The faculty joke about the circus act they have been performing in the classroom. From talking into a mask behind plexiglass with fogged up glasses to sitting on a log, shouting above the wind and traffic, they have had to adapt, innovate, and juggle to teach students face-to-face and online.
All of this has involved technology upgrades funded in part by the Endeavor Foundation, an organization focused on small, liberal arts colleges nationwide and on the performing arts in New York City. Northland is one of twenty colleges in this cohort.
In the middle of March, the Foundation sent an email invitation to the cohort of college presidents. “In the face of a public health and economic challenge like this one,” wrote the foundation’s director of grants and research, “continuing to guide and mentor students in their process of discovery is especially important. We are prepared to offer you each a grant of up to $50,000 to offset shortfalls which are likely occurring on your campus.”
Northland applied for and received $50,000 to upgrade the College’s e-learning platform, to purchase necessary licenses, and expand the suite of higher ed-specific collaboration tools, including HD video conferencing.
A second round of funding—$70,000—allowed the College to purchase remote learning technology upgrades.
“Devoted to a select group of very small liberal arts colleges, the Endeavor Foundation has fully embraced Northland’s mission and values and shown extraordinary generosity in a time of grave need,” President Karl I. Solibakke said. “Not only do we find ourselves among peer institutions, which lend expertise as well as spiritual and emotional support, but we are also among friends, who are emboldened by our aspirations to achieve operational and strategic stability.”