Home News and Features Goddard to Go Virtual … Temporarily?

Goddard to Go Virtual … Temporarily?

View of the Goddard College campus summer 2022. Photo by Carla Occaso.
Goddard College’s executive team has just announced a plan to abandon in-person classes, at least temporarily. In a Jan. 19 email from the office of the president, college leadership announced a plan to completely move classes to an online platform instead of having on-campus residencies. This is due to low overall enrollment in general, and fewer people choosing in-person residency in particular.

“In recent semesters, we have observed a continual enrollment decline, particularly with students not choosing to attend residencies in person. This has created challenges in terms of supporting both in-person and remote students equitably,” the announcement states. Additionally, going remote would allow more students who are farther away to attend Goddard who might not be able to afford to come to Plainfield.

And, of course, the expense of running a campus is hard. “Inflation and increased maintenance costs continue to make it progressively more difficult to maintain a fully operational campus,” according to the email. Therefore, layoffs are currently being discussed and many retained staff members will work from home. 

However, college leadership is also indicating that they intend to keep the campus functioning. This is to allow for the college to gather for future residencies. Also, they may organize in-person residencies at other sites. The executive committee of the board of trustees has taken the administration’s suggestion to support all students virtually starting April 1. This closure will extend over two semesters: Fall 2024 and Spring 2025 with the potential of reopening fully in Fall 2025.

During campus closure, the president’s office email states remaining staff will focus on improving the virtual experience, optimize academic services, reduce costs of campus infrastructure, explore other in-person and certificate offerings, and explore new partnerships with other schools and organizations.

The Bridge emailed President Dan Hocoy, PhD. for further details, such as, “will the cafe still be open?” and, “will the Haybarn entertainment space be available for use?”, but he responded he was too busy finishing a report to The New England Commission of Higher Education to answer the questions, but “we will get to them when we can.”

Meanwhile, as Goddard advances into unknown territory, it still apparently offers graduate and undergraduate degrees in subjects including creative writing, health art and sciences, psychology, sustainability, individualized studies, education and the arts, according to goddard.edu.