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CVAD COE Collaboration Facemasks for COVID19

 

WE ARE NORTH TEXAS shares great ideas, hard work and good deeds from the University of North Texas System and its member institutions. We are innovative, diverse, caring and collaborative – we are North Texas. Hosted by UNT System Chief Communications Officer Paul Corliss.

In this episode, UNT Vice President for Research & Innovation Mark McLellan provides an insightful look at research efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic and shines the light on an exciting new collaboration between the College of Visual Arts & Design (CVAD) and the College of Engineering. CVAD Fabrication Labs Manager Jenna Richards and Cesar Chavez, a doctorate student in Mechanical Engineering, join the podcast to share how they came together to help produce hundreds of clear plastic face shields and visors to help protect the UNT community against COVID-19.

UNT System Faculty & Staff:

We are 10 days into Gov. Abbott’s phased approach to safely reopen Texas businesses and many of you have questions about what this means for the University of North Texas System and our member institutions. Candidly, we will never go back to the workplace that we left before coronavirus stay-at-home mandates. It’s a new reality, and one that the UNT System and our member institutions are preparing for.

While this situation remains fluid as coronavirus circumstances evolve, below is an update of what we know and where we are headed as a unified UNT System.

Thank you for your hard work and adaptability.

While the Governor is using the term “reopen,” the UNT System and its member institutions have never closed. We may be fulfilling our missions a bit differently during the COVID-19 pandemic, but our commitment to students hasn't missed a beat. Across our system, faculty and staff have done an incredible job maintaining focus on keeping our students in a safe environment, and that will remain our top priority as we continue to navigate these challenging times. Your diligent efforts in this unprecedented time are appreciated.

Planning for a new reality.

Life in Texas has changed dramatically over the past several weeks. With thousands of businesses forced to close or operate minimally, more than 1.8 million Texans applied for unemployment in March and April alone – that’s more than all of 2019. With an economic downturn that many economists expect to be our country’s worst since the Great Depression, our system and institutions must make sustainable changes to modernize our organizations and best serve students efficiently and effectively in this new world.

In responsibly planning the immediate future, our leadership teams have spent significant hours preparing to safely begin reopening aspects of UNT World. A cross-institutional team of experts from our institutions and system headquarters are meeting daily and holding regular discussions with our Presidents and me on operational details for summer and fall. Guided by safety protocols, our campuses and offices will look vastly different – truly, we are “reinventing” the UNT System, not “reopening.”

As part of our long-term planning, we have formed an additional cross-institutional team to analyze business processes, organizational structures and strategic sourcing efforts to help us find sustainable ways to thrive over the long-term. From an economic standpoint we are planning responsibly based on the latest estimates of financial impact and creating budget plans based on multiple scenarios. While enrollment for the fall is increasing, we continue to run financial models to understand negative impacts from potential losses in enrollment of both domestic and international students, student housing/dining fees, intercollegiate athletics revenue, summer camps and state funding.

Thus far, plans for summer and fall look like this:

Face-to-Face Operations Guidance:

  • The overall strategy for physical return to the workplace will be gradual and driven by our business needs and the safety of our students, faculty, staff and visitors. At all times the strategy will be focused on minimizing risk, while simultaneously optimizing our performance and the services we provide to our institutions. With this in mind, physical interaction will be minimized and the safety of the physical environment will be maximized.

Academics and Research:

  • While the vast majority of summer classes will be delivered remotely, all of our campuses will begin to gradually re-open in some capacity this summer.
  • Academic programming this fall will be delivered through a hybrid model that includes both in-person and remote coursework. Specific details on academic planning will be forthcoming in the near future from our institutions.
  • Research initiatives will gradually begin to resume this summer through a phased process.
  • Our approach to returning faculty and staff to their offices will be phased, based on job duties and needs. This will be clearly communicated as we further solidify plans, but until that time all team members that are currently working remotely will continue to do so until their supervisor instructs otherwise.  

Protective Equipment, Safety Measures, and Sanitization:

  • Significant safety/sanitization precautions will be taken – this includes protocols for COVID-19 testing, contact tracing and precautionary isolation of individuals that may have been exposed to the virus.
  • Masks will likely be required during person-to-person interactions in our facilities and some roles will require additional PPE.
  • Our buildings will be deep-cleaned frequently and will have signage installed to provide clear safety guidelines.
  • Flow plans for foot traffic will be created using one-way corridors when possible, and maximum elevator capacities will be established and monitored.
  • Classrooms, offices, common spaces and residence halls will be reconfigured to allow for appropriate social distancing.
We are essential to economic recovery in Texas.

This disruption presents us all with an opportunity to do things differently and create a bright future. The Presidents and I must not only make changes to get through the COVID-19 pandemic, we are firmly committed to finding sustainable opportunities to better serve our students and help drive recovery in our region and state.

We will be more agile and responsive. We will find new, innovative ways to conduct research and serve students, as well as serve businesses and communities in recovery. We are entering a new era for higher education and will emerge as leaders by embracing change and using it as a catalyst for ideas that will shape the future.

Additional details on all of the elements listed above will be announced in coming weeks. While a high degree of uncertainty remains with coronavirus, we will adapt our plans as necessary and remain flexible. Above all, we are committed to fulfilling our missions and maintaining safe communities for our students, faculty, and staff.

Thank you,
Lesa Roe signature
Lesa Roe
Chancellor

UNTHSC Administration with updated logo

 

Brought to you by the University of North Texas System, WE ARE NORTH TEXAS focuses on innovation, compassion, ideas and accomplishments in our home region of Dallas-Fort Worth. Hosted by UNT System Chief Communications Officer Paul Corliss.

Armed with a jumbo-sized coffee mug labeled "Dr. Microbe" and decades of experience as a microbiologist and epidemiologist, UNT Health Science Center's Diana Cervantes is becoming a media sensation for all the right reasons. She's providing accurate, science-based information on the coronavirus to the general public through dozens of media appearances -- conducted in both English and Spanish. Dr. Diana Cervantes, Assistant Professor and Director of the Epidemiology Program at UNTHSC, discusses her role in helping the university better educate Fort Worth and Tarrant County, and she also re-visits her past work in mitigating bio-terrorism threats.

Lesa Roe headshot

 

Brought to you by the University of North Texas System, WE ARE NORTH TEXAS focuses on innovation, compassion, ideas and accomplishments in our home region of Dallas-Fort Worth. Hosted by UNT System Chief Communications Officer Paul Corliss.

Chancellor Lesa Roe, who acts as CEO for the University of North Texas System, shares how the UNT System and its member institutions are navigating the challenges of COVID-19. Chancellor Roe provides her perspective on Gov. Abbott’s plan to gradually reopen Texas as it relates to UNT World and discusses what summer and fall semesters may look like.

Josh Howard announcement UNT Dallas Basketball Head Coach

 

Brought to you by the University of North Texas System, WE ARE NORTH TEXAS focuses on innovation, compassion, ideas and accomplishments in our home region of Dallas-Fort Worth. Hosted by UNT System Chief Communications Officer Paul Corliss.

On his 40th birthday, 2007 NBA All-Star Josh Howard is excited to return to the city that made him famous and eager for his next challenge – building a UNT Dallas men’s basketball program from scratch. A Dallas Mavericks standout as a player from 2003-2010, Howard was recently named head coach of the UNTD Trailblazers after four seasons coaching Piedmont International University, and he discussed getting started on his quest to mentor young men against the backdrop of COVID-19.

 

Brought to you by the University of North Texas System, WE ARE NORTH TEXAS focuses on innovation, compassion, ideas and accomplishments in our home region of Dallas-Fort Worth. Hosted by UNT System Chief Communications Officer Paul Corliss.

In this episode, Dallas native Robert Wilonsky, Director of Communications for Heritage Auctions and Op-ed Columnist for the Dallas Morning News, joins the podcast to provide perspective on the city he loves during the COVID-19 pandemic. Wilonsky shares the same Northwest Dallas neighborhood as host Paul Corliss, and they discuss what makes their little corner of the city a special community that helps them maintain a sense of normalcy during social distancing and stay-at-home ordinances.

Steve Maruszewski headshot

 

Brought to you by the University of North Texas System, WE ARE NORTH TEXAS focuses on innovation, compassion, ideas and accomplishments in our home region of Dallas-Fort Worth. Hosted by UNT System Chief Communications Officer Paul Corliss.

UNT System Vice Chancellor for Facilities Steve Maruszewski has tirelessly led the UNT System’s emergency management planning and response during the COVID-19 pandemic – ensuring that all UNT System offices and member institutions are working together to best serve students, faculty and staff. He’s also on the front line for meetings with State of Texas officials as it relates to guidelines for state-funded entities like the UNT System and its universities.

UNT Dallas Law Alum Jim Mullen stands in an empty Times Square during COVID-19 Pandemic

 

WE ARE NORTH TEXAS shares great ideas, hard work and good deeds from the University of North Texas System and its member institutions. We are innovative, diverse, caring and collaborative – we are North Texas. Hosted by UNT System Chief Communications Officer Paul Corliss.

The COVID-19 pandemic inspired Dallas attorney Jim Mullen to return to his nursing roots and seek work in a New York City emergency room. With a wife working as an emergency room doctor in Dallas and a 2-year old daughter, the decision wasn't easy -- but Mullen felt a calling and is now working in a Queens hospital that has become a coronavirus hot spot. The death and human isolation he's seen can be troubling, but the desire to give back and care for patients drives him to work daily 12-hour shifts. Hear his story from the front line in New York City. 

 

Wren Baker, Vice President and Director of Athletics at UNT in the new Mean Green Sports practice facility.

 

WE ARE NORTH TEXAS shares great ideas, hard work and good deeds from the University of North Texas System and its member institutions. We are innovative, diverse, caring and collaborative – we are North Texas. Hosted by UNT System Chief Communications Officer Paul Corliss.

In this episode, Wren Baker, Vice President and Director of Athletics for the University of North Texas, shares the impact of COVID-19 on Mean Green Sports. Baker discusses how difficult it was to tell UNT's conference-winning men's basketball team that there would be no NCAA Tournament. Baker also discussed various scenarios for the 2020 college football season, while also considering what financial challenges might lay ahead. Above all, Baker said UNT will be there for the community during this challenging time, and put his money where his mouth is by offering emergency officials to use Mean Green Sports facilities if hospital beds become overloaded in Denton County. 

 

UNT World Faculty & Staff:
 
Of all the many challenges we’re facing during the COVID-19 pandemic, the one constant has been change. We’ve been forced to live differently, work differently, meet differently and socialize differently. In our lifetime, the world has never looked like this. Higher education has never looked like this.
 
What we’re going through can be frustrating and scary, but it also presents us with an opportunity. It would be naïve to think that everything will magically return to “how it was” when we finally defeat COVID-19. The future is going to be very different and the sooner we accept and embrace that, the better we can plan for it.
 
During our COVID-19 Town Hall a few weeks ago, President Smatresk marveled at the tireless efforts of his team to convert nearly 8,000 classes to alternative delivery and spoke about disruption in a positive light, saying: “I believe that this disruption signals a true change in the American higher education front. Given the severity of the circumstances we have, that’s the silver lining that we’re looking for.”
 
Indeed, this disruption presents us all with an opportunity to do things differently, to be more nimble and responsive, to find new and innovative ways to conduct research and serve students. We can all find opportunities to become better, both today and after the pandemic is behind us. We are entering a new era for higher education and can emerge as leaders by embracing change and using it as a catalyst for ideas that will shape the future. 

Last week our Human Resources team launched “In the Green: UNT World Well-Being” – an exciting, system-wide well-being initiative that was created to help faculty and staff from UNT, UNT Health Science Center, UNT Dallas and UNT System Administration live their best lives. Whether navigating day-to-day challenges in “normal” times, or working through the ever-changing circumstances that the COVID-19 pandemic has produced, we believe the health and wellness of our employees is critical to their success – both personally and professionally.
 
During this unique time we will ramp up our efforts to provide virtual workshops to support employees – particularly in interpersonal well-being – through In the Green. Additionally, the program offers health-related benefits, learning opportunities and even discount and rewards programs. Please take a moment to visit the program’s dedicated web site at wellbeing.untsystem.edu and review the many resources and opportunities to address your physical, financial and interpersonal well-being. 

WE ARE North Texas PODCAST

 

 

To help spotlight the great work of our students, faculty and staff across UNT World, we launched a new podcast called “We Are North Texas” that features positive stories from the UNT System during the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s important to recognize extraordinary efforts during these challenging times and our first four episodes are linked below: 

Thank you for your continued support of efforts to navigate the many challenges during this unique time – remember that with change, comes opportunity.

Be safe,

Lesa B. Roe
Chancellor