College of Engineering Faculty and Staff:
I expect you to continue to make your health and the health of your family and loved ones your top priority. I do hope you are all doing well. If you have issues and challenges associated with COVID-19, please let your immediate supervisor know.
I have to admit that this time last week I was a little concerned about the daunting task you were facing of moving exclusively to alternative modes of delivery for all of your courses. Boy, were those concerns misplaced. I am extremely proud of your response to the challenge that was put in front of you. I have heard of some issues, but overall I am very, very pleased with the way you are performing. Thank you.
Things continue to change pretty quickly at UA. I am trying my best to keep your department heads and the associate deans up to speed; we continue to have daily meetings. I recently provided them with an informational item that includes some updates on ABET, efforts on recruiting and retention, some things we are doing for the community in the CUBE, our efforts to get research back on track, the pass/fail grading policy, and other things. Hopefully, the lines of communication are such that you are receiving updates.
We are working with the upper administration to get some clarification on our ability to hire new faculty and staff for next year. We are also working to better understand the new restrictions on our ability to spend. On this front, my understanding is that contract and grant spending will not be affected. If we have expenditures of state funds of more than $5,000, then we have to get high-level approval; for things $5,000 or less, we can approve out of the dean’s office.
For faculty, I know many of you are concerned about this year’s retention-tenure-promotion decisions. I understand letters will go out electronically the first of next week.
There are a few pressing issues that will hopefully be addressed soon including the restrictions on research, mode of delivery for summer school courses, graduate student recruiting, and others. I know that not having answers for these and other questions is incredibly frustrating. I share your frustrations, but I’m encouraged some very competent people are working hard to solve these matters.
Again, I want to thank you – for ALL you do for the College of Engineering. Throughout the years, you folks have responded to every challenge you’ve faced. This is another great example.