Dear UWest Community:

Happy Arbor Day!  I hope you will have a chance to plant a tree or a houseplant, or tend to your garden in celebration of this day.  If you have not had the chance to read The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein, you might want to read it out loud to yourself, your children, your family, or your friends.

This week seemed to have flown by quickly.  We have spent quite a bit of time setting up for the coming candidate presentations and interviews in preparation of selecting the next President of UWest.  This is a very important task and we hope you will plan to attend via Zoom.  Here is a quick note… except for the candidate and the Board members, everyone will be muted upon sign on to Zoom and throughout the presentations and interviews.  Everyone might wish to use “speaker view” instead the “gallery view” in order to spotlight the speaker.  You might wish to shut off your “video” to save some bandwidth for better video viewing and better yet, dressed in your very casual look.  A feedback form will be provided to you to gather your input on the candidates.  More information will be forthcoming from the Board of Trustees by the end of today.  Thank you, Rafael, James, Peter, and Grace!

The Library has been sending out information regarding resources both in our Library and online.  Many of the online resources are free.  Lingling Kuo and Judy Hsu have been busy working to make sure that you can obtain the materials that you need in a timely manner.  Thank you both!!!

Lezli Fang, Director of Financial Aid, has been helping us to decipher the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF).  We are still waiting for the final details to make sure that we adhere to the federal guidelines without fail.  We will receive about $140,000 to support the students and related expenses incurred due to COVID-19.  Our students’ lives have been disrupted unexpectedly and we shall support them however we can.  Jessa Forsythe-Crane, Institutional Effectiveness Manager will help with maneuvering the application process as well.  Thank you Lezli and Jessa!

Our faculty have stepped up to the plate and took a major stride with the development of new online courses and/or migrating the existing courses online.  We are preparing for the opening of the fall semester whether it’s face-to-face or remotely.  We will spend the summer months preparing for what we need to provide the best instruction to our students.  There will be training and updates for the faculty to make sure that we are well equipped to have many of our courses ready to be offered online whether in the summer, or fall or the future.  Thank you, professors!

As always, I am grateful for the opportunities that I have been afforded, meeting new acquaintances, making new friends, and catching up with “old” colleagues and friends.  Many of us had our travel plans altered, and the best way to meet up is now through “reach out and touch someone via Zoom and Facetime.”  We will soon become experts at using modern technology before long?!  So, what have we learned during this “Safer at Home” order?  Did anyone invent Calculus or?  (You will know what this means if you read the article sent to you last week.)

Finally, as always, a big “Thank You” to all the faculty and staff who “brave” the traffic to come onto campus to take care business!  Needless to say, we thank all the front line workers who provide many essential services each and every day.  Hope to see all of you on Zoom next week, both Monday and Wednesday mornings!  Have a great weekend and stay cool!  Please drink lots of water because it will make you happier according to a recent study…

Sincerely,
Dr. Chou

Chiung-Sally Chou, Ph.D.
Interim President
University of the West