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6 Department Chairs Share the Silver Linings of Online Learning
April 2, 2020 by Lainey Sidell
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...Even though they’re just virtual meetings, we sense they’re all just happy to be together.
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Bob Giraldi
Chair, MPS Directing

In the span of just a few weeks, the microscopic menace known as COVID-19 upended our collective sense of normalcy, requiring all of us to make dramatic changes to the way we live, work and learn. Unbowed, SVA's instructors have risen to the challenge—and, in the process, they’ve experienced pleasant surprises related to the new normal of online learning. Below, six chairs across our BFA and MFA programs share the unexpected silver linings that they and their faculty members might not have encountered otherwise.

“Our newly-instituted Friday evening faculty meetings have created a wonderful sense of community for instructors. I think our students sense our concern for their well-being. They’ve been engaged in classes and really focused on their work.”

Gail Anderson, BFA Design and BFA Advertising

“The students are already inventing positive rituals and behaviors online. For instance, after a student does a screen share and presents her work, the students ‘applaud’ once she’s un-shared, so that she can see a grid of clapping colleagues when she’s done!”

Allan Chochinov, MFA Products of Design

“My students are grieving but absolutely stepping up in remarkable ways. I had 100 percent attendance in both my grad and undergrad classes this week.”

Debbie Millman, MPS Branding

“My students are showing up as well. And I think they’re excited about creating virtual exhibitions. No question that the psychic toll is there for all of us, but with the students and faculty pulling together, this experiment is working.”

Steven Henry Madoff, MA Curatorial Practice

“My White Cubes course, which used to entail visits to galleries, will now focus on online exhibitions.”

Mark Tribe, MFA Fine Arts

“It’s obvious our students are questioning where they’re at as filmmakers, where they’re at as students and where they’re at in the world. Yet, even though they’re just virtual meetings, we sense they’re all just happy to be together.”

Bob Giraldi, MPS Directing