Auricchio spoke with Rebecca Stark-Gendrano and Mica McKnight, Assistant Dean for Juniors and Transfer Students and Assistant Dean for Sophomores, respectively. Both assured listeners that they are available and working hard to answer students’ questions. They also noted that the add-drop period will proceed as usual until Sep. 3. (ZOOM)
Auricchio spoke with Rebecca Stark-Gendrano and Mica McKnight, Assistant Dean for Juniors and Transfer Students and Assistant Dean for Sophomores, respectively. Both assured listeners that they are available and working hard to answer students’ questions. They also noted that the add-drop period will proceed as usual until Sep. 3.


Town Hall Part 2: Changes to Instruction Within FCLC and Gabelli

August 7, 2020

Following the university-wide Zoom, Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) and the Gabelli School of Business held schools-specific town halls, along with Fordham College at Rose Hill. Dean Laura Auricchio led the FCLC Zoom, joining with several other FCLC faculty members to explain how arts and sciences departments would adapt to the hybrid learning environment. Gabelli School of Business (GSB) Dean Donna Rapaccioli held a separate call in which she and Gabelli faculty discussed the benefits of the new model for business students.

For information about university-wide reopening protocols, read Part 1 of this story here.

Fordham Theatre

The theatre department expects to hold both in person and virtual classes. Stefanie Bubnis, interim managing director of the theatre program, explained that due to health guidelines, some components have to be virtual. For example, acting classes may have to be virtual because it is difficult to act with a mask on. 

“In person classes will require masks 100% of the time when you are on campus and in class. And with students taking classes virtually it seems much more engaging for everyone online,” Chair of Visual Arts and Theatre Chad McArver wrote in the Q&A chat.

Fordham Theatre plans to perform both of the first two mainstage productions online. Bubnis explained that the second production, “Uncle Vanya,” will be completely devised due to the fact that many productions are not granting rights to be recorded.

“We are adjusting accordingly so you are going to get the full experience, the full on-camera experience,” Bubnis said. “And we promise it will be fulfilling artistically and academically.”

Additionally, the courses will align with the productions that are being performed as students will study the productions in class. 

Students will also have the opportunity to work on Naomi Wallace’s “One Flea Spare” during this semester. Clint Ramos, head of design and production, is currently coordinating with multiple other colleges across the northeast to put on the production. Wallace will also be a part of the project.

“It’s all about the Black Plague in London, so it’s actually very timely, and that’s why the project was picked,” Bubnis said.

Lab hours will still be required and work study students will still have work to do. According to McArver, the work that needs to be done on productions will require coordination, and the department plans to mail supplies to people to use in their Zoom calls. McArver also explained that lab hours will focus more on training this semester. 

“We are taking an advantage because we are always having to crank out a show so now we actually have time to do some more training which we never had time to do,” McArver said. “So we are going to be doing a lot more detailed training on lighting, costume, sewing and all the different aspects of production.” 

At the end of senior year, Fordham hosts a design showcase and a performance showcase. For the senior performance showcase, there is already a senior working on helping to produce it, whether it is online or in-person. Bubnis explained that since we are not in the spring yet they are unsure as to what it will look like. Additionally, the playwriting students’ works will be woven into an online film-fest format.  

“Nothing will be tossed aside or missed just because we’re in a global pandemic,” Bubnis said. “We are going to make it work and we are going to get all of our students out there so they can be part of the theatre community.” 


The Ailey/Fordham BFA dance program is one of the few departments planning fully in-person classes. 

Melanie Person, co-director of The Ailey School and director of the Ailey/Fordham program, said that, though Fordham plans to close its campus at Thanksgiving break, dancers may have the opportunity to continue classes in person for the remaining three weeks if they do not leave the city over the break. She said she has sent out a survey to gauge dancers’ preferences before making a final decision.

Dancers may take a semester off from their Ailey classes but continue taking their academic classes at Fordham if the university allows, according to Person. She explained that if a student chooses to take a semester or year off from the Ailey program, that student will have to make up that time by either pushing back their planned graduation date or else participating in two of Ailey’s summer intensive programs.

If a dancer must quarantine after arriving on campus in person, they will be asked to take a medical leave of absence from Ailey for up to three weeks. Should a longer leave become necessary, the situation will be examined on a case-by-case basis, wrote Ailey/Fordham BFA Program Administrator Emily Riehle in the event’s Q&A. She said virtual training during quarantine is not available.

The Ailey/Fordham program plans to make a health and safety plan available soon.

Music and Art History

Maria Ruvoldt, chair of the art history department at Lincoln Center, spoke about the department’s academic plans, noting that all of the art history professors were enrolled in a hybrid learning training course offered to all instructors to prepare for the semester.

The course, Preparing to Teach in a Flexible Hybrid Model, was designed by Anne Fernald, professor of English and special adviser to the provost for faculty development, and Steve D’Agustino, director of online learning. 

Ruvoldt also said that they’ve reimagined the Intro to Art History course in preparation for the coming semester with regards to both “the content and the delivery.” The class now covers art history from around the world, not limited to Europe, and satisfies the Global Studies core curriculum requirement as well as Fine and Performing Arts, she told The Observer in an email. 

The class will have synchronous and asynchronous components and fully online options to fit the flexible hybrid model. “Students in all sections will benefit from content prepared by the entire department, and will still meet in their individual sections with a single instructor for intensive discussions,” Ruvoldt wrote. 

All sections of the class on both campuses will have access to lectures from experts and a speaker series, so the class is a team creation and a team experience, but small group discussions will still happen within the individual sections. “We’re also working closely with our student team, art history majors in the senior class, to ensure that the student experience in Intro is both enriching and fun,” she wrote. 

Auricchio spoke briefly about the plans of the music department. Some classes will be able to have in-person sessions, while others, particularly singing classes, are not safe to hold in person yet. 

“This is something that’s really on a case-by-case basis and having to do in part with the spaces that we have available,” she said. Auricchio has volunteered her office as a practice space after-hours, as it is larger than the school’s official practice rooms. 

With regards to visual arts, Auricchio noted that “even if visual arts classes will be online, students will still have access to the physical studios and the making spaces.”

Natural Science

Jason Morris, the outgoing chair of the natural sciences department, talked about the department’s plans and how science labs will look in the upcoming semester. All planned lab courses are still being offered, but all the Lincoln Center labs will be held online, with the exception of biochemistry, which will be a hybrid course. 

Students also have the option to take labs at Rose Hill if there is space, but they would need individual permission from the current chair, Martin Di Grandi, for it to count for the natural sciences major. 

While they will not have hands-on experience with lab technology online, there are still opportunities to learn about the processes of thinking and writing scientifically. “You’re supposed to learn how to design experiments, you’re supposed to learn how to analyze data, you’re supposed to learn how to write like a scientist,” Morris said. 

“So all of that can be done online. What you can’t do is learn how to work the apparatus itself, but that’s usually not the most important component of a lab course,” he added. 

As of Aug. 5, students have still been charged lab fees for the fall semester.

The natural sciences department is hopeful that their new hybrid courses will be engaging and involved. “I know that my colleagues have spent the entire summer revamping their courses and reinventing their courses,” Morris said. “We’re pretty optimistic and we’re being pretty ambitious.”

Gabelli School of Business

All the faculty on the Gabelli-specific call spoke optimistically about both the in-person and virtual affordances of the upcoming semester for business students. 

“You should be prepared to learn in modified conditions no matter what mode of learning you’re going to be in,” advised Marisa Villani, senior assistant dean for undergraduate studies. But she later went on to say, “The space that you are in right now is going to give you a very unique leg up as you prepare for what business of the future is going to look like.”

She and other faculty specifically mentioned the Consulting Cup, an annual competition among the sophomore Gabelli class where small groups of students identify a problem at a company they are assigned, develop a solution and pitch it live to students and faculty in a series of elimination rounds.

You should be prepared to learn in modified conditions no matter what mode of learning you’re going to be in.

— Marisa Villani, senior dean for undergraduate studies

This year’s contest will follow a hybrid format, with in-person and virtual components. 

“Here at Lincoln Center, I could see some of us gathered in McNally and a couple of teammates up on the stage, and on the screen is both their PowerPoint presentation and a couple of boxes for a couple of teammates who are Zooming in,” de Cola said. 

Rapaccioli later said Gabelli faculty would likely try to separate in-person students from virtual students when making groups.

Other events, including business club meetings and personal/professional development events, will adopt a similar hybrid format. Upcoming events include a resume review event titled “Resumania,” as well as opportunities for students to meet with representatives from companies including TikTok, Nike, Google, Nestle and Citi.

The study abroad program may undergo significant changes. De Cola said that, as priority placement is being given to juniors and seniors whose fall study abroad programs were canceled, fewer openings may be available to sophomores this spring.

Regarding classes, Gabelli will employ the same flexible hybrid model of instruction as Fordham’s other colleges, including the option for students to take courses remotely. 

Rapaccioli outlined four specific models of instruction, with different degrees of in-person and virtual instruction based on whether the campus is open, whether the professor is on campus and whether students are on campus.

Associate Law and Ethics Chair Elizabeth Cosenza provided a specific example of what her hybrid course experience will be like: “We’ll spend our live class time doing what I’ve typically done, which is focused on case analyses and problem solving. We’ll do moot court simulations in class in the same way that we’ve done them in the past. What will be different is there will be asynchronous content. 

“We are also going to have Zoom interviews with industry professionals. For me, it will be legal practitioners and maybe a federal judge who is a Fordham grad. And I know that colleagues across areas are bringing in guest speakers. That’s something that probably would not have had the opportunity to do in the absence of this Zoom world, so I think there will be a lot of connection to the industry as a result of the environment we’re living in.”

Rapaccioli mentioned that professors will use tools such as breakout rooms and polling to optimize a virtual class experience.

As of spring 2020, 379 of Gabelli’s 2,785 undergraduate students are from outside the U.S., including 132 of the 489 who study at Lincoln Center. 

Rapaccioli emphasized the school’s flexibility with remote students hailing from different time zones: “We want to help you change your schedule so you can participate at a reasonable hour for you.” This can primarily be done by adding and dropping classes through Sept. 3 or contacting a class dean with specific questions.

“We’ll make it work, and it’s a great opportunity to be people of the year 2020 using technology to its fullest,” de Cola said.

Full recordings of each Zoom call can be found here.

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About the Contributors
ESMÉ BLEECKER-ADAMS, Fun & Games Editor and Assistant Photo Editor

Esmé Bleecker-Adams, FCLC ’21, is a visual arts major and (oh-so-jaded) New Yorker who is incredibly grateful for her time at The Observer and for all the lovely people she has met there! Favorite hobbies include sewing, playing table tennis and ignoring her alarm clock.

GILLIAN RUSSO, Online Editor

Gillian “Gil” Russo, FCLC ’21, is one of The Observer’s virtual vanguards — er, online editors. Previously, she worked as the arts & culture editor and one of the inaugural newsletter editors. Gil is a journalism major/theatre minor who had hoped to write just one Broadway show review before graduation, and although that didn’t happen, she did achieve her new goal to do at least one thing for all 15 divisions of The Observer by then. Other fun facts include that she enjoys dancing and sword-fighting, she can say the alphabet backwards, and she modeled for a French chair catalog one time.

ALLIE STOFER, Former Editor-in-Chief

Allie Stofer (she/her), FCLC ’23, is the former editor-in-chief at The Observer. She is a political science major, with a double minor in history and women, gender and sexuality studies. Previously, she has worked as a news editor. When she is not editing articles, she can be found embroidering and trying new restaurants.


Evan Vollbrecht, Fordham College at Lincoln Center ’22, was an opinions editor alongside Grace Getman from 2019 to 2020, and now works as IT manager. He has written for The Observer since September 2018. An ex-STEM student, he has an eidetic memory, though it only functions on useless information. This is the link he's mad about. This is the other link he's working on.

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