Dear WVU Faculty and Instructors:
What a year this has been. We started 2020 with a presentation from the Education Advisory Board about the many challenges facing higher education, including the decline in high school enrollments, reductions in state supportand questions raised about the continued relevancy of a college education.
Little did we know that by March, we would be facing a new major challenge — the COVID-19 public health crisis that has disrupted and changed every aspect of university life.
Within just a few short weeks, the University sent students home and shifted to remote learning. Faculty and staff also shifted to working from home, and our normally bustling Morgantown campus was eerily empty. It was an incredibly stressful time, but we made it work — by adapting to the new reality, putting our students firstand supporting and caring for each other.
That “can-do” attitude served us well during a long summer and an uncertain fall semester as we continued to live with the impacts of COVID-19.
Nothing about 2020 has been easy. But what has motivated and inspired me is the commitment that you have demonstrated to our students, our University and its land-grant mission. During this holiday season, I am grateful to work alongside the members of my Mountaineer family who are dedicated, resourceful and driven by a strong sense of purpose and community.
There will be new challenges in the coming year. Until the COVID vaccines are widely available, we will continue to maintain a reduced campus presence; conduct frequent testing of our students, faculty and staff; and conduct much of our business remotely.
And the challenges we faced before COVID have only been exacerbated by the pandemic. Disruptions to higher education will require us to transform our programs and operations to adapt to the new reality. This will enable us to strengthen our University for now and into the future.
But if this time period has taught me anything, it's that we can accomplish big things as a University if we focus on the task at hand, are willing to ask hard questions, and work together toward a common goal. If we can make it through the worst health crisis of our time, we can pretty much do anything we set our minds to doing.
At the bottom of this message, I’ve included some reminders and links to resources you might find useful as we close out the fall semester and begin thinking about spring. Please keep your students and extended WVU family in mind these last two weeks of 2020. As you look ahead to the new year, I trust you’ll continue to find joy in what you do and in the people around you.
Warmest wishes to you and your loved ones this holiday season and beyond.
Final Reminders for 2020
- Be sure to visit the Provost’s Office new Most Valuable Player Awards page as we celebrate the Service MVP Award recipients and honor the many individuals who are working to ensure the success of our academic mission during the pandemic.
- Visit the WVU Faculty website for details on COVID-19 related adjustment, policies and resources.
- Check out the videos on the WVU Faculty and Leadership Development website. These include recorded workshops on self-care, writing a teaching narrative and much more.
- Consider registering for TLC’s Online Winter Mini-Institutes, Jan. 4-8 and 11-15.
- Login to WVU’s new Go2Knowledge dashboard for more than 150 live and on-demand professional development webinars.
- Consider applying for the Office of Global Affairs’ Virtual Exchange grants for Spring 2021.
- Visit the updated Academic Calendar webpage as you plan for Spring 2021.