Page 22 - Campus Technology, May/June 2020
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FEATURE > Online Learning
CT: Is that how many students you expect in the fall, 27,000?
Stern: That’s our normal census. And when we look at what we’re bringing to campus based on those priorities that I explained to you, we think it’s going to be less than 10 percent — 2,000 would be at the upper end of it at any given time.
And by the way those won’t be all at the same time in the term. We’re hoping to do an altered schedule so that students can get this hands-on learning out of the way in less than a full term. And that way, if we haven’t sufficiently flattened by the start of the term, we could start late. If we start the term and then have to close again, we could end prematurely just as we did before and send people home, but still have accomplished some- thing.
The schedule is the most complicated we have ever created, and I have to credit really brilliant leadership and faculty leaders for being able to create that.
CT: That emergency operating command group that you mentioned, what kinds of roles do you have on that?
Stern: It’s myself. It’s my three vice presidents, who represent administrative services, student services and instruction. It’s our chief of police as well as his lieutenant, who is also an expert in \[the Federal Emergency Management Agency\], because FEMA is a big part of this. And our emergency operations center \[EOC\] commander for all this is Jeanne Harris-Caldwell, a dean of wellness, social services and child development services. She is a public health nurse herself. She’s the director of our student health center and has been really important to advising me and overseeing much of our command work.
All of us get together every single day as the pol- icy team. And then there’s a larger EOC structure
that meets for 90 minutes before that, which I don’t participate in. They bring recommendations to the policy team that I do sit on.
CT: Traditionally, community college enrollment goes way up during these periods of high unem- ployment. I’m assuming that happened for Sad- dleback back in the Great Recession of 2008- 2009.
Stern: Even though I wasn’t here then, I can assure you that it did because I’ve seen the data and it happened in the colleges that I’ve been at.
We are definitely countercyclical. I think there have been some suggestions out there that it may not work this way this time because students are looking at the prospect of all-distance learning and saying, “I’m not going to do it if it’s going to be all distant.”
I’ve been speculating and thinking, no, I think we’re going to be very busy. Well, we started registration about a week ago for summer, and we are up in \[full-time student enrollment\] — FTE was up by 28 percent. That’s an overwhelming year- over-year increase. Probably beyond our capacity, but we’re going to do what we can to accommodate those students.
I think the biggest factor in that is the recently unemployed folks. \[By April 30, 2020, unemployment nationwide had hit 30 million people. In California it was 3.2 million by April 23.\] Ultimately, that means tens if not hundreds of thousands in Orange County and in our region. So those are folks in my community, and our mission is to serve our community, and we need to help them get back to work as quickly as we can.
So we’re trying to create what we call “shadow classes,” additional classes that we’re ready to open at the flick of a switch as other classes fill up so that we can nimbly respond to a larger-than-expected enrollment spike that’s probably going to hit in fall, let alone the one we’re already experiencing — it looks like — for summer.

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