July 9, 2020

To William Paterson Faculty and Staff:

I hope everyone’s summer is going well. We will continue our current working arrangements for staff through at least Thursday, July 16, when I will communicate with you again.
In the latest development in our cooperative efforts to manage the fiscal challenges presented by the pandemic, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) has approved an agreement to have its members take the following 12 furlough days: November 27 and December 7-11, 2020; March 15-19, 2021; and one day to be determined. Higher Education Managers, Confidential Assistants, and those others not covered by collective bargaining agreements will also take 12 furlough days, which will be determined through consultation between employees and their supervisors. I know this shared sacrifice is not a small one, but these furlough programs will allow us to stabilize our finances and preserve jobs down the road.
A series of online Town Halls for faculty and staff was held last week to explain our Human Resource, Academic, and Student Life plans for the Fall semester. If they have not already done so, faculty should refer to the Provost’s website to review the Academic Plan and begin discussions with their Chairs and respective Deans about how their courses will fit into it. Faculty members who fall into one of the high-risk categories as defined by the CDC should submit their request for accommodation by Monday, July 13, 2020. You will find the appropriate form on the Human Resources website
The Academic Plan was developed in consultation with the Faculty Senate Executive Committee, and while the final plan and the Committee’s proposal contain some common elements, we were unable to reach complete agreement. The Provost felt – and I concur – that the population of students we serve must have some face-to-face instruction to support our student success initiatives. I would like to thank the Faculty Senate Leadership for their good work in offering suggestions that ultimately strengthened the Academic Plan and for bringing the full Senate together for a fuller and richer discussion. 
The AFT leadership expressed opposition to the Academic Plan, advocating strongly for more faculty choice. While course delivery mode is not a negotiated item, we are always grateful for their guidance. I want to take this opportunity to thank William Paterson AFT Local President Sue Tardi for her work as a member of the statewide Reopening Committee and as part of the negotiating team that worked on the successful furlough agreement. It was good to have William Paterson union leadership at the table for both of those important discussions. Sue’s work went above and beyond, especially given these complex times here on campus.
As a reminder, we will start the Fall semester on Monday, August 24 th  and conclude classes at Thanksgiving. All other University operations will resume after the Thanksgiving break.
Thank you for staying engaged and interested as we adapt to the pandemic and finalize our re-opening plans.
Richard J. Helldobler, PhD