From President Percy: Welcome to a spring term like no other

Author: Stephen Percy

Posted: March 30, 2020

I want to welcome everyone to a spring term of unprecedented virtual teaching and learning at Portland State. For the next 10 weeks, we will do all we can to stay on track with our educational and research mission while helping to protect your health and safety and doing our part to help curb a global pandemic. 

None of us anticipated that spring term would look quite like this, and I understand what a challenge it’s been to transition so quickly to remote operations. 

I want to thank the experts in our Office of Academic Innovation and Office of Information Technology for their work to prepare and provide support for our transition to a virtual campus. Thanks also to full- and part-time faculty, adjuncts, academic professionals and graduate assistants for their creativity and commitment to remote student learning under challenging circumstances. 

For students, the myPSU website is the place to start for access to Remote Learning Guides and other resources. Some classes will be held in the traditional online format using D2L, others will be recorded lectures. And many faculty members will use Zoom or Google Hangout to communicate directly with students in real-time. If you have questions and can’t find answers at myPSU, the OIT Helpdesk is staffed and ready to provide answers or point you in the right direction. 

In light of these extraordinary circumstances, we are recommending to PSU’s Board of Trustees that certain student fees be reduced or eliminated for the duration of the term. That will help reduce the cost of attendance.

Two student computer labs will remain open during spring term — with proper health practices in place — in the first floor of Millar Library and in the basement of Fariborz Maseeh Hall. OIT has laptops to check out for students who need them. 

Despite our best preparations, I know these are difficult times of uncertainty, anxiety and stress. We are all practicing physical distancing and from early indications, health professionals say these physical distancing measures are making a difference in curbing the spread of COVID-19. 

That’s why we are going all-remote this term: To help protect you and the people you care about.

Still, it can be isolating. We are a tight community at PSU, and it’s hard to give up so much in-person interaction over the next 10 weeks of spring term. I know we’ll get creative in finding new ways to interact, but we also have resources that can help. 

For students, our Center for Student Health and Counseling has moved all counseling services to a telehealth model, and you can visit SHAC’s website for more information. For employees, you can access the confidential Employee Assistance Program online or over the phone through Human Resources. 

Please take care of yourself. Working together, we can overcome the challenges we face and make our spring term a success. 

Thank you, and stay safe.

Stephen Percy