A letter from Mark Lenhart, Executive Director of CET Academic Programs:
As a new academic year begins, we all know that it will be unlike any other we’ve experienced before. It’s no secret that our field has been rocked by COVID-19 and that higher education will be forever impacted by the dismantling of long-held systems, policies, and traditional way of doing things.
CET is not immune from the logistical, financial, and systematic upheaval you all have experienced this year. After suspending China programs in late January, we brought all remaining spring students home as COVID spread throughout Europe and the rest of the world in March. We then suspended on-site summer and fall programs. This loss of enrollment has real consequences for us, forcing us to make very difficult decisions regarding staffing, operations, and program design.
But, I am an optimist! And though the past few months have been exceedingly difficult, I have been encouraged by many bright spots:
- Our on-site staff worked tirelessly to ensure students were able to leave spring programs safely and then negotiated with vendors to recover any and all costs that could be refunded to students.
- Our staff in the U.S. and abroad displayed incredible creativity and flexibility in creating virtual programs that enabled more than 100 students to make great strides in Arabic, Chinese, Italian, Japanese, and Portuguese over the summer.
- And partnerships with many of you forged new CET programs abroad for hundreds of international students unable to return to the U.S. this fall.
It is because of this creativity and adaptability that I can confidently say that CET will survive this crisis.
- We are committed to keeping core teams of U.S. and overseas staff employed so that when on-site programs resume around the world, we will have the experience abroad needed to ensure the high quality you have come to expect of CET.
- We will be transparent with you and with students and their families about our COVID health and safety standards.
- We will continue to find new, creative ways to meet your institution’s needs as we all re-build and re-shape the future of study abroad.
We have weathered many crises in our history, and while this may be the most difficult we’ve faced, I know we will come through on the other side stronger— more inclusive, more nimble and tech-savvy, and better-equipped to face new challenges.
I constantly remind our staff that we exist to serve our partners’ needs. I know many of you continue to face tough financial and staffing decisions and a foggy road ahead. Please know that we are here for you. Reach out and let us know how we can support your institution, help you solve problems you are facing, and find new ways to create international opportunities for students. We look forward to working and re-building together with you in the months and years ahead.