COVID-19 has caused many schools and businesses to come up with alternative ways to operate, and the Luxembourg Campus of Sacred Heart University is no exception.
“We had to switch from live to online immediately, and we did that over the weekend,” said head of campus Antoine Rech. “Thanks to the support of the U.S., we were able to work with our professors to switch to Zoom and the online tool.”
Located nearly 5,000 miles away from the U.S., Sacred Heart’s Luxembourg Campus primarily offers graduate programs for the Jack Welch College of Business and Technology, as well as study abroad programs for undergraduate students.
The campus has been integrating technology and virtual learning now more than ever. This serves as an example as to how innovation can come from necessity.
“From a crisis, you can also grab opportunities,” said Rech. “So what we did is we actually invited some professors from the U.S. to participate in the courses that we were offering here in Luxembourg.”
The concept of having professors in different countries teaching alongside one another via Zoom is new, but it can serve to help students by providing them with knowledge from people all around the world.
Being able to instantly connect with someone across the world not only provides potential for how college courses can operate, but also for how the campuses in Fairfield and Luxembourg can collaborate and work with each other.
Dr. David Taylor, director of digital integration of campuses, works directly with the staff at the Luxembourg Campus and described what the process of changing how the two campuses work together was like.
“When the pandemic happened, we were using Zoom for all these things and so last spring, as we were doing classes on Zoom and we were doing meetings through Zoom, we started realizing that there’s no difference between me having a meeting with the Dean from my house here, and having the meeting in Luxembourg,” said Taylor. “What we realized is that one of the silver linings in the pandemic is that really, distance doesn’t matter so much in the electronic age.”
Although there have been difficulties with the pandemic, both campuses are focusing on the positives.
“Again with Zoom, there’s not a lot of difference now between when I’m collaborating with my colleagues here versus when I’m collaborating with my colleagues there, so it’s really sort of brought the campuses together in a nice way,” said Taylor.
The location of the campus in Luxembourg is also something students can benefit from. Being a central city in Europe, students have the opportunity to travel and experience different kinds of cultures.
“The city center is not like downtown New York, it’s not like Manhattan. Here, you can walk, you can take the tram to go from one store to another and mix with the people, and this is a fantastic opportunity to develop yourself,” said Rech.
The university also provides students with opportunities to travel and study abroad, with programs that can be as short as a few weeks or as long as a full semester.
In Jan. 2022, there will be a two-week program to study in Luxembourg, as well as an opportunity to go for the full semester later on in the spring of 2022 for undergraduate students.
“The university is about giving you knowledge, skills, and to offer you new ideas of development,” said Rech. “So if you have, as a student of Sacred Heart, the opportunity to use Sacred Heart in Europe, in Luxembourg, well, explore because then you will come back to your country with a whole different view.”