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Office of the President, UTA

 

 

May 21, 2020

Dear Colleagues,

The Spring 2020 semester has been unlike any other in our university’s history. We’ve faced unique challenges and, together, we’ve persevered.

Through your hard work, determination, and patience, we were able to serve our students and provide them a high-quality educational experience. This was no small undertaking given the very difficult circumstances.

And, while none of us could have predicted at the beginning of the semester that it would end in the manner it did, you can easily see within our newest graduates an undeniable pride in UTA and enthusiasm for the future. This past Sunday, with the tremendous assistance of the Student Affairs staff, we hosted a virtual celebration for our Spring 2020 graduates, which you can watch here. While I watched them celebrate online with their families, I was reminded once again of the resiliency of our newest alumni and why serving in higher education is so rewarding. Many of these newest Mavericks are beginning their careers at an uncertain time. However, I know that this next generation of leaders and innovators will make meaningful differences in all of our communities.

As this unprecedented semester ends and we begin Maymester and the Summer 2020 term, I also want to take this opportunity to tell you about our planning for our return to the campus and the Fall 2020 semester.  

We are eager to welcome our faculty, staff, and students back to campus, to the greatest extent possible, but we must carefully evaluate the risks involved and determine to what extent we can mitigate those risks as we make determinations about resuming in-person instruction and on-campus activities and events.

To evaluate these difficult decisions, we have formed several task forces to develop recommendations. The Repopulation Executive Planning Task Force, co-chaired by Lisa Nagy, vice president for Student Affairs, and John Hall, vice president for administration and campus operations, includes a wide range of experienced representatives from many divisions across campus. This task force is assisted by a number of tactical teams and has the responsibility of developing recommendations across functional areas.

The academic effort is led by the Fall Academic & Course Planning Task Force, chaired by Interim Provost Pranesh Aswath. This group includes representatives of departments, colleges, and schools from across the University and comprises a variety of experts from our faculty and staff.

As these two task forces work to develop their recommendations, many of them will be reaching out at various stages to our faculty and staff in order to gain the input and insight that will be valuable to their planning. We know that all these planning efforts will be complex and will need to consider all factors.

Though no decisions have been finalized, it is most likely that we will use a phased approach through the summer in order to transition faculty and staff safely back to campus, beginning with a limited initial phase at some date later in mid/late June. It is anticipated that we will enter the Fall 2020 semester in a hybrid teaching format, with a mixture of in-person and online learning. Also, we will aim to finish the fall semester after Thanksgiving without students on campus. 

Our decisions regarding resumption of in-person classes and returning to work will be made with the safety of our campus community above all else, as we follow guidance from the CDC, the state of Texas, and the UT System. Implementation of plans developed by these task forces and approved by University leadership will be announced in phases and will be based on ensuring the highest level of academic excellence for our students, the conditions allowed by the pandemic, and the latest health and safety guidelines. Given the uncertainty, we all must remain flexible and agile to be able to adapt quickly to changing conditions.

The support and “can do” innovative Maverick spirit of each member of our faculty and staff have been overwhelmingly positive during this challenging time. I know that if we collaborate for a brighter future, we will successfully navigate this unprecedented challenge and continue to thrive as a top public research university. I again want to thank you for all of your incredible work, and I hope to see you on campus again soon.

Finally, please enjoy the upcoming Memorial Day weekend with your family and friends as we honor all of those who have sacrificed so much for our nation.

Sincerely,

Teik C. Lim, Ph.D.
President ad interim

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Office of the President701 S. Nedderman Dr.  • Arlington, Texas 76019

president@uta.edu • 817-272-2101 (voice) • 817-272-5656 (fax)