Esteban, other top admins discuss pandemic’s impact on DePaul community

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Eric Henry

Students walk on the Quad, located on the Lincoln Park campus.

The Office of Alumni Relations held a roundtable discussion with several prominent panelists including President A. Gabriel Esteban and interim Provost Salma Ghanem. 

Moderated by Daniel Allen, senior vice president for advancement, the roundtable focused on how the pandemic affects the community and its impact for the future. 

The panelists included Esteban and his wife Josephine, Ghanem, Vice President of Student Affairs Gene Zdziarski, and Now We Must Chair  Sasha Gerritson. 

President A. Gabriel Esteban. (Courtesy of DePaul University)

Despite the hurdles posed by the pandemic, DePaul has seen improvements in several areas, including faculty evaluations and engagement. 

Faculty evaluations are at an all-time high among students, according to Ghanem. She said she attributes this mainly to the resilience and flexibility of faculty in a remote setting.

Although a majority of campus clubs and activities had to move online, Zdziarski said that DePaul is still seeing steady levels of student engagements.

“According to the National Association of Campus Activities, they saw a downward trend in student engagement,” he said. “We are happy to announce that we still have over 300 clubs and activities meeting this year.”

The Now We Must campaign is actively raising money to aid students in housing and food insecurity, according to Gerritson. 

Esteban also said that in a given year, only $25-40,000 was given in emergency aid which has now risen to half a million.

Esteban ended the discussion with plans for the upcoming school year. 

Campus and in-person classes are expected to open up fully in the fall along with study abroad programs. 

However, the university still plans to offer classes in a variety of modes such as asynchronous and hybrid.