These past two weeks, understandably, have been intense. During this time the D'Amore-McKim community has meticulously planned for various scenarios, shifted our content delivery from in-person instruction to online delivery in fairly short order, and provided infrastructure support including computers and cell phones wherever needed. As of this Wednesday, March 18, 2020, 100 percent of our employees will be remote, and this is only possible because the entire D'Amore-McKim community has risen to the challenge.
The dedication of our faculty and staff to support our students, ensure business continuity, and – most importantly – support one another has been truly uplifting. I'm deeply grateful for so many things:
- Our D'Amore-McKim leaders have worked around the clock to ensure the overall wellbeing of our community;
- Our faculty have been wonderfully resilient and transitioned to online teaching well. I can't thank you enough for all that you are doing to further our research and teaching missions during this unprecedent time of uncertainty;
- Students have responded positively to virtual instruction, and I'm confident that they will continue to receive an excellent education;
- Our staff has gone above and beyond the call of duty to guide students, assuage parents, and prepare our offices for virtual work;
- Our co-op group continues to tirelessly work with employer partners – in a constantly changing landscape – in order to ensure our students on co-op assignments have the best possible options under the current circumstances;
- Our Instructional Design and Computer Operations teams have been working around the clock to develop wonderful resources to assist with online learning and working, while also supporting our community one-on-one when needed;
- Our graduate and undergraduate advisors are working constantly with students to ensure that they understand what needs to be done to complete the semester successfully. For instance, it was amazing to know that members of our Undergraduate Program Team called each student abroad to talk them through the next steps so they would be safe.
Owing to my confidence in D'Amore-McKim leaders, faculty, and staff – as exemplified through these abovementioned efforts – I have been able to confidently talk to parents about how we take the responsibility of educating and caring for their most precious assets seriously. For instance, I received a passionate call of an International parent last week, amidst the proclamation of a health emergency in Massachusetts and our shift to online delivery, who implored me not to abandon their student. I assuaged the parent by assuring them that our D'Amore-McKim community would always support their child no matter where we are physically, and I truly meant it.
We have been presented with a unique set of challenges, but I'm confident that we have both the committed people and the requisite tools in order to get through these challenging times successfully. Our road ahead involves a lot of learning, and we do not have all the answers. Given the ambiguity and complexity of the evolving circumstances, we are going to have to figure some things out as we embark on this new path. We need to develop new routines and processes in our remote work, learn to make real-time decisions while working online, and attempt to replicate our vibrant D'Amore-McKim community in an online setting. I'm also very aware of the difficulty many of us will have balancing this work with the challenge of having family members, partners, and roommates working under the same roof. We will manage through it all, and my hope is that this process of adapting together will create a stronger D'Amore-McKim community that is truly ready for a digitally-convergent world.
The safety of our students, staff, and faculty is my very top priority. I assure you that we're taking this pandemic seriously, and we'll continue to work closely with Northeastern leadership to share current information, develop adaptive strategies to meet the changing needs of our various stakeholders, and be ever prepared for a wide variety of contingencies. We will continue to communicate to ensure that you are always kept in the loop. For tools you need to remain “resilient,” please visit: https://digitalresilience.northeastern.edu/.
I wish you and your families the very best during this difficult time. Be safe! Be well! Thank you for being such wonderful ambassadors for D'Amore-McKim.
Dunton Family Dean
D'Amore-McKim School of Business