Anne Skleder

Brenau University President Skleder discusses school’s navigation of pandemic on WABE NPR Atlanta

Mar 3, 2021
Kathryne Davis
Listen to Dr. Skleder on WABE’s Closer Look

Brenau University President Anne Skleder made an appearance on National Public Radio’s Atlanta affiliate WABE’s Closer Look with Rose Scott on Monday, March 1, to share how Brenau University leadership, faculty, staff and students have adapted during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It has been a year like no other,” Skleder said. “I think what this year did for us at Brenau is showed that we are in fact, forged in fire and able to continue to be over 140 years tested by challenges from the external environment. So this isn’t the first challenge, and it won’t be the last. But I’m super proud of how our community is continuing to come through. It is not over yet.”

Skleder credited Brenau faculty’s over two decades of experience in online learning as one of the ways the university was able to transition on-ground students to remote learning seamlessly. Brenau has a strong online presence and was able to continue the success with online students while giving residential students the option to stay home and learn virtually.

She also explained how Brenau has handled safety protocols and on-campus housing. Skleder said the residence halls are at about 50%, meaning that students are able to stay a safe distance away from others. Athletes are also housed together since they are around each other often, making it easier to quarantine them, should there be a positive case.

Skleder mentioned that many programs at Brenau in the health care field are unable to work virtually, such as nursing, physical therapy and the new physician assistant studies program. The students in those programs take extra precautions, such as wearing face shields, sanitizing more frequently and keeping extra distance away from others.

While many colleges and universities have suffered financially during the pandemic, Brenau has figured out how to navigate through.

“We went into the pandemic very strong financially,” Skleder said, “but it’s a challenge every day. We’re looking constantly for ways to continue to educate, continue to have a culture of prevention, continue operations and find ways to save money everywhere we can. Fortunately, we have a lot of different student segments to help us,” she said.

Despite these challenges, Brenau is still moving forward. In January, the university’s physician assistant studies program started after years of planning. This followed the signing of a deal with Panama in November for students to study at the Gainesville campus. In addition, Brenau’s psychology department was elevated to become the Lynn J. Darby School of Psychology and Adolescent Counseling, which will be housed in Gainesville Renaissance, currently being built.

“Brenau is open for business and open for education,” Skleder said. “It’s just that we’re doing it in a different way.”

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