Update from President Hawkinson on Coronavirus and Transition to Online Courses

Dr. Kenneth S. Hawkinson, President of Kutztown University, addresses the university community as KU prepares to transition to online classes for the remainder of the spring semester.

Transcript of President Hawkinson's video message

Dear Kutztown University Campus Community,

It has now been nearly a week since my message went out to our university community announcing the many changes we have undertaken 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.

I fully understand that there are barriers and we are doing everything we can to break down these impediments and provide the best possible service and education we can under these circumstances.

Please review our webpage for the latest updates and new information. There are phone numbers and email addresses listed so that you can contact an office or individual for answers to questions.

I am in constant contact with the leaders of the university, to include faculty leaders, student leaders, supervisors, health experts, state system officials, and many others and am receiving feedback on how we are doing in completing our mission. Many questions have been raised by members and our community that have helped us to adjust our protocols and to better communicate. 

In my previous message I quoted famed writer David Brooks when speaking of enlightened people: 

He says that these people are calm, settled and rooted. They are not blown off course by storms.  They don't crumble in adversity.  Their minds are consistent and their hearts are dependable. They possess the self-effacing virtues of people who are inclined to be useful but don't need to prove anything to the world - they display humility, restraint, reticence, temperance, respect, and soft self-discipline.

I have witnessed the acts of numerous individuals – faculty, staff, students, others in our community – who are living these ideals.  Students who are learning to learn new technologies and who are sharing their computers with others. Our wonderful faculty who are helping each other with the use of technology and putting in incredible effort to pivot their courses to educate through email, zoom, or the use of other technologies.  One faculty member shared a method to help his colleagues more easily teach online. Our faculty are displaying a calm fortitude in working to continue to maintain standards while allowing flexibility and compassion for those students who may be struggling. 

Many employees, who are considered essential employees, are bravely coming to work and maintaining our campus infrastructure and ensuring our campus is clean and safe. Volunteers are on campus handling the many phone calls and emails that come in each hour.  Our IT employees have been manually reprograming many hundreds of laptop computers to be loaned to our students. Housing and Dining personnel have been attending to the many needs of students who are still on our campus.  Our Health Center professionals are taking care of the needs of our students. These are just a few examples of the dedication and professionalism of the members of our community. 

Here is a photo of the Kutztown University graduating class of 1912 – over 100 years ago.  This generation faced two world wars, the great depression, and the Spanish Flu epidemic that follow the first world war.  Despite these enormous challenges, this generation went on to change the world and today we all live much-enriched lives because of their courage. 

It is now time for this generation to meet this challenge of facing a worldwide pandemic.  Like your grandparents and great grandparents before you, I have little doubt that you will show courage, strength, and grit, so that you, too, will leave the world a better place for your descendants. My best wishes to you all. Be safe. It is indeed good to be golden.