Fall 2020 Semester Plan

Fall Semester Plans

Greetings from the campus of Trinity Christian College. We just wrapped up a most unusual school year, successful in so many ways – but full of challenge as well.  Throughout it all, the Trinity community continues to lean on the grace and peace of God and to rest in the words of Romans 12:12:  be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

In this season of quarantines, distancing, and uncertainty, let me share with you some welcome news about Trinity’s plans for the fall.  I’ll get right to it because this matters to you:

Trinity is planning and expecting to welcome, in-person, our students to campus this fall and we will do so in a way that incorporates public health measures endorsed by governmental authorities and medical experts.

While we are very zealous to be back on campus and are working to make that happen, please understand that nothing is more important than the safety of those on our campus – consistently rated as one of the safest college campuses in Illinois.  As the facts change, Trinity will adapt, too.

There is much work that will have to happen to make this a reality.  In fact, when I informed our current Trinity students about these plans, I also told them this:

This effort will summon from us a renewed dedication to Trinity’s mission and, in so doing, an increased commitment to care for one another.  There are many (many!) details that will need to be worked through to see this happen.  While these matters are hardly insignificant, I am confident that we will do what needs doing because that is simply who this community is and what we are about.

I hope that this sounds like the kind of place that you want to join.  I hope that this already feels like the place that you can call home.

That is the big news that I want to share with you.  If you’d like more details on this, keep reading.  Otherwise, know that the World Needs You, and we want to get you ready for all that is to come in your amazing life!

Now, some more details…

We know that COVID-19 will be a part of a new normal for the foreseeable future.  In recognition of this reality, Trinity intends to deploy her advantages in this effort.  Let me share briefly about just a few of these important steps that we will be taking.

  • We are leveraging Trinity’s smaller size and close-knit community of care and concern, which creates smaller classes instead of lecture halls with hundreds of students, more intimate gatherings for meals, and residence halls built at a human scale that are more amenable to social distancing. I, candidly, do not know how large universities will navigate the challenges of dealing with COVID planning on their campuses – and I am glad that I do not have to think about that!  (As a parent of an incoming Trinity freshman, I also am very glad that Emma will live and learn on Trinity’s campus.)
  • We are reactivating our COVID-19 Planning Group – a cross-disciplinary group at Trinity that reviews our campus preparedness from every angle – from public health and hygiene, to campus operations, to athletics and co-curricular activities, to student support. This is the group that helped inform our decision in March to safely get our students home for the semester at a time when most other colleges and universities were thinking that they would return after Easter (only to come around later to Trinity’s initial plan for the semester).
  • We will continue to draw upon our experts in Trinity’s nursing program – Illinois’ top-rated program and the very profession that has been on the front lines of fighting this pandemic. In fact, over this summer, our nursing classrooms and laboratories are being completely renovated and expanded to better serve this growing and important field.
  • For students who have individual medical or health considerations that make in-person, on-campus attendance problematic, we will offer high-quality alternate arrangements that still will permit those students to learn from Trinity’s stellar faculty and enjoy Trinity’s genuine community. Trinity’s size and entrepreneurial ethos provide our students with curated, customizable experiences that make achievement possible, even in a COVID-19 world.  Our faculty and staff are already preparing for multiple instructional scenarios on campus that will allow us to follow appropriate health protocols while enjoying Trinity’s strong faculty, staff, and student relationships.  In this, we are building upon the benefits of our Student Success Coaching program  – a program we designed and implemented this Spring to provide every Trinity student a coach who provided support and human interaction during this virtual semester.  Trinity offers this kind of personalized support that many other institutions cannot, or will not, offer.

This will be a moment where together we can demonstrate how a decidedly Christian, in-person, residential campus community can live and learn together – and do so safely.

Also, as Trinity eagerly anticipates the return in late August of our students, faculty, and staff we are seeing wonderful signs that this community, too, is eager to return to campus and eager to move Trinity forward in mission.

  • Our summer enrollment is up by nearly 33% over last year.
  • Our incoming freshmen class has trended more than 20% above last year nearly all year and we filled, in less than 48 hours, all available summer course offerings for incoming new students.
  • We have very strong retention and registration numbers for our returning students and our returning student housing has strong demand.
  • Our annual fund philanthropy is running at a record pace.
  • We have started the refreshing of the Bootsma Bookstore Café and renovation and expansion of Trinity’s Department of Nursing.

As the summer progresses, I will provide you with additional details on our planning.  You, however, can be certain of this:  We are committed to implementing measures to keep our community healthy and to deliver an excellent, personalized, and intentionally Christian education.

I will provide you with additional details on our planning as the summer months progress and as we get closer to August.  You, however, can be certain of this:  We are committed to implementing the best ways to keep our community healthy and to deliver an excellent, personalized, and intentionally Christian education.

Thanks for reading this – and we want you at Trinity.

Romans 12:12,

Kurt D. Dykstra, President