Fall announcements for U-M School of Nursing

U-M School of Nursing students, faculty and staff:

President Schlissel has shared his vision and a general vision of the fall reopening of the campus to students

One clear message that resonates throughout the U-M community is our commitment to the highest quality educational experience for our students. The mechanisms for delivering that experience will be a medley of face-to-face small classes, remote large lectures, full digital education programs that require little on-campus residency, clinical education and mentorship in on-site practice, and simulation. The U-M School of Nursing will use all of those means to advance our undergraduate and graduate students, offering a uniquely Go Blue experience but also meeting the licensing, credentialing and accrediting requirements that are part of the nursing profession.

Equally balanced with our mission to provide highest quality education is the imperative to keep all of our community safe. The school is bulging with activity preparing for a return to campus that is practicing the best public health practices. If you were here now in the 400 and 426 buildings, you would see the beginning of major changes in how we use our space. Breaking down multi-person office spaces and large classrooms into individualized areas, taped off areas for social distancing, plexiglass shielding for public facing offices, health screening at building entrances staffed by professional greeters, large scale orders of face coverings, sanitizers, disinfecting wipes and more. The university’s plan to conduct an in-person semester will build on public health practices including social distancing, minimizing out-of-area travel, wearing face coverings, frequent hand-washing, symptom screening, clinical testing, contact tracing and quarantine that can limit the spread of illness. It is also reorganizing student living, transportation and dining spaces in order to deliver the safe living and learning experiences for students that meet the U-M standards of excellence. 

I offer a few comments today, expanding on the U-M School of Nursing vision for fall and the ongoing plans for a return to campus.

Students: Please note the changes in the University’s academic calendar as described in President Schlissel’s message. Michigan Medicine and our many clinical site partners continue to stand with us, providing outstanding opportunities for your clinical instruction and precepted coursework. Please be assured that you will receive details from the appropriate inter-school offices, faculty and staff following quickly on the heels of this email. And please know that your school is counting on your professional behavior and your best public health practices every day on campus and elsewhere.

Undergraduates: will be experiencing classroom instruction in the hybrid format, with weekly face-to-face instruction in the majority of courses, continued simulation-based skills instruction and virtual simulation methodologies. Clinical site instruction will proceed as originally planned, allowing you to meet the requirements set by nursing regulatory boards and your ultimate graduation. All face-to-face experiences will be completed prior to Thanksgiving; thus, students will not need to remain on campus for the remainder of fall term.

Graduate Professional: will be continuing your courses in the format originally planned, with some exceptions within the framework of safe, public-health-smart accommodations. You will be receiving more tailored details from your program leads about unique aspects of courses such as the use of unique virtual simulations, and remote teaching options for some clinical seminar sessions and planned use of the Clinical Learning Center. Clinical experiences will remain as planned. Our new digital master's programs are ready for a successful launch this fall and look outstanding.

Ph.D.: will be experiencing all courses via a hybrid format with a combination of face-to-face and web-blended methods. Some courses may be held entirely remotely, when suitable for the course objectives. Face-to-face seminars such as the Ph.D. Peer and T32 seminars are expected and preferred, but remote participation is allowable as before COVID. Research using human subjects is steadily opening within the university, so most student research will continue in a timely way. We will learn from our COVID experiences, and students will work with faculty to design and implement remote research methods when feasible.

Faculty: Wherever possible, faculty will have discretion over the hybrid format of how they teach in the classroom, support precepted instruction in clinical sites, and mentored research and discovery. Our school is proud of the expertise of our faculty and recognizes the importance of using that expertise to provide the best of a U-M education. I also recognize faculty’s deep concern for student success and for providing what these soon-to-be-nurses, advanced practice nurses and scientists need to advance their dreams and ambitions. I believe that all of us recognize that teaching in the field of nursing has significant demands and requirements that are unique to the discipline. All of these things form a framework for teaching in the COVID present world and beyond. Faculty will continue to have discretion for when to be on or off campus, within the framework of their teaching and other mission commitments.

Staff: I also recognize the U-M School of Nursing staff’s support of the students who trust us with their education and professional futures. It will take all of us to make that happen in the continued environment of COVID presence. We are continuing to work through a flex-plan that will allow staff in non-student, non-faculty facing offices to continue remote work for the academic 2020-2021 year. We have already identified that the following groups will continue in remote mode until June 2021, with evaluation along the way to assure success of the flex-plan: Office of Development, GRO, Marketing and Communications, Project Management Office, Finance and Human Resources.

I look forward to moving our missions forward in a smart, safe, Maize and Blue way.

Patricia D. Hurn, Ph.D., RN
Dean and Professor of Nursing, School of Nursing
Professor of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology
College of Literature, Sciences and the Arts