(Message posted May 21, 2020)
Dear Members of the Pitt-Greensburg Community,
As you know, our response to the COVID-19 situation has had many different dimensions and has developed in the context of national and regional reactions to the pandemic. Over the past few weeks, we have turned much of our effort from responding to the immediate situation toward planning for the future.
The beginning of the fall 2020 semester is three months away. To envision how we will fulfill our mission to educate Pitt-Greensburg’s students in the next academic year, the following actions are taking place:
- Led by Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Jackie Horrall, the Pitt-Greensburg 2020-21 Planning Group and its subcommittees were established in April. In the context of the pandemic, its charge is to recommend ways to improve (1) The academic experience for students and faculty (2) The experience for students beyond the classroom, (3) The remote work environment for employees. This group is formulating plans that will make us much more flexible in response to a changing pandemic environment. These groups are working in collaboration with the Provost’s Task Force on the Pittsburgh campus.
- Faculty workshops, organized by Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Frank Wilson began immediately after the conclusion of the spring semester. These were designed to collect the lessons learned from the abrupt transition to remote teaching, identify and model best practices, and establish mentoring relationships among faculty centered on remote teaching. Our workshops will continue throughout the summer utilizing not only the valuable resources of Pitt’s Center for Teaching and Learning, but also the experience and expertise of faculty and staff from our own Community for the Advancement of Teaching (CAT) and the significant training materials developed by them. We are preparing to deliver the high quality education Pitt-Greensburg is known for by whatever method is most appropriate in the fall.
- A series of staff professional development workshops were conducted during our recent annual staff development week. Given our current remote work environment, all the workshops were offered online, either via Zoom or MS Teams. We were fortunate to offer a number of workshops to learn ways to assist our students and support our campus community during these times, including “Student Mental Health Issues in a Remote World” and “Inspired in Isolation: Finding Motivation and Meaning in the Moment.” The workshops offered throughout the week proved to be extremely beneficial to our staff, as well as many faculty who attended.
Through these collaborative initiatives and our individual planning efforts, we are preparing for the next academic year when we will educate our students effectively, support their co-curricular, extra-curricular and personal needs, and all work together to make Pitt-Greensburg the best teaching and learning community that it can be.
Whether you are a student, faculty or staff employee, alumnus, friend of the university or a member of the supportive communities beyond campus, I applaud all that you do to make this such a special place, and I look forward to being with you again as soon as possible.
Dr. Robert Gregerson
President of the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg