Caring for one another, continuing to move forward

President Armacost thanks campus for patience and fortitude in pandemic

Dear campus community,

As with so many of our great family traditions in 2020, the ongoing pandemic has forced all of us to celebrate differently. Despite this reality, it’s my sincere hope that all of you were able to enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday – a brief respite from classes and work — to make connections, maybe virtually, with those you hold dear.

Spring Classes

And as we prepare to wind down classes for the fall semester, I also want to express my heartfelt gratitude for your continued patience and fortitude amid the pandemic. It’s because of everyone working together that we have been able to keep our current hybrid educational (in-person and online) model intact and the University moving forward. As we look ahead to spring semester, classes will begin as scheduled at 4 p.m. Monday, Jan. 11, and in the current hybrid format.

I know there are likely many questions from students, parents, staff and faculty as we continue our transition from fall to spring. I, along with other University leaders, will address your questions and concerns during two Zoom Town Halls on Monday, Dec. 7. The first Town Hall gathering is set for noon, and will be geared toward staff and faculty. Another will be held at 6 p.m. the same day for students and parents. I hope you will join us, and the details are shown below.

Diversity, Equality & Inclusion

I would like to commend the recent efforts of Cara Halgren, Vice President for Student Affairs, Diversity & Inclusion, and Tamba-Kuii Bailey, Assistant Professor of Education, Health & Behavior, co-chairs of the University’s Task Force on Diversity, Equality & Inclusion. Over the past several weeks, Drs. Halgren and Bailey led the 27-member Task Force through high-level discussions about important questions facing our campus and beyond. The Task Force has a produced a report with a series of recommendations that we must now consider carefully and fully vet through stakeholder involvement, campus conversations, and work within the President’s Executive Council.

This review will lead to changes in the One UND strategic plan to enable key initiatives, and ensure the proper long-term adoption of these changes.

The commitment demonstrated by Vice President Halgren and Professor Bailey and the rest of the Task Force, and the resiliency of our entire Campus Community amid this pandemic never ceases to amaze me. We’re not done with the COVID fight by any stretch, but with each passing day the news of new vaccines and treatments grows more promising. While we inch toward an eventual return to relative normalcy, let’s not give up on the basics: wear a face covering, maintain physical distancing, practice good hygiene, and be mindful of our vulnerable populations. And, please, keep up on testing and remember to get a flu shot. These are the best ways we know to keep our Healthy Hawks flock flying strong!

Finally, as I reflect on my first semester at UND, I am impressed by the strong commitment of our students, faculty and staff to care for one another, and it is this commitment that gives me confidence in our ability to continue to work together to move UND forward.

With respect,

Andy Armacost
President