Dear DI Community:
Welcome to the fall 2020 semester! While this fall semester may not look how we imagined it would, what remains constant is how collaborative and supportive our community is, and I know that we will all rise to the occasion and succeed. As all good designers know, or will learn, there should always be a plan B. Over the past six months DI has pivoted and redesigned elements of each semester with successful plan B’s. Some of these adjustments have been so successful that they have found their way into our plan A’s.
Back-to-School Plan Updates
As you are aware, our original Back-to-School Plan included limited in-person campus meetings for many of your first class sessions. Monitoring San Diego County COVID cases, and with the health and safety of our campus our primary concern, we felt it was best to begin the semester with live virtual class sessions. We encourage you to join your first classes on Zoom with video, to make connections and to collaborate as if you were in-person.
San Diego County was recently taken off the State of California’s watch list and we have been provided with new State COVID-19 industry recommendations for colleges, as well as new orders from San Diego County, that enable us to proceed with our plans to begin opening campus for limited services and in-person experiences. We anticipate that this transition will be complete by the end of September barring any further orders from the State or San Diego County and as long as we feel we can safely open campus.
We have put into place a rigorous cleaning and sanitation program. Hand sanitizer dispensers have been added to all buildings and classrooms and sanitizing wipe dispensers have been added to many areas. Campus furnishings have been placed to encourage social distancing, and signage has been posted throughout campus to inform the community of best practices for correct face covering placement, hygiene, social distancing and other educational messages. Complete details are included in the DI Back-to-School Plan (the Plan), and all members of the DI community will sign a Pledge acknowledging receipt of the Plan and adherence to contributing to a healthy and safe campus. The Plan and Pledge will be emailed to all of you through DocuSign, and our receipt of the signed Pledge will be the first step required for anyone to enter campus or to participate in any in-person experiences or field trips.
Once the signed Pledge is received and campus is reopened for limited services and in-person class sessions, the following steps will need to be taken to enter campus for each visit and the App screening will be utilized prior to attending any field trips:
- Download and utilize the campus App to initiate and complete the daily health screening questions. (Instructions and more details about the App will be provided shortly.)
- Receive a “clear to enter campus” message from the App daily screening.
- Show evidence of your specific “clear to enter campus” indicator on the App at the reception area touchless temperature screening kiosk or another kiosk location that may be announced or available.
- Receive an all clear ticket which will allow you to enter your classroom, office, workspace or meeting.
Any questions or concerns about the Plan, Pledge, your health or safety may be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
It is important to re-emphasize that while we are able to make the decision to initiate a limited return to campus, San Diego County is still operating under stay-at-home orders. We are also closely monitoring universities across the country who are reversing decisions to bring students back on campus, and hope to learn how best to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and reduce the likelihood of a similar scenario from happening at DI.
A successful return to campus starts with personal responsibility and recognizing how your actions impact those around you. It is imperative that we all comply with the protocols outlined in the Plan and Pledge to embrace all health and safety measures for the benefit of the DI community as a whole. We feel confident that we will all approach this with the seriousness it deserves so that we can slowly bring our community back, in-person, to experience the collaboration, warmth and family atmosphere that DI is known for. In the meantime, we will continue with live virtual classes and support services with the same level of care and concern you would receive in-person
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Updates
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council
The DI Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Council introductory meeting was held on August 10, 2020. The meeting was facilitated by Dr. Charlita Shelton who provided expertise on a consulting basis to assist DI with creating a framework for the institutionalization of DEI initiatives including the formation of the DEI Council. The meeting was thoughtful, insightful and powerful. Chimamanda Adichie’s TED talk was watched and all members introduced themselves and shared responses to the Adichie’s TED talk. I encourage everyone to take the time to watch it, as it highlights unconscious bias and macroaggression. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D9Ihs241zeg&vl=en
The Council will meet seven times a year and will begin with development of the Council and learning and development opportunities for administrators, faculty and students. Updates will be provided to the community after each meeting. Council members include the following:
Current students – Sarah Burch, Learha Burke and Crystal Taylor
Current faculty – Michele Brewster and Victoria Simmons
DI Staff – Rebecca Wollner
DI Administration – Margot Doucette and Natalia Worden
At the direction of Dr. Shelton it was determined that Alumni representatives will serve as ad hoc committee members as needed and requested by the Council.
DI Equity and Inclusion Scholarship
Applications have been submitted for consideration for the Design Institute of San Diego Equity and Inclusion Scholarship for the inaugural award for the BFA program this fall. This scholarship is designed to help make attendance at Design Institute of San Diego obtainable and to promote equity and inclusion for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) students who are underrepresented in the interior design profession. The scholarship will have a maximum award of up to $25,000 or the equivalent of $3,100 per semester for a full-time student and $2,067 for a part-time or evening student. The scholarship will be applied equally to the student’s account for each semester enrolled and attended, and the exact amount of the scholarship award will be determined upon enrollment and evaluation of any transfer classes with a maximum award of $25,000 per recipient. We look forward to announcing the recipient very soon. A similar scholarship is being formed for the MID program and will be offered beginning spring 2021.
Keep an eye out for the welcome back newsletter that will include more information as well as some upcoming events that you will not want to miss. Weekly emails from our communications team will share ways to connect, resources, news, and more campus opening updates.
While we are on the topic of connecting – did you know, we now have a DI student group on Facebook? We hope you will join the conversations and connect.
Wishing you a healthy and successful fall semester!