Recast | Provost Winter Quarter Week 10 Update
From: “McAvity, David” <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Friday, March 12, 2021 at 4:47 PM
We’re near the end of another quarter. I want to acknowledge your continued hard work with and on behalf of the students we now serve and those we are seeking to serve in the future. I am aware of the level of fatigue associated with working on zoom, planning for fall, and the additional efforts by so many of you on the initiatives that are under development. I’d like to acknowledge particularly those on the SCC who worked so hard in creating a well-reasoned and thoughtful proposal relating to the Olympia undergraduate organization, the CAT leaders and all those of you who have also been writing content for our fields of study and Paths pages, the Reimagining Student Affairs workgroup for developing a comprehensive framework for cultural and organizational changes to support student success, and finally the all those of you engaged in the visionary work currently under way to balance the remote learning available to students and the in-person learning that will happen with appropriate COVID protocols in fall 21. Your attention to the details and deadlines really matters.
That is a lot, and I hope that all of you can engage in some activities in the break that will give you energy for another busy quarter in spring.
While I wish I could say that things will slow down, I think we all know that this is not a realistic promise to make at this time. I invite you to join the leadership team in prioritizing work that will best lead to retention of our current students and the new initiatives that will reach many new students over the next two years. The academic leadership team will be meeting on Monday to discuss the priorities for our collective work in spring quarter. You will hear more about these over the upcoming weeks.
At our recent meetings for both faculty and staff, where we have shared the seriousness of our fiscal situation, one of the major concerns has been around enrollment and the impact of budget reductions. The written questions and comments from this week’s faculty meeting echoed many of the concerns brought up at our earlier quarterly staff meeting. I am working on responses to these questions and will share them in my next Provost e-mail.
The divisional budget team is working with budget managers to develop scenarios for reductions, and we are also engaging with unions. We have identified the values and criteria that guide our work next quarter. These include commitments to:
Transparency about process, timelines, roles and responsibilities.
· Being mindful to minimize harmful impacts on student learning, success, and enrollment.
· Using equity as a lens in decision making.
· Taking a strategic cross divisional approach to restructuring over the next biennium.
· Valuing the people and talent we have as we change and create new patterns of work as a smaller college.
If you have questions or comments, please reach out to me or Trevor Speller.
Clearly, workload is a deep concern for us all. We need to exercise tremendous patience with each other as we continue to navigate within working conditions that include furloughs, the cumulative effects of the pandemic on ourselves and our families, and our remote working conditions. Faculty also need to be aware that staff need much more lead time to meet your requests.
At our most recent divisional staff meeting, people were invited to share bright spots in their work. Staff brought forth many examples of what is going well, with many highlights of students’ exemplary work–a helpful counterbalance to all I’ve named above. Additionally, I know of areas that are finding ways to maintain community within their work units and beyond through hobby sharing circles, reading groups, etc. What ideas do you have that I could share in my next e-mail? Please let me know by replying to this e-mail.
Gathering with members of the community who we don’t frequently interact with is named by many of you as an important priority. I agree. I took a break from hosting such gatherings during winter quarter to encourage everyone to attend the college-wide social events. When I write again in early spring, look for an invitation to social opportunities within our division.
I wish you all the best as you wrap up winter quarter and look ahead to spring.
David McAvity | he-him | Interim Provost and Vice President for Student & Academic Life | The Evergreen State College | 360.867.6400