Success & Impact
Pat Swanick ’79 ’82 (MBA) and wife Diana honor their fathers’ service by supporting entrepreneurial training for veterans.
Success & Impact
In mid-March, Saint Joseph’s University’s faculty and students quickly and ably transitioned to virtual instruction; many employees began teleworking; and essential functions such as the Office of Information Technology became even more essential.
Approximately 7,200 Saint Joseph’s Zoom meetings were held in March alone (a 400% increase over January), more than 1,000 daily active users are now logging on to the platform, and IT has loaned out dozens of laptops. Student Life, Public Safety, Facilities and other departments have ensured that students needing to stay on campus have been accommodated and cared for, and nearly every service ordinarily offered in person – from tutoring and writing support to counseling and Sunday Mass – has been made available virtually. And the University’s faculty experts have been a source of vital information for our internal community and the public who are dealing with an unprecedented pandemic.
“I am hearing from multiple sources about how well this [transition] has gone … and that we were better prepared than many others to make this pivot,” Mark C. Reed, Ed.D., president, noted in a recent communication to faculty and staff. “This only happens through a team effort, effective planning, creativity, shared commitment, and prior adoption and utilization of the right technologies and forward-thinking pedagogies. It is not in our community ethos to boast about ourselves, and we sometimes underappreciate our successes. We do not claim perfection, but please take pride in what you have done and accomplished. I know I do.”
To acknowledge the innovation, humanity and togetherness of the St. Joe’s community, the University launched the #HawksAtHome social media campaign on March 20. Participants have submitted photos, tips, creative ideas (and pet pix!) on how they’ve adapted to learning, teaching and working while practicing physical distancing. Diane Holliday, senior associate director of social media, has selected her Top Five most memorable posts from the campaign, which concluded April 19.
1. "From birds to cats, rabbits and turtles, we saw a number of pet cameos throughout the #HawksAtHome campaign. Meet Ethan the Springer Spaniel, a frequent guest in his human’s Zoom classes."
2. "We’re not just teleworking; we’re raising families, co-working with spouses, keeping our bodies and minds active — all while trying to keep our cool and stay inside. Here’s Angie Nagle, assistant director of campus recreation, filming a workout video with her son, Finn. Being able to see our students, faculty and staff in their home environments provides an intimate glimpse into our Hawks’ lives that we’re not often privy to."
Hello Hawks ! I'm Angie, the Assistant Director for Campus Recreation here at SJU .....one of the ways I'm staying active while #WFHWK is to start each day with some type of movement. TBH some days it's 10 minutes and some days 45 minutes - both are ok. Allowing ourselves grace during this time is so important. This is a snapshot of my warm up before a workout joined by one of my sons, Finn. What are some ways you are staying active ? #campusrecathome #HawksatHome
3. "With so much anxiety and worry surrounding COVID-19, it was refreshing to see our community inject humor into their posts — like this photo from the men’s lacrosse team, reminding us all to stay a pole’s length away from one another."
4. "The creativity and innovation it took for our faculty to move their classes online — and quickly — was impressive. I enjoyed this photo from the art department, in which students came up with ideas for pottery forms through paper cutting."
5. "While I’ve only been at Saint Joseph’s for a month, I’m quickly learning that the Hawk community is a strong one that creates lasting connections. This screenshot of a group of alumni catching up on a Zoom chat says it all."
In the early days of the stay-at-home orders, Cheryl A. McConnell, Ph.D., provost and vice president for academic affairs, provided faculty with regular briefings to share information – and connect. Reflecting on the personal and professional adjustment of the virtual transition and how “seeing” and engaging with colleagues has been particularly meaningful, she wrote: “I’ve been thinking about how difficult it is to interact with technology more than with people. The snippets of time I see and speak with colleagues on Zoom are pure gold and make me happy. Another positive is that I have been able to see full sides of some colleagues, including glimpses of children and pets, that add such a touch of humanity and connection. Let’s not be afraid to share our own humanity with our students. We are in this together, and they need us now more than ever."
Discussing the virtual transition made by the Kinney Center for Autism Education and Support, Jessica Joseph, Ph.D., BCBA, director of programs, noted: “It’s important to understand that everyone is reacting to this situation in a different way, and if we can come together and offer support to the whole community, it can make a difference.”
In this spirit, the Saint Joseph’s editorial team has curated some anecdotes and bright spots that characterize the Hawk ethos of resilience, commitment and caring during this extraordinary time. Share additional stories of positivity and innovation at email@example.com.
View more #HawksAtHome submissions: