As we prepare for a return to normal operations so we can provide the full WKU Experience for our Hilltoppers, we must take the steps necessary to prepare. This includes planning for how we transition back to on-campus work.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, WKU has prioritized the health and wellbeing of our community members. The university fully supported those who transitioned their work to their home offices to best protect their families from COVID-19 and also to assist their K-12 children engaged in remote instruction. We are grateful for the creative ways in which you altered your work and appreciate your extraordinary efforts to support our students and meet your job responsibilities during a time of tremendous uncertainty.
With vaccines widely available in our area and the majority of school-aged children back to in-person instruction, the WKU COVID-19 Task force agrees it is time for us to return to our campus as well. While we will continue to support flexibility in the coming months, beginning June 1, all faculty and staff (unless their role has been deemed fully remote) should plan to perform at least 50% of their work on campus (some areas will be higher, up to 100% in-person). We will continue this transition throughout the summer so that by August, we will return to full operations – either 100% in-person or some other prearranged time allocation between on-site and off-site work. Given that some of us already are (and have been) working full-time on campus, some are working at home full-time, and others have adopted a hybrid approach, this transition will look different across our workforce.
We learned this past year, even when not physically present on campus, that we still can accomplish our university mission. We reimagined how we engaged with our students, colleagues and constituencies. We now know which roles at WKU can be performed through remote work and those that cannot. So, as we repopulate our buildings and reassemble as a community, we should use this time to think differently about how we fulfill our responsibilities. For many of us, where you work may look different than years past.
However, we also have experienced that physical presence, collaboration and community are fundamental to achieving our goals. Students choose to study with us because of the unparalleled in-person experience we create. Our work is rewarding because of the personal relationships we develop. What makes the WKU Experience so special happens when we all are together on our Hill.
Finally, we recognize there is value in supporting employee flexibility. To that end, divisional leaders across WKU have begun conversations in their areas, that will continue in the coming weeks, to develop appropriate working arrangements in accordance with WKU’s Alternative Work Arrangement Policy, which can be viewed here.
It is important for employees and their supervisors to discuss ongoing, individual work arrangements and for those work arrangements to gain supervisor approval. Central to these discussions are how we fulfill our individual job responsibilities, while making the necessary contributions to our departments and divisions and meeting WKU’s high expectations for supporting our students.
Like all those in our campus community and the many prospective students we meet with daily, we look forward to an in-person semester on the Hill this fall.
Timothy C. Caboni, President
Cheryl Stevens, Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs
Susan Howarth, Executive Vice President for Strategy, Operations and Finance