Friday, December 11, 2020 — For Dunham School of Business and Public Policy Students

Congratulations, December graduates!
Campus Shot

The AU community will celebrate the achievements of members of the Class of 2020 during a special virtual Commencement ceremony premiering this Saturday, December 12, at 9 a.m. at The ceremony is prerecorded and will be available for viewing over the next several weeks. We extend our best wishes to all of our graduates!

A Message from the Dean

As we wrap up the fall semester and enter the height of the holiday season, I want to take this opportunity to wish you and your family tidings of comfort and joy (and safety)! 
While it goes without saying that 2020 has been a rough year, your hard work, perseverance, and, frankly, pure, old-fashioned grit and determination, have made this a year in which you can be proud. Five, 10, or even 20 years from now, the COVID-19 pandemic will be a distant (if nightmarish) memory, but you will also realize that your hard work now was instrumental in laying the foundation for your personal and professional success later. I therefore encourage you to zoom out (no pun intended) and situate your actions now in the wider trajectory that is your life’s journey. I am reminded of something a mentor once said to me, “Tough times don’t last, but tough people do.”
In today’s newsletter, I will keep my remarks brief as you complete the final odds and ends of the fall semester. As you take both a physical and mental break, be sure to pause and give thanks to those who have made today and tomorrow possible. I am thankful to the large number of faculty and staff, without whom our success in 2020 would not have been possible. I am grateful to their (and your) commitment to AU, especially during these unusual times. 
One of the great pleasures I have as the dean of the Dunham School of Business and Public Policy is that I have the chance to meet students from across our school from a wide variety of interests and backgrounds. This fall, I particularly enjoyed the opportunity to “meet” with many of you … whether one-on-one, during my dean’s office hours, through a classroom visit, or while attending one of the many Sundays @ 7 career conversations with alumni. After each meeting, I am reminded of how proud I am to serve you and your peers. You are a community of hardworking, emerging professionals who never cease to impress and inspire!
Special Note Regarding Your Spring 2021 Course Delivery Selection

One final important reminder that I want to reemphasize as you begin planning for spring: Once you select your preferred course delivery method for spring 2021 (i.e., remote, hybrid/face-to-face), please stay committed to that method of instructional delivery
Why? The key reason for this request is that staff and faculty are building the spring 2021 schedule around assumptions regarding aggregate student choice of remote vs. hybrid/face-to-face instruction. Classroom density has been reduced to ensure appropriate public health and safety guidelines are being met. Last-minute and idiosyncratic changes in who does and does not attend a class face-to-face or remotely interferes with all this planning. 
The simple ask is that you stick with the delivery mode you selected when replying to or Thank you for understanding.

Special Note Regarding Appeal of a Course Grade

If you believe your final course grade was calculated capriciously, you can appeal by following the steps described in the academic catalog. In other words, if you have reason to believe your grade was assigned based on factors other than academic performance, or the faculty graded you in a manner that differs from your classmates, you can follow the appeal process. A brief description of the process follows: 

  • Step One – Seek to better understand your grade by contacting the instructor. Explain why you think the grade was entered capriciously.
  • Step Two – If you do not come to an understanding about your grade with the instructor, and you believe the definition of capricious grading is fitting, you should contact the program chair and explain your view of the capricious grade in writing. Email or a hard copy would be best.
  • Step Three - If steps one or two do not resolve your concern, submit a petition to the appropriate dean. The dean will make one of these decisions:
    • That the grade was not assigned capriciously and shall stand as assigned.
    • That the grade was assigned capriciously and should be changed.

In closing, as we mark the end of one semester and prepare for the next, I would like to wish everyone a joyful and restful holiday break.


Toby J. Arquette, PhD
Dean, Dunham School of Business and Public Policy
Key Dates

December 12, 2020 Virtual Commencement

January 11, 2021 Spring semester classes begin

January 18, 2021 Martin Luther King Jr. Day (no classes)

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resources and Updates

The university continues to provide coronavirus (COVID-19) updates online. The webpage also includes links to FAQs, additional resources, and CARES Act Reporting information.

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