31 March 2021
my colleagues and I feel all the fatigue and tribulation you are facing these months. After so many hopes of a restart, in academic activity and even more so in social life, we still find ourselves distant, in a condition of mutilated humanity.
We try to be close to you, above all and, we hope, tangibly, with the commitment to organize teaching as best we can, in compliance with the given constraints.
Please don't give up! To paraphrase an English poet of the twentieth century, don't give up because you have friends, a company, and there’s a place, a community, where we belong. I am convinced that the end of the nightmare is no longer far away. Please, continue to attend the courses, to actively participate in online lessons, to study, to discuss, as far as possible, with your colleagues, to interact even if at a distance with the teachers. Let us work together so that this time is not suspended and the journey continues.
Some practical indications:
- after the Easter break, lessons will resume, in the manner that the pandemic framework will allow, according to the schedule and pre-established timetable. We hope to be able to return to dual mode soon, which however presupposes the relocation of the campus site in the “orange zone”. As usual, you will receive information in this regard on the University's information channels. When the dual mode resumes we will return to the week planning followed for the first weeks of the second semester;
- for the Laurea magistralis final exams scheduled between 7 and 9 April, the possibility of taking the exam in person will in any case be guaranteed to all students who have requested it and wish to confirm their orientation. If Lombardy were in the orange zone, it will be possible for undergraduates to be accompanied by a maximum of 5 people, as expected. If, on the other hand, Lombardy were in the red zone, unfortunately it will not be possible to allow the presence of accompanying people. In that case, those who wish to change their orientation on presence can do so by communicating it to the competent offices;
- as you have seen, for students aiming at taking their final exam in the academic year 2019/2020 who were unable to finish the final papers or theses in time for the March-April session, an extraordinary session has been scheduled between 7 and 10 June. The specific dates are available in iCatt and on the dedicated web pages;
- as for the exams of the summer session, the schedule is confirmed, but the uncertainties related to the health situation are still such that it is not possible to define, to date, a certain scenario on the methods of delivery. In that respect, notice will be given as soon as possible.
I send you my sincere wishes for the upcoming Easter. May it be an opportunity for regeneration starting from the heart of each one!
Dean of the Faculty of Political and Social Sciences
16 February 2021
next Monday the lessons of the second semester begin. A year has passed since 23 February 2020, when the authorities decided to suspend, then for a week, face-to-face teaching activities in all universities in Lombardy. A year in which the academic activity continued in different modes according to the general conditions prevailing at the moment. It is a long and tiring journey that began in deep darkness, and as we now try to glimpse the light at the end of the tunnel, we continue to focus on the path to take together. As an English poet of the last century says, "life is what happens to you while you are busy making other plans", and it is the path we travel together, even before the destination, that makes us grow.
In accordance with the most recent government provisions, and guaranteeing all adequate safety conditions, lessons will resume in dual mode (i.e. with the teacher and some students in the classroom and the rest connected remotely in live streaming through Blackboard's Collaborate Ultra) for most of the teachings of the first years in both bachelor’s and master courses, as well as for many teachings in the following years. The other lessons will be delivered in full remote mode, mostly in live streaming.
The timetables for each year will be available shortly on the web pages dedicated to the individual bachelor's and master's degree courses, which you can access from this link for Milan campus and from this link for Brescia campus. For possible changes in starting time and/or classroom you are in any case invited to check the information on the teachers' web pages and on iCatt, which are constantly updated.
To allow the use of transports off peak hours, face-to-face lessons will start at 10 am in both locations.
Students’ access to the University will be regulated, as in the first semester, by the iCatt App, which will be calibrated at the start of the semester on "factor 2", with guaranteed access to each of you on alternate days, but with the possibility of rebooking the accesses not used by other students (for details you can refer to the specific communication from the academic office).
As in the first semester, all lessons, regardless of how they are delivered, will be recorded and made available to students on the Blackboard platform until the end of the first useful exam session.
The program described in this communication may undergo changes based on the evolution of the pandemic situation.
Thanks for your attention and have a good second semester
Dean of the Faculty of Political and Social Sciences
22 December 2020
in the run-up to Christmas, I come back to you with a greeting, a wish and some information on the organizational methods of the didactic activities at the resumption after the Holiday break.
Let's start with the latter.
Exams (January-February session) and partial tests
Until new provisions are made, for the entire University all oral and written exams will be held on-line, according to the methods already used for the summer and autumn sessions. For specific information on the individual courses, please consult their BlackBoard pages. While hoping for an improvement in the overall health situation of the country, the possibility the option of face-to-face mode is not available for the time being. The same goes for partial tests.
Bachelor's and Master's degree exams
For the February master's degree (Laurea magistrale) session, unless otherwise specified, the dual mode will be continued, allowing those who wish to discuss in person with a maximum of 5 accompanying persons. For the Bachelor's degrees, the number of candidates does not allow the resumption of the graduation ceremony at the university site. We are considering whether to continue with the proclamation at the end of the remote exam or provide for an ad hoc moment for collective proclamation, still online. Students involved will receive communications from the offices as the scheduled dates approach.
Lessons of the second semester
It is expected that all lectures and laboratories aimed at students enrolled in the first year of a bachelor’s and master's degree course will be held in "dual" mode, i.e. with the teacher in the classroom, the students in the classroom (appropriately spaced) or connected remotely in live streaming. All students enrolled in the first year are expected to be able to attend lessons face-to-face without being subject to the constraints deriving from the rotation of admissions in force in the first semester. For the time being, in accordance with the Government provisions in force, teaching activities relating to courses aimed at students enrolled in years subsequent to the first will continue to be provided exclusively on-line. All lessons, regardless of how they are delivered, as in the first semester, will be recorded and made available to students on the Blackboard platform.
The year that is closing has been particularly troubled due to the sufferings, directly or indirectly attributable to the pandemic, which have personally affected our academic community in a significant and unfortunately, in some cases, dramatic way. There were also inevitable consequences on university life: in the organization of teaching activities, lessons, exams; but even more so for the effects on the quality of relationships, which are not the same when one cannot meet.
We hope that the new year will bring us a better situation and we can progressively resume the ordinary ways of academic life.
In the meantime, we are preparing to live the Holy Christmas. The hope is that we are able to make it an opportunity for a change of perspective. In the dark, with a cold heart, fragile and vulnerable, like the shepherds we look to the light of a child, fragile and vulnerable, the hope of a destiny of good and the meaning of everything.
Dean of the Faculty of Political and Social Sciences
As you have seen, we are forced to online teaching until next December 3rd. The health situation of the Country and of our Region has made it indispensable. It is the fulfilment of an obligation due to central government measures, but it is also our contribution to the common good in this very difficult period, made up of so many limitations and so much suffering, which have also directly or indirectly affected many of us.
Not being able to be in the same place during lessons is certainly a sacrifice. And not only for the lack of the pleasure of the meeting: live communication, made also of exchanging glances and non-verbal expressions, typical of the human being, does not pass through the online instruments.
We wish what we see happening need not have happened. But, as a great Oxonian academic and writer suggests, "that is not for us to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us”. In the hope that, as the liturgy of the Solemnity of All Saints reminded us a few days ago, nothing can separate us from the love of Christ, because in distress and anguish "we conquer overwhelmingly through Him who loved us ".
While waiting for the situation to change and for us to meet again, all of us, students, teachers and administrative staff, the entire academic community, are called to an exercise of responsibility and a renewed commitment, so that with the contribution of each and every one, in more difficult conditions than usual, our journey can continue at a safe pace.
The University is committed to providing the most suitable tools to continue the academic activity in the present conditions. We lecturers are committed to distance learning, also trying to find new tools to encourage dialogue. In the next coming days, the Coordinators of the Courses of Study have promoted or will promote opportunities to meet students, and in particular freshmen, to listen and help you face the appointments of the coming weeks (e.g. continuation of the courses, delivery of the study plans, partial exams, the exam sessions).
If you have any questions or suggestions, please do not hesitate to contact me, your course coordinators, group tutors (see contacts https://studenticattolica.unicatt.it/studenti-tutorato-a-milano-scienze-politiche-e-sociali) and stage tutors.
In the meantime, I ask you not to let us miss your irreplaceable contribution, for which I add some advices.
- First of all, please continue to engage in your personal study: do not let a day go by without dedicating a few hours to consulting textbooks, notes and other lesson materials. Not only because the partial tests and exams will soon arrive; above all, in order to keep alive the fire, the desire for knowledge, which prompted you to begin and continue on the path of the university.
- Then, please grasp all the opportunities to get in touch with your colleagues, in all forms possible nowadays: I too was a student and I learned that you learn from teachers, from textbooks, but also, often in equal measure, from discussions with your fellow students.
- Last but certainly not least, participate regularly to lessons: except for situations of absolute impediment, do not miss live appointments, so as to keep the pace of daily work and take advantage of the opportunity to interact with teachers. Binge-watching may perhaps be good for television series (but even then I would have some doubts); it is certainly not functional to learning. A recorded lecturer can be made to repeat the explanation endlessly, but always with the same words; during live sessions, you can ask for clarifications, have different illustrations and insights, which will also help your colleagues.
I already know that you will continue to do your part. The lying down generation label does not belong to you. And today you have another chance to prove it.
We assure you of all our commitment to accompany you.
With the warmest regards
Dean of the Faculty of Political and Social Sciences
Friday 2 October
in sight of the start of lessons, scheduled for our Faculty for next Monday 5 October, I turn to you for a welcome, to the freshmen, and a welcome back, to all the others. They are meant to be hospitable, warm and bright, despite the pouring rain I see from the window of my office right now.
Even if, as you know, the resumption of academic activities, to ensure the safety of all, still takes place with access to the premises according to a shifts regulated by a special App, with the lessons the ordinary life of the Faculty fully resumes. In this ordinary life the more authentic value of the university experience is kept: the encounter between persons in a mutual educational journey.
You have received detailed instructions from the academic offices on how to participate in the academic activities. I add some underlining.
- The platform to access teaching materials and information on courses, and, last but not least, be able to attend lessons remotely is Blackboard;
- In order to enrol into Blackboard, you must access all the courses included in your Study Plan from the iCatt personal page. If you haven't already done so, please do it as soon as possible;
- Once you have entered the course in Blackboard, to attend the online lessons, you must choose Collaborate Ultra from the menu on the left shoulder or follow the alternative instructions given by the teacher.
In particular in recent weeks, we have prepared ourselves for the start of the lessons with every possible attention, but the proof of the pudding is in the eating and we will therefore know if everything is going the right way only from Monday. I invite you all to consider the first one as a week of running in and to be patient if, as is almost inevitable, there will be any inconvenience. We will take care to correct what needs to be corrected.
Hope to meet you soon.
In the meantime, a sincere wish for a good academic year
Dean of the Faculty of Political and Social Sciences
I am writing to you again, following the summer exam session and before the summer break, with information about the coming academic year. I include as recipients of this letter newly enrolled students and pre-enrolled students for 2020.2021, to whom I offer a personal welcome in advance of meeting you personally.
These last months have been difficult for all of us. As students, you have had to adapt to new ways of delivering courses and exams and as professors, we have had to change our teaching tools at great speed. Above all we have been forced to abandon some of the features of academic life, which is normally made up of relationships between the people who take part in it, with all the personal contacts that entails and living this in a physical place. But as a result of the effort put in by everyone, university life has continued, although in a rather unusual manner.
Despite this, we hope that it will soon be possible to return to normality. To bring to mind the extraordinary charm of university life, a life which led many of us professors to lean towards joining the academic world, I would like to quote some words from a speech that Albert Einstein gave in December 1933 to the students at the University of Princeton, where he had recently settled after fleeing Nazi Germany.
“I am pleased to live amongst you young and happy people. If an old student may briefly give you some advice, it would be: Never regard study as a duty, but as the enviable opportunity to learn to know the liberating influence of beauty in the realm of the spirit for your own personal joy and to the profit of the community to which your future work belongs.”
May these words be a warning and a wish for the future.
With regard to the coming months, I would like to update you on some points which will be explained in more detail by your programme coordinator(s), setting out in advance some details about the organisation of teaching activities for the next academic year, briefly set out in point 2.
1. Autumn session of course exams and final exams
The course exams in the autumn sessions will be carried out in one of the following ways:
- with students taking part online, as happened for the summer session just concluded;
- in mixed mode, with some students physically present in the lecture room and others who cannot get to the campus attending remotely.
Each professor/instructor will inform the relevant offices how their exam(s) will be held. Students can access iCatt to see a list of exams that will be held in mixed mode and when they enrol they will be able to indicate whether they wish to be physically present on campus for their exam of take it remotely.
For the September-October exam session, final examinations will most likely still be organised online, in line with the procedures used for the summer session; if the general conditions allow, LM (Master’s degree) final examinations will be held with students physically present, but only a limited number of family and friends will be allowed on campus.
2. Teaching activities for the first semester of the coming academic year
All the programmes of the Faculty of Political and Social Sciences will work to a teaching model for the first semester of the coming academic year which allows students to be physically present, whenever possible, for part of the teaching done on campus; other activities can be done remotely, with live-streamed classes and video recordings. Videos of all the classes, both via streaming and online, will be accessible via the Blackboard platform, together with support materials. Constant interaction with the professors/instructors will be guaranteed during classes on campus, during live-streaming and during office hours (also available remotely). Access on campus for classes and other services will be organised via a specific App built into the iCatt platform, so students will be guaranteed one or more face-to-face meetings a week, in line with applicable health and safety regulations.
The second semester of the academic year will be delivered in line with the regulations issued by the health authorities in force for the period, hopefully in ways that are as near as possible to normal.
3. Welcome Day and Welcome Back Day
Given the circumstances, the start of the new academic year will be a particularly delicate moment. For this reason, we have decided to organise welcome meetings dedicated not only, as is usual, to the newly enrolled undergraduate students, but also for students from all years of the undergraduate programmes. During these meetings, organised online, you will be given information and explanations regarding the general organisation of the teaching activities for the coming academic year, and for the courses that are about to start up. The timetable is as follows:
- for all new students on all undergraduate programmes there will be the traditional Welcome Day and this year it will be held online: the date will be announced shortly and will be put into the University calendar;
- for new students on the programmes delivered in English: Welcome Day will be held online as follows:
Communication Management - COMMA: 17/09 at 16.30
International Relations and Global Affairs – IRGA: 18/09 at 10.00
- for all other students on the undergraduate and graduate programmes the Faculty has organised a Welcome-back Day, online, in line with the calendar below:
Students will receive a specific invitation nearer the date of the meeting.
I look forward to meeting you all soon and I wish you all a good summer break.
Dean of the Faculty of Political and Social Sciences
Saturday, 30 May
I hope this mail finds you well.
As for me, as someone said after a long run, "I'm pretty tired". Maybe we all are. A day may come when we decide to go home and rest, but "it is not this day". Today we have to look forward to the exams, with the summer session starting on Wednesday, and then to the new academic year, after the summer.
We already had some anticipations with the partial examinations and “pre-appelli”: signals recorded so far are comforting, but administering and taking exams in the new online modalities is a challenge for everyone. We have to interact remotely, look at each other through pc camera, work without the comfort of the presence of friends, hoping that the raids of our pets or the intercom will not interfere with the exam. And we have to trust technological devices and applications, which sometimes do not work as they should. But this is a challenge that we face together: against all prejudices, we are all working, students and teachers, with the same goal.
I ask you to collaborate in this joint venture with your responsibility in studying, your correct behavior, your patience for delays that, sometimes, are not as short as we would like. For our part, we assure you all our commitment, dedication and seriousness to deserve your trust.
Next academic year
In the present weeks, we are working intensely on the School Plan for teaching for the next academic year. The uncertainty of the context that we are facing is great. We hope that it will soon be possible to return to ordinary teaching activity live and face-to-face, because we are convinced that the University is an experience of relationships, which are best lived by sharing the same place. However, you can be sure that, whatever the conditions we will face, probably with some limitations at least until the Christmas season, you will be endowed all the necessary and adequate instruments and tools to continue your university path smoothly. In compliance with the instructions of the authorities and guaranteeing safety, everything possible will be carried out on our University campus, but all lectures will also be accessible remotely on line so to allow distance learning.
A special thought goes to all non-resident students: make your plans for the next year choosing freely according to your personal preferences, knowing that whatever your choice (coming back to Milan or staying in your hometown), we will not leave you alone.
The University is equipping classrooms with "intelligent" cameras and all the technologies necessary to broadcast online what happens in the classrooms. The School Plan envisages using and enhancing all the technologies needed to ensure a greater interaction between students and teachers compared to what was possible in these past months of emergency, when we had to transfer all our teaching activities online all of the sudden.
My colleagues and I assure you all our commitment and passion, so that you can still experience the extraordinary adventure of the University, which we all love.
Good luck and a warm encouragement for the incoming exams session
Dean of the School of Political and Social Science
Friday, 1 May
I hope this mail finds you well.
Yesterday, when I left my house to go to the University main building to ensure the regular operation of the Faculty Council, I saw a garden full of blooming azaleas. Despite the dark, for many people heartbreaking, deep dark of these weeks, I remembered that it is already spring. "Beauty will save the world," wrote Dostoevsky; but not only the beauty of Creation out there, which lives regardless of our forced seclusion. It is the beauty, which, by Grace, comes also from us, that will save the world. The commitment of these weeks will bear fruits. And looking back we will not remember the effort, but the good, in spite of everything.
While I am figuring you busy, in view of the conclusion of the courses, studying for partial tests and summer session exams, I would like to give you a few updates.
I confirm that both partial tests and exams will take place remotely and on-line.
The dates of the appeals, except for rare exceptions due to technical issues, remain those established and available in the personal pages of the teachers (https://docenti.unicatt.it/ppd2/en) in the “teaching” section for each course. The ordinary registration procedures for exams through i-Catt are also confirmed.
The exam mode prevailing in our School will be oral examination (about 2/3 as from statements I have collected from colleagues), also due to the transformation from written to oral for several exams. However there will also be written exams (about 1/3), mainly in the form of tests, administered on Blackboard.
In order to carry out the test for both exam modes, each of you must be able to use the Microsoft Teams platform (a guide is available at https://studenticattolica.unicatt.it/studenti-corsi-e-carriera-esami-di-profitto/studenti-esami-di-profitto-remote-exams), use a computer (Windows or Apple) endowed with an updated operating system and browser with a good internet connection and equipped with the minimum multimedia communication requirements: headphones or speakers with working microphone and webcam.
For written exams delivered through the Blackboard platform, it is also necessary, for the execution of the exams, to have compatible browsers: Firefox, Chrome or Safari (check the compatible versions at the following link: https://help.blackboard.com/Learn/Student/Getting_Started/Browser_Support).
Each individual teacher will inform his/her students about the specific modalities for his/her exams. In order to be reached by these communications, I renew my invitation for you to enroll to the courses of your interest on Blackboard, if you have not done it yet.
A final recommendation: given the particular complexity in the organization of the exam sessions delivered on-line, to avoid downtimes and delays, we ask you to register and keep the registration for the appeals only if you actually intend to take the exam on that date and to cancel registration asap in case you decide not to show up.
I sincerely hope to be able to meet you soon, renewing the invitation to persevere in the study and reminding you that my (electronic) door is always open, if you have any questions to report,
Thursday 9 April
I hope this letter finds you well.
Unfortunately, the health emergency and its consequences on the life of each of us and on the social organization continue causing some mild fatigues, for many, and some excruciating suffering, for a few.
I express, on behalf of everyone at UCSC, my closeness to those who are particularly affected by the epidemic, in health and in their jobs, personally or in the most loved ones and friends, ensuring as much as possible the support of the Faculty.
Despite everything, as the poet sings, "Tomorrow there'll be sunshine, and all this darkness past".
Following the invitation of Peter and his Successor, we can give "reason for the hope that is in us" in an extraordinarily founded way, looking at the Cross, as we do in these days, and to the Resurrection, which we will contemplate on Easter Sunday. As the Holy Father told us in his meditation of March the 27th, "The Lord asks us from his Cross to rediscover the life that awaits us, to look towards those who look to us". It is therefore in the attention given to others, in the community sharing, a sign of the "already and not yet", that we find the strength to look at tomorrow’s sun from today’s darkness.
I thank everyone for the effort spent in these weeks: I thank students for the dedication to the study that I imagine you are experiencing, I thank colleagues and technical and administrative staff for all efforts to remotely propose the many activities originally designed to be administered in presence. We are online with all courses, a part from for some very rare and particular exceptions. And this result is also the fruit of the community we belong to.
Although we are starting to see some positive signals, we will have to continue with extraordinary measures and instruments for a little longer.
For these reasons, please find below some updates.
1. End of lectures
Classes are now suspended for the Easter holidays and will resume after Easter - as a rule, starting from April 20th – in the modalities already used in the past few weeks.
At the moment it is very likely that it will not be possible to resume any activity in presence even in the weeks of recap period. Therefore, in agreement with Coordinators, we have decided to set the end of the lessons no later than May 16th (one week earlier than expected). The recovery of the missed lessons will therefore have to be slightly intensified (and for this reason, some teachers may possibly propose new lessons already from the second part of next week), but the recorded lecture mode should allow you to cope with it without any difficulties.
This will allow us to have 2 weeks partial exams or “pre-appelli”.
Should it be possible to resume some on-site activities by the first part of May, there will be an opportunity for some mixed-mode “question and answers” sessions, with most of the students remotely connected. But at the moment this seems very unlikely.
2. Partial tests / pre-appelli
Partial tests or pre-appelli already scheduled are confirmed, a part for a few exceptions that will be communicated directly by lecturers. Tests, both written and oral, will be most probably delivered on-line.
Information on dates and methods will be communicated to you by each lecturer as soon as possible.
3. Exams of the summer session
Our summer exam session begins on June 3rd and it is likely that, even for that date, the activity cannot be resumed in presence.
We are therefore planning for the online administration of exams for the summer session. For this reason in some cases the exams will be different from what initially announced (i.e. some written exams may become oral exams).
However, the original dates of exams (“appelli”) remain confirmed.
In general Microsoft Teams will be used for oral exams and Blackboard for written exams. All students have granted access to both apps. We suggest you to test in advance your Internet connection as well as, microphone and camera. Details will be released a.s.a.p.
4. Degree and master's degree exams
The April graduation session has already taken place with remote connection. Everything went smoothly and to everyone's satisfaction, albeit in an unusual modality. The University Communication has prepared a video, which you can access to get an idea both from the Faculty website https://milano.unicatt.it/facolta/scienzepolitichesociali?rdeLocaleAttr=it and on the main social networks (i.e.: Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/p/B-g2lXUIk9s/).
The discussions of the master's degrees thesis are scheduled for April 20th-22nd in the online modality.
For the July graduation sessions, we do not know yet what methods will be used, but we can exclude as of now, except for some positive surprises, the proclamation ceremony for the three-year courses in the Aula Magna. When possible, we will organize a solemn graduation party for those willing to attend.
The deadline for filing the master’s thesis topic for the December session is postponed to May the 14th: by that deadline, students will have to file the topic in electronic format (obviously, after having agreed it with their supervisor), by filling the specific application form available on their I-catt page. Once the university re-opens, it will be considered whether the delivery of a paper copy will be required.
5. Access to bibliographic material
The issue particularly concerns students working at their final essays/thesis for accessing to libraries and off-site students who left their textbooks in Milan on their way home. The situation is currently as follows:
a. Following the provisions of the Authorities Libraries must remain closed. The books can be ordered, and collected on reopening. It is possible to access a certain number of volumes in electronic format and possibly request the purchase of others. Many academic journals are instead available in digital format as always. The library staff is active (even if remotely) and you can contact them for advice on how to find the materials you need. Find information on the activities of libraries on the website https://biblioteche.unicatt.it/biblioteca/sbda-home?rdeLocaleAttr=en
b. EDUCatt's loan service with digital access to books (especially text books) has been enhanced. Here are the links to the pages of the site where all the information (unfortunately only in Italian) is available https://educatt.unicatt.it/educatt-2893.html and http://www.educatt.it/libri/hub/index.asp. Bear in mind that the Pandoracampus catalog allows you to use the contents of some publishing houses Carocci, De Agostini Scuola, Hoepli, Il Mulino and Wiley, using the @icatt address in the registration. For any need for clarification, you can forward your requests to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
c. The return of books borrowed, for undergraduates unable to move from home due to a health emergency, may take place when the library is reopened.
Hoping to meet you soon, and renewing the invitation to persevere in the study, I remind you that my (electronic) door is always open for any questions or doubts, I greet you very cordially with a sincere wish for a Holy Easter of Resurrection.
Dean of the School of Political and Social Sciences
Thursday 19 March
in offering you a warm greeting, after some time that I am not writing to you, I feel like telling you that "I come with counsel and tidings, in this dark hour ".
The hour is in fact, metaphorically, dark, even if the sun shines as I write to you in Milan. The dramatic news about the number of deaths and the spread of contagion are worrying and scaring us. But the certainty of a destiny of good, already recalled in my previous message, give us strength. While knowing that we cannot change, if not in small part, the situation we are living in, building on this hope we know we can decide how to live to the fullest. Also considering difficulties and sufferings, and making these days, as the Archbishop said in his Sunday's Homily, "the days of the great freedom". And, I also add, the days of responsible choices, in some cases courageous choices, certainly aware, that what depends on us deserves our full commitment.
For our side, all the colleagues and the University staff, we are making every effort to continue the academic year in an effective way.
In these days you are watching your lecturers being filmed by a video camera, most of the time in their domestic intimacy, with audio headphones and microphone. I think you can imagine what it is to speak to a computer screen, with the doubt of being the victim of a personality dissociation disorder; perhaps trying to glimpse some student's face inside or behind the screen; or with the fear of losing the recording for a sudden connection problem, in these days in which everyone heavily rely on the internet for any need.
My fellow lecturers and colleagues sometimes report to me about the problems they encounter, their fears of producing a not entirely satisfacing result. Above all, many are sad that they cannot meet you in person. In all of them I see a passion that really comforts me. These dark hours will pass. And in the meantime we are all here working to give you our best.
In the last week, the first in which we had planned online activities, the teachers of the School of Political and Social Sciences produced around 600 recorded lectures on Blackboard, a few dozen live sessions when needed, and many other teaching materials of various kind.
With the Coordinators of the different courses we are constantly monitoring the situation and, with very few exceptions related to special and emergency circumstances, everything is proceeding. Of course, not everything always goes well; there are problems. But, overall, the effort seems to pay off. The feedbacks we received, from you students, are mostly positive.
I come now to some specific news and updates:
- Regarding the recovery of the lessons and the exams, I confirm what I wrote to you last week: the recovery is currently taking place with recorded video lectures and will also use, if the situation permits, two weeks in attendance in May, at the end of the semester. The exams schedule and calendar is as for now confirmed;
- the final exams of the April session are confirmed with the timetable and procedures already communicated; for the period of suspension of the didactic activity in presence, the sessions will be held with remote connection of the candidates (the interested parties will receive specific communication from the Student Center, instructions for using the electronic tools are available at this link: https://studenticattolica.unicatt.it/studenti-corsi-e-carriera-esami-di-profitto/studenti-Presentazione%20TEAMS_eng.pdf). After the extension already communicated of the deadline for submission for the under-graduate courses, the only news concerns, at the moment, the Graduate Courses, whose deadline for the submission of the thesis has been postponed to the 14th of April, while the sub-mission itself will be carried over in digital format on the Blackboard platform.
Together with the Study Program Coordinators, we are monitoring the situation of the graduating students and we can reassure everyone that, keeping the fact that the conclusion of the study programme by the scheduled dates remains the preferable solution for all, any delays specifically attributable to the current situation will in no way impose any further burden on the students involved;
- as far as stages and internships currently in progress or scheduled for the next months, are concerned, together with the Study Program Coordinators we have developed general Faculty Guidelines which you can find in this page.
Finally, I come to counsel. This particular period can be an opportunity for growth for you, as it is also for us, if you know how to live it as protagonists, both in performing your own tasks, and being attentive interlocutors for us lecturers:
- try to make the most of all the opportunities for studying and working that we offer you. For the imperfect tools we are currently using to bear fruit, we need your help. As far as possible, follow the video-recorded lecture as soon they are uploaded to Blackboard by the lecturers, devote yourself to personal study-work (exercises, papers, reports) assigned to you, study individually on the bibliographic materials available to you, discuss, where possible, through electronic tools with your classmates;
- never fail to send us messages on what is not working and, hopefully, on what it is. In this period we do not have your faces to look at, to identify signs of doubt or approval. Let your emails or comments on the forums compensate as far as possible for this unbridgeable lack;
- finally, I recommend that you always follow the news updates on the University Homepage and on the School website.
Hoping to be able to meet you soon and reminding you that my (electronic) door is always open, if you have any issue to report, I extend my warmest greeting to you all
Dean of the School of Political and Social Sciences
Tuesday 10 March
as you know, the suspension of F2F in presence didactic activity has been extended until April 3 within more general measures taken by the Government Authorities to contain the spread of the virus.
First of all, I want to add my voice in urging responsible behavior by everyone to help contain the spread of the virus. It is a battle that each of us can contribute to win, with civic sense and a spirit of solidarity, especially towards the weaker sections of the population, doing their part for the pursuit of the common good. I am sure you are already doing it and you will continue to do so.
I spoke at length on Friday afternoon through videoconference with the representant students in the Faculty Council. They told me that many of you are concerned about the situation. I assure you that everyone, academic authorities, teachers, managers and technical and administrative staff, are working really hard so to minimize, despite the seriousness of the situation, the impact on the orderly development of academic activity
Here are some updated indications on the activities for the upcoming weeks.
1. As for the recovery of lectures, the plan we are implementing includes:
- videorecorded lectures made available to students on Blackboard, usually in deferred streaming through the Collaborate Ultra tool available on the platform (no need to download any further app), for all the period of suspension starting from this week;
- a recovery of two weeks of lectures in attendance from May 11th to 22th which, as the length of the period covered by on-line lecturing becomes significant - will allow to keep a significant number of F2F lectures which are enriched by the added value of classroom interactions.
As always, and even more so throughout this period of suspension of F2F lectures, it is essential that the teaching provided by lecturers is accompanied by your individual study and by on-line interactions with your fellow students.
2. As far as exams are concerned, at the moment (and for all the scenarios currently considered probable for the evolution of the health emergency) we can confirm the calendar already communicated, with possible slight adjustments concerning for partial tests and “pre-appelli” when needed.
3. The following is foreseen for the graduation exams of the April session.
MILAN CAMPUS: As far as three-year B.Sc. study courses (Laurea Triennale) are concerned whose final exams for the Laurea Degree are scheduled during the period of suspension of the teaching activity, April 1st-2nd, the exams will be held on-line, with video connection, following the prescriptions of the civil Authorities. Specific indications will be provided to students involved. I have already extended the deadline for delivering your final essay to March the 29th.
The graduation official announcement will take place immediately after the conclusion of the exam.
BRESCIA CAMPUS: As far as three-year B.Sc. study courses (Laurea Triennale) are concerned whose final exams for the Laurea Degree are scheduled on April the 7th, exams will be held in presence in a class in which the sole candidate student and the members of the evaluating committee will be allowed.
In both Milan and Brescia campus the graduation official announcement will take place immediately after the conclusion of the exam. Unfortunately, we are obliged to suspend the graduation ceremony. When possible, once the emergency is over, we will schedule a graduation party.
Master's degree exams of the Milan office scheduled from April the 20th to 22nd are currently confirmed. The modalities will depend on the provisions of the Authorities for that period. Specific indications will be provided to individual students involved.
Please do not hesitate to contact your teachers and send me all info and requests you deem needed and appropriate.
I renew to you all the warmest greetings also on behalf of my colleagues.
Dean of the Faculty of Political and Social Sciences
Thursday 5 March
Dearest students of the School of Political and Social Sciences,
As you already know from the communications of the civil authorities and of the Magnificent Rector, the suspension of lectures has been extended for another week. For this reason the recovery of face-to-face academic activity (lectures, classes etc) is postponed to March 16th (given the official guidelines currently available).
While we still believe that face-to-face teaching, which allows direct and complete interactions between teachers and students, is to be preferred, starting from next week recorded lectures for remote learning will be delivered.
For the moment, in the hypothesis of resuming lectures in class on March the 16th with the recovery of the 2 weeks “lost” in the recoup period (from May the 11th to the 23rd) recorded on-line lectures will cover only one week of lectures.
However, when lecture will be resumed F2F in class, they will also be recorded, for a first period, to allow all students who cannot yet be present, to “electronically attend” lectures, despite all the limits imposed by such a technology.
In summary: Lectures originally scheduled from February the 24th to the 28th will be recorded by each lecturer and progressively made available on the Blackboard platform, starting next week. Recorded lectures will be available, for a limited period, in “deferred streaming”.
The interaction channels between teachers and students (via email, forum on Blackboard or other tools) will be defined and communicate by each teacher.
Each recorded lecture may be shorter than the canonical 45 minutes, since different context requires different timing.
I therefore invite you all to enroll in the Blackboard platform for the relevant courses and to constantly monitor your institutional I-catt email address for communications from me, the coordinators and your lecturers.
A warm greeting to you all also on behalf of the all lecturers.
We miss you.
Looking forward to meeting you again in persons at our University.
Dean of the School of Political and Social Sciences
Tuesday 4 March
Dear students of the School of Political and Social Sciences,
as you may already know from the communications of the Magnificent Rector, following the decisions of the authorities regarding the evolution of the spread of Coronavirus COVID-19, all the teaching activities are suspended also for this week, until Saturday March the 7th, but hopefully they can be resumed next Monday, March the 9th.
The entire academic community of the Università Cattolica, from the Rector, to the Deans, the teachers and the technical and administrative staff, took immediate actions to monitor the situation and find the most appropriate, fair and effective solutions to address the related problems. From the outset, it was decided that communication to students during the emergency ought to be managed directly by the Rector, also to reduce delays in the dissemination of information. Now that we are heading towards the desirable recovery of ordinary activity, I turn to you as Dean of the Faculty of Political and Social Sciences in agreement with the Coordinators of the Degree Programs.
First of all, I would like to underline how this ongoing period of crisis and alarm, particularly harsh for some of you – and especially for those among you who have been directly touched in their families and/or friends or live in the areas most directly affected by the spread of the virus to whom I express the solidarity of the Faculty - is an occasion for reflecting on the value of relationships and on the meaning of life. As the Archbishop told us in the homily of the Holy Mass in the Cathedral on Sunday, this is above all a "favorable time to be united and to become wise".
The Faculty is convinced that its educational task does not end in transmitting information, knowledge and skills, but aims at the integral education of the person. For both aims, the traditional teaching methods in presence are, when possible, always to be preferred. For this reason, the recovery, replacement and supplementary activities will try to deviate as little as possible from this model. Therefore, from Monday March the 9th – in the absence of different and new provisions by the civil and health authorities, committed to ensuring the safety of the activities in progress – lectures and classes will be normally resumed in the classrooms of the University.
Recovery of suspended lessons
Given the currently most probable scenario, with the start of didactic activities scheduled for next Monday, the recoup of suspended lectures can be managed by the School of Political and Social Science by re-scheduling face-to-face lectures in 2 out of 3 weeks foreseen by the academic calendar as catch-up lectures periods, between May the 11th and the 23rd, before the beginning of the summer exam session, scheduled for June the 3rd. For the same purpose, the first three days (April 6th,7th, 8th) of the Holy Week (i.e. the week leading to Easter) and the last three of the subsequent week (April 15th, 16th, 17th), now scheduled as holidays, may also be used to catch up lectures.
All the above will allow us to keep unchanged the academic calendar of the exams for the summer session, and, hopefully, will allow lecturers to keep the ordinary scheduling of partial exams and “pre-appelli”. Only in special cases, we may be forced to schedule partial exam on the first exam date (primo appello) of the summer session.
Activities during the suspension period
During the period of suspension of the lectures, lecturers’ communication and the publication of supplementary teaching materials will be conveyed, as it is already being done, through the Blackboard platform. In case you are not yet enrolled on Blackboard to any relevant courses, please do it as soon as possible.
Foreign students of the IRGA curriculum and residents in "red areas"
A significant number of foreign students, enrolled in IRGA, returned to their countries of residence and they are unable to return to Milano in the near future. We also have students living in the so called “red areas”, who also will not be able to be present in the classroom when lectures will be resumed. To reach both categories of students the School will use digital remote teaching tools (such as: video recordings of lessons, commented slides or other material) to let them be part of the academic activities.
Finally, I would like to reassure you that the University's decision-making bodies, starting from the Rector and the Academic Senate, the Study Program Coordinators, all the teachers and technical and administrative staff are committed to finding suitable solutions to cope with any scenario that may arise in the coming weeks and to ensure the smooth running of all teaching activities, lectures, exams, graduation exams, with modes compatible with the emerging situation.
Grateful for the trust that you will continue to place in the University and the School, I warmly greet you, and wish to all and every one of you a good job.
Dean of the School of Political and Social Sciences