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Campus Updates

An archive of Campus Forums and Messages from President Schneider.

Campus Forums & Convos

 

 

 

 

Messages From President Schneider

Campus Message - January 15, 2021
Students and Families,

Welcome back to all of you who are joining us for January interterm!

Thanks for participating in our onboard testing as well as following our Health and Safety Protocol. Testing revealed that you were all careful over the break as our COVID-19 positivity rate was low and we had no cases associated with campus that created major exposure concerns. The campus onboarding positivity rate was under 3.75 percent. For those planning to arrive at the end of January, please follow instructions on the COVID-19 Information Site.

As you finalize plans for the second semester, I wanted to share some important opportunities for students.

QuaranTeam Bubbles programming is ready to pay students for hanging out in small groups. We are fortunate to have a donor who recognizes the need for safe interaction. Students can organize into small groups and plan their own activities for the semester. Any student can SIGN UP HERE to participate or contact studentlife@mcpherson.edu with questions.

The Office of Career Services and Experiential Learning is actively working with students. The class of 2020 had incredible success during this pandemic finding jobs and getting into graduate school. Our placement rate was 95 percent and nearly all of our graduates participated in at least one internship while at MC. Get involved by Scheduling a Time with the Career Office or emailing beckmana@mcpherson.edu with questions.

The Student Debt Project is having another successful year. Over 170 students are taking advantage of financial mentors, 25-percent matching dollars and the opportunity to graduate debt free. Many of our students have created plans that ensure they graduate with no student debt. To learn more about how you can join the Student Debt Project go to the Student Debt Project Information Site.

Although we continue to be distanced, we are working harder than ever to keep you connected. I encourage you to continue to take care of each other and yourself.

Michael
Michael Schneider
President, McPherson College
ask@mcpherson.edu

Campus Message - December 18, 2020
Students and Families,

I hope you are, or soon will be, safely home for the holidays. After surviving a fall semester characterized by socially distanced classrooms, required masks, hybrid classes, and online finals, you deserve some time to unwind.

In uncertain times, clear communication is more important than ever. We have previously shared information about interterm classes and onboarding procedures for your return to campus. You can review this information on our Bulldog Connect home page and our COVID-19 page.

The purpose of the rest of this email is to share accurate information about the Spring 2021 semester, which begins on Thursday, January 28.

  • The spring semester will be much like the fall semester. All but a few classes will be offered entirely face to face or in a hybrid mode. Your physical presence in the classroom will be required at least once per week. Unlike interterm, there is no option for completing the spring term remotely.
  • Students with health conditions that make them particularly vulnerable to dangerous COVID-19 symptoms and who meet the ADA requirements, may be exempted from the above. If you have such conditions, check with your physician about getting vaccinated before the start of the semester. Or, contact Carole Barr at barrc@mcpherson.edu to explore options for an ADA accommodation.
  • As in the fall, faculty will be prepared to accommodate for up to two weeks those students who cannot be in class due to quarantine or illness.
  • Also like fall, the academic calendar has undergone modification. Spring break has been replaced with reading days dispersed throughout the semester to provide mental health breaks and study opportunities. To assist you in your planning, the revised spring academic calendar is attached. 
  • The fate of Commencement exercises remains uncertain. While it seems unlikely the college will hold graduation ceremonies in Brown Auditorium, it seems equally unlikely that Commencement will be conducted virtually as it was last May. Most likely is an outdoor ceremony. Seniors can expect a decision about Commencement by the first of March.

Despite our best intentions and planning, the virus remains in control. The college may yet need to adjust on the fly this spring. Check your email and other college communication channels regularly so that you base your plans and decisions on good information. When in doubt, email your questions to ask@mcpherson.edu.

Have a restful holiday and a healthy and successful New Year. See you in 2021!

Bruce Clary
Vice President for Academic Affairs
McPherson College

Campus Message - December 11, 2020
Students and Families,

I hope you are enjoying some well-deserved time off between semesters. The purpose of this update is to review our COVID-19 testing protocol and share additional details.

All students should complete the following QUESTIONNAIRE to indicate how they plan to be tested before returning in January.

All employees should plan to schedule a test with our Partners in Family Care clinic HERE

As a reminder, all employees and students planning to return for interterm on January 4 will be required to report to campus with a negative test. Although testing will not replace our current health and safety practices, the new testing protocol will help mitigate the potential negative impact of disease spread within our campus community.

We have three different testing options for students.

  1. FREE at-home COVID-19 test
    Any student in the continental U.S. may request an at-home antigen test from Vault Health, a McPherson College FDA-approved partner.  To request an email link and schedule a test delivery as well as more information on the testing process, follow this LINK. Students requesting at-home tests will receive a link directly from McPherson College the week of December 21.
  2. FREE McPherson Partners in Family Care Clinic testing
    From December 28 to January 5, those of you in the McPherson area can receive an antigen test with same day results at our campus clinic. Appointments are required and can be scheduled online HERE
  3. FDA-approved test from a health provider of your choice
    Make your own arrangements to visit an FDA-approved testing site and provide documentation of your result to the college prior to arriving on campus. Tests must be dated no earlier than December 26. Costs for this option will be paid by the student.

For the most updated information on testing protocol or information related to January on-boarding, go to McPherson College’s COVID-19 Information Site.

Michael Schneider
President, McPherson College
ask@mcpherson.edu

Campus Message - December 4, 2020
Students and Families,

Thanks to each of you for a successful first semester. Although there are currently only two active COVID-19 cases associated with the McPherson College campus, cases across McPherson County are expected to continue peaking into early January.

The following is a summary of Health and Safety Protocol changes for January interterm to ensure we have a successful start to the spring semester so that you can be in classes, labs, studios, shops and playing fields. The details outlined in this email can be found on our COVID-19 Information Site. In addition, there are direct links to topics throughout the update.

TESTING FOR INTERTERM AND SPRING
All employees and students planning to return for interterm on January 4 will be required to report to campus with a negative test. Although testing will not replace our current health and safety practices, the new testing protocol will help mitigate the potential negative impact of disease spread within our campus community.

We have three different testing options for students.

  1. FREE at-home COVID-19 test
    Any student in the continental U.S. may request an at-home antigen test from Vault Health, a McPherson College FDA-approved partner. To request an email link from Vault Health to schedule a test delivery as well as more information on the testing process, follow this LINK. Students requesting at-home tests will receive a link directly from Vault Health the week of December 21.
  2. FREE McPherson Partners in Family Care Clinic testing
    From December 28 to January 5, those of you in the McPherson area can receive an antigen test with same day results at our campus clinic. Appointments are required. A link to schedule an appointment will be sent via email next week.
  3. FDA-approved test from a health provider of your choice
    Make your own arrangements to visit an FDA-approved testing site and provide documentation of your result to the college prior to arriving on campus. Tests must be dated no earlier than December 26. Costs for this option will be paid by the student.

Students traveling from international locations will test when they arrive in McPherson and should plan to work with Student Affairs to quarantine until test results are available.

Students who are not participating in interterm but plan to join us at second semester on January 28 should be prepared to present proof of a negative test dated no earlier than January 19. Vault Health at-home tests, the campus clinic and FDA approved self-selected testing will all be options prior to your arrival in late January.

All student-athletes who are in season should coordinate their return with coaches and the athletic department. Any student-athlete who tested positive for COVID-19 and is recovered will be required to go through a specific on-boarding protocol.

If you have previously tested positive for the virus and have recovered, please email Marty Sigwing at sigwingm@mcpherson.edu on how MC will document your return to campus. It is important that even if you have recovered from COVID-19 you continue to wear a mask and follow other safety protocols.

Finally, McPherson College is considering some form of random testing during the semester as needed to mitigate disease spread. More information on testing can be found HERE.

All students should plan to share how they plan to be tested by completing a quick QUESTIONAIRE.

HEALTH AND SAFETY PROTOCOL/TRACKING
The campus protocol will be adjusted based on key lessons from this fall. One important change relates to tracing and tracking on isolated and quarantined individuals. All symptomatic cases that require testing will be pre-traced. (Pre-tracing identifies contacts before a test comes back, so staff are prepared to quickly quarantine exposed individuals limiting disease spread.) We are also implementing a new tracking system to better follow students as they are exposed, tested and isolated. Other changes include new processes for quarantine in the dorms, symptom reporting and daily health checks.

We strongly encourage everyone to quarantine at home for 10 days prior to arrival on campus. We understand that some of you will be unable to quarantine because of jobs and other obligations; however, we ask every student to honor basic safety practices like wearing a mask, staying distanced, and avoiding large gatherings. This includes New Year’s Eve parties.

HOUSING, ISOLATION, AND QUARANTINE
Residential properties will continue to follow the health and safety protocol. Metzler, Dotzour, Morrison and Bittinger Halls will all see lower occupancy. There will also continue to be quarantine space in each building. MC is working to secure an additional hotel space near campus for isolation and quarantine as needed. Other changes based on CDC guidance related to quarantine protocol will allow safer, more comfortable options for students who are exposed or waiting on a test, including the option to quarantine with a roommate and convenient meal delivery. A new isolation and quarantine policy is included as part of the updated Health and Safety Protocol located HERE.

Students will be introduced to a new mobile texting application that will allow Student Affairs to better communicate with students who are quarantined, isolated or just engaged in normal, daily activities. The application, EdSights, will better organize the status and needs of our students so we can more systematically address how students are doing on any given day. This service will be a primary method of staying in touch with our isolated and quarantined students. All students who are isolated will also continue to receive daily check-in calls from campus leadership.

CLASSROOMS DURING INTERTERM
The Faculty Pandemic Task Force recommended to administration and the full faculty to move some additional classes online for interterm in an effort to support de-densification. Academic leadership has worked with faculty to select courses that will move online based on the size and type of class. Faculty are also prepared for a disruptive first week of interterm because of student delays returning to campus. A full listing of interterm course modality (online, hybrid, or fully in-person) can be found directly after you login to Bulldog Connect. Current plans are for the spring semester starting January 28 to be similar to the fall semester in hybrid and in-person formats. Please continue to look for emails from faculty members and stay in touch with your professors if there is a change in your situation.

CAMPUS ACTIVITIES AND A GIFT TO SUPPORT SMALL GROUPS
MC received a recent gift to encourage students to stay active but safe utilizing “COVID Families” or social bubbles that allow for more intimate, safe, in-person interactions. This concept would take what was learned from several clubs, organizations and athletic teams that operated safely this fall and combine it with some best practices to keep small groups safe. This new opportunity will incentivize small groups or individuals to keep their social circle tight and controlled. Student Affairs will share more information later in December on how you can join a social circle and receive funding to stay active.

Athletics and other campus activities will proceed cautiously with all large-group activities online during interterm.

COMMUNICATION AS WE MOVE FORWARD
A family Zoom Campus Forum for all students and families will be hosted on December 8 at 7:30 p.m. CST. Additional information on the Zoom Campus Forum has been shared via email and reminders will be shared in the coming days. As we move into the spring semester, I plan to send weekly email communications to keep everyone updated and engaged in the planning process.

You all exceeded my expectations for the semester by modeling good community health behavior. We must continue to trust each other as we navigate another semester. A safe and cautious start to interterm will give us the best chance for a successful second semester.

Michael Schneider
President, McPherson College
ask@mcpherson.edu

Campus Message - November 9, 2020
Campus Community,
Since Friday, we have added nine new cases of COVID-19 associated with campus and moved nearly 50 students into quarantine. In addition, we are awaiting approximately 10 test results from today. This increase, combined with spread in the larger McPherson community and McPherson County’s decision to further limit public gatherings and activities, gives us reason for concern. Campus leadership, including faculty and staff, spent time this weekend and today considering options. The campus remains a safe place and will remain open through the semester. Each student can remain on campus to complete the fall semester, including finals. However, we are giving students the option to complete the semester remotely using online technology. And all finals will be conducted online.

In an effort to de-densify campus activity and provide individual flexibility, the following adjustments will be made:

  1. Individual faculty members will choose to continue teaching in-person classes or to complete the semester online. Those who continue offering in-person classes will be prepared to accommodate students who are quarantined or those who choose to finish the remaining seven days of the fall semester online. Students should watch their inbox for emails from each instructor with information about how the class will proceed.
  2. Faculty will adapt all final exams for remote/online administration. Students can plan to take their exams online at the time previously scheduled or as instructed by their professors.
  3. Athletic activities will be limited to a few in-season sports that are still able to compete.
  4. The dining hall will remain open and continue to follow our established health and safety protocol with regular reminders for guests to stay distant and wear a mask in line. To-go options will continue to be encouraged.
  5. Given the flexibility for completing classes online, residence life staff will coordinate with isolated and quarantined students to complete their time in campus facilities or at their permanent home.
  6. Academic support, library services, and counseling will continue both in-person and online, depending on individual preferences.
  7. Office spaces will continue to be diligent in distancing and campus visitors will be limited.

Students, please look for an email from your faculty members for direction on how your classes will finish the semester. Also, if you plan to complete the semester online, please email your professors as well as registrar@mcpherson.edu. If you are planning to leave campus at any point before finals begin and you are living in campus housing, please communicate with your resident assistant. All students should complete a Winter Break Planning Form so we can better serve you.

It is important to remember that the campus remains open. Residence halls will continue to operate, and students are not expected to leave until after finals. Administrative offices like financial aid, business office, and registrar, as well as student affairs and academic services, will continue on campus and online if needed.

There is still work left this semester. No matter which path you choose to complete the semester, stay safe and stay committed to finishing your degree.

Michael

Michael Schneider
President, McPherson College
ask@mcpherson.edu

Campus Message - November 5, 2020
Campus Community,

We are three short weeks away from finishing the first semester. Although there is concern about rising COVID-19 cases in McPherson County, cases associated with our campus remain low because of your discipline following our Health and Safety Protocol. Your dedication to wearing masks and social distancing keeps us healthy and many of us out of quarantine. Thanks to all of you for keeping our campus safe.

In the next few weeks, I will be sharing our plans for onboarding students and employees as we return to campus for interterm and the spring semester. We will remain committed to our current health and safety protocol as well as implement a new testing strategy. More information will be shared later this month, but we plan to welcome you back to campus as classes will begin as planned for interterm on Monday, January 4, and the second semester on Wednesday, January 27. Stay updated by visiting our COVID-19 landing page.

Students, I recognize this semester has been a struggle. The hybrid schedule adjustments and social distancing alone have created a new level of stress for everyone. However, each of you has worked hard getting to this point in the year, and you have an entire community pulling for you. Keep showing up. And ask for help. Your faculty and staff are ready to meet you where you are—no matter your struggle.

Earlier in the year, I shared that a successful semester was up to you. I trusted you to take care of each other. You answered this call and are modeling excellent behavior in the face of a pandemic. I’m proud of you.

Let’s finish strong!

Michael

Michael Schneider
President, McPherson College
ask@mcpherson.edu

Campus Message - June 19, 2020
Campus Community,

Before I get into my update, I want to center your thoughts on one of our students, Ethan Payne. Ethan, who will be a sophomore in the fall, was recently involved in a car accident with his family. His brother didn’t make it and his father was seriously injured. Ethan was also seriously injured with burns on 70 percent of his body. He has a long road of surgeries ahead. Please lift up Ethan, his family and friends in your thoughts and prayers.

We had our first Campus Forum for students last night on Zoom. I shared important information and expectations with students and families about the upcoming year. Christi Hopkins, Vice President for Enrollment, facilitated the question/answer session during the forum. Special thanks to my co-host Nicole Abunaja, senior Business Finance major, who shared her insights on a safe and successful academic year. A few key points from our time included:

  • McPherson College will leverage its size to keep students safe and start the semester with a less dense campus by making more space between seating in public areas and reducing capacity when necessary as well as training for all employees and students as they return to campus. We will also be prepared in case of mandatory social distancing. To put it in perspective, our “normal” is going to be a major university’s version of “safe” this coming fall. So, by reducing capacity and making some changes to our set-up we will have a safe starting place for the year.
  • In-person classes are expected when we start this fall, and faculty will be prepared to accommodate students as needed with hybrid or blended courses. Accommodations will be made for employees and students with health concerns. And we should all be prepared to wear masks in certain situations to protect someone’s health or if wearing masks become a campus wide practice.
  • Returning students who completed a housing application should have received their housing assignments. New students will receive their housing assignments by mid-July.
  • Fall athletics will have fewer contests, and there is now a “ready to play” plan and schedule.
  • All students coming to McPherson College in the fall from abroad should start to make plans to arrive by July 25.
  • Finally, we need all students to complete a basic survey over the next week to identify where they will travel from before arriving in McPherson for the fall semester. The survey link can be found at: https://mcstudentlife.formstack.com/forms/student_location

This is just an overview of the information shared last night. A recording of the forum can be found here. All other details related to health/safety, academics, residential life, athletics and fall arrival can be found at www.mcpherson.edu/covid.

The past few months have been difficult on many levels. In addition to our concerns about the pandemic, our minds and hearts are also heavy with racial injustice. I want you all to know that we are committed to the work we’ve started the past five years to become a more inclusive campus—training employees and student leaders to ensure everyone has opportunities in and out of the classroom. I’ve been meeting with a student group and our diversity and inclusion working group to reset plans by engaging our campus in anti-racism education and initiatives.

As you prepare to make your way to campus, please keep in mind that everyone is accepting the reality of our current situation in different ways and at different paces. Please be patient and kind with your co-workers and classmates. To those of you who can’t wait to be on campus, we can’t wait to see you either. To those who are nervous, we will be ready to take care of you and meet you were you are. And to members of our community of color, this campus stands with you.

Leadership will have the campus prepared for the fall. We need you to be prepared to take care of each other.

Michael

Michael Schneider
President, McPherson College
ask@mcpherson.edu

Campus Message - May 29, 2020
Campus Community,

I am more optimistic than I am worried today. We are starting to carefully and safely open up in preparation for your arrival back on campus in August. We continue to follow the phased guidelines provided by the McPherson County Health Department as the state and county have lifted all mandated restrictions. The campus recently completed a plan that ensures students will be safely learning in classrooms, labs, studios, shops and playing fields. A few things for you to know about our planning for the upcoming year:

  • The Classroom—Classes are scheduled to begin on August 17th and we plan to meet in-person. The fall semester has been condensed and finals will be finished by Thanksgiving break. However, we know that some in our student body and on faculty or staff might need accommodations based on their health situation. And some international students might struggle to get back to the United States. So, faculty will be ready to deliver courses in hybrid formats for students who need to complete coursework off-campus. In addition, because of our small size we are prepared to social distance in our classrooms, labs, studios and shops.
  • Your Health—Campus safety is being addressed as we outline new health protocol for general hygiene and social distancing as needed. We continue to work with the county health department and our campus health clinic to ensure the campus remains safe. Plans are being finalized for testing at our campus clinic. Although there will be space on campus for students to quarantine, no student testing positive for COVID-19 will stay on campus. If students test positive, they will recover off-campus either at home or in isolation at a campus-owned residence. All employees including student workers will be trained in the new health protocol.
  • Housing—Student Life is ready to start helping you with room assignments. (Look for an email from student life with more instructions.) We are starting the year with fewer students in dorms and limitations on common spaces as well as practicing important personal hygiene behavior. Staff will be prepared to implement social distancing if needed with single-point entry, bathroom assignments and one-way stair wells to prevent virus spread on campus.
  • AthleticsThe NAIA in coordination with the National Athletic Trainers Association is providing guidance for keeping athletes safe. The KCAC is developing contingency plans in case there is a disruption in seasons. We will be prepared to limit facility capacity as well as sanitize equipment and spaces as needed.

Additional information on the fall semester can be found at https://www.mcpherson.edu/covid/#faq

As the campus finishes planning for the fall, we need your help to make next year a success. Students and families will soon receive a listing of expectations for returning to campus in the fall. These expectations will outline basic health and safety guidelines as well as some commonsense ground rules. Expectations will be shared with students and families in mid-June.

We have learned the last several months things can change quickly. We are excited to get students and faculty back on campus. We are also prepared and ready for challenges. I expect that we will all be ready to meet these challenges honoring our responsibility to our campus and the greater McPherson community by representing MC well and keeping the campus safe.

Enjoy the weekend.

Michael

Michael Schneider
President, McPherson College
ask@mcpherson.edu

Campus Message - May 22, 2020
Campus Community,

Congratulations graduates! Sunday is the big day for the class of 2020. Tune in to the livestream event starting at 1.30 p.m. CDT: https://www.mcpherson.edu/experiences/graduation/. Graduates and families are invited to a virtual brunch at 11.00 a.m. CDT to share memories and spend time together—special guests will drop in to congratulate the class. I will email a Zoom link to graduates on Saturday for the virtual brunch.

The state of Kansas has made progress reopening as we moved to Phase Two today, which means we are on track to move additional administrators to campus and students can coordinate moving into apartments for the summer. Gatherings are limited to 15 people with six-foot social distancing. I would encourage you to continue checking the website for updates on reopening at: https://www.mcpherson.edu/covid/#faq.

Planning for the fall semester is going well. We are finalizing residential housing sign-up details and guidelines for students returning to campus. In addition, the faculty Educational Policy Committee approved an updated schedule for the 2020-2021 academic year which condenses the fall semester to limit student travel to/from campus. The new schedule starts on August 17 (as planned) but fall finals will be completed before Thanksgiving. Details around the new schedule and plans for accommodating students given any outbreak disruption will be shared next Friday, May 29.

Graduates, your resilience the last two months has set an example that we will always remember. Thanks for making an impact at McPherson College. We look forward to celebrating you on Sunday.

Have a great weekend.

Michael

Michael Schneider
President, McPherson College
ask@mcpherson.edu

Campus Message - May 15, 2020
Campus Community,

While faculty and staff have done a remarkable job operating the campus remotely during the pandemic, we are working toward a gradual reopening of campus consistent with Kansas’ phased plan to reopen the state. Yesterday the state announced modest progress toward reopening by moving from “Phase One” to “Phase 1.5,” allowing for some restrictions to be lifted, including our stay-at-home orders. In Phase 1.5 we continue to limit gatherings to fewer than ten people, while practicing six-foot social distancing. However, we have received authorization from the county during this phase to allow a few key administrative employees to start working on campus as well as schedule time for Kansas students to retrieve their belongings from dorms and host limited numbers of campus visitors from known locations.

Our plans to reopen are being shared and refined across campus in consultation with state and local health officials as well as our on-campus health clinic partner. Reopening this summer is the first step to getting students back in classrooms, labs, studios, and shops and onto playing fields. Here are a few highlights of how the Kansas plan to reopen affects campus:

Kansas Phase Two, which will begin no sooner than June 1 includes bringing additional administration back to campus; summer apartment move-in for students; gatherings limited to 30 people; six-foot social distancing and continued remote campus operation.

Kansas Phase Three will include departments moving back to campus gradually; Mohler Hall open for student services; facilities available to students when supervised on a limited basis; gatherings limited to 90 people; six-foot social distancing and continued remote operations for staff meetings.

Kansas Phase Out plans, which we hope will be realized in June would allow us to fully open the campus; reconsider our travel policy; allow in-person meetings with continued use of remote technology as needed and allow more student engagement on campus.

Additional details on reopening as they relate to different areas across campus will be shared over the coming week. Students can find out how reopening will affect them at: https://www.mcpherson.edu/covid/#faq

We are all anxious about the fall semester. However, I refuse to let this pandemic define McPherson College. We don’t know yet if next year will be a little different or a lot different. And there isn’t a college on the planet that has the answer yet. However, we will press for a safe return to physical classrooms and activities, while we prepare for possible disruptions. We will have a plan for next fall in place by June 1—a plan that will serve our students no matter the outbreak status.

Most of us chose McPherson College because it is small. Our size has been and will prove to be an advantage during this outbreak. We are able to adjust quickly to serve students and keep the campus safe. You have already proven that you, the members of our community, will continue to define McPherson College.

Thanks to each of you for making it a great day to be a Bulldog. Good luck with finals next week!

Michael

Michael Schneider
President, McPherson College
ask@mcpherson.edu

Campus Message - May 8, 2020
Campus Community,

Today we celebrated your accomplishments at our annual awards convocation. Your good work this year did not go unnoticed. The awards convocation which premiered this afternoon on our social media networks can also be viewed online at:

https://www.mcpherson.edu/event/awards-convocation-2020/

Our marketing and public relations team produced this video and countless other multimedia this semester. Thanks Brian Lundberg, Tina Goodwin, Colleen Gustafson and Corey Long for your dedication to keeping our campus culture alive online. Also, thanks to Andy Ullom and Kevin Morris in computer services for making sure we have the platforms and bandwidth to deliver the messages. This update is dedicated to all our employees who have pitched in adapting to meet the changing needs of our campus this spring.

When the outbreak started in March, it became clear that some employees would be overwhelmed and others would have their work put on hold. One of the most impressive parts of this COVID-19 experience is witnessing people from across campus pitch in to help co-workers make an impact.

As faculty worked through the remarkable task transitioning to remote instruction, the registrar’s office took over the responsibility enrolling students for fall courses. Since the registrar’s office was already short staffed, others across campus from academic services, admissions and advancement to student life have stepped up to keep us on track enrolling students. Entire teams have set aside their normal routines, including Linda Barrett, Carole Barr and Lisa Goering in academic services; Gabrielle Williams, Danielle Sutter, Justin Wiltfong and Aaron Bachura in student life; as well as Kendra Flory and Monica Rice in advancement, to make sure students are ready for the fall semester. Even Jaime Perez, our Fresh Ideas Foodservice Director, is finding time outside preparing quarantine meals to help support our efforts.

A new partnership between career services and human resources has been created to better serve students. The uncertainty in the job market has created a heavy workload in our career office. Brenda Stocklin-Smith in human resources has been quick to shift her responsibilities to contact students and support our work to ensure students get jobs.

Staff make a lot of calls during a normal year, but between student life, academic services, business office, athletics, advancement and admissions, we have recently been contacting 3,000 people a week to stay in touch since we can’t meet in person. Brian Martin and Abi Morgan, who would typically be in the shop or at an automotive event, have altered their work, making dozens of calls a week to students, donors and employers in preparation for next year.

Jamie Makatche and Lindsey Loucks, who would normally be serving a buzzing Miller Library, are now on the front lines making sure students have what they need to complete the semester and recently started supporting admissions efforts to review transcripts for fall transfer students.

Athletics and facilities staff are helping with projects in the business office. Andrew Gustafson and Connie Stucky are normally focused on taking care of our physical plant but have now crossed over to help with accounts payable. And although Phil Schoenwetter’s spring season got cut short as our head athletic trainer, he has also agreed to spend a few hours a week supporting the business office.

Even Dave Barrett, who should be on the road raising money, has stepped up to relive his glory days in admissions by making a few recruiting calls each day. And when I thanked Dave for helping out, he said, “Let me know what else I can do to help.”

Next Friday I will share our plans to reopen the campus in preparation for the fall semester. And although there is uncertainty as we plan for the fall, I am confident we will be ready because of the people who serve McPherson College—the same people who are leading us through this semester working outside their normal duties asking what they can do next.

The sun is out in McPherson, KS. Have a great weekend.

Michael

Michael Schneider
President, McPherson College
ask@mcpherson.edu

Campus Message - May 2, 2020
Campus Community,

In the spirit of our seniors, this update is dedicated to you. I have enjoyed following social media the last week as we began to recognize you and your time at McPherson College. I encourage the campus to celebrate our senior capstone projects as they come online the next few weeks.

Career is important to all students, but particularly relevant to our seniors who will soon scatter out into the world. Seniors, you should have all received a graduate outcome survey link. This survey helps us understand where you are in the process of securing employment or graduate school placement. If you have not completed the survey, please do so at: https://mcstudentlife.formstack.com/forms/graduation_outcomes_2019_20

  • We recently reallocated staff on campus including our human resources department to support students with securing internships and employment. We continue to be committed to your careers. Here are a few things for all McPherson College students to know about career services:
  • Questions or concerns about internships, jobs or other topics related to your career should be directed to Amy Beckman at beckmana@mcpherson.edu. Many students have already taken advantage of the new programs created to support you in this complicated job market.
    We are part of the Handshake network with hundreds of certified McPherson College employers and jobs across the country. The following link will help: Getting started in Handshake.
  • The Student Debt Project is moving into its fourth year and we are accepting any student committed to reducing their student debt. Debt Project students work with mentors in small cohorts learning financial skills to manage their budgets. McPherson College matches part of every dollar applied to a student’s account. Debt Project students are graduating with 1/3 less debt than other students at McPherson College.

Finally, on Thursday night the Kansas Governor announced the state’s plan to “ease” out of our stay-at-home orders and open the economy. We continue to social distance and public gatherings are limited; however, the plan moves us in the right direction to welcome students on campus in August. Many students, faculty and staff have struggled at some point to make the best of this situation. You might be questioning whether your “best” is good enough. Please know one thing as you work hard to complete this semester—your best is good enough for me.

Michael

Michael Schneider
President, McPherson College
ask@mcpherson.edu

Campus Message - April 24, 2020
Campus Community,

My next couple updates will be dedicated to our seniors. Seniors, when we were together in Brown Auditorium a few weeks ago, we knew an in-person commencement ceremony was uncertain given the limitation on large group gatherings. After consulting a group of student leaders and others on campus, we have decided to host a virtual commencement on the scheduled May 24th date. We considered a Homecoming commencement but concluded that there are too many unknowns and asking families to come back in October could be unrealistic or even a hardship. There are already too many hardships given this situation. Families have the current date saved, so we are proceeding with a virtual commencement to allow everyone an opportunity to participate no matter your location. Here are some highlights of the planned event:

  • Virtual Brunch with President Schneider @ 11 a.m. CST
  • Live Stream Graduation @ 2 p.m. CST
  • Cap and Gowns will be mailed ASAP
  • Visit the Bulldog Connect homepage for instructions

Social media the next few weeks will focus on seniors. Follow all of MC’s social media accounts, sharing your comments and likes. We are also working on a dedicated webpage to celebrate our senior capstone projects.

Every student has made an investment into their career at MC. And we recognize our returning students have a lot on the line for next year. Please know that although this COVID-19 outbreak creates uncertainty, many faculty and staff are working hard to make plans for next year. We will be ready. And we expect you will, too.

Keep up the good work in your classes and enjoy the weekend.

Michael

Michael Schneider
President, McPherson College
ask@mcpherson.edu

Campus Message - April 17, 2020
Campus Community,

I continue to be impressed by your effort to work through our complicated world. Each day brings a new challenge. Students, I recognize that you would rather be in the classroom but hang in there and keep showing up. Thanks to each of you for doing your part.

We had a “Zoom” huddle this week with nearly 150 employees attending the meeting. It was fun to get the campus together even though we had to quickly “mute all.” I shared some of the themes we are learning from our remote operation and how we will start plans to be ready for next year. The uncertainty this outbreak has caused is frustrating, but please remember the following about next year:

  • McPherson College will be ready to start classes by August 17.
  • We will be ready for students to return when it is safe.
  • We have a group on campus working through different options for next year.
  • We will get students back in labs, studios and shops as soon as possible.
  • Support and services will continue, and our top priority is graduating students on time.
  • We are committed to every sport competing in 2020-21 and discussions are underway in the NAIA to make sure your seasons take place at some point in the year.

We have groups of faculty and staff working on planning for different scenarios in preparation for next fall. They are exploring all options but know that the most important part of the equation is maximizing the student experience no matter the situation.

Keep taking care of each other, and know that I can’t wait to get you all back to campus. I miss you.

Michael

Michael Schneider
President, McPherson College

Campus Message - April 10, 2020

Campus Community,

Thanks to each of you for your commitment to the temporarily “new” McPherson College. Everyone is doing their part. Students are encouraging each other and patiently waiting on how we can help them through this difficult situation. Faculty are pressing forward remotely to complete the semester. And staff keep the operation moving. I recognize how much you miss each other, and I am thankful for your grace during this time. If this crisis has proven one thing, it is how much we appreciate being a community.

Since my last note, students displaced from campus dorms have received credits on their student accounts. In addition, there is new guidance in the “FAQ” section of www.mcpherson.edu/covid for students and families. Staff are ready to help navigate options for students with significant hardship. I appreciate your understanding as we balance personal situations with the ongoing challenges of our institution.

Let me be clear on two points as many are curious about what fall semester will look like at McPherson College. First, we will be ready to start classes by August 17. Second, we are committed to every student learning in the classroom, competing on the field, creating in the studio, researching in the lab and working in the shop next academic year even if there is a delay because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The challenges continue, but I am confident each of you will help us navigate this situation. I think one of the parents of a prospective student during our virtual Presidential Scholarship day this past weekend said it best.

“Your team did a great job adapting to the current situation. I work with Fortune 500 companies and state government organizations and they’ve been struggling to get up to speed with online activities. It almost appears as if your school was prepared in advance due to how seamlessly you moved to an online format.”

Stay safe and happy Easter.

Michael

Michael Schneider
President, McPherson College

Campus Message - April 3, 2020

Campus Community,

Thanks to your great work, we finished our first week of remote classes on our way to completing the second semester. There continues to be a lot of uncertainty in the world; however, it is nice to be part of a focused institution with a persistent student body.

I had the chance to meet with student leaders today via Microsoft Teams. I am impressed with their work to keep other students informed and engaged. We talked about student concerns related to finishing the semester as well as engaging students online and recognizing our senior class. I want to personally thank our Student Government Association president, Diamond Blaylock-Norris. She has shown strong leadership keeping our student organizations in place, while advising me and others on staff, during this difficult situation.

As we look to next week, students displaced from campus dorms should be receiving notices of credits toward their student accounts, and by next Friday there will be more information in the FAQ section of this page related to the CARES Act and how MC can support students. In addition, make sure to follow MC on social media as there will be a lot of activity to connect students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends.

Facebook: McPhersonCollege
Twitter: @Mac_College
Instagram: @mcphersoncollege

Finally, I heard from MC graduate Lou Schneider ’06 this week. Lou is managing over 100 physicians who are battling the COVID-19 outbreak in New Orleans. His family has a special connection to MC. When Hurricane Katrina left them homeless in August 2005, Lou’s family joined him in McPherson as classes started that fall. They lived for several months in a home owned by the college. This week Lou was reflective of his time at MC and was moved to share a few words of encouragement with our campus. I’ll share his thoughts with you Monday on social media.

Lou is one of many alumni and friends who have reached out to me over the past week. Please know that people are thinking about you and praising your good work.

Enjoy the weekend.

Michael Schneider
President, McPherson College

Campus Message - March 27, 2020

Campus Community,

Our first day of the second semester starts Monday. Although this isn’t the semester that any of us planned, here we are together at our digital devices finding a way to move forward. Most of the campus is working remotely. Leading from a laptop presents new challenges but I’m finding a new appreciation for our work and lucky to be surrounded by so many talented co-workers.

Many of you continue to have concerns and questions. I would encourage you to look for updates here. The “FAQ” at the bottom of the page provides information related to students. Congress recently passed unprecedented legislation called the CARES Act, which is a $2 trillion COVID-19 relief package. There are important allocations for higher education to support emergency aid to students. Although we don’t have enough guidance on the new bill to share specifics, we are still committed to credits for displaced students and we plan to notify those students about credits to their accounts by April 6. We are evaluating all costs associated, including the percent of interterm/spring semesters remaining, fixed costs associated with the credit as well as the timing. I also recognize others are struggling with hardships and we are working on ways to support you. We will share more details on how we can help in the next few weeks.

Students, as you sit down in front of a screen next week to start classes, know that there is a person on the other end—a person who cares and worries about you. A person who is working hard to find a way to finish the year in spite of our current situation.

Faculty, you inspired our campus the past few weeks. You stepped up and exceeded my expectations to recreate how learning will happen in courses.

Seniors, I am in awe. It was me who made the decision to upend the year. I cancelled the spring athletic seasons and end-of-year events. I moved classes online. And I asked many of you to leave campus. It was hard to share all of this with you two weeks ago when we were together in Brown Auditorium. I expected to be met with anger and resentment. However, what I found was grace. Many of you were worried about me— the guy who ruined your year. Your overwhelming support has made me better. You motivate me to find a way forward.

It isn’t what we planned but you are ready. Have a great first day of class!

Michael

Spring 2020 Updates

Completing the Spring semester
Classes resume remotely.

 

March 17, 2020, 7:15 p.m.
McPherson College announced today it will complete the second semester remotely using online technology beginning March 30, 2020. More details are outlined in the FAQ section below.

 

March 16, 2020, 2:18 p.m.
The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) announced today that it is cancelling the spring 2020 sports season, effective immediately in response to the current COVID-19 situation.
Read more about the NAIA decision.

 

March 14, 2020, 5:30 p.m.
The uncertainty of this situation presents challenges and many considerations. McPherson College will make a decision by Thursday, March 19 regarding whether students will return to campus for in-person classes or complete the semester remotely using online technology. Students, families, faculty, and staff can find more information in an email dated March 14, 2020 from President Michael Schneider.

 

Message from President Michael Schneider, Prof. Becki Bowman, and our students.

 

March 13, 2020, 4 p.m.
Following the recent decision made by the KCAC, McPherson College Athletics will suspend indefinitely all athletic-related practice, travel, and competitions out of an abundance of caution due to the coronavirus. Read more about the KCAC decision.

 

March 12, 2020, 8 p.m.
McPherson College is dismissing students for the 2020 spring break one week early, beginning Monday, March 16.
Our highest priority at McPherson College is providing a healthy and safe campus environment for our students, faculty, staff, and guests. In addition, we are committed to all of our students completing their degrees and coursework this semester even given the challenges related to the COVID-19 outbreak.Therefore, even though Kansas is still considered a low-risk state for the spread of the novel coronavirus, McPherson College is dismissing students for the 2020 spring break one week early, beginning Monday, March 16.