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University remains focused on being there for students

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Dozens of Carson-Newman University student, faculty and staff gather for a video conference dubbed the "Mossy Creek Meet Up." This weekly Zoom meeting is just one way the University is still connecting with students.

(April 9, 2020) JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. — Weeks after all classes shifted online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Carson-Newman University is still finding ways to connect with students, including forming a new Eagle Care Team, scheduling “Mossy Creek Meet Up” video conferences, and rescheduling graduation ceremonies.

While many colleges have canceled commencement ceremonies, the University announced this week that undergraduate commencement will take place Aug. 7, contingent on lessened risk due to the pandemic. Graduate students completing their degree this spring or summer are invited to walk the stage in December.

Students describe Carson-Newman as home. Our students give purpose and meaning to our mission,” said Provost Jeremy Buckner. “Among the various campus celebrations, commencement signals one of our greatest achievements together as a community. Our desire is to celebrate with our students.”

For seniors, this time of year is typically packed with awards ceremonies and special events that bring the students together to celebrate the end of their undergraduate journey. While many of those events are not possible this year, Buckner and staff members with the University’s Marketing & Communications department hosted a large Zoom meeting Wednesday evening so that seniors could fellowship with faculty and staff.

The gathering, dubbed the Mossy Creek Meet Up, served as a reminder to students that they are a treasured part of the Eagle family, and that family is still here for them, even during this time of distance learning.

“It just shows me that Carson-Newman truly is special,” said Emilie Jones, a senior music education major from Cumberland Gap. “I haven’t heard of any other universities doing that. I’m not just a number to our professors. I’m a person that they care about. They took time out of their day to talk to us and pray with us. It meant the world and reminds me why I chose Carson-Newman.

Mossy Creek Meet Ups will continue each Wednesday evening, with juniors invited to join next week, and sophomores and freshmen joining in the weeks to follow. Meanwhile, many other services are in place should any student hit a stumbling block, including a new Eagle Care Team that President Charles A. Fowler formed.

Composed of six active team members, and 15 others on back up, the Eagle Care Team answers emails and phone calls about any concerns students or parents have and any hurdles they are facing.

“The Eagle Care Team is meant to provide a source of information, direction and comfort during the uncertain times we are facing,” said member Shelly Laux, assistant vice president for Advancement. “We help get answers to difficult questions, direct students to underutilized resources like online library research assistance, keep track of new policy or closures, and even pray with students and parents. Sometimes difficult, but always rewarding, it is a blessing to be part of resolving concerns for our Carson-Newman community.”

Founded in 1851, Carson-Newman is a Christian liberal arts-based university affiliated with the Tennessee Baptist Convention. The University is located in Jefferson City, Tennessee, among the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains and has over 2,700 students. Carson-Newman offers 50 undergraduate majors, as well as associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees.

For media inquiries, visit the University Relations page.

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