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Manchester offers online COVID-19 summer course for incoming students

Manchester University faculty members created an interdisciplinary summer course for incoming students that helps them transition from high school to college-level courses. It explores the many ways COVID-19 has affected our lives.

“This is a good way for students to see our faculty in action and to interact with them,” said Elton Skendaj, who is coordinating the course. “The one-credit course allows them to take part in up to seven modules, across a variety of disciplines, so they get a taste of college-level academics before the fall semester.”

Robin-MitchellManchester also provides a first-year seminar in the fall specifically designed to help incoming students make the transition. This summer short course is a little over a month long, and faculty members pulled it together in a short period as a way to connect with students who are eager to get a head start.

COVID-19: Understanding the Global Pandemic and its Effects is online and includes recorded lectures, journaling, posting to discussion boards and writing a short essay. In order to earn credit, students will need to take part in at least five of the modules and complete the course.

Faculty members who are teaching modules will have virtual office hours for one-on-one discussions, and Spartan Success staff will be available to offer academic support.

The modules are:

  • “Peace, Violence and COVID-19” with Skendaj, associate professor in peace studies  
  • “COVID-19 and social inequality: differences in pandemic experiences across race and class” with Assistant Professor Jared Friesen, sociology, social work and criminology 
  • “Reconsider the pandemic if there were no internet” with Assistant Professor Robin Mitchell, computer science 
  • “Understanding Exponential Growth” with Professor Andrew Rich, mathematics 
  • “COVID in the Time of Bananas: Energy, Poverty, and Disease in Central American Literature” with Professor Scott DeVries, modern languages 
  • “Psychology of Isolation and Religious Culture” with Associate Professor Justin Lasser, religious studies 
  • "Architecture: Re-imagining the spaces in which we live (and work)" with Assistant Professor Thelma Rohrer, art

The course begins July 1 and runs through early August. 

The University is exploring ways to utilize the content to serve a broader audience.

For the media

Elton Skendaj:

Related information

Many incoming students qualify for full tuition aid

Manchester waives enrollment deposit

Spartans United offers three-phase reopening plan

Manchester University, with campuses in North Manchester and Fort Wayne, Ind., provides vibrant and transformative student experiences. Learn more at

Our mission
Manchester University respects the infinite worth of every individual and graduates persons of ability and conviction who draw upon their education and faith to lead principled, productive and compassionate lives that improve the human condition.

June 2020