I hope that you and your loved ones continue to be safe and well.
At the fall 2019 Opening of the Academic Year and the November 50 Minutes with President Driscoll events (which feel like a lifetime ago), I spoke about IUP’s “new reality” and the need to be student-centered in all that we do.“New reality,” indeed.
Despite the uncertainty of life for all of us during the pandemic, I see example after example of how faculty and staff members are taking that directive to heart, and how students are responding by caring even more deeply for one another and for the IUP
This week, I wanted to share just a few examples of a student-centered IUP.
After hours of research and discussion, University Senate recommended, and I approved, academic policies to create a new pass-fail procedure, extend deadlines for withdrawals and incomplete grades, and allow students on academic probation extra
time to get to a stronger grade point average. This was a challenging consensus to reach, but it was done to help ease the worry and concerns of our students, many in their very first distance class.
Generous donors—alumni, faculty and staff members, and students—have grown our Emergency Response Fund, which helps students in financial distress caused by the pandemic, to more than $173,000; many have made separate gifts to the Food Pantry
and Help Center.
The Division of Student Affairs has established the Student Support and Engagement Team. Since spring break, members of the team have reached out to almost 700 students in need of support and have continued to stage virtual events to maintain
connections with them. If you are a student who needs help, please reach out to Student Affairs personnel.
Research Appreciation Week events, essential for our students to gain experience in presenting their scholarship and original research, are continuing virtually. The 3-Minute Thesis competition was held last week via Zoom; the competition winner,
Brian Sateriale, donated his $500 prize to the Emergency Response Fund. Look for more information about the annual Scholars Forum and how to participate soon.
Orientation will continue in an online format. Plans include an expanded Welcome Week for new students and their families.
Despite working remotely, the University Planning Council is continuing its important work on culture change, identifying our key principals, and streamlining those imperfect procedures that hinder student success. You’ll be hearing from cochairs
Paula Stossel and Scott Moore soon.
While we have seen tragedy during this awful time, we also have seen goodness. Be aware of helpful information about the pandemic, but don’t lose sight of the heroes—people who take care of their friends and neighbors and who are sacrificing for the
greater good. Take time to celebrate your successes, no matter how small. When we get to the other side of this crisis, I want you to remember how you have persevered.
Thank you for all that you are doing. Every day, I find new reasons to be grateful and proud of our IUP family.
Michael A. DriscollPresident