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June 15, 2020

Dear Members of Business and Finance,

Over the last several weeks, leaders had to communicate very painful decisions to layoff and furlough colleagues in the Business and Finance division, as well as other areas of the University, in order to achieve financial stability. I recognize that, whether directly or indirectly, everyone is affected by these choices and it raises the level of anxiety for all. As difficult as these actions have been to take, we remain committed to providing support to anyone impacted by either furlough or layoff. We made an exception to our policy to pay for continued medical coverage during the period of notice, and HR is offering outplacement services and workshops to anyone who has been laid off. Furloughed employees were given the option of using vacation time to help minimize the period of unpaid leave, they will continue to benefit from their current health plans at reduced or no cost, and we encourage all to remain connected through email and targeted workshop offerings.

Just when we think we can take a collective breath, we realize that we face many more challenges; but we remain hopeful for a smooth reopening in the fall. On the upside, student registrations and advising requests have increased almost 300%, compared to the same period of time in the registration process as last year. What a terrific thing, right? It absolutely is; however, the simultaneous volume of students seeking advising support and registering for classes has created challenges that the Provost and others are working feverishly to overcome.

Challenges come and opportunities are born. As I pondered this over the weekend, it crossed my mind that as challenging as it was for us to move to a virtual environment within a week, reopening the University is going to be even more challenging—giving us yet another opportunity to be better.

Why does it have the potential to be even more challenging? Our continuing students are eager to return, and our new freshmen and their caregivers face an unprecedented first year experience. Many people are anxious, desiring answers and resolutions quickly. This is understandable. However, there is still much that is evolving, as we determine what fall looks like amid physical distancing guidelines.

We are committed to teach as many face-to-face classes as possible, and we will continue to make adjustments to the number of class sections, class sizes, locations, instructors, and modes of instruction as we identify the additional spaces that will allow us to meet the appropriate physical distancing guidelines to achieve a safe and healthy fall (then spring) semester.

What I really need from all of us is to be extra patient. We have to find compassion for ourselves as we continue to navigate change within our personal and professional lives, and we have to share that compassion with our students, their caregivers, and one another. Let's try to be even more understanding and to go the extra mile to help our fellow 'Canes and families to resolve their issues. It's what we are here for in non-pandemic times; and in these difficult times, we must challenge ourselves to do even better.

I know I speak for us all when I say that we are excited to welcome our students back to the University. Let's welcome them home with the care and compassion that we 'Canes hold dear.

Thank you, and GO 'CANES!


Jacqueline A. Travisano, Ed.D.
Executive Vice President for Business and Finance & Chief Operating Officer