Dear Faculty, Staff and Students,
Thanks to everyone for engaging and for your participation in today’s virtual town hall meeting for faculty and staff. I apologize for the technical glitch that kept us from extending our Q&A for 5 minutes, as promised. We covered all but a handful of questions; please look for responses to the remaining questions in the FAQs on our Fall 2020 Reopening website. And, if you weren’t able to join the live event today, the town hall is available for viewing on my website.
I am grateful to all of you for the hard work you have put in during this phenomenally unexpected summer. Many of our faculty and staff have been in overdrive so that our courses, facilities, programs, support services and communications will be ready for our phased-in fall reopening.
This fall will be different from last spring when we were in the regular rhythm of the semester and had established relationships with students and one another. This fall will bring new opportunities to forge relationships with students in different ways. Strong connections with our students are vital to their academic and personal success. And student success is critical to UWM’s outlook, both for meeting our mission and for a sustainable future. We need everyone’s help to ensure our students have positive and enriching experiences. I am confident we can deliver.
Shortly before today’s town hall began, we received a note from Steve Strehlow in the Graduate School who expressed poignantly what many are feeling. I’ll excerpt some of Steve’s words here. “We are experiencing a range of emotions dealing with trying to get back to some normalcy when coming back to campus. It ranges from some eagerness to come back, to fear, and even anger. This is new for everyone and we are learning as we go and we all need to show some patience and work together to find solutions or alternatives. We are in this together and we need to remember that we are all facing hardships, but we are all on the same team and need to show some compassion and understanding.”
The work ahead is on us all. We need everyone to tackle the details that will get us to a successful fall semester – no matter what form it takes. We especially need your superb talents, kindness and empathy to succeed and to provide the best possible experience to our students. You are Panthers. And Panthers are resilient.
I promise to keep you informed and will continue to communicate, engage and involve UWM’s most valuable assets – you. We will host another town hall for faculty and staff in August. I will also provide additional updates during my Aug. 26 virtual plenary. Until then, I encourage you to take the time for self-care and being with loved ones during these beautiful summer days.
Mark A. Mone
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee