Dear Faculty Colleagues:
As we emerge from the immediate aftermath of the storm, I want to express my sincere sympathies to those of you who remain displaced from your homes and have suffered loss. We are beginning the process of recovery that will take some time.
Personally, I have been gratified by the many examples of how, as a faculty, we have tended not only to the needs of our students, but have found the time and energy to offer help and assistance to many of our colleagues that continue to face severe challenges in the aftermath of Huricane Harvey. I hope that you found the disaster recovery information posted on the Office of the Provost website to be useful and timely, and that you continue to visit the Faculty Resources Facebook site for additional information and practical assistance. We continue to update this information on a regular basis and will continue to do so as long as needed.
I also want to take this opportunity to thank you all for the concern and compassion that you have shown to our students over the last week. I know that our students truly appreciated faculty reaching out to them to check on their circumstances and reassure them not worry about classes or assignments that they missed. If we have learned anything from the experience of other universities that have faced similar weather-related disasters, it is that the importance of remaining flexible and accommodating of our students' needs as they return to class over the coming weeks will be crucial. The uncertainty and distress caused to many of our most vulnerable students in the aftermath of the storm will need special care and attention. I have every confidence that each and every one of you will undoubtedly make the return of our students to campus as flexible, welcoming, and supportive as possible.
As we prepare to return to campus next Tuesday, September 5, I realize that transportation and childcare concerns have been on your minds. As you face these added challenges, I want to make sure that you know that I, along with your deans and department chairs, remain committed to providing as flexible and accommodating approach as possible in helping you meet your instructional and professional responsibilities. For those of you that may face transportation issues, I encourage you to explore options with your deans/department chairs for working remotely from home, employing online meeting tools for class if appropriate, as well as considering the ride-share/carpooling options.
I am happy to report that for those whose children attend the Children's Learning Centers (CLC), they will be fully operational and open for business first thing Tuesday morning. In addition, we have identified several additional local childcare options that you may want to consider as a temporary option. I also encourage you to share with one another through the Facebook page other creative solutions to temporarily cover childcare needs that arise during these extraordinary times.
In closing, please understand that I, your deans, and department chairs are committed to being as flexible and as accommodating as possible in facilitating your return to campus under what is without doubt an extraordinary set of conditions that have impacted us all.
Please do not hesitate to contact me or any member of my senior staff if you have any questions or need additional assistance. I will have an open door each day next week should any of you wish to sit and discuss specific concerns for which I might provide help. Please email my office to set up a time. I deeply appreciate all you do and how each of you is important to the life of this campus and to our students.
Paula Myrick Short