Remote work extended/task force announced

April 27, 2020

Today, I am announcing that the University will extend remote work for USI employees through Friday, May 15, with return to campus planned, at this point, for Monday, May 18. Limited authorized personnel only will remain on campus during this time. This decision is subject to change and will be informed by the recommendations of a new task force I have put in place. I'll expand more on that in a moment.

As always, the safety, health and well-being of our campus community is top of mind. I believe this decision is what is best for our University right now. This will give us time to develop a comprehensive plan for a safe and orderly return to campus.

I want to thank each and every one of you for the sacrifices you have made and the amazing work you have done with regard to adjusting to a remote work environment. And, I want to acknowledge that many of you continue to be faced with additional challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. All of this will be at the forefront of our thinking in the coming weeks as we work toward a plan to reopen our campus.

Presidential task force established

On April 21, I established a task force to develop safe, orderly and efficient plans to return to campus in response to COVID-19. I have appointed David Bower, Vice President for Development, to facilitate this effort.

There will be four Core Committees and four Essential Support Teams. I'm asking that all involved be mindful that the decisions we make consider our entire University family. We must collaborate broadly and ensure we have diverse groupings of individuals who will avoid silo mentalities and who have a history of cooperation in working for the common good.

Steering Committee

The Steering Committee will oversee the plan to return to campus, placing safety first while also working on strategies to mitigate risks. One of its first duties will be to publish a list of requirements which must be met before I permit the opening of campus. This committee will be responsible for vetting all decisions affecting the opening of campus and will make recommendations to me based on what the Core Committees have proposed. This includes but is not limited to decisions that will impact students and employees, whether directly or by proxy. The Steering Committee also is responsible for placing members on committees, reviewing reports from committees, adding additional working groups as needed, and demobilizing teams as work is completed.

Academic Affairs Committee

The reason we exist as an institution of public higher education in Indiana is to deliver a quality education at all levels of the Academy. The Academic Affairs Committee will concentrate on discovering the needs of faculty and students and determining how best to ensure the progression and educational success of our students. This committee's goals are to provide guidelines for exceptional educational delivery, given a myriad of possible scenarios, which are specific, concise and can be measured effectively.

Student Affairs Committee

Since our founding, the University has been student centered. The Student Affairs Committee will concentrate on student issues outside of academics. It also will explore ways in which we extend support to students while navigating current circumstances and developing plans to support major needs.

Operations and Logistics Committee

The Operations and Logistics Committee's primary focus will be to implement the plan to return to campus. This committee will determine how to operationalize the return and develop a plan to support the specifics essential to this process. This committee also will determine the supplies needed for the operations plan, how to procure those supplies and how to distribute them to the areas needed.

Next Steps

Additional information about the task force, including the makeup of each committee, as well as Essential Support Teams, will be announced later this week and posted to the COVID-19 website. Our intention is to be as transparent as possible during this process and to keep all of you informed of decisions and actions along the way.

Thank you again for your continued support, your perseverance, your patience, and your love for this University. We are navigating these waters together, and today, I'm proud to be a Screaming Eagle!

Sincerely,

Ronald S. Rochon, PhD
USI President