Letter from the Chancellor: May 12, 2020
Dear U of A Community:
Another spring graduation is in the books! So, again, congratulations to all of our newly minted graduates. We’re proud of you and grateful for everyone who went Red for Grads on social media. It was tremendous show of support and solidarity during these unusual times.
As the state has begun to open up, we too are planning for the gradual restoration of campus life. The first step, effective immediately, is a limited but necessary expansion of our research activity – transitioning from only allowing essential research activity to now include critical and time-sensitive research activity. General guidelines specify which personnel may return to their labs and workspaces and under what conditions. I won’t get into all the nuts and bolts of it here, but we’ve determined the number of people who can be present in a lab or workspace at any given time based on its size, what safety precautions need to be taken, as well as what allowances need to be made in terms of scheduling. Deans in consultation with department and unit heads will still need to approve all research, as well as which researchers will be identified as key personnel. This is a welcome step and I know many of our campus researchers are eager to move forward. I look forward to getting back myself! But I’m also mindful of returning people to campus only if there is a pressing need and we can foster the health and safety of everyone who does. This new plan does that, and is the first step toward creating pathways for more staff and faculty to return to campus.
Provost Coleman Departing
I also wanted to share the news that Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Jim Coleman will be leaving his post at the end of June to assume similar responsibilities at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. Jim has been a tremendous colleague, leader, and advocate for our campus, especially for our students and faculty, whom he has represented with enthusiasm and passion. During his tenure, great progress was made on our guiding priorities, whether it was in the areas of research and economic development, student success, diversity and inclusion, or attracting top notch administrators and deans. He did a great job, and many of us in administration are going to miss the sounds of his guitar emanating from his fourth-floor office at odd hours. I congratulate him and wish him the best moving forward.
Robinson Named Interim Provost
Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Charles Robinson will serve as interim provost and vice chancellor for academic and student affairs. Charles has decades of experience on this campus and will do a fantastic job of leading student and academic affairs. I have great confidence he will provide a steady hand and well-established leadership in this period of transition.
As always, I hope you are well – and even getting out a little more, although this weather feels more like Michigan than Arkansas in May. I will have more soon about next steps in the continuation of campus life.
Joe Steinmetz, Ph.D.