Dear Academy Friends and Family,
We hope all of you are doing well and staying safe during this difficult time. With the global spread of COVID-19, we are facing challenges that are forcing us to rethink almost daily how we live, work and educate. We have been asked as individuals and as a school to do whatever we can to help slow the spread of this virus, and I am deeply gratified by the overwhelming compassion, understanding and resolve that I have witnessed from our community.
There is no doubt we are in the midst of the greatest crisis this school has faced, and likely will face for a very long time to come. But in the hands and minds of the Academy's innovators, a crisis can present opportunity. As we have moved our school’s community online, students, faculty and staff have taken a skillful hold over technology and embraced digital working and learning environments in record time. Faculty are working tirelessly to break new ground to not just make the online classroom more dynamic, but to find new and better tools for when we return to on-the-ground instruction. Academy hallmark educational experiences that rely on expertise from outside the school -- including our speaker series, Industry Labs and Impact Labs -- continue unabated, due not just to our own determination but also to that of the many forward-thinking individuals, companies and organizations who, without exception, insisted on continuing and recrafting these opportunities for our students online -- no matter the hurdles. In-person graduate residentials are being reimagined for the virtual world, and all of our students continue to show a strong and steady focus on working together to redefine a learning experience for the next era. Our exceptional staff, too, are embracing new ways to increase communication, collaboration and productivity, ways that not just support the school’s broad array of essential activities, but that provide insight and vision for the future of work.
In this time of social distancing, we have never been more connected or more able to harness the Academy’s foundational strengths in working collectively, creatively, and flexibly, and to address each difficulty with grit and resilience. We are a school built on the premise that together we can solve even the most intractable problems. I have no doubt that we as a community will emerge from this one stronger than ever.
To that end, in this time of great change and uncertainty for all, I encourage you to share your ideas and suggestions, inspirations, and stories of overcoming through our social media channels or directly via email. We will do our part and continue to communicate with you regularly, and keep you abreast of new information as it becomes available. Additionally, official updates on the COVID-19 can be accessed on USC’s dedicated webpage, https://sites.usc.edu/coronavirus/.
We realize this is an incredibly stressful and unprecedented time for everyone, and your health and well-being are of the utmost importance to us. As you know, the situation is continually evolving, and I assure you that we are committed to making deeply considered, thoughtful, and informed decisions on behalf of our entire community. Thank you.
Be well and, as always, Fight On.
Dean Erica Muhl