Wednesday, May 13, 2020
Dear campus community,
We now have guidance from the CSU Chancellor’s Office and the Board of Trustees with Chancellor Tim White’s announcement on May 12, 2020, that the CSU will offer “courses primarily being delivered virtually for the fall 2020 term.”
As part of our planning process at Stanislaus State, we have rigorously analyzed our campus data, classroom capacities and other factors, and as president, I am announcing that both our main campus in Turlock and our Stockton Campus will be open this fall 2020 with only virtual instruction and the possibility of very limited face-to-face course exceptions. The majority of our student and academic support services already are offered virtually, and we will find ways to maintain and possibly expand some of these virtual services and activities to continue over the summer and throughout the fall semester.
In order to create a detailed and comprehensive plan for fall 2020, I have worked with my Cabinet and we have organized 14 inclusive campus teams (which also include faculty and staff) to focus on many specific and complex aspects of planning for this fall. We have been and will continue consulting and meeting with various campus constituent groups, including Senate Executive Committee, chairs, faculty, staff representatives and ASI leadership. In addition, we continue to be in communication with external groups including K-12, community college partners, our regional university partners, our boards and community groups, and city and elected officials.
Our campus plan is based on three critical and foundational factors. First and foremost, we must safeguard the health and safety of all of our students, faculty, staff, administrators and communities. Second, our decisions must be informed by the data and science currently known about the trajectory of COVID-19 during the upcoming fall and spring seasons. In addition, we must work very closely with our county public health officials because they analyze our regional data to provide guidance to the campus in determining when it is safe for us to return. Third, we will always stay true to our mission of supporting our students to complete their courses and degrees in high-quality learning environments. I have been inspired by the energy and dedication of team members who are enthusiastically rising to this challenge to help brainstorm how to make our fall 2020 a positive, engaging, rewarding and safe experience for all of us.
As our campus plans progress, I will continue to send campus emails and updates, and we will be hosting a campuswide town hall on Wednesday, May 27, from 10-11:30 a.m. to provide more information and to answer questions.
While this news may be disappointing to students that we are not able to return to campus, I want you to know our faculty will be working very hard over the summer to prepare for fall classes in new and inventive ways. For example, the Office of Academic Technology and FCETL are offering six training opportunities for faculty this summer. Faculty are encouraged to sign up for these workshops online.
“I know we have incredibly talented, dedicated educators at Stan State. I have observed countless examples of the thoughtful, innovative ways they approach course development and delivery with a focus on building engaging, comprehensive course materials and activities focused on achieving learning outcomes. This spring they had to abruptly change the ways in which they taught. I am completely confident in their ability and desire to prepare courses for the fall that continue to meet their high standards and expectations. The university is providing a range of professional development opportunities this summer to support their efforts.” Provost Kim Greer said.
I’m also pleased to report that we received $6.67 million in emergency funding for our students from the federal CARES Act, and more than $5.5 million already has been disbursed directly to meet our students’ emergency needs. More than half of our enrolled students received automatic grants between $350 and $1,200 each, depending on their estimated family contribution, and part-time or full-time status. There is still some funding available. If you are a student and have experienced expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care or child care expenses, please apply for funding via your MyStanState Student Portal. Applications are due May 21, 2020. While these federal funds unfortunately were not available for our Dreamer, DACA or undocumented (AB 540) students, we are fully committed to supporting them, and I was able to identify other private funding to cover the needs of our AB 540 students.
To our graduating seniors, as you enter the last few weeks of the semester, we honor and cheer you for your tenacity and achievements! We heard your request for a face-to-face commencement ceremony. We are fully committed to fulfilling that request when it is safe to do so, and we are planning to celebrate with style and gusto with your family and friends! In the meantime, please consider uplifting the Class of 2020 by sharing an encouraging message on social media using #StanGrad.
Profound gratitude goes to all faculty for your creativity, ingenuity, flexibility, and commitment to keep your classes going strong. A heartfelt thank you also goes to all staff — and especially to our essential staff, who are still coming to campus to keep our core services in operation — your dedication to maintaining our campus operations is admirable. Sincere appreciation goes to the many community members who have made generous donations to our Campus Cares Student Emergency Fund and Warrior Food Pantry. To our Warrior alumni — some who currently are serving in other hot spot states as first responders to provide critical support in clinical care, emergency medicine and law enforcement — we honor and salute each of you. Finally, to you, our magnificent Stan State students, thank you for your incredible passion, grit, optimism and continued strength! Now is not the time to pause, keep strong and reach out if you need a helping hand. We are here to support you. Please keep your spirits and aspirations high — together, we are Warriors!
While many challenges still loom ahead, I firmly believe in the combined strength, imagination, innovative spirit, resilience and humanity of this amazing campus. I know that these qualities will make it possible for us to shape our future reality for this fall and beyond that will make Stan State an even stronger and more transcendent campus. Please join us to work collaboratively in making our future shine!
Ellen Junn, Ph.D.
California State University, Stanislaus