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Message From the Dean 
Course Delivery Plans for Fall 2020

PCOM's School of Professional and Applied Psychology plans to utilize a hybrid course delivery method for the fall 2020 semester. This hybrid model of course delivery will consist of a mix of mostly online course delivery and limited face-to-face delivery when determined to be required by faculty in order to develop competencies. 

PCOM continues to closely monitor the COVID-19 outbreak. Should circumstances warrant, our fallback position would be to revert to fully virtual instruction across all programs. Our chairs, program directors and faculty have been charged with the task of carefully analyzing each course in every program and to make a determination about the best way to deliver these classes. Our accreditors have informed us that flexibility is important and that faculty are in the best position to determine how to assess student competencies.

We want to provide as much information as we currently know in this ever-changing world in which we find ourselves. Please rest assured that any and all decisions we make about program deliveries are based on the science about COVID; student, faculty and staff safety; student and faculty input; general and specialty accreditors; local state and federal guidelines; and the Centers for Disease Control. 

Here is what we can tell you at this moment regarding our programs and course delivery:

  1. The School of Professional and Applied Psychology has amassed an enormous amount of experience during the spring and summer terms in converting roughly 100 courses to online delivery. With an eye toward maintaining, securing and sustaining academic excellence, we are happy to report that our delivery has been very well received by our students and faculty across our programs. This conversion required a great deal of effort for all parties concerned. All involved have also been incredibly flexible and understanding as we have navigated our way through this crisis together. We will continue to use what we have learned to ensure the quality of your education as we proceed through the pandemic together. Our faculty and staff have been working diligently to ensure the quality of delivery of education, as evidenced by our successful transition to online delivery for the spring and summer terms.
  2. Our educational focus has been and continues to be on offering only the highest quality experience for students whether online or in-person. Our philosophy has been embedded in the idea of leveraging the best technology has to offer and to simulate face-to-face delivery as much as possible. The educational objectives regarding knowledge, skills and attitudes remain the same; the online course delivery and assessments are creative. Our faculty and staff have been extremely innovative in adjusting courses.
  3. Our faculty and staff continue to devote enormous energy toward providing the best possible education we can. Faculty and staff have devoted themselves to this process with student experiences as a primary concern. Our dedicated group is working long hours to support our efforts. We are also ensuring students have access to all of the necessary resources that would normally be available in a fully face-to-face environment including mentoring, meetings with faculty, meetings with advisors, tutoring, academic support, writing support, town hall meetings, dissertation advising, clinical supervision, as well as access to the library, financial aid, and student affairs.
  4. For future terms, we will provide students with detailed information regarding course delivery plans at the time of registration—roughly six weeks before that term begins. Given the ongoing state of flux in which we find ourselves, we cannot predict what the winter term will look like. Our decision will depend in large part on the latest evidence about COVID.
  5. PCOM administration and the Return to Campus Task Force have been vigilant in supporting and implementing changes in the PCOM environment to ensure safety as much as possible. To date, there have been numerous changes implemented including classroom space analysis (to assure safe distances between students and faculty), installation of plexiglass barriers where needed, reconfiguration of offices, renovations, converting existing space to classroom space, PPE kits for students and faculty, development and use of outside classroom space, ventilation system analysis, signage, training modules on COVID and safety practices, entrance and exit analyses to suites and rooms, the use of bathrooms, use of elevators and the like. 

Finally, we want to emphasize that PCOM exists because and for our students. We are a group of highly trained practitioners and educators who are completely devoted to mentoring you. We will continue to provide the guidance and support you will need to complete your studies. We will keep you apprised of any further information as the plan emerges and communicate the information to you when it is available. In the meantime, be safe, be smart and stay healthy.

Robert A. DiTomasso, PhD, ABPP
Dean and Professor of Psychology
School of Professional and Applied Psychology

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