As Stags near the end of another successful and slightly unorthodox semester, students and faculty have begun preparation for final exams in a new virtual format. This has undoubtedly been a difficult period for schools across the country, with faculty deciding how to best assess learning and students managing their stress levels during this busy part of the semester. Fairfield University faculty have worked tirelessly in consultation with the administration to ensure that end-of-semester assessments can still occur while keeping with Fairfield’s student-centered approach. In many cases, faculty have modified their original plans to fit the limitations of virtual learning, including creating presentations and essays instead of traditional exams. 

“I feel that the Fairfield University faculty has done a great job of being understanding of all of the different challenges that each student is trying to deal with during these trying times,” says Andrew Visceglia, ‘23. 

This resounding sense of empathy and flexibility is surely a welcome sign to many Stags who are balancing family obligations with school work during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Perhaps one of the few positives to come out of this seemingly unprecedented moment has been the resiliency of the Fairfield University community. The open dialogue between students and faculty throughout this period has allowed for a near seamless transition to virtual learning. As faculty simultaneously experience the hardships of the current situation, a renewed sense of togetherness has been found inside virtual classrooms. Faculty have worked directly with students to make the semester a success. Meanwhile, students are eager as ever to learn and perform to the best of their abilities on assessments. These combined efforts have worked hand in hand to make this semester fulfilling. 

“During any crisis, communication is the key. The classroom is no different. Communication provides a sense of certainty amid the chaos for both students and professors,” says assistant professor of politics and public administration, Gayle Alberda, Ph.D. “Knowing how students are doing is an important aspect of Jesuit education, cura personalis. It helps us, as professors, to teach and provides the students with a sense of stability.”

 Perhaps at times I seem relentlessly optimistic in these pieces, but this semester truly has instilled a greater hope in me that Stags will overcome this period together. Our campus has remained united with the common goal to pursue intellectual curiosity at the highest levels, while being engaged citizens both on and off Fairfield’s campus. In this sense, there may have never been a more successful semester. 

Even the communal bond that brings together our student body continues to thrive.

Conor Chmiel ‘22 says, “I know for me personally, I’ll have Zoom calls with my friends pretty much every week and we all try to virtually maintain a bunch of the traditions we had at school.” 

While some colleges and universities have struggled to adapt, Fairfield has certainly risen to the occasion with students and faculty who understand that this moment calls for greater collaboration and togetherness. Across our community, we have worked to restore faith in our ability to come through this, as our motto demands, “Per Fidem Ad Plenam Veritatem,” “Through faith to full truth.”

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