Note from the Chair
Dear Alumni and Friends,
Spring 2020 has been a time of disruption for all of us. Shortly after the Winter quarter began, we started to learn about a mysterious new virus circulating in China. As the quarter continued, we began to learn about people falling ill with COVID-19 in the United States, with cases coming to light in Washington State, New York City, as well as here in Santa Clara County. Levels of anxiety about this virus accelerated in late February and early March as more and more cases came to light. This culminated with our having to segue to online-only instruction at the very end of the quarter when Santa Clara County announced a shelter-in-place public health emergency on March 17th. This led to a very abrupt change of plans at the end of the quarter, since it was no longer possible to hold in-person classes, exams, or meetings on campus, with all teaching, advising, and collaborative work switching to online venues such as Zoom.
As a result of this national emergency, members of the Santa Clara University community had to rapidly adapt to teaching and learning online. The first week and a half of Spring quarter were dedicated to an online instructional preparation period, to give faculty, many of whom had never taught online previously, the chance to prepare for their Spring quarter classes. Our usual rituals, such as the annual department reception, had to be adapted into an online format, conducted via Zoom. Now that Spring quarter is almost over, I think it is safe to say that while this emergency has been challenging and anxiety-provoking for all of us, we have pulled through it as a community, and we look forward to a return to our normal manner of teaching and learning, as soon as the emergency is over and it is safe to do so.
Chair, Religious Studies Department