March 27, 2020
To the Campus Community,
As we conclude our first week of virtual instruction and learning, I want to share my deep gratitude to our faculty who have shown extraordinary innovation and commitment to their calling, to our students who have exhibited uninterrupted tenacity and determination in pursuing their dreams, and our staff and administrators who have demonstrated a spirit and commitment to our mission that I will never forget.
This week we learned of the first cases of COVID-19 affecting members of our campus community. My thoughts are with them and their loved ones during this difficult time. I know there are many others who have family members facing this terrible virus. COVID-19 has affected every one of us in ways small and large.
While I know this week has presented challenges for many, I have been buoyed by the resilient stories of students, faculty and staff persisting. Necessity is the mother of invention, and COVID-19 has compelled us all to think differently and push ourselves — in service of students, to connect with our teams, to obtain knowledge. Our faculty are translating years of classroom curriculum to alternate modalities in record speed. Staff are navigating the new reality of remote working while others are continuing to provide critical services on campus — maintaining physical distance and utilizing hygiene protocols. Administrators are moving quickly to support the redeployment of resources to support these changes and find new ways to conduct operations. And our students are connecting with classmates and their instructors in new and meaningful ways.
We are seeing services offered remotely. Events taking place online. Even fitness classes delivered virtually. In every instance, I am grateful and filled with admiration. It is my privilege to serve alongside you as we all adjust and rise to the occasion. At the same time, I know that some have been more deeply impacted by this health crisis and are finding it extremely difficult to function well, especially when coupled with job loss and economic uncertainty.
I know that you may be anxious about the pandemic, your friends and families, and the uncertainty of it all. It is my absolute priority to provide the safest environment and greatest amount of support we can as we serve our students. Please take care of yourselves — read updates, take safety precautions, and look for ways to stay connected to your classmates, your colleagues, your teams and your loved ones. Together, we will make it through this challenging time.
Dianne F. Harrison, Ph.D.