When we began 2020, we could never have imagined the confluence of events that brought us to this critical juncture in the history of higher education: COVID-19, the disruption in international and study abroad enrollment, Moody’s downgrading of the higher education sector, and heightened social, political, and civil unrest, among other challenges. Of course, Arcadia is not immune to these challenges. Our innovation and resilience demonstrated since the COVID-19 disruption in early March is nothing short of inspirational. Now, our community is embarking on a fall semester of new beginnings in the face of a global crisis. We must reimagine our work together while staying true to our values.
As a result of the crisis, we have already made significant operational reductions such as eliminating open positions, reducing discretionary spending, improving energy efficiency, redeploying reserves, and furloughing employees. However, as we have discussed and recognized as a community, we cannot just “cut our way to excellence.” We must seek every opportunity to align our resources more effectively to make strategic investments guided by our Adaptive Strategy 2025. The President’s Cabinet has again committed to reducing their salaries for the fall semester, and our Board of Trustees and alumni continue to support us philanthropically and strategically.
I have asked the Office of Human Resources to provide the community with an update and news on the overall workforce planning initiatives that are underway. One initiative we are implementing to help employees take charge of their futures is a Voluntary Separation Incentive Plan (VSIP). Mary Sweeney, Associate Vice President for Human Resources and the Employee Experience, will communicate directly to faculty and staff who qualify for the VSIP program.
Our senior leadership team will host information sessions on the state of the University, which will include updates on finances, workforce planning, and operational matters. In the coming weeks, we will organize opportunities through Staff Council and Faculty Senate to unite our broader community. We look forward to working with senators and representatives from these governance groups and welcome those who are new to their leadership roles.
As COVID has accelerated the need to shift toward a more radical reinvention of the academy, it is up to us to reinvent Arcadia for what we must be for the future. The past structures and processes will not always serve us well on this journey; we must be ready to pave new paths toward the goals we have set for our students, our community, and our University. Together, we will once again emerge #ArcadiaStrong.