Richmond Home

Jepson School Updates and Information: COVID-19

Message from the Dean: 

Never in my wildest dreams did I anticipate being dean of a school offering only online courses. Jepson faculty, with the assistance of our staff, have worked day and night to reimagine their teaching and courses.

This is not the semester we anticipated, but we are making sure our students remain connected to each other and to the School. Our seniors’ hard work and achievements will not be recognized in the usual ways during Senior Banquet, Finale, and Commencement, but the friendships and accomplishments gained in their time at UR will last, and we will celebrate at a future, happier time.

We will one day gather together and recognize their special ties to faculty, staff, and friends. I am certain that when we get through this crisis, we will be stronger for having gotten through it together.

Leadership is needed more than ever—and our students are the well-prepared leaders of our future. I have every confidence they will rise to the challenges ahead. We are living through an extraordinary time—with the opportunity, and the challenge, to explore policy and leadership options in real time.

Best wishes,

Sandra J. Peart
Dean and E. Claiborne Robins Distinguished Professor in Leadership Studies
President, Jepson Scholars Foundation

May 14: Leadership Speculations blog post by Dean Peart

We are all too familiar with the many negatives associated with the coronavirus pandemic: illness and loss of life, soaring unemployment rates, and the disruption of our education system from preschool through graduate school, to name but a few. Surely, the negatives far outweigh any positives, such as a healthier environment. Yet perhaps another positive, at least from the perspective of scholars and students of leadership, has been the opportunity to study leadership during a crisis.

Students in Dr. Lauranett Lee’s Leadership and the Humanities course did just that. In their final project, “Leadership During Crisis,” her students researched historic American crises from the nineteenth century to the present from the perspective of the University of Richmond.

Among others, they considered the leadership styles and strategies of Robert Ryland, the University’s president before and during the Civil War, and Douglas Southall Freeman, a Richmond College graduate and UR rector whose Pulitzer-Prize-winning biographies on Robert E. Lee contributed to the Lost Cause ideology. Exploring more recent history, students reported on how Richmond and other universities have grappled with the legacy of slavery as well as COVID-19.

Dr. Lee’s students came away with an understanding that the coronavirus pandemic is not the first, nor will it be the last, crisis our University and nation have faced. 

In her class Leadership in a Diverse Society, Dr. Crystal Hoyt emphasized how COVID-19 has brought social inequalities into stark relief. Her students analyzed the particularly injurious impact of COVID-19 on immigrant communities and the rapidly increasing hate crimes against Asian Americans. They examined how the pandemic has both exposed and widened existing racial, gender, and class disparities in criminal justice, education, employment, and health contexts.

Students in Dr. Kristin Bezio’s Critical Thinking and Methods of Inquiry class applied their newly honed analytical and evaluative skills in a virtual Giving Games debate about where their grant-funded class charitable contribution would have the greatest impact. Ultimately, they chose to donate to two charities currently working to support people affected by COVID-19.

The Swedish approach to the pandemic—practicing social distancing, but not mandatory lockdowns—was the subject of a paper written by a student in Dr. Javier Hidalgo’s Critical Thinking and Methods of Inquiry class. Another one of his students wrote a paper on why low-income countries should not pursue mandatory lockdowns in response to the crisis.

These are but a few examples of the ways our faculty and students have engaged intellectually with the leadership lessons unfolding during the coronavirus pandemic. A crisis like the one we currently face can move us from reflecting on historical leadership to witnessing and evaluating in-the-moment, raw leadership.

May 7: Leadership Speculations blog post by Dean Peart

This weekend we will celebrate Finale, the Jepson School’s senior recognition ceremony, followed by Commencement. Although the virtual nature of this year’s graduation events will be markedly different than previous years, the sentiment of celebrating our seniors’ accomplishments during their time at the University of Richmond remains unchanged. 

At Jepson, 74 majors and 15 minors have spent the last four years applying an inter-disciplinary lens to the study of leadership, with the goal of understanding how to lead ethically and effectively. They have considered what constitutes a just society, critically examined complex leadership dilemmas, explored different styles of leadership, and delved into leader-follower dynamics.

Jepson students have applied what they learned in the classroom by leading on campus and in the broader community. Some have led academically, such as the three Phi Beta Kappa initiates and the recipient of the SPIDY Presidential Award for the woman athlete with the top academic record. 

Others have fostered a sense of community through their leadership in the Jepson Student Government Association and the Jepson Corps. Still others have worked on campus-wide initiatives in their roles as presidents of the Interfraternity Council, the National Panhellenic Conference, and the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. 

Our seniors have been recognized for their civic engagement off campus as well. One received a city-wide award for her support of LGBTQ youth. Another, a national Newman Civic Fellowship in recognition of her outreach to refugees. A third, a Virginia Governor’s Fellowship to work on statewide education policy. 

These achievements represent but a sampling of how our leadership studies students have distinguished themselves during their collegiate years. We have much to celebrate this weekend. 

Yet our closing celebrations will not include the in-person camaraderie we anticipated. The COVID-19 pandemic that forced our campus community into virtual learning during the last six weeks of the semester also has necessitated a move to a virtual Finale and Commencement, which will be published Saturday morning to the Jepson and University websites, respectively. 

If anything good can be said about this disappointing end for our seniors, it is this: They have witnessed in real time what some have called the greatest challenge to global leaders since the end of World War II. The lessons they have learned about good and bad leadership will stay with them as they leave Jepson and the University to engage as active citizens and leaders.

Abigail Adams wrote, “It is not in the still calm of life, or the repose of a pacific station, that great characters are formed…the habits of a vigorous mind are formed contending with difficulties. All history will convince you of this…Great necessities call out great virtues.” 

We live in a time of great necessities. I have every confidence our graduates have developed the great virtues to lead us through these challenges.

April 30: Leadership Speculations blog post by Dean Peart

Servant leadership, a concept popularized by consultant Robert K. Greenleaf in the 1970s, is grounded in the notion of a leader who serves the needs and encourages the development of others, as opposed to the more traditional notion of a power-centered authoritarian leader. During the last six weeks I have witnessed servant leadership on a daily basis as the Jepson School staff have worked quietly and diligently behind the scenes to ensure the smooth operation of the School in these most challenging times.

Administrative staff Stephanie Trent, Linda Trent, Katherine Rockwell, and Michele Bedsaul assisted faculty with implementing the technology to move their classes online. They scanned and uploaded to Blackboard countless documents to ensure students could access their course materials remotely. Other staff members created new Web pages to showcase our faculty members’ COVID-19-related expertise and our students’ independent and honors research projects.

Even more than this, I am touched by our staff members’ care for our students, a care that goes above and beyond the constraints of their workday duties. Administrative coordinator Michele Bedsaul provides but one example. 

For several years, Michele has participated in the University’s Host Family Program, which matches international students with families of University alumni, faculty, and staff. International students don’t live with their hosts, rather they spend time with them—sharing meals, visiting local sites, and attending sporting events and performances.

Michele hosted three international students this year, including Fan Yueyi, a first-year student from China who adopted the American name “Pheebe.” When the University switched to remote learning mid-semester, most students moved back home with relative ease. But getting back to her home in Shenzhen, China, proved difficult for Pheebe.

After the cancellation of her May 4 flight and considerable negotiating with various airlines, Pheebe eventually secured a reservation for a flight departing April 26. Last Friday, Michele picked up Pheebe in Virginia Beach, where she had been staying with friends, and brought her to her home in Richmond. Two days later, Michele drove Pheebe to Delaware, where she met family friends who took her to Newark to catch her flight.

Pheebe’s story ends well: She made it back to China, where she is in quarantine for two weeks before she can travel to Shenzhen to be reunited with her mother. She is already looking forward to returning to the University, where she knows she has a friend and host she can count on.

For my part, I am most grateful to Michele and all the Jepson staff members who have supported our faculty and students with grace and good cheer throughout the unexpected twists and turns of the last six weeks. Indeed, their servant leadership undergirds the extraordinary community we know and love at the Jepson School and the University.

April 16: Leadership Speculations blog post by Dean Peart

Each year the University hosts a breakfast at which we honor the academic achievements of our athletes. As a student, I barely managed to run occasionally or play softball at a recreational level, so I am always impressed by our scholar-athletes who undertake so many additional commitments and yet manage to learn deeply and broadly. 

This year’s breakfast, held in February prior to spring break and COVID-19 social distancing, provided an opportunity to reflect on why such athletic achievement may complement the academic experience. Dr. Julian Hayter, associate professor of leadership studies, spoke briefly to the athletes, drawing on three overarching themes: mastery over controlled crisis, play and competition, and training for life. 

Beginning with the first, Hayter argued that team sports are an ongoing series of crises, which competitors must constantly navigate. Repeated exposure to chaos over which they have only partial control helps student-athletes become excellent decision makers and develop resiliency in the face of disappointments. They master the art of living through planned and unplanned events—an invaluable skill in our present times, where we are adapting daily to the evolving coronavirus pandemic.

What is the relationship between competition and play? While they are not the same, they complement each other. With few exceptions, one is a better competitor if one enjoys the sport; and one enjoys the sport if one is able to succeed at it, put it to the test of competition. Even those who run for the pure joy of passing by an isolated portion of the James River often use a timing device or post the run online to a group of colleagues, thereby comparing the run to their own former endeavors or to those of others who have taken the same route.

Our students are learning how to navigate life and, to be sure, courses in biology, history, and leadership studies give them many skills for that navigation. Again, there is complementarity: the athlete who perfects a play or works as a part of team must train rigorously and with determination. That training, Hayter argued, will pay off over a lifetime.

Indeed that complementary athletic and academic training is paying off right now. This Monday, the University of Richmond Athletics Department recognized many scholar-athletes, including five leadership studies students, at its annual—and this year, virtual—SPIDYs Award Show: Abby Lyons, ’20, Student-Athlete Advisory Committee president and Women’s Field Hockey Team captain, the Female Leadership Award; Jaide Hinds-Clarke, ’20, Women’s Basketball forward, the Civic Engagement Award; Emma Nash, ’20, Field Hockey Team defender and midfielder, the Iron SPIDY Award; Erika Echternach, ’20, Cross Country Team runner, Presidential Award for senior with the highest academic achievements; and Keegan Heher, ’22, Women’s Lacrosse Team defender, Second Year Academic Award. I couldn’t be prouder of these student-athletes.

At heart, I am an academic, as is Dr. Hayter. Notwithstanding, I greatly appreciate the benefits associated with athletic mastery and admire the determination of our students who compete at the Division I level, while also achieving in the classroom. To Dr. Hayter’s remarks I would add one additional reflection: Athletic training and achievement are deeply related to leadership. Those who learn to coordinate on the playing field are also learning the important life lesson of how to lead and when and how to follow.

April 16: Gray Court and Lora Robins Court: Packing and Storage of Belongings

Dear Gray Court and Lora Robins Court Residents, 

We are writing to you to provide information on plans for packing and storing your personal belongings in Gray Court and Lora Robins Court. 

We have been working hard to develop a plan to prepare Gray Court and Lora Robins Court for potential summer housing or other needs. As such, we must pack and store all student belongings that are remaining within each room. We will be working closely with Quality Moving Services, a company that the University has previously had very good experience. They are reliable and licensed professionals that have worked closely with the University community on many past projects. 

The first step in initiating this process is for you to complete THIS FORM by Friday, April 24. The form will help identify your belongings within your room. Beginning, Monday April 27, this information will be used as a much needed guide for our staff and Quality Moving Services to appropriately pack and label your belongings. All belongings will be stored on campus within secure climate controlled locations until we are able to reunite you with your belongings. Due to storage space limitations, bulk items (e.g. personal refrigerators and non-University furniture) will be stored separately in a secure location on campus and held for students until they return for the fall semester. All bulk items will be removed starting next week by University staff in order to create additional room for the moving company to work efficiently and effectively. 

We understand and appreciate you may have concerns and additional questions. Please know we will take genuine care of your belongings. The health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff continues to be our top priority. Working within the guidelines provided by the Governor, we are developing a plan for you to pick up your belongings and will communicate it as soon as we are able to finalize the dates. We continue to recognize and regret the disruption that this pandemic has caused our students and their families, and we are grateful for your understanding and patience. 

We wish you and your family the best during these difficult times. 

Stay well,

Steve Bisese
Vice President for Student Development

Patrick Benner
Director of Residence Life & Housing

April 13: Dean Peart's message to Jepson students

I hope you and your loved ones are well. I send my sincere wishes for your continued strength and resiliency during this uncertain time.

You may be interested in a few updates from the School as week four of remote teaching begins. First, I commend you for demonstrating remarkable creativity in how you have adapted to learning in this new environment. The School’s faculty and staff are doing everything possible to facilitate your learning.  

Speaking for myself, I am enormously happy to see some of you via Zoom on Mondays and Wednesdays when I teach my Economic Policy and Leadership class. This past Monday, Jeffrey Lacker, former president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, led our discussion on Federal Reserve policy in the last crisis and this one. What an extraordinary experience for all of us!

Beyond teaching in entirely new ways, the faculty and I are imagining how best to celebrate the achievements of our seniors, whose research and other accomplishments will be displayed on our website in the coming weeks. Finally, we are working hard to ensure all Jepson students remain on track to graduate; in particular, we are considering how our juniors may complete all requirements in these difficult times. Please know that the faculty, staff, and I will do everything possible to ensure you are successful in the weeks and months ahead. 

While we may be socially distant, as a School and a University we are a community of great strength, and we will come through this crisis together.

 

April 13: Dean Peart's message to Jepson alumni and parents

I hope you and your loved ones are well. Please accept my sincere wishes for strength and resiliency during this uncertain time.

You may be interested in a few updates from the School as week four of remote teaching begins. Our students continue to demonstrate remarkable creativity. They have adapted well and continue to learn in this new environment. The School’s faculty and staff are doing everything possible to facilitate that learning. Speaking for myself, I am enormously happy to see my students’ faces via Zoom on Mondays and Wednesdays when I teach my Economic Policy and Leadership class. This past Monday, Jeffrey Lacker, former president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, led our discussion on Federal Reserve policy in the last crisis and this one. What an extraordinary experience for all of us!

Beyond teaching in entirely new ways, the faculty and I are imagining how best to celebrate the achievements of our seniors, whose research and other accomplishments will be displayed on our website in the coming weeks. Finally, we are working hard to ensure all Jepson students remain on track to graduate; in particular, we are considering how our juniors may complete all requirements in these difficult times. Please know that the faculty, staff, and I will do everything possible to ensure our students are successful in the weeks and months ahead. 

While we may be socially distant, as a School and a University we are a community of great strength, and we will come through this crisis together.

April 9: Leadership Speculations blog post by Dean Peart

This week, I choose to be hopeful. I was inspired in this direction by messages from two very different leaders: Nobel laureate in economics Vernon Smith, whose upbeat opinion piece appeared in The Wall Street Journal, and Queen Elizabeth, who delivered a pithy four-minute speech on Sunday.

Both messages use a phrase that harks to Adam Smith’s “The Theory of Moral Sentiments.” In this 1759 book, Smith describes the motivational force associated with “fellow feeling,” our ability to imagine what others feel and to seek their approval of our actions. His observations have, as Vernon Smith attests, generated key hypotheses for a relatively new kind of economic analysis—experimental  economics.

What can this have to do with our current crisis? Vernon Smith assures us that “fellow feeling” will be an important ingredient in the survival and eventual thriving of our economy. Motivated by “fellow feeling,” we will adapt and rebound in ways that we can only speculate about presently. This crisis will be a time for learning amidst compassion for one another. Smith predicts that new, innovative ways of producing and delivering goods will emerge from constant experimentation in the months ahead and that some of these innovations will continue beyond the crisis. 

For her part, Queen Elizabeth rightly observes that overcoming the scourge of the virus will require a united and resolute series of steps inspired by “heart-warming stories of people coming together to help one another,” all motivated by “fellow feeling.” While recognizing that the days ahead will be disturbing and difficult, she affirms that we will succeed and that “success will belong to every one of us.”

She closes her remarks with a look to a better future: “While we may have more still to endure, better days will return. We will be with our friends again. We will be with our families again. We will meet again.”

This is my hope for all of us at the Jepson School of Leadership Studies and beyond. 

 

 

April 2: Fall 2020 class registration information message from Associate Dean Crystal Hoyt

 

Important Dates

Monday, April 6 - Advising Period Begins
Have you been in touch with your primary major advisor to schedule an advising appointment? (Check GradTracker to see who your primary advisor is and to make sure you are mark “Advised” before registration begins.)

Monday, April 13 - Fall Registration Begins
Do you know what day and time your registration rotation begins? Have you reviewed the Registration Checklist to maximize your registration success?

Monday, April 13 - Survey Opens for Fall 2020 Study Abroad Students ONLY.
If you have plans to study abroad in the Fall, be sure to log into BannerWeb to complete the survey to select optional Fall classes on campus, in the event your study abroad program is cancelled due to COVID-19.

Friday, April 24, by 5 pm - Spring 2020 Grading Responses are Due in BannerWeb
For the spring 2020 semester only, undergraduate students in Arts & Sciences (A&S), Robins School of Business (RSB), and Jepson School of Leadership Studies (JSLS) will have the option to earn a standard letter grade (A-F) or to opt for Credit/Credit with a D/No Credit (C/CRD/NC) for each Spring 2020 course they are enrolled. If a student earns CR or CRD, the student will earn a unit toward graduation. Courses taken CR/CRD/NC will not affect a student’s grade point average. Students are strongly encouraged to consult with their advisor before making a change to their grading selection. In addition, for the spring 2020 semester only, I, M, and V grades will not be permitted for undergraduate courses offered in A&S, RSB, and JSLS.

April 2: Leadership Speculations blog post by Dean Peart

This week, my class Zoom sessions were devoted to James Buchanan’s “Public Choice: Politics without Romance” article and Michael Munger’s “Crony Capitalism” podcast. I developed that content late last fall when I mapped out the Economic Policy and Leadership course syllabus, but the material seems particularly relevant for the current crisis. As always, my message to students is one of “eyes wide open”—examine policy options carefully with your eyes wide open as to motives, alternatives, and unanticipated consequences.

But the real story during our class sessions was a sense of loss that became strikingly evident when my students asked about “their stuff.” How will they get their stuff? We’re working on this, I answered. I pledged that the University will make sure they get it as soon as possible while complying with Governor Northam’s new rules on social distancing. The exchange revealed a deep sense of loss and worry among our students. 

For over a month, I’ve been so focused on our students’ learning that I’ve had time to think of little else. When it became clear that the Jepson School would move to remote instruction, I obsessed about how we would transition to ensure continued delivery of content. I reassured students, faculty, and staff that their health was of primary concern. This is as it had to be: our primary function is, after all, that of facilitating learning. 

I’m very pleased that we have cleared the bar. Jepson School faculty and staff stepped up to redesign and reimagine the delivery of their course materials. 

But my class discussions this week helped me fully appreciate one enormous cost of the COVID-19 crisis: the displacement of a generation of college students who were cut off mid-semester from their prized possessions, friends, and teachers. I am so very sorry for students who have had their lives disrupted.

Just as there is no easy solution to the economic problem we are discussing in class—crony capitalism—there is no easy answer to the current problem of displacement. Yet a simple acknowledgment may go some distance: it’s important to recognize the very real and disorienting sense of loss our students are experiencing. 

The human spirit is resilient. Our students, who have grown up interacting with technology, are leveraging that technology in creative ways to stay connected with friends, faculty, and loved ones. They are maintaining a sense of community by socializing on Zoom, Google Hangouts, and other platforms. But as reassuring as online socialization can be, it is no substitute for face-to-face interactions. 

In these trying times, I offer my students this ray of optimism: this displacement is temporary. Along with my colleagues at Jepson and the University of Richmond, I am doing everything possible to support their emotional well-being—not only working with them in the classroom but also, eventually, reuniting them with their friends, and, yes, their stuff.

When we get through this crisis, we will be the stronger for having gotten through it together.

April 1: Information on summer sessions, student research, and internships

 

Change and uncertainty have become our constant companions, but so has the ability of our community to work together to adapt during these challenging times. It has not been easy, and we have been asked to do many things we never imagined would be needed. Yet our classes are meeting, students are advancing in their coursework, and we are making progress. Thank you for all you have done and for your efforts ahead.

I write today with important information that will allow you to plan for undergraduate (A&S, Jepson, and Robins students) summer sessions, student research and internships, and activities on campus in the coming months. Due to the uncertainty of the COVID-19 virus, all classes for Summer Session I and most classes for Summer Session II will be taught online. University of Richmond courses for Summer 2020 that are approved for general education credit will count toward general education requirements regardless of the format of delivery (i.e., in-person or online).

The campus will not open for face-to-face instruction for Summer Session I. This means that there will be no students in residence on campus before June 15. For the period after June 15 and Summer Session II, we continue to plan for the possibility for on-campus residency depending on conditions. 

This has implications for the following:

Summer Session I Classes

Most classes in summer school that had been scheduled to begin in May are now scheduled for online delivery. Those that are not offered online will either switch to that format or be cancelled. Instructors should contact their summer program directors for further information. 

Summer Session II Planning: Two Paths

Many faculty and students are making decisions now regarding Summer Session II. To facilitate their planning, most Summer Session II classes are already listed as being offered online. This provides certainty that courses that may be needed for academic progress or graduation will be available, even as we continue to evaluate the right time to return to on-campus residence for students.

We have a number of programs and research opportunities for students that would benefit from being on campus even as most classes are remote. We are intent on resuming normal operations as soon as is safely possible and are hoping to return to campus by the start of Summer Session II. A decision for residential opportunities during Summer Session II could be made as late as early June. We are delaying decision-making on residency in the hopes that students and programs that need to be on campus will be able to return to campus for Summer Session II after June 15.

Those classes or programs that cannot be held remotely, or cannot await a later decision on residency, will either be cancelled, postponed, and/or instructors will be in touch with students with additional information. 

This two-path plan allows for the possibility of residency while providing certainty around the courses and credit opportunities that will be available this summer. Information on summer housing, should it be available after June 15, will be sent later this spring.

Summer Research with Students

The current situation raises a number of challenges for faculty-mentored summer research for undergraduate students planned for this summer. Summer research is an important opportunity in a University of Richmond education, but we must prioritize the health and care of our community. Therefore:

Given that we are in the midst of a pandemic, some faculty may no longer be able to mentor students either in person or remotely, and some students may no longer be able to participate in the experience.

The decision to continue to offer the student research experience depends on both faculty and students. In the first instance, the faculty member must decide if it is feasible. If the faculty member is able to proceed, then the option to continue with the research experience this summer lies with the student.

Research projects can be pursued using online mentoring as early as May 11.

Research projects may be able to commence in person June 15 and run for 7 weeks, pending the decision on Summer Session II residency.

For more information on summer research, including details regarding these options for faculty and students, please carefully review the Guidance on Summer 2020 Student Research.

University Sponsored Internships

The UR Summer Fellowship deadline for internships, which had been suspended, will be moved to April 17, 2020. In order to provide students with more time to find an internship, students may also submit URSF applications by a second deadline of June 1, 2020.

Given the current circumstances, in-person internships for which undergraduate students are receiving University funding or course credit (University-sponsored internships) will not be permitted to begin before June 15, and all planned in-person internships will need to occur in the student’s home community or in Richmond, Virginia, to ensure maximum flexibility given the current uncertainties about mobility and safety. Students planning in-person internships should be prepared for the possibility that in-person work will not be able to commence as planned in June, as that decision will be made based on then-current public health guidance. 

If an internship can be pursued remotely, remote internships will be eligible for URSF funding; URSF guidelines, including the requirements for remote internships, can be found here.

Required information sessions will be available online. Other University-sponsored internship and clinical placement programs for undergraduates will follow the same guidelines, with in-person placements prohibited until at least June 15. 

Students should contact their dean or program director for more information about their specific program. Career Services is also available to assist students as they continue to pursue internship and job opportunities; please find more information and schedule an appointment here.

Thank you for your adaptability, creativity, thought, and care in how we can best conduct great courses and meaningful research opportunities and internships that work within our circumstances. And thank you for engaging and supporting each other. This online world can be lonely at times; please don’t hesitate to reach out. 

I hope that you and yours are faring well. 

Take good care,

Jeffrey Legro
Executive Vice President and Provost

March 30: Message on retrieving student belongings

I am writing in follow-up to the message I sent to you on March 18, 2020, to provide information on plans for reuniting students with their belongings. 

As you are aware, the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve. The White House and CDC in recent days issued more stringent guidance regarding social distancing and travel. Today, the Governor of Virginia issued a “stay-at-home” order that will remain in effect until June 10, 2020.

Given the new guidance and orders, we are suspending the previously shared plan for retrieval of belongings that was to start the week of April 13. The University will communicate with students and families regarding the protocol for the retrieval process once a final plan is determined. Our continued goal is to provide a safe environment and organized procedure for students to retrieve their belongings when we are able to allow them to return to campus.

We understand and appreciate your concerns. The health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff continues to be our top priority. Our Emergency Management Team’s work is informed by the advice of public health experts and guidance from the CDC and Virginia Department of Health.  

We recognize and regret the disruption that this has caused our students and their families, and we are grateful for your understanding and patience.

I wish you and your family the best during these difficult times. 

Stay well,

Steve D. Bisese
Vice President for Student Development

March 26: Leadership Speculations blog post by Dean Peart

Never in my wildest dreams did I anticipate being dean of a school offering only online courses. As I have said to my students (via Zoom, Monday), faculty, and staff, this is not what we signed up for. Nonetheless, it’s the world we’re in, and so my job has shifted massively from that of a face-to-face leader to a leader of online communities: students, faculty, staff, and alumni. 

There’s no playbook for transitioning to online teaching mid-semester. However, the last two weeks have demonstrated the importance of community and of our mission to educate students for and about leadership. We have focused relentlessly on that core mission—on how best to continue our students’ learning in this radically altered environment. Faculty, with the assistance of our staff, have worked day and night from Jepson Hall and their homes to reimagine their teaching and courses, maintain content and pedagogy, and foster small group discussions and critical thinking, all while offering synchronous and asynchronous online opportunities for our students to learn.

For my part, I admit that I haven’t been sleeping well. Overseeing the transition of the Jepson School has been an enormous responsibility. The number of decisions to make—often very quickly—is almost (but not quite!) overwhelming. Trying to maintain a sense of community as the faculty and staff strive to master new teaching techniques and technology is a challenge. Doubly so as we disperse to our respective homes. Many are understandably nervous. I’ve had to rethink my own course in the context of online teaching.

But Monday I taught my first class in an online format, via Zoom, and was very pleased to return to something like normalcy. I’ve been in touch with my students throughout the past couple of weeks, but it was wonderful to see their faces and witness their interactions, to see the gradual return to our bantering ways. We were sometimes emotional—many are seniors whose Commencement and related celebrations have been indefinitely postponed—sometimes subdued—what will the future bring?—and sometimes upbeat—being together cheered us enormously. It was a joy to see them clap, wave, and laugh. I am optimistic that we will get through these challenges together. 

I designed their course, Economic Policy and Leadership, in the wake of the subprime mortgage and financial crises. Monday I stressed the obvious, but important, point that we are living through the most extraordinary case that one could design—enormous leadership and economic challenges unfold daily. My students now have the opportunity, and the challenge, to explore policy and leadership options in real time. This is the stuff of real learning, and I look forward to the next five weeks of learning with and from them!

March 26: Information regarding refunds

I am writing, as a follow up to President Crutcher’s message of March 16, 2020, to provide additional information regarding prorated adjustments of student housing and board charges for the Spring 2020 semester as a result of our community response to the COVID virus. First and most importantly, please accept our sincere gratitude for your grace and patience as we work through the many details associated with the University’s move to remote instruction for the remainder of the Spring semester. We recognize that this decision has significant and varied implications for our students and families but, as President Crutcher shared in his earlier message, ensuring the health and well-being of not only our students, faculty, and staff, but also the wider community, is essential at this time. 

In determining the adjustments for student housing and meal plan charges, the University calculated the time away from campus as constituting 43.75% of the semester. Accordingly, we will be issuing a credit of 43.75% of the Spring semester room rate, adjusted to reflect the pro-rata portion of any University scholarship or grant aid received for the semester. Students living in University housing will receive a minimum credit of $330. 

Credits for meal plans will be calculated in two parts. First, students will receive a credit of 43.75% of the portion of the meal plan not attributable to dining dollars, adjusted to reflect the pro-rata portion of University scholarship or grant aid received for the semester. Second, students with dining dollars will be credited for the unused cash balance as of March 25. Students will be credited dollar-for-dollar for the unspent balance — it will not be prorated nor will it be adjusted for University scholarship or grant aid. 

In addition to housing and meal charges, students will also be credited for parking and graduation fees. Students holding University parking permits will be credited for 43.75% of the cost allocable to the Spring semester. For those students who applied to graduate in May, your graduation fees will be fully credited to you. 

The Bursar’s Office is currently working to update each student’s account for these adjustments. For accounts that have a credit balance after these adjustments have been applied, a refund will be issued in the student’s name no later than Friday, April 3. Students with direct deposit will receive a confirmation email from the University’s Accounts Payable department. All others will receive checks mailed to their off-campus address. The Bursar’s Office (bursar@richmond.edu) stands ready to assist you with any questions regarding these adjustments to your account. 

Once again, thank you for your patience and understanding as we work through the numerous issues associated with the COVID-19 crisis. We are pleased with the effective manner in which our students and faculty have adapted to the educational realities of our current situation. Still, we know that the crisis has disrupted the close level of personal interaction which is and will always remain a hallmark of a University of Richmond education. We look forward to the day we can resume our normal operations and welcome everyone back to campus. 

Sincerely,

David B. Hale
Executive Vice-President & Chief Operating Officer

March 23: Changes to fall registration

As faculty and students reconnect with one another on this first day of remote classes, I write to share some information regarding changes to the undergraduate registration process for fall 2020 courses in Arts & Sciences, Business, and Jepson. We are implementing these changes to provide students with more time to meet with their advisor as we move to remote learning, support students in meeting their academic requirements, and ensure that students who are currently planning to study abroad in fall 2020 also have the opportunity to express their course registration preferences, should they need to have a change in plans. Please note that planning for fall study abroad is proceeding as usual; we are adopting this new process so that all of us are prepared for any contingency.

The changes are as follows:

Students Planning to Study Abroad in Fall 2020

While the current circumstances have resulted in some students returning to their home communities before their spring 2020 study abroad experience was complete, we know that global learning and reflective experiences in another culture are essential elements of a Richmond education and have long been a hallmark and point of pride for us. For students planning to study abroad in fall 2020, the Office of International Education will be conducting the usual orientations for students remotely. During these meetings and in the materials students receive from IE and/or the program abroad, students will be given information regarding course registration at the university or program in which they plan to participate abroad in the fall. This is all the standard procedure for study abroad. 

While we remain hopeful that students will have these opportunities in the fall, we can’t predict what will happen over the next several months around the world. We recognize that students may choose to change their plans or may be constrained by lingering disruptions in access to global travel. To prepare for these possibilities, we are also inviting students who plan to be abroad in the fall to provide their preferences for fall classes at UR. In order to provide those preferences, please log into BannerWeb to complete the fall 2020 registration survey beginning April 13 (see schedule below). Under the Personal Information tab choose Answer a Survey. The fall 2020 registration survey and related instructions are available there. Please do not attempt to register through the regular process; the system will not be available to those who have committed to a study abroad program. 

Students Planning to Study on Campus at UR in Fall 2020

For students who are planning to study on campus at Richmond in the fall, there will also be a few adjustments to the registration process.

Rising seniors will be able to register for up to 5.5 units, as is customary. 

Rising juniors, sophomores, and entering first-year students will be able to register for a maximum of 4 units when registration opens.

We know that many students enroll in more than four units each term in order to complete their major(s) and degree requirements, and that some programs require additional units for professional licensure or post-graduate opportunities. We plan to expand to the usual 5.5-unit limit for sophomores and juniors during an additional registration period in the summer, but it is important to create a 4-unit limit for the period of spring registration, so that we can adjust for additional course capacity if there are areas to which study abroad remains restricted next fall.

Registration Dates

The fall 2020 course schedule will be live Wednesday, March 25, for students and advisors to view available courses. As Provost Jeff Legro mentioned in his update last week, advising and registration dates have been changed to provide students and advisors more time to connect with one another remotely:

Begin Advising Monday, April 6

Priority Registration Monday, April 13–Friday, April 24

Course Preference Survey for Fall Study Abroad Students: available beginning Monday, April 13

Extended Registration: Monday, April 27–Friday, May 29

The link to the Registration Rotation can be found here: https://registrar.richmond.edu/registration/undergraduate/rotation.html. If you have any questions or concerns please contact the Office of the Registrar (registrar@richmond.edu).

Thank you for your understanding and your flexibility as we make these adjustments to ensure that we can support all of our students and their academic plans for next fall. We are eager to have everyone back on campus and look forward to your return and the reconstitution of our vibrant Spider campus community.

Thank you, 

Susan Breeden
University Registrar

March 17: Dean Peart's message to Jepson alumni

I hope you and your friends and loved ones are well. I write this message with a heavy heart, as a follow-up to Dr. Crutcher’s message to the UR Community last night. I thought you would be interested in how we are coping at the Jepson School. I am so very sad and disappointed that our students’ semester is disrupted and their face-to-face time with friends and colleagues is cut short. I always enjoy seeing them thrive and grow during the spring semester.

This morning I wrote to assure our students that we are doing everything possible to help them continue learning. Our faculty and staff are working diligently to reimagine their education in a remote format. I am heartened by their willingness to help one another, their determination, and their creativity. Although this is not the end of semester we anticipated, we will do our best to help our students remain connected to each other and to the School. 

I also sent a special few words to our seniors, who (along with me) are devastated that their hard work and achievements will not be recognized in the usual ways during Senior Banquet, Finale, and Commencement. I reassured them that the friendships and accomplishments gained in their time at UR will last, and we will celebrate at a future, happier time. I will do everything possible to ensure we gather together and recognize their special ties to faculty, staff, and friends.

In the midst of our sadness, leadership is needed more than ever—and our alumni and students are the well-prepared leaders of our future. I have every confidence you will rise to the challenges ahead. Please continue to lead with purpose and determination. Please also keep our students, faculty, and staff in your thoughts in the weeks ahead.

March 17: Dean Peart's message to Jepson students

I hope you and your friends and loved ones are well. I write this message with a heavy heart, as a follow-up to Dr. Crutcher’s message to the UR community last night. I’m so very sorry that your semester has been disrupted during these uncertain times. Surely you are extremely disappointed and sad to have your face-to-face time with friends and colleagues cut short. I’m sad too, as I always enjoy seeing you thrive and grow during the spring semester. I want to assure you that we are doing everything possible to help you continue learning. Your faculty and our staff are working diligently to reimagine your education in a remote format. I have been heartened by their willingness to help one another, their determination, and their creativity. Although this is not the end of semester we anticipated, we will do our best to keep you connected to each other and to the School.

Seniors, a special message to you. I imagine you are devastated—as am I—that your hard work and accomplishments will not be recognized in the usual way during Senior Banquet, Finale, and Commencement. I write to reassure you that the friendships and achievements you gained in your time at Jepson will last and be celebrated at a future, happier time. Please know that my staff and I will do everything possible to ensure that we gather together in the future and recognize your special ties to faculty, staff, and friends.

In the midst of our sadness, know that leadership is now needed more than ever—and you are the well-prepared leaders of our future. I have every confidence that you will rise to the challenges ahead.