LVB: Nearly 1 year into the COVID-19 pandemic, colleges are looking much different than they did before. In what ways has Kutztown adapted?
Hawkison: We remained open with a residential experience for our students and had a wide modality of classes including face-to-face, hybrid and online. All students, faculty and staff had to adapt to wearing masks, social distancing and working behind plexiglass. I’m very proud of the way our community adapted to this new reality.
LVB: What format are your professors using for their classes, in-person, remote, a hybrid of the two?
Hawkinson: 87% of our course offerings have a synchronous component, wherein the classes will be held live in person or with technology (or both) in real time.
LVB: What are some of the ways the school has been impacted that most people wouldn’t realize?
Hawkinson: While a number of our employees have underlying conditions and are teleworking, all our offices have been open and staffed so that our students and the public could interact in person.
LVB: Sometimes necessity is the mother of invention. Has Kutztown made any changes that have been advantageous, that might become permanent?
Hawkinson: All our faculty, staff and students have become very proficient in using technology in their work and in their educational experiences, which allows us to complete our mission remotely, if necessary. For example, there is no longer a need to suspend operation for bad weather as nearly everyone can work, teach and learn from home.
In the fall, we hope to return to traditional in-person experiences for our students but these classes will be greatly enhanced as a result of the skills developed by faculty and students in the use of technology.
LVB: What does the rest of the year look like at the school?
Hawkinson: We will remain open but with the restrictions of social distancing and other practices that mitigate the risk of COVID-19. As more faculty, staff and students get vaccinated we hope to relax these restrictions so that there could be many more activities on campus wherein the members of our community could have more interaction.