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President Assanis appoints Fall Planning Task Force

Photo by Duane Perry

Campuswide group to make recommendations for reopening UD

University of Delaware President Dennis Assanis has appointed a Campus Reopening and Fall Planning Task Force to recommend guidelines, procedures and protocols to achieve the safest and most efficient pathway for resuming operations at the University through the summer and leading to the fall semester.

“The collective work of this Task Force is a vital catalyst to UD’s reemergence as a vibrant institution with a thriving campus culture.  I have asked the Task Force to complete the necessary planning efforts to welcome our students back to campus this fall in accordance with the world’s ‘new normal,’” Assanis said. “They have also been charged with developing contingency plans, depending on the trajectory of the COVID-19 pandemic, incorporating guidance provided by our state government and public health authorities.”

As Assanis mentioned at the May 11 town hall, these planning efforts will focus primarily on three possible scenarios:

  • Campus operations starting on the original start date for fall semester, Aug. 28,
  • Delaying the start of the semester to Oct. 1, or
  • A hybrid of face-to-face and online interaction, either as part of the first two scenaria, or in case there is a resurgence of the pandemic in the fall.

“This will be a holistic and rigorous planning process, with participation from all stakeholder groups,” Assanis said. “I have great confidence that the Task Force will arrive at a comprehensive plan that will not only ensure the safety of our campus community but also assure continuation of the University’s high standards of academic and operational excellence.”

Composed of administrators, faculty, staff and students, the work of the Task Force is carried out by seven committees that are meeting weekly. A steering committee is advising and coordinating the work of the individual committees.  In addition, the steering committee will be integrating all committee recommendations into a proposed master plan for fall reopening, along with contingency plans, that will be provided to the president.

The task force committees and their chairs are:

Health Protocol and Policy: President Dennis Assanis;

Academics: Provost Robin Morgan;

Research and Graduate Education: Charles Riordan, vice president for research, scholarship and innovation;

Student Life and Athletics: José-Luis Riera, vice president for student life, and Chrissi Rawak, athletic director;

Facilities and Operations: John Long, executive vice president and chief operating officer;

Budget and Planning: Mary Remmler, vice president for strategic planning and analysis; and

Public Affairs: Glenn Carter, vice president for communications and marketing, and James Dicker, vice president for development and alumni relations.

The Steering Committee includes the committee chairs noted above, as well as Carlos Asarta, director of the Center for Economic Education and Entrepreneurship, professor of economics and president of the Delaware Council on Economic Education; Samantha Bingaman, president of the Graduate Student Government; Stephanie Boateng, a member of the Student Government Association Executive Council; Beth Brand, vice president and University secretary; Jenni Buckley, associate professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and the School of Education; Mia Carbone, president of the Student Government Association; Tim Dowling, director of Student Health Services; Laure Ergin, vice president and general counsel; Siena Ferrick, president of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee; Alan Fox, professor of philosophy and acting director of Islamic Studies; Sylvester Johnson, director of Custodial and University Services; Debra Hess Norris, chair and professor of photograph conservation, Department of Art Conservation, Unidel Henry Francis du Pont Chair; director of the Winterthur/University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation and a University trustee; Matt Robinson, professor of hospitality business management and past president of the Faculty Senate; Rhett Ruggerio, interim director of government relations; Michael Vaughan, interim vice provost for diversity and inclusion; and Cathy Wu, Unidel Edward Jefferson Chair of Computer and Information Sciences, director of the Data Science Institute and professor of biological sciences.

Guided by three primary UD principles—Caring for Our People, Cultivating Academic Excellence and Enrichment, and Invigorating Our Mission for Positive Change—each committee will develop recommendations for the president to assure continuation of undergraduate and graduate instruction, research and administrative functions.

Members of each task force committee and the steering committee, along with committee charges are highlighted on the UD Campus Phased Reopening website.

Outcomes and direction stemming from the Task Force assessment will be shared with the UD community in the early summer.

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