Communications sent to the UW Bothell Community in December
December 22, 2020 | Answering the call to make new investments in our campus from Chancellor Wolf Yeigh
Dear UW Bothell Community,
First and foremost, THANK YOU! Thanks to all of you for being resilient. Thanks for being kind. Thanks for putting your heart into keeping the learning environment possible for all learners at UW Bothell. It has been a difficult year, but together we continue to persevere.
Like you, I am relieved to see much of 2020 is in the rearview mirror. As we’re seeing COVID-19 vaccine deliveries underway, I am hopeful that brighter days will come soon. But we’re still not out of it yet. As I am sorting through some unfinished work as well as reflecting on the past year, perhaps some updates for you on our campus operations and initiatives would be appropriate.
Enrollment and financial management
We are fortunate to have healthy enrollment numbers for autumn quarter, protecting the campus from any adverse financial actions such as layoffs and furloughs on state-based activities. It is my hope that robust winter and spring enrollment will provide us with the financial buffer needed to move into recovery in 2021-22.
For the foreseeable future, UW Bothell will maintain its overall enrollment at around 6,000. Our ongoing and future finance and management plans have been built around this number. Regarding state-supported operations, our campus finances are stable as long as we sustain our enrollment goal. Our disciplined and thoughtful management of finances will allow us to continue our investments in key strategic areas such as diversity, equity and inclusion, and other activities tied to our strategic plan, Expanding Access, Achieving Excellence.
Diversity, equity and inclusion
Many faculty, staff, students and community partners have devoted their energy and passion into the hard work of expanding our diversity, equity and inclusion efforts. In 2018, we established the Office of Diversity and Equity. Wayne Au has been leading DEI efforts as acting dean and now will be returning to his faculty role as professor in the School of Educational Studies. I want to extend my sincere thanks to Wayne for his leadership the past two years.
We have made much progress in our shared work — including procedures for diversity in hiring, the bias complaint process and the campus climate survey — and there is much more to do.
Going forward, this work will be headed by a new assistant vice chancellor for diversity and equity. We are currently recruiting for this position and expect to have the AVC-DE on board before the end of the academic year. In the interim, the day-to-day ODE management responsibilities will be carried by Dean of Student Affairs Tim Wilson, with assistance from several members of the campus leadership team. I extend my thanks to Tim for taking on this additional responsibility while also leading the search for the AVC-DE.
We have funded ODE by pulling together monies from temporary funds and small grants. Because DEI is a priority for the campus, we need to find a way to make funding operations permanent. Compounded by the challenges brought on by the current pandemic, there isn’t much discretionary funding available. From disciplined management of our fiscal resources as well as reprioritizing our needs, however, we are now able to allocate $500,000 toward the ODE operating budget on a permanent basis. This is both significant progress and not enough. We are also encouraging ODE to seek additional support from other sources such as the Student Activities Fee.
On a related issue, many of us have been in ongoing discussions about the need to diversify our faculty. I have personally spoken with faculty colleagues as well as student leaders about the need to expand faculty of color at UW Bothell. It is a goal we all share. One difficulty has always been marshaling the resources to properly recruit and retain faculty of color. Therefore, for the next two years, I will make available $700,000 ($350,000 each year) to create bridge funding to recruit faculty of color. The bulk of the funding (approximately $500,000) will come from the Chancellor’s Initiatives budget and from carryover funds. The remaining $200,000 will come from Academic Affairs. I have asked VCAA Sharon Jones to implement this bridge funding program, and she will work with the faculty leadership and academic deans on the details of this initiative.
Since the campus pivoted to (predominantly) remote operations back in March, faculty and staff have been accommodating and creative as they work to help our students and the UW Bothell community. Many have been juggling more work and home responsibilities stemming from this pandemic. I see exhaustion in your eyes and on your faces.
To help the community get ready for the autumn 2020 quarter, I had authorized $550,000 for improving our campus infrastructure over summer 2020 — $200,000 to support instruction, $300,000 to support students and $50,000 to support employees. UW Bothell’s Academic Affairs division also deployed nearly $120,000 in the spring 2020 quarter to further enable remote instruction through Remote Instruction Fellows. We also were able to hire counselors and assist with mental health needs of our campus community. These were worthy investments to help UW Bothell through the difficult times.
Although there is so much hope for a recovery from the current pandemic, the next several months will continue to be difficult and challenging. We’re going to get to the finish line together by helping each other and helping those in need.
To continue some of the COVID-19 relief programs such as mental health counseling support and to address other needs such as caregiver relief, I have decided to allocate $250,000 from the campus’ strategic reserve fund to be spent on COVID-19 crisis mitigation in 2021. I have asked Vice Chancellors Gowri Shankar and Sharon Jones to work with the campus stakeholder groups to implement this program and deploy needed assistance in 2021.
The UW Bothell Investment Fund
Funding for ODE and COVID-19 relief will not affect Investment Fund initiatives currently underway. As you may know, we set aside $2.5 million for the Investment Fund program. We received excellent applications that reflected deep thought and optimism about our mission and proposed investments in the initiatives identified in the strategic plan. These proposals came from academic units, academic support units and administrative units — and all of them included individuals and activities that go beyond any one academic or administrative unit. They also all requested multiyear funding.
After a first round of evaluations by the expanded Chancellor’s Leadership Council, applicants were invited to fine-tune their proposals. The revised applications were reviewed once more. I am now pleased to share with you the list of proposals that will be funded for a total of $1 million over the next three years.
- Organizational Excellence & Human Resources will engage in data-based explorations that will assist us in setting the foundation for a culture of care and holistic well-being at UW Bothell. The staff in OE/HR will also identify and support opportunities for learning that will further personal and professional development. This will enhance our commitment to campus engagement.
- The School of Nursing & Health Studies, working closely with other academic units and community partners, will work to increase capacity and launch a master’s level program in health studies. Besides advancing cross-disciplinary learning opportunities for UW Bothell students, it will also serve to further position our campus as a leader for innovation and practice in health studies in our region and beyond.
- Faculty in our Schools of Educational Studies, Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences and STEM developed an ambitious cross-disciplinary teaching and research proposal to start operations of the Environmental Education and Research Center in Saint Edward State Park, working with Washington State Parks and community members. The EERC will not only expand UW Bothell’s presence and engagement with the Eastside community but also will provide access to new educational opportunities for UW Bothell students and others, and it will strengthen our commitment to sustainability and community engagement in highly visible ways.
- 2020 was the year that our campus earned the coveted Carnegie Community Engagement Classification. Our dedicated Community Engagement Council and many committed colleagues across campus facilitated this milestone recognition. The council will now lead development of a campus-level community engagement and partnership strategy to strengthen UW Bothell’s ability to increase our regional impact through profound and transformative partnerships.
These proposals are prime examples of the UW Bothell commitment to enhancing community and campus engagement, and to advancing cross-disciplinary teaching and scholarship. The ingenuity, spirit of collaboration and willingness to reach across units and disciplines truly is ahallmark of the UW Bothell experience. Please join me in congratulating our inaugural Investment Fund recipients.
I also write to invite a second round of proposals for the Investment Fund. These proposals should describe their potential for supporting the mission of UW Bothell and our strategic plan priorities. Proposals can request funding support for a maximum of three years and should follow this timeline:
- Letter of intent due: Feb. 22, 2021
- Proposals due: March 1, 2021
- Expanded CLC review completed and feedback: week of March 30, 2021
- Revised proposals (if required) due: April 16, 2021
- Funding announcements (with feedback to unsuccessful requests): May 2021
- Funding availability: September 2021
- Annual reports for prior year awards due: September 2022
Let me close this year-end message by thanking all of you again for your continued dedication to our campus and our community. I hope you can find time for some well-deserved rest over winter break and look forward to seeing you all again in 2021.
Bjong Wolf Yeigh, Ph.D., F.ASME
Chancellor and Professor of Engineering
December 7, 2020 | Update on timeline for staff working remotely from S. Gowri Shankar, Interim Vice Chancellor for Planning & Administration
Dear UW Bothell staff,
I write today to respond to the requests we have been getting for more clarity on how long we will provide the flexibility for staff to work from home. As you are aware, the University of Washington has been making determinations about remote operations largely on a quarter-by-quarter basis, using the UW Safe Start plan as a guide.
With the status of the ongoing pandemic still uncertain and K-12 schools being largely closed, however, we have received confirmation that UW staff will continue to have the flexibility to work from home — as long as it does not impede critical operations — through the end of June 2021.
The status of spring quarter instruction has yet to be finalized. Should we have the ability to offer more in-person classes, the site supervisor for each school or unit on campus may request and identify additional staff as “critical.”
We hope this information provides you with greater predictability and certainty for dependent care and other related planning over the next few months. The determination on which critical operations need to be on-campus will continue to be made by site supervisors and in accordance with the unit COVID-19 prevention plans.
For more information about remote operations, visit the UW coronavirus webpage and the UW Bothell coronavirus webpage.
And don’t forget the three Ws: Wear Your Mask. Wash Your Hands. Watch Your Distance.
S. Gowri Shankar, Ph.D., CFA
Interim Vice Chancellor, Planning & Administration
December 1, 2020 | How instructors can support students’ well-being and their academic and career success - message from Sharon A. Jones, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs
Throughout autumn quarter, we’ve seen remarkable innovation and tenacity in spite of — and because of — the pandemic. I continue to marvel at the ways you have leveraged technology and instructional design support to enhance your remote teaching. As I mentioned in last week’s Academic Affairs e-newsletter, students have also noticed this, based on the mid-quarter survey results where they describe an improved academic experience as compared to spring 2020.
Now, as the end of the quarter approaches, you may notice that some of your students are struggling emotionally and/or academically. The pandemic — and ongoing civil unrest across the country — have brought on cognitive, social and economic burdens that so many of our students are carrying. You can help them by referring them to appropriate on-campus resources, some of which I list below.
I also encourage you to share this email as appropriate with your staff colleagues.
Health and wellness
Learn ways that you can support students’ mental health and share with them links to the Health and Wellness Resource Center and the Counseling Center, which are portals to medical and mental health services for services for UW Bothell students.
Technology for students
Students in need of technology items may be directed to the Student Technology Loan Program. This student-funded program is offering quarterly laptop and tablet loans to assist with online instruction. They can also use the services offered through UW Bothell Information Technology’s Laptop and WiFi Hotspot Lending Program.
Academic and other support
Academic Success Coaching Programoffers virtual meetings with student success coaches who can help assess students' needs and help them develop a plan to address those needs.
Please also make students aware of policies that make life easier for them, such as satisfactory/not satisfactory grading options.
The Student Diversity Center continues to support our students.
Teaching support for instructors
Linked below are some additional resources designed to assist in your work as instructors.
As always, the Center for Teaching & Learning offers ongoing instructor support for Teaching Remotely as does UW Bothell’s IT Teach Anywhere resource webpage.
The UW Resilience Lab’s new Well-Being for Life and Learning Guidebook provides instructors with strategies and resources for supporting students.
Instructors, along with career coaches and academic advisers, play a crucial role in preparing students for the job market. Career Services has worked with a group of faculty members to develop resources to help you do that. These include strategies for integrating career readiness into your curriculum and instructions on how to assign a LinkedIn Learning course and track student viewing directly in Canvas.
As announced earlier, winter quarter will look much like autumn quarter, with the majority of courses taught remotely. Discussions about spring quarter are ongoing. While we hope to offer more courses in-person by spring on a voluntary basis, much depends on the course of the pandemic, including progress of the expected vaccination efforts.
I want to echo what Provost Mark Richards recently said to Seattle instructors: “Many of you are spread thin after months of balancing teaching, research and caring for families, and I encourage you to set aside time this holiday season to take care of yourself, time to recharge, time to think. And remember, as I’ve said before, good enough is often exactly right. We’ve been through a lot since the pandemic began almost 10 months ago. Lights are appearing at the end of the tunnel; but the coming months will be very difficult, and sadly with continuing burdens that are inequitably distributed. We will get through this together through hard work and dedication to our values, but also through compassion, empathy, and faith and trust in each other.”
Please be safe, stay healthy and be kind to yourself!
Sharon A. Jones
Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs