Academic Continuity

The health and safety of our students, faculty and staff is paramount. We also expect excellence in research, teaching and learning. Throughout the spring, a group has been working largely out of sight to support and advance Emory’s mission during the pandemic.

Contingency Planning 

Since early January, the Office of the Provost, working with colleagues throughout the university, has focused on monitoring the spread of COVID-19, assessing its potential impacts on our community, and planning for the support our students, faculty and staff.

In March, the Office of the Provost dramatically increased its response and planning by forming the Academic Affairs Response, Readiness and Contingency Planning Group. The Planning Group was charged with working with the emergency response team in order to maintain academic continuity and the academic experience for the duration of the impact of the pandemic.

The group comprises many sub-teams, focused on different areas. The Coordinating Team oversees the work of the group at a high-level, coordinates with other parts of the university, and works with support units. As part of this team, colleagues from across the university have been meeting with leaders from each and every school and college to rapidly identify possible solutions that will allow us to deliver on our academic mission, maintain standards, support path-breaking research and advance the priorities of the university. 

Functional and project teams provide progress in key areas: Faculty, Research, Campus Life, Undergraduate Students, Graduate Students, Student Health, Digital/Online Teaching and Community. 

The Coordinating Team is  made up of representatives from across the university.   

  • Christa Acampora, Deputy Provost for Academic Affairs
  • Enku Gelaye, Vice President and Dean for Campus Life
  • Michael Andrechak, Deputy Provost, Administration and Planning
  • David Clark, Associate Vice President, University Services/Chief Business Officer
  • Philip Wainwright, Vice Provost for Global Strategy and Initiatives
  • Sharon Rabinovitz, Executive Director, Student Health Services
  • Nancy Seideman, Vice President, Academic Communications and Reputation Leadership
  • Allison Chamberlain, Assistant Professor, Epidemiology
  • Nancy Bliwise, Vice Provost for Academic Planning
  • Ken Anderson, Dean of Academic Affairs/Chief Academic Officer, Oxford College
  • Lisa Tedesco, Dean of Laney Graduate School
  • Laura Diamond, Assistant Vice President Reputation Management
  • Amy Adelman, Deputy General Counsel
  • Joseph Moon, Dean of Campus Life, Oxford College
  • Paul Welty, Associate Vice Provost for Academic Innovation and Faculty Affairs
  • Caroline Driebe, Senior Director, Communications and Outreach, Office of the Provost
  • Tomika DePriest, Senior Director, Communications, Campus Life


In about a month and a half, this group has achieved many results on the behalf of our students, faculty, and staff. Here are some of the many decisions and the extraordinary strides taken in that short time.

  • Implementing remote learning for 4,239 classes taught by 1,662 professors;

  • Supporting thousands of employees in transitioning to remote working;

  • Developing a pandemic mitigation plan that resulted in ramping down and redirecting all but critical activities in our nearly $690 million research operation;

  • Recalling more than 150 undergraduate students from study abroad;

  • Helping 4,100 students move out of the residence halls;

  • Accommodating and relocating more than 300 students, including 49 from our Oxford campus, who were unable to return home before the end of the semester to the Clairmont campus;

  • Issuing student credits for housing, dining and fees totaling nearly $14 million;

  • Providing students with lump sum payments of nearly $400,000 for federal work study, and paying non-federal work-study student employees $1,075,197 for anticipated on-campus work contributions;

  • Providing $1.55 million in cash stipends to undergraduate students with the greatest financial need;

  • Disbursing $2.2 million to graduate and undergraduate students through the EmoryTogether fund, processing more than 6,000 requests for aid; and we expect to process another 1,000 applications for assistance;

  • Creating a virtual community hub to pull together ways that students can connect online with old friends, make new friends and take care of themselves and others;

  • Treating more than 700 student patients in student health services, and preparing a secondary facility in the event of a surge in illness;

  • Adapting grading policies for students, and extending the tenure clocks for faculty;

  • Combatting health stigmatization and racism by reaffirming and communicating our core values;

  • Aligning academic affairs, health sciences and business administration to effectively manage our resources with the greatest of care so that we can be in the strongest possible position for the fall.

Fall Semester 2020 and beyond

A question on the minds of all of us at Emory is what will happen in the fall?  We don’t have a decision yet, but we are working on a plan for the coming academic year.

As we do this work, we’re inspired by the creativity, commitment and resolve of our community. We will get through this together, and all along the way, we are confident that — because of the efforts of so many — we are building an Emory that is even more capable and adaptive to change. That resilience will serve us well in both the short- and the long-term.