Message from Chancellor Everts to faculty

Monday, March 30, 2020

Dear Faculty,

As we begin our second week of the strange “new normal” that has moved us online and put more physical distance among us than ever before in the history of our institution, I want you to know I recognize and appreciate the work you have done, and continue to do, to carry forward your teaching, research and service. Even as a global pandemic rapidly unfolds around us, bringing changing circumstances and new uncertainties nearly every hour, you are providing much-needed continuity and stability to our university and our students.

Over the past three weeks in particular, I have said numerous times how immensely proud of our faculty I am. The work it took to flip 2,600 courses from face-to-face instruction to online learning in two weeks’ time was formidable, and you did it- and continue to maintain the important connections between faculty and students.

Your work has been recognized by many. While there may be an assumption that teaching online is easier, I know from my personal experience as a faculty member who has taught online that it is most certainly not. I know it requires more hours and constant availability to your students, and I understand the shift can be jarring, especially when you haven’t planned for it. On Friday, I shared with the Trustees how difficult your work is and what incredible effort it is taking. I told them the majority of you have simply made it work, without complaint and with a deep understanding of the historic circumstances in which we find ourselves. I shared with them that, while teaching with children home and with laundry piling up, you are changing your Zoom backgrounds to a sunny beach or outer space, and are continuing your important work, making real and powerful connections with our students.

Your efforts are widely felt and appreciated. Many students have expressed to me and others how important maintaining relationships with their faculty are to them, especially now. Many continue to share the positive significance your work has had in their lives.

Allow me to share just two messages I received from parents this weekend:

“I just wanted to get word to you how grateful I am for App State’s efforts. I can only imagine the herculean effort required by staff and faculty to transition to virtual classrooms, my son is reporting it was ready a week later and moving forward without a hitch. And so, therefore, is my son. Thank you all, I am so glad once again that my son is with ASU.”

“I have five children in college and I want to say that I believe that the efforts to continue with classes has been critical for their mental health, in addition to the obvious need to progress with their academic endeavors. I wish there was a way to convey my appreciation to everyone who has pivoted to make this happen.”

You are at the very heart of the mission of the university. I recognize, value and appreciate your work, as does my leadership team. I remain committed to continuing my history of advocating for supporting faculty excellence, and will continue incrementally working toward more market-competitive faculty salary increases, once we are on the other side of the current circumstances that have caused UNC System President Roper to temporarily disallow salary adjustments.

As we continue to manage the daily challenges the likes of which our institution has never seen, I want you to know we will come out the other side. Our university will be forever changed by COVID-19. We will work to keep our community safe and healthy and our university intact. We keep, at the forefront of every decision, the welfare of our faculty, staff and students.

Please reach out as you need assistance, stay safe, and be well.