Thank you for a terrific start to the spring semester! I appreciate your efforts during the last two weeks to welcome our students back to campus and guide them as they reacclimate to life on the Hill alongside COVID-19. We see excellent compliance across campus with our Healthy on the Hill guidelines. Please, continue to protect and care for one another this term, just as we did in the fall. I know we each look forward to a return to normalcy in the months ahead.
Beyond the start of spring classes, January was a very busy month for our university. I appreciate the work of so many to support the initiatives listed below. Because of the volume of information and deadlines announced since we began the semester, please find a quick recap below:
As previously communicated by Provost Cheryl Stevens and EVP Susan Howarth, WKU is implementing a Voluntary Separation Incentive Program (VSIP) as an employee-centered strategy for making appropriate workforce adjustments and creating opportunities for organizational renewal and reinvention. The VSIP offers eligible faculty and staff the opportunity to separate/retire from employment effective June 30, 2021, and receive a lump-sum compensation incentive equal to annualized base salary, up to $100,000, plus a health insurance allowance. The application period is open and ends at 4pm on March 15.
I appreciate the efforts of our Human Resources staff to work with those who have questions and need assistance. They have done a remarkable job of providing support and information. Complete details of the program, along with many newly posted resources, are available here. Additionally, HR is offering information sessions this Wednesday, February, 3, from 2-3pm, and this Friday, February 5, from 1:30-2:30pm. These important webinars can be joined via https://wku.zoom.us/j/94461879038.
Campus Master Plan
For the last year, members of our community carefully researched, reviewed, reassessed and reimagined how our physical plant facilitates engagement with one another, with our students and with our communities. I appreciate the work of the steering committee and each of the planning committees across campus, as well as your input, to develop the final draft of the 2021-31 WKU Campus Master Plan – a plan that will guide strategic campus growth, facility maintenance and upgrades during the next decade.
We ask for your review of and feedback on this draft. Please visit https://www.wku.edu/pdc/master_plan/ to provide comments by next Thursday, February 11.
If you test positive for COVID-19, it’s important to remember to report your positive test to our WKU COVID hotline at 270-745-2019 or email Covid.email@example.com. In addition, in order to help us best mitigate spread, we ask that you make this call or email within four hours of receiving a positive test so that we may begin contact tracing in the timeliest manner possible.
I understand our WKU Community is anxious to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. We are working with both the local and state public health agencies, Graves Gilbert Clinic and other healthcare partners to facilitate a path for our campus community members to receive the vaccine once supply becomes accessible. We will continue these planning efforts and will communicate any updates as they become available.
Naming and Symbols Task Force
The Namings and Symbols Task Force continues their work this semester to conduct a thorough examination of the history of WKU’s namings; explore options for how we might address those that might be problematic; and make recommendations for university leadership to consider. They are researching a litany of names and symbols used on our campuses, the context which led to their adoption, and how they fit within the university’s educational mission.
At this time, the task force requests your input. If you have comments or perspectives to share, they ask that you use the feedback form located on the task force website at https://www.wku.edu/naming-and-symbols/ no later than March 1. I appreciate the task force members and their important work to help guide our institution now and in the future.
It is an extraordinarily busy time at WKU. Thank you for your continued efforts to support each other, and thank you for your work as we continue to elevate our university. Go Tops!
Timothy C. Caboni