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Advice Heading into Summer Break

A Message from Dean Shepardson

Hello families,

It is hard to believe our semester officially ends tomorrow. Thank you for your patience and support over these last six weeks. I appreciate you taking on the unexpected role of “RAs” through the end of this semester, helping to convey messages and provide guidance while students were off campus.

As we transition to summer, I will not be sharing weekly updates, but I will continue to share timely campus updates to parents of returning students, particularly in regards to plans for the fall. Parents of graduating seniors: the Commencement Office will keep you up to date on plans for Commencement 2020.

For now, I have some final advice for parents and students before the summer break from Bentley begins.

Stay Informed

We will continue to update the FAQs on our COVID-19 response page and on our page about the new trimester schedule. When needed, we will also schedule webinars or town halls, such as this Friday’s session on trimesters with our President, our provost and me, and our upcoming session on financial aid (date to be announced soon). We know with so much uncertainty, accurate information is key. We will continue to keep students and parents informed as we make decisions.

Teach Flexibility

We are all learning how to be more flexible and to adapt. Age and experience teaches us that nothing stays the same. Students, with solid notions of what their collegiate experience will be, are learning to adapt, but it is always hard in the moment. We know students (and you) want answers today about what the future will look like. Many questions about classroom instruction, residence halls, campus traditions and events remain subject to unprecedented and evolving state and federal guidelines around public health policy. These guidelines are changing by the day and we are working to provide firm answers as quickly as possible. No matter what the future brings, we will likely have to guide students through difficult transitions and help them understand a “new normal” in the months ahead. This will be hard, but we will work together.  


We are still here! Offices will be open — even remotely — throughout the summer. Please do not hesitate to reach out and seek support. As I shared last week, the Pulsifer Career Development Center is ready to assist our students and our recent grads. Our Counseling Center is hosting weekly COVID-19 support groups to help students through this difficult time. NEST mentors are available. We want to help, so do not hesitate to reach out.  


As a reminder, students choosing the Pass/Fail option must complete and submit the form they received on Friday no later than Tuesday, May 12 at 11:59 p.m. EDT. Students who want to keep their letter grades should not complete the form or take any further action. Only those who complete forms by the May 12 deadline will have grades converted to Pass/Fail. All grading option decisions are final. Students cannot change their grading decision after the deadline OR once the form is completed and submitted. Find more information on the Pass/Fail submission form here.

Again, thank you for your support. For those of you with a student graduating: congratulations and I look forward to seeing you in August for Commencement. And for those of you with returning students in the fall, I look forward to our continued time together.

J. Andrew Shepardson
Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students