As students adjust to AU’s mid-semester switch to online classes, they have found themselves with numerous unanswered questions. Although many questions still remain a puzzle for students and administration alike, President John Pistole offered some clarity on several points of confusion and concern.
“I realize that this is a stressful and in some ways scary time for our students and families,” said Pistole. “So much is unknown at the moment.”
One of those unknowns is the topic of room and board. Many students have been wondering about if and how a refund is being planned.
“We are working to find a solution that is fair and sensitive to these unique circumstances,” said Pistole. “We will likely be issuing room and board credits for next semester for the unused six weeks, but are still assessing Department of Education requirements and each student’s individual account, such as if there’s a balance owed.”
Similarly, Pistole explained that administration is still figuring out how to handle leftover meal exchanges and Raven Dollars.
“We’re still assessing the financial implications of all this while being committed to making our outstanding Christ-centered education as affordable as possible to as many students as possible,” said Pistole.
Students have also wondered about the technical side of e-learning and if AU is equipped to handle the never-before-seen volume of online classes. According to Pistole, the bumps and glitches thus far have been minimal.
“ITS’s responsibilities have increased significantly, and they have done a remarkable job of ensuring the transition to entirely online goes as well as possible given the short notice,” said Pistole. “ITS, like every other area, has had to redeploy what they normally do. And as we do so, we’re keeping student learning and the student experience at the forefront. We’ll need everyone’s flexibility and cooperation as we work through the issues that may arise.”
Like ITS, many other departments have also had to rethink their services in order to best assist students during this challenging time. Pistole explained that he is confident that the university is giving students the tools they need to succeed.
“Faculty, tutors, KACE and Student Success staff are all focused on helping each student excel in their classes,” said Pistole. “Ultimately, just as in a physical classroom, it’s up to each student to apply themselves and do the hard work necessary to excel.”
“It reminds me of an expression we developed at the FBI after 9/11—if you like it, I came up with it: ‘No problems, only opportunities to demonstrate character,’” said Pistole. “Here’s your chance to demonstrate character, which will serve you well in future work situations, and you can tell those future employers—I guarantee it!”
For senior students, Pistole explained that administration is still trying to work out a commencement event. Administration recently sent out a survey via email for students and parents to fill out requesting opinions on the possible modified commencement.
“Remember, we’re all in this together—virtually for now,” said Pistole.