To: Faculty, Staff and Students
From: President Ashish Vaidya
Subject: “Spring Forward” 2021 Semester
Dear Campus Community:
Finals week is almost finished and Fall Commencement (virtual) is this Saturday. While we wrap up the end-of-semester work, I hope you will join us in the celebration of our August and December 2020 graduates.
We are ready to launch our “Spring Forward” plan for the coming semester. When we return on January 11, classes will be held per the current published schedule with a mix of face-to-face, online and hybrid mode of delivery. Departments will maintain minimum staffing levels on-campus, to have their locations open to serve faculty, staff and students in-person, as necessary. Human Resources will be sending department heads additional information this afternoon. The university will continue to follow the Commonwealth’s guidelines and reinforce our Norse Nine principles for those on campus. The COVID-19 Preparedness Team will monitor the situation and recommend adjustments as necessary.
Faculty, staff and students have shared with me that this Fall, many of our students (undergraduates in particular) missed the on-campus experience and interactions, are concerned about the financial uncertainty they and their families are facing, and many struggled academically and emotionally. In our quest to become a student-ready university, we are responding to these concerns.
So, our “Spring Forward” plan will commit to the following, the details of which will be shared with students through an aggressive outreach and communications plan:
- Easing Registration – for example by removing certain registration “holds” and rolling-out a centralized holiday break virtual one-stop so students can call or email their questions with a 24-hour response time.
- Making NKU more Affordable - for Spring 2021 Semester, tuition will remain unchanged, and there will be no institutional scholarship renewal requirements. Parking will be free in all garages, so students can attend classes or visit campus without worrying about the hourly rate. There will be no online course fee, no late registration fee, no late graduation fee and no commuter meal plan mandatory fee. And NKU’s IT Department will continue to provide laptops, hotspots and other technology resources.
- Empowering Engagement Opportunities
- Students will be invited to “Pitch a Program” – an opportunity to pitch their idea for a program or event on campus. The “Pitch a Program” open sessions will be January 21, 22 and 25. Programs selected will need to have an in-person component and follow the Norse Nine. NKU Student Engagement’s social media accounts will be sharing more information on this event soon.
- The spring semester will also have redesigned annual events that are campus traditions, like the MLK Day of Service on January 18 and Homecoming on February 17-20. While Homecoming might be a bit different, there will be a number of in-person watch parties around campus to cheer on the Norse. We will roll out more engagement activities for the spring semester in January.
- We will be hosting an Esports Rocket League tournament February through March. This builds upon the success of our varsity Rocket League team, and it is open to all students, regardless of skill level. The winning team will get to scrimmage with NKU's varsity team in an exhibition match. There will also be side matches for prizes throughout event. The tournament will culminate with the grand opening of our NKU Esports Arena on campus in late March.
- NKU's TikTok account @nkuedu1 launches in January! We are looking for student, faculty and staff ambassadors to join the NKU TikTok team to create fun content representing their college, student organization, athletic program or affiliation with the university. Please follow this account and contact firstname.lastname@example.org to join the NKU TikTok team.
- Supporting Health and Wellness – Campus Recreation Center is open, so one can stay active in the colder months. Health, Counseling and Student Wellness (HCSW) is available for students to answer questions, perform COVID 19 testing and provide emotional support. During the spring semester, we are exploring a partnership with an online platform that will enable us to both supplement the work being done by the HCSW staff and provide students with a variety of 24-hour self-help tools. In addition, for those students that need financial assistance, therapy session fees at HCSW may be waived or reduced for the Spring 2021 Semester. HCSW requests that faculty directly mention student wellness - specifically the resources available for students - during their first course meeting of the spring semester.
There is a lot in the works to prepare for our students return to campus for the Spring 2021 Semester. Please take time and enjoy the winter break before we jump into a busy new semester in January.