Message to Faculty and Staff

March 23, 2020 (5:00 PM)

In this challenging time, we appreciate the efforts of our faculty, staff, and students in collaborating to make a successful transition to remote delivery of courses for the remainder of the semester.  With this transition come significant challenges that many in our community are facing.  I want to acknowledge these hardships and the extraordinary measures that many have taken to adjust to the new reality of our semester. I remain confident that our community will come together and create yet stronger ties.  It is important that we all work to understand the challenges we are facing while at the same time developing solutions that help our students continue to make academic progress in a high-quality academic environment.

As we begin this week amidst a statewide Stay Home, Stay Safe order, I encourage members of our community to recognize that instructors have been working to move coursework to remote delivery and make accommodations for unique courses such as internships, clinical rotations, and senior projects.  After a week of developing and beginning to make these adjustments, many faculty may be preparing to ramp up course expectations to get coursework and course objectives back on schedule. 

This is all coinciding with around 3,000 residential students having to grapple with finding new accommodations, moving out of their rooms or apartments, or preparing to leave their belongings in their rooms for the remainder of the semester after not returning to campus at the end of spring break.  The uncertainty surrounding on-campus housing and concern about the prospect of housing and food insecurity for many of our students has added a layer of stress beyond academic concerns. Many of our students have also had to adjust to the prospect or the reality of losing employment that they rely on.  Additionally, a number of students have expressed concerns about accessing reliable internet connections to complete their course work.  Although several internet providers are offering free internet service to students, there is a transition period to have service connected, and many of these providers cannot connect service in some rural areas.

As our community continues to make adjustments and accommodations, please keep in mind some of the immediate challenges that our students are working through and the challenges that our faculty and staff are working through to deliver coursework and services remotely. I have no doubt that the Ferris State University campus community will rise to these occasions.  They, in fact, already have in so many ways.  Let’s continue to communicate, collaborate, and show the care and concern that will help us achieve success in these challenging times.

Paul Blake
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs