Message on Fall 2020

July 7th, 2020

Dear students, staff and faculty in the SASN community,

We hope that you and your families are safe and healthy and that you are doing well in these challenging times.

President Holloway and Chancellor Nancy Cantor have shared plans for instruction in the Fall 2020.  I write to follow up on their messages and to provide details regarding SASN’s plans for Fall 2020.

At the outset it is important to highlight the three principles that have guided SASN, and that will continue to guide us, through this time of crisis:

  1. Prioritize the health, safety and well-being of all members of our community (faculty, staff, students, community partners, and community members).  You are our priority.  As the pandemic evolves, we will continue to observe public health guidelines and best practices in an effort to keep you and our community safe.  
  2. Commit to fulfilling our academic and scholarly mission.  In the past several months we have seen that when bright, engaged students and highly accomplished, creative and committed faculty come together, it is more than possible to deliver an outstanding liberal arts education through online and hybrid formats.  In the Fall, we will leverage the lessons learned over the past few months in order to meet our academic mission. 
  3. Prioritize a “whole person” and “whole community” approach to navigating this moment. During this crisis each member of our community will face health, economic, technological, sociopolitical, and other challenges that will impact work-life, learning, teaching etc.  We will continue to listen and collaborate with our diverse community, and mobilize resources to meet, to the greatest degree possible, the academic, physical and mental health, spiritual, and communal needs of members of our SASN family.


Consistent with these principles and the guidelines outlined by President Holloway and Chancellor Cantor, we have mapped the following plans for Fall 2020:  The overwhelming majority of SASN courses will be delivered remotely and synchronously.  This approach will allow faculty and students to engage in real time and ensure safety.  A smaller number of courses will be delivered asynchronously or via a hybrid format (e.g., with students having access to prerecorded lectures followed by online discussions and or limited on-campus meetings).

We will prioritize the following experiences and courses for in-person instruction (contingent upon safety and on the decisions of relevant sites):

  • Social Work internships
  • Urban Education internships
  • Specific upper-level undergraduate laboratory courses
  • Practical Arts, Culture and Media (ACM) courses


The Dean’s office will reach out to students, faculty and staff to let you know when the online Schedule of Classes for the Fall has been fully updated. The department of Social Work and the Urban Teacher Education Program will reach out to students directly to provide detailed, updated information about field placements.

For specific advising information we encourage students and families to contact SASN’s advisement team: or (973) 353-5800 (please leave a message and our advisors will respond). Students may also utilize the team’s Virtual Office Hours, Monday-Friday 8:30am-4:30pm via WebEx (

Finally, please note that the university will host virtual town hall meetings starting the week of July 13th for new and returning undergraduate and graduate students, and for the faculty and staff councils.  Details about these town hall meetings will be provided soon.  We will share information as it becomes available.  In the interim, we encourage you to read the detailed state-level, university-wide, and Rutgers-Newark campus-specific plans for the Fall.  These plans are available via the following links:

Guidelines of the New Jersey Office of the Secretary of Higher Education

Returning to Rutgers: A How-To Guide To Repopulating Rutgers Spaces.”

“Returning to Rutgers University- Newark: A Working Plan for Fall 2020.”

We are deeply grateful for the hard work and input of everyone who has helped to craft the plans for the Fall.  We know that you will have questions and concerns and we commit to updating you and providing regular and clear communication as the pandemic evolves.  Each of us will need to be flexible and open in the months ahead.

The past few months have created important and serious new challenges for many of us.  This time has also shed light on already existing challenges.  What we have learned about those challenges will shape how we work together in the months ahead.  As we have done over the past several months, we will use these challenges to draw closer to each other, and to be intentional and creative about how we work, relate and live.  We are excited and energized about seeing you in the Fall.  We are excited about what we will do when we gather again.  Between now and then, please know that we are here for you.



Jacqueline Mattis

Dean, School of Arts and Sciences-Newark (SASN)