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Berkeley College One Year After the Pandemic

Berkeley College One Year After the Pandemic


Interview with Will Moya, Vice President, Campus Operations, Berkeley College

CER: What is your state’s COVID-19 mandate?

Will Moya: Berkeley College operates in two states: New York and New Jersey. Like many states, New York and New Jersey took action to address the COVID-19 pandemic, including, but not limited to, use of executive orders and issuing public health guidance and directives.

New York issued a series of executive orders relating to COVID-19. Information and guidance are available on the state’s New York Forward webpage and NYS Department of Health. Institutions of higher education are considered a “Phase Four” industry. Guidelines and supplemental guidance specific to colleges and universities are available on the New York Forward webpage.

New Jersey also issued a series of executive orders relating to COVID-19. Information and guidance are available through the state’s Department of Health and New Jersey COVID-19 Information Hub. The Office of the Secretary of Higher Education issued guidance and restart standards for all New Jersey institutions of higher education.

This extension permits institutions to continue to offer distance education courses in programs. There are exceptions pertaining to hands-on clinical courses offered in the School of Health Studies in nursing and allied health programs.

In June 2020, the Office of the Secretary of Higher Education in New Jersey granted Berkeley College a waiver to conduct required laboratory sessions for winter and spring semester students in the School of Health Studies at the Woodland Park, NJ campus. These on-site sessions began on Monday, June 29, 2020.

Because of this academic continuity, Berkeley College students and faculty from the School of Health Studies are serving as frontline volunteers in the battle to eradicate the pandemic. Each week, teams of students in the Berkeley College Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (B.S.N.) program administer vaccinations under the supervision of nursing faculty from the School of Health Studies at a drive-thru site located at Clifton High School in the City of Clifton, NJ. To read the story, click here: https://berkeleycollege.edu/newsroom/2021/03/school-of-health-studies-volunteer-covid-vaccination-site.html

The main focus, and an essential goal, of the Berkeley College School of Health Studies, is to develop knowledgeable and competent healthcare professionals capable of providing skilled and safe patient care.

CER: What are your school’s plans to transition back to fully open?

Moya: Berkeley College holds as paramount the health and safety of every member of its community. Our campuses will be open for in-person instruction in the fall of 2021 through a HyFlex Model. Through the high-flexibility approach, courses are delivered both in-person and online. This gives students the flexibility to select the modality they are most comfortable with, and to switch between on-site and online throughout the duration of the course. Students, faculty, and staff must follow the health and safety guidelines outlined in the campus Restart Plans. (See detailed plans here: https://berkeleycollege.edu/newsroom/_files/berkeley-college-NJ-restart-plan.pdf and https://berkeleycollege.edu/newsroom/_files/berkeley-college-NYC-restart-plan.pdf)

CER: Will you be requiring your students and staff to get the vaccine?

Moya: Town Halls with students, faculty and staff were held recently to discuss updates pertaining to COVID-19, including reopening protocols, vaccines, and other pandemic-related topics with a top medical doctor who specializes in infectious disease, along with college administrators from Academics, Operations, Student Development and Campus Life, Campus Operations, Buildings and Grounds, and Human Resources.

The vaccination is not a requirement for faculty, staff and students. COVID-19 safety efforts include, but are not limited to, required masks or cloth face coverings; social distancing; increased cleaning and disinfection; reduced capacity in classrooms and common spaces; additional hand sanitizer dispensers and disposable wipes; requiring daily health screening assessments through a COVID check-in app, signage and regular communication updates.

Berkeley College StudentThere are numerous efforts to help reduce the risk of COVID-19 exposure at Berkeley College. The check-in app allows students, faculty, staff and visitors to self-identify and report their health status. Faculty, staff, students and visitors are required to wear masks or cloth face coverings while inside any campus building and on all College shuttles.

Other safety protocols implemented include frequent cleaning and sanitation of facilities of high- traffic areas, the regular replacement of HVAC filters; increasing outside air intake; the installation of air filtration purifiers in ventilation systems; self-cleaning covers/sleeves on door handles; ultraviolet fixtures in many of the bathrooms; and plexiglass barriers in common areas and student-facing offices.

When campuses reopened in September 2020 for the fall semester, faculty, staff and students were asked to take a Pledge of Shared Responsibility, which will continue to be in effect.

CER: If you have staff working remotely, will they continue to work remotely?

Moya: We are evaluating hybrid approaches to on-site staffing in the fall 2021 semester.

CER: What lessons have you learned in the last year?

Moya: There are so many lessons learned over the past year. The primary lesson is about the resiliency of our students and the Berkeley College family – and how faculty and staff personify the core tenet of Berkeley College, “the student always comes first.” We learned about the struggles associated with juggling family responsibilities and home schooling, and online education. We learned to value time and loved ones.

Many of our students were significantly impacted by the pandemic and faced a series of challenges. The demand for student resources at Berkeley College is unprecedented. To meet student needs, Berkeley College implemented a number of initiatives to provide students with academic, personal and professional development resources.

Berkeley College Food Pantry As a result of the pandemic, three in five college students in the United States are facing food insecurity, according to a 2020 study conducted by the Hope Center for College, Community and Justice. Due to this increasing demand, Berkeley College and the Berkeley College Foundation expanded its efforts to address food insecurity among students.

On Feb. 25, 2021, the Berkeley College Foundation, in collaboration with the Food Bank for New York City, opened a food pantry at its Manhattan campus. The Berkeley College Foundation has been operating a food pantry at the Berkeley College Newark, NJ campus since 2019. It is open to all Berkeley College New Jersey students. The Community Food Bank of New Jersey distributes food to the Newark food pantry.

Food provisions are provided to students confidentially through a remote ordering and pickup system.

CER: Are there things you started this past year that you will continue?

Moya: The hybrid approach to teaching and learning and in the delivery of student services and resources has enabled faculty and staff to connect with students in a whole new way.

Throughout the pandemic, the full range of student support services and resources have been available online, including the Library, Academic Advisement, Office of Career Services, Student Development and Campus Life, Personal Counselling, Office of Disability Services, Center for Academic Success and the Office of Military and Veterans Affairs. When campuses are open, students can also utilize these resources on-site during designated times.

Personal counselors conducted 2,572 student counseling sessions for students in New Jersey, New York and Online. Issues ranged from grief counseling and helping students with work-related stress such as coping with isolation, managing family duties, and time management issues.

The Berkeley College Office of Disability Services provided assistance to 833 new and continuing students. Given their circumstances, students were provided with the resources and accommodations to complete the semester. Accommodations such as extensions on assignments and tests, assistive technologies, and counselling services were the difference in helping students complete their academic requirements. The majority of disability accommodations were directly related to COVID-19.

CER: Have you or are you planning to hold in-person graduation?

Moya: The college is hosting a virtual commencement ceremony on May 7, 2021, for August 2020, December 2020 and April 2021 graduates. Berkeley College will be hosting a live Commencement Ceremony outdoors at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ, on Friday, May 27, 2021. The outdoor ceremony is open to graduates who completed their degree requirements in August and December 2019; April, August and December 2020, and April 2021, who would like to be recognized in-person. Due to the evolving nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, dates and times are subject to change. The Berkeley College Commencement web page (https://berkeleycollege.edu/commencement/index.html) provides up-to-date information.

In preparation for both the virtual and outdoor commencement ceremonies, activities are underway, as portraits, video recordings and posts by the students are gathered.

Berkeley College Grad Salutes on campus also provide students with opportunities to prepare for Commencement. There are seven Grad Salute events scheduled for graduates to have their pictures taken, wearing their caps and gowns and any honor cords they have received. At these events, graduates are greeted by Student Development and Campus Life Team Members and receive bags filled with graduation cap decorations and other Berkeley College spirit items. Social distancing guidelines must be adhered to while on campus.

CER: What tools have you used to improve your student outcomes?

Moya: Berkeley College distributed more than 950 laptop computers. In addition, it provided information about access to free wi-fi and software, and 24/7 tech support to help students with their needs in a remote environment and to help improve outcomes.

Career Services resources were also delivered remotely. In 2020, the Berkeley College Office of Career Services offered more than 150 free programs and events online, including hybrid and virtual career fairs, internship workshops and webinars with employers and students, interview and resume preparation sessions, networking events, LinkedIn workshops, seminars on how to work in a remote environment, and virtual internships.

Recognizing the challenges presented by a fully remote college experience, Berkeley College launched a coaching initiative to ensure that new students would obtain the extra support they need. More than 150 Berkeley College associates are assigned students they assist throughout the semester. Coaches are on hand to help students troubleshoot any concerns; connect with support services; navigate their campus; and answer any questions about online/hybrid learning. This is in addition to the required first year experience program.

CER: Have you started a new program during the pandemic?

Moya: One academic program launched in the fall of 2020 is the Bachelor of Science (BS) Degree Program in Business Data Science, with concentrations in Artificial Intelligence (AI) or Business Analytics. The Business Data Science at Berkeley College is one of the few undergraduate programs of its kind in the New York metro region. Students enrolled in the program will learn how to analyze data, data mining and programming skills. We are also excited about the expansion of the National Security program to our New York City campus in the fall of 2020.

In 2020, a robust Continuing Education portfolio was launched to introduce students to emerging career fields, and to provide professional development to those individuals who are unemployed or underemployed.

These certificate programs provide affordable pathways to stackable credentials which can be applied to undergraduate degree programs at Berkeley College in the future.

The concentrated Certificate programs are offered in the areas of Interior Design, Paralegal, Police Studies, Compliance, Emergency Preparedness and Response, Homeland Security, Legal Nurse Consulting, Public-Private Partnerships, and Social Justice and Welfare. The programs, many of which can be completed entirely online, provide hands-on, practitioner-oriented training for individuals in need of career advancement, are experiencing a career transition, or are undecided with respect to committing to a degree program.

Many of the for-credit continuing education programs also stack into Berkeley College’s respective degree programs, if students should later decide to pursue a full degree program. Between 2016 and 2026, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that an average of 6.4 percent of workers will switch occupations.

CER: What has been the biggest challenge for you in the last year?

Moya: Some of the biggest challenges have been encouraging students to take advantage of the resources available to them and staying connected with students who have so many other responsibilities to contend with. Despite the unprecedented challenges, Berkeley College has shown great resilience. From maintaining academic continuity by quickly and seamlessly transitioning to remote instruction in March 2020, to supporting students and each other, and the community-at-large during the COVID-19 crisis.

About Berkeley College

Berkeley College, established in 1931, celebrates its 90th anniversary in 2021. The theme commemorating this milestone is “Empowering Lives for 90 Years!”

Berkeley College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, and offers graduate, undergraduate, certificate and continuing education programs on-site and online.

The transition to remote instruction in March 2020 was enabled by Berkeley College’s emergency planning efforts, technology and online academic infrastructures, and the College’s longstanding reputation in online education for 23 years. For eight consecutive years, U.S. News & World Report has ranked Berkeley College as one of the best colleges in the nation for Online Bachelor’s Degrees and among the best colleges for Online Programs for Veterans. In 2021, U.S. News & World Report also ranked Berkeley College among the Best Colleges for Online Bachelor’s Programs – Business, and one of the Best Regional Colleges in the North.

Berkeley College Statement of Shared Responsibility

Berkeley College holds as paramount the health and safety of every member of its community. Maintaining a safe campus is a shared responsibility. The College is engaged in numerous efforts to help reduce the risk of coronavirus (COVID-19) exposure. Efforts include, but are not limited to, increased cleaning and disinfection; reduced capacity in classrooms and common spaces; additional hand sanitizer dispensers and disposable wipes; and requiring daily health screening assessments. It is important that all students, faculty, and staff do their part by wearing a mask or cloth face covering; frequently washing their hands; and maintaining distance from others. All students, faculty, and staff are expected to comply with the campus restart plan(s), available online at https://berkeleycollege.edu/coronavirus. Failure to adhere to the restart plan may result in disciplinary action. Visitors who fail to comply may be removed from campus.

We are living in uncertain times, and none of us can predict what shape COVID-19 will take. By returning to campus, there is a risk of exposure and possible infection. While Berkeley College cannot guarantee a COVID-free environment, we can, as a community, work together to reduce the risk. Berkeley College is taking all recommended steps to mitigate risk, but it is also very important that every member of the Berkeley College community does their part by adhering to federal, state, and local public health guidelines and abiding by the College’s restart plans.

Berkeley College Pledge

All Berkeley College students, faculty, and staff will be asked to acknowledge a pledge upon
conclusion of the training. The health and safety of our community is a shared responsibility, and we ask all members of the College community to take precautions and be considerate of others during this challenging time. The pledge reflects your commitment to keeping yourself and others safe.

I pledge that I will:

  • Complete the COVID-19 Health Questionnaire daily and answer all questions truthfully and to the best of my knowledge.
  • Follow the mask/face covering, social distancing, and hand hygiene guidelines.
  • Observe instructional signs and follow directions on campus.
  • Keep my work space clean by wiping down desks, keyboards, and any other common items.
  • Monitor my own health.
  • Stay home and contact my healthcare provider if I feel sick and/or exhibit symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Stay home if I have been in close contact with someone who has symptoms of or who has tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Stay home if I have returned from international travel, or domestic travel from a U.S. state or territory listed with a travel advisory.

[  ] I acknowledge that I have completed the Return to Campus training; read and understand the Statement of Shared Responsibility; and will adhere to the Berkeley College Pledge.

Will Moya

WILL MOYA was appointed Vice President, Campus Operations, in January 2017. In this role, he oversees campus operations system-wide to ensure that the policies, procedures and goals of each campus and the College are met. In addition, Mr. Moya oversees undergraduate and graduate admissions.

Mr. Moya began his career at Berkeley College in 2002. He most recently served as Campus Operating Officer and Associate Campus Operating Officer, New York City. Mr. Moya has held many positions at the College in departments including Academic Advisement and Student Records, Academic Affairs, Records Management, Institutional Advancement, Financial Aid, and Campus Operations. Mr. Moya was named Berkeley College Associate of the Year in 2003 and 2004.

Mr. Moya holds an M.B.A. from Nova Southeastern University, as well as a B.B.A. in Information Systems Management and an A.A.S. in Office Systems Management, both from Berkeley College.

Contact Information: Ilene Greenfield // Director of Media Relations // 201-207-6667 // igl@BerkeleyCollege.edu



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