To: The Stevens Community
From: President Nariman Farvardin
Date: September 30, 2020
Subject: Spring 2021 Semester Planning Task Force

As we near the mid-point of the semester and reflect on the implementation of our Fall 2020 Campus Reopening Plan, I am writing to announce the establishment of a task force to make recommendations on our plans for Spring 2021. With broad representation from key university constituencies, the Spring 2021 Semester Planning Task Force will work intensively in the coming weeks to develop our plan for next semester. Our goal is to announce the framework for the spring semester in mid-November, including changes, if any, to the academic schedule or the population of students able to participate in on-campus instruction. Of course, many important activities necessary to prepare for the spring semester will continue throughout the fall, including development of final course schedules, campus access protocols, COVID-19 surveillance and testing plans, and many others. 

It is important to note that our plans for the spring semester will be subject to change depending on health conditions and government guidance, as is currently the case for the fall semester. While we will aim to make informed decisions in the best interests of our university community, these plans are contingent on certain factors that are outside our control.

There is much work to do between now and the release of our plans for Spring 2021, but I am confident that this Task Force will meet the challenge.

I am also heartened by the progress we have made in promoting a safe and healthy campus environment this semester. Our campus dashboard provides a weekly update on COVID-19 test results, and it appears that the systems we have put in place are working so far. The low positivity rate to date is the direct and cumulative result of every member of the Stevens community working together—participating in weekly COVID-19 testing, practicing social distancing, wearing face coverings, washing hands frequently, avoiding large gatherings, and following the Stevens Health Honor Code. However, it is our individual and collective duty to remain vigilant in strictly adhering to the safe and healthy practices that we have implemented so far throughout the fall semester and beyond. 

It is important to note that not a week goes by that I do not hear from students and parents who are looking forward to a greater level of on-campus instruction and student activities in the spring semester. With the experience of the fall semester and the lessons we have learned to date, I am hopeful that we will be able to implement a plan for the spring that provides a greater on-campus presence for more students. 

I am grateful to Provost Christophe Pierre for agreeing to chair this task force and to the other members of our university community for dedicating their time to this effort. Please join me in thanking them and providing your support and cooperation as they undertake this important work. 

  • Christophe Pierre, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs (Chair)
  • Onur Asan, Associate Professor, School of Systems and Enterprises
  • Cindy Chin, Associate Provost
  • Pinal Dakshini, Graduate Student, President of the Graduate Student Council
  • Anastasia Greene, Assistant Vice President for Communications and Marketing
  • Bob Maffia, Vice President for Facilities and Campus Operations
  • Souran Manoochehri, Professor and Chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering
  • Yehia Massoud, Dean, School of Systems and Enterprises
  • Jennifer McBryan, Teaching Assistant Professor, College of Arts and Letters
  • Beth McGrath, Vice President for Government and Community Relations / Chief of Staff
  • Samantha Molla, Undergraduate Student, President of the Student Government Association
  • Marybeth Murphy, Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs
  • Warren Petty, Vice President for Human Resources
  • Gregory Prastacos, Dean, School of Business
  • Jose Ramirez-Marquez, Vice Chair of the Faculty Senate and Associate Professor, School of Systems and Enterprises
  • Dibyendu “Dibs” Sarkar, Chair of the Faculty Senate and Professor, Department of Civil, Environmental, and Ocean Engineering
  • Kelland Thomas, Dean, College of Arts and Letters
  • David Zeng, Vice Provost for Academic Innovation and Faculty Affairs
  • Jean Zu, Dean, School of Engineering and Science