A Message from the President of Hellenic American University on Fall 2020 Reopening
Update November 13, 2020
Dear Members of the Hellenic American University Community,
I am writing to update you on the University’s operations during this Fall semester and guide you through how we deliver classes and offer our academic and student support services. I also want to share updated information on our new services and resources that will help support and enhance your studies at Hellenic American University and aid in your personal and professional development.
Delivery of classes
In September 2020 the University welcomed new and continuing students with a main focus on safely delivering the best educational experience to our student body. We proceeded carefully to schedule classes in a way that de-densified our campus; while some classes took place online, others started on-site. As of November, however, the evolving pandemic forced our Athens campus to switch to a fully online modality. All classes are now being delivered online through live synchronous video session, supplemented with asynchronous sessions to support research and writing-intensive assignments. In delivering our courses and services, we comply fully with government directives and policy recommendations, as we have done since the outbreak of the health crisis. For the Nashua instructional location our Fall 2020 semester ended on November 8th and we are gradually preparing for the winter and spring sessions of our small-sized MBA classes.
Delivery of student services
Even before the outbreak of the health crisis, many of the services offered by units such as the Writing Center, Career Development Office and Registrar could be delivered online, and we encourage you to continue taking advantage of this opportunity.
The Library’s digital collections of e-books and subscriptions to periodicals databases are accessible online for both locations. The Library at Hellenic American College (Athens) reopened at the beginning of the fall semester yet had to close for onsite visits in early November in accordance with regulations of the Hellenic National Public Health Organization. Our academic support system and library staff are working to make available textbooks for the winter and spring 2021 semesters.
Registrar’s Office and Financial Services
All student documents, except for official transcripts, can be requested and provided via email. For the Athens site, fees can be paid via e-banking or through direct deposits at the bank.
The Writing Center will continue to offer online tutoring sessions (both synchronous and asynchronous via Blackboard and Teams) to all stakeholders on both sites. Onsite tutoring sessions are provided for the Athens and Nashua sites upon request. Students will need to inform the Writing Center beforehand when they plan to come to the Center’s premises to avoid crowding.
The Office of Student Affairs in Athens continue organizing team building events in association with our 10 clubs. We are still investigating how these will be delivered, and decisions will be made in light of instructions from the public health authorities. Last semester, however, demonstrated that many student activities can be offered virtually, as witnessed by the success of the online workout sessions, master classes, seminars, and club meetings/events that were held in Spring 2020.
All CDO services, including career counseling, CV feedback, and workshops, can be delivered remotely via emails, Teams and phone calls. You will need to book your appointment in advance. The CDO is now implementing? a new 4-year employability plan for all undergraduate students.
The Center continues to offer members of the Athens community its services, including individual and group counseling, as well as monthly psychoeducational presentations and workshops, online.
Enhanced academic support
The University completed a major upgrade to the latest version of the Blackboard eLearning platform. As part of this upgrade, we have subscribed to Blackboard Collaborate, a web conferencing/webinar platform designed for use in online teaching. This allows us to set up and deliver synchronous video sessions, much as in Microsoft Teams and Zoom, and together with the resources in Blackboard, offer students a single-platform, integrated learning environment with all the tools and resources in one place.
In another development, the ACES peer tutoring program is now up and running. Following the selection and training process in February, we now have 6 peer-tutors, ready to offer their services to the student community. ACES tutoring will be available online for Nashua students.
Undergraduate Employability Plan
A new program of interactive workshops, presentations, career development projects is being launched for undergraduate students. Each of the four years of undergraduate study is devoted to a stage in the career development process, bringing students from self-assessment and career discovery to skills development and the practicalities of resumes, jobs searches and hiring interviews.
New Student Internships
Recent changes in the portal of the Hellenic Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (ERGANI) now allows firms and organizations to announce internships for students of private colleges as well. This is excellent news, as it allows us to leverage our network of business and professional partners to develop more internship opportunities for students—a long-standing student request that surfaced again during the recent Student Satisfaction Survey (SSS). Work is already underway to create the initial slate of internships for the B.S. in Business Administration and the B.S. in Informatics degree programs. We will also be expanding the range of clinical internships for M.S. in Psychology students.
Inquires for graduate internship opportunities in the US should be made to Nashua Student Services.
The Fall Town Hall Meeting
Apropos the results of the Student Satisfaction Survey, we have identified a set of high-priority issues that we will focus on addressing in the coming academic year. As you may recall, we intended to discuss the results of the survey and the action items for the academic year with you at a Town Hall. However, under the current circumstances we cannot hold the Town Hall on-site and are looking into alternative ways of sharing and discussing this information with you.
In the meantime, we remain vigilant to developments and draw strength from faculty and students who continue delivering high-quality teaching and learning while upholding our core institutional values.
Leonidas Phoebus Koskos
Image: Leonidas Phoebus Koskos, Hellenic American University’s President