Nearly two months ago, we fully altered our instructional modality for the spring term. As we approach the end of the semester, I couldn’t be more proud of your commitment to our university and your work to support our Hilltoppers during this unusual time.
It’s crucial, now more than ever, that we encourage completion and work to re-recruit each student to return to campus this fall. With uncertainty around us, what remains certain is the value of a college degree. During the next several days and weeks, I need you to convey to our Hilltoppers the importance of continuing their higher education journey.
We were well positioned to weather the COVID-19 pandemic in this fiscal year, including the ability to cover a one percent decrease in state appropriation for the final two months of the current fiscal year – a reduction announced just last Thursday.
However, this health crisis will affect significantly next year’s operating budget. The Budget Executive Committee (BEC) worked hard to thoughtfully and strategically create 2021 budget recommendations that address our current situation and allow us to emerge soundly on the other side of this pandemic.
This Friday, Provost Cheryl Stevens and EVP Susan Howarth will meet with our shared governance groups to share those recommendations and bring feedback to the President’s Cabinet for review. The Board of Regents will review these recommendations during their May 15th meeting and vote on the budget during their special called meeting in June. Although our budget work will continue, we will share the initial BEC recommendations with campus on Friday afternoon.
I appreciate those contributing to the work of our four Restart WKU Committees and developing plans for us to return to in-person operations during the summer. We remain committed to regaining as much normalcy as possible and providing the full WKU Experience to our students, while protecting the health of our community. These draft plans will be submitted to the WKU COVID-19 Task Force on May 18. The Task Force will then assemble a comprehensive restart plan.
Finally, our WKU Summer Hours will begin as scheduled on Monday, May 18. We all face stresses created by COVID-19 that none of us imagined six months ago. I hope the additional flexibility provides you with an opportunity to decompress and refresh. Please take care of yourself and your family in the coming months.
Thank you for a spring semester different from any other. I can’t wait to celebrate together a new beginning on the Hill this fall.
Timothy C. Caboni