Students in field

Finlandia Announces Plans for Fall 2020

May 14, 2020

A Message from Dr. Philip Johnson, President, Finlandia University

Finlandia University will be welcoming students to campus for fall 2020 with face-to-face instruction.  The first day of classes will be Monday, August 24.

This past March, when circumstances required a quick pivot, Finlandia, in the span of five days, launched the remainder of the semester fully on-line with a full complement of virtual student learning support. Finlandia’s new learning management system, an agile faculty, innovative student learning services professionals, and an inspiring demonstration of student grit made spring semester 2020 a success. Yet, we know that students and their families choose Finlandia for what it does best: face-to-face instruction delivered by highly qualified faculty and staff who know their names as well as their stories, who mentor as well as teach. We fully recognize, however, that a return to campus this fall will not be as it was when students returned last January.

Safe Open: Business and Campus  
Finlandia is planning in two areas: 1) a safe open for business, and 2) a safe open for campus.  Best practices, procedures, and time lines for a safe open for business will continue to be governed by public health guidelines at the national, state, and municipal levels. As faculty, staff, and administrators return to campus, these protocols will be observed while Finlandia provides workplace/work time flexibilities and protections that best promote safety and wellness.

A safe open to campus for our students will be governed by those same protocols but will also be informed by guidelines generated from an executive leadership planning collaborative from across Michigan’s private and independent colleges and universities. A set of precise, adaptive practices in eleven areas of campus learning and life, with our campuses and our type of student fully in mind, will provide comprehensive guidance as Finlandia prepares for fall 2020.

Finlandia recognizes that all planning in our current context is essential and yet remains contingent. Plans will continue to evolve as circumstances change.

New On-campus Student Health Center 
Through a collaboration with UP Health System-Portage, Finlandia will open a new on-campus student health center in time for classes this fall. The center will be staffed with a full-time nurse practitioner and its services will be free to students. This new service is complemented by Finlandia’s own nursing faculty who offer a professional, highly trained resource for serving the wellness needs of our community at such a time as this.

Finlandia’s Advantage
In all of this, Finlandia has an advantage: size. Our smaller campus, smaller campus population, and smaller operations enable Finlandia to be nimble and responsive. But as importantly, smaller enrollment and class sizes enable Finlandia to accompany students with a brand of uncommon attention rarely achievable on other campuses. Perhaps such an advantage has never been more important.

Finlandia’s Commitments
Commitments to safe, in-person instruction in fall 2020 run deep for Finlandia. Transformative, relationship-driven higher education is Finlandia’s calling, its vocation if you will, and compels such commitments. Radical hospitality that welcomes all to learn from all is a distinctly ELCA Lutheran higher education value. It urges us to live and learn and serve side-by-side even when circumstances call for unfamiliar and unwanted protective protocols. Simply, it is Finlandia’s strong conviction that learning pursued on campus with on the ground learning is higher education at its best for the families and students we serve.

Serving the Common Good, Together
Relationships have never been more important. Finlandia cannot be successful on its own. We are grateful for collaborations now in place that will help Finlandia deliver what our students and their families deserve and expect. We know that as we continue to reach out to our neighboring communities, businesses, and organizations there will be more opportunities to serve the common good so that together, both campus and community, emerge stronger.

Please continue to watch for further updates on our fall 2020 face-to-face opening on our website: www.finlandia.edu

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