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USF Sarasota-Manatee Takes Personal Approach to Assisting Students During COVID-19 Crisis

Tuesday, April 7, 2020


The University of South Florida’s Sarasota-Manatee campus is taking extra steps amid the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic to ensure students have the support and resources they need to successfully complete their studies and earn their degrees.

Kemker

Brett Kemker, PhD

After Spring Break, as students shifted to remote learning, the campus’ Office of Academic Affairs and Student Success began calling approximately 2,100 USF Sarasota-Manatee students directly to check on their well-being, see how they are transitioning to remote course delivery with their professors and connect students with academic advisors to help them prepare to register for summer and fall courses, which began on April 6.

Brett Kemker, PhD, regional vice chancellor for academic and student affairs, said that when he learned that faculty and students were having difficulty connecting via email, he felt “the best thing our student success team could do was reach out to students personally by phone, just to check in and offer our support. The call-outs have been very well received.”

Teeranai Ovathanasin, PhD, director of student success, said the transition from in-person services and activities to remote delivery went smoothly.

“The COVID-19 pandemic compelled the entire Student Success team at USF Sarasota-Manatee to develop the means to remotely deliver its broad array of support services and student life,” he said. “The team quickly adjusted, and through teamwork and collaboration, the transition to remote delivery of services has been a smooth and seamless process for both students and staff.”

Teeranai

Teeranai Ovathanasin, PhD

Having these support services readily available, especially in times of crisis, are helping students to realize their educational and career goals.

“In my time as a student at USF Sarasota-Manatee, I’ve never felt more connected to a school than when I received the call from Student Services,” Megan Dudley, a sophomore majoring in Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, said. “I was asked if I had any trouble adjusting and if they could be of assistance. I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of concern they had for my academic success.”

Before the call was over, Dudley was able to schedule a phone appointment with a student advisor. “This call made me very appreciative of the amount of support from USF Sarasota-Manatee, and they could not have been more helpful at a time like this.”

USF Sarasota-Manatee was well prepared to adapt to online instruction even before the pandemic. At any given time, 40-60 percent of the campus’ classes occur online to accommodate students’ busy schedules. Additionally, the campus’ E-Learning Services office provides a certification program, Quality Matters, to help faculty incorporate best practices into their course work, including the use of interactive lessons and video presentations.

USF Sarasota-Manatee provides two online-learning platforms: real-time synchronous instruction for live audio and video and asynchronous instruction, which enables students to complete assignments at their own pace. Currently, the campus’ 200 faculty and adjunct instructors offer 250 online-learning classes.

To learn more about USF’s coronavirus response, visit https://www.usf.edu/coronavirus/index.aspx.

For more about USF Sarasota-Manatee, visit http://www.usfsm.edu.


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