December 14, 2020

Dear William Paterson Faculty and Staff:

I hope everyone is doing well. I know many of you have had a lot to think about recently regarding possibly participating in the Voluntary Separation Program. A reminder that tomorrow, December 15, is the early deadline to be considered for the first round of the program, with the final deadline being January 1, 2021. Eligible employees participating in the first round will receive 115% of their weekly salary for each year of service, up to 26 weeks. Separation would occur on February 1, 2021. If you are considering participating in the VSP, I urge you to take part in the first round, since the maximum benefit in the subsequent round – with an April 1 separation – is half that of the first, or 115% of your weekly salary, up to 13 weeks. As I have said before, losing good employees for any reason is not easy for the individual, their colleagues, or the William Paterson community as a whole, but this process and the impending layoffs it seeks to minimize are necessary to the future health of the University.
Please be aware that our campus building at 1800 Valley Road will be entirely offline for 18 months, beginning January 1, as we undertake renovation work to accommodate the new childcare center and other revenue-generating initiatives, as well as the School for Continuing and Professional Education and other programs. Some may wonder why we are making this investment at the same time we are seeking to realign our faculty and staff. As I have said elsewhere, a key reason for the realignment is so we can avoid operating under a cloud of austerity and have the room to make continued strategic investment in our people and new initiatives that will ultimately make us a stronger University. We are seeking to become less reliant on tuition and fees by generating new revenue and building non-traditional enrollment, and 1800 Valley Road is a key part of that. 
The pandemic has created or exacerbated the financial predicaments of colleges and universities everywhere, and many are or will soon be undertaking the same process of reducing staff through layoffs, with the occasional incentive program. It is important that William Paterson wisely balance cost reductions with strategic investments for the future. The renovation of the property, acquired well before the pandemic, will help us do that and ensure that this difficult realignment is not done in vain. Instead, it must leave us better prepared to take advantage of new growth opportunities through the launch of initiatives like the ones that will be housed at 1800 Valley Road. 
This week’s WP: We are Proud – We’re proud to have received a $1 million gift from Valley Bank to support William Paterson students with financial need. Along with the great academic and other support we provide them, our students need as much financial support as we can provide to stay enrolled and persist toward their degrees. We are grateful to everyone at Valley Bank for supporting William Paterson, our students, and our shared Wayne community!
Take care, and have a great week.
Richard J. Helldobler, PhD