Student Town Hall
President Lamont O. Repollet, Ed.D. hosted a virtual student Town Hall at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, November 19. Students were invited to register to speak or attend the event.
Kean students were invited to share their perspectives on the Fall semester at a virtual Student Town Hall hosted by President Lamont O. Repollet, Ed.D. at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, November 19.
All topics related to the student experience, including remote learning, student activities and residential housing, were discussed.
The synopsis below outlines the issues raised by students during the event as well as their own proposed solutions. The University's leadership team is working to address these issues and will post updates as more information becomes available.
January 2021 Update: The University continues to address student feedback. Every semester, students are asked to provide feedback on the courses in which they are enrolled. Based on 36,789 responses received at the end of the Fall 2020 semester, the data show most students felt the workload, pace and difficulty of their courses were about right. Less than 1 percent of students reported that their courses were very difficult or very fast. The data are comparable or better than results from Fall 2019.
Issue: Several students raised concerns about class discussion questions. Many said that while the questions are intended to spur class participation, they instead create a heavy work burden.
Proposed solutions: A student suggested limiting the number of questions to two to three per semester, per class.
Status: The University has established clear guidelines for the use of discussion questions in both Remote and Kean Online courses. In Remote courses, discussion questions are not required but may be included at the discretion of the instructor to meet the weekly time required for virtual or in-person classroom interaction. If used, the requirement will consist of one initial discussion post during a week and no more than three responses to other students to be posted within a timeframe determined by the instructor. Discussion questions may also be included in Face-to-Face and Hybrid classes to meet the weekly time required for virtual or in-person classroom interaction. Students will be informed of requirements through the course syllabi and/or within the course in Blackboard. Kean Online courses include required discussion questions in each unit/week. Those questions will contain an initial response and five posts to peers. This is a standard part of all units in Kean Online courses. Discussions will be listed in each learning unit within the course on Blackboard. Visit the Registration Information page for more details on the differences between Remote and Kean Online courses.
Issue: A student who also serves as a mentor and Gen Ed co-teacher said Blackboard can be tricky and complicated for faculty to use.
Proposed solution: The student suggested surveying faculty about any issues they’ve encountered during the semester to address them in a second round of training prior to the Spring semester.
Status: Training and technical support are available to all faculty members through the Office of Computer and Information Services (OCIS) and the Nancy Thompson Learning Commons (NTLC).
Campus Life and Safety Protocols
Issue: A student said many events are only for residential students, not remote students, and expressed concern about a lack of information about commencement and senior portraits.
Proposed solution: The student suggested inviting all students, especially seniors, to come to campus for events and improve communication about events.
Issue: A resident student asked why the dining hall and Starbucks are still closed off, and noted that since students are barred from visiting friends within the residence halls, there are few places to gather with friends.
Proposed solution: The student suggested opening the dining hall and Starbucks to students, with social distancing and mask-wearing required when not eating or drinking.
Issue: A student said she understands why the University is not permitting outside guests or those from other residence halls, but she would like to know why can’t students visit with others on the same floor, or in the same dorm. She also noted that students are told to socialize outside, but it’s getting colder and others outside may pose a COVID risk.
Proposed solution: The student suggested the University permit students to have one or two visitors at a time from within their building to help students’ mental health.
Status: The University will continue to put safety first and exercise all necessary precautions to protect the health and safety of the Kean community and remain in compliance with all applicable Executive Orders. The administration is constantly monitoring public health data and will loosen restrictions and open events to all students as soon as possible. Students are encouraged to take advantage of virtual events and opportunities to participate in campus life. Kean communicates important information to its students, including details about commencement and issues specific to graduating seniors, via email and social media.
Health Insurance for Students
Issue: A 29-year-old student who is also a parent asked that Kean make health insurance available to students who need it.
Proposed Solution: The student suggested that the University make health insurance available to everyone who is not covered by other plans.
Status: Student Health Services has partnered with the nonprofit organization The Family Resource Network to help students navigate the Health Insurance Marketplace. There is no charge to access the group’s certified insurance navigators and their services. The Family Resource Network has dedicated time slots for Kean students only seeking to apply through the New Jersey Insurance Marketplace website, Get Covered NJ, before the open enrollment deadline of January 31, 2021. They are:
- Thursday, December 10 from 2 - 7 p.m.
- Tuesday, December 22 from 2 - 7 p.m.
- Tuesday, January 12 from noon to 8 p.m.
Students can make a virtual appointment or arrange a more convenient appointment time by calling (800) 355-0271. Spanish speaking-insurance navigators are available.
Issue: A student asked why the pass/fail deadline was September 22, and said it was not enough time to make a decision about all courses.
Proposed solution: The student suggested offering a longer academic grace period.
Status: Due to the continued disruptions caused by COVID-19, the University has decided to extend its optional “pass/fail” grading for up to two courses per student at Kean USA and Wenzhou-Kean University for the Fall 2020 semester.
All students will have from the end of the semester until February 1, 2021 to request this option.
Students are encouraged to raise any questions about the pass/fail option during remote advisement sessions with their academic advisors.
Accessing Kean Resources
Issue: A student said it’s difficult to access Kean resources during remote learning.
Proposed solution: The student suggested that the University should find ways to help students access resources more easily.
Status: The University has updated the Cougar Restart Guide with the latest hours and contact information for all services. The University community was notified about the updates to the Cougar Restart Guide via email and social media.