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Fall 2020 Update

Wednesday May 13, 2020 10:05 am

Dear Titan Family:

For the past 63 years, any time a CSUF president sent a campus-wide message at this specific time in May, it would have likely been a thank you note to faculty and staff preparing to volunteer their weekend for our commencement ceremonies. To put things in perspective, last year at this time, I joined this volunteer group in lamenting a forecast of cold commencement showers. Today? Well, today most of us would jump at the chance to stand in the Fullerton rain to welcome families, hand out Titan ponchos, and be physically present for our graduates.

Rain, sleet, snow, or sun, that is just not possible at this time, and while this is not a thank you note to our commencement volunteers, it is a note of thanks, among other things. Indeed, I am deeply appreciative and proud of all you have done while navigating your own pandemic-related struggles; first to move to virtual, then to support students in adjusting, and now to collaboratively plan for the ever-evolving possibilities of our future.

The planning of our future is actually the second impetus for this communication, and I am as eager to involve you in it as I am thankful for all that you have already done. As you likely have read in various news reports by now, at yesterday’s CSU Board of Trustees meeting, Chancellor White announced a planning framework for the Fall 2020 semester that is “primarily virtual,” meaning that he is asking all CSU campuses to plan for a virtual fall semester with limited face-to-face exceptions for hands-on instruction that cannot be delivered virtually.

In alignment with that framework and with the guidance of both health professionals and campus stakeholders, we are planning to predominately offer virtual instruction in Fall 2020. That said, we have not yet made any final decision on what that will look like, including the specific volume or types of teaching and research that will be conducted virtually, face-to-face, or as a hybrid of both. We will continue to collaboratively work through challenges and identify opportunities to best formulate a plan that not only fits within the framework the Chancellor put forth, but also best serves the unique strengths and needs of CSUF – all while protecting the health and safety of our community and concurrently providing inclusive, excellent education. 

Specifically, there are two sets of diverse committees working through this puzzle and moving us to clarity, both of which are made up of cross-sections of faculty and staff from a variety of colleges, divisions, and departments — from Academic Affairs and HRDI to Environmental Health & Safety and IT. As these cross-campus committees engage in this complex process, they will continue to be in close consultation with all campus stakeholders to ensure all views and voices are heard and considered as part of any final decision on Fall 2020. These stakeholders include faculty, staff, ASI, our Academic Senate, and our union colleagues.

We hope to make a more concrete, final decision on the details of our plan toward the end of the month, and rest assured, when that decision is made, the campus community will hear it directly from me, not in the news or on social media. In the meantime, we will continue to make our preparations with an emphasis on flexibility and the capacity to pivot quickly and safely as we face the ever-evolving nature of this pandemic. Again, and most importantly, when making these decisions, we will continue to prioritize our twin touchstones: the health and safety of our campus community and the continuous delivery of the highest quality education possible.

As always, be kind, stay healthy, and know that one day in the not so distant future, we will get back to the good old worries – like whether or not we have enough Titan ponchos to keep our graduates’ families warm and dry.

I look forward to that day, but remain thankful for each and every day that I am blessed to continue working with all of you.


Fram Virjee