At Cornerstone University, you’ll get the full college experience with a Christ-centered worldview. Learn more about the undergraduate experience below.
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Cornerstone University faculty and staff are dedicated to the academic success and well-being of each student during the coronavirus pandemic. Our community embraces an expansive sense of possibility, rooted in biblical hope, that responds to change and adversity with intelligence and creativity. Our faculty and staff bring dynamic attention and resourcefulness to every encounter, and this will be no different.
While the configuration of classrooms may change to reflect physical distancing and sanitization guidelines, know the values of Cornerstone remain the same: We strive to bring each and every student a rigorous, Christ-centered education.
All guests and visitors are asked to please complete this form each time they come on campus. The university also requires all guests, that are medically able, to wear a face mask or face shield when indoors.
Our ideal scenario, of course, is that all students are learning on campus with safety precautions in place, such as having smaller class sizes and physical distancing, if necessary. With the fluidity of the COVID-19 situation, be assured that Cornerstone’s planning is adaptable and prepared for multiple scenarios.
With these preparations comes a flexible approach to course delivery for our students through agile teaching. Our faculty will design and deliver courses through a variety of teaching, engagement and assessment, no matter what their classroom will look like. We are adopting a bi-modal (meaning two forms of delivery) approach to learning, where students are assumed to be in the classroom but can watch synchronously (at the same time) from a remote location if a coronavirus scenario dictates. Our leadership team has also put provisions in place for a tri-modal approach if, for example, international students are unable to travel back to the U.S. and must tune into classes on their own time schedule.
“When we talk about the concept of agile teaching, we are talking about designing our courses using a variety of tools and methods and in ways that allow students to participate in classes through multiple modalities if necessary,” said Dr. Shawn Newhouse, senior vice president of traditional undergraduate academics. “Each of our classes will not be built primarily on one teaching method—whether that be lecture, group work or something else—but will use a variety of tools and methods so all students are engaged, and so we can easily adapt if conditions require that the format of our classes quickly shifts.”
With regard to physical distancing, larger course sections will be distributed to multiple classrooms. This physical distancing means synchronous learning will be vital, so students can remain engaged with their classmates and professors.
Special provisions will be given to immune-compromised students and faculty. We are aware that we may have at-risk students and faculty in our community. We are developing solutions to minimizing their risk as they return to campus.
Testing and tracing throughout the semester. Using contact tracing, temperature checks and testing, we hope to monitor and contain COVID-19 cases before they happen on campus. We have protocol in place for what students, faculty and staff should do in the event that they test positive, which may involve an adjustment of learning modalities.
“In the spring, we were forced to make a hard pivot to asynchronous learning in only a few days, but for the fall, we have the entire summer to prepare. We have a great plan in place to ensure our students are safe, engaged in high-quality learning experiences, and perhaps most importantly, plugged directly into a Christ-centered relational community each day,” said Dr. Jeremy Osborn, professor of communications at Cornerstone. “We don’t know exactly what fall will hold, but I am excited to know that we will be back in the classroom this fall and can’t wait to see all my students in person again!”
Faculty and staff at Cornerstone are also working on installing enhanced technology in classrooms to allow for synchronous students to feel fully connected and integrated with their peers. This includes virtual whiteboards and high-definition cameras. The Center for Student Success and the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching are also bolstering resources for both students and faculty during this transition, offering tutoring help and assistance with applying technology in courses.
CU student Elizabeth Boock (B.A. ’21) shared, “I am very excited to get back to classes in the fall–to be with my classmates and professors. The in-class classroom learning experience is one of the reasons I love Cornerstone the most. I know that my professors will handle the transition with grace and a commitment to excellence.”
How will classes be structured this fall—on-ground or online?
Our plan at present is to offer face-to-face residential classes this fall. For students who need special accommodations, we will offer alternative options to provide them with all the educational benefits that are available. The university will follow State of Michigan and Kent County executive orders to ensure safety for all students, faculty and staff.
What if halfway through the semester I decide I want to do on ground instead of online or vice versa? Can I switch my learning model halfway through the semester?
Students may complete an accommodation request if a change is needed during the semester.
If classes are on ground, will there be a maximum cap on the class size?
The university will follow the State of Michigan and Kent County guidelines to determine class sizes. Current recommendations are 50% capacity, but we will know more as the fall semester approaches. Plans are in place to structure the appropriate logistics to have classes in larger spaces and to accommodate the 50% requirement without diminishing student learning experiences.
How accessible will my professors be this fall, especially if classes are online?
Accessibility is a top priority for our faculty whether we are conducting classes on-ground or online. During our spring session online, faculty regularly communicated with students via our learning management system, email, virtual office hours and other optional virtual study sessions. One of the hallmarks of a CU education is the relationships that our students have with our faculty. We will make sure that we remain faithful to that important aspect of learning at CU.
CU Food Service wants to assure our students and guests that we are working to adapt our practices and procedures to deal with the added challenges of COVID-19. As part of our response, we continue to rely on the direction of the Kent County Health Department, industry leaders and CDC guidelines. We seek to improve upon best practices, methods and standards in our continued commitment to lowering the health risks and providing a welcoming campus environment for our students and guests.
The following protocols are based on the current executive orders and recommendations from the Kent County Health Department. Protocols will be updated as state requirements change.
Our Dining Commons will be open and we are excited about serving you! Hand sanitizer is available as you enter the Dining Commons and masks must be worn until you are seated at the table. All food will either be served by one of our staff members or individually wrapped for you to help yourself. Our seating areas are set up to provide for appropriate physical distancing and items will be available for take-out.
As we continue to adjust and adapt, Food Service remains committed to the safety, health and well-being of our community. Our focus is to continue monitoring and tracking directives and guidelines from the Kent County Health Department, remaining flexible and able to effectively and rapidly adjust our plans.
As always, if you feel sick or are running a temperature, please do not come to the Dining Commons to eat.
What if a student comes into contact with COVID-19? Will they be allowed on campus?
The emphasis on family groups and limiting the inter-residence hall spread will help us with contact tracing in the event that a student is symptomatic or in contact with a COVID-19 positive individual. Discretion and privacy will be emphasized in how we contact those who may have been exposed.
Will students, faculty and staff have to take part in daily health checks?
There will be a daily health screening form for each community member (staff, faculty and student) to complete each morning. All campus visitors must complete a health screening form as well. No campus visitors will be permitted after the Welcome Days in the residence halls.
Will students from the same residence hall be able to visit one another?
Yes, all students within a given residence hall will have access to their entire residence hall, but we are encouraging students to limit the interactions in the private residence hall room spaces to their family group of only a few people. Per the current State of Michigan guidelines, groups must remain under 10 total individuals indoors.
Will community spaces be available this fall?
The Corum, Faber, Library, Bolthouse and other common areas will all be open spaces this fall and provide opportunities for students to be in, while observing masks and physical distancing guidelines.
Will students be required to wear masks in their rooms around their roommates?
No, within private residence hall rooms mask use is optional, but students will be expected to respect the wishes of any other student regarding entry into a room they are not assigned to live in.
Will there be open dorm hours for Fall 2020?
No, there will be no open dorm times this fall for any residence hall, including the co-ed buildings. Lounges will be temporarily adapted into single-gender spaces as well.
Are totes and small organizers allowed?
Yes, totes and small plastic organizers are permitted for the residence halls.
What furniture can students not bring into their dorms?
The only items not permitted this fall that typically would be permitted are furniture items such as futons, couches, loveseats, chairs, bean bag chairs and bookshelves.
Testing is one element of an overall plan to reduce the risk of COVID-19. Cornerstone University has secured testing kits with one of the largest labs in the state and is able to conduct tests on campus and secure results within 24 to 48 hours.
If a student, staff or faculty member is symptomatic, they will be encouraged to contact their primary care provider immediately for advice on testing and next steps. If a symptomatic student is not able to reach their primary care provider or visit an urgent care facility, CU Health Services will have the ability to perform a COVID-19 test.
Testing is one element of an overall plan to reduce the risk of COVID-19. Cornerstone has secured testing kits with one of the largest labs in the state and is able to conduct tests on campus and secure results within 24 to 48 hours. These tests are covered by most insurance companies. At this time, testing is not mandatory but instead reserved for an as-needed basis. There are also several free testing sites in Kent County.
At this time, the CDC isn’t recommending that colleges test all students, faculty and staff as they return to campus, given that it’s unclear whether entry testing actually reduces the virus’s spread. As such, Cornerstone will not test each student, faculty and staff member as they arrive on campus. All tests are voluntary. Read more on the CDC website.
Students, faculty and staff will complete a daily screening form (following CDC and Michigan Department of Health Guidelines) that will provide contact tracing. This is a mobile-friendly form that takes a few seconds to fill out. While university personnel will not conduct temperature checks, we have secured thermometers for all traditional undergraduate students to monitor their own temperatures.
Cornerstone will have a formal process that will be communicated to all students during orientation regarding daily screening, testing, self-isolation and the availability of quarantine apartments.
At CU, we look forward to welcoming visitors and guests on campus again this fall. However, we will be taking precautions and making changes to procedures to keep our campus community healthy.
If a campus visitor or guest is exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms (e.g., fever, cough, shortness of breath, etc.), we ask that they refrain from entering campus facilities. We also ask that they do not come to campus until 14 days after their symptoms have resolved.
Visitors and guests are also subject to temperature checks. At this time, we are not allowing visitors and guests in the residence halls.
While on campus, we ask that all campus visitors and guests wear a face mask while in public spaces on campus. If you do not have a face mask, we will provide one for you. Face masks are believed to be an effective way in preventing the spread of COVID-19, and we are asking our students, faculty and staff to wear them while in public locations on campus.
All campus visitors and guests are asked to practice physical distancing on campus. This means no less than six feet of distance between you and other members of the community. Campus locations have been reconfigured to better accommodate physical distancing, including in the Dining Commons and classrooms.
We recognize that student activities are a core component of the student experience at Cornerstone University. With that in mind, we have incorporated recommendations from health organizations and university partnerships into protocols and practices for our student activities that will allow for pre-screening, physical distancing, contact tracing and remote participation.
CUSO (Cornerstone University Student Offices) is creatively planning activities and events that will connect you to campus and to your fellow students, while following the guidelines in place regarding large group gatherings, physical distancing, contact tracing, and mask usage. Particular attention will be given to:
As a Christ-centered university, Cornerstone is committed to the process of spiritually forming each member of our campus community. During this season, we are embracing the opportunity to find creative ways to interact in smaller groups, through online venues and, when possible and appropriate, in group gatherings.
The Campus Ministries team is planning a great year, continuing our Lectionary series with a focus on the Gospel of Luke and the Psalms in our chapel services and small group materials in the Minor Prophets. Chapels will be held on Wednesdays and Fridays and the number required will be reduced from 25 to 15. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, we will be meeting both in-person (with physical distancing in place) and online for additional flexibility. Our plan for the fall semester includes:
Our Health Services team is prepared to offer safe and trustworthy care, while also providing crucial partnership with our faculty and community life staff to help you navigate COVID-related questions and concerns. And as the anxiety and stress of COVID continues to weigh on each of us in unique ways, our counseling team at The Well is equipped to provide caring and confidential counseling support with both in-person and virtual capabilities.
Athletics is working closely with our national organization (NAIA) and regional conference (WHAC) to map out plans for our student-athletes to train, practice and compete in the year ahead. Aaron Sagraves (our Athletic Director), his staff team and our coaches are putting together the details and will be in touch with each team.
CU athletics is looking forward to having Golden Eagles on campus again! The way we play, practice and compete may look a little different this semester. We don’t have all of the details for fall sports yet, but here are a few announcements:
If for some reason we need to do some of our courses online, we have incorporated state-of-the-art technology so that your online experience will be fully interactive as if you were actually in the classroom. Because online content will be the same in terms of knowledge gained, and because you will receive full credit for the courses, the tuition charge will remain the same. Tuition charges are intended to cover the cost of education. Providing the appropriate technology to enhance the remote learning experience costs CU more than what on-ground classroom teaching would cost.
Cornerstone will practice all of the safety recommendations from our local health officials and offer both testing and screening as well as tracing mechanisms to guard against the spread of the virus.
We will be proactively disinfecting all common spaces and restrooms on a daily basis with hospital-grade disinfectant. We will also encourage all of our students, faculty and staff to practice best health disciplines such as:
In accordance with the governor’s executive orders, if an employee or student is given a confirmed diagnosis for COVID-19, we will communicate necessary information to the campus community. We are practicing contact tracing for all employees and will take measures to quarantine as appropriate as well as conduct a professional deep clean of the areas that the individual(s) contacted.
According to best health practices and regulations, if a student, staff or faculty member has been in prolonged contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, they must quarantine themselves for 14 days. Prolonged contact is defined as an hour or longer.
While we believe that it is best to matriculate in the fall for the maximum benefit of programmatic and curricular arrangements, first-time freshmen who defer their acceptance to the spring semester will retain their financial aid package. Transfer students who decide to transfer in the spring semester should connect with the Transfer Admissions Counselor to determine if any adjustments for the financial aid packages would occur.
We are up to date with all the procedures and guidelines that are recommended by the State of Michigan Health Department and will follow them explicitly in the case of a second wave.
We will be basing face mask policies on guidance from the State of Michigan and CDC. If someone wishes to wear face masks voluntarily in all situations, that is clearly permissible.
Hand sanitizing stations will be located at the main entrance of every building on campus.
Given all the advantages of different technology platforms, our Student Development staff is developing robust plans for residential and commuter experience that will provide students regular interactions with one another.
We believe that student activities are a core necessity of a community where our students can flourish, So, while at times we may need to be creative in regard to social distancing, we are planning a full menu of student activities this fall.
No additional forms are needed at this time. We will be asking students to regularly monitor their health (i.e., fever, shortness of breath) and to notify Health Services if any COVID-19 symptoms are present.
Meal times will be extended this fall. Given that we will most likely still be required to apply social distancing in the dining room, students who prefer to eat their meals in alternate locations may use the grab-and-go service to accommodate their choice.
Because testing only provides a snapshot of each student’s health in the moment that would be outdated within a few days or as soon as they left campus or came into contact with someone who has not been tested, we will not be requiring testing for all incoming students. However, when a student develops symptoms similar to COVID-19 symptoms we will provide testing to determine if they are positive or negative. If they test positive, we will carry out all the appropriate protocols to bring them back to health and to protect and test if necessary all with whom they have been in contact with.
Safety measures are set in place to support the health and well-being of students, faculty and staff both in the classroom and around facilities. Cornerstone University staff continue to work closely with medical professionals, state government and other higher education institutions in developing best practices to preserve the health and safety of the community.
These safety measures include faculty, staff and students maintaining a six-foot distance throughout the building. We ask that students bring their own masks. If a mask is forgotten, a mask will be available free of charge. Masks must be worn inside all buildings on-campus. Campus personnel are trained in using CDC-recommended cleaning agents, equipment and techniques to clean and sanitize the building. Additionally, hand sanitizers and wipes are available throughout each location.
In addition, virus testing will be available to counter the spread of COVID-19 should the situation require. Contact tracing will be used to monitor and report cases to local health officials. PGS on-campus students must complete a required contact tracing form prior to entering the building.
Our students have been resilient in continuing their educational goals. Current students who began their program on-campus transitioned into a fully online learning experience in March 2020 due to COVID-19. Our staff and faculty are devoted to equipping students with the resources and support they need to continue to learn, whether on-campus or online. Through regular updates from instructors to virtual meetings with the Center for Student Success to encouragement from their peers, students have persevered with academic success.
PGS anticipates students will be able to return to on-campus classroom learning in August 2020. This timeline is dependent on the Michigan governor’s orders and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services guidelines. The classroom set-up will feature both a virtual live stream and in-person component to meet the preferences and needs of students. These options allow for students to continue learning amid exposure or illness, concerns about public settings and if the number of students in the classroom exceeds the allowed capacity.
With a commitment to lifelong learning, programs at PGS are continuing to launch. We’re currently enrolling for online cohorts starting in July and on-campus cohorts starting in August and September. While the on-campus experience may look different than before, PGS is committed to providing an academically excellent learning experience. Students interested in continuing the conversation about their educational journey can connect with their enrollment counselor through a virtual meeting, phone call or an on-campus appointment.
Improvements in technology and acquiring other resources have opened the door to explore alternative methods of instruction such as live streaming. This bi-modal approach, meaning two forms of delivery, invites students to be in the classroom (CU On-site) or engage synchronously (CU Live) from a remote location. Faculty are continuing to engage in training best practices for live video courses that serve both students in the classroom and those participating virtually. These resources include high-definition cameras and audio devices along with state of the art web conferencing software.
Through these methods of instruction, as well as our 100% online (CU Anytime) option, our students are provided opportunities to advance in their education, no matter their circumstances. With a dedication to dynamic, innovative solutions, students are equipped to move forward in their educational goals.
The Facilities and Physical Plant Department at Cornerstone University places the overall health and safety of the campus community as a top priority.
In response to these new challenges we have and continue to rely heavily upon the wisdom of industry leaders and partners. This is critical as we seek to strategically implement best practices, methods and standards in our continued commitment toward hospitality and maintaining a safe and welcoming campus environment for our students, faculty and staff.
Below are practices and procedures that Facilities and Physical Plant has implemented in response to COVID-19 as we head into the Fall Semester.
As we continue to navigate this new and challenging time, the Facilities and Physical Plant Department will continue our commitment to the safety, health and well-being of our campus community. Adaptability and a proactive approach is paramount; and as new information becomes available pertaining to SARS-CoV-2, our focus moving forward is to remain up-to-date on the most current research, policies and relevant best-practices in order to respond, adjust and plan accordingly. In addition, we will continue to lean heavily upon Industry Professionals such as ASHRAE, ANSI, APPA and OSHA to ensure we are implementing the best possible protocols and procedures into our operations as we continue to serve our campus community.
To honor the class of 2020, Cornerstone made available an On-Demand Virtual Commencement on May 8. The special webpages featured every graduate’s name, graduate status, cohort identification, program and photo. Additionally, it indicated annual awards, messages from faculty, comments from graduates, remarks from Dr. Stowell and more.
Meanwhile, we would have loved nothing more than to send caps and gowns to all grads. However, the vendor through whom we purchase the apparel just completed the production of the order. As soon as we are able to get caps and gowns in hand, we’ll be in touch with grads!
In the future, we’ll host a special event to celebrate our 2020 grads. The highlight of the event will certainly be each graduate walking across the stage to the announcement of their name. You will receive invitations to the event. As you can imagine, the timing of this event is still in question due to the unpredictability of the COVID-19 situation.
Signs and symptoms of coronavirus are fever, cough, shortness of breath and have been in close contact with a person who has COVID-19 or live in or recently traveled from an area with the ongoing spread of coronavirus. Call before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room. Spectrum Health’s COVID-19 Free Screening Hot Line is 616.391.2380, or the Kent County Health Department Communicable Disease Line at 616.632.7228.
Cornerstone is proactively disinfecting all common spaces and restrooms on a daily basis with hospital-grade disinfectant. The best prevention for viruses is to: