Updates on Five College campuses working together

From meeting with our state legislators to celebrating student successes, here you’ll find updates on how the Five College campuses are working together to educate students, foster innovations in teaching, and enhance administrative effectiveness.

Mass Review offers literary take on our pandemic world

Cover of Massachusetts Review Literary JournalThe Massachusetts Review--the award-winning literary journal based at UMass Amherst and supported by all five campuses--has been using its After Us blog to examine our world within the coronavirus pandemic from a variety of perspectives. Tabish Khair explores the impact of coronavirus on xenophobia and work marginalization. Ljiljana Djukanovic writes of the grim reality of COVID-19 in Spain. Erri De Luca shares dispatches from Italy. While your there, check out the many other blogs MR maintains on its site, and check out the journal’s current issue, which includes poetry by Desiree Alvarez, fiction by Brian Chikwava and work by more than two dozen others.



Center for World Languages:

Remotely teaching 32 languages to Five College students

Yoruba instruction Center for World Languages
UMass student Busola Oreofe (left) serving as a Yoruba conversation partner for Amherst student Clinton Oshipitan.

Many people know that the Consortium helps coordinate thousands of students taking courses on other campuses each semester. What they may not know is that the Five College Center for World Languages organizes hundreds of its own courses each year, helping students learn less commonly taught languages--LCTLs. And so, like colleges here and around the country, the Center for World Languages had to shift its instruction from in-person to remote as our campuses closed in response to the pandemic. These instruction sessions are a mix of classes led by mentors and conversation sessions led by native-speaking partners, most of whom are students at Five College campuses. 

“What we did over the last three weeks is figure out how to give our conversation partners the skills to lead their sessions online, while emphasizing the real world elements of conversations,” says Center Director Janna White. All told, Center staff members set up sessions for 154 students studying 32 languages with 51 native-speaking conversation partners.“It was a multi-pronged logistical effort to get everybody online, taking into account the breadth of circumstances in which students and conversation partners find themselves,” White says. “We collaborated closely with the Amherst College Center for Teaching and Learning to come up with guidelines for running sessions over Zoom, including some unique challenges like script practice.”

White and her staff had to take into account different time zones and students without reliable Internet access or proper technology, and they had to remotely guide conversation partners on how to successfully facilitate conversations over Zoom. 

So far so good: “We’ve been really happy to see that students are totally unfazed by the shift to remote, because they’ve had to do it for all their other classes,” White says. “They are especially happy to see each other again and re-connect.” 

Tour our museum collections online

faith ringgold painting: Nobody will ever love you like I doWhether you’re looking for recent Faith Ringgold paintings or centuries-old Vietnamese ceramics, you can take an online tour of more than 100,000 items. With the Five Colleges and Historic Deerfield Museum Consortium Collections Database, our museums have been sharing their collections online for years. And planning is in full swing to make this resource even better. Thanks to an $800,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Five College museums and Historic Deerfield are developing a plan to create a next-generation multi-museum database that could be replicated by museum collaborations around the world.
These museums all belong to Five Colleges' Museums10 collaboration of seven campus museums and three affiliated independent museums.


Campus reps meet with legislators
to discuss pandemic response

Massachusetts Statehouse DomeOn Monday, March 22, representatives from the Five College campuses, Holyoke Community College and Greenfield Community College met online with the state legislators representing their districts. Campus reps gave legislators updates on remote learning and revised academic schedules at their institutions, and legislators asked for ongoing updates of how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting both institutions and students. The group meets again in two weeks.

Legislators participating in Five College meeting

Rep. Natalie Blais, 1st Franklin Dist., including Sunderland, Deerfield

Rep.Dan Carey, 2nd Hampshire Dist., including South Hadley

Sen. Jo Comerford, Hampshire, Franklin, Worcester

Rep. Mindy Domb, 3rd Hampshire Dist., including Amherst

Rep. Paul Mark, 2nd Berkshire Dist., including Greenfield

Rep. Lindsay Sabadosa, 1st Hampshire Dist., including Northampton

Rep. Aaron Vega, 5th Hampdon Dist. Including Holyoke