Dear JST Community,
As with every aspect of our lives, the international health crisis posed by covid-19 shapes JST's plans for the fall 2020 semester. First and foremost, we reconfirm our commitment to theological and pastoral reflection that emerges from and responds to the yearnings, sufferings and hopes of the communities we serve across the globe. Particularly now, this commitment leads us to attend to and pursue justice for black Americans who suffer due to racial injustices in the United States.
Considering that the opportunity for face-to-face meetings will continue to be severely curtailed, we have decided to deliver our coursework and community events remotely for the fall 2020 semester. This decision was made so that our students can continue (or begin) their studies without significant interruption. While all of our classes will be delivered remotely, we will try to augment remote coursework, when safe and permissible, with in-person encounters and ministry experiences.
Faculty members are revising and reformulating their courses for better interactive and more effective remote learning. We’re utilizing resources for digital teaching and learning that are available to us as a graduate school of Santa Clara University and as a member school of the Graduate Theological Union. At the same time, our administrators are studying classroom spacing, conference rooms, and meeting areas in our buildings to determine how to safely host small gatherings, both social and academic, possibly taking advantage of our outdoor spaces. When we can, we intend to hold face-to-face events, while still including those who cannot be in Berkeley with us.
Throughout all this, we will not jeopardize the health and safety of the community. We are relying on the expertise of working groups on our main SCU campus (teaching and learning, legal, health and safety, financial, staff, and student experience). We are also coordinating with the GTU member schools.
This is an evolving situation as health guidance and mandates from local and state governments shape our decisions. In the coming days, returning students and new students will receive more specific communications about New Student Orientation, Fall Convocation and community events, and the start of classes. Faculty members will be reaching out to their advisees and students in their courses as well.
International students are encouraged to visit this FAQ page, which will answer many of the questions you may have.
During this time of continued social distancing, and during this time of prophetic calls and actions for racial justice, please know that I hold our JST community, each of you, in my prayers.
Alison M. Benders
Interim Dean, Jesuit School of Theology
Santa Clara University