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Fall 2020: Community Update from President Marbach

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Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff:

In keeping with our commitment to the health and safety of our campus community, GCU will begin the fall semester on August 24 with nearly all classes being taught online. That is, most courses will start with the virtual component of our hybrid/HyFlex approach to learning, the blend of in-person and remote learning referenced in GCU’s fall reopening plan.

In late July, we shared with you the GCU reopening plan, which we will continue to update as needed, especially as we get new guidance from the state. Because we are a Mercy family focused on making the most of our mission and our commitment to students, I am confident in our approach to moving forward.

We will discuss this during our Reopening GCU Town Hall Update, Monday, August 17 at 2:00 p.m.

For now, this is where we stand:

On-Campus Living

GCU residence halls will remain open, with fewer students. Those who have already moved in or are planning to be on campus in the coming days are welcome. Food service and facilities services remain intact, with social distancing and state health guidelines in place. Students, watch your e-mail for more information about updates to our move-in procedures and billing.


  • Faculty members will launch nearly all classes online, using Blackboard. For courses that have days/times associated with the class, the class will convene as a whole online via Blackboard Collaborate for some or all of the scheduled time. 
  • Students should check Blackboard and their GCU e-mail for the most up-to-date information. When New Jersey enters Stage 3, a one-week notice will be provided before in-person class sessions begin. Students will have the option to continue completely online. 
  • We still have some in-person classes, clinicals, and labs that will be conducted for certain programs, as approved by the state. Many nursing classes, in particular, will still have an in-person component. 

Student Life

New Student Orientation (virtual), Convocation (in-person Aug. 27), and our Nursing Pinning Ceremony (in-person Aug. 27) remain on track. These events will reflect state guidelines and limits for outdoor gatherings, as well as social distancing protocols. In addition, Convocation will be streamed; watch your e-mail for more information. Also, the Office of Student Affairs is still planning a range of virtual activities that include speakers, workshops, and fun gatherings. 

Athletics and Student Services

Student-athletes will not compete this fall, as shared earlier, and our coaches remain in constant touch regarding skills training, conditioning, and other activities. Our approach to important services such as advising, financial aid, student success services, tutoring, etc., is outlined in the GCU reopening plan. Many offices will staffed virtually or by appointment; students should e-mail or call before coming to an office.

University Offices, Safety, and Screening

  • GCU offices are open and available to meet student, staff, and faculty needs. Individual units are creating on-campus and remote staffing plans. Please be sure to file any telecommuting or accommodations requests as outlined by the Office of Human Resources. 
  • Our Back to Campus Guide for Employees will be shared soon, and our required COVID-19 training video is live. Please watch your e-mail for continued guidance.
  • In addition, to prevent the spread of the coronavirus and reduce the potential risk of exposure to our community, anyone coming to campus must complete the university’s current screening form, available online:


  • Look for a mobile screening app in coming weeks. It will be suitable for iOS and Android phones. More information will come in a campus announcement.

As we all navigate these unprecedented times together, we are appreciative of your flexibility and understanding.  Since we remain in a fluid situation, I encourage you to stay up-to-date on our reopening status at There, you’ll find updates, news, and all the resources you need.

The pandemic continues to test us in many ways and there will be even more decision to make in coming weeks. Still, your ongoing cooperation, your willingness to be creative, and your resolve to lean on our core values are what allow us to get through this. Thank you.


Joseph R. Marbach, Ph.D.

Aerial view of GCU.

About Georgian Court University

Founded in 1908 and sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, Georgian Court University is Central and South Jersey’s only Catholic university. GCU is a comprehensive, coeducational university with a strong liberal arts core and a historic special concern for women. As a forward-thinking university that supports diversity and academic excellence, GCU is known for expanding possibility for more than 2,100 students of all faiths and backgrounds in 35+ undergraduate majors and 10+ graduate programs. The GCU Lions compete in 15 NCAA Division II sports in the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC). In 2020, GCU was named a Best Value College by and a Best Bang for the Buck (Northeast) by Washington Monthly. High student retention and graduation rates also make GCU a Top Performer on Social Mobility on U.S. News & World Reports rankings. The main campus is located in Lakewood, New Jersey, on the picturesque former George Jay Gould estate, a National Historic Landmark. Georgian Court, which is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, also serves students at other locations, such as GCU at BrookdaleGCU at Rowan College of South Jersey–Cumberland Campus, and through multiple online certificate and degree programs.

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