Updated April 5, 2021

LOOKING FORWARD 

Planning for an expanded face-to-face experience this fall

Dominican University is planning for an expansion of face-to-face learning this fall as a result of robust COVID-19 testing and other campus mitigation efforts, including our students’ strong commitment to safety, that have successfully prevented community spread over the past year.

Barring major changes in the current trajectory of the pandemic, we fully intend to offer a majority of classes on campus this fall. And we’re confident we can do so safely. Nearly half our classes are currently in-person or hybrid and we’ve had zero major outbreaks of COVID-19 to date. But fall will be more than just business as usual.

“The past year has been challenging and transformative,” said President Donna M. Carroll. “While others focus on a return to ‘normal,’ we are dedicated to crafting a new future. We are blending tradition with new models of learning to create a college experience that is dynamic and flexible.” 

If the pandemic taught us anything, it’s that large-scale disruption comes with opportunities for fresh approaches. So we’re capitalizing on an extraordinary year of innovation by optimizing courses specifically for the formats that best suit each program and produce the strongest learning outcomes. The feedback from current students has been overwhelmingly positive—in fact, recent surveys show students are more satisfied with professors' commitment to their academic success now than pre-pandemic.

We're also expanding on-site and remote support services that have made us a model for student success. We’re building upon creative approaches to physical spaces like our new Learning Commons, home to the WeatherTech Innovation Lab. And we’ve permanently expanded our library’s digital offerings, giving students access to outstanding resources whenever and wherever they need them.

Here are a few of the exciting developments you can expect this fall:
  • A majority of classes face-to-face or in hybrid formats, but also a mix of modalities to better suit specific programs and students’ desire for flexibility
  • Online courses tailored specifically for the screen to ensure you’re engaged and connected to the curriculum and your classmates—no matter where you study
  • Higher residence hall occupancy with more living learning communities grouped by interest
  • Even more scholarships, on-campus jobs and leadership opportunities
  • Expanded access to the Learning Commons and creative spaces like our WeatherTech Innovation Lab and media center
  • More innovations in our already outstanding career development program
  • A full athletics schedule
  • A tuition freeze that will keep costs the same as this year

Recognizing that the pandemic is constantly evolving, Dominican continues to hold community safety as its first priority. In consultation with our long-term partner, Rush University Medical Center, we’re developing the details of our fall semester plan in alignment with the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Illinois Department of Public Health, the Illinois Board of Higher Education and Illinois Governor Pritzker’s Restore Illinois Plan.  

Here’s a look at how weve kept cases low:
  • Our students, faculty and staff use the #CampusClear app daily for monitoring symptoms, reporting testing outcomes, and contact tracing.
  • Dominican community members sign and uphold our Caritas Commitment, committing to follow the strong protocols in place to ensure their fellow Stars’ safety, including mask-wearing, distancing, preventative hygiene and more.
  • We’ve expanded testing as one of the inaugural members of the SHIELD Illinois testing program. This allows us to offer the saliva test, which the University of Illinois has been using on its campus, and to produce faster results than the nasal tests.
  • We upgraded HVAC operations and equipment to improve air flow and quality and added thermographic scanners at each of our key entrances for additional monitoring.

We continue to meet biweekly with experts from Rush University Medical Center to review prevalence data on campus and in the community and will adjust our approach as needed. The Dominican University COVID-19 Tracking dashboard is updated on a weekly basis and published by 5 p.m. every Friday, offering a view of cases on campus. We will provide more details as they develop.