Message from the Interim President to Faculty, Staff and Students (05/21/2020)

Dear BMCC Community,

As we near the end of a semester unlike any other, I hope you and yours are staying safe and strong. Our thoughts and hearts continue to be with those who have fallen ill or lost loved ones. Many are struggling financially and emotionally as we continue to endure unprecedented changes to how we work, learn, and live. Please know that your BMCC family is here for you; our community is a great source of strength, connection and inspiration.

This is the time of year when we celebrate the achievements of our students. While the modality is different now, the sentiment is the same: we are so very proud of the Class of 2020. Your resilience and staying true to your dreams in the midst of previously unimaginable obstacles is truly inspiring. Congratulations and best wishes for continued success to graduates and those receiving special honors. We look forward to our virtual celebration of the Class of 2020 on May 29. And congratulations with enormous gratitude to our faculty, staff and all students for your dedication, compassion and resolve as we complete the semester and look forward to the future.

As you know, while BMCC remains open, we will continue teaching, learning and working remotely throughout the summer. While we await definitive guidance from the State, City and CUNY regarding the fall semester, we are contingency planning to deliver as much instruction and support from a distance as possible given the Governor’s multi-stage process for reopening and the likelihood that some form of social distancing remains in effect in New York City for months. We hope to receive a confirmation of fall plans soon and will keep you informed.

And we will continue to do everything we can to take care of our community. In the coming days, nearly $12 million in emergency support will be distributed to BMCC students through the federal CARES Act. Additional federal funding is forthcoming to support students and institutional needs related to COVID-19. We also continue to raise funds for our BMCC COVID-19 Student Emergency Fund. We encourage all faculty and staff to contribute; any amount will help our students as we know the economic challenges resulting from the Coronavirus will be long-term. Thanks to all who have generously given already, and please be looking for an announcement soon of our virtual fundraiser to be held June 11.

We recently completed an analysis of our Distance Teaching and Working Survey completed by nearly 1000 faculty and staff, an unusually high response rate. We asked two questions: What have been your greatest challenges over the last few weeks, and what can we do to better support distance teaching and working? We heard about the challenges of maintaining student engagement; the need for reliable technology for all; the need to continue to improve support for the design and implementation of effective online pedagogy and student services; and ongoing feelings of uncertainty and the emotional toll of isolation. Please know that we are working across the college to address these issues as we continue our focus on strategically improving the experience of distance teaching, learning and working for all members of our community. We are administering a survey of the student experience with distance learning starting this week and will report back on findings and related actions.

We will continue to reach out to students, faculty and staff, providing information as it is available. Please stay connected; our strength is in our community. As always, we welcome your questions and suggestions. Please continue to take good care of yourselves, your families, and those around you.