Chancellor’s Corner: Stuck in the Middle With You

My office has been an interesting – and often lonely – place this week.

Just a week ago, the chancellor’s office was bustling with activity.  Excited students were popping in and out of meetings. Faculty members were coming to discuss new ideas. Alumni and community members were present to discuss partnerships and investment opportunities. Simply put – it often resembles Grand Central Station around here.

But the COVID-19 virus has temporarily changed the way we operate. We’ve moved classes to online platforms. Many students have moved back home. Social gatherings involving alumni, students, faculty and staff have been postponed. Many meetings have been moved to teleconference or video.

And our iconic Quad has been empty.

We’ve been busy, however. Each day provides new opportunities and challenges as we adjust to our new normal. We monitor the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website by the hour, just as we regularly confer with the University of Tennessee System office and the Tennessee Department of Health.

But if we aren’t careful, we can turn into full-time management mode.

Don’t get me wrong. In times of crisis and change, good managers are needed.  The updates that impact our campus are coming in fast and furious. We’ve had to adjust technology, develop new health and safety provisions for our campus community and respond to questions as they arise. Management is important. We need to be responsive.

But so is leadership.

I’m encouraged that our faculty and administrative team have kept their eyes on the bigger picture related to our mission…a commitment to produce educated, engaged citizens to lead and serve in a diverse world.

The Core Values at UT Martin are:

  • Academic Program Excellence
  • Student Experience and Success
  • Inclusion
  • Advocacy and Service

While the world looks a little different right now, we are committed to focus on these Core Values. It’s about our students, their experiences and how we serve our greater region.

I’m grateful for all the creative responses that I’m seeing across the UT Martin community from our students, faculty, staff, alumni and regional partners.

This is a time for leadership.

To keep up with our latest campus updates related to COVID-19 and see list of FAQs about campus operations, please visit: www.utm.edu/coronavirus.

To keep up with the news and advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, please visit: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html.

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