Right now, we are planning for fifty percent of courses to be online. Whether we can offer any face-to-face courses in the fall will be based on social distancing guidelines issued from the State and City, and will be a CUNY-wide decision made by the Chancellor in consultation with State and local officials. We will return to the campus only when it’s safe.

I hope you will join me for our annual State of the College address, this year to be live-streamed on Tuesday, May 5 from 1-2 pm. I will provide an overview of our many accomplishments and points of pride from the past year, as well challenges we face going forward. Mostly, the State of the College is an opportunity to celebrate success, and what a wonderful BMCC community we have, even from a distance. We will get through this together, and we will be stronger on the other side. Please continue to take good care of yourselves, those you love, and those around you.