A Letter from
President Chodosh

July 24, 2020

Dear All:

We write today to update you on our final plan for the fall semester, CMC Returns.

Given the recent, substantial increases in COVID-19 infection, hospitalization, and death rates in California and Los Angeles County and, even more decisively, the absence of necessary state and county authorization for residential, in-person higher education programs to reopen, we will not be allowed to resume on-campus learning in the fall.

After months of intensive study of these serious public health concerns, rigorous planning to overcome them, and hopeful anticipation of reconvening, we are disappointed that we cannot be together to take classes in Claremont this upcoming semester.

Yet, we see opportunity in this challenge.

To reinforce our mission and commitment to each of you.

To overcome the conventional constraints of other online and off-campus programs.

Learning apart becomes an even more deeply immersive, personalized, advanced CMC learning and leadership experience.

Living apart inspires us to grow closer together.

The problems we face in the world today call on the full power of our liberal arts minds to contribute responsive, effective solutions.

In these ways, now more than ever, we draw on the core values that distinguish CMC, the singular strengths that propel us forward, the learning commitments that help us persevere when it is difficult to carry on.

Here’s how we do it.

Key features of our Plan for the fall 2020 semester:

An immersive, personalized, advanced learning and leadership experience. Double down on what CMC does best. Problem-based learning opportunities. New, topical courses. Smaller, personalized classes. Tutorials with faculty. Immersive, basic and applied research projects. Science labs at home. Expanded opportunities at institutes, centers, and labs. Industry partnerships. One-on-one mentorship. Personal support in writing and quantitative skills. Team teaching. Guest speakers from academia and the worlds of government, industry, and social change. Expanded alumni engagement. Informal virtual gatherings, office hours, and collaborative sessions to foster close social connections.

Individualized, full community support for shared experience, student growth, and expanded opportunity. CMC comes together as a close-knit community. Robust student-led programming with CPB, ASCMC, DOS, the CARE Center, campus clubs, organizations, and affinity groups to build community, purpose, and play. Comprehensive, FYG student-led orientation experience to welcome our Class of 2024. Off-campus room and board support for students on financial aid, including necessary technology and books. Peer success consultants with a focus on virtual learning skills. Individualized support and family training in mental health. One-on-one dedicated career coaching through the Soll Center for Student Opportunity. Reimagined virtual Athenaeum program with world class faculty, speakers, and moderated discussions. Full engagement of the Presidential Initiative on Anti-Racism and the Black Experience in America and the Open Academy. Health and fitness programming through our great coaches and experts in Roberts Pavilion.

Continuous, innovative support for faculty and staff. Enhanced educational technology and training for teaching, research, and student engagement. Tutorials, workshops, and one-on-one coaching with experts for expansion of the virtual, instructional tool kit. On-site medical support (including rigorous screening, accessible testing, and quick results). Maximum effort to support continuity of work. Extended childcare benefits to address pre-K and K-12 schooling challenges.

Strong financial mitigation. Increased financial aid to mitigate COVID-19 impacts on students and families. Need-based monetary allowances for housing and meals. No increase in tuition. Continuity of all matriculation policies, including those on transfer credits. Significant investments in technology and advanced instructional design. Responsible limits on hiring, salaries, and spending; targeted budget cuts and other mitigation efforts.

Ongoing public health assessment in anticipation of a spring return. Frequent consultations with retained medical experts in campus health, epidemiology, and infectious disease. Collaboration with peer institutions. Flexibility to make any necessary improvements to CMC Returns in spring.

Continuous communication. Student and family forums. Faculty and staff meetings and town halls. Website and FAQ updates.

Each aspect of this Plan emerged from the invaluable contributions of hundreds of students, faculty, staff, and parents. For us to succeed, that community-wide collaboration must continue, with each of us fully engaged.

Thus, we have organized a series of forums in order for us to work together closely to build on our Plan for the fall:

  • Student Forum at 8:00 a.m. (PDT) Monday, July 27th.
  • Family Forum at 9:00 a.m. (PDT) Tuesday, July 28th.
  • Staff Forum at 11:00 a.m. (PDT) Tuesday, July 28th.
  • Faculty Forum at 1:00 p.m. (PDT) Tuesday, July 28th.

Peter Uvin, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty, will report on the exciting innovations in the curriculum led by our faculty.

Sharon Basso, Vice President for Student Affairs, and Dianna Graves ’98, Assistant Vice President and Dean of Students, will describe the inventive ways we plan to support our students.

For the latest information and future updates, please visit our CMC Returns website. For all other inquiries, please email us at cmcreturns@cmc.edu.

We are here for you and will be in constant touch. In all of this, we seek your guidance, your best ideas, your engaged support.

Until then, be well, stay connected, and take great care.

Very best,