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Welcome back, Robertson School students!

Aug 8, 2020

Posted in: News

By Marcus Messner, Ph.D., Director

Robertson School Director Dr. Marcus Messner

Dear Robertson School students, 

We look forward to welcoming you back for the 2020 Fall Semester on August 17. While we are reopening the campus at VCU, there will be quite a few changes on how we operate due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. And I am sure you have quite a few questions. I would like to invite you to a virtual Q&A session with our School's leadership and advising team this coming Wednesday (Aug. 12) from 11 am to 12 pm. The meeting is dedicated to answer any questions you might have. A link to the meeting has been emailed to you. 

Here is important additional information on our reopening in Fall 2020

Please carefully review the VCU guidelines for students about the return to campus.

Please also check out this student resource guide by the College of Humanities and Sciences. 

Robertson School classes: We will offer a mix of in-person, hybrid, blended and online classes (here's more information that explains these course modalities). I have asked all of our professors to contact their students by the end of Monday (Aug. 10) to send their syllabi to you and explain how their specific class will operate. This is especially important for in-person, hybrid and blended classes, which all have classroom components. Online classes will either be held synchronously (at a specific meeting time) or asynchronously (without a specific meeting time). Please pay close attention to the instructions from your professors. You need to review them before heading to class on Aug. 17 and during the semester. 

Classrooms: All of our Robertson School classrooms in Temple will operate with reduced capacities. In most of our classrooms, only part of your class will be able to attend in person at any given time due to the six-foot social distancing rule at VCU. The remainder of the class will attend via livestream. Your professors will be in touch to explain how this will work in their classes and how students rotate to come to class in person. When you are in the classrooms, please only sit at designated computers and desks (you will see signs where you should not sit) to maintain a safe six-foot distance from your classmates. Please do not move any of the furniture as we have measured the safe distances between all tables and work stations. 

Office hours: Professors will communicate to you how they will offer office hours this fall semester. Due to small office spaces and the inability to keep a six-foot distance, many professors will hold virtual office hours this fall. Every professor has been asked to offer three hours each week during which you can speak to them outside of class (virtually or in person). 

Wearing a mask: While you are in the Temple Building (hallways, classrooms, offices, etc.), please always wear a mask. This will keep all of us safe. Our professors have been instructed to ask you to leave a classroom, if you do not wear a mask. Let's please avoid such situations and keep everyone's safety as the highest priority.

Lab hours: We will be offering open hours in our Mac Labs and in our broadcast editing lab. We intend to offer them during the day and in the evenings. However, students will not receive card access to the labs this semester. Instead we plan to have student workers in the labs who will give access and monitor room capacities. We will communicate more details about this at the beginning of the semester. 

Adobe licenses: We will offer free Adobe licenses to students for their personal computers in classes that teach Adobe on a daily or almost daily basis in Fall 2020. This includes MASC 300, 301, 334, 335, 367, 394, and 415. Students in these classes will receive an email in the coming days with download instructions. Students in classes that do not teach Adobe on a daily or almost daily basis and use it only for project work can use our computer labs on a regular basis to work on their projects during the semester (see above). All students can also purchase their own Adobe license through VCU for their personal computers (see affordable options here). 

Equipment checkout: Our equipment room will be open in the fall semester, but will be operating under new safety protocols. We will be communicating to you at the beginning of the semester about when and how you will be able to check out equipment. 

Advising: Our advising team will continue to provide virtual advising this fall semester. An additional email about the procedures will be sent to you by Natasha Long, Coordinator of Student Services, on Monday. To keep our staff safe, we will not open the Student Services Center for walk-ins in the fall semester.

Front office: Our front office will be available during normal business hours via phone at 804-828-2660 and via email at robertsonsmc@vcu.edu. You can expect prompt responses. To keep our staff safe, we will not open the front office for walk-ins in the fall semester. 

Administrative Team: The following is the administrative team of the Robertson School for the 2020-2021 academic year.

Director: Dr. Marcus Messner

Associate Director: Prof. Marcel Jennings

Director of Graduate Studies: Dr. Karen McIntyre

Director of Undergraduate Studies: Prof. Peyton Rowe

Director of Communication: Prof. Josh Smith

Director of Accreditation and Assessment and Advertising Sequence Coordinator: Prof. Scott Sherman

Journalism Sequence Coordinator: Dr. Mallory Perryman

Public Relations Sequence Coordinator: Prof. Judi Crenshaw 

Coordinator for Research and Global Initiatives: Dr. Mariam Alkazemi

Coordinator for Special Projects: Prof. Bridget Camden

Contacts: Our entire team is available to you to make sure that you have everything you need to succeed in your studies and to keep you safe as you return to campus. Please keep this contact list for reference during the semester. 

If you have any questions, please join us on for our Q&A session on Aug. 12. If you cannot attend, please just email us your questions at robertsonsmc@vcu.edu and we will get back to you quickly.  

Have a safe, productive and successful fall semester!

Marcus Messner, Ph.D., Director and Professor