As a sustaining element of the RCI, Beacon has determined that certain enhancements to the College’s traditional programs and staffing would be beneficial in supporting Beacon’s obligations to provide both a safe and success-oriented experience for our undergraduates. Among the most prominent reforms in the academic arena, student services support, and accessibility are:
- The College has instituted a range of learning options for the fall 2020 and spring semester that provide the flexibility that our undergraduates need as they transition and adjust to the impact of COVID-19 on their lives. Academically, while Beacon is executing a return to a full-time on-campus experience, the College is implementing for the short-term three instructional options: (a) traditional classroom, (b) HyFlex instruction, and (c) remote learning. Depending on the circumstances confronted by a student at any time during the fall or spring semester, one or a combination of these instructional options may be appropriate to foster a student’s academic progress (with College and faculty approval);
- The College has implemented for the fall semester of 2020 the Canvas Learning Management System (LMS) as a tool that will enhance and support learning regardless of instructional mode;
- The College’s Division of Student Engagement and Success has created a coherent structure and aligned professional staffing to allow for a more purposeful and accessible system of wrap-around services for students. In the arena of residential life, the position of the Life Skills Educator has been created to help students succeed in maintaining effective social relationships, adjusting to the expectations of collegiate life, and fostering good personal care. These new members of the Student Engagement and Success team are expected to be joined by an additional healthcare specialist (nurse), who can provide supplementary “extended hour” coverage;
- Similar to the HyFlex instructional delivery that can be implemented in Beacon’s classrooms, the learning specialists at the Center for Student Success will make available — based upon an individual student’s (a) need or preference, and (b) institutional best practice — remote or physical space mentoring and open learning. The mode can change weekly, according to the factors described above; and
- The MyBeacon App now allows students ready access to a broad base of College information, including updated materials on COVID-19-related policies and protections. A further benefit of this “palm-of-hand” platform is the ability to log into both the Canvas LMS and Beacon’s Student Portal.