Spring Semester 2022 Update and Welcome from President Hawkinson
Dear KU Campus Community,
Welcome to the 2022 Spring Semester at Kutztown University!
I want to thank all of you - our faculty, staff, students, alumni and supporters - for your dedication and commitment to making our fall semester such a success. While we had to overcome continued challenges with the pandemic, the return of in-person classes and events made the semester feel much more like a traditional college experience for all. We celebrated outstanding accomplishments by our students, faculty and staff; held a spectacular kickoff gala for our record-setting “Together We’re Golden” comprehensive campaign, which is currently nearing a total of $37 million of its $40 million goal; and cheered through unforgettable seasons from our Golden Bear football and women’s soccer teams. Many of our recent accomplishments have positioned our university for a stronger future, including:
- Identifying more than 400 action items in the new university Strategic Plan and earmarking significant resources to accomplish our goals.
- Establishing an initiative with funding for non-credit programming and lifelong learning.
- Expanding our commitment to community colleges and transfer students.
- Providing a significant increase to institutional financial aid for our students.
- Developing a groundbreaking new agreement to support faculty research with Rodale Institute and Hawk Mountain Sanctuary.
- Completing 80% of our initiatives in our Diversity Equity and Inclusion plan.
- Continuing capital projects around campus, including:
- The DeLight E. Breidegam Building, headquarters of the Pennsylvania German Cultural Heritage Center on Kutztown Rd. This KU Foundation (KUF)-funded project is near completion, and we expect a dedication this spring. This building highlights a unique aspect of our campus that ties together our area history, student and faculty research and community engagement.
- Ground was broken for the Wells-Rapp Center for Mallet Percussion Research, and construction is moving along quickly adjacent to Alumni Plaza on North Campus Drive. The center will house a large and historically significant collection of rare instruments, music, and memorabilia. The entire project is donor funded and managed by KUF.
- Plans are in place for The Nancy Jean Stump Seiger ’54 Botanical Research Center next to Boehm Science Building. The facility will be completed by fall 2022. It is being funded with a large donor gift and university strategic funds and will be dedicated to faculty and student research.
- The commonwealth-funded renovation of the de Francesco Building is progressing on schedule, and when complete in 2023, will provide an enhanced setting for our accredited College of Business.
- Planning has advanced for the new Admissions Welcome Center, which will be located at the east entrance to campus and incorporate the historic Poplar House. This project is being financed with commonwealth capital funds.
We are very proud of all the accomplishments of our university and the KU Family. I hope you will take a few moments to review the list of some of the fall highlights on our Points of Pride webpage.
While we have much to look forward to this spring, we join the rest of higher education in the ongoing navigation through COVID-19 and the Omicron variant. Our Emergency Management Team has continued to work tirelessly to establish protocols for the return to campus. Of note, is the 10-day isolation and quarantine period for COVID positive individuals, which KU will be following to start the semester. While many of our sister institutions will follow the new 5-day isolation and quarantine protocols established by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), our experts feel it is safer for our campus community to maintain the 10-day period, as defined under a “congregate setting.” In recognition of the potential challenges created by a longer isolation and quarantine period, we have established new policies this semester that may allow our employees to work virtually while in isolation due to COVID-19. Full details can be found in our Guide to the Spring 2022 Semester.
We also understand there have been some ongoing questions and concerns regarding appropriate accommodations for our employees during the pandemic. The university remains committed to serving the needs of our students to the best of our ability. In 2020-21, when there was an emergency order from the commonwealth to establish COVID-19 as an “underlying condition,” we had more than 200 faculty request an accommodation. As a result, we moved most of our classes online. Since the emergency order has been rescinded, we have returned to fulfilling our mission of offering an in-person experience for our students, with selected online options based upon student needs.
Looking ahead, we are pleased to report that our new student enrollment projections for fall 2022 appear positive. This is once again a great endorsement of the quality, affordable education that our university provides. We also look forward to continuing face-to-face classes in the days and months ahead and experiencing our many traditional events and activities.
In closing, I want to again tell you all how much I appreciate your perseverance, dedication, and optimism during these challenging times. I know it has not been easy, and we have all been under unprecedented pressure to do our jobs to the best of our ability. Let us continue to work to advance our great institution and remain focused on the best quality education possible for our students. I know together we can go bravely into the future, while sustaining the health and wellness of our campus community and ensuring a successful spring semester for everyone.
Thank you again, and best wishes for an outstanding 2022.
Dr. Kenneth S. Hawkinson