Message From the Provost: December 2020
Thank You for Your Dedication and Warm Holiday Wishes
As we approach a holiday season like none we have ever experienced, I would like to thank everyone in the Stevens community for enabling us to reach the end of the fall 2020 semester successfully.
I offer my best wishes to those students, staff and faculty members who contracted COVID. At the same time, I am proud that we have been able to avoid the sorts of disruptive outbreaks that have affected other campuses. I am glad that thanks to our adherence to the Stevens Health Honor Code, our carefully considered social distancing practices, and our testing program, Stevens infection rates have been kept relatively low.
We remain strong and resilient, and our faculty and staff have demonstrated time and again that our community is collaborative, agile and student-centric. Throughout the semester, they continued to provide services and activities for students both on campus and virtually, teaching courses with students attending remotely and in person, advancing research both in the labs and remotely, and supporting the critical core operations of our university.
Thanks to these efforts, we were able to host a limited number of students on campus. And while their fall semester experience was not what they had originally imagined, the dedication of the faculty and academic staff — along with the planning and implementation efforts that everyone worked on so diligently — allowed us to give our students a taste of just how amazing Stevens can be, even during a pandemic.
Despite the circumstances, there were some high points this semester. Research continues to be central to Stevens’ mission, and funding continues to pour in to support the groundbreaking work of our faculty. In September, October, and November alone, new research awards totaled more than $17.5 million, on pace to exceed our university record last year. There were several awards to individual faculty members of more than $1 million. You can view a list of this semester’s largest awards in this newsletter.
I am also excited about the progress made this semester toward the launch of Workday Student, scheduled for March, just a few short months away. Workday Student is Stevens’ comprehensive new student information system. It will replace several outdated legacy systems and streamline many of the tasks students, faculty and staff need to perform from enrollment through commencement.
Workday Student is an extension of the Workday HCM (Human Capital Management) platform that Stevens faculty, staff and student workers already use to manage all their human resources tasks. Workday Student brings additional functions to Workday and places everyone at Stevens on one platform that can be accessed with a single login.
This initiative is five years in the making and it is an important part of Stevens’ ongoing effort to become more student-centric and innovative with our technology. I am pleased that the Workday Student project team in the Office of the Provost, working in collaboration with partners across the university, has been able to maintain the pace of progress despite the disruptions caused by the pandemic and the 2019 cyberattack.
In November, more than 60 students, faculty and staff tested key aspects of Workday Student in a series of mock registration sessions. I thank them for their assistance and feedback.
There is still significant work to be done in preparation for the March launch, but I am excited and optimistic about what will be a transformational experience for our students, faculty and staff next semester.
Looking ahead to the spring semester, we will welcome additional student groups to campus, including our graduating seniors, who will have one last opportunity to be with us before they move on to careers or postgraduate education.
I also invite you to join us virtually on February 24 for the next installment in the Provost’s Lecture Series on Women in Leadership. Gretchen Rubin, a widely known New York Times best-selling author and podcaster, will speak about “How to Stay Happier, Healthier, and More Productive in the Age of COVID-19.” Details will be forthcoming soon.
Once again, thank you and please accept our deepest appreciation and gratitude for your dedication to Stevens despite a difficult time in all your lives.
I look forward to the day that we can bring everyone together in person to celebrate our defeat of the virus. In the meantime, continue to stay well, and best wishes for a happy and healthy holiday season.