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BRYANT STRONG Thank You November 24, 2020

"Bryant has a strong spirit of camaraderie and commitment... It is evident that the institution's mission permeates every effort made." The New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)

Dear Bryant University Trustees, Students, Faculty, Staff, Parents, Alumni and Friends, Thank you for a season of strength and dedication to our university. Bryant was among the first colleges and universities to announce its commitment to a residential experience for the fall 2020 semester, and in mid-August was one of the first to welcome students back to campus. We took this leadership role because we believe in the transformative learning and personal growth made possible by Bryant’s integrated academic and student life experience. Facing many pandemic challenges, the entire Bryant University community has shared a common goal since the start of the fall semester: keep everyone healthy and finish the semester together. Today that goal has been reached. This is thanks to the leadership of our trustees and the dedication and commitment of Bryant University faculty, students and staff. We are among the first colleges and universities to attain this milestone. In my first semester as the president of Bryant University, I have learned that this is a community bound by strong spirit, deep commitment and caring for each other, and the drive to succeed. Working together, we are positioned for a very bright future. Thank you all for your incredible effort and support. Through hard work, sacrifice and perseverance, we have accomplished much to be proud of. Along with my wife, Jody, and my daughters, Rose and Grace, I wish you a happy Thanksgiving holiday with those you hold dear. Sincerely,

Ross Gittell, Ph.D. Bryant University President

60,000+ surveillance tests Full population testing weekly. 0.12% overall positivity



40% in person

3,400 students

55 in person/online hybrid

120 active clubs + organizations

<5% remote

Div I Athletics



with scientific rigor, make data-driven decisions + share timely communications


"This fall revealed the character and grit of our community of scholars. "I am profoundly impressed and inspired by the way faculty adapted and innovated, going far above and beyond the call in their dedication to academic excellence and their students." Provost and Chief Academic Officer Glenn Sulmasy, JD, LLM


Our vigilance and strong spirit kept our campus open. 2

"Bryant's ability to recognize threats and plan around them was far ahead of any other university. But the plan was only going to work if students followed it, and we did. "The planâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s success is the culmination of student efforts and campus management." Tyler Roche â&#x20AC;&#x2122;23


To Be Bryant is to create a plan and follow through to see it succeed. Be Bryant Strong. Stay healthy.

Bryant University’s plan for the fall semester had

Broad Institute PCR tests are among the

the health and safety of the Bryant community as

most reliable for detecting COVID-19, and now

its highest priority and was based on best practices

considered a benchmark for early detection

and guidance from public health experts at the

and mitigating transmission of COVID-19.

Centers for Disease Control and Rhode Island

Even though it is costly, Bryant’s model of

Department of Health.

frequent full-population testing has emerged as the preferred approach for colleges and

Aggressive on-site testing for the entire popula-


tion, conducted in partnership with the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, was a key component

To keep our community strong in 2021, for the

of Bryant’s layered approach. Surveillance testing

spring semester we will continue the testing

began with a drive-through clinic in mid-August

program that has been successful for us.

and was subsequently moved to the MAC with ongoing support from Bulldog Athletics. Bryant Health Services created a second testing clinic with state-of-the-art rapid detection Cepheid testing on campus for those with symptoms. All faculty, students and staff were provided with quick and convenient weekly testing and had their results within 24 hours. In the event of a positive case, dedicated contact tracers went to work right away so that isolation and quarantine broke the chain of transmission. Where data revealed that segments of our population might be at increased risk, testing was increased to two or even three times weekly.


"I think Bryant's plan worked because of its strong testing capacity. Students have felt safe while being at school, and any cases or contacts were quickly discovered before it could affect the whole community and send us home for the semester." Alyssa Collins ’22


daily uses of the

BRYANT HEALTH CHECKER APP to screen symptoms


To Be Bryant means we kept teaching and learning in an ever-changing world. Inspire academic excellence. Be Bryant Strong.

Personal attention and faculty-student interaction

The pandemic has created the type of

are at the heart of the Bryant experience. With

disruption we teach in the IDEA Program.

the goal of maximizing in-person instruction and

Students learn to be agile, collaborate and use

completing the fall semester before a pandemic re-

principles of design thinking to meet changing

surgence forced transition to remote-only teaching

user needs in the face of disruption. For Janu-

and learning, Bryant began classes in mid-August

aryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s IDEA Program, we will take the tools and

and adopted a compressed academic calendar.

strategies for innovation taught for eight years and apply them to our own program model.

The Academic and Technology Committee had worked throughout the summer to create addition-

When the spring semester begins, we will

al classrooms and prepare for an in-person/online

continue to maximize opportunities for in-person

hybrid experience. Once students arrived, the cam-

instruction and implement enhanced features for

pus leadership team met with formal and informal

the in-person/online hy-flex hybrid.

groups to hear concerns and suggestions. Through several surveys, students provided information to help us learn where our approach can be refined going forward. When we began the semester, we knew it would be hard and was unlikely to be perfect. To ensure a safe campus, the entire community had to make many adaptations in our schedules, academic work and classroom instruction. The schedule was rigorous. Today, however, Bryant is among a very small number of schools nationwide to complete fall classes on campus. We will use the time between our fall and spring semesters to assess and refine our approach.


â&#x20AC;&#x153;When I look back at this historic semester years from now, I think my most vivid memory will be the absolutely unwavering collective commitment of our community toward student success and campus safety!â&#x20AC;? Madan Annavarjula, Ph.D. Dean, College of Business

700 fall classes

25% located in a space large enough to accommodate all students in person

2,500+ calls and tickets supporting students processed through


76 updated spaces for Hy-Flex class instruction


To Be Bryant means we accepted very difficult challenges because we care. Be Bryant Strong. Dedicate yourself to the student experience.

Bryant completed a fall semester on campus

For the Department of Public Safety, main-

through the commitment of our students, support-

taining a safe campus meant extra vigilance

ed by faculty and staff who worked literally around

24/7. At entry control, each individual entering

the clock in dedication to campus life.

campus was required to show the Health Checker app and attest to symptoms. Bryant

The community went to work right away on com-

adopted a new Visitor Policy to prevent ex-

munications regarding best practices for public

posing our campus to any added risks, and the

health, and Bryant Student Government took a

campus was secured at 10pm each night with

leadership role in encouraging masking and social

all those entering late receiving extra testing.

distance. When data showed cases rising in Rhode

The new RAVE Guardian system enabled anon-

Island and confirmed that studentsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; greatest risk

ymous reporting and provided an extra layer of

of COVID-19 was off-campus, we utilized every

safety that allowed us to address concerns very

advantage of Bryantâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s 438 acres and single secured


entry. This included redoubled efforts across all facets of student life for residential students, commuters and international students around the world. Residential Life worked to monitor safe practices in the residence halls and moved quickly whenever an unsanctioned social gathering was reported or a student in isolation or quarantine required support. In addition to planning for virtual Orientation and Family and Friends Weekend, the Center for Student Leadership and Involvement (CSLI) sought student ideas and dramatically increased programming options and took activities outdoors whenever possible.


"Community is a word that is often used casually, however, the word is incredibly meaningful when realized. I am so proud and grateful to be part of a community, the Bryant community of students, faculty, and staff, that worked together in difficult circumstances to realize the continuation of a Bryant education for all of our students." Inge-Lise Ameer, Ed.D. Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students

3,400 UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS ONE Code of Conduct and pledge to keep our community safe

438 pristine acres



To Be Bryant means we made sacrifices to keep the collective community strong. Work together so we have a brighter future. Be Bryant Strong.

Bryant was one of the first colleges and univer-

made us strong and resilient. We know there

sities to affirm its intent to deliver the 2020 fall

are many obstacles on the path to a brighter

term on campus. The transformational Bryant

future in 2021. We will get there together and

experience, which produces student learning

remember this fall as a time that tested our

outcomes and employment success rates among

spirit and made us stronger because we worked

the very best in the country, is based on a 24/7


learning environment. It is on our pristine campus that students thrive the most, hone skills and build credentials that distinguish them long into the future and forge powerful connections that will last a lifetime. With this as our true north, Bryant’s entire community has worked together with the utmost dedication, at every turn taking proactive steps that have allowed us to continue our educational mission while keeping our students, faculty and staff safe. Our expectation was that we would be challenged by a “new normal” and that special accommodations would be essential, but that at Bryant we would handle it with our signature Bulldog spirit and a meticulous attention to health and safety. Bryant’s distinguished history has proven our ability to continuously innovate to meet the challenges of industry and society. That core DNA has


“I’m so proud of the way the entire community tirelessly pulled together to successfully complete our fall semester on campus. It was a colossal team effort. People worked REALLY hard, adapted and collaborated REALLY well, and made personal sacrifices to make this happen. People who didn’t think we could do it don’t know the resiliency, dedication and spirit of people at Bryant.” Tim Paige Vice President for Human Resources

Founded in 1863

157-YEAR HISTORY OF SUCCESS 19 weekly newsletters >220,000 emails

and continuous innovation

85,000+ PAGEVIEWS FOR BRYANT.EDU/REOPENING 12 Zoom Town Halls and Forums


To Be Bryant means we prepared so that we are ready to compete and excel. Be Bryant Strong. Go Bulldogs!

Bryant is a member of the Northeast Conference (NEC), and on July 29 the NEC Council of Presidents voted to postpone all fall sports athletics competitions and championships until the council reconvened in October. On October 2, prioritizing the continued health and safety of student-athletes and staff, along with campus and local communities, the NEC Council of Presidents reaffirmed its decision to postpone fall sports athletics competition and championships as well as all other sports competition to no earlier than November 25. This decision followed an agreed upon reevaluation of the current COVID-19 landscape and updated federal, state, local policies, and allows us to examine the potential for competitive options for fall, winter and spring sports. Through it all, Bryantâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Bulldog student-athletes persevered and looked to the future by continuing strength training, masked small group activities and individual skill instruction. On November 25, the Black and Gold ends 266 days without basketball when they tip-off the 2020-21 season at the Chace Athletic Center. The game is closed to fans but will be streamed, free of charge, on NECFrontRow.com.


"During the fall semester, it was incredible to see our entire campus come together during such challenging times. It was especially wonderful to see our student-athletes, coaches, staff and Black & Gold Club members maintain that resolute Bulldog spirit, meeting all challenges with great resilience. Reflecting back on my meeting with our Captains Council, it was wonderful to hear how grateful our student-athletes were to attend in-person classes while strength training and playing the sport they love, especially since many of their friends at other schools were not able to have anything close to a normal college experience this fall. On behalf of our coaches, student-athletes and staff â&#x20AC;&#x201C; thank you to this great University and Go Bulldogs!" Bill Smith Director of Athletics

4,400 CAPACITY AT BEIRNE STADIUM provided the perfect venue for distanced campus movie nights


"Not everything was perfect. It was hard and there were many challenges to overcome. The thing I am most proud of is how strong everyone remained during these uncertain times. The bulldog spirit never went away, and in my opinion, it grew even stronger."

“I take great pride in the fact that I am a part of one of the very few colleges that made it through the fall semester on campus.” Domenique Altieri ’23

Veronica Geberth ’21

Ian Whitehead ’22 Student Government President

"This has been a challenging year, so I am very proud of the way Bryant faculty and students have risen to the occasion to maintain high academic quality. I am also more aware than ever of the contributions of Bryant staff across IT, facilities, student affairs, academic support, human resources, and every department in “the village” that play key roles in allowing faculty to do the jobs we love." John W. Dietrich Professor of Political Science Chair History/Social Science Department

"I’d like to give thanks to my colleagues in the Honors Council, the faculty who spent countless hours mentoring Honors students, and the Honors staff team who went above and beyond to ensure that students would have an active and meaningful experience during this unprecedented fall semester. The commitment of the staff, faculty, and students to academic excellence will ensure that the Bryant Honors Program can continue to thrive." Edinaldo Tebaldi, Ph.D. Professor of Economics Director, Bryant University Honors Program


“I remember packing my bags very light before I came to campus, thinking there is no way college students can be trusted to maintain COVID guidelines. But I was so wrong. We have all shown how much we want to stay here. We showed what we can do.”

“Honestly, I wasn't really sure what to expect this semester. I kind of thought that we were going to end early based on a lot of other schools that weren't keeping it safe or as safe as they should have been, or students weren't as prepared. But it turns out we're still here. I was definitely surprised and proud that we were able to keep a handle on it, and that we're doing the right things and taking the right steps and ready to keep everyone safe.” Rebecca Kaminskas ’23

“This semester I became more confident in my ability to adapt. All semester my friends and I have been creative in finding ways to have fun. Whether it was finding safe activities on the weekends or gathering under a quarantined friend’s window, we came together. It was like the IDEA program at work… I am proud to go to attend a school where the community cares so much about each other that we were willing to do whatever it took to be here together.” Lauren Roth ’22

"I find it difficult to put into words how much I admire the faculty, staff and students that prioritized community needs above individual desires. That doesn’t mean it was easy. This semester was the most challenging of my career. But along the way, I witnessed many gestures of grace and empathy for individuals in need of support to make it through difficult times. I am grateful to be a part of a caring and considerate #Bryantstrongcommunity.” Kevin Keith Martins, Ed.D. Assistant Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

“The pandemic has created the disruption we teach in the IDEA Program. We prepare students to be agile, to collaborate and to use principles of design thinking to meet changing user needs in the face of disruption. “During these trying times, I’d like to give thanks to my students, who impressed me with their resilience and positivity. They worked hard, thought deeply about course material and the world around them, and always put their videos on! With eye contact and wide smiles, we greeted each other for each class, and I think we all signed off feeling better than when we signed on.”

“Through much of Fall 2020, we were all too busy working and implementing our plans to really fully appreciate the depth and breadth of the challenge. But every now and then, you’d sit back and realize how hard this was, for everyone: faculty, staff, and perhaps especially students. Only through the nimbleness of Bryant, the innovative spirit of the faculty and staff, and the overwhelming dedication and sense of community of our students, were we successful.” Rick Gorvett, FCAS, CERA, MAAA, ARM, FRM, PhD Professor and Chair Department of Mathematics

Wendy Samter, Ph.D.

Allison G. Butler, Ph.D.

Interim Dean, College

Professor of Psychology

of Arts and Sciences

Bryant IDEA Program Directorw

“This semester I found that students, faculty and staff were all able to move beyond their traditional roles and become one united community.” Kathleen Bannon ’21

"The thing about which I am most proud this semester is how the faculty and staff came together to figure out how to make in-person learning possible. Nowhere was this better exemplified than on the RTN Academic and Technology Committee. Folks on this Committee literally sacrificed most of their summers gearing up to implement the hyflex model. No task was too big or too small – they did everything from measuring classrooms, to developing a new schedule, to identifying new spaces to put students, to testing equipment, to plotting traffic flow in buildings, to figuring out a very complex room schedule.

“Not everything was perfect. It was hard and there were many challenges to overcome. The thing I am most proud of is that we did not give up and faced it all together. We showed our strength and determination as a community, and I know this will make us better and stronger in the future.”

“I think Bryant’s plan worked because everyone in the community kept each other accountable.” Hernan Garcia ’21

Diya Das, Ph.D. Associate Dean, College of Business

“I am humbled by the level of hard work and sacrifice I witnessed across the entire Bryant community. From the administration’s vision to let us try and have an in person semester, to the faculty and staff’s tireless efforts to put everything in place to make it work, and of course the students’ adapting to the changes, accepting that not everything was perfect, and doing their part to work through it. I think we learned how to survive this fall. I hope we can focus on how to thrive in the spring.”

“It was a challenge because I love consistency and having a routine. This fall taught me the importance of being flexible and adaptable.” Melissa Rodriguez ’21

“COVID-19 challenged our institutional and personal capabilities beyond comprehension, forever upending life as we knew it. Forced to innovate in times of uncertainty, our success relied on the collective power of the Bryant community… To say that I am proud of what we have done and what our students have accomplished would be a vast understatement.” Kirsten Hokeness, Ph.D. Professor and Chair Department of Science and Technology

Joseph Trunzo, Ph.D. Professor of Psychology Chair, Psychology Department




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Profile for Bryant University

Bryant Strong  

Thank you for a season of strength and dedication to our university. Bryant was among the first colleges and universities to announce its co...

Bryant Strong  

Thank you for a season of strength and dedication to our university. Bryant was among the first colleges and universities to announce its co...