March 17, 2020
In this difficult time, I believe COE has two primary responsibilities. First, to the extent feasible, to meet the needs of educators working in college opportunity programs — especially the Federal TRIO programs — and the colleges and agencies that sponsor these programs. Second, to articulate the needs of the students and clients served by TRIO programs. At both the national and the campus levels, we must advocate for and assist in the design of creative approaches to meeting those needs.
We recognize the impacts of COVID-19. We understand the necessary steps our governments are taking to contain the virus will continue for many weeks, possibly even months. Most immediately, our professionals need to understand the Department of Education’s expectations for program operations and get guidance for continuing student services through this protracted time. COE is working closely with the Department of Education and I pledge to make sure that you receive timely information. As we move past this immediate period, we also pledge to use technology to bring us together as a community and help us emerge from this period stronger and more adept than when the virus struck.
COE was established because our founders believed that educators working in the TRIO programs were the best representatives for our students and clients. Today this remains true. Every step we take in the coming days must be focused on the needs of students. We must make sure that TRIO educators are positioned to be proactive in facilitating students’ educational progress even in these difficult times. An obvious need for many whom we serve is internet connectivity and tools to access the Internet. Other needs are also obvious: the need for housing and food security, the need to connect to counselors and peers, and the need for continued academic support.
Please tell COE your needs, the needs of your staff and students, and how you believe COE can best meet those needs. The COE phone line will always be answered during regular business hours. Any e-mail you send to me or to any of COE’s senior leadership team will be answered within 24 hours. I have attached a list of those individuals and their contact information.
Click here (.pdf) for a directory of COE’s Senior Staff.
As TRIO educators, you are on the front lines of this pandemic. Together, we can make a difference during this time by helping to address the needs of low-income and first-generation students, and students with disabilities, to ensure that they stay on track and meet their academic aspirations.
Thank you for all that you are doing.
Maureen Hoyler, COE President