Thursday, November 19, 2020 — For Dunham School of Business and Public Policy Students

Happy ThanksgivingCampus Shot

While the past several months have been challenging, the Aurora University faculty and staff are thankful for your Spartan resilience and your commitment to continuous learning. Enjoy the holiday break, students.

A Message from the Dean

Greetings and Happy Thanksgiving from Dunham Hall! 
As we enter the holiday season, now is the time to pause, reflect, and give thanks to all those who have made our journeys possible up to this point. The French philosopher and historian François-Marie Arouet, known by his nom de plume Voltaire, reminds us that “appreciation is a wonderful thing: It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.” It takes grit, resilience, and agility to succeed in even the best of times. 2020 has proven to be a true test for us all. You have risen to the occasion though. With Voltaire in the back of my mind, I would just like to say that I am appreciative of you and your peers for persevering and succeeding. Thank you and kudos! 
In this installment of my dean’s newsletter, I would like to offer some recommendations on navigating the Thanksgiving holiday break, wrapping up the fall semester, and planning for spring.
The Thanksgiving Holiday Break

Thanksgiving is a time of year that many of us look forward to as a celebration of family and friends. It's a time for breaking bread in a ceremony of thanks with each other. This year, COVID-19 and its widespread outbreak across the country challenges our traditions in ways that none of could have imagined a year ago. 
As you prepare to give thanks during the long holiday weekend, AU would like to encourage you to strike a balance between celebration and safety. Leading public health officials continue to warn us about the dangers of letting down our guard in the face of a virus that knows no boundaries. Regrettably, the most current research suggests that small, intimate gatherings like those that are likely to occur over Thanksgiving in one’s home are fraught with opportunities for accelerated community spread of COVID-19. Recently while watching the news, a leading public health official made a comment that I think is worth repeating today: “When you invite guests into your home, you are also inviting everyone they have been in contact with over the last two weeks into your home.
We encourage you to be careful and continue to follow the public health guidelines communicated through the Spartan Compact, the Illinois Department of Public Health, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: wear a mask, keep appropriate social distance, and practice good hygiene. Don’t let your guard down. Don’t engage in behaviors known to put you, your family, and the community at risk of spreading COVID-19.
Wrapping Up the Fall Semester
When you return to your classes after the Thanksgiving break, time will fly as those classes wrap up and final exams begin. Be sure to review the fall 2020 academic calendar for key deadlines, including an extended last day to drop fall semester classes with automatic “W” on Sunday, December 6. Keep in mind that final exams may meet at different times and days than your regular schedule in the fall. You can verify your final exam period for each of your classes in WebAdvisor. If you are uncertain of your final exam date and time, be sure to ask your instructor as soon as possible.
Remember that the AU main campus is open to you and your peers. We have several resources available to support you during finals:

These resources and much more are available on the AU website under Information for Current Students.
Preparing for the Spring Semester
Last week, numerous emails and announcements were sent to you and your peers about the spring semester. You should review these announcements closely. Several very important details about spring semester planning and your role in the process can be found in those communications.
In general, most undergraduate courses (excluding those offered through AU Online) will be offered in a hybrid format where students will have the choice of in-person or enhanced synchronous remote instruction. You should have a conversation with your student success advisor regarding your preferred method of learning. An email was also sent to you about your choice. You must respond by Tuesday, November 24. Your timely input in this process is very important in that it provides us with valuable information for planning. If you do not reply by the deadline, a fully remote schedule cannot be guaranteed. 
For graduate students (excluding fully online students in AU Online), we plan for most classes to meet in person, though occasionally classes may use video conferencing technology in cases where appropriate social distancing may not be possible in the course of instruction. Your professors will denote exceptions to in-person instruction on their schedules and notify you of these instances. If you would prefer an asynchronous remote option, we do offer select courses through AU Online in the MBA and MPA programs. Talk to your graduate program advisor if you need assistance in making your course enrollment decisions. 
For our fully online students (enrolled in AU Online), there will be no changes in how you experience your courses. You will continue to complete your coursework in an asynchronous, fully online format.
Keep in mind that if at any time you are not sure who to talk to about your needs or circumstances, you are always welcome to contact me or reach out to our Dunham School of Business and Public Policy program directors:

As just a quick reminder, the preceding is always subject to external forces like that of the State of Illinois, the IDPH, and the CDC.


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

November 19, 2020 Virtual Graduate and Plus One Information Session, 4–5 p.m.

November 24, 2020 Campus-based instruction ends

November 25–29, 2020 Thanksgiving Break

November 30–December 5, 2020 Review Week

December 6, 2020 AU Virtual Christmas Concert: "There's No Place Like Home for the Holidays," noon (and available for replay)

December 7–12, 2020 Finals Week

December 12, 2020 Virtual Commencement

The last Sundays @ 7 alumni career conversation for fall will take place this Sunday, November 22, at 7 p.m. Cindy Burke ’12 will be the 10th speaker of the semester. A business administration graduate, Burke has eight years of progressive experience working with corporate 500 firms, including Conagra Brands and Mars Wrigley. Register here for the livestream presentation.
The Sundays @ 7 events are presented via Zoom. Alumni share stories about their career path and provide insight into specific industries as well as advice about the job search. Sundays @ 7 will continue in the spring semester. Watch your email for dates.

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.

Ask the Dean
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