Read the below message from Dean College President Dr. Paula M. Rooney regarding the Fall 2020 semester at Dean College.

Fall 2020 Plan

Read the Dean College Fall 2020 plan.

Message from the President

Dear Dean College Community,

Thank you to the Dean Community for your patience during these past few months as we have navigated our way through this unprecedented time and meticulously prepared plans for the Fall 2020 semester. Throughout this process, the health and well-being of our entire Community has been and will continue to be our primary concern.

In reviewing our COVID-19 Fall opening plans, current health data, the worsening conditions across the country, and the guidance of medical and public health officials, we have grown increasingly concerned in recent weeks by the resurgence of the virus. Given this reality and the likelihood of a second wave in late summer and into the Fall, we have doubts about our ability to deliver an on campus/residential experience without disruption.

Our careful and thorough planning process has led us to the difficult decision that all classes and activities will be online for the Fall 2020 semester. This decision was made with our firm belief that the safety of our entire community cannot and will not be compromised. Though we are confident this decision is the right one, we profoundly share in everyone’s disappointment as we were all looking forward to the return of our students to campus this Fall. 

Let me share how together we will achieve our goal of an authentic Dean experience during our Fall 2020 semester.  As always, our objective is for every Dean student to share in the extraordinary personal experience we have come to know as The Dean Difference.  

Academic Program - Centered Around Experiential Learning

The online academic delivery plan for the Fall 2020 semester is intended to build on the strengths of previous Dean academic and campus life experiences, and will foster an engaging meaningful rigorous and fun experience for new and returning students.   

The Dean Difference  planned for the Fall will include:

  • Synchronous Delivery of Every Course: Investments in new technologies now empower our faculty to deliver courses in synchronous formats so that students and instructors can meet together at designated times, both in and out of the virtual “classroom”.  This means social interactions among peers with numerous opportunities to engage with faculty and staff with shared interests who will help students flourish. 
  • Dean Career Advantage:  As we continue our roll-out of this innovative program, students will explore career pathways consistent with their interests, prepare individualized career plans, and identify and build the competencies and experiences necessary to be qualified for their chosen professions.  Guided by faculty and advisors trained to mentor students in career readiness, Dean classes are designed to connect coursework and professional applications in concrete, incremental steps.
  • Student - Centered Use of Technology:  Across the country and here at Dean, students shared the difficulty of navigating new and varied technologies across their courses.  For Fall 2020, faculty will be using technology more consistently and providing technical instruction to students, especially first-year students, to strengthen technical skills in writing, presenting, and meeting. These skills will build readiness for a professional environment that increasingly emphasizes remote assignments. Students will be ahead of their competition when entering the workforce for internships and upon graduation.
  • Project - Based Learning:  Dean students have shown time and again that they learn best through project-based, social learning strategies. Our Schools are prepared to leverage the issues of the day to elicit your creativity and maximize project-based learning.
    • School of Business: Students will design and implement the logistics and details for an eSports tournament; build marketing, new business and personal financial plans; develop strategic plans and discuss the ethical aspects of today's business issues; write broadcast scripts; create new radio spots and announce campus promotions on campus radio; develop personal brands; write and record podcasts; tackle criminal justice issues including digital security cases and evaluate homeland security in a pandemic environment. Students will experience the excitement of professional interactions with athletes, entertainment professionals, entrepreneurs and members of Kraft Sports + Entertainment through our Center for Business, Entertainment and Sport Management. Guest speakers will add up-to-the minute context in this age of constant change and business transformation.
    • School of Liberal Arts: students will engage in discussions about social justice issues and learn how to apply social science concepts to their lives, careers and roles as citizens. Cutting-edge, online and lab simulations will promote immersive learning. Students will use digital tools to produce literary works and academic journals while also virtually visiting historic sites, participating in mock trials, fact-checking contemporary journalism, and exploring the diversity of our world. Education students will virtually use the Children’s Center materials and space to plan classroom designs and curriculum. Guest speakers will be plentiful to keep discussions relevant to the future professional lives of our students.
    • School of the Arts and Joan Phelps Palladino School of Dance:  The arts will continue to be a welcome source of inspiration, comfort and joy in our community.  Dance and Theater academic and studio classes will meet synchronously to ensure ongoing skill-building.  Work field orientation and networking will be punctuated by guest artists and professionals from across the industry. Students will be challenged to go beyond the script, the text or the music, to deepen their craft, to shape truth under imaginary circumstances and to become remarkable storytellers. In all technique courses, a scaled approach will be characterized by building stamina, artistic awareness and interpretation, as well as technical proficiency with ample individualized coaching and feedback. Performance opportunities will include in-class and faculty projects in addition to works created by dance and theatre students.

Academic Support - Responsive, Customized, Unmatched

At Dean, we are not siloed when it comes to student success.  Each faculty member is tracking the progress of each student and communicating that progress to Success and Career Advisors at five different points throughout the semester.  Success and Career Advisors often see a pattern emerging even before students do, triggering a holistic intervention with the student, faculty and sometimes even the family.  Over time, Dean College students learn to spot their own patterns and mature into capable drivers of their own futures.  This is The Dean Difference in action.

Given these challenging times, Dean College support services are more important than ever for every student.  Our support services will continue online to deliver high-quality personalized support for students delivered seamlessly.

  • Academic Coaching
  • Accessibility Services
  • Arch Learning Community
  • Berenson Math Center
  • Berenson Writing Center
  • Morton Family Learning Center 
  • Peer and Professional Tutoring
  • Robbins Family Center for Advising and Career Planning 
  • Strive4Success

Our faculty and staff are committed to helping students every step of the way while maintaining strong personal connections that define The Dean Difference

Community - the Foundation of The Dean Difference 

At Dean College, personal growth occurs in and out of the classroom through exciting co-curricular and experiential opportunities made possible to enrich our students’ experience. Following are just some of the ways we will continue to build community for returning students and welcome new students into the Dean Family.

Welcome New Bulldogs!

  • First-year students will take part in Bulldog Beginnings on Tuesday, September 8, a program that will facilitate a successful transition to Dean. Program activities will assist students with getting connected to technology, accessing key academic resources and support, as well as discussing life and expectations in Bulldog Nation. Students will have extensive opportunities to interact with faculty, staff and other Dean Bulldogs. 
  • First-year students will continue to engage with their New Student Orientation color groups through regularly scheduled meet ups.
  • Residence Life staff will build community through events specifically designed for first-year engagement and relationship building along with specialized programming including the basics of cooking and managing a budget.
  • “First-Year Fri-YAYs” will offer social opportunities for first-year students to make connections with one another.
  • Campus Connections, a course taught by Success and Career Advisors, will be delivered synchronously each week.
  • Opportunities for 1-1 and group meetings weekly with a Peer Advisor, an upper-class student in a related major specifically trained to help students’ academic transition to College and online learning.
  • Combination of both synchronous and asynchronous workshops on stress management, self-care, and utilizing campus support resources online.

All Bulldogs Invited!

  • Welcome Week, Involvement Fair, Dean After Dark and all other traditional events will be hosted virtually, along with diverse programming from our 40 student organizations.
  • Student-athletes will engage in virtual workouts, team meetings, game film analysis, community service, and leadership development training.
  • Student organizations, including the Student Government Association, will continue to host regularly scheduled virtual meetings, as well as educational and social programs.
  • Student organizations and members of Student Life will host a multitude of virtual events, such as interactive game shows, contests and programs with great prizes, talent shows that display the incredible gifts of our students, and nationally recognized performers who will provide live talent broadcasts specifically for Dean students. 
  • The Office of Student Activities and Leadership will conduct leadership development programs throughout the Fall semester with the 6-week Emerging Leader Series, Student Organization Training and Development, as well as National Society for Leadership and Success. 
  • Utilizing our Campus Life social media outlets, we will feature Student Leader Spotlights and social virtual get togethers, such as trivia, BINGO and watch parties. In addition, Campus Recreation will highlight Weekly Wellness Challenges, such as fitness challenges and workout classes.
  • The Social Responsibly, Equity and Antiracism Work Team will offer virtual workshops, open discussions, and speakers.
  • Community Service opportunities will be offered for students within their local communities.
  • Counseling Services will continue through telehealth appointments and connections to outreach services as needed as well as workshops and speakers. 
  • Faculty and staff will host get-togethers for students interested in special topics.
  • Essential skills workshops, including but not limited to, networking, professional etiquette interviewing, LinkedIn, resume writing and job/internship searching will be offered.
  • Support in internship/career planning through Dean Career Advantage courses, Handshake, 1-1 and group meetings with both Success and Career Advisors and the Director of Career Planning and Internships will be delivered.

Athletic Programs - Go Bulldogs!

As we shared on July 13, out of an abundance of caution, Dean College made the difficult decision not to participate in athletics for the Fall 2020 semester. This includes football, men’s and women’s golf, men’s and women’s basketball, women’s volleyball, men’s and women’s soccer, women’s field hockey, and men’s and women’s cross-country. This decision will be re-evaluated throughout the fall semester to see if it will be possible for these sports to compete in a winter/spring season. Our coaches and athletic department staff will remain in close contact with our student-athletes to ensure that they remain mentally and physical fit and competition-ready. We look forward to competing at the earliest possible opportunity as an NCAA Division III member of the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) and the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC).

Academic Calendar

Fall Calendar

The fall semester schedule has been updated with online classes scheduled to begin on Wednesday, September 9, 2020 and finals concluding on Thursday, December 17, 2020 for a 15-week semester. The full academic calendar can be found on the Dean website

Spring Semester

With the health and well-being of our entire Community as our primary concern, we look forward to inviting students to campus for the spring semester. We will continue to update the Community throughout the fall with details regarding an anticipated spring residential experience. 

Tuition and Financial Aid

We have carefully considered tuition and financial aid policies. The tuition rates set for 2020-2021 will remain the same given the increased expense of delivering a robust and student-centered online academic and campus life experience. Student accounts will be adjusted for Fall 2020 room, board, parking, student activity fees and an associated pro-rated calculation of Dean institutional aid. Any payment plans that families have set up will be revised based on the current charges and families will be notified of their reduced monthly payments for the fall semester. Any loans that have been approved will also be reduced for the fall term. A revised bill will be posted to each student’s account by July 31, 2020.

All tuition and financial aid inquiries should be directed to the Student Financial Planning and Services Staff

Students who need help accessing essential technology and equipment, such as laptops and internet access, should contact their Success and Career Advisor

Invitation to College Leadership Zoom Sessions

As a follow up to the information shared in this letter, I invite students and families to join me and the senior leadership team for a Zoom conversation on Monday, July 20, 2020 as noted below:

Also, we will host Zoom conversations with each School Dean on Wednesday, July 22, 2020 at 7:00 PM EST as noted below:

Our Unwavering Commitment to The Dean Community

As I mentioned from the start and throughout this letter, our decision-making is grounded in the well-being of our entire Community. This decision was by far the most difficult in my 47-year career in higher education. All faculty and staff would like to be back on campus this Fall welcoming students and if I felt we could do so safely, please understand that we would have without reservation. Sadly, I do not believe that is the case and we are not willing to put anyone in a situation where their health and safety could be compromised.

I know this semester will be different and is not what we all envisioned for the Fall Dean experience. I share in the sadness everyone is feeling. Please trust us and know that we will make this semester memorable and worthwhile. We will work tirelessly to support our students and help them reach unimagined heights. Our personalized approach will not waver, and we are committed to deliver our difference to each student in a vibrant, engaging, and personal way. You have my word that we will do everything we can to deliver our promise of The Dean Difference.

Thank you in advance for your trust and belief in our ability to deliver on our promise.

Warm regards,
Paula M. Rooney, Ed.D.
*Message posted on Friday, July 17, 2020


Dean College student typing on laptop while remote learning.

FAQs Fall 2020

We answer your frequently asked questions about Dean College's move to online learning for the Fall 2020 semester.