Dear Campus Community,
Across the country, the debate rages on: when will it be safe to re-open businesses? For those of us who have been actively working and studying under modified circumstances, the questions are different. While we are continuing to move forward, we want to know when all of us can return to our physical locations or resume research operations.
The only answer right now is that we don’t know. In some places, the coronavirus curve is flattening but without widespread testing, treatments, and more knowledge about the disease’s path, we are left with uncertainty. I wish I could provide more definitive answers today. However, as promised, I am providing you with the most up-to-date information in several areas that are likely top of mind.
Status of Fall Quarter
Though we are still in the middle of our spring quarter, the question I hear most often relates to another season. Like most other universities, we are currently assessing whether we will be able to conduct classes on campus or will continue with remote instruction during the fall quarter.
To evaluate possible scenarios, I have convened an Instructional Continuity Working Group consisting of faculty, staff, students, and administrators. They are working to understand a number of ever-shifting variables and will pass along their insights as they think through the issues.
Budget and Finances
One of the more difficult problems we are facing as an institution is our significant budget shortfall. We are not alone. This problem is shared by colleges and universities throughout the UC system, our state, and the country. We are presently working with the other campuses, the UC Office of the President, and state and federal government entities to seek solutions. To date, we have received help through the CARES Act passed by Congress last month. However, those funds only cover a small portion of the lost revenue and increased costs related to remote instruction infrastructure, housing and dining refunds, additional health and safety measures, and a myriad of other expenses and losses.
Clearly, next year will look different from this one, but at this point we’re still trying to see exactly how. You should expect additional budget details in the near future as we work through this problem.
Postponements and Changes in Timelines
We have adjusted the timeline for some activities and major initiatives. Most annual performance reviews are delayed until the fall. We have changed the timeline for the development of our strategic plan, and now anticipate sharing a draft of that plan with the UCR community for review, discussion, and feedback in late 2020. We have also moved the release of a new logo and visual identity, work that was completed this past fall and winter, from May until the conclusion of spring quarter.
And importantly, as we continue to work through budget adjustments, we have placed nearly all leadership searches on hold.
Though nearly all open positions are on hold for now, one pivotal role we must fill is our Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost. Our next Provost will be responsible for leading us through this pandemic and putting us back on track for achieving all of our goals for research and student success. The finalists for the position will be completing their interviews this week. Soon after, I will meet with the search advisory committee and hope to conclude the search in the next few weeks. For more information, and to provide your input on each candidate, visit the search website. I welcome your input at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Spring Chancellor’s Update
In a usual term, the spring Chancellor’s Update would be held at the HUB. This year, it will be virtual and will be available as a pre-recorded video on the UC Riverside YouTube channel. I plan to provide an overview regarding our coronavirus response to date; and as always, will try to answer as many questions as possible. Given the change in format, please submit your questions here.
Though we can’t be together in person, it’s been great to connect with many of you during my virtual visits in class, staff, and faculty meetings. I remain immensely proud of the entire UCR family for how we are weathering this crisis and for our abiding commitment to each other, our safety, and our collective success.