While this has been a very challenging year and the future is still unclear, for CDU there have been bright lights, as only those with faith discover that God always brings greater good from suffering.
One obvious effect of the pandemic for CDU has been the recognition of online education as another fully effective form of higher education. While it has not been the standard model in the United States, all institutions have been forced to embrace it, and many more students and parents are discovering the benefits of distance education. While we continue to work hard to improve our marketing and admissions, we are seeing significant growth in new students and enrollments. Our marketing is emphasizing our history as pioneers in this field and our 20 years of experience in online education.
We were approached after Easter by the International Federation of Catholic Universities (IFCU) to partner in offering a four-week course to faculty on how to teach effectively online. We are now in our fourth series of classes, working with faculty from five Catholic universities in Lebanon. What a privilege for us to work with highly credentialed faculty who are hungry to improve their teaching effectiveness with distance education. The international faculty show great enthusiasm for distance education and their hope that it can be incorporated into their universities permanently. We all agree that hybrid instructional models are the ideal solution for the future. Without the pandemic, I doubt we would see such growth in the practice and endorsement of distance education.
Another significant endorsement of CDU’s model came in early June when the Association of Theological Schools fully accredited CDU as the first exclusively online university accredited by ATS. More and more ATS-accredited schools are adding distance education, but CDU has now made history with ATS.
The 2020 Gala has turned out to be a very different kind of annual fundraiser. While we were planning to honor Bishop Barron with the Founders Award, the pandemic forced us to cancel the Gala because of restrictions on large gatherings in Washington, D.C. Bishop Barron has graciously agreed to join us in person on Thursday, November 18, 2021, at the St. John Paul II National Shrine. Professor Helen Alvaré has graciously agreed to postpone her service as emcee and mistress of ceremonies until then as well. In the meantime, we need your support for 2020. The Gala is a major fundraising event for the University. Please consider a sacrificial gift this year.