*Published on October 30, 2020*
Dear Faculty Colleagues,
Working together this semester we successfully reimagined almost every aspect of university life—from teaching to dining to recreation. Guided by the scientific expertise on our faculty, we launched a world-class testing operation and developed innovative approaches to classroom instruction. What we have achieved this semester, we have achieved together. Our students are extraordinarily appreciative of your efforts and so am I.
Throughout the fall we have been laser-focused on ensuring the safety and well-being of our community, while providing the best possible experience for our students. You have been creative, adaptable, and dedicated. And our students have been vocal with their positive feedback—in support of the safe on-campus environment and your ability to keep them on track academically. Again, let me express my great gratitude for all that you have done.
I have attended town halls, listening sessions, and other engagement opportunities. I have met with many of you individually. I have listened to your ideas, candid feedback, and concerns. Shifting schedules in the K-12 system, and other external uncertainties, have put tremendous strain on many in our community. Understandably, many of you have described real hardship with respect to health conditions, specific childcare needs and similar family situations, among others.
To be clear, no faculty member facing such hardships will be compelled to return in the Spring.
As we approach the November 6th deadline, the Faculty Senate has suggested that we consider that faculty circumstances may change over time, and that they be allowed to request remote teaching later if they encounter a new hardship. Given the fluid nature of the pandemic, I concur. We will remain flexible and accommodating, just as we have been this fall.
Our plans will constantly adapt to the evolving public health situation. We will continue to be guided by science to ensure the safety and well-being of our community at large, while preserving our ability to respond quickly to changing public health conditions.
We are in this together. We will continue to listen to each other, and together make adjustments based on how the pandemic affects our campus, the communities we live in, and our lives. I am grateful for your continued support and commitment.
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs