KU Campus Update from President Hawkinson

Dear Kutztown University Campus Community,

It has now been one month since my message went out to our university community announcing the many changes we have undertook to move nearly all our functions online or through some form of virtual communication.  Nearly all our offices are open and we are continuing to serve our students, faculty, staff, alumni, and broader community to the best of our ability.  Be assured that people are working around the clock to continue our services and fulfill our mission of providing a college education to our students.  Let me summarize many of the actions taken so far:

  • Our faculty converted 1,767 face-to-face classes to virtual formats
  • Managed the move-out of over 3,000 students from our residence halls over 5 days
  • Our IT division reprogrammed and provided over 200 laptops to students and faculty and performs nearly round the clock support for our community
  • Continue to provide housing and food support for 45 international and special need students
  • Developed and maintain a coronavirus website with frequently asked questions updated daily.  The site has had more than 50,000 visitors since launching
  • Share a daily pandemic update for our university community
  • University Relations has established special email accounts and phone lines to respond to ongoing customer service needs, while continuing to manage numerous inquiries through university social media accounts.
  • Leadership maintains daily contact with the State System, council of trustees, senate and union leadership, faculty and staff advisory groups, and countless other individuals
  • Our provost sends a daily message to our faculty
  • Developed an alternative grading option (PASS/No Credit), a late withdraw option, and other adjustments in our academic areas
  • Our IT division, Center for Excellence in Teaching, and individual faculty have provided seminars on the use of various forms of technology
  • Hundreds of tutors are working with our students on the adjustment to on-line learning, helping with students who have learning disabilities, and in traditional subject matter in courses
  • Admissions has continued recruiting with many unique virtual communications with potential students to include virtual tours and student-to-student messaging
  • All summer orientation programs will be conducted online
  • With the SAT/ACT/GMAT tests no longer available, we have adjusted our admission standards to new criteria, while maintaining high standards
  • Fall 2020 advisement and registration is occurring online
  • The university and foundation have established emergency fund accounts for students in need
  • Working with our food bank partners, Friend, Inc. and the Lutheran Center, continue to provide food to students in our community
  • Coaches are working with student-athletes on academics and other non-physical activity initiatives
  • Our Small Business Development Center is assisting hundreds of small businesses across the commonwealth
  • The Kutztown Community Partnership website (www.kutztownpartnership.org) and the “Kutztown, PA” mobile app have created Distance Dining options in the Kutztown Area - a list of restaurants are available that offer take-out, curbside, delivery and gift cards
  • Participated in a Kutztown Borough “Porch to Porch” celebration to support our neighbors
  • With construction on campus suspended, we are turning our attention to needed deferred maintenance projects
  • The university refunded $9.5 million to our students for housing, dining, and other fees
  • We continue to employ all student workers who want to work
  • The KU Foundation continues to receive significant gifts from alumni and friends of the university – they have established a “We Care” week to support our community
  • Our Residence Life staff has created a “Kindness During KUarantine,” a positive space on Facebook to uplift members of our community
  • We have applied for disaster support funds from the government, the greater part of the money to be used to support our students
  • We have postponed commencement to a time when we can safely recognize our graduating students. We will be surveying graduates on options including an early fall date and combining with the December commencement
  • Our Health and Wellness Center and Psychological Service Center continue to serve our students
  • An important issue of our KU Parents and Family Bulletin has been sent to subscribers
  • Kutztown University donated more than 2,100 masks and 3,300 gloves last week to Berks County’s emergency management agencies - the masks and gloves will be distributed to locations throughout the county that are in need
  • KU has worked with GoggleWorks in Reading to use four of KU’s 3D printers to help meet the overwhelming demand of personal protective equipment (face shields)

Above are just a few examples of the actions our university community has taken to adjust to this pandemic.  I am aware of the many challenges that this crisis has brought, and there will continue to be difficulties. We will continue to do all we can to pivot to meet emerging problems, and do all we can to accomplish our mission – providing a quality education to our students. 

Please continue to read the daily update and check the KU Coronavirus Information Center at https://www.kutztown.edu/news-and-media/announcements/coronavirus-information-center.html for new information.  My very best wishes to the Kutztown University community. 

Dr. Kenneth S. Hawkinson
Kutztown University