UPDATE FROM PRESIDENT, JASON S. WOOD, Ph.D. – March 30, 2020
Thank you for an amazing all-college forum on Friday! I am so blessed to work among generous faculty and staff who are doing exceptional work to help our students and each other through this difficult time.
Here are a few notes from our Board Prep/Policy Team meetings:
- We know all of you are going above and beyond to work at home. Just about everyone has invested their own resources to improve their technology or phone so they can work remotely. We acknowledge your sacrifices and thank you for helping. Please note that Caleb White and Heath Ahnen have worked hard to understand your needs. Because of their efforts to help us understand the extent of your situations, every benefitted faculty and staff member will receive a $50 stipend per month from now through June 30. If you already receive a stipend, the amount will be increased to $50. We plan to phase this stipend out starting July 1, 2020.
- Assessment of student learning is essential. We cannot take a step backward and we now have the additional expectation to document our decisions related to program delivery decisions. As such, we have approved a modest stipend for faculty to complete all required student learning assessment by June 15. The Deans and Academic Council will have additional details regarding the process and expectations. We are striving for cohesive simplicity with quality assurances to validate the decisions. Our goal, as always, is 100% compliance.
- Stephanie Brown and Dan Imhoff are developing safety and wellness protocols for students in housing to move out safely.
- We will make our 3-D printers available for use by the state to use them to print more personal protective equipment (PPE).
- Our small inventory of safety equipment will be inventoried. We support donating PPE for medical needs now over potential instructional needs when campus resumes operations. We will determine how to distribute once we have an idea of what we have in stock.
- We are working to establish reasonable protocols for midwifery students to resume counting clinical hours. Our efforts have included the faculty, students, attorneys, our insurance company, health care officials, and accreditation/certification guidelines. If we are successful in creating an opportunity for these students, who provide essential services which are increasingly in demand because of the current pandemic, we might have a model to replicate with other programs whose graduates provide essential services.
- The Institutional Vitality Plan (IVP) for staff is moved to the fall.
- Out of an abundance of precaution and recognizing some programs may need additional time for instruction, we have canceled the spring ceremony. The graduation committee is doing an excellent job developing several options to celebrate spring 2020 graduation in an alternative format. A large virtual celebration recognizing the resilience, determination, and achievements of the graduating class of 2020 – stay tuned for more details. We will, however, find ways to help our students celebrate their accomplishments at one of two events:
- A special commencement event during the Southwest Tech Open House and Homecoming on Saturday, September 19, 2020
- Winter Commencement Friday, December 11, 2020
- Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) – the team is working through various options as we strive to determine if and how to move forward. We hope to take advantage of the emerging opportunities while minimizing the potential threats to a successful implementation. We anticipate a recommendation going to the Board of Directors, pending successful contract negotiations, at the April, perhaps May meeting.
- Caleb and Kelly Kelly are working on updating our budget assumptions, including the likely reality of reduced revenues and increased expenses. Karen, Katie Glass, Derek, and Holly will lead the creation of revenue or FTE generating opportunities for consideration. Caleb, Krista, Katie Garrity, and I will develop plans for worse-case scenarios that may extend beyond the 2020-2021 fiscal year. We believe there are innovative opportunities to invest in our priorities. We anticipate sharing a college-wide update at in-service.
Please note that my email to students, sent earlier this evening, is attached for your reference.
We are working on guidelines to use the newly established Faculty and Staff Support Funds. If you know of someone who needs one-time assistance, please let Holly and/or Krista know and they will address the situation. The Charger Care Campaign will begin using funds to reach out to faculty and staff with locally sourced items to let people know how much their colleagues care about their well-being. If you know someone who may need more substantial support over a longer period of time, please let me know and we will help. This is sensitive information and we will strive to show respect while maintaining the dignity of everyone. If you need something, please let us know so we can help. Confidentiality will be maintained as much as possible. At Southwest Tech, we care.
In closing, please remember to wash your hands, cough into your elbow, don’t touch your face, practice social distancing, and remain home as much as possible. It doesn’t sound inspirational and it’s not what we thought we would be preaching. It is, however, a great way to show we care for each others and those serving on the front lines. It is the best way we can win. 🙂