A Message to Students from the President of the University Senate

This semester has been filled with unexpected changes and challenges for everyone due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Over the last few weeks, you have received many messages (both email and video) containing important information on how those events are shaping the way that KU is running courses and handling other issues pertinent to the university.  I hope that you are paying close attention to this information.  Doing so will help you to navigate the semester more easily. The message I want to give you today is somewhat different, but equally important. 

First, and most importantly, I want you to know that your faculty are here for you.  We know that learning via an online course feels different from being in a regular classroom.  There is a built-in feeling of distance to this type of learning that even a Zoom session can’t quite overcome.  We are still here and available to you, in spite of that feeling.  Your success in our courses is important to us, and we are working hard to make that happen.  We want and need you to reach out to us when you need assistance or even when you just want to feel connected to us.  Drop by via email or in our Zoom office hours, just as you would if we were in our regular offices.

It’s also important for you to know that faculty are working with the administration to develop the policies that will guide us through this strange semester.  We were part of the decision to extend the date to drop a course until the last day of classes.  We are also assisting in the discussions of whether the university should adopt an alternative grading system for the semester.  I can report that faculty input in these discussions has been focused on ensuring that students who are at risk due to the move to online learning do not suffer unduly. As always, your success is our priority.

We recognize, too, that the KU experience is not all about academics.  There’s much more to going to a university than attending classes--like winter and spring sports, activities on the DMZ, or hanging out in the MSU.  First year students should be experiencing their first spring on campus.  Sophomores and juniors should be enjoying their relative seniority.  Right about now, seniors should be gathering to take photos in their caps and gowns in front of Old Main.  All of these activities help to build the feeling of KU as a community.  Although we can’t make those experiences happen for you, we hope that you are using other means to remain connected to each other, faculty, and staff.  After all, it is the people of KU that make up the heart of the KU experience and community.

I’ve primarily spoken on behalf of the faculty in this letter, but I can tell you that everyone who works at KU has the best interests of students at heart.  We all miss having you on campus and want you to succeed.  We will do everything we can to help you roar! 

AnnMarie Cordner, President, University Senate
Assistant Professor
Department of Criminal Justice