To: OSU faculty and staff
From: Becky Johnson, Interim President
Edward Feser, Provost and Executive Vice President
We write today to thank you for your outstanding work over this past academic year, under challenging and uncertain conditions.
Over 15 months ago during the first week of March 2020, we stood up a formal administrative structure to manage our COVID-19 response. Just a week later, we shifted to almost fully remote activities across all university locations. In a very short period, OSU’s faculty closed winter 2020 term online and prepared their courses for remote instruction in the spring. Dozens — and then hundreds — of leaders, faculty, staff and students across our campuses and locations began contributing to management teams, task forces, committees and work groups to help OSU adapt to continually changing pandemic conditions. And throughout that time, faculty and staff continued to deliver classes and keep students on track to graduation.
Our research continued during the pandemic — if slowed or altered in some cases — as did our Extension and engagement programming.
Throughout, we have contributed to the state’s response, by donating PPE, providing community COVID-19 testing through the TRACE program, undertaking vigorous public health outreach through Extension, supporting the administration of vaccines, collaborating with other higher education and K-12 partners, and in many other ways. Working closely with our partners in the OSU Foundation, we raised over $1.3 million for students and employees in need through the Beavers Care initiative, with many employees making substantial contributions.
Last week, we celebrated Commencement with our most graduates ever. With the rollout and adoption of vaccines, and continuing reductions in the rate of COVID-19 infections, we are on the cusp of returning to the kinds of enriching on-site learning, studying, researching, and working experiences that have long underpinned OSU’s success as a land grant research university. At the same time, we have learned much during the pandemic about new ways of learning and working that will serve us well going forward.
As we head into the summer terms and prepare for fall, the state of the university is strong. Yes, the pandemic is still with us, necessitating continuing vigilance. Yes, we do have some lingering financial and operational impacts we will navigate next year and possibly beyond. However, the future for OSU is bright because we worked together as a community during a very difficult period to make it so.
We are grateful for all you do for OSU. Thank you.
Provost and Executive Vice President