Advice for Cadets from the Provost

(May 7, 2020)

Dear Cadets,

We have just completed our sixth week of online learning. While I know that some of you have felt, and may still be feeling challenged by these last weeks, we have certainly all learned and continue to learn from the experience. I'd like to share a little of what I've learned and know:

As a community, we are flexible and resilient
In the space of one week, we asked your professors to move fully online and they did, in fine Maritime fashion. You, as students, adapted to that remote learning model. I'm aware that the transition was not without bumps, and that the various delivery methods employed by your faculty require more of you - to learn how Zoom works, present on Blackboard, and receive homework feedback in a virtual way. In response to some of these challenges we adopted a more lenient grading policy, which allows students to opt for Pass/Fail, and extended our incomplete deadlines. I'm also hopeful that our new virtual Helpdesk at the Registrar's Office is an added resource for you.

Planning is critical. 
As you know from Admiral McDonald's message of April 27th, we remain in a restricted campus status with a voluntary small group return on June 1st for licensed seniors. Please know that this plan may evolve as we watch the COVID trend data very closely and follow all the directives from the CDC, MA Department of Health, and Governor Baker. The Coast Guard licensed exam is scheduled to be held on campus the week of June 22nd, prior to the new June 27th graduation date. All other courses will remain online for the duration of the semester. 

Personal responsibility is the key to success.
If you are struggling in a class or feel that you are falling behind - email your academic advisor, reach out to your instructors, seek help from a tutor, or call your company officer or coach. We will get you the help that you need. The first step is letting someone know. 

You own your academic integrity.
Your professors are working hard to deliver your courses and teach you the material. Meet them halfway, and genuinely, do your part to learn. As you know, cheating is inconsistent with our honor code and our identity as the MMA community. Please know that I will have little sympathy if I learn of a cheating violation - whether it is occurring through an online homework site or through sharing answers during an exam. Don't do it. While it may sound trite, cheaters truly do just cheat themselves. 

You are smart. You are strong. And, you are capable. Hand tough this semester. We are getting through this - together. 

CAPT Brigid Pavilonis, Ph.D. USCG (Ret.)
Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs
Massachusetts Maritime Academy