Dear Spalding Community,

We are about a month away from the start of fall classes at Spalding on Aug. 24, and we couldn’t be more excited for the safe reopening of our campus. This year, in particular, after all our country has gone through, we are energized and inspired by our incoming first-year and returning students, and we can’t wait for your arrival.

As we prepare for our reopening while the COVID-19 pandemic persists, you can be assured that Spalding will continue to make the safety of our students, faculty and staff our top priority.

Led by Chief of Staff and Dean of Operations Chris Hart, our Return to Campus Committee has been meeting regularly and devising a comprehensive plan that will be shared by the first week of August.

Additionally, we’ll soon share a Spalding Promise pledge that all members of the university community who plan to be on campus must sign. This is an important social contract that shows we are all on the same page and working together compassionately to protect ourselves, each other and our larger community as it relates to mask-wearing, social distancing and disclosing when we are experiencing symptoms.

Here are some of the key measures we are taking to ensure the safe reopening of campus:

  • For each academic session, classes will be offered in three primary formats – in-person, online and a hybrid of those two. Because most of our courses are offered in six-week sessions instead of full semesters, we have the flexibility to quickly adjust classes during a term or before the next term. Web cameras will stream every in-person class, meaning that any student who prefers to or needs to participate from home will be able to do so. If public health conditions make it necessary to move in-person classes fully online, we will do that.
  • Our academic and operational leaders have reviewed every classroom and learning space on campus and reconfigured rooms to ensure social distancing. Maximum room capacities have been lowered to meet guidelines for social distancing and crowd sizes.
  • Face coverings must be worn indoors at all times, except for when you’re alone in private offices and residential rooms. Masks are also strongly encouraged in outdoor settings in which you’re near others. A free Spalding-branded cloth mask will be provided to every employee and student while supplies last. Disposable cloth masks will also be available. Free plastic face shields will be available for those who must interact with others within six feet.
  • Every person coming to campus must complete and pass a daily online health self-assessment. This quick assessment will ask basic questions about your temperature, potential symptoms and potential exposure to COVID-19.
  • All students will be strongly encouraged to download a campus public health app that will be used for submitting the health self-assessments and assisting in contact tracing should a positive case occur on campus. This app will protect personal privacy and confidentiality.
  • Wayfinding and directional signage to promote social distancing are being installed in buildings across campus.
  • Sanitation of campus spaces will be a top priority of our housekeeping staff. Anti-viral cleaning solution and wipes will be available in classrooms across campus, and hand sanitizer dispensers are set up in every building.
  • All students living in the residence halls will have a room to themselves while only being charged the less expensive double-occupancy rate.
  • Campus dining will no longer include self-serve options, and students will have dedicated hours of access to dining facilities.
  • Nearly all staff members who are able to do so will continue to work from home in order to reduce the number of people in any given building.

Never hesitate to reach out to the Dean of Students, your academic advisor, a member of the faculty, your athletic coach or our financial aid staff with your questions about this fall. If you have not registered for fall classes, we encourage you to do so on WebAdvisor.

We will continue to follow health guidelines set by state and local government and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This is a fluid time for our country and our campus, and when it’s necessary to adjust, we will. Our success this year will require cooperation, flexibility and patience from everyone, and I know we will succeed.  We are a compassionate university, and we will work together to have a great, safe year.

All the best,


Tori Murden McClure
Spalding University President

President McClure’s June 17 announcement on reopening 
President McClure creates Return to Campus Committee – May 28
Return to Campus/COVID-19 resource page

Aaron Roberts, Director of Residence Life, sent the following message to students on June 18, 2020, regarding on-campus housing this fall:

Dear Golden Eagles,

It has always been a priority of our Residence Life team to provide a home away from home where you feel safe, connected, and empowered. As we anticipate the course of COVID-19 for the fall, your health and safety are our priority. Per the guidance of Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, we will open on-campus housing in August at a lower density for the 2020-2021 academic year.

What will low-density, on-campus living look like?

Students will be assigned single room occupancy in either Morrison Hall or the Spalding Suites but will be charged the lower rate of a double room.

At single room occupancy, no more than 2-7 students will be living per suite in the Spalding Suites.
A number of private rooms will be set aside as isolation rooms for symptomatic students with access to single use restrooms and showers.

Please complete your Housing Preference Form by Friday, July 10.  Students will receive a housing assignment on Wednesday, July 15. We will do our best to assign adjacent rooms to students who have requested a roommate. We will use the same guidelines from the governor and the CDC to inform our safe use of shared spaces. We will provide further details with the housing assignment.

At this time, we feel confident that every student who applies for housing will receive a housing offer. However, the number of students we will be able to house this year will be limited based on these guidelines. If housing applications exceed our capacity, priority will be given to students who live more than 30 miles from campus. You can stay up to date with our Return to Campus Plan at

We thank you for your patience and for doing your part to keep our campus community safe.  Reach out to me anytime with questions at [email protected] or contact our Residence Life Operations Coordinator Deanna Kirby at [email protected]. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @reslife_su.

My team and I look forward seeing you this fall!

Aaron Roberts
Director of Residence Life


Dear Spalding Community,

Thanks to the diligent work of many, I am pleased to announce that Spalding University will welcome students back to campus this fall.

Led by Chief of Staff and Dean of Operations Chris Hart, the Coordinating Committee for the Return to Campus has been meeting regularly to plan for the safe reopening of campus for in-class instruction, housing, athletics and other campus activities. The Return to Campus committee will issue a report in the coming weeks with guidelines for the Spalding Community.

All aspects of how the University operates will be in the context of ensuring the health and wellness of our students, faculty, staff and visitors, following guidance from state and local officials. This will include considerations for personal protective equipment and the safe configuring of classrooms, labs, residence halls, athletic facilities and other campus spaces.

Some initial updates:

  • Fall classes will include courses that are face-to-face, hybrid and online.
  • Web cameras will be in seated classes so that students who do not feel comfortable attending class in person will have the option to participate from home.
  • Leaders from Athletics and Residence Life have been working on protocols for safely welcoming student-athletes and residential students back to campus.
  • For several weeks, Spalding University’s Comprehensive Outpatient Rehabilitation Facility (CORF) has been operating and seeing clients in a safe manner, and its successful reopening will serve as a model for other clinical and lab settings around campus.

We look forward to sharing additional updates from the planning committee.

We encourage our current and incoming students to move forward with registering for fall courses in anticipation of our return. We can’t wait to see our students again this fall.

May you, and all those you love, be well.

All the best,

Tori Murden McClure
Spalding University President

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. In observance of it, Dr. Teah Moore, Director of Spalding University’s new Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program, offers her insights on mental wellness and the role that mental health practitioners can play to support it. 

Why is mental health awareness important?

We often lack the knowledge of what mental health is and why it is important. Having an opportunity to emphasize its importance is a great time to educate people about how it plays a major role in our lives and the lives of our love ones.

Can it be common for people not to pay attention to their mental wellness and address the stress and anxieties they may be experiencing?

Certainly. Like other problems we don’t always know that there is a problem. We see this in athletes, such as tennis players. Many players are finding success after giving their mental wellness attention. We also can recall how champion swimmer Michael Phelps has shared that he knew how to succeed in the pool but only through paying attention to his mental wellness, gained essential skills to succeed in life.

Related: Advice from Spalding’s Counseling Center Director on how to deal with anxiety during the pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to be a cause of anxiety and isolation for many. What advice or tips do you have for people to stay mentally well at this difficult time?

While it depends on what the anxiety is about, listening to your thoughts is a good start.  Really listen to yourself and what you are saying. Thought stopping is a basic exercise for anxiety. When you catch yourself thinking a negative thought, Say Stop it. You would be surprised at how many negative thoughts go through our minds and add to our anxiety. Spend time filling yourself with positive news, entertainment, readings and people. This gives you positive things to think about. For isolation, consider connecting using the tools such as Zoom, Skype and FaceTime.  Call people. Don’t worry about being a bother. Go through your contacts and reconnect with people you haven’t spoken to in a while. Plan your day. Plan fun. Find laughter and humor. Learn to live in your whole house. I read where people often use only part of their home.  The key word is Live.

What are some ways a mental health professional like a counselor can help an average person, especially someone who has never seen a professional counselor or therapist before and isn’t sure what to expect?

Professional counselors can help normalize what people are experiencing. Feelings and emotions are normal. It’s normal to feel some anxiety. It’s normal to experience loneliness. It’s normal to worry. The professional counselor can explain how we help people get unstuck when emotions, anxiety and worry get overwhelming or when we seem to be in a loop. A professional counselor can help people not only survive but thrive during this pandemic. They can help us answer, “Who or what do you want to be on the other side of this?”

More Info: Spalding’s Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling
News Release: University announcement of the new master’s program

What role do you expect the future graduates of Spalding’s new Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling to play in helping our communities and in increasing access to mental health care?

Compassion. We have become such a punitive society and one filled with opinions about the lives of others. I know that Spalding graduates will take caring to a new level. They will ask themselves, “How am I responding or going to respond?” Respond with compassion and not fear, hate or hurt. Increasing access to mental health comes by identifying those that need care and encouraging them to receive care. The stigma and past treatments can be roadblocks. Our graduates will deliver mental health services that see people as people and not as a problem.

Spalding students wanting to connect to a mental health professional are encouraged to contact Center for Counseling and Psychological Services (CaPS) Director Dr. Allison From-Tapp at at [email protected] or (502) 873-4458. Members of the public can contact Spalding’s Center for Behavioral Health (CBH) at [email protected] or (502) 792-7011 to inquire about telehealth services. 

Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

If not for the coronavirus pandemic that canceled spring sports around the country, the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Baseball Tournament would be taking place this weekend, and there’s a good chance that Spalding University, which in mid-March was nationally ranked and on a long winning streak, would have been part of the four-team tournament.

The sudden shutdown of the Golden Eagles’ 2020 season nearly two month ago – which occurred just as they were arriving in Florida for a spring-break slate of games – was a jarring and difficult blow for a team with high hopes of earning an NCAA Division III Tournament bid, coach Matt Downs said. But Downs said he was proud of the leadership and maturity of his players in realizing that canceling the season was a necessary step for the safety of themselves and their families.

The dizzying sequence of news that led to the halting of all U.S. sports took place while the Spalding baseball team was traveling south to the Russmatt Central Florida Invitational. The Golden Eagles were on the second day of a 17-hour bus trip when word got out that Division I conference basketball tournaments were being canceled, followed by the cancellation of NCAA March Madness and all other winter and spring college championships. The NBA also suspended its season after a player tested positive for COVID-19.

“We had ESPN on the satellite TVs on the bus, and we were traveling across state lines as basically the whole sports world shut down before our eyes,” Downs said.

FOLLOW | Spalding baseball team @SpaldingUBSB on Twitter

Spalding’s first game in Florida was called off when its opponent canceled its season. Soon after, Downs said Spalding’s seniors – pitcher Logan Koch, catcher Isaac Lineberry, outfielder Garrett Wilson, shortstop Eric Meyer – and juniors also elected to not play any other games that weekend once it became clear that there would be no postseason to play for and that participation in any additional regular-season games could pose a health risk.

“I thought that was really responsible of them,” Downs said. “I’m recently married and was thinking about home and family and big-picture stuff, but for them, as 20-, 21-, 22-year-olds to make a decision like that that was responsible even though it may have meant they never get to step on the field again, I really, truly commend them for that decision.”

The day before the team was set to make the long trip back to Louisville, NCAA Division III tweeted that spring student-athletes would be granted an additional year of eligibility if they’d like to use it.

Downs said the four seniors saw the D-III announcement before he did. When he visited their room that day to check in, he expected the seniors to be bummed out. Instead they were all upbeat.

“That put a new spring in their step and a new breath of fresh air in them,” Downs said. “The seniors and juniors saw it as an opportunity that this doesn’t have to be done. … They were fired up, and there was a renewed sense of joy.”

It provided consolation for a disappointing end to a promising season. Spalding entered the spring break trip to Orlando with momentum – an 11-3 record and an eight-game winning streak. The Golden Eagles had just kicked off conference competition by sweeping Principia in three games by a combined score of 38-7.

The Orlando games would have allowed them a chance to rack up a few resume-building nonconference wins. Then, Spalding would have returned to SLIAC play with a chance to make noise against Fontbonne and Webster.

“We had a lot of great things going for us,” Downs said.

As disappointing as it was, Downs is excited by the chance in 2021 to return some of the Golden Eagles’ talented seniors as grad students while also bringing in a strong recruiting class. The coach praised Spalding’s seniors for their leadership, practice habits and willingness to help younger teammates. It’ll be a long wait, but now there’s a chance to continue the momentum into next season.

“I think our story can be a little more hopeful and joyful,” Downs said. “… I think for a night we were kind of heartbroken, but then the NCAA stepped up and did the right thing, and the guys can see hope and opportunity.”

Dear Spalding Students,

Given the COVID-19 pandemic, we know many of you have wondered about the status of our 2020 Commencement. Unfortunately, this year, the need to avoid large gatherings and stay socially distant will force us to postpone the June 6 Commencement ceremony and reimagine how it’s conducted.

Spalding absolutely still plans to celebrate our graduating Class of 2020 and intends to do it in an in-person setting that is safe for our graduates and their loved ones. To that end, we will be postponing Commencement until August, September or possibly October, with exact dates still to be determined.

Instead of the large university-wide ceremony in which a few thousand people gather in the same church sanctuary, we will hold a series of smaller ceremonies for individual academic disciplines, likely spread out over multiple dates this fall and held at multiple venues on or around campus. This approach will help us limit the number of people who are on campus or at a single venue at the same time.

These smaller ceremonies will be similar to the school-specific ones traditionally held on the Friday before Commencement. Though they’ll occur later than initially planned, we hope these smaller ceremonies will be meaningful, memorable opportunities for graduates to celebrate their achievements with the classmates and faculty who know them best. Provost Burden and I will be at every ceremony to confer degrees.

  • We will let faculty from the individual academic programs – in consultation with student leaders – determine which dates are appropriate for ceremonies for their programs. Faculty leaders will gather input from the Student Government Association and other student organizations related to their academic programs.
  • We hope to announce the dates and sites for the various ceremonies by July in order to give graduates and their families time to make plans.
  • Graduating students are encouraged to hold off on ordering regalia until this summer. We will send more guidance and instructions on this later.
  • We unfortunately do not expect to stage a separate baccalaureate service this year, but we do plan to incorporate elements of baccalaureate into the individual Commencement ceremonies.
  • We will move forward with these in-person Commencement ceremonies only if it’s safe to do so. If conditions regarding the coronavirus do not improve by the fall, we may stage a virtual Commencement.

We are so proud of our graduates for finishing their degrees, especially during these challenging times when our entire way of life has been disrupted. The University will do everything it can to make this Commencement a special one because our graduates deserve it.

All the best,



Tori Murden McClure

Spalding University President

During a time of widespread anxiety and uncertainty caused by the coronavirus, Spalding University is set to launch a graduate academic program to develop professional counselors. This program, in keeping with the mission of Spalding, will train compassionate mental health professionals.

Spalding is now accepting applications for its new Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program that will begin classes this fall and is pending approval from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, which is Spalding’s regional accrediting body.

The two-year, 60-credit-hour MACMHC program will prepare students to become future practitioners as licensed professional counselors upon meeting the state’s postgraduate licensing requirements.

LEARN MORE | Overview of the new Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling
COURSES  | View the Program of Study for the new master’s program
REQUEST INFO | Let us know if you’d like to learn more about this program
APPLY NOW | Take the next step to joining the Fall 2020 cohort

Mental health counseling is a growing field, with the number of jobs in it and other closely related occupations expected to grow 22 percent from 2018 to 2028, according to the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics. For years, there has been a local and national shortage of mental health practitioners to help combat the opioid crisis, rises in suicide and other psychological distress. The demand has increased as the stigma of receiving mental health services has lessened and more people seek them out.

“The mission of Spalding is to meet the needs of the times by training compassionate professionals who can make a difference in the world,” Spalding President Tori Murden McClure said. “The need for access to mental health services has always existed, and it’s been magnified by the current situation – where everyone is facing the stress and emotional challenges of a pandemic. We are proud to launch a new Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program that will train future practitioners who can provide help and meet this important need.”

The new master’s program is open to students with a bachelor’s degree in any major and a 2.75 GPA from a regionally accredited institution. The deadline to apply for the Fall 2020 cohort is June 1. Spalding alumni can receive a 10 percent discount on tuition. Visit for more information about the program and its curriculum and faculty.

“We will train students to become competent counselors and encourage them to find creative ways and settings to deliver services, based on their strengths and backgrounds,” Program Director Dr. Teah Moore said. “We expect that our students will go off to work in hospitals, social service agencies, children’s homes and residential facilities for people battling addiction. Others could go into music therapy, adventure-based counseling or pastoral counseling. The opportunities the graduates of this program will have will be abundant and will help meet a growing demand.”

Through out my college career, I thought online classes were the worst, and I avoided them like the plague. Of course back then, I never knew that a pandemic would be the reason I would warm up to online classes.

COVID-19 has caused colleges across the country to shut down and turn to virtual learning in order for students to continue their education while keeping safe at the same time.

The decision to move all operations and classes online had some people uncomfortable, but Spalding University did everything it could, from paying work-study students regardless of them not being able to report to campus to work to granting a very small group of residential students permission to stay on campus to ensure those students’ needs were met.

INFORMATION | Spalding’s Healthy Together COVID-19 resource page
FROM PRESIDENT McCLURE | Classes to stay online through end of 2019-20 academic year
RELATED | How can you serve others during the pandemic? Here are some ideas

I am personally among the students who can’t go back home due to both distance and travel restrictions, and I am grateful that not only can I stay on campus, but also that the students are provided dining to last them for the week.

When online classes started last month, I quickly realized that I can now do my homework ahead of time, dressed in my pajamas with tangled hair. While I wasn’t in a physical classroom, talking to people face to face, I was engaging online. The classes encouraged us to share our opinions and everyday news, as well as comment on our classmates’ posts.

I have had the pleasure of sharing ideas with people I wouldn’t have in a face-to-face class, in addition to working together with them on projects.

My professors are also understanding of the toll and pressure this takes on all students. They are making sure that all students understand the assignments while being aware that their instructors are only an email away. Personally, I have emailed my professors multiple times – to the point where I thought of myself as a nuisance. But I was assured that I should not ever think that. It was OK to inquire about the simplest assignments so that I fully understand them.

Though I once disliked the idea of them, I can confidently say that I will be taking online classes in the future after this experience.

In our woundedness, we can become a source of life for others, (Nouwen, 1972 i)

We are wounded healers:  we enter into the lives of our patients often, alone with them, as they die from the coronavirus;

We are wounded healers: we accompany our colleagues in their care of the dying as well as their own deaths;

We are wounded healers: we bear the stigma of immeasurable pain of human suffering and dying as we stand before our patients, their families and our colleagues, filled with compassion, weeping, but with hands empty;

We are wounded healers: we experience a deep sense of abandonment, loneliness and failure because we are unable to rescue our patients and our colleagues from a disease not of their own making;

We are wounded healers: we find ourselves morally wounded because we are unable to stop the terrible decisions that must be made for patient care in the midst of this terrible disease;

We are wounded healers: each day we say good bye to our patients and colleagues, terrified to return home to our families knowing that we may carry illness and death to them –  fearful about returning to our centers of care – guilt of abandoning the sick when caring moments are desperately needed;

We are wounded healers with hope. We are calling for urgent help to be relieved of these terrible burdens so that our ineradicable covenant to care for the sick and one another with compassion, the very soul of our call to be healers, will be re-affirmed and reclaim human dignity and bring peace, healing, and hope to one another and to our world, especially the abandoned, unloved and the unwanted in our midst.

  • In the midst of these convulsive experiences and in solidarity with one another and our colleagues, we call on schools of the health professions, organizations, associations and Church groups to collaborate to:
  • Form listening sessions in order to share the wounds, the pain, multiples losses and anger we are experiencing and to reaffirm and implement the power of the trilogy of health care (human dignity, freedom and flourishing) among individuals and communities;
  • Provide comprehensive professional resources (psychological, emotional, physical, pastoral, ethical, social work) for our colleagues to help them journey through their experiences of grieving, anxiety, depression, those who have lost hope and self-confidence, death and reclaim confidence as instruments of healing and hope;
  • Implement strategies that will reach out especially to those have become isolated, withdrawn, feel abandoned, and have little reason to hope;
  • Establish local and regional interdisciplinary networks that provide long-term counseling, other services, and resources as we reclaim human dignity, freedom and promote human flourishing among all persons;
  • Collaborate with local and regional health care systems, our colleagues in the health professions, and civic leaders to construct a long term plan for continuing care and rehabilitation;

As wounded healers with hope, we bring to our world an elaborate and exhaustive array of experiences, competencies, and a legion of unparalleled experiences and expertise in education, administration, research across all domains of service to humanity. The profound virtuous act of the nurse as healer, the act that unites each of us as Fellows is embedded in the “promise of nursing,” the proclamation we all voiced when we dared to enter the world of nursing. This promise says:

Regardless of who you are, your gender, race, ethnicity, or religious persuasion, regardless of your illness or your life experiences; I am promising you my commitment that I will care with you; I will try to heal your pain, to ameliorate your suffering, to help you accept the limitations posed by the ravages of your illness.  I promise that I will accept your invitation to be with you when you are afraid, alone or dying; and to never abandon you along this journey. 

As wounded healers with hope, the largest segment of our nation’s health care workforce, amid the threats of the coronavirus, we must never allow our promise be compromised.  This is our vowed commitment to one another, to our colleagues, to the sick entrusted to our care, and to our nation and beyond.  Let us reclaim the power of the promise of nursing; let us help one another to be healed of this terrible threat to human dignity, freedom and human flourishing. In this journey together we will be freed to bring the promise of nursing to each other and to every person entrusted to our care.

Finally, we ask our Creator to protect us in our journey of healing and hope:

To bring strength, confidence and an enduring hope to each of us and to our colleagues;

  • To take time to care for ourselves and to listen to the voices in our own hearts;
  • To endow us with courage to remain faithful to the promise of nursing;
  • To care for our patients, their families, and our colleagues with compassion;
  • To bring healing to the sick, peace and comfort to the dying and their families;
  • To bring wisdom, compassion and confidence to our leaders;
  • To grant eternal rest to the dead; and
  • To comfort the mourners. Amen.

As ambassadors of hope, how successful we are in bringing healing to each of us as wounded healers, will determine how successful we are in living the promise of nursing in bringing healing and hope to all persons entrusted to our care, and to a suffering nation.

– (Nouwen, H.J.M. (1972).  The Wounded Healer.  New York: Image Books, Doubleday.)
– Photo by Ani Kolleshi on Unsplash

April 14, 2020

Dear Spalding Graduate Students,

Thank you for your flexibility and cooperation as we navigate the move to online-only courses during the coronavirus pandemic. We hope you are adjusting well to the transition to online classes, and, I applaud you for your dedication to your academic career. Most importantly, I hope you and your loved ones are staying safe during this time.

These uncertain times have generated several common questions from grad students about university policies and academic processes that relate to them. For your reference, I have compiled answers and information about a range of topics into a Frequently Asked Questions format. Please review them, and never hesitate to contact me at [email protected], a member of your faculty or your advisor.


What about traveling personally or home to continue my graduate studies during the COVID-19 advisory period?

Graduate students considering leaving Louisville are encouraged to review with their program directors and faculty that they can meet their Spalding obligations remotely and, if so, notify their program directors that they plan to continue their coursework remotely. Please check the university guidance on travel and COVID-19 as updates to the university COVID-19 webpage are made on an ongoing basis. Graduate students considering international travel, for instance, to return home, should be aware that you may face quarantine and/or flight cancellations. Also, you may be unable to return to campus for an extended period of time after traveling abroad. You may face visa issues and may not be able to travel to some domestic American destinations as well due to the trajectory of the coronavirus virus itself.  If you are unable to return to campus, you may be asked to take a leave, depending on the requirements of your program. All students are encouraged to talk with program directors and faculty and think through the various ramifications of travel at this time in the COVID- 19 advisory period.


Can I still submit my research projects to the Research Ethics Committee for review and approval during the COVID-19 advisory period where our coursework and research is now conducted online?

Yes. The Research Ethics Committee (also called the Institutional Review Board) continues to operate and accept proposals for research projects that relate to human and animal subject matter and all advanced graduate-level projects must go through the committee for approval or denial. Dr. Cindee Quake-Rapp is the chair of the committee and the committee’s graduate assistant is Nicole Hagan. Please contact Nicole at [email protected] and for more information on the process, please click on this link:


Can my defense be moved to a virtual format?

Yes. During the current COVID-19 advisory period in which academic coursework and research are being conducted virtually via GoToMeeting and other forms of technology, all dissertation defenses will be held virtually over GoToMeeting (the university’s virtual meeting platform). After the University returns to pre-COVID-19 temporary guidelines, dissertation defenses will most likely be moved back to the in-person, face-to-face (non-virtual) format. However, until further notice, these virtual defense guidelines will be put in place.

Can my friends and family attend my defense?

Yes, but only via the teleconference virtual link. Spalding is using GoToMeeting as its virtual meeting platform.  You and your dissertation chair will provide the link to your committee members and to others who might want to attend. At this time, the University does not plan on offering any face-to-face and on-campus dissertation defenses until the COVID-19 advisory period ends.

Can I postpone my defense?

It is recommended you review this request with your dissertation chair and program director. Although academic deadlines remain in place, individual students may be able to work with their programs to alter or modify their defense dates.

Can I confirm the completion of my doctoral dissertation and submit my dissertation signature pages electronically?

Yes. In addition to electronic dissertation submission process, all doctoral candidates can submit electronically their 1) dissertation title, 2) name of dissertation chair, 3) date the defense is officially considered completed (after all additions and corrections are complete, which may mean the official completion date is after the actual dissertation if a committee requires further changes to the graduate student’s actual doctoral dissertation), and 4) a dissertation signature page to the Registrar and their graduate program directors. The Registrar will accept scanned signatures as well as electronic signatures. Please send those to the Registrar’s Office at [email protected] and copy your graduate program director. Please contact the Registrar or Dean of Graduate Education ([email protected]) if you have any questions about the dissertation submission policy, which has not changed from the pre-COVID-19 advisory period policy.


Kurt W. Jefferson, PhD
Dean of Graduate Education
Professor, Doctoral Program in Leadership