Coming together in an extraordinary time

Dear WSU Faculty and Staff:

Finding the right words are difficult at the moment.

Many in our Cougar community are dealing with complex and challenging issues: school‑age children at home, the constant bombardment of COVID‑19 news, the need to practice social distancing, dramatic changes to the way students are mentored and supported, and much more. In addition, anxiety and uncertainty about the future crowd our minds.

Even our relationships have changed. Although we continue to interact with each other over Zoom, Teams, or other platforms, it isn’t the same as being able to walk over to someone’s office for a cup of coffee or to share exciting news or touch base about how our families are doing.

I don’t know about you, but I miss walking across all of our campuses, seeing smiling (okay, maybe not always smiling) faces, and saying hello to everyone—students, faculty, and staff. What are you missing most right now? What can we do to help maintain our relationships and our community during the coming days?

In times like these when we are faced with adversity, it brings out both the best in people and the worst in people. For WSU, COVID‑19 has brought out the best in us.

These past 3 weeks, I have been humbled by the ways in which our faculty and staff across the entire WSU system have come together to keep our educational enterprise moving forward. You have taken in‑person classes and moved them to online delivery seamlessly. In less than 10 days, you have attended trainings in record numbers in the evenings and on weekends to learn Zoom and other instructional tools. Everyone is finding creative ways to transition student engagement opportunities online to maintain our relationships with our Cougars and to provide the experiences they need to be successful.

Together, we will continue working through a situation unprecedented in our lifetime. Your spirit and can‑do attitude inspire me and our entire community. Thanks for all you do for WSU.

I have never been prouder to be a Coug.

Kirk Schulz, President
Washington State University