Dear WVU Faculty and Instructors:
Where did summer go? Even for veterans of the academic calendar, the start of fall semester always comes as a jolt to the system, like a double shot of espresso! Within a matter of days, more than 27,000 students descend upon Morgantown and our Beckley and Keyser campuses, bringing their excitement, enthusiasm — and cars.
But we are grateful to have them back in person. I don’t know about you, but I love seeing our eager new freshmen navigate campus and sample their first taste of college life. They come to us filled with high hopes, great expectations and a little fear of the unknown. Be sure to reach out to those students who seem lost and in need of a helping hand.
Be sure also to engage with our new faculty who are coming here from all over the country and world. A special welcome to this talented group of “freshmen” who chose to come here to launch their careers and to make West Virginia their new home. We are all the better for it.
After a challenging two-plus years, I hope each of you was able to relax and rejuvenate this summer. Let us all begin the new academic year with renewed energy and purpose.
As we launch the new year, remember that we are returning to many familiar practices and policies, including those guiding classroom attendance. Just as President Gee shared yesterday, we expect our students to get back into the habit of regularly coming to class. And because our students are back at full capacity on campus, we need our faculty and instructors to be here as well. Our students benefit the most from having in-person classes, labs and faculty office hours.
Our “new normal” will continue to emerge and will certainly be a balancing act for all. In addition to resetting expectations about attendance, we must also be prepared for students who are self-quarantining. Please use good judgment and show grace in accommodating students who fall ill and should not be on campus. Additional guidance is available on the WVU Teaching and Learning Commons website.
And of course, keep an eye on yourself and your own health and well-being. Our provost.wvu.edu and faculty.wvu.edu websites will point you to the variety of resources available at WVU. On the WVU Faculty site, the professional development pages will advertise faculty and leadership development sessions and offer resources throughout the year. Also, a new “Partners in Success” section includes more than two dozen units on campus that offer services ranging from teaching and ITS help to mental health and well-being support.
As we look ahead, our ongoing Academic Transformation process has identified a number of exciting growth opportunities in our academic offerings. It has also inspired several new initiatives focused on student and faculty success. My team and I will be communicating regularly about these activities and look forward to working with you to continue to transform our University in positive ways and strengthen our position for the future.
Get ready for an exciting new year and prepare for the unexpected. Our recent history with the pandemic taught us that we can’t always anticipate what the future will bring. But we also learned that we can overcome a myriad of challenges when we marshal our resources and work together. I am proud to be your colleague and a member of our One WVU community.
We hope that your school year gets off to a strong start. Do stay connected to your peers, your students and your own professional goals. Watch for opportunities to get involved and engaged, and let us know how we can support you on your academic journey.
I hope to see you around campus this fall.