Titans Return (kind of)
Dear Titan Family:
I used to say that my least favorite workdays are the ones in which I am unable to escape my office on the 10th Floor of College Park to explore the campus and engage with all of you where you are most at home €“ in and around your classrooms, offices, laboratories, recital halls, conference rooms, and fields of play. So much so, anytime I came up for air from my desk on those stuck-in-the-office days, I would steal a glance out the window at our bustling campus, longing to be among our students, sitting in on a faculty lecture, or popping in for a visit at DIRC.
Today, as we turn the corner on our third month away from campus, I freely admit that I have a new perspective by which to measure my “least favorite” way to work, and I know I am not alone. Indeed, like all of you, I would jump at the chance to return to campus in any capacity, and as I think about our campus through this absence-makes-the-heart-grow-fonder lens, I am reminded of an old fishing adage that I rearranged to suit our new normal: My least favorite day of work on campus is better than my best day of work off campus.
To be clear, these past few months, all of you €” our tremendous faculty and staff €” have overcome far more than a nostalgic want to return to campus and the in-person Titan Family connection that is just not the same over Zoom. You have re-invented yourselves and your work, not just in the roles you signed up for and are paid to do, but also in new, far more difficult roles that you learned on the fly. I know doing all of this for our students and each other in the face of not just COVID-19, but also the ongoing systemic anti-Blackness and institutional racism that continues to be our nation’s true plague, was not comfortable, easy, or without pain.
Despite all that, you continued to inspire me just as you inspired the nearly 12,000 diverse Titans who will cross our virtual commencement stages this weekend. There are truly no words for what you have done, are doing, and will continue to do, but I want to thank you and provide an update on our plan for a measured return to what I think we can all agree is our favorite place in which to work, learn, study, and play: Our beautiful campus.
First and foremost, per my campus-wide email dated May 13, 2020, we have been working hard to formulate a plan that not only fits within the “primarily virtual” Fall 2020 framework mandated by the Chancellor’s Office, but also best serves the unique strengths and needs of CSUF. As always, our twin touchstones €” the health and safety of all Titans and the continuity of high-quality education with unobstructed paths to degree €” is at the heart of this work, and as we move forward, we do so with the understanding that it is the medical and scientific data and facts that have driven and will continue to drive the decisions we make.
With all that in mind, here is what we can confidently share at this time:
- Most (aka the overwhelming majority of) classes offered this Fall at Cal State Fullerton will be delivered virtually; the exception being a very limited number of classes that must be held in-person.
- The Division of Academic Affairs has been working with departments to identify those face-to-face courses, such as some labs and studio classes.
- We will submit those classes to the Chancellor’s Office for approval next week.
- More information will be sent to faculty and students once we receive approval from the Chancellor’s Office.
- Staff should plan to continue telecommuting until August 14, 2020, at which time we plan to begin a measured, phased-in approach to bring staff back to campus with the pre-condition that our re-entry plans are approved and preparations for a safe return are complete.
- This may mean a limited number of employees return to campus prior to August 14, 2020.
- Please continue to monitor the COVID-19 Titans Return website and communicate with your supervisor for more detailed and up-to-date information.
- We are also working on the protocol for faculty members to return to their labs to conduct research.
- Faculty will provide a comprehensive explanation of the need for being in their lab with a limited number of students.
- Details on this process and the timing will be shared out by the Provost in the next week.
- With few classes being held face-to-face, we expect most students will not be on campus during the Fall semester.
- As such, on-campus student housing will be reduced significantly.
- Students most in need of on-campus student housing will remain a top priority.
- For those students living on campus, we will continue to provide residential support and dining services.
- For general Faculty/Staff IT support, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 657-278-7777.
We thank you for your patience and flexibility as we prepare our campus plan. You can expect a more detailed communication from your divisional leaders once our plan is approved. And finally, please know that I miss you and our campus, and I look forward to the day we are all back together, even if it’s one of those days I am stuck on the 10th floor of College Park!