8.4.2020 | Dear Students: More details for Fall at CCAD

Dear Students,

Like many of you, I start the day with my phone. Even before my eyes are fully open, I reach for the device to see what’s happened overnight. And, all summer, that morning ritual has included scanning the day’s coronavirus news. 

I will admit that the news has weighed me down. The increasingly troublesome headlines have caused me to worry about my 12-year-old son and his friendships, education, and development; to fear for the health of my father whom I can’t visit as he is undergoing cancer treatment this summer; and to deeply miss the time with family and friends that seems to keep getting pushed further and further back in the calendar. But those headlines also made me concerned for you and for the entire CCAD community.

I understand how frustrating it is to have the college experience you were hoping for—the one you deserve—thrown up in the air. I hear you. The timing of all of this is terrible. And I know you just want answers so you can make the best decision for yourself and your family.

As I said on Friday, we will have full details to share with you this Thursday, Aug. 6, but in the meantime, I wanted to send another email to try to answer a few questions that have already come up.

Why did you announce this now, after tuition was due and so close to the start of the term?

The timing of the announcement to move to a primarily online or remote learning environment for fall semester was in no way connected to the tuition deadline, and I apologize for the confluence of those events. As we shared in the spring, we have spent the summer planning for multiple scenarios, from fully in-person to fully remote, and the truth is that it was only last Tuesday that I called together a group of senior leaders to discuss the possibility of changing course from a primarily in-person to a primarily remote fall semester.

Indeed, the timing is terrible, but it is not of our making. Over the course of the past two weeks, we have seen three significant and related developments: COVID-19 cases have continued to rise in Franklin County, where CCAD is located; the majority of K–12 and a growing number of higher education institutions in the region have announced plans to move to remote instruction for the fall; and finally, we have seen the Centers for Disease Control and the state of Ohio announce many new—and sometimes onerous, even if understandable—regulations and guidelines for colleges and universities. It was this growing mountain of evidence, trends, and news, none of which appear to be reversing course any time soon, that pushed us to move to remote instruction for the fall. Simply put, the scale finally tipped, and I could not put the health and safety of the students, faculty, and staff at risk by fully reopening campus.

Can I get a refund?

While I hope that each of you finds a course of study this fall at CCAD that will work for you and your educational goals, I understand that some of you may decide that the best decision for you is to put your college experience on hold for now. Let me be clear, if you decide to withdraw from CCAD before the start of classes on Monday, Aug. 24, you will absolutely have any tuition and fees already paid refunded to you (as is always true at CCAD). And, because of these special circumstances, we will also refund your typically non-refundable tuition and/or housing deposits. To initiate a withdrawal, you should email [email protected] with your request, after which follow up instructions will be sent to you.

If you do decide to continue for the fall semester, further information about tuition and fees (and possible adjustments to them) will be provided in the email you will receive on Thursday, but I can tell you now that if you signed up for CCAD housing and will no longer be in housing, those fees and deposits will be refunded.

How can we learn art and design remotely?

Please know that your faculty and staff share your disappointment that we cannot safely be together on campus this fall. I know how important the studios and labs are to your creative education. However, there is a significant amount of art and design practice that can be taught remotely. The small class size, personal mentorship, and culture of critique from both peers and professionals will all be maintained. Your faculty have been spending the summer preparing for a potential requirement to teach remotely. We’ve taken your feedback from spring semester seriously, and we have also hired an instructional designer who will be working with faculty throughout the fall and beyond. We know the spring semester was not without issues, but the months since have provided faculty with the focused time and resources to create curriculum plans that incorporate both the challenges and benefits of remote instruction.  

How will this specifically impact me?

All students will receive full details on Thursday so you can understand adjustments you may need to make. Please know that we are not dragging this out, but we are finalizing decisions in the moment. We are looking for ways that we can maintain our commitment to safety, manage a complex situation in a sustainable manner, and still provide limited access for those who need it most.

While more details will be announced soon, I can tell you the following:

  • Incoming first-year students will not live in CCAD housing (with the possible exception of international students already in the U.S.) and will not have access to CCAD facilities for the fall semester. The first-year courses will be entirely remote, with students being able to choose between an asynchronous online option and a remote option that includes some synchronous class sessions.

  • Most continuing students who have already deposited for CCAD housing may have the option of staying in housing. Again, please stay tuned to full details on Thursday.

  • Some seniors and MFA students whose work requires access to specialized tools and technology will have limited access to campus facilities.

  • All of this is subject to change based on the pandemic’s trajectory and resulting federal, state, and/or local regulations.

Before closing, I want to take a brief moment to once again ask for your patience and understanding. I know you’re frustrated. I hear your frustration and am committed to listening to you and doing what I can to help alleviate it. 

This pandemic is not of CCAD’s making. We are responding to an epidemic that is challenging individuals, institutions, and governments around the world. To put it plainly, the situation is terrible. All of us—you, your family and friends, your faculty and staff—are stretched thin and doing the best we can. When times are difficult, I return to CCAD’s Core Values, and in this moment in particular, the concept of positivity. To move forward, we must assume that we are all operating with positive intent. 

Another one of our values, respect, is reflected in our commitment to being transparent with you now and always. With in mind, I will say this:

There is no conspiracy here or financial gain for the college. The decisions we are making will cost CCAD—which is a nonprofit—millions of dollars, but they are decisions informed by the latest science, the most up-to-date governmental guidance, and the best practices within the higher education community. I know they are the right decisions. The decision to go remote will save lives.

We are committed to providing you the best education possible during these unprecedented events, and when you continue with us this fall, I know your experience—though different than what you may have planned—will be a valuable building block in your education and your future creative endeavors.

Thank you for persevering through these challenges, and thank you for being part of the CCAD community.