As we begin the seventh week of the fall semester, I have several updates to share with you.
First, the COVID-19 caseload on our campus continues to decline, with the number of weekly new cases decreasing nearly 90% during the last four weeks. I am proud of the efforts across the university to practice our Healthy on the Hill guidelines, catch cases early and quarantine and contact trace quickly to minimize spread of the virus. We continue to look for trends or connections between reported cases and have no evidence of transmission occurring in any classroom at WKU.
It is critical that we continue to embrace the practices that we know work - physical distancing, wearing masks, and washing our hands often. We have proven that together we can navigate successfully the challenges presented by this pandemic. However, we must remain vigilant, especially as cases across the state rise. Also, because many symptoms of influenza overlap with symptoms of COVID-19, please plan to get a flu shot in the next few weeks. They now are available at WKU Health Services.
Second, WKU remains committed to creating a diverse, equitable and inclusive campus community. To that end, we are asking for your voluntary participation in a Campus Climate Survey. The data collected will be used to assess staff and faculty perceptions of our current environment and how we are performing as a university, as well as where we should focus our efforts to build upon our strengths and make improvements. We need and value your input as we work together to advance our DEI efforts.
Third, this week we will launch a national search for Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs. Co-chaired by Dean Tania Basta and EVP Susan Howarth, the search will be staffed and supported internally. Given the other searches proceeding across the nation, we are confident in our ability to attract a strong applicant pool. We appreciate the continued leadership and diligence of Provost Cheryl Stevens, ensuring WKU continues to make progress toward the goals outlined in our strategic plan.
Finally, Homecoming at WKU provides an annual opportunity to reconnect with friends, remember our past, celebrate our achievements and look toward our future. We also witness the WKU Spirit across campus as we participate in our university’s longstanding traditions. This Homecoming week will look and feel quite different than the celebrations of previous years. There are still many ways you can participate and I encourage you to explore those options on our homecoming website.
Homecoming 2020 serves as a reminder that the WKU Spirit is much more than large gatherings and events. I hope you will embrace this as an opportunity to engage with fellow Hilltoppers one-on-one, gather in smaller groups and reunite with lifelong friends in different ways. If you have not already done so, consider reaching out to those with whom you normally assemble and create new approaches to catching-up. I look forward to seeing the creative ways our community will celebrate. Go Tops!
Timothy C. Caboni