Dominican President Mary B. Marcy issued the following statement on Tuesday, October 20.
It has been a busy and unusual fall semester. Thanks to the good spirit, perseverance, and hard work of this community, it has also been a very successful one so far. Our course delivery, while not in the usual format, is going well. Our COVID-19 testing program is operating very effectively, with a low positivity rate and rapid response.
And of course, the appointment of Dr. Nicola Pitchford as the president-elect of Dominican University of California. As you made clear in your responses, as the Board made equally clear in its announcement, and as I fully concur, Nicola is an intelligent, compassionate, strong leader. Her appointment ensures that Dominican will continue to deliver an exceptional education for our students, even as we meet the ongoing challenges facing all of higher education. She and I will work closely together this academic year to provide a seamless transition.
There are a number of important updates on other issues in this newsletter. Our plans for spring semester are solidifying, even as we will continue to adapt to the pandemic. We also have some important information regarding budget meetings and support for students, faculty, and staff.
Your conscientious attention to good health protocols and our generous gift for testing have both been invaluable this semester. To date, we have had three confirmed cases (all resolved now), and our positive rate is below 0.3%, which has earned us a nod from Marin Health and Human Services for our great students! Thank you! Pooled testing for COVID-19 will continue through the spring. Everyone who is regularly coming to campus — faculty, staff, and students — should register for testing. If you have not previously been tested at Dominican and plan to come to campus for optional, in-person small-group class, meetings, or activities, please contact email@example.com to register to be part of a testing pool. You can always see our results by going to the dashboard on our website.
Spring 2021 Courses
Many courses will be primarily online with the option of adding on small group, in-person sessions outside of the scheduled time block. Experiential learning courses and those classes where learning outcomes rely on in-person learning will take place on campus. Currently the California Department of Health will only allow 25% occupancy in the classroom; we will of course notify the campus if that changes. Our outdoor classrooms are available, several of which have whiteboards. Spring course delivery formats have been designated accordingly in Self-Service and are live for advising.
Intercollegiate athletics will resume in the spring term with a phased start for all athletic programs. In line with NCAA guidelines, all teams will see modifications to their schedule; mainly less long-distance travel and a shortened season of competition. Athletics is following NCAA guidance for student health and wellness, which includes multiple COVID-19 tests for student athletes each week.
Campus Housing (Residence Halls & Townhomes)
The residence halls and townhomes will be open for the spring 2021 semester, and public health and state protocols allow for increased occupancy from fall semester. Any student wanting to live in the residence halls or townhomes should contact firstname.lastname@example.org to explore options. Students who would benefit by living on campus (thus receiving more direct access to support services, technology, and peer engagement) are encouraged to request housing for the spring term.
As we discussed earlier this fall, we will have a series of meetings on the budget (both for this fiscal year and ongoing planning) to update everyone on the status of the Dominican at 130 strategy. As we did last year, Vice President Pitchford, Vice President DeCocinis and I will make presentations across campus for faculty and staff. Presentations will be given in groups to: the School of Health and Natural Science, the School of Liberal Arts and Education, the Barowsky School of Business, Athletics, and Staff Assembly. Dates are still being confirmed for this semester.
Employee Support Survey Findings
Thank you to everyone who completed the Employee Support Survey. Your responses indicate that many of you would like to be on campus, but have ongoing concerns about health and safety. Many of you are also facing challenges as you support other family members and children at home with remote learning. Overwhelmingly, you responded that continuation of telecommuting/remote work and flexible hours would be the most beneficial. We will continue to support this approach as we all continue our important educational efforts while safeguarding our community. With that in mind, there are a number of resources available to assist, including:
Telecommuting and Remote Work Agreements
In support of maintaining flexibility for our staff employees, the University has implemented a telecommuting agreement and remote work checklist. It is requested supervisors work with individual staff employees and return the forms to HR. For more information, please contact email@example.com.
Faculty and Staff Professional Development Offerings
All faculty and staff have access to the Moodle course that houses online resources. Though the course was titled “Faculty Resources for Teaching: Online, Hybrid, and In-Person,” it soon came to serve as a hub for resources that support teaching and also campus interactions and personal well being. Login and peruse the materials. In case you are wondering how to take care of yourself and/or interact with others in these stressful times, check out the workshop recordings and materials in section six.
Student Resource iSite
The Student Resource iSite provides quick access to helpful information. In addition to campus resources, we provide students with info about COVID-19 (including how to report) as well as how to alert the University about those impacted by wildfire.
The CARE team continues to receive reports of students needing additional guidance and support. During these challenging times, the campus community is encouraged to refer any student who may be struggling to the CARE team for outreach.
Counseling and Mental Health Resources
Information for Students
University Counseling Services (UCS) offers telehealth counseling to all students for the fall term. UCS counselors are available for appointments, which can be made by contacting the Student Health Center (415) 485-3208 or via the Moodle Student Group request form.
Employee Assistance Program for Faculty and Staff
As our community continues to adapt to the current environment, individuals may need additional resources to support their mental, physical, spiritual, and emotional health. In addition to employee health plans, Dominican’s partnership with the Employee Assistance Program provides access to mental health and wellbeing support. For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Calm Mindfulness and Meditation App
Kaiser is offering members a free premium subscription to Calm, an app-based mindfulness and meditation program. For more information about the resources the app offers, please visit the Kaiser website. You may download the Calm app here.
Fall 2020 Potential Power Outages
In the event of local/regional disruptions to power caused by wildfire — including unexpected power loss or planned Public Safety Power Shutdowns (PSPS) — facilities on campus will be made available to faculty and students for teaching and learning spaces. (Assuming that the power issues are not directly impacting the Dominican campus.)
Offices are accessible, and smaller meeting/conference rooms will be made available to those without a dedicated campus office to teach classes via Zoom. Please contact your school Director of Operations or department administrative personnel to reserve a room.
Library access is available Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., and the Edgehill Mansion from 7 a.m.-10 p.m. every day of the week. Additional study spaces are provided in Guzman Hall, Rooms 110, 111, 112, 113, and 114, which are open Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Signage outside the doors of those classrooms will notify students of capacity restrictions. Be advised: students are required to wear masks at all times in any indoor space.
We will continue to provide updates via these newsletters as conditions and public health protocols change. Meanwhile, you should not hesitate to reach out to your supervisor, your chair or dean, or the relevant vice president if you have questions.
I thank you again for your adaptability, your spirit of teamwork, and your willingness to support our students and each other through this challenging time. I look forward to the day when we can all gather in person to congratulate each other on a job well done.
Mary B. Marcy
Dominican University of California
Previous COVID-19 Messaging
Here you will find an archive of all messages that have been distributed that relate to Dominican's response to COVID-19.
Dominican President Mary B. Marcy issued the following statement on Wednesday, July 29.
Dear Dominican Students,
This is a challenging time for our campus community, our students, and indeed, the world. Dominican has a fall semester education plan that is supported by Marin Public Health; one that many of you helped to craft. But we are still awaiting updated directives from the State of California. At present the state only permits on-site instruction for essential programs. Lacking further guidance from the state, we will move ahead to a somewhat more remote start to the semester, phasing in more on-site courses and increased residence as permitted.
While a more remote start to the fall semester looks different from what we had anticipated, it aligns with the flexibility we have been building into our fall plans. The state has indicated that students in essential programs be allowed in-person instruction and on-site residency. Students who are not in those state-defined programs will begin online on August 24, then shift to in-person and hybrid when public health protocols change.
State-defined “essential workforce” training will be allowed on campus for instruction. Those majors include:
- Nursing & Pre-Nursing
- Occupational Therapy & Pre-OT
- Global Public Health
- Education Studies/Teacher Education
- Counseling Psychology
- Physician Assistant
These students are allowed to live in residence halls, which will be reduced to single-occupancy rooms. (We will also permit students to petition to live on campus if necessary to successfully engage in their studies.) When we are able to welcome all of our students back, those who are spending only a partial semester living on campus will have their housing and dining fees pro-rated to reflect that. We will issue an update on on-campus instruction by the week of September 14.
The news is of course disappointing, but we recognize that public health must be the priority, and will work closely with the entire Dominican community to support that goal. The Dominican Experience Flex program that we have been developing over the summer will ensure that every student has the high-quality, relationship-driven, individualized education that only Dominican can provide. Our network of integrative coaches and faculty mentors will remain focused on the success of every student. All universities face challenges in this pandemic. Because of our intimate scale, our commitment to student success, and our work this summer to build in flexibility regardless of the scenario, Dominican is well-positioned to respond to the challenges and deliver an exceptional education.
We will also be ready to welcome more students, faculty, and staff to campus once conditions improve. A recent gift paved the way for a comprehensive testing regime; as testing systems are able to provide more timely results, we will take advantage of that improved capability to support the health of our campus. We have spent the spring and summer revising classroom space and that of residential and dining life to facilitate physical distancing. We created new outdoor classrooms, installed signage across campus, and established thorough cleaning and disinfecting protocols. Our university population is small; our beautiful campus is located in a quiet residential neighborhood, not an urban center; our small class sizes more easily adapt to the physical distancing required.
The Dominican Experience Flex
Highly personalized teaching, thoughtful mentoring, and meaningful interactions with the community are at the heart of every student’s Dominican experience. None of this will change despite the challenges presented by COVID-19. Dominican is infusing flexibility and creativity into all plans in order to follow public health guidelines while providing all students with a high-quality education, a structured network of personal and professional support, and opportunities to interact with each other and our community.
With the innovative Dominican Experience Flex, in-person or virtually, you will still work with an integrative coach, engage meaningfully with the community, complete a signature work, and build a digital portfolio to showcase all that you have accomplished. These activities will create a highly meaningful educational experience, and position you for success in life and career. Here are a few examples:
- Integrative coaches are hosting one-on-one, small group, and community-building sessions with students. A Virtual Career Fair on Handshake, the app that connects students on college campuses with open positions, internships and entry level jobs is next.
- Your Community Engagement means doing something meaningful and memorable, whether it’s here on campus or “showing-up” virtually for community members. These will include Family Tech Literacy support for the Latinx immigrant community living in San Rafael’s Canal district, pairing up with youth through Marin County’s Free Library Reading Buddies exchange, documenting the stories of women weavers in a small village in Guatemala, or supporting Marin County Health and Human Services by working as contact tracers after learning the fundamentals of COVID-19 epidemiology and case investigation in the Global Public Health course “COVID-19 Contact Tracer Training.”
- For your Signature Work, pursue a passion while drawing on all the skills and knowledge you’ve gained throughout your years at Dominican. Start now, and plan to present your work at the annual Scholarly and Creative Works Conference next semester. It’s a great chance to show off your knowledge, research, and presentation skills to your peers, professors, family, as well as the entire Dominican community. Then, publish your signature work on Dominican Scholar, a website where researchers and employers from across the globe (over a million and counting!) read, download and share the work we do at Dominican.
- Finally, demonstrate career readiness with a robust Digital Portfolio that showcases your skills and talents via examples of your scholarly and creative work over your years at Dominican. For digital portfolio support, the Student Success Center will be offering virtual drop-in hours, individual consultations, and workshops as we begin fall semester.
Vice President for Academic Affairs Nicola Pitchford, Associate Vice President Mojgan Behmand, and the school Deans have reviewed fall courses and determined which are currently planned to be online, hybrid, and in-person. Courses planned for online delivery and designated as OL will remain online. Courses that are hybrid are designated as HY. If not in an essential program, they will begin remotely and plan to move to in-person, small-group meetings for students when permitted by public health guidelines. Hybrid and in-person courses that support essential workforce training in the disciplines listed above will begin right away as designed. Please examine your schedule in Self-Service and reach out to your program advisors and/or instructors for more details. Your faculty, advisors, and integrative coaches will also be communicating with you regarding specific plans for various aspects of your semester. International students are encouraged to contact the Office of Global Education for more detailed information.
Financial Aid & Billing
Dominican is committed to assisting students through this challenging time, and we are committing additional financial aid to support students this year. We have raised extra funds for our Close the Gap Scholarship to assist students with tuition and have also received significant new financial gifts to our Angel Fund, which supports non-tuition student needs like transportation, books, and technology. If you are experiencing a financial hardship or if your family's income is significantly different from what was reported on the FAFSA, please contact the Office of Financial Aid so we can learn about your situation and provide appropriate guidance on next steps.
The Campus Comprehensive Fee supports many campus activities that are fundamental to the student experience, and we will continue those activities. But since we are starting the fall semester with fewer students and activities directly on campus, we are reducing the Campus Comprehensive Fee by 50 percent. The Technology Fee and ASDU Fee will remain the same. These fees help support the operational expenses associated with scheduling and offering courses, billing, and financial aid; they help provide technology support; they provide support for counseling services, and they fund our student programming. All of these services will continue. Students will see a credit for 50 percent of the Campus Comprehensive Fee on their student account statement in the coming weeks. This credit is in addition to the one that will be on the student account for those who were housed on-campus and will no longer be starting the semester in on-campus housing.
Lastly, the Business Services Office has extended the first payment deadline to August 15, 2020. Questions about your student account can be directed to email@example.com
If you have any change in your financial situation or circumstances, or if you have questions, please contact the Office of Financial Aid with your questions at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Campus Testing Recommendation
The University is recommending that all students receive a COVID-19 test with a negative result within 14 days of their arrival on campus. (Faculty and staff are being asked to complete a daily health attestation.) We understand the challenges of accessing testing and getting timely results in many locations across the country at this time. If an individual is unable to access testing, they will be asked to attest that they are healthy — that they do not currently have symptoms associated with COVID-19, and have not been in contact with an individual known or suspected of having COVID-19. The attestation form will be emailed from the Office of the Dean of Students in the coming week.
We are establishing a testing advisory group of both internal and external partners to support design of our internal testing protocol for those on campus. We have great strength and depth of knowledge in our health sciences programs, and will tap that expertise to develop a rigorous protocol aligned with public health standards.
We want our community to be able to have access to updated health and wellness information and resources at all times. As such, we will make this information available on the University’s Fall Reopening webpage so you may access it whenever needed.
Housing & Dining
Dominican housing will open beginning in August for students who will live on campus for essential workforce academic majors (see above), and for students who have special circumstances who would be better served by living on campus. The Department of Housing and Residence Life will be sending an email later this week with additional information and follow-up action required by students. Once you receive that email, please be sure to click on the link to the online form where students will be asked to confirm their housing needs for fall.
For students who are on campus beginning in August, Caleruega Dining Hall and Chilly’s Café will continue to customize their menus for a variety of options, while at the same time implementing physically distant dining and increasing the frequency of sanitizing. Campus dining has pre-order and contactless payment options, as well as more grab-and-go items, and many options for socially distanced outdoor seating.
The Student Life staff — in partnership with the Associated Students of Dominican University (ASDU), our student governing board — will provide virtual programming that fosters engagement and nurtures the student community at Dominican. From game nights and “movies with meaning” to guest speakers and critical discourse spaces, we invite students to connect with one another and participate in opportunities that will be fun, engaging, and purposeful. Please check your email for updates and invitations from ASDU and the Office of Student Activities and Engagement.
The Office of Information and Technology Services has invested in new tech and upgrades to enhance support for our students. Dominican has added Zoom to its suite of virtual tools, and faculty have been trained in its effective use. Moodle is our online system used by instructors to make assignments, communicate with students and track progress. Self-Service grants access to unofficial transcripts, final grades, current schedules; allows students to search/register for classes and pay tuition/add money to their Penguin Pass.
Students who are facing access and technology issues, for example lacking a laptop or are experiencing struggles with Wi-Fi capability, should contact their major advisor or program chair as soon as possible to take advantage of Dominican’s programs which offer support, which include Chromebooks and portable Wi-Fi hotspots. Your programs will collaborate with the Academic Affairs Office and Student Affairs to attend to your technology and access needs.
On July 23 the PacWest Athletic Conference Executive Board voted unanimously to postpone fall sports until after January 1, 2021. PacWest fall sports include men's and women's cross country, men's and women's soccer, and women's volleyball. The action was taken due to rapidly changing information and guidelines from the NCAA, as well as the states, counties, and areas where the 11 PacWest institutions compete. Student athletes with questions should contact their coach directly with any questions or concerns. For more information please visit the Dominican Athletics website.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Even as we focus on these practical aspects of the fall semester, we will not lose momentum on our commitment to address the important questions of diversity, equity, and inclusion that affect our entire community. Indeed, the pandemic has illustrated in profound ways, and has aggravated further, the inequities in society and in education. Everything we are designing to support student learning this fall has equity and access in mind. In addition, we will announce within the next week a new Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. This will be an internal appointment, elevating existing expertise and strengthening leadership capacity. The Director’s first priority will be to partner with the Diversity Action Group and others to finalize our multiyear Strategic Diversity Plan, incorporating feedback from a mid-August faculty and staff retreat. This plan identifies goals and commitments in every area of our work together.
Connect With us And Get Your Questions Answered
Dominican will host a virtual town hall for continuing students this Thursday, July 30 at 7 p.m. PST. We invite you to register in advance; one registration per household, please. For those unable to participate, information will be publicly available on the University’s Fall Reopening webpage.
Paul Raccanello, Vice President for Student Affairs is hosting daily, virtual drop-in office hours now through August.
Years from now, as we look back on 2020, I want all of that campus community — students, faculty and staff — to be able to say that Dominican University of California saw the challenges of this extraordinary year, and used every tool at its disposal, leveraged every advantage of a small school and intimate educational experience, and met those challenges head on. I want all of us to be proud of what we accomplish this year. The pillars of a Dominican education — study, reflection, community and service — are more relevant this year than ever before.
I invite you to join me in meeting these challenges,
Mary B. Marcy
Dominican President Mary B. Marcy issued the following statement on Friday, July 24.
Dear Dominican Students,
I know many of you continue to wonder about our plans for the fall semester. One thing is certain. The Dominican Experience Flex is our commitment to ensuring all students have a transformative education in a safe and supportive environment. Our faculty have spent the summer rethinking and redesigning their fall courses. We invite you to read about how we are innovating.
We continue to await the Governor’s guidelines for any changes that might be needed for our fall plans. Because our approach is highly flexible, we can adapt it as needed to respond to public health updates.
As announced by the PacWest today, our fall sports — volleyball, soccer, and cross country — will be postponed, likely until the spring. We will continue to evaluate the status of winter sports, such as basketball, later this fall.
So that we can respond to your questions and address concerns, we are pleased to announce an upcoming town hall and daily office hours with Dominican's Vice President for Student Affairs.
Virtual Town Hall on July 30
We will be hosting a virtual town hall event on Thursday, July 30 from 7-8 p.m. The town hall will be conducted via Zoom (free to use — download Zoom) and will feature the following Dominican panelists:
- Mary B. Marcy, DPhil - President
- Vanessa Gropetti, ’21 - ASDU President
- Nicola Pitchford, PhD - Vice President for Academic Affairs & Dean of the Faculty
- Paul Raccanello, EdD - Vice President for Student Affairs & Dean of Students
If you would like to participate, please complete this registration form by July 29 (one registration per household). We will send you the link to access the town hall in advance. As part of your registration, you will be able to submit questions to the panel in advance. We will address as many of the topics as possible during the session.
There is limited capacity for the virtual town hall. For those unable to attend, we will post a summary with updated information on the Dominican website after the event.
Virtual Office Hours
We recognize that some students and families may be unable to participate in the town hall and may have additional questions. Vice President Raccanello will host daily virtual office hours for students and parents to drop-in via Zoom. Office hours will begin on Monday, July 27.
For those unable to participate in the town hall or office hours, questions/concerns about student life and the student experience may be sent to email@example.com. Questions/concerns specific to the University’s planning and preparations related to COVID-19 can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We will continue to keep you informed through my weekly newsletters, and via Dominican's website. Please join us at these information sessions — we look forward to connecting with you.
Mary B. Marcy
Dominican University of California
Dominican President Mary B. Marcy issued the following statement on Monday, June 15.
Dear Dominican Students and Families:
This spring, our faculty quickly adapted to delivering their courses online while retaining that important Dominican commitment to creating a community of learners. They maintained meaningful online interactions with students through Zoom, providing content through lectures and then context for that content through smaller discussion groups. They worked with community partners to ensure many clinical, internship, and service-learning placements were able to continue through the semester. Our staff ensured that support systems and business operations continued without interruption. It was intense, complex, unprecedented — all the things that you hear about. I’m proud that we pulled it off, and did so with real quality.
As we look ahead to the fall, we are incorporating the best of what we learned from the spring semester, while anticipating the return of our students, faculty and staff. We look forward to the vibrancy and vitality that comes with the gathering of our Dominican community.
This academic year will look very different. We will ensure continuity of education, even as we are proactive in protecting the health and safety of the entire campus community. We will remain agile and responsive, building into our plans the ability to integrate instructional best practices with the flexibility of interacting remotely as needed. Currently, our Fall Strategy Team and its four working groups are developing a comprehensive plan for the 2020-2021 academic year. With physical distancing recommendations likely to remain in place for the foreseeable future, we are leveraging our small size to make decisions based on research, advice, and regulatory protocols from state and county health officials.
The comprehensive plan developed by the Fall Strategy Team will be completed in early July and more detailed information will be provided then. Meanwhile, I am pleased to share the following updates.
Health And Safety
The pandemic will not end for some time, and so we must develop new practices that embrace a fundamental shift in our operations. The health and safety of students, faculty, staff, and visitors on campus will be integrated into all of our interactions and protocols. We are working closely with Marin Health and Human Services to ensure that our planned operations are congruent with their guidance and suggested best practices. Additionally, our own experts on campus in the Student Health Center and the Global Public Health program are playing an integral role in guiding us as we shape and implement new practices.
Students can expect changes with the return to campus, including physical distancing requirements, health self-assessments, the use of face coverings, enhanced cleaning, and partitions where appropriate. We will provide education and training to all members of our campus community, realizing that individual responsibility and good judgment will be as important on campus as they are in our homes and daily lives.
Even with the measures we take, there will be cases of infection on campus, just as there will be in the larger world. We will have procedures for self-isolation and quarantine in place by the time fall semester begins. We are engaged in discussions with leading health experts about the importance of testing, and are defining how regular screening could be implemented on campus. We will need cooperation from everyone to reduce risks.
Academic Excellence And The Dominican Experience
Our dedicated faculty are developing a full range of flexible and engaging curriculum delivery options to ensure the best possible experience for our students. Our primary emphasis will be on individualized, personal interactions, while we remain adaptable to meet public health measures.
We are excited about embracing a variety of innovative approaches that can be delivered online, in a hybrid model, or in-person. These approaches include the flipped classroom model, which will feature small group and tutorial style meetings enhanced by online readings and assignments. We will broadly employ high quality hybrid approaches to accommodate safety guidelines, particularly those for students whose health conditions prevent a return to the classroom or who may need to self-isolate. We will also offer courses online due to physical distancing and space limitations.
Regardless of the method of delivery, The Dominican Experience will not diminish. This relationship-driven, individualized education will continue. Our network of integrative coaches and faculty mentors will remain focused on the success of every student.
Classrooms And Campus Facilities
We have evaluated every campus facility, including classrooms, labs, and common spaces. This summer we are making changes to our facilities by installing signs and marking spaces to reinforce the importance of physical distancing. Dominican already offers small class sizes; we also are getting creative when planning to use our spacious campus. In the fall, some of our classrooms will be indoors or online while some will move outdoors so that we can take advantage of our mild Northern California climate. Imagine learning under the redwoods or in a secluded grove next to the creek.
We are preparing our residence halls and townhouses for the appropriate protocols that will be implemented within the facilities. Our planning is guided at every point by consideration for the health and safety of our students, our campus community, and our region. We have reserved a number of private, single rooms for individuals should the need for self-isolation or quarantine be necessary for a campus resident.
Caleruega dining hall and Chilly’s Café will operate differently when we return. Our chefs will continue to customize our menus for a variety of serving options, with the understanding that tasty and nutritious food is crucial for well-being. In addition to implementing physically distant dining and increasing the frequency of sanitizing, campus dining is developing pre-order and contactless payment options, as well as more grab-and-go items.
Seeing beyond the medical and social crises of this historical moment is not without challenge. Adapting to our current reality requires extensive coordination, careful thought, and informed action in today’s uncertain environment. Our Dominican community, marked by intellectual engagement, kindness, respect, and an enduring commitment to the thriving of each of its members, can help us move beyond this moment. Together, we will study and reflect so that we can reimagine a stronger, more equitable and healthy world. Let us continue this work together.
Mary B. Marcy
Dominican President Mary B. Marcy issued the following statement on Wednesday, May 20
Dear Students and Families:
Congratulations on working with great focus and diligence through a spring semester like no other. In these extraordinary times, the value of a personalized education has never been more evident, or more urgent. This past semester our campus community has done a tremendous job working remotely. Our online and remote work did not lessen the value of our mission.
However, one thing became abundantly clear: You miss working with faculty in the classroom. You miss each other. And, our faculty really miss the one-on-one interaction with their students. Technology can enhance our classes — and there is much we plan to do to further integrate the latest technology into student learning — but technology cannot replace our close-knit, on-campus residential community.
In a time of unprecedented change and uncertainty, I want you to be certain of one thing: We are here for you. The essence of The Dominican Experience is that students have a rich array of experiences inside and outside the classroom. Our network of mentors and advisors remain ready to support you from through commencement and beyond. Our faculty remain ready to inspire you to embark on a journey of research and scholarship. Our community partners remain ready to engage with you — and to help you become true leaders.
We intend to welcome students to campus and conduct in-person courses this fall, state and county orders permitting. Our mission, as embodied by The Dominican Experience, will not change. We will adjust how we deliver that education based on research, advice from local, state and national public health experts, and our own internal expertise. That means some things will look different as we adapt to evolving public health protocols, but the close-knit community and sense of engagement will not change. It is simply in Dominican’s DNA to create such a learning environment. We are fortunate that our beautiful, spacious campus grounds allow for community even as we employ best public health protocols. Our relatively small size means there are almost no large classes in our curriculum, and allows us to be nimble in tackling current and prospective issues as they arise.
We are working closely with the Marin County Public Health Officer and the Marin County Office of Education as we plan for the upcoming academic year.
I have appointed a cross-functional task force to develop a comprehensive plan for preparing the campus for fall 2020. Its members will be responsible for developing strategies that will enable us to remain flexible while continuing our work and learning. Fortunately, these efforts will not be as difficult for us compared with large schools or those in denser urban areas.
The team will also assess technology, training, policy, and infrastructure needed to offer our high-impact learning experiences in hybrid or remote delivery contexts if necessary. We will ensure that students have equitable access to learning in any scenario.
We anticipate opening our residence halls and townhouses for occupancy in the fall. We are planning for each facet of student life, including securing additional student housing within Marin County. Our planning is guided at every point by consideration for the health and safety of our students and our impact on our local community, through our partnership with Marin County Public Health. We will continue to keep you informed as decisions are made.
We know you may not have been able to visit campus in person because of the travel restrictions imposed due to the coronavirus. To give you a taste of the Dominican Experience, we have developed a free virtual summer term to help you get to know other students, work with our professors, and have fun. You can earn up to two units without being charged tuition or a campus fee.
These 25 free courses reflect our professors’ expertise and interests — from examining the origins of COVID-19, to developing a radio show, to studying Hollywood movies through the perspective of aesthetics, capital, and politics. You can gain Excel skills in a class led by the Dean of the Barowsky School of Business. You can learn about herpetology (the study of amphibians and reptiles) in a biology class focused on exotic pets. Or you can prepare for your time on campus via two courses — “Mastering College” and “Life Skills” — which will be led by staff mentors (“Integrative Coaches”) who are specially trained to help with your transition to college. Detailed course descriptions can be found here.
We understand that the information provided on your FAFSA may not accurately reflect your family's current financial situation. It is a challenging time. If things have changed, please reach out to discuss the situation and see how we can help. It's not too late to file the FAFSA for the 2020-21 academic year. More than 90 percent of our students receive some form of financial aid — scholarships, grants, loans, and/or work-study. The Financial Aid Team is here to support you. Connect with us by scheduling a Zoom appointment, sending an email, or giving us a call at (415) 257-1350.
In the coming weeks and months, you will receive updates on our progress to prepare for the fall semester. We are so excited about welcoming our “penguins” back to our campus — to our close-knit, fun, and caring Dominican family. Until then, I wish you and your family a safe and healthy summer.
Mary B. Marcy
Dominican President Mary B. Marcy issued the following statement on Thursday, April 30:
This week’s newsletter is a joint communication from the Board Chair, Carolyn Klebanoff, and me. The Senior Team has been working closely with Board leadership as we address the ongoing issues raised by the coronavirus pandemic and our plans for the future. The Board’s commitment to Dominican's mission and support of our work is not always visible to the campus, but in times like these, it is highly valued. Thus, we wanted to share today’s message with all of you.
Dear Dominican Students and Families:
The last two months have not been without significant challenges. We are grateful and proud of our students for a swift, thoughtful, and impressive adaptation in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. Many students will successfully graduate, and many more will continue their education because of their great fortitude and persistence. While dealing personally with your own set of demands under the shelter-in-place order, you, our students and families, have demonstrated profound resilience. Thank you for being a part of the Dominican community that inspires us daily — now, more than ever.
We write today to share important information on two topics as we plan for continued adaptation: our approach to the summer, and our plans for starting fall semester.
Summer Programs and Planning
Our summer work will be significantly affected by the pandemic and necessary public health protocols. We expect summer classes to be offered online. Additionally, we will be offering several online courses free of charge to current and prospective students. This will provide an opportunity for students to experience the value of a Dominican education — albeit virtually — and will keep our community engaged while we continue to navigate the pandemic. A number of faculty and staff quickly agreed to develop these courses, and for this we are thankful.
Starting Fall Semester
The President’s Cabinet is developing plans for all aspects of the University’s operations for the upcoming academic year, working closely with the faculty and staff. We are planning for a range of scenarios; however, it is our assumption that we will start fall semester on campus, with primarily in-person classes and onsite work. Our relatively small institution and average class size lend themselves to social distancing, and our beautiful open campus grounds provide a space for community even as we employ best public health protocols.
We will need to build in greater flexibility for our course delivery, protect our students, employees, and the larger community as we design our fall semester. We are developing options for student housing, for managing larger events, and for ensuring the dining hall is operating safely. As we develop our plans for the fall, we are working closely with Marin’s public health officer, the State of California, and with other independent colleges and universities in the region and state. More details about these plans will be provided in the coming days and weeks.
We remain grateful for the extraordinary flexibility and shared commitment to education our students and their families have demonstrated in recent weeks. Likewise, we are inspired by the faculty, staff, and broader Dominican community for their dedication to our institutional mission. We move forward together with resolution and confidence that those same characteristics will ensure that we emerge from this time with strength and continued focus on the enduring Dominican values of study, reflection, community, and service — on behalf of our students, ourselves, and our society.
Dominican President Mary B. Marcy issued the following statement on Thursday, April 16:
Dear Campus Community:
As announced in my March 26 newsletter, our traditional in-person Commencement ceremony will not take place as planned this spring. That said, we cannot allow the Class of 2020’s graduation, a momentous occasion, to pass without a joyous commemoration.
The Commencement Committee has worked in collaboration with student leaders in ASDU to recommend the style, tone, and elements that will make for a memorable celebration. With input from the class, an upbeat, documentary-style video and production is underway.
The short film will be broadcast on Saturday, May 16, at 10 a.m. on Dominican’s YouTube channel. Although our community members may be in different locations, we will come together through technology to recognize the resilience and the accomplishments of this year’s graduates.
Dominican President Mary B. Marcy issued the following statement on Thursday, March 26:
Dear Campus Community:
It has been an intense 10 days since the first shelter in place order was issued by the county health officers of the Bay Area, and I am writing to you today with some important updates. Our decisions continue to be informed by guidance from health officials, and the health and safety of our students and community remains our highest priority.
Based on the latest COVID-19 information, Dominican will extend remote instruction through the end of the academic year. It is poignant, and now also clearly apparent, that we also must fundamentally change our commencement ceremony in light of public health directives concerning large group gatherings.
Our Commencement Committee, which has been responsible for so many grand celebrations, is committed to making sure that the graduates of 2020 receive recognition for their work, and a chance to celebrate with our community. With that focus, we will offer two events rather than one — a virtual celebration this spring, and, for those who are able to attend, an in-person event next fall.
The virtual celebration will be held on May 16, the original date of Commencement. It will be designed in collaboration with ASDU and student input. We will reconvene in the fall with a ceremony on campus.
More information for students will be available in the coming weeks. For Faculty, we ask that you please continue to save the date of May 16, and stay tuned for further details.
Completing the Semester Online
Faculty and students should plan for remote instruction to continue for the remainder of the spring semester. In a limited number of cases in professional programs, no remote replacement for lab hours and/or required clinical placements has yet been developed; in these cases, communication will continue between program faculty and students as we evaluate options.
A temporary revision and expansion of the University’s policy on awarding Incomplete (INC) grades is currently being drafted and will be moved rapidly through the appropriate shared governance approval process. This is to respond supportively and flexibly to any cases where we find there is no acceptable way of completing course delivery by the end of this semester, as well to cases of individual students who are unable to complete coursework for unusual and legitimate reasons.
Students should contact their instructors or the chair of their programs with questions specific to their academic progress. For further academic and personal support, contact the Student Success Center or reach out to one of our integrative coaches.
Student Success Working Group
The staff and personnel in the Student Success Center and in Student Life are working online and remotely to continue to provide support and guidance to students. In addition to academic guidance and support, we are exploring opportunities for students to engage with their peers and communities — albeit virtually — to foster interaction and promote well-being during these challenging times.
The teams have created a student resource website that lists the various support programs, engagement opportunities, and important information for students. The site is updated periodically — please do visit frequently.
With the decision to complete the remainder of the spring 2020 term via remote course delivery, we will close the residence halls for the remainder of the spring term. This decision is informed, in part, by Governor Newsom’s executive order and the directives concerning University residential facilities.
We understand that this is a challenge for our student community; the loss of access to the residence halls and meal plan was not something anyone anticipated, and is also a great loss of community for the entire campus. As a result of this necessary closing, the university will be working with students and families to prorate residence hall costs in line with guidelines from the federal Department of Education’s financial aid policies.
In the coming days, the Department of Housing and Residence Life will send detailed information to students about the move-out process, including dates and times and coordination of access to facilities, while being mindful of social distancing guidelines. Additionally, we will provide details of the prorated room/board costs and how that will be handled through the University’s Business Services Office once students are officially moved out of their assigned residence hall spaces.
Virtual Town Hall for Students and Families
In order to provide students and families with more detailed information and to offer some insight into what to expect the remainder of the semester, we will be hosting virtual “Town Hall Gathering” programs for students and families within the coming weeks. Campus leaders will present essential information via the online town hall. In addition to important informational updates, students and families will have the opportunity to ask questions directly to University leadership. The shift to online instruction and support has been sudden, and email communication is often not the most effective way to facilitate communication. The Town Hall format will allow us to interact more directly, and cover a wide array of issues. It will also help us be in the same ‘room’ together, albeit virtually, something we all seek as part of our Dominican community. Once the date has been confirmed, we will send a separate email invitation for the town hall.
Resources for Faculty and Staff
As faculty and staff plan for remote instruction to continue for the remainder of the spring semester, we invite faculty and staff to use this survey to request trainings or to share expertise. To help us stay connected (and of course in alignment with our Dominican value of community), the link also offers the chance to request virtual lunch (or other) gatherings. Additionally, the Faculty Resource Site provides a number of materials, recorded trainings, and information designed to support Faculty in your online teaching and learning. If you are working remotely and need office access to retrieve materials, please coordinate with your direct supervisor to establish access. Campus Security is permitted to open campus facilities as needed once access has been confirmed. If you have questions or need support, please email email@example.com.
I will continue to send regular updates via this newsletter, both to keep us informed in the rapidly shifting environment, and to keep us connected, albeit virtually, to our strong community. Please know that our online and remote work does not change the nature of our community, or lessen the value of our mission. I remain grateful for your good spirit and good work as we continue to adapt.
— Mary B. Marcy, President
Dominican President Mary B. Marcy issued the following statement on Monday, March 23:
Welcome to the last stretch of our academic year, and to the first day of online course delivery! Today's update comes in the form of a video.
After today, I will no longer send daily messages, but I will continue to provide updates as needed. For the next few days and weeks as we adapt, let's all focus on ensuring the Dominican values and culture shine through, even as we embrace a new mode of educational delivery.
Dominican President Mary B. Marcy issued the following statement on Monday, March 16:
Dear Dominican Campus Community:
Based on today’s directive from the public health officers of the Bay Area, Dominican will be delivering all courses and conducting all work online. The directive is effective at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, March 17, and is expected to last until April 7.
Online course delivery will commence as planned on Monday, March 23. Remote work for all non-essential personnel will begin tomorrow.
Faculty and Staff
This afternoon please gather any materials necessary to work from home or deliver courses from home. All non-essential portions of our physical campus will be closed for the duration of the shelter in place order. This means you will not have access to your office until the order has been lifted. Only essential personnel will be permitted to return to campus after today. We will notify those individuals who have been designated as essential personnel once we have more information from the public health agency about the scope of their directive. Please do not return to campus unless you have been notified to do so.
Residence halls will remain open for those students who need our campus as a space to shelter in place. These students will receive pre-made take-out meals from the dining hall. Any students staying on campus must check in with their RA this afternoon, and as soon as possible. Students who wish to leave the residence halls may make arrangements to do so but will not be permitted to return upon departing.
Like the rest of campus, the President's Cabinet has been preparing for the need to work fully online. We will continue to meet and provide regular updates to our community about essential functions. I know you have many questions, as do I; I will share information as I have it. The important thing is to recognize that while this is a difficult situation, it is also temporary, and we are fortunate to have a strong campus and community as we respond. Please be patient as we implement the directives of the public health agency and continue our mission.
We will work through this unprecedented challenge together. I have tremendous confidence in the values, the integrity, and the significance of the Dominican community. Please take care of yourselves and your loved ones, and know that, although it is temporarily in a virtual space, our community and our work continues.
For more specific questions or further information:
- Students and families:
Paul Raccanello, Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students
- Communications/media relations:
Sarah Gardner, Executive Director of Communications
- General queries:
Dominican President Mary B. Marcy issued the following statement on Friday, March 13:
Events concerning the coronavirus are moving quickly, and the University’s leadership is committed to supporting community health and to continuing our mission. This page contains further updates about changes to operations on campus after spring break.
Regular academic classes will be suspended this coming week, March 16-20. This will allow the campus to prepare for online course delivery beginning March 23, and to fully implement protocols to best support the health of our community.
The University has been following the Marin County Health and Human Services recommended public health guidelines, which until now have encouraged schools to remain open. But events are moving rapidly, and the University must be proactive to support our community’s health. University leadership is implementing the following changes as outlined below.
Information for Students and Families
Classes: Please note the following changes to academic class delivery for the spring 2020 semester:
- March 16-20: Regular classes will be suspended this week. (Please see below for information regarding non-lecture classes, such as clinicals and fieldwork placements.)
- Beginning March 23: Classes that can be taught remotely will move to online course delivery.
- March 23 through the end of the spring semester: The University will continue online classes as long as necessary. We will continue to monitor the situation and work with our public health partners to determine when it is appropriate to return to in-class instruction.
Residence Halls: The residence halls (including Townhomes) and the dining hall remain open to those students choosing to stay on campus. There may be modifications to room arrangements and changes to dining services; the Department of Housing and Residence Life will send follow-up information to resident students in the coming week, and we ask resident students to please respond to those emails.
Clinicals and Fieldwork Placements: Clinicals and fieldwork placements will continue to meet as scheduled. We remind students that the requirements for clinical and fieldwork placements are set by State authorities and, as such, the loss of clinical/fieldwork hours have implications for students’ progress toward graduation. Students should stay tuned for communications from their programs. Additionally, students will be notified by their program faculty if there will be changes or disruptions to their clinical or fieldwork placements. Faculty are working closely with our healthcare partners to ensure the safety of our students.
Osher Life Long Learning Institute (OLLI): Classes will not be held in the coming week. Updates will be provided to members later in the week regarding the upcoming spring term. (Update: spring quarter classes canceled.)
Student Employees: Student employees may return to work beginning on March 16. Students not returning to work should communicate with their supervisor ASAP.
Athletics and Conlan Recreation Center: The PacWest has discontinued athletics competitions through April 3. All athletics practices and events are canceled for the week of March 16-20. The Department of Athletics will provide additional information to student-athletes and coaches in the coming week. The Conlan Recreation Center will be closed March 14-22. All classes and events in Conlan are canceled for the week.
Information for Faculty and Staff
Professional Development: Faculty and staff, additional information regarding resources and training for remote teaching and work will be available next week.
Faculty Training: IT Services and Academic Affairs are developing a series of training workshops (Google Hangouts, Zoom, and Moodle, VPN) to prepare faculty for remote instruction and access. Academic Affairs will distribute information about sessions and locations. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with questions regarding the training offerings. Adjunct faculty currently teaching this semester will be paid for the time they spend training as per the CBA. Adjunct faculty may contact email@example.com with questions.
Staff: Campus offices will remain open. Department supervisors should designate one employee to serve as the primary contact with IT; that individual can also assist colleagues with technology-related questions. Supervisors should determine how best to use March 16-20 in order to prepare for the possibility of many employees working from home. Some departments may want to practice remote work for those days, while others may want to team-train. Staff are welcome to attend the faculty training if it is relevant to their work.
Workday: All employees can now access Workday from any location, including off-campus:
- Login to your Dominican email
- Go to www.myworkday.com/dominican/d/home.htmld
If you have problems accessing Workday, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Accessing dataworker shares via the VPN: Please review the video for instructions on how to access dataworker shares via the VPN. If you do not know the path or location for your dataworker share, please email email@example.com.
Sick Leave/Caring for Family Members: Dominican will provide work-at-home flexibility to employees who are at high-risk (i.e., chronically ill or immunocompromised prior to this outbreak), have a need to work remotely due to personal matters related to COVID-19, or have extenuating circumstances. Employees should consult with their direct supervisor and HR.
Supervisors are asked to please remain flexible with your staff needing to care for family members. If they can work at home, this would be the first option. If this is not possible, then they would need to contact HR.
Any member of the Dominican community who exhibits signs of the flu should self-quarantine and seek medical attention as directed by their provider.
Current sick leave eligibility and policies remain in place as defined in the Employee Handbook. In addition, the California EDD has made Disability, Paid Family Leave and Unemployment Insurance available for those impacted by COVID-19. HR is available to support these claims.
Information for the Campus Community
Large Events: Marin HHS' Public Health Division is recommending the cancellation or postponement of nonessential indoor gatherings of more than 100 people. Marin HHS is not making the same recommendation for outdoor events at this time because the risk for transmission outdoors is low. The Events Management Office is working with all internal and external clients to cancel or reschedule any affected events.
Travel: Following guidance from the Marin HHS’ Public Health Division, we are canceling all nonessential University travel until further notice. This includes student travel to conferences and select events. Those students, faculty, and staff currently away from campus on Dominican travel need not be recalled, but we do ask that they complete the University’s Travel Form. We are asking those who had planned to travel on behalf of the University to make every effort to secure refunds; many vendors are being more flexible than their normal policies allow.
Campus Cleaning: Expanded, frequent, and intensive disinfection of high contact surfaces and shared spaces on campus continues. Custodial staff have been instructed to follow health guidelines and are equipped with nitrile gloves for their own safety. Hand sanitizer has been made available in public areas.
Prevention: No matter where you are on campus or off, please take robust preventative public health and hygiene measures. These include washing your hands thoroughly five or six times each day, sneezing into a tissue or sleeved arm, and distancing yourself from others at the first sign of flu-like symptoms.
The campus community will continue to be updated via email as more information is available. In addition, we have established the coronavirus information page on our website where you will find the latest information on the University’s prevention and response efforts related to COVID-19. If you have any questions related to the University’s response and plans for COVID-19, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more specific questions or further information:
- Students and families:
Paul Raccanello, Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students
- Communications/media relations:
Sarah Gardner, Executive Director of Communications
- General queries: