A Message for the SOE Community from Dean Randy Penfield in Response to COVID-19

Posted on April 01, 2020

SOE Building Square Photo

Dear SOE Community,

On March 23rd, the School of Education (SOE) — along with the rest of UNC Greensboro — had to make a huge shift right in the middle of our Spring 2020 semester. We pivoted to move all of our SOE academic programming to a remote/online format, and all SOE academic and administrative operations were moved off campus to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. Many of our students have had to move back home with their families, or self-isolate in their on-campus living arrangements, while simultaneously navigating their now remote/online coursework. We are doing everything in our power to make sure that our students are supported during this unprecedented time.

Providing a first-rate education remains our top priority, and I recognize what an enormous lift this transition to remote education has been for everyone. I am immensely grateful for all of your efforts — from our staff who have had to reorganize their operations and workflow to accommodate working from a remote location, to faculty who have had to quickly (putting it mildly!) shift their courses to an online format, to SOE leadership who have worked to make this process as smooth as possible. I am amazed and humbled by your support, effort, and resilience. And, equally remarkable, is that all of this has been accomplished while you have attended to the health and well-being of yourselves, your families, and your communities.

As you know, UNC Greensboro made the difficult decision to postpone all upcoming Spring 2020 commencement ceremonies. We are certain that this is the right call. I know that it is disappointing — as Dean of the SOE, there is nothing I look forward to more than congratulating our hard-working graduates in person in front of their loved ones and classmates. Rest assured, our Spring 2020 graduates will absolutely receive the recognition they deserve at a later date, when it is safe for us all to gather in celebration (date TBD). 

For the past few weeks, we have been engaged in an unparalleled shift in our operations, both in terms of scope and timing. This sudden shift brings with it fatigue and stress, all heightened by the social and physical distancing required to curb the spread of the pandemic. More than ever, it is our responsibility to work together in partnership and actively seek ways to help one another and our students. 

To everyone in the School of Education family, thank you for all that you have done and all that you will do as we work together to support our students and the mission of the SOE in the days and weeks ahead. We’re in this together.

With much hope and gratitude,

Randy Penfield
Dean, School of Education

For anyone wanting to help UNC Greensboro students directly impacted by COVID-19, please click here for more information about the SAFE Fund.