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Welcome Back Message from IVPAA and Dean of Students

September 10, 2020

Dear PAU Community,

Welcome to fall term! As we begin the new year, we do so with the acknowledgement that the ongoing pandemic, issues around systemic racism, the California wildfires and poor air quality in the Bay Area are presenting unique challenges to our community.  We hope you and your loved ones are healthy, safe and out of harm’s way.

As we move through this academic year, the top priority at PAU is to ensure the safety of our community, while providing the highest quality education for our students. Current county guidelines for the COVID-19 pandemic require that classes and all non-essential business operations be conducted remotely. At PAU, we are fortunate to have already had a few high quality programs online, and this in-house expertise helped to facilitate the transition for all classes to move online last spring. Over the summer we have worked hard to put systems in place to support faculty, staff and students so we can operate as a fully remote campus for as long as is necessary. We are exploring future options for safe, limited access to our campuses and will keep you posted as we know more.

Many of you may have questions related to course logistics and how to conduct business remotely. Some guidelines follow. First, here is important contact information should your questions not be addressed below:

Psychology Department Chair, Dr. Kimberly Balsam,

Counseling Department Chair, Dr. William Snow,

The Office of Student Affairs, Dean Thom Shepard,

The Office of Student Accessible Education, Ana Castrillo,                                   

The Office of Academic Affairs,

PAU Departments and Offices information can be found here

Student Support 

Given the challenge of the pandemic, ongoing wildfires, and the fight for social justice in our country, additional support may be available in the following ways:

Emergency funding may be available for costs associated with the transition to online learning due to the pandemic and for displaced students due to the pandemic and natural disasters, among other things.  Whether you receive financial aid or not, there may be some emergency funding available.

Remote Instruction

  • Faculty will be offering classes at their regularly scheduled time. Students are expected to attend classes at their regularly scheduled time. Students who must miss a class are asked to contact their instructor immediately. Faculty are working with their Department Chairs to ensure a coordinated and consistent approach to coursework and exams, as well as adherence to department or course attendance policies.

  • The current fall course schedule will remain in place with no day/time changes.

  • No changes to the academic calendar are being made at this time

Training and Academic Support for Faculty

Additional training, resources, and support for faculty has been made available to ensure the quality of online teaching and development of hybrid opportunities.

  • PAU’s Center for Excellence in Education (CEE) and OAA has been and will continue to provide additional information and training for faculty.

  • A multi-tiered Teaching Assistant structure has been created to provide additional types of support, and all TA’s are receiving training in academic technology  


Clinical Training at Gronowski Center and in Practica

  • The Gronowski Center is operational. The Center will provide services through tele-therapy and other modalities that do not require in-person therapy that are in full compliance with privacy and confidentiality considerations. Students will not be able to see clients at the Los Altos Campus due to the difficulties navigating the social distancing protocols required. Individual and group supervision will be provided in synchronous ZOOM format. 

  • The University Clinical Training Committee has developed a protocol for managing clinical practicum placements for all doctoral and mental health counseling master’s students. The protocol requires each practicum site to certify that it is in compliance with relevant county and state public health guidance; and, for each student to assess their own situation to determine whether they are able to be present at that site if physical presence is required.

  • Where students are not able to obtain a practicum due to health and safety considerations, additional tele-therapy supplemental practica are being developed to the extent possible to allow accrual of clinical hours.

PAU Facilities 

  • All PAU campus facilities will strictly comply with current local, state, and federal public health guidance; compliance and guidelines will be posted prominently at each campus

  • The PAU Library will remain closed, but curbside pickup of library materials and pre-approved academic activities will be offered by appointment.

  • To the extent possible, PAU staff are still required to work remotely with only essential and approved personnel on any campus.

  • Social distancing guidelines require anyone on campus to comply with:

    • A daily health survey

    • Mask-wearing, hand-washing, and observing social distancing rules

    • Agreement to follow signage showing ingress and egress

Campus Contact Information

Faculty and Staff contact information can be found here

Information for PAU Departments and Offices can be found here

We greatly appreciate your patience and flexibility during this challenging time. Please do not hesitate to reach out if you have questions or concerns!

With Warm Regards,

Dr. Risa Dickson, Interim Vice President of Academic Affairs

Thom Shepard, Dean of Students