Higher Education Leaders Share Restart Plans, Expectations for Fall Semester during City & State Virtual Education Summit, Co-Sponsored by Berkeley College

Wednesday, August 19, 2020
Contact: Angela Harrington
Vice President,
Communications and External Relations

“Student outcomes cannot be negotiable, no matter what the system of delivery.”
– Michael J. Smith, President of Berkeley College

City State Michael Smith Berkeley 

Photo Caption: City & State New York hosted a Virtual Education Summit on August 18, 2020, co-sponsored by Berkeley College. The panel of higher education leaders included Michael J. Smith, President of Berkeley College (pictured top left). An interview with Betty Rosa, EdD, Interim State Education Commissioner, opened the event (pictured top right). 

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Berkeley College President Michael J. Smith said colleges must be committed to student health and success, no matter what challenges arise during the fall semester. Smith joined higher education leaders during a Virtual Education Summit hosted by City & State New York and co-sponsored by Berkeley College on August 18, 2020. Nearly 800 participants attended the event. 

“Berkeley College has been in the online space for more than 20 years,” President Smith said. “We have the technology. We have the tools. We have the training. Student outcomes cannot be negotiable, no matter what the system of delivery.” 

For the fall semester, Smith said Berkeley College students had the option to take courses fully online or through a hybrid approach – an online experience complemented by hands-on learning. He added that Berkeley College students who take a combination of on-site and online courses have the greatest persistence and highest graduation rates. 

Panelists for the “Higher Education Plans for New York” session included Council Member Inez Barron, Chair, Higher Education Committee; Catherine Collins, EdD, Board Member, New York State Education Department; Noel Hara, Senior Director, Public Sector Strategy, NTT Data; Marc Jerome, President of Monroe College; William Murphy, Deputy Commissioner for Higher Education, New York State Education Department; Scott Ready, Accessibility Evangelist and Senior Customer Service Manager, Verbit; and Senator Toby Ann Stavisky, Chair, Higher Education Committee. 

The panelists emphasized the need to support underprivileged students who may not have the resources to adjust to the “new normal” of distance learning. 

“How are we going to make sure we can bring them (disadvantaged students) to a place that is better than the place they left?” Barron asked. 

“Many of these problems go back pre-pandemic,” Stavisky said. “The State of New York should not be the watchdog or the laboratory for the rest of the country. We have to decide the direction we are going and what the future holds, because those who don’t learn the history are doomed to repeat it.” 

These sentiments were echoed by Betty Rosa, EdD, Interim State Education Commissioner, who was interviewed by Jon Lentz, Editor in Chief, City & State New York, at the start of the event. 

“We have been working hard – building, shaping and transforming our organization and its equity lens,” Rosa said. “Our core has been looking at the concerns, particularly in our communities of color. Times like this require us to step up and do the very best we can to support our students, our communities and our organizations.” 

Discussions also focused on the importance of the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP), positive effects of the CARES Act, and providing resources for the mental health of both students and faculty. 

Read More: Berkeley College’s Restart Plans for the fall semester are available at BerkeleyCollege.edu/coronavirus. Click here to read a press release about the fall semester.

City State Berkeley 

Photo Caption: Panelists for the “Higher Education Plans for New York” session address equity in higher education, the CARES Act and other topics during a Virtual Education Summit, hosted by City & State New York and co-sponsored by Berkeley College on August 18, 2020. 

About Berkeley College

Berkeley College, founded in 1931, is a career-focused institution accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education that offers students Master’s, Bachelor’s, and Associate’s degree and Certificate programs in more than 20 career fields. The College has campuses in Midtown Manhattan and White Plains, NY, as well as in Newark, Paramus, Woodbridge and Woodland Park, NJ, with more than 5,700 students enrolled. In addition, Berkeley College Online® serves a global population. U.S. News & World Report has named Berkeley College among the Best Colleges for Online Bachelor’s Programs and among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Veterans, for seven consecutive years. The website address is www.BerkeleyCollege.edu 

The mission of Berkeley College is to empower students to achieve lifelong success in dynamic careers.