It’s no secret that higher education is facing a pivotal moment right now. COVID-19 has highlighted many of the issues critical to higher education administrators today, including rising tuition costs and general student safety. Utah’s Snow College, and myself as president, are not immune to that.
Amidst this pandemic, I urge all administrators to adopt student-first initiatives and policies as you discuss and develop plans for the fall semester. No matter the method – be it fully online, fully in-person, or some combination of the two – students are facing the academic setting with more personal and emotional challenges to learning than ever before. For students of color or low socioeconomic status, they’re likely facing even more of that stress load.
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When the COVID-19 pandemic first garnered attention, Snow College faced a unique challenge: protecting not only our students but also the local community. Based in the small Utah farming town of Ephraim, Snow College is home to more than 5,000 college students, but the remaining community skews far older. The overwhelming majority of our students are not from Ephraim or neighboring communities. Many come from the populace Wasatch Front, including cities like Salt Lake City and Provo.