President Edwards connects with students and employees in Webex chats

Wright State President Sue Edwards will hold online chats via Webex every Tuesday and Thursday.

During two online video chats, Wright State University President Sue Edwards connected with hundreds of students, faculty and staff while also providing updates and praising the community’s efforts to continue the university’s core functions throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

“It’s good to see so many of you,” Edwards told participants. “I miss seeing everybody, and I miss connecting with everybody on a daily basis.”

Edwards hosted her first hourlong chats via Webex on April 1 and 2, attracting upwards of 230 people over both days. The video chats with students, faculty and staff provide her an opportunity to answer questions and encourage connection among community members.

“I’m trying to check in with you all because you’re my team and I’m trying to see if you’re OK,” she said.

Edwards will continue to host live WebEx Drop-Ins with the President:

  • Every Tuesday from April 7 to May 5, from 2 to 3 p.m.
  • Every Thursday from April 9 to April 23, from 11 a.m. to noon

During the chats this week, Edwards emphasized that Wright State’s most critical task right now is engaging with students.

“How we stay engaged with our students is our number one priority,” she said. “I want us to be known as the university that cares for its students and each other.”

As part of this effort, Wright State has launched Raider Strong, which involves more than 200 employees who volunteered to personally call all undergraduate students. Callers ask how the students are doing, see if they need any assistance or support, and answer questions.

The university is also enhancing its recruitment of prospective students by producing virtual tours of campus and developing an online orientation. Wright State has also extended the deadline for high school seniors who enroll for the fall 2020 semester to qualify for an Academic Performance Scholarship.

Edwards also urged participants of her online chats to make sure they take care of themselves and their families and ask for assistance if they need it. She acknowledged that everyone is dealing with challenges, stress and uncertainty.

“I know some of you are managing homeschooling. I know some of you are managing illnesses,” Edwards said. “I just want you to know that we’re here to support you in whatever way we can.”

The safety of the Wright State community, Edwards said, is her primary concern.

“I want you to make sure you look after yourselves, please,” she said. “We’re in it for the long haul. This is a marathon, this is not a sprint. We will not be going back to what we would consider normal for a little while yet.”

She encouraged faculty to check in often with their students and for all employees to regularly reach out to their co-workers. Make sure your students, friends and colleagues are doing well, she said.

“It’s important that we talk to each other,” she said.

Edwards reported that the coronavirus pandemic will create financial challenges for Wright State and every university in the country. Wright State, she said, must focus on creating a fiscally sustainable model in response to the pandemic and the demands the crisis has placed on the university.

“We will get through this,” Edwards said, “but it’s going to take everybody on the campus working together.”

Edwards reiterated that faculty and staff will continue to work remotely as classes for the remainder of the spring semester and the summer semester will continue in a remote format.

“As long as the State of Ohio asks us to stay at home we will continue to work from home,” she said. “The more we stay at home, the more we socially distance, the flatter the curve. And that’s exactly what we’re going to do.”

While she said she couldn’t single out the hard work of every unit or faculty or staff member, Edwards praised faculty for rapidly switching class formats; academic advisors for supporting students; CaTS for helping keep students, faculty and staff connected remotely; and the Center for Teaching and Learning for providing faculty with the resources to support the transition to full remote learning.

She said the Wright State community was resilient and full of great people who have stepped up in a time of crisis. She said she was especially proud of how our students have navigated the changes.

“Everyone in our campus family is a rock star,” Edwards said. “Thank you for your patience and your resilience.”

Live WebEx Drop-Ins with the President:

  • Every Tuesday from April 7 to May 5, from 2 to 3 p.m.
  • Every Thursday from April 9 to April 23, from 11 a.m. to noon

Join the discussion at Sue Edwards’s Personal Room.

Or participate by phone: dial 1-415-655-0003; then enter access code: 478 215 842.

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