Updates for Fall and Spring – Recap of Town Hall

November 23, 2020

Dear Colleagues,

This afternoon, I hosted a virtual Town Hall for faculty and staff with Dr. Gene Bourgeois, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs; Dr. Emilio Carranco, Chief Medical Officer; and a question and answer session moderated by Dr. Barbara Breier, Vice President for University Advancement. 

A recording of this afternoon’s Virtual Town Hall for Texas State University Faculty and Staff will be posted tomorrow. It will also be emailed to faculty and staff from University News Service.

As I expressed during the Town Hall, I offer my sincerest appreciation to you for your work and dedication. It’s hard to comprehend all that we have experienced together over the last eight months. I am so very proud of our university -- of how our students, faculty, and staff came together in the truest Bobcat spirit and have persevered through these most challenging times.  

I have heard your voices in many different ways -- through Town Halls, webinars, focus groups, and online surveys. I value your input. Your thoughts, questions, and concerns are powerful, and they have helped us chart a solid path forward. With your input, selfless acts, flexibility, and grace, we will do more than just weather this “COVID-19” storm. We will emerge stronger than ever by leveraging the current disruptive situation to reimagine and re-engineer Texas State, bolstering its relevance, viability, and impact. 

The many topics discussed and shared during the Town Hall today reflect Texas State’s priority to keep our university community safe while we stay true to our mission to provide a quality educational experience.  

  • Dr. Carranco provided a promising outlook for the distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine and our work to ensure it is efficiently delivered to our students, faculty, and staff.  He stressed the fact that decisions about the priority group distribution of the vaccine will be made by the Texas Department of State Health Services, not by Texas State University. He also outlined the successful health and safety measures we will continue to follow during the spring semester.  
  • Dr. Bourgeois shared that the fall semester schedule remains unchanged following the Thanksgiving break. However, faculty do have the discretion to change attendance requirements or delivery modes for their in-person post-Thanksgiving classes and final exams if they feel compelled to do so. The faculty are asked to work with their leadership to make these decisions considering the learning outcomes, remaining assignments, and student success factors for those classes. Dr. Bourgeois shared that course delivery for the spring semester will mirror our fall approach, increasing opportunities for online learning while safely preserving some face-to-face interaction. He announced there are no plans to cancel the in-person fall commencement ceremonies taking place outdoors at Bobcat Stadium in December 2020 nor spring break in March 2021. 
  • Among other topics, I discussed our six legislative priorities and budget outlook for the upcoming year. I know that the budget uncertainty is causing much stress. Unfortunately, we may not know what next year’s budget will look like until the close of the Legislative Session at the end of May.  

COVID-19 University Updates in the Roadmap includes a more compressive recap of key points from this afternoon’s Virtual Town Hall.

Dr. Mary Ellen Cavitt, Interim Vice President for Student Affairs, will be emailing our students with information from the Town Hall that is important to them as they prepare to finish out the fall semester and make plans for the spring semester. 

I know for many of us, Thanksgiving will be different this year -- perhaps separated from our loved ones, family, and friends.  I hope you will have time to rest, relax, and recharge over the upcoming break. You have done great work this fall semester. In this season of gratitude, I am thankful for you and our amazing Bobcat family. 


Denise M. Trauth