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Fall Planning Task Force

Dear PAU Community,

As I write this update on plans for the fall term, it is with a deep respect for all you are doing to keep yourselves and your loved ones healthy and safe at a time of continued challenge and uncertainty.  There is still much we do not and cannot know about the course of this crisis. While data suggest a flattening of the curve of this pandemic, giving rise to some limited easing of governmental orders, we are still required to shelter-in-place, and we continue with on-line classes and working at home. We will continue to follow the best public health guidance as it is released. 

To guide us going into the next academic year, I have convened a Fall Planning Task Force (FPTF) comprised of faculty, staff and students to evaluate our options through the lens of principles and values that:

  • Prioritize the health and safety of our students, our faculty, and our staff, to the greatest extent possible 
  • Prioritize the continuity toward degree and high quality academic education for our students while ensuring maintenance of accreditation requirements  
  • Foster innovation and flexibility in our thinking and planning 
  • Strive for the highest quality in our graduate students’ clinical training, at Gronowski Center and, in community settings 
  • Make the most responsibly efficient and optimal use of budgetary, facilities, and technology resources to support the academic success of our students and faculty  

The work of the Task Force is taking place during May and June, with a plan to be announced before the end of June. We will, of course, continue to monitor public health and governmental guidance over the summer, and make adjustments as required or mandated to protect health and safety. 

The Task Force will be guided by a Steering Committee, which will receive input and recommendations from four Sub-Committees: 

  • Steering Committee
    • Maureen O’Connor, Chair
    • Risa Dickson, Academic Planning Sub-Committee Chair
    • Jim Breckenridge, Clinical Practicum/Internship Planning Sub-Committee Chair
    • June Klein, Facilities & Technology Planning Sub-Committee Chair
    • Thom Shephard, Student Support Sub-Committee Chair
    • Donna Sheperis, Faculty member
    • Scott Hines, Staff member
    • Melanie Morrison, Staff to Committee

The Sub-Committees will be reaching out to members of the PAU community for input and suggestions, so if you receive surveys or questions please respond. If you have ideas you would like to share, please send them to Melanie Morrison ( and she will make sure they get to the appropriate sub-committee(s). The process will also include consultation with others, including PAU’s Board of Trustees and Santa Clara County public health officials. 

Thank you for your input to this process, as well as your patience and understanding as we carefully assess the best way to move into next academic year with care and attention for the health and safety of our community. I am grateful to all of you for your work in helping us plan for next year.

As we come out of this pandemic, we will have much work to do as a community to rebuild a world in which equity and access to effective mental health care are driving forces going forward. 

President O’Connor