DSO talks about reopening common space and equity goals | New


Administrators at the Dean’s Office of Students said in an interview on Friday that they are working to make the transition from distance learning to in-person teaching easier for students, as well as opening up common spaces for students. undergraduates.

“I think it’s really important for us to collectively recognize that we’ve all made this transition to a fully dense campus in a very short period of time,” said Dean of Students Katherine G. O’Dair.

“I think part of the way students experience it is that some students have really embraced being in person and everything that comes with being in person and their student organizations, and other students. are more reluctant to want to be also present at large group events. ”she added.

This fall, the College once again invited all students to live on campus and take classes in person, after restricting residential accommodation to selected class cohorts and implementing virtual classrooms due to the pandemic in Classes.

“There’s the whole operational aspect of getting people in, which has been supported by so many different people and so many different partners across the University and the College,” said Associate Dean of Students Lauren E. Brandt ’01. “We are truly grateful for everyone’s efforts. “

As undergraduates returned to housing on campus, some lamented the lack of open common spaces, such as the railings of student-run houses.

Brandt said these concerns were taken into account and explained that reopening the spaces has been a “learning curve”.

“It’s been a period of time where our buildings weren’t at full capacity, and so there were some things that I know are being addressed,” Brandt said. “Building managers work very hard to find out what’s going on in their spaces and to work there.

“I would ask people to remember that these are also student-run spaces, and therefore have times when students move into positions that they haven’t really had the chance to do in a while, that ‘ is a learning curve for them, it is a learning curve for us, ”she added.

Brandt cited the hiring process as one of the contributing factors to the delay in reopening the house gates.

“It depends in part on the hiring,” Brandt said. “There are trainings that have to take place in terms of food safety, preparation, ensuring that the spaces are ready to be used because they have not been used for a year and a half.

“There is a lot of work behind the scenes,” she added.

Asked about students’ compliance with Covid-19 protocols, O’Dair said she believed the student body was doing “very well.”

At the start of the semester, the College experienced a surge of Covid-19 cases among undergraduates, which led the College to increase the rate of testing for residents of undergraduate housing from one to three times. per week.

“We certainly had during the first two weeks this small increase [in cases], but we’ve seen it go down, and we’ve seen it go down with more testing, ”O’Dair said. “The students were very accommodating. “

The DSO also spoke about its goals for the 2021-2022 academic year, which include using data to explain how programming and policy decisions affect the student experience, continuing its work to become an institution anti-racism and the identification of strategies to combat the stressors faced by students.

“This year we’re focusing on a few points, so we’re looking at the strength of the DSO through an inclusive framework of excellence,” said Alta Mauro, Associate Dean of Inclusion and Belonging.

“It’s really about looking at our organization, who we fit into the organization, how to retain talent, how to prepare talent, and are there things we need to learn that suggests we have new things. really great, clear equity goals, ”she added.

—Editor Hannah J. Martinez can be reached at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @martinezhannahj.

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