Even as an unprecedented public health crisis grips the world, it’s nice to know some things never change, like the loyalty and engagement of the Tuck alumni.
As a way to thank alumni for all the ways they have supported the school, Dean Matthew Slaughter convened two virtual alumni town halls at the end of April, where he was joined by members of the Deans’ Office as well as senior leaders from Career Services and Admissions.
Speaking from his home, and with a virtual background of the McLaughlin Atrium, Dean Slaughter laid out the purpose of these first-of-their-kind gatherings. “I want you to be informed about the strategic intent and clarity with which Tuck came into the crisis, and to be informed about what we’re doing in these historic times,” he said. “And I want you to be inspired, as I have been, by the way in which our faculty, staff, and students have been so terrific in summoning resolve to live our mission under these circumstances, despite the regret we feel for doing things in a different way.”
Slaughter first guided participants through Tuck’s mission, vision and strategic elements, then Deputy Dean Punam Keller presented the school’s core values and strategic pillars, and went into further depth on some of the initiatives the school has been working on to strengthen those pillars. At a broad level, those initiatives have goals to push educational frontiers, improve the student experience, build careers for today and tomorrow and make a better world.
I want you to be inspired, as I have been, by the way in which our faculty, staff, and students have been so terrific in summoning resolve to live our mission under these circumstances, despite the regret we feel for doing things in a different way.
Next, Joe Hall, the Senior Associate Dean of Teaching and Learning, gave an enthusiastic update on the remote learning experience, where 40 courses are being delivered to 60 sections via the Zoom platform. “It allows a high degree of interaction between faculty and students,” he said. “So teachers can still cold-call, and they use the chat function to ask questions to the class.” Teachers are also using discussion boards to pose questions before class, and to expand on class discussions afterward, something they intend to continue when in-person teaching returns.
Sally Jaeger, the Associate Dean of the MBA Program, followed Hall with the latest on the student experience, and was happy to report that extracurricular life is still alive and well, with activities such as TuckTails, small group dinners, and Tuck Trivia being conducted virtually, organized through the QuaranTuck newsletter. “Students are active and busy and engaged and making the most they can of a difficult situation,” she said. “I’ve never been prouder of a group of people.” She also reported receiving loads of emails from students, praising the care and attention they have been receiving from their faculty teachers.
Students are active and busy and engaged and making the most they can of a difficult situation. I’ve never been prouder of a group of people.
The Town Halls concluded with discussions on the status of jobs and internships from Stephen Pidgeon, the Executive Director of Career Services, and on the status of the admissions process from Luke Anthony Peña, the Executive Director of Admissions and Financial Aid. Both reported good news on these fronts, with relatively little impact from the pandemic at this point. The events ended with a question-and-answer session where alumni engaged in active dialogue with the deans and leaders.
“These town halls were received even more positively than I anticipated,” said Renee Hirschberg, the Director of Alumni Engagement and Advancement Operations, who also appeared in the town hall to give an update on alumni engagement and how the school is adjusting alumni activity during the pandemic. “We will be doing these with a regular cadence in the months to come. It’s a great opportunity for alumni to hear from senior leaders, and hopefully, in future events, from students, volunteers, and faculty as well.”
The Town Halls were recorded and are available to view on MyTuck, in the Lifelong Learning Events section.