More universities, including Marquette, change class delivery in response to coronavirus

Last updated on March 13th, 2020 at 12:29 pm

A number of area colleges and universities on Thursday announced changes to their class delivery models for the rest of the semester in response to growing concern about COVID-19 or the coronavirus.

Marquette University, Cardinal Stritch University, Carthage College and the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design all announced changes Thursday, following similar actions by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, UW-Madison and Alverno College earlier this week.

Alverno opted to extend spring break by a week to March 20. The college plans to make a decision next week about classes for graduate students on March 20 and all classes beyond that date. Alverno said the extended break would allow faculty to prepare for online course offerings if classes don’t resume March 24.

Marquette said it will suspend in-person classes starting March 16, when students would have returned from spring break. The university noted it is not extending the break, however, and said students should complete assigned readings and coursework.

The university’s faculty will be receiving training in online course deployment and will work to develop a plan to move instruction online. Marquette will start all online instruction beginning on March 23 and continue with that approach through April 10.

Marquette told students who live on-campus to not return to campus before April 10. Those in off-campus housing were asked to use their best judgment on when to return.

The university also set new restrictions on university travel and encouraged faculty and students to keep meetings through alternative means if possible.

“We understand that these decisions have campuswide implications, many of them interdependent. We have a dedicated team working through these complex issues to identify the best courses of action in the coming days and weeks,” Michael Lovell, president of Marquette, Kimo Ah Yun, provost, and Joel Pogodzinski, chief operating officer, wrote in an email to the Marquette community.

MIAD, on Thursday, announced it would extend its spring break by one week and would hold no in-person or online classes from March 16 to March 22. Classes are scheduled to resume March 23 through online delivery and the last day of the semester remains May 1.

“Extending the college’s Spring Break will provide faculty and staff time to prepare to teach fully online beginning March 23. We will continue to monitor the situation and communicate updates to the MIAD community,” said Jeffrey Morin, president of MIAD.

Carthage College also said it would extend its spring break by a week and resume classes March 23 through remote and online teaching.

“This was a very difficult decision. Carthage has long prided itself on our small classes, hands-on learning, and supportive, in-person academic environment,” said John Swallow, president of Carthage. “We are committed to helping students complete their spring semester courses and meet graduation requirements.”

The college said it plans to resume regular classroom instruction on April 14 after its regularly scheduled Easter break, but left open the possibility of another change to its schedule.

Cardinal Stritch, which earlier this week said three students had direct contract with a COVID-19 person, said the Milwaukee Health Department had confirmed there are currently no cases of the virus on campus.

The university also announced it will suspend face-to-face instruction from March 16 to March 31, moving classes online during that period.

“Again, there is no COVID-19 on the Stritch campus. However, given the projected spread of the virus domestically and internationally, we believe it is in the best interests of our students, faculty and staff to transition to the online platform,” Kathleen Rinehart, president of Cardinal Stritch, said in a post on the university website.

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Arthur Thomas
Arthur covers manufacturing for BizTimes. He previously was managing editor at The Waukesha Freeman. He is a graduate of Carroll University and did graduate coursework at Marquette. A native of southeastern Wisconsin, he is also a nationally certified gymnastics judge and enjoys golf on the weekends.