The last thing Isabel Leon ’24 needed right now was the expense of a high-powered laptop equipped to support the level of work she’ll be doing in her engineering classes at Chapman’s Fowler School of Engineering.
Enter the assistance of Chapman University. Thanks to the university’s support, the first-year computer engineering major from Santa Ana and recipient of a Human Centered Engineering Scholarship was provided a new laptop.
“That was really helpful,” Leon says. “Getting a computer from the school is a huge help. If I had to replace the laptop I have with the one I need, that would have been most of my money gone.”
Helping Students Thrive
That’s just one of many examples of how Chapman is stepping in to help students obtain equipment and technology they need to thrive this fall. Digital tools, software, laptops and even gear for at-home maker spaces are among the materials available to students. At the new Fowler School of Engineering, the equipment provisions were all part of the specific plan to outfit classrooms and students. But because the university is starting the semester with remote instruction, the mailroom is extra busy these days as it ships that and more to student homes.
“We are pleased that we can provide this equipment and other services to our students so that they can continue with a quality educational experience during this period of remote instruction,” said Chapman Provost Glenn Pfeiffer.
Most recent among those efforts was an expansion of the Laptops-to-Go program supported by the Student Government Association (SGA). By unanimous vote, the SGA’s Executive Council approved a plan to put more loaner laptops into students’ hands.
“Right now our focus is on giving students throughout Chapman critical support during COVID-19,” said Philip Goodrich, SGA president. “We want to help as best we can.”
That spirit of generosity took off in April during Chapman’s annual Giving Day. More than 1,300 donors raised slightly more than $1.1 million for its students and families in economic crisis because of the pandemic. Additionally, the donations helped the university retool classroom technology that will be used for remote instruction as well as when the campus reopens with physical distancing protocols and a mix of in-person and remote instruction.
Tech, Labs and Cloud Software to Go
Help is on the way for students in Fowler School of Engineering, too. Based on their coursework, students will receive a variety of equipment, from circuit components and multimeters to microcontroller lab kits and 3D printers, all of which were planned as part of the outfitting of classes in the new school. The ship-to-home plan enables engineering students to stay on track, while awaiting the return to campus.
Similarly, Animation and Visual Effects students at Dodge College of Film & Media Arts will enjoy cloud-based virtual workstations thanks to a collaboration Dodge piloted with Eclipse Tech during the safer-at-home orders issued in March. Students can quickly build their workstations and have the same 24/7 access to 3D animation and VFX software that’s offered in campus studios.
Film major Isy Barrett ’21 says the software helps keep her senior thesis on track.
“EclipseTech has been great for the heavy processes of my senior thesis film that I’m not able to do on my home computer, like compositing and rendering. I’ve found it much easier and faster than using a remote desktop connection, and it’s nice to have a personalized desktop that stays for every session. It’s a great tool available to students.”
Likewise the lab experience won’t be delayed for students who study microbiology at Schmid College of Science and Technology. Students soon will be shipped portable kits with supplies for a series of microbiology labs. Each student in Microbiology 317L will receive materials and supplies for completing four labs at home, including a lab constructing and monitoring Winogradsky columns to observe the growth of different types of organisms.
Remote and Rigorous Learning Continues
SGA’s popular Laptops-to-Go program previously operated from campus-based kiosks, in collaboration with Information Systems and Technology. However, the PCs and Macs will now be issued through the Information Systems and Technology office. A variety of programs will be provided on each laptop, including Adobe Creative Cloud, according to Michelle Sypinero, director of Information Systems and Technology.
Such tech-to-go efforts are part of a comprehensive strategy to not let COVID-19 stop the university from delivering personalized, high-quality instruction as Chapman begins the semester with remote instruction, Pfeiffer says.
“We all look forward to the day when we can safely return to in-person instruction – and we are diligently planning for that eventuality,” Pfeiffer said. “Meanwhile, we are committed to providing instruction that is as rigorous and challenging as ever.”
To learn more about ways the university is supporting students and providing resources they need for a meaningful educational experience, visit the CU Safely Back Fund page.