Dear Habib University Community,
I hope that you and your loved ones have been safe and healthy during this summer break.
Many of you may have been aware of the federal government’s announcement vis-à-vis educational institutions to remain closed until (at least) July 15th. In the midst of mixed messaging from various levels of authorities, the policy regarding educational institutions seems consistent. Coronavirus pandemic has been wreaking unabated havoc in many parts of the world, with the epicenter gradually shifting to Brazil, which is the largest country in the southern hemisphere. Covid-19 is ravaging through poor parts of Brazil. This may be a presentiment of a bad picture for Pakistan, as there are similarities in socioeconomic circumstances between Pakistan and Brazil. We need to remain responsible and careful in our personal conducts of social distancing, mandatory wearing of masks when outside and frequent handwashing.
This policy announced for universities by the government has resulted in the following outcome for our various communities.
• Class of 2020
• One of our key foci is to ensure that we adequately conclude the last semester for our graduating class. Special measures are being put in place to ensure that all students of class of 2020 are given special assistance and support to overcome any lags in academic requirements of their final semester. Please contact OAP and the Associate Dean of Undergraduate Education for specific details.
• For a small number of graduating students, for whom accessing campus may be crucial in finishing some studio or lab work, Assistant dean of undergraduate education is the coordinating authority.
• An online/virtual convocation will be held on July 18th to ensure that all graduating students receive their Habib University degree and transcripts for their further endeavors. However we know that in person commencement ceremony is a fruition of four years of hard work and anticipation. We are making a formal commitment to class of 2020 to host their exclusive ceremony any time in the coming months, whenever it is safe to do so. Your names however will be etched on the stairs of our amphitheater as our brilliant trailblazers. Inshallah when we will have our in person commencement ceremony we would proudly sit with you in that amphitheater for a customary commemorative picture.
• Fees & finances
• Those of you who may have paid any convocation ceremony fee, it will be either counted towards your dues and in case of no outstanding dues, it will be returned to you.
• Knowing the logistical and other difficulties, we are further extending the fee payment deadlines by a month to June 15th.
• Those who paid any hostel fees for the months of closure/non utilization would be reimbursed, and university will bear the hostel rental costs.
• Remaining semester
• Online line classes will commence during the first week of June.
• There is special flexibility being developed for those who may struggle to access internet due to various issues. Please contact the office of Vice President of Academic Affairs for specific assistance or clarity.
• Grading for this semester remains a voluntary option of pass/un-pass (fail)
• Fall 2020
• VPAA and his team are developing a detailed framework for an adjusted fall semester. This would entail a hybrid of online and on campus engagements. This would ensure a low number of people present on campus at any given time, allowing social distancing and other health measures to be in effect.
• To ensure adequate capacity for all our students in engaging with this new normal, Habib University is raising resources to provide personal tech support to students who may not be able to afford it at home
Faculty & Staff:
• Thank you for the extraordinary adaptation and improvisation in all aspects of academic, technological and logistical planning. Due to your diligence and thoughtfulness, Habib University continues to manage this disorienting crisis effectively and empathetically.
• There are confusing signals from authorities especially after the recent supreme court ruling. Both Vice Presidents and Human Resources are crafting a framework allowing faculty and staff to have controlled physical access to the campus. That framework will be communicated to all of you after the Eid break.
We are living through a decisively transformative episode of history, where the nature of this transformation is largely obscure. In large parts, the fine tuning out of this obscurity, is in our hands. We have been given two extraordinary opportunities;
1. Of time & space to consciously reflect on what had become internalized and unconscious in the name of “normal” & “routine.”
2. Of creativity and imagination to redefine what should be “normal” & “routine,” especially in the light of our extraordinary experiences of the last couple of months.
There are inspiring evidences that many of our colleagues are engaging adequately and eagerly with both of these opportunities. Creative influence of such colleagues will redefine and inspire both an enhanced academic experience and professional fabric for Habib University in the post-Covid-19 world.
Be safe and healthy and have a wonderful Eid break.
Best wishes & duas,
Wasif A. Rizvi