Apr. 21, 2020

AUSTIN, Texas — St. Edward’s University is announcing changes to better serve students during the pandemic.

The university has long been committed to a personalized approach to supporting students through small classes, excellent mentorship and meaningful connections. St. Edward’s is striving to keep and build connections during this time through supportive policy changes, accessible faculty and staff, virtual events and community networking.

Below are some of the ways the university is supporting students and fostering resilience during remote operations.

Faculty Office Hours— Even though face-to-face meetings cannot take place, professors understand the importance of continuing to mentor and guide students during this time. They are accessible via email, phone and office hours. Many are also available via chat and video conference. Students can access all faculty contact information through Canvas, the university’s learning platform.

Virtual events— Many events that were scheduled on campus for the remainder of the semester are still happening — albeit virtually — as an opportunity for the hilltop community to come together. For example, the Center for Ethics and Leadership is hosting virtual events. The Honors Thesis Symposium will take place in various Zoom rooms. The Munday Library is collecting stories of Hilltoppers during this time. Students can read or submit stories here. Organizations are hosting events and building connections, too — an Esports hangout and a virtual pen pal program, along with virtual fitness and wellness classes. University community members can access the complete listing, including secure links.

Career Advising– While career fairs and in-person meetings aren’t an option right now, students can get academic and career support remotely. Students are encouraged to stay in touch with their success coach or academic advisor, and take advantage of walk-in — or “Zoom in” — hours with Career and Professional Development. And if students have more free time than normal, the university encourages them to consider using this time to get organized, work on their website or polish their résumé (online résumé evaluations are still available).

Emergency Support and Resources— The Dean of Students Office is ready to make sure students and their families receive the care and assistance they need. The office has compiled an Emergency Resources Toolkit to address a range of issues from food insecurity to legal help, including immigration and DACA renewal. 

Connecting— The university has launched the virtual Hilltopper Pen Pals Program, which will match students with alumni, faculty or staff, giving participants a jolt of solidarity during this challenging time. Students and their match will exchange “letters” by email where they will share advice, interests and support. The sign-up link can be found here.