More than 200 Thomas Nelson faculty, administrators and staff attended the College’s second virtual town hall June 17. The nearly 90-minute meeting covered a variety of topics, almost all related to the College’s efforts to reopen in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dr. Gregory DeCinque, interim president, said the College will submit a plan to the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) by July 6. However, he stressed things could change quickly, depending on recommendations and policies from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Gov. Ralph Northam and other agencies. Thomas Nelson campuses in Hampton and Williamsburg's Historic Triangle will remain restricted until the state enters Phase III of the Governor’s Forward Blueprint Virginia.
The College is working on a scenario where students will have access to financial aid, student services, and the like, all in one location at the Peninsula Workforce Development Center on Butler Farm Road.
Dr. Susan English, vice president of Academic Affairs, discussed instructional plans. The current plan is to hold limited, small face-to-face instructions this summer. Priority will be given to those students who need hands-on instruction to finish classes they started in the spring. The College also is working on schedules for the fall, but the bulk of those are expected to be online.
“We’re trying to keep students in the loop about what’s going on,” she said.
Other topics explored during the sessions were the budget, testing policies and health issues.
DeCinque noted the importance of patience and flexibility as factors change daily.
“It takes a collaborative approach,” he said about determining policies and strategies for the College.
Thomas Nelson College Board Chair Mike Kuhns discussed the presidential search. Applications will be accepted until July 6, and he expects to have between 80-100 candidates. The search committee will interview candidates in Richmond near the end of July, with on-campus interviews being conducted in the fall. He said the target date for the new hire still is Jan. 1, 2021.
DeCinque is planning for another town hall to be held in about three weeks.
More faculty awards
The College’s Faculty Reward and Recognition Committee handed out three more awards June 15. Character of Thomas Nelson awards for Leadership Effectiveness went to Paul Long (interim dean of Public Safety, Allied Health and Human Services), Beth Dickens (academic assistant coordinator for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), and Keisha Samuels (program head and assistant professor of Human Services).
Administration and professional faculty were eligible for the award.