Pathfinding Timeline for Olin Ahead

I. The first step was community-wide discussion and ideation about how we might approach the 2020-2021 academic year. Our intent was to make sure that everyone had a voice and to ensure that we captured all good ideas. We also identified a core set of guiding principles and community values that helped inform the next steps of our process.  

II. Next, we held an open call for concrete proposals, which allowed individuals and groups to make more detailed proposals about what we might do. Faculty, staff, students and alumni were then invited to review and comment on the proposals. 

III. Finally, the PDC—which included students, faculty, staff, alumni and administrative representation—analyzed and synthesized the proposals from the community in order to recommend a small number of Pathways to President Miller and President-elect Barabino.  

IV. The PDC presented four possible paths to the Board of Trustees on Tuesday, June 16. The Board, the PDC, President Miller and President-elect Barabino engaged in extended discussion in order to arrive at this proposal for the 2020-2021 academic year. 

Guiding Principles 

At the outset of this process, the PDC drafted a list of principles to provide some guiding values about how to approach the coming academic year. These values were informed by community input through many channels, including workshops and office hours.  

The PDC pursued pathways that would enable Olin to: 

  • Align with our mission 
  • Have future financial sustainability 
  • Continue learning and growing 
  • Support our learning culture 
  • Have community and connection 
  • Do this together/work together 
  • Be better for it 
  • Care for each other as people 
  • Keep everyone safe 
  • Meet regulations and commitments 

To read these values in full, please click HERE

Pathfinding Deliberative Committee  (PDC)  

The PDC was formed in May as part of our timeline’s Step III. The committee worked to integrate input from community proposals, along with perspectives from the COVID Scenario Task Force, headed by Lynn Andrea Stein, to arrive at recommendations for paths forward for Academic Year 2020-21. These paths were shared with President Barabino, the Cabinet and the Board of Trustees. 

Pathfinding Deliberative Committee  (PDC): 


  • Beth Kramer, VP for Advancement 
  • Mark Somerville, Interim Provost and Dean of Faculty, Professor of Electrical Engineering 

Committee members 

  • Linda Canavan, Associate Dean for Academic Programs, Registrar 
  • Shreya Chowdhary ’22 
  • Sam Daitzman ’22 
  • Kris Dorsey ’07 
  • Jeremy Goodman, VP for Administrative Services and Innovation 
  • Ben Linder, Professor of Design and Mechanical Engineering 
  • Sam Michalka, Assistant Professor of Computational Neuroscience and Engineering 
  • Lynn Andrea Stein, Professor of Computer and Cognitive Science 
  • Adva Waranyuwat, Assistant Dean of Student Affairs 

Board of Trustees advisory group to the  PDC: Bev Wyse P’15, George Milne and Jeannie Diefenderfer 

In addition to the process outlined below, the PDC held regular office hours every Wednesday at 11am for faculty, staff and students. The purpose of these office hours was to answer and raise questions, listen to ideas and concerns, and provide a venue for continuing the community discussion. 

Scenario Modeling Task Force 

The Scenario Modeling Task Force was charged with exploring some placeholder “basis” scenarios to create models and data sets to inform and evaluate the innovative proposals from our community. The task force then studied course by course suitability for the various scenarios, as well as compiled data for residence and room capacities and regulatory constraints.  

Chair: Lynn Andrea Stein 

Contributors: Linda Canavan, Samantha Michalka, Seth Hodge, Beth Grampetro, Jean Ricker, Bob Murray, Rebecca Mathews, Jamie Engle, Thomas Curley, Emily Roper-Doten, Guilene Prepetit, Jeremy Goodman, Rick Osterberg, Barbara Luciano, Rae-Anne Butera