As Chancellor of NC State University, I have been so proud of our community’s response to the many challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. In particular, our faculty and staff have worked tirelessly to ensure the health and safety of our community while continuing to prioritize the education and well-being of our students. My thanks to all who have worked so hard to keep NC State healthy, strong and moving forward.
Over the last few weeks, we have been planning to reactivate the university and resume on-campus activities. While each of us has ideas about how best to stage the return to campus, we all recognize that fulfilling our land-grant mission, maintaining the public’s trust, and ensuring our financial viability is dependent upon a successful reopening. Most importantly, our ability to transform the lives of our students depends upon our on-campus resources and experiences. This is especially true for our new freshmen and transfer students, under-represented, first-generation, and students from under-resourced families and communities. The inequities, injustices, and pain we see throughout our communities serve as a reminder of the important work we do. Our students need the support and nourishment of a residential experience. Let’s strive to provide the type of experience that has transformed the lives of hundreds of thousands of previous NC State students.
The amount of face-to-face instruction currently being planned for our students in the fall is insufficient to meet our goals or appropriately serve our students. I ask that we all work together to move the needle in the right direction, and in doing so, that we prioritize the courses that affect our most vulnerable students. I realize that there are faculty and staff with underlying risk factors that won’t be able to contribute to the on-campus experience, but I ask that the rest of us return to campus, practice the behaviors known to reduce the risks associated with COVID-19, and continue the critical work of our university.
I have asked the Academic Calendar Task Force to work with the Provost, Associate Deans of Academic Affairs, Department Heads, and Registration and Records to identify courses that will have the biggest impact on students’ schedules and return them to face-to-face instruction. This will provide a more fulfilling on-campus experience for all students.
I appreciate everyone’s cooperation and continuing efforts to make our fall semester a success and provide an outstanding experience for all who choose to pursue their education at NC State.