Dear Wake Forest parents and families,
The times we are living in are unlike any I have experienced in higher education. We are facing unprecedented circumstances, and I have just presided over something I never thought possible. In the span of one week, we have pivoted an 185-year old, intimate face-to-face college into a remote learning environment. I marvel at the nearly 800 faculty across the University who have made this happen, and I acknowledge too that we have much to learn as we move forward into these uncharted waters. However, I want to be clear that our hallmark commitment to educating the whole person remains and, in fact, our dedication to that mission has never been more evident.
Last week, our faculty and staff worked with might and main to engineer solutions and provide a way to continue learning. It has been inspiring to see how our faculty are approaching this unique challenge. From the professor who has converted his basement into a studio to the professor who created a “movie” trailer to get students engaged in their remote experience, our faculty and their flexibility in translating the in-person experience to a remote one continue to impress me.
We are just finishing the first week of remote learning, and already I have heard from many faculty that it was heartening to see your sons and daughters and re-engage with them. In the midst of great change, students have connected with their professors again and returned to the rhythm of classes and assignments. As I told the faculty last week, we must be patient with ourselves and each other as we find our footing. I also ask for your patience as we refine this experiment. All of us are in unexplored territory, and in time, together we will master the intricacies and nuances of learning from afar.
Even in these circumstances, we are here for your daughters and sons. Whether they are taking part in a Google hangout session with the Intercultural Center or getting research help from the library, your students remain our priority. I speak for all the Wake Forest community when I say that we look forward to the time when we will be together on our beautiful campus again.
On Monday, we will share our final decisions about the ability of Wake Forest to welcome students back this semester, conduct Commencement and offer summer school. As you might imagine, these are very complex matters that have engaged us deeply as leaders. We are committed to making the very best decision while keeping the health and safety of our community top of mind.
In the meantime, thank you for your continued patience, support and understanding. Please take good care of yourselves and your families.
Nathan O. Hatch