IUP Family:

I hope you, your families and loved ones, and your communities are well.

Just a month ago, members of our community were excited for Spring Break and for all of the events that traditionally occur in March, April, and May. Research Week. Senior recitals and exhibitions. Championship basketball games and spring sports. Distinguished Alumni Awards. Celebration of Philanthropy. Chalk the Walk. Groundbreaking for John J. and Char Kopchick Hall. Commencement.

What a difference three weeks have made.

Some reached out in upset or anger as we worked to navigate a foreign landscape, but that has passed.

Now, I see an IUP family coming together to create IUP's “new normal,” with a commitment to caring for one another at the heart of it all.

Here's why I know that the IUP family will get through this and that we will continue to overcome additional challenges that will inevitably come our way:

  • Every single face-to-face course went online as scheduled on Monday and Tuesday. Even though our technology partner had a problem, classwork continued.

  • A record number of employees transitioned to working from home to maintain important operations.

  • IT Services answered more than 700 help-desk calls and ihelp tickets on Friday and has developed a virtual IT support center with Zoom technology.

  • Members of the Facilities team remained faithful to the mission of keeping our campus clean and sanitized. Procurement is ensuring that we have Centers for Disease Control-approved supplies to keep our university family safe.

  • The Enrollment Management and Marketing and Communications teams are developing new ways to showcase IUP and to communicate with our prospective students and families.

  • Families met our request to move out of residence halls by March 21, and the Student Affairs staff mobilized to keep move-out safe and efficient. Housing continues to be provided for students in emergency situations.

  • The Food Pantry and Help Center gave provisions to 40 students last week.

  • Counseling is continuing via technology.

  • The Health Service staff is providing information and assistance to those with health concerns.

  • More than $115,000 has been raised through our generous IUP family for the Emergency Assistance Fund, designed to offer help to students in need. We are processing 59 requests for assistance.

I have barely scratched the surface of all the positive things that the IUP family is doing. For example, I learned just late yesterday that the IUP Institute for Rural Health and Safety, recognizing that we are all in this together, donated gloves to Indiana Regional Medical Center. Marketing and Communications is gathering more of these “good news” stories of how IUP is rising above the issues we're facing as a result of the coronavirus while meeting our mission to provide the best possible educational experience to students.

Where do we go from here? Our goals for this week are to finalize the process of refunds and to make a decision about commencement. We will continue to communicate with you via email, the IUP website, and IUP social media channels.

In this time of uncertainty, I ask that you be flexible and empathetic as we get to our new normal together. Students, focus on your studies. Faculty and staff members, stay the course and continue to work together and treat each other well. Everyone, reach out for help when you need it. Let's remind the world what a Crimson Hawk can do, even in very challenging circumstances.

Michael A. Driscoll