Preparing for a fall like none other
The Case School of Engineering community would normally be bustling with back-to-campus activities, the start of a new academic year, and preparations for homecoming celebrations. This year, the hustle and bustle has taken on a different tone as we prepare for an academic year that will look and feel markedly different from anything any of us have experienced before.
Our faculty and staff spent the summer focusing on ways to deliver meaningful education to our students while also keeping them, and our broader community, safe. Many courses have instituted a “flipped classroom” format to deliver hands-on, in-person interaction—combining online lectures and small-group discussion sections. We are also utilizing non-traditional spaces, such as recreational, social and dining facilities, outdoor areas, and even residence halls, that provide the additional room necessary for classes to meet while maintaining safe social distancing.
From special workshops on how to optimize lectures and research-focused lab courses, to planning community-building events that provide safe socialization and connection, we have done our best to consider every aspect of our students’ experience for the fall semester—regardless of whether they are able to join us on campus, or are continuing their learning remotely.
In addition to planning for the fall, our faculty, staff, and students continue to respond to the pandemic through innovative research and community engagement. The Sears think[box] staff formed partnerships with local health care providers to innovate and prototype desperately required materials like personal protective equipment, intubation shields, and specially-designed ventilator parts. Meanwhile, researchers from the Case School of Engineering have received significant support through the National Science Foundation to develop and test an online risk-assessment tool that gives location-specific information about the relative risk of going to any location in the United States.
While I cannot predict what the next weeks and months may bring, the faculty and staff will continue to advance engineering research and education as they always have–with the highest standards of innovation and excellence.
I look forward to the time, hopefully not too far away, when we can all safely meet together again as a community. Until then, please stay safe.
Venkataramanan “Ragu” Balakrishnan
Charles H. Phipps Dean, Case School of Engineering