LU Insider

Ken Anselment

Author: Ken Anselment

Student Survey on Fall 2020 Plans launched

On Tuesday, July 21, we sent a survey to all Lawrentians asking them to let us know where and how they think they might learn and live this fall (i.e., on campus or distance mode). Students should check their Lawrence email accounts for a message from the Lawrence Pandemic Planning Team linking to the survey. The survey deadline is Monday, July 27. (If you are a Lawrence student who has not received a copy of the message, please email

Zoom-free Fridays

If your days have been looking like this…

…you might find this to be a breath of fresh air.

Starting Friday, July 3, 2020, the university is implementing a Zoom-free* Fridays policy for the rest of the summer (through Friday, September 4), and asking cabinet members to encourage their teams to adopt the approach as they model the behavior themselves.

* This also applies to other video-based meetings, like Teams, Skype, etc.

You might be thinking, “But Friday, July 3, is a university holiday.”

It is, which makes it the perfect time to start establishing the practice and building some muscle memory.

This policy does not prevent colleagues from using time on a Friday to pick up a phone to talk to each other, send an email, write a note, or have a friendly, socially distant face-to-face conversation in a spacious area. It is simply a way to give our eyes and minds a Zoom break and open up a wider space to get other things done, once a week.

Does this mean that your regularly scheduled Friday morning Zoom meeting should be wedged into the heavy traffic of the rest of your Zoom-filled week? Not necessarily… we invite you to consider this an invitation to reconsider how and why—and through what medium—you have your meetings, not just on Friday, but every day.

Planning for the Fall

Dear Lawrentians,

We offer a heartfelt thank you to all faculty, staff, and students who made it through an academic year unlike any other in recent history.

Everyone approached their work and studies with compassion, innovation, and creativity to end the year on a high note. We also greatly appreciate everyone’s ongoing individual and collective efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Two weeks ago, we introduced the campus to the Lawrence Pandemic Planning Team (LPPT) and its five groups: Health, Curricular, Co-Curricular, Outside-In, and Employee & Legal Aspects. At that time, we shared that, upon the recommendation of the LPPT and following consultation with the Faculty Governance Committee and the Curriculum Committee, the Cabinet has decided to keep our existing fall academic schedule. Classes will begin on September 14, and exams will end before November 25 and the Thanksgiving holiday. A final decision regarding the mode of instruction for fall term will be announced by the end of July.

Today we write to provide you with additional updates on the LPPT’s work:

Health Group

  • A first draft of social distancing guidelines for the fall is currently under review.  
  • Members of the team are currently in negotiations with health partners in Northeastern Wisconsin to institute campus-wide testing and contact tracing. We hope to finalize a partnership within the next two weeks. 
  • New campus cleaning protocols have been instituted to decrease person-to-person contact. For example, custodial staff are focused on cleaning common spaces, and individual offices and departments have received supplies of cleaning products, along with cleaning instructions. 
  • Plexiglass barriers have been installed in several high-traffic areas, such as Brokaw Central and Chapman Hall, to help decrease the transmission of viral droplets. Additional barriers will continue be installed over the summer. 
  • Signage and other physical reminders about health and safety protocols have been posted around campus, with more planned for the fall. 
  • All campus buildings with a central ventilation system will be outfitted with new filters that exponentially increase air filtration and will help to disrupt viral contagion. Many systems across campus will be recalibrated to increase outside air flow. 
  • The team is currently investigating an advanced air purification process, bipolar ionization, to provide better air quality in ventilated buildings. A test implementation will take place over the summer to determine if the process is worthy of investment.  

Curricular Group

  • Thanks to David Berk, a new web page is available that provides information on instructional spaces and models to accommodate CDC-recommended social distancing guidance. This remains a work in progress—measurements for all of our instructional spaces are ongoing, and we plan to include spaces in our fall room inventory that are not typically used for instruction. 
  • Briggs 420 is currently set up as a socially distanced classroom, and faculty and staff are encouraged to visit the room as a preview for the fall. 
  • We are adding technology to several classrooms so that we can ensure that in-person and distance learning modes are available. 
  • We are exploring the expansion of hours of instruction to accommodate classes that may need multiple sections or a constraint on classroom availability. 
  • We are considering a schedule in which the two midterm reading days would be distributed throughout the term as single days without instruction, to provide breaks in the calendar for faculty, staff, and students. A decision on this option will be made soon. 

Co-curricular Group

  • We are adding rooms to residence halls across campus by converting lounges and other gathering areas into living spaces.  
  • Small Exec (813 E. John Street) and multiple houses north of the Conservatory are being reserved for potential student isolation  needs.  
  • We are exploring ways to integrate new health protocols into the daily lives of Lawrentians and our overall campus culture. 
  • We are exploring what move-in and Welcome Week look like in Full, Flex, and Distance mode. 

Outside-In Group

  • A university “Guest” will be defined as anyone who is not currently enrolled, employed by, or contractually affiliated with Lawrence University or the Lawrence Community Music School. 
  • We are currently in the process of finalizing a guest registration form and creating a protocol for its administration. 

Employee & Legal Aspects

  • On June 15, we welcomed a about a quarter of our administrators and staff back to campus as we institute the first of a multi-phase process to return more employees to on-campus work. Phase one is outlined in the Return to On-Campus Work for Non-Essential Staff.  
  • Additional guidelines on the next return-to-work phases will be forthcoming in preparation for the fall term.  
  • We are crafting guidelines to assist employees in their decision-making on returning to on-campus work. 
  • Frameworks are being developed for equitable access to flexible work arrangements to help employees manage work, health, family, and other responsibilities. 
  • We are working to understand and manage institutional legal responsibilities and potential liability associated with both on-campus and distance work. 

If you have any questions, concerns, or feedback regarding the information shared above or other insights, please refer them to your supervisor or a member of the LPPT or contact Please also be sure to read the weekly LU Insider and visit the COVID-19 news blog for ongoing information and updates. 

Thank you for your ongoing patience, cooperation, and work as we all learn to adapt and live with COVID-19.



Many hands make light work…

The Reach Out Initiative has launched. It’s a campaign to reach every Lawrentian, whether they are on or off campus, with a live phone call from a member of the Lawrence faculty or staff.

The goal?

  • Let them know we’re thinking about them.
  • Listen to how they’re doing with curiosity and empathy
  • Connect them with campus resources that can help if they need support.

To call 1400 Lawrentians is a tall task, but—as the saying goes—many hands make light work. If we can assemble a volunteer crew of at least 140, we can do this well and in very short order.

We’re more than halfway there.

You can join the effort, too, by completing this short form. When you do, you’ll be sent instructions for how to log in to a portal where you can select the students you’d like to call. (It also includes a handy call script so you can manage the interaction with confidence.)

Together we can stay connected, even as we remain apart.

Phone image from Creative Commons By Gan Khoon Lay 

Funding still available to support students with extraordinary expenses due to C-19 disruptions

Lawrence University is still managing several funds to help Lawrentians who have incurred extraordinary or unplanned expenses in the wake of campus disruptions brought on by the pandemic.

Grants can be used for eligible expenses under a student’s cots of attendance, including food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and childcare.

Grants are available to all Lawrentians, regardless of citizenship status.

To formally request funds, please complete this form.

Applications for the emergency grant will be reviewed on a rolling basis until funds have been spent. Due to limited funding, we recommend that students apply immediately.

Connecting future Lawrentians with their future teachers and mentors

Thank you to those of you who have already reached out to ask about admissions events and how you can continue to help in recruitment activities this spring. We especially appreciate your support as you close out winter term and prepare for distance learning this spring. We are so grateful for all you do.

Just as you are facing challenges, this time is very difficult for high school seniors, our prospective students, to make their college decisions without visiting campus in person. This is in addition to the other disappointments they are facing: cancelled proms, performances, spring sports, and graduation ceremonies, all while missing their friends and teachers they had hoped to end their 12-year educational journey with. Connecting students with you, their future teachers and mentors, is more important than ever.

We are happy to announce some of our new initiatives: a new virtual campus visit experience (complete with tours, presentations, and meetings), virtual LUX (shorter than the original but a live, online event), and phone casts (like a call-in show, but we call the audience). We hosted a phone cast last week, where current Lawrence parents fielded questions from parents of admitted students. It was a roaring success with high engagement from parents of our future students.

We would like to continue to include our faculty colleagues in these activities. Here is an update on how we will continue to engage with you in recruitment activities:

  1. Prospective student meetings with faculty: We would like to continue to offer these like we have every year but this time, online. In our virtual campus visit experience, students can request a meeting with a faculty member. We are asking students to give us at least 72 hours-notice so that Chyna Perdomo, our campus visit coordinator, can check with you and your availability. Once we have a date and time that works, Chyna will set up a Zoom meeting for both you and the student to use to connect.
  2. Lessons with conservatory faculty: This would be offered in a fashion similar to the faculty meeting outlined above. We will continue to gather all of the information that we have previously about a student’s musical background and preparation.
  3. Virtual LUX April 20: The LUX program on April 6 has been cancelled, but we are working on building out a live virtual event that will include academic presentations and chats with faculty. We will be in touch at a later date with specific requests.
  4. Virtual Preview Day on May 1: Similar to LUX, we are moving our campus event for high school juniors and sophomores to a live, online event. We are still working on the details, but we will be in touch again in the future.

If you have any questions or concerns, please get in touch with me or a member of our campus visit experience team: Chyna Perdomo (campus visit coordinator), Rachel Bassi (admissions event coordinator), or Jennifer England (supervisor for the campus visit experience team).

With sincere gratitude,
Be well and do well,

Mary Beth Petrie
Dean of Admissions

The finest suite of virtual experiences anywhere…

(Recognizing that I have even less neutrality than an average NBA slam-dunk competition judge, I am stand by the title of this post.)

I want to recognize the outstanding work that the admissions and communications teams pulled off last week to assemble a brand new virtual suite that allows students who can no longer visit Lawrence University to experience some of the best of what we offer.

They did so quickly, collaboratively, and beautifully against the backdrop of rapidly changing work circumstances.

(Visit other colleges’ virtual visit sites, and you’ll see why the title of this post works.)

Mary Beth Petrie Promoted to Dean of Admissions

It is my great pleasure to inform you that I have relocated the title of Dean of Admissions, which had previously been appended to the end of my title, to a more appropriate person: Mary Beth Petrie.

This title change not only recognizes Beth’s leadership and expertise, but also how her responsibility has expanded in recent years as she guides and develops the Lawrence University admissions team and its efforts.

This is a decision I have made in consultation with President Mark Burstein, who enthusiastically endorses the title shift.

Beth’s previous title of Director of Admissions will be subsumed by her new title. This move does not affect the roles or responsibilities of anyone else on the admissions team.

Observers of history and precedent will note that Mary Beth Petrie will be the first woman ever to hold the title, Lawrence University Dean of Admissions. (Many thanks to Lina Rosenberg Foley, our university archivist, for confirming that.)

Please join me in congratulating Dean Petrie!

Ken Anselment
Vice President for Enrollment & Communication

PS: While my title is shortening, my role—oversight for enrollment (i.e., admissions, financial aid, and retention initiatives) and communication—is not.

Laura Zuege goes abroad to the financial aid office

On September 30, you will see a familiar face in a new location.

After 15 years of progressive experience and leadership in Lawrence’s off-campus programs, Laura Zuege, our director of off-campus programs, will join the financial aid team as a new assistant director of financial aid.

The transition to 100% financial aid focus for Laura will be gradual, as she will continue to provide leadership to our off-campus programs while the university conducts a search for a new director of off-campus programs.

In October and November, Laura will split her time 50/50 between her office in Brokaw Central and her office in International House. In December, Laura will establish herself fully in the financial aid office.

Laura is the latest addition to a new financial aid team led by Ryan Gebler, Director of Financial Aid, that includes Natasa Rausch, who joined us in July after three years in financial aid at St. Norbert College, and Dan Erickson, now in his second year as a financial aid counselor.

Sara Beth Holman to leave Lawrence, join The College Board

After leading our financial aid team for nearly 16 years (after three years as an associate director of financial aid), Sara Beth Holman will be trading her daily two-hour commute for a home-based position as Director of Financial Aid Solutions for The College Board, where she will provide support to clients who use the CSS Profile (including Lawrence).

In her nearly 19 years at Lawrence, Sara has been a key member of the university’s leadership team, and–even more important–she has been a helpful guide to thousands of Lawrentians who have come to her for financial aid counseling and support. Her colleague, Ken Anselment, hears from families every year who are grateful for the care and service Sara has provided, and modeled for the rest of her team, which will continue that student-centered approach.

Ryan Gebler, our director of enrollment planning and associate director of financial aid (himself an eight-year veteran of Lawrence’s admissions & financial aid teams), will assume leadership of the financial aid office as interim director.

Sara’s last day will be March 14, at which time we will celebrate her tenure properly in the Viking Room from 4 to 6 p.m. Please stop by and wish her well.

In the meantime, feel free to send her a note to try persuading her to stay.