Giving Compass' Take:

• Amy Bass summarizes a course at Manhattanville College aimed at creating a college community for incoming students during COVID.

• How important is creating a college community for students who've felt their education disrupted during the pandemic? What can we do to assist students in marginalized communities who've face disproportionate setbacks in their coronavirus schooling?

• Find resources to guide you in supporting people affected by coronavirus.

We wanted to share our passion for the liberal arts and what it can do when the community gives it the time and space it deserves.

That’s how the idea for a multi-faculty, interdisciplinary summer course for first-year students emerged. We start teaching “Manhattanville Together … at a Distance: Coming Together as a Community in the Age of Covid-19” on July 6 to 96 incoming first-years.

The four-week course showcases the best of us: collaboration, expertise and generosity. Each of the four modules features podcast-style conversations designed to help students understand the ways that different fields look at evidence and draw conclusions.

Each week, students submit a found “artifact” that encompasses both their learning in the course and their personal experience of the coronavirus. As their final project at the end of the course, they will create an artifact of their own, curating the aspects of this situation that we can and should remember.

What Covid-19 may mean for small, private, liberal-arts institutions is grim. More broadly, short of a federal bailout, the millions of people employed by institutions of higher education — never mind the communities that surround them — know they are in precarious situations.

We saw a solution in creating something that would enable incoming students to feel like they are part of an engaged, compassionate and curious campus community, a place to which they wanted to commit.

Indeed, as we created something that would help students make sense of the changes they are witnessing and experiencing at this moment of transition in their lives, we also gave ourselves a raison d’être for what we do: a reminder that work, when motivated by the right reasons, can create a community that is nothing short of spectacular.

Read the full article about creating a college community during COVID-19 by Amy Bass at The Hechinger Report.