Dear Faculty and Staff Colleagues,
As we head down the home stretch of the fall semester with the final week of classes upon us, I want to thank each of you for your dedication and commitment. We still have plenty of work ahead of us, of course, but it is a tremendous achievement to have pulled off an entire semester of remote learning as successfully as we have. I know that this final push has been exhausting for everybody, but I hope you are feeling that the coming Thanksgiving break offers some light at the end of the tunnel.
With a faculty meeting scheduled for Tuesday and a town hall meeting on Wednesday, we will have opportunities to talk about a number of important topics, but I want to share some administrative updates in advance so that we can make the best use possible of our time together.
As you know, planning for the spring semester is proceeding on a variety of fronts. At the faculty meeting, the faculty will have the opportunity to consider potential changes to the spring semester calendar that may be helpful in mitigating the impact of the seasonal COVID-19 spike that is already upon us. The robust testing plan we have formulated for the spring gives us additional confidence in our ability to manage what we expect will be a challenging environment. The Provost’s Office and the Registrar’s Office have been hard at work planning a course schedule that will accommodate classes expected to be taught in person, and other plans are well in hand. We appreciate the hard work of so many individuals and offices to prepare for implementation of these plans.
The administration also is actively engaged in budget planning on a variety of fronts, both finalizing the FY21 budget for presentation to the Board of Trustees at its December meeting and projecting ahead to FY22. With somewhat more favorable results for the current fiscal year than originally anticipated, we are, as promised, working on scenarios related to possible restoration of salary levels and resumption of retirement benefits. We will be discussing these with the Faculty Academic Policy Committee and Faculty Compensation Committee as well as the Administrative Council. We will have more to report in the coming weeks.
We also are engaged in conversations with a number of student and campus groups on issues related to race and social justice, and we will have a more detailed update soon on initiatives outlined in my July 20 memo to combat racism at Lafayette. We also have been working through the list of demands compiled by the students known as “Dear Lafayette.” Those students have met with us as well as with other administrative offices and academic department heads, and their concerns also have been discussed by several faculty committees. We were pleased to announce last week that the College is a founding member of the new Liberal Arts College Racial Equity Leadership Alliance centered at the University of Southern California Race and Equity Center. We hope this group will provide valuable resources and advice to bolster our efforts on campus.
I look forward to seeing you at the faculty meeting, the town hall meeting, or both!
From Greg MacDonald, VP for enrollment
Nov. 15 was Lafayette’s Early Decision Round 1 (ED1) deadline. As of midnight last night, 382 students have declared Lafayette as their first choice by submitting ED1 applications. Last year on this date we had 439 ED1 applications (-13%).
As we have noted before, many aspects of this year’s admissions cycle have been running behind usual patterns, in part because many high schools have not been able to host virtual visits or other college admissions activities. We hope to make up the difference by the time we get to our Regular Decision application deadline on Jan. 15 and our Early Decision Round 2 deadline on Feb. 1.
Building an ED1 applicant pool in a virtual setting requires new strategies and extra effort on the part of the enrollment team and the whole community. The Enrollment Division is most appreciative of all faculty, staff, and students who have supported our new programs to connect applicants with Lafayette by participating in open houses, department spotlights, faculty panels, etc.
Overall, there are 1,348 applications for the Class of 2025 compared to 1,458 on this date last year.
From Melissa Starace, assistant to the president for board and community relations
The United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley’s annual campaign will take place for the Lafayette campus community from Monday, Nov. 30, through Friday, Dec. 11.
We can all be proud of the College’s impact in our community, and our support of United Way reflects our commitment. Last year, Lafayette was named a United Way Circle of Honor Organization for demonstrating excellence and support, one of only two higher education institutions to earn this recognition (we won’t mention who the other school is). For those who have supported the United Way in the past, thank you, and we hope we can count on your support once again. If you have not done so before, please consider making a gift this year.
Community organizations are meeting so many critical needs and can use our support. In response to recent events, and in addition to supporting priorities such as reading, food security, and aging, the United Way took a leadership role among nonprofits to proactively respond to COVID-19 and this summer expanded regular programming relating to issues of social justice. Learn more about specific United Way programs, their impact, or getting involved.
On Nov. 30, information about the College’s campaign will be shared through Lafayette Today. In addition, each employee will receive a unique login to participate in the campaign. Those who supported the College’s United Way campaign last year will see their information populated for their review, revision, and approval. All donors making a gift of $25 or more are able to designate their dollars as they wish. If you have questions or are interested in serving on the College’s United Way Campaign Committee, please contact Melissa Starace.
Thank you for considering supporting Lafayette’s United Way Campaign during a year of critical needs in our local community.