Dear Faculty and Staff:
We are continuing to focus extensive attention on plans for a return to in-person classes and traditional campus activities for the fall semester and also on recruitment and retention of students for the 2020-21 academic year.
This has been the emphasis of numerous meetings and communications involving vice-presidents, deans, department heads, faculty, staff, students, University of Louisiana System personnel and others.
As it has been from the outset, the safety of every individual at the university and in the community is paramount. We will continue to receive guidance from authorities on health and wellbeing in this crisis and work closely with them to maintain a safe and healthy environment on our campuses.
There will be some changes from our conventional operations even as we resume face-to-face classes in August. Protective masks, hand-sanitizers, deep cleaning of facilities, social distancing and other precautionary protocols will be in place, but interaction and connectivity will again enhance learning and university life.
Phase One of the return to campus plan under which the university is currently operating has been successful, and your assistance and cooperation in implementing that system is sincerely appreciated.
The governor is expected to announce plans for Phase Two of the state’s reopening early next week. Much work is being done at the university to prepare for that plan, which is expected to move the university toward 50 percent capacity in the return of personnel, reopening offices and expanding services and activities on campus. We will share details of the university’s Phase Two of reopening following the governor’s announcement and completion of that plan.
Our enrollment and student services team in Admissions, Recruiting, Financial Aid, Registrar, First-Year Experience and other areas have been working diligently to assist continuing students in their return to campus in the fall and to attract new students to the university.
These recruitment and retention efforts are more important than ever as we deal with all of the negative impacts of the pandemic, and all of your efforts in this area are deeply appreciated.
Our university family was saddened this week by the news that John G. Williams, one of our revered and respected colleagues, died suddenly on May 24. John was an attorney and a professor of business law. He had been a full-time faculty member for 28 years and was on the adjunct faculty for 19 years before that.
Please keep John’s wife, Suzanne, also a member of the NSU staff, and his children Brooke, Shelly and Scott and other family members in your thoughts and prayers.
We have worked closely with our legislative delegation and others in the Legislature and state government on funding and other issues related to higher education during this year’s session. The regular session ends Monday, but the Legislature will then go immediately into special session through June 30. We will continue to advocate for issues in the legislature that impact the university and higher education statewide.
It is encouraging that the capital outlay budget that has been moving through the legislative process includes funding for next fiscal year of more than $1.1 million for planning the construction of a $37.4 million facility to replace Kyser Hall as the university’s major classroom facility.
We have been informed by University of Louisiana System President Dr. Jim Henderson that the ULS Foundation has received an $800,000 donation through the Chicago Community Trust to support new STEM professorships at our universities.
The ULS Foundation will provide two $40,000 donations to NSU and each of the other eight universities in the system to be matched with $60,000 in private funds raised by the universities for each professorship. Professorship funding will be evenly divided between males and females. The remaining $80,000 will be allocated based on competitive requests from UL System universities.
The deadline for universities to request funding for professorships will be Dec. 31, 2021. Our development team is working with the NSU Foundation board of directors to update our stakeholders and identify prospects to provide matching funds. The 60-40 ratio will be an attractive alternative to the 80-20 match currently offered by the Board of Regents Support Fund and will provide us with a great opportunity for enhancement.
Thanks for your continuing support and assistance during these challenging times and for the important contributions that you make every day to the stability and success of our university.