Update: July 31, 2020

Over the past several weeks, information on and Indiana guidelines for COVID-19 have continued to change. As a result, Taylor has modified and updated the reopening plan. Here are a few highlights from this week:

Commencement: After years of classes and months of waiting and uncertainty, the day we have all eagerly anticipated is almost here. While the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to be present, Taylor’s Leadership Team have prayerfully crafted a plan for Commencement that will make it one that is memorable, appropriate, and safe for every member of our Taylor community. Just this week, we received word this plan has the endorsement of health officials from the State of Indiana and Grant County. Commencement will be held Saturday, August 15. Click here for details.

New Students: Due to potential need for travel, Taylor is making an exception to the motor vehicle policy. Freshmen may bring vehicles at the start of the fall semester.

Athletics: The Crossroads League will proceed with fall sports through conference tournament. The Mid-States Football Association has moved conference schedule to Spring 2021. The NAIA postponed Fall 2020 Championships to Spring 2021, including football.

Health Center: Caring for our students’ health is of great importance to us, and in the midst of a pandemic, it requires even more care.

The professional relationship between our healthcare provider, Marion General Hospital and the Upland Health and Diagnostic Clinic, came to an end in recent days. Taylor University is currently exploring options. There will be a permanent or interim solution in place no later than the start of the academic year on August 16, 2020.

We do not anticipate any issues for our students and will continue to keep you advised as we anticipate the start of the fall semester.

For more information, please read the full Taylor Together, Again plan here.

Update: July 17, 2020

Dear Taylor Community,

Life is marked by high-impact moments. We go through some of these individually, such as a serious illness or death of a parent or sibling. Others affect us as a group, as when a church is destroyed by fire. National events can mark a generation—those who remember World War II, when President Reagan was shot, the 9/11 terrorist attacks, or the 2008-2009 recession.

When a distressing, disorienting event happens during your college years, you have an unparalleled opportunity for intense, deep learning. The eruption of a global pandemic is this generation’s high-impact learning moment. It has been characterized from the beginning by uncertainty, slowly emerging facts, lack of reliable data, speculation, polarization, panic, and skepticism. But we have also witnessed responses of sacrifice, bravery, kindness, and generosity.

Taylor Together, Again

How does COVID-19 affect the Taylor community? What is our plan for coming together again after the Spring 2020 upheaval?

Our Taylor Together, Again plan reflects our current best thinking, supported by guidelines, counsel, and review from various experts. Together, we are figuring this out. No one can do this alone. I’m inviting you to join with us, as we continue to learn, adapt, and grow stronger through this. While we must hold plans and decisions loosely, to adapt to changing circumstances and needs, we must also cling tightly to our shared values. At Taylor, we have chosen to live intentionally, together, within the framework of our Life Together Covenant. Because we love God, we love the people He made, and we want to care for them well.

COVID-19 has affected each of us differently. Some of you don’t know anyone who has died, or even been infected. I know entire families who have fallen ill, and others who have lost a loved one to the coronavirus. Some students are experiencing the grief of deaths in their church family. Alumni and faculty remember colleagues like Dr. Herb Nygren who were struck down. Our experiences of COVID-19 shape our perceptions about risk.

Indiana has fared better than other states. And the counties surrounding Taylor have scarcely been affected. This, too, shapes our perceptions of what is needed. Students will be returning to Upland from all across the country. We want to do what we can to ensure that an “uninvited guest” doesn’t tag along with you. So, we are asking all of you to join with us in doing our best to help Taylor stay a safe campus.

As you know, students are at a low risk of getting sick, or showing symptoms. But the recent uptick in positive COVID-19 cases includes students and young adults.  Many of our faculty and staff are in higher risk groups. When we ask you to wear a mask or take other precautions, our concern is not only for you, but also for them. Some measures may seem extreme now. It is my fervent hope that the need for these will soon end.

To our students: throughout this crisis, we have tried to give you choices. We have shared with you our preliminary Taylor Together, Again plans and asked you to acknowledge your awareness of the risks and expectations. You are adults, and it is our desire that you grow in responsibility and self-government, that you will mature in your decisions and behavior, that you would regard others more highly than yourself. This would include actions such as using the provided cleaning supplies to spot clean an area you are using, rather than expecting our housekeeping staff to disinfect every surface after each human touch. “Brothers and sisters, we urge you to warn those who are lazy. …. Take tender care of those who are weak. Be patient with everyone” (I Thess. 5:14).

This document represents our current effort to ensure that on-campus learning can continue, in as many “Taylor” ways as possible. We will learn in familiar ways and new ways. We can choose to grow stronger, to be better, and to creatively and courageously adapt to the disruptions forced upon us by COVID-19. You can help us improve the plan, make adjustments, and celebrate when it’s time to put it on the shelf.

Taylor Together, Again is a dynamic document, and is updated as needed. Weekly updates will be sent by email. You can also subscribe to immediate update notifications by subscribing using the form at the bottom of the page.

In the meantime, those of us in Upland eagerly anticipate when we all will be at Taylor Together, Again.

Faithfully in Christ,

Paige Comstock Cunningham, PhD, JD

Interim President

Update: July 10, 2020

Earlier this week you may have seen the new directives issued for international students. In March, due to COVID-19, Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) relaxed some of the visa requirements for international students in response to the pandemic. ICE issued a policy allowing foreign students to attend all of their classes online while remaining in the US. The new directives suggest that international students would be required to return to their home countries if their college or university plans to offer exclusively online learning. This has already been challenged in court, and there is some confusion as to the application of this guideline if colleges move to virtual or hybrid course delivery in the middle of the semester, as Taylor did this spring. 

To our international students, I want you to know that Taylor understands the anxiety and stress that this policy brings to you. International students have faced additional challenges due to COVID-19, and we will assist you in every possible way. You are vital and treasured members of the Taylor community and we celebrate the rich tradition of international students as a part of the Taylor family. We recognize these directives bring additional confusion and stress that are not conducive to your preparations for the fall semester. Our Office of Intercultural Programs is reaching out to international students to assist. If you have questions about the guidelines, this FAQ link from ICE may be helpful.

Taylor is working with our legal counsel to interpret this directive with clarity as we plan for the semester ahead. Our plan to have classes on campus would satisfy the requirement for international students to reside in the United States during the academic term. International students would also be allowed to remain in the U.S. if Taylor adopts a hybrid learning approach. Taylor will report our academic plans to the Student Exchange and Visitor Program so that it is clear that our classes are meeting on campus.

Taylor University is a globally-minded community and I am grateful for the welcoming spirit we show to our international students and friends around the world. We place a high priority on the health and safety of our campus, and as you know, we are planning various measures to abide by the directives for social distancing in the State of Indiana and Grant County. We will continue to monitor these situations and respond in ways that care for the community and also allow us to move ahead with our educational and spiritual mission in the best possible ways. We pray for all members of our community as we move closer to our campus re-opening in August. Be safe and be well. 


Sincerely, 

Michael D. Hammond, Ph.D.

Provost and Executive Vice President

Update: July 1, 2020

We have been busy over the last several months working on a re-opening plan to respond to COVID-19.  Information about the virus and safety guidance changes frequently and we will continue to respond with necessary changes to our re-opening plans.

As we are looking forward to seeing you, students, back on campus engaging with your fellow students, faculty and staff, we also acknowledge that a pandemic requires us all to be more thoughtful and intentional about how we interact in order to respect and care for one another well. The Taylor community is a unique and dynamic living and learning environment, and the reality of a pandemic reminds us that this type of education comes with opportunities and risks. While these challenges are inherent to a collegiate environment, Taylor is uniquely positioned as we live out the Life Together Covenant and remain “dependent on and accountable to one another.”

With this in mind, we want to make you aware of a number of things.

First, there is no way to remove all risk from the college experience, especially in a residential setting.  This is even more true during a pandemic. We simply cannot ensure that the campus will stay free of COVID-19. However, we can work together to mitigate risk, and you will play a critical role in that effort.

Second, the current evidence seems to indicate that COVID-19 is more dangerous, in terms of death and long-term illness, to older individuals and those with underlying health conditions. Accordingly, the steps we will be asking you to take are as much for other members of the campus community as they are for yourself. By wearing masks as expectedself-assessing your daily health (including taking your temperature), and complying with reporting requirements, you demonstrate your care for your peers, professors and mentors. Obtaining a flu vaccine this fall, which could help avoid symptoms similar to COVID-19, is urged. We will also ask you to avoid travel to various areas away from campus in order to avoid transfer of the disease, and to restrict visitors you might otherwise invite to campus, unless University approval is obtained. 

We continue to work closely with local and State health officials to adapt to rapidly changing safety guidance, and will be sharing a comprehensive plan with you later in the summer.  The full re-opening plan must remain flexible as new information is available, findings from studies are released, and the incidence of COVID-19 infections changes.

For now, we are asking all students to do two things to help us in these efforts:

  1. Please review the Taylor Together, Again plan. Students, we invite your feedback. Please remember that a more comprehensive plan will be released later this summer.  We want to know which aspects of the plan you are grateful to see and which give you concern.  
  2. We also ask all students to acknowledge they have read this letter carefully and are aware of the risks and expectations. You should have received in your email a link to a form to acknowledge you have read and understand. Please take the time to submit your response.

Thank you for your commitment to the health and safety of the Taylor community.

Sincerely,

Dr. Skip Trudeau
Vice President for Student Development

Update: June 10, 2020

Taylor University today announced dates for the upcoming 2020 Fall Semester. The new schedule, adjusted from past years due to the pandemic, includes earlier starting and finishing dates, a one-day fall break, and online final exams.

“As we all have observed over the past few months, COVID-19 has disrupted many of our normal routines as we seek to mitigate the spread of the disease,” said Dr. Michael Hammond, Taylor’s Provost and Executive Vice President. “In seeking to keep Taylor University employees and students safe, we have sought to make changes that would have the best opportunity for protecting our community’s health and safety while maintaining the heart of our spiritual and educational mission.”

On-campus classes are scheduled to begin August 19, four days after the August 15 commencement ceremonies for the outgoing class of 2020, and end at the traditional Thanksgiving break. Dates for Taylor’s annual Homecoming and Family Weekend, January interterm, and the launch of spring semester are yet to be determined, but we plan to have an update on August 1. We will also provide additional details on safety guidelines as guidance comes from the State of Indiana.

Key Dates for the Fall Semester:

  • Commencement (rescheduled from May), August 15
  • Students return to campus/campus move-in, August 16-18
  • Classes begin at 5:00 pm, August 19
  • Classes will be held on Labor Day, September 7
  • Fall break, October 5
  • Thanksgiving break begins after last class, November 24
  • Final exams (virtual), November 30-December 3

Update: May 26, 2020

Taylor University continues to develop plans for reopening our campus and services in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we seek God’s direction in navigating this challenging time.

Virtual Commencement Celebrations

It was deeply painful for us all that we weren’t able to honor our 2020 graduates at Commencement this past Saturday. However, our creative faculty and staff made a series of videos (featuring some very special guests) to celebrate our graduates at a virtual Commencement – check out the playlist here!

Graduates, remember to mark August 15 on your calendar for the rescheduled Commencement ceremony that will be held on Taylor’s campus! We are so proud of all you have accomplished, and can’t wait to see what God will do in your lives!

Employees Returning to Campus

We are initiating a phased approach for employees to return to work on campus beginning Monday, June 1, 2020. There will be specific expectations of employees when on campus in order to properly adhere to CDC guidelines of social distancing, the State of Indiana protocols, and University needs.

From June 1 – July 3, some employees will be again working on campus. However, they will be encouraged to maintain social distancing in their work areas, meet over Zoom or other forms of distance communication rather than meet in person, and use masks or face coverings in common areas and in other interior spaces where the six feet of social distancing cannot be maintained.

We are planning for the majority of employees to return to their normal work locations by Monday, July 6.

Summer Campus Visits

We’re very excited to welcome visitors to our beautiful campus starting July 6! All campus buildings will be open for visitors, and we will be taking abundant safety and social distancing precautions to make this a positive, safe experience for students and their families.

Thank you for your continued prayers and support of Taylor University!

Update: May 18, 2020

To Our Beloved Taylor Students and Families, Employees, Alumni and Friends,

We have reached the end of the semester. I write to share this video message, as well as a series of written updates below.

The most compelling stories in the Bible are full of unexpected twists and turns. Adam and Eve are banished from Paradise. Noah builds a boat on dry land. Abraham is asked to sacrifice his long-awaited son. David conquers a giant with stones. A prodigal is welcomed home with a feast. King Jesus performs miracles and turns everything upside down.  

At Taylor, no matter how the story turns next, we hope you sense our resolve to develop more and more servant leaders to minister Christ’s redemptive love and truth. These past eight weeks, amidst life-altering circumstances and unfathomable hardship, God surprised this 174-year-old institution again. He reminded us of His faithfulness as He called us deeper together in our commitment to fulfill our educational and spiritual mission as a community that is not defined by geography. 

Now, we have reached the end of a most unexpected semester. It’s Finals Week, and we did it. We completed the semester as a dispersed community, thanks to our remarkably creative faculty and supportive staff, wholeheartedly committed to 1,829 students filled with promise. To God be the glory!

Fall Semester to Start in August

All of us can’t wait to welcome you again in person to our beautiful campus, with fall classes beginning Monday, August 31, as scheduled.

Our new and returning students will receive housing information in the next few days. Returning students have already registered for fall classes, and we are thrilled to welcome 458 new freshmen and transfer students. These numbers likely will shift some in the coming weeks.

Let me assure you that we are dedicated to ensuring compliance with all Indiana government and public health guidelines. While eager to have students return, we will act responsibly to care for the health and safety of our students, employees, and visitors. Our campus is reopening this summer as employees begin to return on a phased-in schedule, and some students return for summer research projects with faculty and to prepare for fall athletics.

We’re also preparing for the unexpected, not knowing what new health challenges and travel restrictions might emerge. Our staff and faculty will be ready to adjust quickly if we have to transition again to virtual learning. The lived-experience at Taylor is distinctive, and we have expectant hope for the academic year ahead.

If anyone would like to know more details about our reopening plans, please continue to monitor www.taylor.edu/coronavirus for regular updates.

Commencement on August 15

Mark your calendars, graduating seniors and families. Commencement will be held on Saturday, August 15. That will make for a glorious weekend, including some special events for graduating seniors, who will continue a distinctive Taylor tradition as they receive not only their diplomas, but also Bibles and Taylor servant’s towels.

Our staff is making provisions so we practice social distancing guidelines, while enabling the entire Taylor community to participate remotely, especially for graduating seniors who will not be able to participate in person. Graduating seniors and their families should look for an email with more details in the days to come.

Praise and Thanksgiving

In closing, we continue to praise God for his faithful provision these past two months! Please join us in thanksgiving to our heavenly Father.

Faithfully and together,

Paige Comstock Cunningham, PhD, JD
Interim President

Update: April 22, 2020

To Our Beloved Taylor Community: Students and Families, Employees, Alumni and Friends,

Chapel speaker J.R. Briggs (’01) asked us last Friday to ponder three questions: “What has COVID-19 taken away from you? What has it not taken away? And what blessings has it given to you?”

Oh, how I love when Taylor leaders challenge us with probing questions that draw us closer to our Lord.

For me, COVID-19 has taken away proximity, where we can be close to one another in the joys and despairs. It has not taken away the reality of a community “not defined by geography.” And it has given me the blessing of stepping back, and reconsidering the essentials of what Taylor is.

As God calls us deeper in this season of change, we rest in His faithfulness. May this video inspire you, and unite us, as we look to Him to “accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.” 


Important Taylor Updates

VIRTUAL LEARNING
This is week four since our semester resumed virtually on March 30. What a time of intense and competing emotions this has been as our students, faculty and staff adapt, just like you have had to do. A recent survey of our students shows that 68% gave a “thumbs up” to their virtual classes. We celebrate the amazing work done by our faculty, students and families to adjust to this format. In the same survey, 44% of the students said they were “doing okay” and 43% said they were “doing mostly well.” All deeply miss deeply the on-campus community that sets Taylor apart. Please pray for our students.

FINANCIAL REALITIES
The pandemic has adversely impacted Taylor financially, as it has colleges everywhere. We have taken a $3.5M hit to our fiscal year due to the adjustment to room and board charges. It was the right thing to do. As we endure this difficult financial season and address more uncertainties to come, we are reminded that Taylor has weathered financial storms throughout our history, and that God has faithfully brought us through safely. We are planning expectantly as we innovate and steward resources wisely, while staying focused on developing more servant leaders. Nevertheless, we are taking difficult steps this week to furlough some employees and reduce expenses further, not knowing yet how today’s economic realities will impact future student enrollment. This is not an easy week for our employees. Please pray for them.

ALL-TAYLOR TOWN HALL ON APRIL 29
Many have reached out to ask how Taylor is doing. I invite you to join me for an online Town Hall meeting on Wednesday, April 29, 2020 at 7:30 p.m. (ET) when I will give a more detailed Taylor update. We will stream the event on Taylor’s Facebook and Instagram sites. Please mark your calendars – we’d love to have you join us.

Above all, I am keenly aware of and deeply grateful for your prayers for us. We are praying for you, too. May our faithful God guide us all as we stay or get well, finding creative new ways to minister Christ’s redemptive love and truth to our world in need.

Faithfully and together,

Paige Comstock Cunningham, PhD, JD
Interim President

Update: April 3, 2020

To All Our Students and Their Parents: As your first week of virtual learning at Taylor is wrapping up, I hope you are finding helpful ways to adjust. I’m back in Upland, and the campus feels empty — I miss you, students! We are all working at distances from one another. We know you parents are also adjusting to new realities. 

I’m writing to let you know about an important decision regarding adjustments to student accounts. This morning, the Board of Trustees took action to reduce housing and meal charges by 8/15 (for the 8 weeks after Spring Break) for all students who moved out of University housing. 

Universities have handled financial adjustments in a variety of ways. We believe this is the right thing to do for you, students and parents. For Taylor students, each account had to be individually adjusted, and we wanted to make sure to do this well. 

Each student’s account will vary, but some will reflect a credit balance. We want you to choose how you would like us to process that credit. Here are your options:

A: Leave it on my account for next semester. (We’re glad you’re coming back!)

B: Please send me the balance. (We’re happy to process that quickly!)

C: I’d like to donate the balance to Taylor. (Thank you!)

Why option C? The Lord may be putting this option in the hearts of our families who can help students now. Some of you have expressed a desire to do just that. But we know that many of you are not in a position to make gifts, and we truly understand. 

Need more answers? Here are some helpful links:

  • Visit this website for FAQs about how these changes may affect your account.
  • Check student emails for the link to indicate preferred option regarding a credit balance.
  • Contact bursar@taylor.edu to ask questions specifically related to your account.

Please know we take seriously the stewardship of not only your education, but also your resources. Thank you for your patience, understanding and, most importantly, prayer.

Faithfully and together,

Paige Comstock Cunningham, PhD, JD

Interim President

“And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 4:19 NIV)

Reduction in Spring Semester Charges

Since you are unable to be on campus, the Taylor board and leadership team agree it is appropriate to reduce the amount of housing and meal charges, by 8/15 of the original housing and/or meal plan charges for all students who moved out of university housing. If you did not have one of these charges, your account will remain unaffected.

We know there may be questions about how the amount of the reduction was calculated.  We want to be very transparent about this calculation, so please note the following methodology.

  • On Friday, March 13, we announced that Spring Break would start on March 18, virtual classes would begin on March 30, with classes to resume on campus on April 14.
  • Just one week later, due to developments regarding COVID-19, we regretfully announced that we would not be able to resume classes on campus this semester.
  • On Friday, March 20, we also communicated to students the need to leave campus.
  • The campus officially moved to virtual-only learning on March 30.
  • There are 15 weeks in the semester (not counting Spring Break week), and 8 of those weeks (including finals week) occur after Spring Break week.

Therefore, we have calculated the reduction amount as 8/15 of the original housing and/or meal plan charge for the semester.

  • For students who have not yet paid their Spring 2020 account in full, the reduction of charges will not result in a credit balance, but instead will result in a lower balance due to Taylor. 
  • If you had a scheduled payment plan, that plan will be automatically reduced to the amount needed to cover this lower balance. 
  • In certain circumstances, a student may have received a combination of federal, state, private, and Taylor grant aid that now exceeds the charges for tuition, fees, and reduced housing and meal plans. In those cases, the amount of Taylor grant aid will be reduced accordingly. 
  • Finally, in certain circumstances, a student may have received federal Title IV aid that now exceeds the federally-determined qualifying charges. In those cases, the excess federal Title IV funds will be returned to you, with no other action required of you, per government policy.

Process for a Credit Balance

The effect of the reduction in charges is not the same for every student. For some students, this adjustment will create a credit balance. In that case, students may select from the following options:

A. I would like to leave the credit balance on my account and have that balance applied to charges for the next semester. (Note: This option will not affect eligibility for future financial aid.)

B. I would like a payment to me for the amount of the credit balance on my account.

C. I would like to have the credit balance moved from my account and treated as a gift to the University. (Note: All contributions would be tax-deductible).

Options for Finding Answers

We hope that this explanation provides clarity, but we recognize that questions may still exist.

  • Check the FAQs about how these changes may affect your account.
  • Check student emails for the link to indicate preferred option regarding a credit balance.
  • Contact bursar@taylor.edu to ask questions specifically related to your account.

Update: April 2, 2020

I trust you are all doing well and staying home and healthy. I just want to take a few moments to let you know of a change to the academic calendar, some reminders, and an opportunity to share your stories of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Campus calendar change

We will continue to honor Good Friday on April 10 as a holiday. This means there will not be class assignments or instruction on that day. However, since we are not requiring a travel day to return from Easter Sunday, we will have classes and instruction on Monday, April 13. Faculty and students, please be aware of this schedule change.

Academic Help

Students, we know this is a challenge and your professors want to hear how you are doing in their classes. Have grace and patience with one another. Students, if you have any concerns about your assignments or grades, please contact Scott Gaier at scgaier@taylor.edu or Darci Nurkkala at drnurkkala@taylor.edu in the Academic Enrichment Center. Their responsibility is to be an advocate for you to your faculty and also provide any support that you need. Additionally, if you’re struggling to get things done or want any type of extra help they are willing to connect with you through email, phone, or virtual meetings.

We want to hear your stories!

In the future, researchers will study the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. They will study the responses of colleges and universities, and of people. Charts and graphs will be easy to find, but what about the stories of those of us that actually experienced this unprecedented situation? What if there were an archive of what the Taylor community was like during the 2020 pandemic? We’d like to announce the launch of the Taylor University COVID-19 Community Archive Initiative, organized by the Ringenberg Archives & Special Collections. The goal of this project is to create a community archive that will collect, preserve, and make accessible the story of Taylor University, and the individual experiences of the Taylor community, during this unprecedented time.

We invite all current undergraduate students, graduate students, faculty, staff, and administrators to contribute to this collection. More information about what type of content can be submitted, writing prompts, and additional information is available at https://library.taylor.edu/archives/pandemic-community-archive. To submit a contribution, simply complete the Content Submission Form and email your work to pillars@taylor.edu

Direct link to Content Submission Form:https://taylor.libwizard.com/f/submission-permission-form-pandemic

Direct link to the Collection (currently empty but hopefully not for long) is: https://pillars.taylor.edu/pandemic-2020/

We look forward to receiving your submissions. Thank you for helping us capture the spirit of Taylor community during this significant moment in history. If you have any questions, please email pillars@taylor.edu.

Thanks, and God bless,

Michael Hammond