Week of May 11, 2020

Fall Semester

Sent: May 12, 2020

Audience: Students

To Dickinson students:

I hope you are all staying healthy and safe, and that you were able to finish the semester strong. I miss seeing you on campus, and I look forward to when we can all be together again. Thank you for your flexibility and for working with us as we switched so quickly to remote instruction.

We understand the financial challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic present to our students and so Dickinson has decided to hold tuition steady instead of implementing the 3.9% increase unanimously approved by our board in January. As a result, tuition for the next academic year will be $55,948. Room and board will continue at the rates previously shared earlier this spring.

I know you are wondering about what is ahead. Will we all be back on campus in the fall? Will students be studying abroad? How will we make sure our community is safe? We are working to answer all these questions as quickly as we can.

A Dickinson education has never been more relevant, and I am hopeful that we will reconvene in-person in August. There are, of course, still many uncertainties surrounding COVID-19. We are working to have ample tests and arrangements for contact tracing on campus. In the next several weeks, we expect the state to outline the steps that will allow us to reopen.

Because we do not know yet how COVID-19 will impact the fall semester, we are planning for a variety of scenarios. I recently named two committees to help with this effort. One is the Fall Reopening Committee, which includes faculty, staff and student representatives and will look at scenarios that include compressed semesters, moving to trimesters, remote learning and bringing everyone back to campus as usual. I chair the committee and we have been meeting regularly to plan for every possibility.

A second committee, the Ready for Fall Academic Working Group, will make recommendations on pedagogy and technological tools, help design faculty development and consider implications of online instruction more generally. If we need to do remote instruction, we want to make sure that we are prepared to provide the depth, breadth and personalized approach that are hallmarks of Dickinson’s liberal-arts education.

I know you would like to have some certainty, but with so many unknowns, it is impossible for us to provide those right now. I assure you that the health and safety of our community will guide all of our decisions. We will have decisions by early June, after we have received instructions from our state officials, and we will continue to keep you updated along the way.

This pandemic has changed so much in our country and our world, and I know it has deeply disrupted your lives and your Dickinson experience. We will get through this, and there will come a time when life becomes more normal again. Dickinson prepares you for an uncharted future, and that education has never been more relevant in our lifetimes. Take care of yourself and those you love, stay safe and stay Dickinson strong.


Margee M. Ensign