December 2: Letter to Faculty from Interim Provost Shirley Lefever
I know this fall has been a very challenging semester with many stressors that are likely impacting each of you. I want you to know how deeply I appreciate each of you and the many measures you have taken to meet the needs of our students. I have heard numerous examples of how you have adapted and responded with compassion and flexibility.
As we prepare for the spring semester, I would encourage you to continue to focus on your own mental health as well as have a heightened awareness of our students’ needs and stress levels. As you can imagine, this is a focus or area of concern for faculty at universities across the nation. You may also be aware that our own Student Government Association is taking measures to raise mental health awareness by identifying two wellness weeks, March 15-19 and April 19-23, where information and resources will be promoted. As you are planning for the spring, you too, might consider some flexibility in course content and/or course meeting times to allow yourself and your students to focus on mental health. For example, you might think about designing learning experiences that will enable you to “check in” with students at the beginning of a class period, and/or encourage students to participate in some of the services provided by Student Affairs.
In addition, because the COVID situation remains fluid, I would encourage you to plan in advance for a potential shift to remote only learning or even the potential of having to start the semester remotely. This is also a good time to consider ways other than in-person attendance to assess participation and/or engagement. These alternative approaches can help ensure we do not disincentivize people to stay home or quarantine when sick. Remember, the Office of Instructional Design and Access is available to assist you with these and other course delivery and design questions you may have.
Whatever you decide in regard to your courses, we are here to support you. You play a pivotal role in the success of our students, so if there is anything we can do to assist you, please let us know.
Finally, remember you can always check for the most recent updates for the university community at www.wichita.edu/covid.
With Shocker Pride,
Interim Executive Vice President and Provost
November 23: A message to the WSU Community regarding the holidays
As we head into the Thanksgiving holiday, we wanted to take a moment to extend our heartfelt thanks to every member of the campus community. This has been a difficult year to say the least, and we thank each one of you for your flexibility, patience, resilience and grace as we continue to face these challenges together.
At this point, Wichita State is operating under a fully remote/online instructional model through Feb. 1. The decision to go remote/online through the end of January was made to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
We understand that this semester has been unlike any other and that has created challenges for all of us. We have extended the withdrawal deadline to Dec. 3. Students should contact their advisor to discuss this option, and read how to withdraw here.
As you travel and gather with loved ones, here are some safety tips we encourage everyone to remember:
Before you travel:
- Reduce contact with others before you travel to decrease the likelihood that you’ll share COVID-19 with your family.
- Double check your destination’s quarantine requirements.
- Get a flu shot – it’s just one more way to protect yourself and those around you.
When you travel and are with your family:
- Don’t travel if you’re sick or have been exposed to COVID-19.
- Stop as little as possible, and take your own snacks.
- Always wear a face covering and stay six feet from others.
- Avoid physical contact including hugging, kissing and shaking hands.
- Bring hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes.
When you return home:
- Quarantine for 14 days, especially if you have vulnerable family or friends.
- Wear a face covering and stay six feet from others. We know this may sound extreme but consider wearing a mask anytime you are around people who do not or have not been living with you.
- Stay home and avoid crowds and gatherings.
- Contact your health care provider at home if you develop COVID-19 symptoms.
- Reach out for help from a mental health provider if you are feeling sad, anxious or hopeless.
It’s hard to conceive of celebrating the holidays without our typical traditions. Yet any small safety steps we take will pay dividends in the future as we try to get back to what we remember as “normal.”
Students, we also encourage you to start thinking ahead to the regular spring semester. If you were enrolled this semester, the format will look familiar to you. But because a pandemic is a fluid situation, please stay flexible in case we are required to adjust course delivery due to federal, state or county public health mandates.
All updates will be communicated to students, faculty and staff through your WSU email, the COVID-19 website and WSU’s official social media accounts.
Have a safe and happy holiday!
Shirley Lefever, Interim Executive Vice President and Provost
Teri Hall, vice president, Student Affairs
November 13: Options for students experiencing academic difficulties
Given the challenges of 2020, including a shift to online and hybrid learning, and the uncertainty of this pandemic, it’s understandable that some students are experiencing academic difficulties. Therefore, Wichita State University would like to remind students of three options available to students who might be struggling during the fall 2020 semester:
- Contact your instructors: Your instructors want you to be successful, so reaching out to faculty should be your first course of action. Some faculty members might offer extensions or assistance under certain circumstances.
- Late withdrawals: Any class that had a withdrawal deadline of Oct. 27 or later, the withdrawal deadline is being extended to Dec. 3. Learn how to withdraw from a class.
- Scholarships: Students who drop below the minimum requirements to maintain a scholarship — either due to withdrawal from a class or GPA requirements — can appeal for a probationary period while they work on their GPA. Students do not need to wait until the scholarship is withdrawn to file an appeal. Students with circumstances related to COVID-19 or the uncertainty of the pandemic are strongly encouraged to apply for an appeal.
All of us in our Shocker community are ready to support our students in any way we can. Do not hesitate to reach out to our faculty and staff to learn more about your options for academic success.
With Shocker Pride,
Interim Executive Vice President and Provost
November 11: Fall commencement ceremonies postponed
Due to rising COVID-19 numbers in Sedgwick County and statewide, Wichita State has decided to postpone fall commencement scheduled to be held Sunday, November 22 and The Toast planned for earlier in the day. This difficult decision was made after much deliberation and upon consultation with the Sedgwick County Health Department.
We know this is disappointing news. Commencement is an important milestone. You have worked hard and sacrificed much to earn your degree. Please be assured that we are committed to providing you with a safe in-person commencement ceremony at a future date. We look forward to celebrating your achievements with you as you walk across the stage in Koch Arena and are recognized
Due to the uncertainty surrounding the virus, we do not have a specific date identified at this time. Once it is safe to gather in person, we will announce our plans and communicate that information to you.
In closing we want to congratulate you on all your accomplishments. We are proud of you and welcome you as an alumnus of Wichita State University.
— The WSU Commencement Office
October 30: Student Guide: What students can expect for the spring semester
October 28: VIDEO: Interim President Rick Muma Reminds Shocker Nation to Remain Safe
October 22: Voluntary asymptomatic COVID-19 testing now available for university employees
October 10: WSU launches COVID-19 Voluntary Asymptomatic Surveillance Testing Program for students
I’m so glad you’re here!
A week into the semester, and I want to say THANK YOU to all the students, faculty, staff and parents for giving your time and energy to making this the best year possible as Shockers!
Thank you, as well, for giving us – and each other – grace. Living and continuing to succeed during COVID-19 is challenging. None of us have ever experienced a pandemic; and even with months of constant preparation for the start of the semester, we know processes may still be a bit messy in the beginning.
As the parent of two daughters in college, I share the concerns many of you have. Please know that my colleagues and I are continually evaluating the best options to maintain safety and a robust campus experience. If there’s one thing we’ve learned, it’s that we must remain flexible. This is a fluid situation, for sure, and we’re committed to giving you the most updated information as we move through this pandemic together.
In line with the guidance we’ve received from federal, state and local health officials, Wichita State is doing its part to combat the spread of COVID-19.
That includes requiring masks be worn on campus, limiting classroom sizes, postponing large events, promoting remote work, installing Plexiglas barriers in public offices, providing sanitizer to the campus community and in buildings, requiring social distancing, and increasing sanitization of targeted areas. Health officials agree that these measures are the most effective way to combat the spread of this disease.
We have policies, procedures and practices in place regarding reports of known exposure or positive cases on campus and, together with the Sedgwick County Health Department, are monitoring all information as it relates to the health and safety of the campus community. We’re prepared to take all action necessary in the event that students, faculty or staff are believed to be faced with heightened risk of exposure, including closing housing facilities and pivoting all classes to online or remote.
Each and every one of us is are invested in what happens on campus, and we share a mutual concern for the safety of us all. This will continue to guide all of our decisions.
Most people on campus are adhering to our health and safety policies, and we appreciate that. But it will take all of our cooperation to truly stop the spread of this virus. Please continue to be vigilant. If you have concerns about classes, COVID-19 policies or your own health and safety and don’t feel like you can address them with your instructor, please reach out to me at email@example.com. There are resources, information and FAQs at wichita.edu/covid.
Please remember to keep wearing masks, social distance and wash your hands frequently. It is critical that everyone take precautions to protect themselves and others by making good choices in where we go and how we choose to socialize. It takes us all working together as part of Shocker Nation.
Stay safe and Go Shocks!
Dr. Jay Golden, President
I hope this finds you well and enjoying your summer. While somewhat hard to believe, we are now less than two months away from welcoming all of you back to campus. Plans for fall 2020 are well underway, and university faculty and staff are diligently working to preparing for, among other things, facility use, hybrid instruction, campus events, and, perhaps most importantly, campus health and safety.
In late May, we let you know of adjustments to the fall semester. Today I want to let you know of similar modifications to our spring 2021 schedule. In an effort to keep all of us safe from possible infection spikes of COVID-19 and the complication of seasonal flu peaking in the winter months, we will make the following adjustments.
Spring semester – delayed start
The regular spring semester will begin two weeks later than normal, on Monday, February 1. Courses will be offered in several formats: online, hybrid-online, and hybrid. The last day of this semester will be Thursday, May 6, with finals proceeding as originally scheduled from May 8-13. Commencement remains scheduled for May 15, but the date and format are subject to change based on applicable health and safety guidelines in effect at that time.
Course code added for spring semester
We are adding a new instructional method designation to our spring semester schedule-building process: Internet Instruction Synchronous (IIS). This code allows us to distinguish between fully online courses that are asynchronous (where professors generate online content in advance and students engage with it on their own schedules) versus synchronous (where students and professor are engaged with the content at the same time, whether in-person or online). The IIS code will be used on fully online courses with an assigned meeting time for synchronous teaching. As with IIE courses, the IIS designation will have an online fee.
Provide an online-only expanded spring semester pre-session
There will be an online-only pre-session in January with options for one-, two-, and four-week classes. This session will begin January 4 and end January 29 and will include an observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on January 18. Like previous spring pre-sessions, this is an optional session in which faculty may choose to offer courses to allow for continuous learning for students before the start of the regular spring semester.
Out of an abundance of caution and concern for the health, safety, and well-being of our entire campus community, we have made the difficult decision to cancel spring break. This week has instead been added to the break between the Fall and Spring semesters, which will now run from December 11 to January 29.
On a personal note, I remain incredibly grateful for your patience, flexibility, and cooperation as we continue to navigate these uncertain times. I know that guidance from our state and local health authorities has been changing rapidly these past few weeks as our entire community learns how to co-exist with this virus.
If we have learned nothing else during this pandemic, it is that our own health, as well as the health of our family, friends, and neighbors depends upon our commitment to and compliance with public health guidance. While the university continues to plan for your safety, I ask that each of you provide for the safety of your teachers and classmates, as well as your own, when you return to campus. This includes practicing social distancing and wearing masks in accordance with public health and local government guidelines.
In the meantime, I wish you all a happy, healthy, and safe rest of summer.
Executive Vice President, Provost, and Professor
Fall 2020 Updates
I hope this finds you and your families healthy and safe and enjoying a bit of rest and relaxation after the end of the spring semester. Despite the unprecedented challenges our university has faced over these past three months, I am reminded daily of the incredible spirit, kindness and resilience of our entire Shocker community.
While the summer months will allow us a few moments to pause and collect our thoughts, we continue our diligent efforts to prepare to welcome students, faculty and staff back to campus in the fall. Our campus re-integration working groups are working daily to implement our campus reopening plans. Our top priority remains the health, safety and well-being of our entire campus community as we strive to maintain goals of educational excellence, research and innovation.
I write today to provide you some updates to our plans for the fall.
FALL AND THANKSGIVING BREAKS
The length of the fall semester will remain unchanged, beginning Aug. 17 and ending Dec. 10; however, we have made two adjustments to previously scheduled breaks:
First, we have canceled the two-day Fall Break. As we do not know what the COVID landscape will look like in the fall, we do not want to risk increased campus exposure as possibly thousands of faculty, staff and students return to campus after potential out-of-state travel.
We are using the two days of Fall Break to accelerate Thanksgiving Break, which will now begin Monday, Nov. 23. This means that all in-person instruction will be completed by Friday, Nov. 20.
Students will not return to campus after Thanksgiving and will instead complete the semester, including the remaining four days of instruction, and study periods and final exams, remotely. Instructors wishing to complete in-person assessments must do so prior to Nov. 20.
PROPOSED TUITION INCREASE
In addition to our health and safety efforts, we continue to monitor the significant financial impact this pandemic has had on our institution. These uncertain times have required us – and will continue to require us – to take thoughtful precautions and make difficult decisions to ensure Wichita State’s future success. We continue to brace for the financial impact caused by a reduction in state revenues from the loss of business activity and an anticipated reduction in enrollment.
You have heard previously about our implemented temporary cost-saving measures: a hiring freeze and restrictions on discretionary spending including travel and non-essential purchase. In addition to these measures, we have also implemented the following:
- All requests to hire employees now go through a position review process. Voluntary temporary furlough of academic deans and temporary reduction in salaries of university executives and athletic coaching staff, a measure that will generate approximately $100,000 in budgetary savings.
- A 2% General Use (GU) budget reduction for FY 2021 for all divisions, a measure that will generate approximately $2.6 million budgetary savings.
- $2.5 million in savings from travel and discretionary spending.
We continue to explore all possible means of cutting costs.
That being said, we know now that these cost-saving measures will not be enough and unfortunately, we find ourselves, like several other Kansas universities, left with looking at our tuition revenue for assistance.
I am therefore proposing to the Kansas Board of Regents a 2% tuition increase for the 2020-2021 academic year. This will result in an approximate increase of $67 per student, per semester. I understand that this is difficult news. Please be assured that the decision to make this recommendation was not done without significant conversation with the Division of Finance and Administration, the university budget advisory committee and students. It was also not done without exploring many or other possible alternatives and the impact on our students.
I take very seriously our commitment to providing an outstanding education and educational experience at an affordable price. While we are not able to hold tuition flat for the 2020-2021 academic year, we continue to be the most affordable research university within the state of Kansas and one of the most affordable research institutions when compared with others across the nation. This small increase will enable us to continue our mission of being an essential educational, cultural and economic driver for Kansas and the greater public good.
PRORATED HOUSING FEES
Students will only be charged for housing through the campus shutdown date of Nov. 20, unless a student chooses to stay after Nov. 20. Those who stay in student housing after Nov. 20 will be charged a daily rate.
NO INCREASE IN STUDENT FEES AND COMMITMENT TO FINANCIAL AID
Understanding the potential impact of a proposed tuition increase, there will be no mandatory student fee increases for the 2020-2021 academic year. There will also be no additional fees for hybrid courses.
Wichita State continues to offer multiple avenues for student financial assistance. The university has distributed more than $4.2 million in CARES Act funding to more than 4,400 students.
While CARES Act funding was only available to those students eligible for Title IV financial aid, the university recognized that there are other members of our campus community, including our international students, undocumented students and students enrolled in distance-only degree programs who may need financial assistance. To that end, the WSU Foundation established the Shockers UP COVID-19 Emergency Fund to help those students in need.
As always, we will continue to keep you updated on our plans for the fall. In the meantime, my most sincere gratitude for your patience, flexibility, grace and commitment to Wichita State University.
Dr. Jay S. Golden,
President, Wichita State
The spring was a challenging semester, and we know you worked hard to be successful in your studies. We know you have questions about what to expect this fall, and we are working to answer all of those questions as soon as we can. As your health, safety, and well-being is our top priority, please understand that this is an ever-changing situation and any guidance we provide now may be updated in accordance with federal, state, and local health and government official guidelines. Right now, here’s what to expect:
- We will be taking steps to protect your health and safety.
- All classrooms will be disinfected daily, and students are encouraged to carry and use their own hand-sanitizer regularly.
- In-person classroom capacities will be limited to maintain 6-ft distancing guidelines at all times.
- All faculty, staff and students will be expected to wear face coverings when meeting together.
- See the COVID-19 Health and Safety FAQs for more information. Additional details will be coming out later in the summer.
- All TCI (traditional classroom instruction) classes will be changed to HYB (hybrid).
- HYB might include limited in-person instruction, some synchronous online engagement (with participants meeting at the same time), and/or asynchronous content delivery (with participants engaging the materials independently).
- There are no additional fees for HYB courses.
- Existing IIE (fully online) and HYO (online with in-person testing) courses will remain coded as IIE and HYO.
- Whether content delivery will be in-person or online.
- Whether there are synchronous expectations (meeting at the same time) or asynchronous expectations (independent engagement with materials on-demand).
- Whether testing will be in-person or online.
- See wichita.edu/fall2020 for more information on fall course designs. Check back regularly for updates.
- It will be important for you to have access to a tablet or laptop, and reliable internet service.
- Some loaner Chromebooks and MiFi’s will be available for free on a first-come, first-served basis through Information Technology Services (ITS) after July 15.
- The Shocker Store offers a variety of options with educational discounts.
The COVID-19 pandemic is a complex, challenging and fluid situation, which continues to evolve. Stay up-to-date by checking the university’s website at wichita.edu/covid19news.
We look forward to seeing you in the Fall!
-- Wichita State Academic Affairs
The plan to slowly allow more people on campus
As noted by Provost Rick Muma earlier this month, the spread of COVID-19 has required us all to adapt to a new and unprecedented reality. We have been forced to examine how we work and how we live in a world where what was acceptable yesterday is dangerous today. And while modern technology has perhaps made this somewhat simpler in practice, it has by no means made it easier to accept.
As our state begins to implement Ad Astra: A Plan to Reopen Kansas, we too are beginning to develop and implement plans for the university’s short- and long-term future. This plan – Shockers United – is a culmination of seven working groups across campus, each comprised of students, faculty and staff, and each tasked with examining a different facet of university operations that must now be modified to a new normal as we seek to coexist with and thrive in spite of this virus.
We have divided this plan into three phases:
- Preopening: now through May 25
- Reopening/summer: May 26-July 31
- Fall semester: August 2020 and beyond
Each of these phases brings new questions, new risks and new requirements – some of which we cannot even contemplate in this moment. We may need to adapt and modify as we go. But be assured that at every step of the way, we remain committed to the following: (1) prioritizing the health, safety and well-being of our entire campus community; (2) preserving the student experience; and (3) ensuring the financial health of the university to further our commitment to deliver quality instruction and engage in innovative research.
To this end, we have reorganized the existing COVID-19 News web page, which is the official and primary source of the university’s operations under COVID-19. Within this main page, you will now find a new page – wichita.edu/shockersunited – that contains details and FAQs about the Shockers United plan. Each of these pages will be updated as the university navigates through this gradual reopening.
We will also continue to send out additional information via campus-wide messaging, WSU Today and Shocker Blast. In fact, tomorrow please look for additional information about training for all supervisors and employees in Friday’s WSU Today. And we will continue to provide all of you with the opportunity to (virtually) meet face to face with both of us and others in regularly-scheduled town halls.
Each of you – student, employee, parent, community member – will undoubtedly have questions during the next few weeks. Just as we will continue to have more information to share. We encourage you to first review the websites for the most up-to-date information your questions. If you don’t see an answer, please don’t hesitate to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We have said this before, but it never stops being true: Shocker Nation is truly amazing. Your continued compassion for one another and resilience in the face of uncertainty is beyond compare. Our future is bright and we will get through this together.
Our deepest appreciation for all you do and your unwavering commitment to the health, safety and the future of Shocker Nation,
— President Jay Golden and Provost Rick Muma
On April 9, the U.S. Department of Education released its official allocations for the newly passed Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Wichita State University has allocated half of its awarded funds – approximately $4.4 million – to emergency financial aid grants for eligible students.
These emergency funds are expected to be distributed to approximately 4,400 students to provide temporary relief for expenses that are a direct result of the disruption of campus operations due to COVID-19. Eligible expenses include food, housing, course materials, technology, health care and childcare.
In accordance with Department of Education guidance, and with a goal of reaching as many students as possible, WSU will distribute these funds beginning Monday, May 4, 2020, using a tiered system.
An initial distribution has been designated for WSU Pell-eligible students with unmet need. Each eligible student will receive an automatic payment of $1,000 either via direct deposit or paper check within 5-7 business days.
Remaining CARES Act Emergency funds will be set aside for eligible students to access through an application process. Students in this group must have filed a 2019-2020 FAFSA or be eligible to file a FAFSA and must complete the application form found here.
Given the limited amount of CARES Act funding, WSU cannot guarantee that all applications submitted will receive funding, so students are encouraged to apply as soon as possible. Applications are due by May 15, 2020.
For more information on the CARES Act and how WSU will be distributing these funds, and to determine if you are eligible to receive funding, please visit the WSU CARES Act Student Funding website. You can also reach out to the Office of Financial Aid at email@example.com.
While CARES Act funding is only available to those students eligible for Title IV financial aid, WSU recognizes that there are other members of our campus community, including our international students, undocumented students and students enrolled in distance-only degree programs that may need financial assistance during this difficult time.
For students from any of these groups, there are other types of emergency aid available via the Shockers Up COVID-19 Emergency Fund. For more information on that fund, visit the WSU Financial Aid COVID-19 page.
Dear Wichita State University community,
It has now been nearly two months since we have asked all of you – students, faculty and staff – to pivot from what was expected to be a normal spring semester to a world of uncertainty and rapid, unprecedented change.
While the most drastic of changes seems to have slowed in recent days, we cannot overlook the enormity of all that we have accomplished. We have navigated our way through a complete shift to online learning, remote working, implementation of social distancing, stay-at-home orders, and travel quarantines. We have asked each of you to make sacrifices, great and small, for the benefit of your fellows Shockers.
And we have remained committed to preserving the student experience while prioritizing the health, safety and well-being of our family, friends and entire community.
But while this new way of doing business seems now almost like a new normal, we know that it is not sustainable. We must learn to coexist with this virus – and do so safely – as we begin to resume life on campus.
Last week, Gov. Kelly unveiled her “Ad Astra: A Plan to Reopen Kansas.” This plan is a four-phased strategic approach to gradually reopening the state in accordance with public health guidance and best practices. In light of this announcement, we have heard from many of you inquiring as to the university’s plans both for the immediate and long-term future.
Our priority has always been – and remains – the health, safety, and well-being of our entire campus community. With that firmly in mind, the university has organized seven working groups, comprised of faculty, staff and students, each of which is charged with assessing different components of the university with an eye toward gradually – and safely – ramping up operations over the coming weeks.
These working groups provided their initial reports and recommendations last week, and we are working on compiling each of these individual reports to be combined into a larger campaign and initiative, which we are calling Shockers United.
While much is still unknown, Wichita State intends to begin its gradual reopening on May 26 with a goal of resuming in-person instruction, at least in part, this fall. Given that our summer classes will still be in an online and/or remote format, we understand that the most immediate impact of our gradual reopening will be felt by our employees.
While the Shockers United plan to phase back to campus is already under way, this does not mean all employees will be expected to return to work on May 26. During the summer term, departments should continue to look for ways to stagger work schedules and should continue to allow employees to work remotely unless it is essential that the employee report to campus.
We understand that each department’s needs, business hours and remote work schedule may look different depending on the demands of the department and the needs of the employees in that department. We ask that all departments assess their operations while keeping in mind the health and safety of their employees. Employees who are concerned about returning to work should work with their supervisor and human resources on a plan that meets the needs of the department but also meets the health and safety needs of those in the department.
Every step we take and every decision we make will be dictated by health and safety concerns and current guidance from local and state public health officials. I know there is a strong desire for concrete answers, but we simply don’t have those at this point. There is still a great deal of planning to do and risks and solutions to be addressed. We expect to announce our plans for the fall semester in the coming weeks, and we will continue to stay in touch through emails, town halls and campus-wide messaging as those plans take shape.
For the more immediate future, I want to make you aware of a few general key points as we start down this path:
- Shockers United will be, at all times, governed by health and safety guidance issued by local and state public health officials and is modeled after the Ad Astra plan.
- Summer classes will still be held exclusively in an online and/or remote format.
- When on campus, there will be a strong emphasis on each person taking responsibility to protect themselves and others from coronavirus infection. That means daily wellness self-checks, social distancing, limited congregation, wearing face coverings (or masks as appropriate), disinfecting spaces and limiting non-essential travel.
- All faculty will need to design flexibility into fall semester course delivery (e.g., hybrid, online, modified schedule, etc.) to limit disruption and assure quality learning outcomes if another stay-at-home period is needed.
- Faculty and staff should continue to work to provide support to students through increased availability of grants, scholarships and campus employment opportunities.
- Students and advisors should stay connected in order to ensure that all students stay on a path to graduation while taking into account financial needs.
- University research activities and spaces will continue to be operational while taking into account health and safety guidelines.
- The university will continue to work with its Innovation Campus partners in an effort to coordinate reopening plans.
I know you have many questions that are not addressed here. Please be assured that we will provide answers to those questions as soon as they are known.
We continue to ask for your patience and cooperation as we tackle all of these issues. We all share the desire to return to campus and return to campus life – whatever that may look like in this time of a “new normal” as we coexist with this virus. Thank you for all you have done and will continue to do. It is your hard work and dedication that will make our safe return to campus possible.
Rick Muma, Provost
April 22: campus update for students, faculty and staff
Today we are continuing our communication series aimed at updating the campus community on plans for the future of Wichita State and our students, faculty and staff. You can view a video with this information here.
Planning a safe reopening, beginning May 26
Even as we're still in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, it's important to look ahead and start planning for when we can begin our return to campus. We must move forward as an institution and learn how to co-exist with this virus.
To initiate that preparation process, seven working groups have been created to develop reintegration plans, with the tentative goal of reopening campus in phases on Tuesday, May 26, following the Memorial Day holiday.
This date, which is subject to change, was chosen based on Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly’s most recent announcement that the state stay-home order would end at midnight Sunday, May 3. If that date holds, we wanted to provide the campus with two-week’s notice and allow everyone to get through the Memorial Day holiday before we begin a phased and safe return to campus. The reopening of campus does not affect classes, which will remain online / remote.
The seven working groups, which will be a collaboration between students, faculty and staff, start meeting this week to cover the following topics to assure a safe and orderly reintegration to campus. The names listed are the group leads.
- Health and safety – Linnea GlenMaye
- Classroom / activity space physical distancing – Gina Crabtree and David Wright
- Faculty curricular design – Carolyn Shaw
- Student finances – Kaye Monk-Morgan
- Research – Coleen Pugh
- Innovation partners – Tonya Witherspoon
- Communication – Shelly Coleman-Martins
Questions or suggestions can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will continue to update the campus throughout this planning process.
Update on CARES Act funding
The U.S. Department of Education (DOE) has allocated nearly $8.8 million to Wichita State through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). Half of the funds – nearly $4.4 million – will be allocated as emergency financial aid grants to students.
We are working through potential options on how best to serve our neediest students. We are still waiting on additional guidance/clarification from the Department of Education to finalize our plan. At this point, those who are experiencing hardships as a result of COVID-19 can continue to submit their request through the application found at wichita.edu/finaidcovid19.
Yesterday (April 21), the DOE released the documents for the second phase of the CARES Act funding – the money that will go to the university. We are working expeditiously to review this documentation and corresponding requirements.
Faculty and staff virtual town hall set for Friday
These and other topics will be discussed during our next virtual town hall, this one aimed at staff and faculty. It is set for 4-5 p.m. Friday, April 24.
This is a chance to hear from us – your president and provost – as well as presidents of the UP, USS and Faculty Senates, who will be moderating the town hall. And if you have a question you’d like us to answer, you can write it in during the YouTube livestream.Watch the Virtual Town Hall
Thank you for your continued patience and flexibility during this unique time in our lives. It’s important to us that we continue to provide the campus with as much information as possible and that you have the opportunity to be engaged throughout the entire process.
Stay safe, stay positive, and thank you for all that you’re doing.
President Jay Golden and Provost Rick Muma
April 17: Campus Update
Dear Shocker community,
Thank you for another great week. We are moving positively to sustain the university’s momentum, even as we work to care for each other and secure the university’s future.
Everyone wants to know whether we will get back to a normal fall semester. Provost Rick Muma and I, and many of you, are together working on plans that will allow us to open the campus in stages when we can safely to do so. We are hopeful we can start some form of reopening in the next couple of months, based on the advice of our county and state leaders and health professionals.
I think the provost states it best when we say that for the foreseeable future, we are going to have to “co-exist with the virus.” We are all working very hard to plan for an open campus in the fall, but with a “new normal” that will include appropriate social distancing, health checks and other preventive measures. There will be much more information provided on a regular basis as we work through the various steps.
Even as we work on plans for the next 10 days, we are working on plans for the next 10 years, so that Wichita State and Wichita are considered one of the best places to get an education, start a business, work and live.
Below were some of the highlights of the week for me, and I’d encourage you to make your own list. If you prefer, you can watch a video version of this information.
The details will soon be announced, but it sounds like we’re going to be able to help a lot of our students with the greatest needs through the stimulus money to be provided to Wichita State University through the federal CARES Act. We are working rapidly to get the required federal forms submitted so that we can receive the money and distribute it to our students in need. More information on that coming soon.
Additionally, Wichita State students who need help can complete a request with WSU Office of Financial Aid, which is overseeing distributions from this COVID-19 Emergency Fund for Students. The application is available at wichita.edu/finaidcovid19. For information about making a donation, go to https://foundation.wichita.edu/shockersup.
The Kansas Board of Regents unanimously approved our request to purchase two of our residence halls, The Flats and The Suites, which are privately held and were about to be sold to a company in another state. Not only are we able to take control of these critical halls, but we will be conservatively saving the university $30 million during the 25-year life of the bond.
Because of this, I have guaranteed to lock in the rental rate to all incoming students in those two residence halls for the entire time they live there, generally their sophomore through senior years. This is another way we are working to help our students and their families.
Our Faculty Senate has also been focused on our students and passed a flexible grading policy for spring semester so students can choose to have their earned grade recorded or simply get credit for the course. This is important as we have had to pivot to online / remote learning, as well as the stress the current pandemic is placing on our students.
I enjoyed participating in my biweekly video town hall sponsored by Student Government Association. These provide our students and their families an opportunity to ask questions of myself, Provost Rick Muma, Student Affairs and online learning leaders. Thanks to outgoing SGA President Kitrina Miller for setting up these town halls, and congratulations to newly elected President Rija Kahn and VP Mackenzie Haas. I’m looking forward to working with them.
We’re also planning regular video town halls for all faculty and staff. Our first virtual town hall will be at 4 p.m. Friday, April 24. You’ll see details in WSU Today next week.
A number of items made the news this week:
- Via Christi Ascension began using the disposable stethoscopes developed and printed in Wichita State’s 3-D labs for COVID-19 patients. It’s just one more example of the work Wichita State, as the Kansas Innovation University, is doing to through innovation to support our community and health care workers .
- Looking ahead from focusing on today to our future, the Kansas Board of Regents approved several long-term proposals. This includes approving a prior request to the Legislature for funding faculty, staff and students through our pan-university convergence sciences initiative, as well as a facility that could be built primarily through non-state revenue specifically targeted for these types of economic development and innovation projects. And, we have been given the chance to remove the aging stands at Cessna Stadium sometime in the future .
When facing a huge, multi-faceted challenge like this pandemic, you sometimes have to focus on just winning the day, doing your very best with what’s right in front of you. That rolls into winning the week and if you keep winning days and weeks, you end up in a good place.
We all have bad moments and things we wish we had done differently. But we need to forgive ourselves and forgive each other as we work through all of these difficulties.
I hope you have had a good week and that many more are ahead. I will keep you in my thoughts and hope that you have a chance to get outside this weekend and renew your energy and optimism for the days ahead.
President Jay Golden
Wichita State announces temporary cost-saving measures
April 6, 2020
As you will see in tomorrow’s First Tuesday newsletter to the campus community, the University is beginning to review the longer-term implications of COVID-19 for our campus. This pandemic has already had a significant financial impact on our institution. These uncertain times require us to take thoughtful precautions to ensure WSU’s future success.
As we look ahead to the start of the next fiscal year, beginning July 1, we are bracing for the financial impact caused by a reduction in state revenues from the loss of business activity and an anticipated reduction in enrollment.
Although our enrollment projections for academic year 2020-2021 were showing an increase in overall enrollment, we now anticipate an adverse effect. We especially worry for and about our international student population, many of whom have returned to their home countries and may not be able to return to the United States by the fall semester, as well as prospective international students who can't get a visa to travel to the United States
Our administration and our university budget advisory committee, comprised of 31 faculty, staff and student representatives from across campus, are exploring scenarios and management approaches to minimize adverse impacts to our campus community. As we look for ways to reduce the future financial impact, we must evaluate our current spending.
Therefore, today, WSU is implementing two temporary cost-saving measures: a hiring freeze and restrictions on discretionary spending including travel and non-essential purchases. More detailed information about these actions and their implications, including the process for waiver requests, will be coming soon.
We do not tell you these things to be alarming, but rather to be honest and transparent about the challenging realities higher education institutions – including our own – are facing. We are confident that, with strategic and thoughtful planning, Wichita State will emerge even stronger than we were before.
We are grateful for your continued patience and grace during these unprecedented and difficult times. Please continue to take care of yourselves and others. Stay connected, but remain vigilant in practicing social distancing. Know that we are here for you and we will walk through this together, as one Shocker Nation.
President Jay Golden and Provost Rick Muma
Wichita State summer courses moving to online/remote format
April 3, 2020
Dear students and faculty:
As our lives, both on campus and off, continue to be disrupted by the COVID-19 crisis, our priority remains the health, safety and well-being of our entire campus community. While we had hoped to be able to return to some sense of normal by the summer months, the situation remains uncertain.
Therefore, out of an abundance of caution, we have made the difficult decision to continue our online and/or remote academic instruction through the summer term.
Those courses that were already scheduled to be offered 100 percent online will remain as previously planned, and the usual online fee will be assessed.
Those courses that were originally scheduled to be held either partially or entirely in person will be moved to an online and/or remote format. The university will not assess any online fees for these courses.
Faculty who are scheduled to teach summer courses should begin any necessary preparations to transition their courses to an online and/or remote format. For more information on the support that is available, go to www.wichita.edu/bbnow.
Summer registration starts Monday, April 6. To learn more about summer courses, go to www.wichita.edu/summer. Students and faculty will see the new instructional method code (REM) indicating the course will be offered in an online and/or remote format.
I know these past few weeks haven’t been easy. I hope that providing this information now will provide some relief during these uncertain times. While we must continue to remain socially distanced from one another, I encourage you to check in – virtually – on your professors, students, classmates and colleagues and stay connected. And, most importantly, I encourage you to take care of yourself and continue to be well.
As always, you can find the latest updates and frequently asked questions regarding how WSU is adjusting to COVID-19 at www.wichita.edu/covid19news.
April 1 University Update
Welcome back, Shockers.
We know this isn’t how you pictured starting school after Spring Break, and the entire university community appreciates your flexibility and understanding during this difficult time in our world.
Today, President Jay Golden recorded a video updating you on three important topics:
- How we're celebrating our graduating seniors
- Refunds and credits for housing, meals and parking
- A virtual town hall aimed at answering your questions
More finalized information on graduation will be available soon. Watch the town hall live at 2 p.m. Thursday, April 2.
Beginning April 3, 2020, Wichita State University will begin updating student accounts to reflect credits for the following:
- On-campus housing
- Meal plans
- Student parking
Once all credits are posted to the student’s account, the account will be reviewed to determine if a refund is due, in accordance with university guidelines. Refunds will be issued beginning April 3, 2020.
Information regarding Housing and Parking Credits
Housing – Room and Meals
- Students who have moved out of WSU Housing as of 3/22/2020 will be issued Housing (room and meal) credits to their WSU Student Account for the time period beginning 3/22/2020 thru the end of the semester 5/15/2020 (excluding spring break) based on their selected room and meal plan.
- Any unused Spring Dining Dollars will be credited to the Student’s Account.
- Students will be issued a parking credit to their WSU Student Account beginning 3/16/2020 to the end of the semester 5/15/2020
- Once all credits have been applied, the account will be reviewed to determine if a
refund is due. All University refunding rules will apply, such as:
- Compliance with all Federal Financial Aid policies on refunding Title IV funds.
- Non-refundable scholarships (i.e. those given to Athletes and other full-ride scholars for housing, etc.), will not be refunded,
- All debts owed to the University by the Student will be satisfied PRIOR to any refund being issued.
- How will refunds be disbursed:
- If the original payment was made by credit card, the refund may be applied to the card used to make the payment. Please allow 5 – 7 business days for the transaction to appear on your credit card.
- If the original payment was not made by credit card and the student has direct deposit/ACH information on file, the refund will be issued directly to the bank account on file. Please allow 3 – 5 business days for direct deposit to post with your bank.
- If the original payment was not made by credit card and the student does not have a direct deposit/ACH information on file, refunds will be made by check, and sent to the CURRENT address on file. Please allow 5 – 7 business days for the check to arrive through the mail.
- For questions about the housing and dining credit amounts, please contact Housing and Residence Life, Housing.WSU@wichita.edu or by phone at 316-978-3693.
- For questions about a parking credit amount, the refund amount due, or any other questions about the process, please contact Student Accounts at 316-978-3333.
Note: This is a complex, challenging and fluid situation that continues to evolve rapidly. All information is subject to change as deemed necessary by university leadership in accordance with guidance and recommendations issued by federal, state and local public health and government officials.
March 24 Statement from Dr. Golden
To the Wichita State University community:
I understand that Sedgwick County has issued a stay-at-home order in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. This order begins Wednesday and will be in effect for 30 days. Our teams have been working tirelessly to prepare for the potential impact of this order on our university community and are updating our plans for operations going forward in accordance with this order. I’ll let you know as soon as we have new information.
Dr. Jay S. Golden
March 19 letter from President Golden
March 19, 2020
Dear students, faculty and staff,
We are facing a new reality, so let’s keep talking about what is important and make adjustments to ensure the best possible outcomes.
Our physical health during this pandemic is dependent on separation. Our emotional health is dependent on human connection. Let’s talk about both as we navigate these challenging times together.
Please remember that Wichita State’s short-term goals are to protect ourselves, loved ones, co-workers, communities and the world.
The long-term goals are to provide the best possible student experience and to fulfill the mission embodied in our strategic plan – to be an essential educational, cultural and economic driver for Kansas and the greater public good.
"Social distancing" is a term most of us hadn’t heard a month ago, and now it is a key to getting past this pandemic. We need to safely distance from each other and stay away from campus as much as possible to help slow the spread of coronavirus.
Gov. Laura Kelly addressed these issues March 17 by ordering the closure of Kansas K-12 school buildings immediately, as well as the closure of many state offices for two weeks, starting Monday, March 23.
The state office closure does not affect universities. However, we support the spirit of the message: Do what we can to slow the spread of the virus. To be clear, Wichita State is still open for business, although all classes have been moved online. We continue to maintain all operations to fully support our students during this unprecedented time. That being said, how we are maintaining those operations may look a bit different.
Reducing on-campus presence
We are focused on restricting on-campus visitations and operations to promote and enforce social distancing practices. Keeping our students, faculty and staff safe remains our top priority.
We need to intensify our efforts to limit face-to-face interaction and reduce our on-campus presence. This means that all supervisors and employees should be implementing modified operations: staggered work schedules, working remotely and attending meetings via video-conferencing. While all employees are expected to continue to work and serve the university, work with your supervisor to implement social distancing if your work requires you to be on campus.
I understand this reduced on-campus presence may be confusing to those who rely on our university offices and employees. While we may be limiting in-person interactions, be assured that we are still here serving students. Call us. Email us.
A time may come where our entire university community will be asked to stay home and operate the university remotely. We’re not there yet. We will attempt to give everyone adequate notice should this become necessary.
Public access to university buildings
Many of you have asked about access to university buildings. We are allowing Ablah Library access only for those who already have a Shocker Card. Avoid campus if you can. If you must come to Ablah Library or somewhere on campus to access Wi-Fi, please understand we cannot allow visitors to come with you.
As you already know, beginning Monday, March 30, the new reality for students and faculty is that classes for the rest of spring semester will be online and/or remote, even as we increase restrictions on visiting our physical campus. Provost Rick Muma has asked that the deans regularly communicate with students to make sure they remain connected to their major area of study, and most importantly, graduate in a timely manner.
It’s also important to all of us emotionally that we retain our human connections. Please stay connected through every means possible and check on each other. Maintaining those connections will help us get through this difficult time.
One final note about a tremendously important group of people: this spring’s graduates. Please be assured that you will not be overlooked.
We are evaluating options to hold an in-person recognition for the class of 2020 when it is safe and practicable to convene students, faculty, staff and guests who are now off-campus and scattered across the nation. Until the national situation stabilizes, we are looking into a few alternatives, including possibly a virtual commencement. If we offer a virtual commencement, we also will most certainly hold an in-person commencement to recognize your hard work and accomplishments next fall.
We know that things will continue to change rapidly, and we will adapt to those changes as they come.
Shockers, please know that you are loved and missed. We will come back stronger than ever.
Dr. Jay S. Golden
March 16, 2020
Dear Students, Families, Faculty and Staff,
I want to start this message with two important reminders.
First, as I often tell people around the country, Shocker Nation and Wichitans are an incredible group of individuals, unsurpassed in America. I have not been part of a campus or community where the people are so caring and supportive of one another. Leading Wichita State University is truly an honor.
Second, it is because of the strength of our community that I have no doubt that we are all going to get through these difficult times just fine.
As a nation, events are rapidly evolving. It was my hope that I would be able to provide you better news but – given newly issued federal guidelines – I am letting you know today that Wichita State University has made the difficult decision to continue online and/or remote instruction through the end of the semester. We will not be resuming in-person classes
This decision was made not only to protect our campus community but also to provide some sense of certainty during these unprecedented times. Given the very recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance for limited gatherings for at least 8 weeks, it was our decision to cancel all in-person instruction on campus as our semester ends in 7 weeks, excluding spring break.
Given the very recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance for limited gatherings for at least 8 weeks, this decision was made not only to protect our campus community but also to provide some sense of certainty during these unprecedented times.
In an effort to support public health efforts by Sedgwick County and the State of Kansas, Wichita State University will begin limiting on-campus housing operations at 5 p.m. on Sunday, March 22. Students who have already left campus will not be allowed to return without explicit authorization from Housing & Residence Life staff. However, students who have traveled to the following areas over the break will not be allowed to pick up items until they have completed 14 days of self-quarantine as detailed by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment:
- New York state.
- Washington state.
- Eagle, Summit, Pitkin and Gunnison counties in Colorado.
Wichita State University Housing & Residence Life recognizes that leaving the residence halls is not an option for all of our students, so we will allow students meeting the criteria outlined below to register to remain on campus:
- International students.
- Students with a permanent address in an area heavily affected by COVID-19.
- Students with health conditions or disabilities that prevent travel home.
- Students who reside with a family member/guardian with health issues that put them at increased risk of COVID-19.
- Students without the ability to return to their permanent residence due to other documented circumstances.
The university is in the process of determining how to address housing and dining refund requests. Once a decision is made, we will update the university’s website: https://www.wichita.edu/covid19news.
To our students, faculty, and staff: Our Provost, Rick Muma, is working with our faculty to plan for online and/or remote format for the remainder of the academic year. He and his colleagues in Academic Affairs will also be keeping students and faculty and staff apprised of any needed changes involving academic programs.
Dr. Teri Hall and colleagues in Student Affairs will be providing updates to students, including continuing services for mental and physical well-being and housing.
Vice President for Finance and Administration Werner Golling and our Human Resources office will continue to keep you informed of our policies on pay and benefits, sick leave, telecommuting and more. Some of these communications may be sent through your divisional vice president.
To the parents of our students: I understand and appreciate what you are having to deal with right now to support your child and their needs while also trying to balance home and work. My younger daughter just returned from her college semester abroad, which was cut short. Not only did we have to scramble to get her back to the United States, she is now in a 14-day voluntarily self-quarantine in North Carolina. My wife is providing the necessary parental support, such as groceries etc. All of this can be disruptive to family lives. Every decision we make will impact you and your family; we know this. I want to make sure we are doing all we can to minimize these disruptions as best as possible
To our seniors and those graduate students completing studies this semester: I am saddened that your final semester has been disrupted in this way. Because we can’t predict the near-term future of COVID-19 spread, we are going to have to indefinitely postpone spring commencement. I do want to promise to you and your families that I will make sure your incredible accomplishments will be recognized and that your university and your president will honor all that you have done. Our team is exploring a number of options to replace spring commencement.
Please know that these difficult decisions are not being made in isolation. I have been meeting with our university leadership team every morning and they are meeting with their divisions throughout each day as well. We have and continue to be in constant discussions with county and state health professionals and are following their guidance.
I and my team members have been consulting and coordinating with our counterparts at the University of Kansas and Kansas State University and other state universities. We all want to do what is best for our students, faculty, staff and university community.
Remember, we will get through this together. Take a moment and check on each other and remind each other that you care. Follow CDC and local health guidelines-as we are doing at Wichita State. Please make sure to continue to check our Wichita State University COVID-19 website and FAQ pages at https://www.wichita.edu/covid19news.
I will keep you informed. Until my next note, stay safe, stay strong and as always…. Go Shocks!
Dr. Jay S. Golden
March 12, 2020
Dear Shocker Nation,
We are all aware of the unique circumstance that people across our country and globe are facing in regard to the COVID-19 Coronavirus. Nationally, a number of actions are taking place including those at colleges and universities. This is a situation that has all of us concerned, yet we must not become panicked. It’s important to note that at this time, there are no known COVID-19 cases on our campus, in Wichita or Sedgwick County.
As President of Wichita State University, my number one priority is the student experience. This most especially includes the health and well-being of our students and campus community.
Today, I want to share with the entire campus community some important updates to university operations that will soon be implemented as described below. The following plans apply to the Wichita State University student, faculty, and staff community. WSU Tech will continue communicating to their community and keep me appraised of their actions.
Our actions have been developed in accordance with guidelines and recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and Kansas Department of Health and Environment. Please understand that this situation is ever-evolving and our campus response could change at any point.
I want to assure you that our administration is working tirelessly with the rest of the campus, Student Health Services, and many other offices to make the best decisions for the entirety of Shocker Nation.
I understand there are many personal and logistical challenges that happen with measures like this. Please take care of yourself and your friends and colleagues during this time.
I continue to be inspired by our Shocker Family and the wonderful Wichita community we call home. While the coronavirus is very serious, I have no doubt that as a community working together, we will be fine.
Dr. Jay S. Golden