Operating Virtually

Operating Virtually

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Carlson School Community Comes Together During Pandemic Changes



When the COVID-19 outbreak forced the University to operate virtually, the whole Carlson School community sprang into action to make the most of this “new normal.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic presented challenges for all of us at the Carlson School and across the world,” says Dean Sri Zaheer. “But I am so appreciative of how each and every person at the school stepped up to make sure our operations continued as close to normal as possible.” In just four days, more than 200 courses and 300 sections moved to a remote format, an undertaking which demanded faculty to rethink how they could deliver their courses online. The school’s Information Technology team made sure the school had the technological capabilities it needed to make the transition go smoothly, and provided hours of training to faculty and staff.

While shifting modalities of instruction from in-person to online typically takes months, the Carlson School’s faculty and staff responded admirably. “Our faculty responded to this shift with resiliency and flexibility, never losing sight of the students’ learning objectives in the process nor the research opportunities that became available for study,” says Alok Gupta, associate dean of faculty and research.

Staff in career services, academic advising, and other departments swiftly stepped in to provide ongoing support to students. In a volatile job market, career services staff helped solidify internships and job offers for many.

By the numbers: 

1,532 - Carlson School graduates participated in virtual commencement

1,000 - registrants for first-ever virtual 1st Tuesday

300 - class sections moved virtually in four days

45% - increase in career services appointment year-over-year

Students safely return home

At the onset of the pandemic, more than 280 Carlson School students were studying abroad. In a matter of weeks, the staff at the Carlson Global Institute coordinated the travel plans of each student, no matter where they were. All students returned home safely.

“I’m incredibly proud of our team, who worked diligently with our partners around the world to ensure the safety of all of our students,” says Steve Parente, associate dean of global initiatives.

Despite COVID-19–related travel challenges, large international experiential learning programs, such as the MILI Valuation Lab and Global Business Practicum, continued virtually without missing a beat.

Events continue virtually

All Carlson School events moved virtual, reaching more people.

The school hosted its first virtual commencement on May 16. The long-standing 1st Tuesday Speaker Series had its highest attendance ever, when more than 1,000 people registered for the May event.

The school, in partnership with the Executive Education and Marketing & Communications teams, launched the “Leadership in the Age of Disruption” series, which allowed faculty members to contextualize the ways businesses and the economy were being disrupted by the pandemic. The series also included virtual events about the future of business in this “new normal.”

Fall 2020 alumni magazine cover

This article appeared in the Fall 2020 alumni magazine

The year 2020 has brought forth unprecedented change. In this issue of our alumni magazine, we explore these changes and the Carlson School’s role in it.

Fall 2020 table of contents