President’s letter on plans for the upcoming semester26 August 2020, 8:31 am
Dear Members of the Hellenic American University Community,
I am writing to inform you of the University’s plans for operating this Fall semester and outline how we hope to deliver classes and our academic and student support services. I also want to share with you information of several new services and resources that will help support and enhance your studies at Hellenic American University and aid in your personal and professional development.
Delivery of classes
The University will continue to offer its full range of academic programs. We will do so in a way that fosters learning, safeguards the bonds of our community and protects the health and safety of students, staff and faculty. In organizing and delivering our courses and services, we will comply fully with government directives and policy recommendations, as we have done since the outbreak of the health crisis.
For the Athens and Nashua sites and to the extent that these public health and safety measures permit, we look forward to returning this Fall to on-site (in-person) instruction, wherever possible. Most of the University’s courses have been and continue to be small-sized, seminar-style classes; these can be accommodated in our classrooms in full observance of social distancing and the mandatory wearing of masks by students and faculty. Classes with larger enrollments can be delivered in hybrid fashion combining alternating on-site instruction—official directives permitting—and live synchronous video sessions. Classes that are already held in eLearning mode, such as those in the M.A. in Applied Linguistics program, selected MBA courses and directed studies, will continue to be offered as such. Fall semester classes for Nashua will end on November 8th, allowing for an early release for winter break.
Delivery of student services
Even before the outbreak of the health crisis, many of the services offered by units such as the Writing Center, Career Development Office and Registrar could be delivered online, and we encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity this Fall as well. That said, we plan on resuming—in some cases, with restrictions, and again, in accordance with official directives—several on-site services that were interrupted during lockdown.
The Library’s digital collections of e-books and subscriptions to periodicals databases are accessible online for both locations.
The Library at Hellenic American College (Athens) is expected to reopen with some restrictions, in accordance with regulations of the Hellenic National Public Health Organization. We currently anticipate that up to 10 users can be present in the library at the same time and each for a maximum of 30 minutes. Students will need to book their visit in advance and to social distance while in the library. Additional restrictions may apply; these will be posted on the main Library web page.
Registrar’s Office and Financial Services
All student documents, except for official transcripts, can be requested and provided via email. For the Athens site, fees can be paid via e-banking or through direct deposits at the bank.
For both sites and conditions allowing, both offices plan on opening this Fall. Students are asked, however, to inform the office in advance of their intended visit; this will allow us to schedule appointments to avoid crowding.
The Writing Center will continue to offer online tutoring sessions (both synchronous and asynchronous via Blackboard and Teams) to all stakeholders on both sites. Onsite tutoring sessions will also be provided for the Athens and Nashua sites upon request. Students will need to inform the Writing Center beforehand when they plan to come to the Center’s premises to avoid crowding.
The Office of Student Affairs in Athens will continue organizing team building events in association with our 10 clubs. We are still investigating how these will be delivered, and decisions will be made in light of instructions from the public health authorities. Last semester, however, demonstrated that many student activities can be offered virtually, as witnessed by the success of the online workout sessions, master classes, seminars, and club meetings/events that were held in Spring 2020.
All CDO services, including career counseling, CV feedback, and workshops, can be delivered remotely via emails, Teams and phone calls. While remote delivery will continue this fall, we are planning on reopening the Center in Athens (only) for individual, on-site sessions services. Students will need to book their appointment in advance.
The Center will continue to offer members of the Athens community offering its services, including individual and group counseling, as well as monthly psychoeducational presentations and workshops, online. For the Athens site and regulations permitting, the Center also plans delivering counseling services face -to-face. Counseling support is not offered on the Nashua site but referrals for community counseling and can be provided upon request.
Enhanced academic support
The University is now completing a major upgrade to the latest version of the Blackboard eLearning platform. As part of this upgrade, we have subscribed to Blackboard Collaborate, a web conferencing/webinar platform designed for use in online teaching. This allows us to set up and deliver synchronous video sessions, much as in Microsoft Teams and Zoom, and together with the resources in Blackboard, offer students a single-platform, integrated learning environment with all the tools and resources in one place.
In another development, the ACES peer tutoring program will run throughout the year. Following the selection and training process in February, we now have 6 peer-tutors, ready to offer their services to the student community. ACES tutoring will be available online for Nashua students.
Undergraduate Employability Plan
A new program of interactive workshops, presentations, career development projects is being launched for undergraduate students. Each of the four years of undergraduate study is devoted to a stage in the career development process, bringing students from self-assessment and career discovery to skills development and the practicalities of resumes, jobs searches and hiring interviews.
New Student Internships
Recent changes in the portal of the Hellenic Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (ERGANI) now allows firms and organizations to announce internships for students of private colleges as well. This is excellent news, as it allows us to leverage our network of business and professional partners to develop more internship opportunities for students—a long-standing student request that surfaced again during the recent Student Satisfaction Survey (SSS). Work is already underway to create the initial slate of internships for the B.S. in Business Administration and the B.S. in Informatics degree programs. We will also be expanding the range of clinical internships for M.S. in Psychology students.
Inquires for graduate internship opportunities in the US should be made to Nashua Student Services.
The Fall Town Hall Meeting
Apropos the SSS, we will—as promised—be holding a Town Hall meeting with students this Fall to present and discuss the findings of the survey. Together we will identify a set of high-priority issues that we will focus on addressing in the coming academic year. As we have a better idea of health conditions this fall, we will decide on whether to hold the Town Hall on-site (in person) or streamed live.
New Student Orientation
Student Orientation has been completely redesigned. Incoming students will start out with a full-week, richly immersive orientation with presentations, hands-on workshops, athletic events, a Club Fair and a social welcoming event. The sessions are designed to help students navigate the transition to Hellenic American College (in Athens) and discover the resources available for their academic success and personal development.
New student orientation for incoming Nashua students is scheduled 1 week before the start of each semester for 1 day. New student orientation invitations are sent to students upon acceptance. During orientation students review academic schedules, review helpful introductory information to Nashua and meet faculty and staff.
We will continue to follow the directives of health and regulatory authorities in Athens and in Nashua, and, if needed, revise our plans and operations accordingly. We will notify you of any changes via updates to this webpage.
I wish you all a safe and fruitful semester.
Leonidas Phoebus Koskos
Image: Leonidas Phoebus Koskos, Hellenic American University’s President