July 1, 2020


Two months ago, I invited 50 members of the Spelman College community to join the Task Force on the Spelman College Academic Year 2020-2021. Their assignment, in light of a global health crisis, was to determine the College's best approach to Academic Year 2020-2021.

Chaired by Spelman Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Sharon Davies, J.D., and Chief Financial Officer and Vice President for Business and Financial Affairs Dawn Alston, the Task Force organized itself into five separate working groups. Each working group was co-chaired by members of the staff and faculty and senior administrators.

Our colleagues have been meeting virtually around the clock, researching medical data, comparing institutional reopening plans and assessing carefully the resources necessary to implement a plan that would ensure a safe and healthy academic year. Their challenge has been formidable, as the course of the virus has shifted during their deliberations and as new information has become available.

Throughout our planning process, we have shared our progress and invited feedback from our community in virtual town hall meetings and through surveys of members of the faculty and staff, students and parents.

You have reached out to me in emails, as well, and shared your concerns and advice. Be assured that we have weighed carefully all of the input we have received throughout the planning process. Be assured, also, that the plan as presented here was developed on the basis of three unwavering principles:

1. Concern for the health and safety of students and work force,
2. Commitment to maintaining Spelman’s academic excellence, and
3. Commitment to maintaining the College’s fiscal sustainability.

Despite all of the meticulous planning, we realize that we are managing our way through uncertain times. We know that if the virus changes course abruptly or, if the rate of infection surges, we may have to change our carefully developed plan, abruptly.

My thanks to the co-chairs of the Task Force for their stellar service. We are grateful for their leadership, as well of the co-chairs of the five working groups: Professor and Vice Provost for Faculty Dolores Bradley Brennan, Ph.D.; Vice President for Enrollment Management Ingrid Hayes; Associate Professor and Chair of the Education Department Andrea Lewis, Ph.D.; Division Chair for the Humanities and Associate Professor of History Kathleen Phillips Lewis, Ph.D.; Associate Professor and Chair of the Psychology Department and Faculty Council President Angela Farris Watkins, Ph.D.; and Chief Information Officer and Vice President for Technology Services John Wilson. And we are especially appreciative of each and every member of the Task Force. We acknowledge, too, our colleagues in the Atlanta University Center Consortium, especially AUCC Executive Director Todd Greene, Morehouse School of Medicine President Valerie Montgomery Rice, M.D., Clark Atlanta University President George French, Jr., Ph.D., and Morehouse College President David Thomas, Ph.D. Their input has been invaluable.

I invite you to join me on Tuesday, July 7, for a town hall, during which I and members of the Task Force will be available to answer questions about Spelman's Path Forward. The full plan is accessible for review here: Spelman College: A Plan for the 2020-2021 Academic Year (PDF).

Until then, be well and keep the faith.


Mary Schmidt Campbell, Ph.D.
President, Spelman College

Spelman College
350 Spelman Lane
Atlanta, GA 30314

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