Dear Wake Forest community,
As the first day of classes for the majority of campus nears, we write to share both our enthusiasm for the start of this semester and a few important updates to our COVID-19 response. We will be fully in-person and operating all aspects of the University with the trademark dedication to our mission. The adjustments we will share below reflect our commitment to that end and to ensuring a successful start to the year.
As a residential community founded on the teacher-scholar model, we thrive on meaningful connection with one another animated by close collaboration among students, faculty and staff — collaboration that is at its best when it is in person. Our high vaccination rate among faculty, staff and students is the most important step for returning to and maintaining normal operations during the fall semester. While our position is strong, the most recent information regarding transmission of the Delta variant requires some temporary modifications.
Indoor masks to begin the semester
We will start the semester with all of us, regardless of vaccination status, wearing a mask indoors, with exceptions that are defined below. We anticipate this will be a temporary measure to allow for a smooth transition back to the classroom and campus environment. We will evaluate this decision weekly and make adjustments accordingly. Beginning Monday, August 16, masks are required indoors except while actively eating and drinking and with the following exceptions: Read more
The University will host a staff forum Friday, July 24 at 8:30 a.m. The Information Systems team has worked to ensure a safe and secure experience via Zoom Webinar. For staff, please join by visiting the link in your July 16 email from Executive Vice President Hof Milam and Provost Rogan Kersh. Staff can submit questions through our designated Human Resources form. We will continue to answer them directly through email updates, centralized FAQs and the Friday forum.
Vice President for Campus Life Penny Rue and Clinical Director of Student Health Service Joanne Clinch will appear as panelists for the faculty forum Monday, July 27, 5 – 6 p.m. An email with details for accessing the meeting will be sent to faculty later this week.
Faculty may submit questions for Penny and Joanne via this form before 5 p.m. on Wednesday, July 22.
A subsequent forum on University finances is planned for the first week of August.
The following message is shared on behalf of John Shenette, vice president, facilities and campus services, and Hof Milam, Executive Vice President:
As stated in the message to faculty and staff on April 8, the University is reviewing all capital projects to determine whether or not they should proceed. Projects that are deemed necessary for the health and wellbeing of our students, faculty and staff, or are deemed critical to campus infrastructure are proceeding. Based on this guidance, the University has suspended most projects with the exception of the following:
- Bostwick and Johnson: Bostwick and Johnson residence halls (currently closed) and neighboring buildings on Gulley Drive (among the first original buildings to open on the Reynolda Campus) will receive new heating and cooling equipment to improve indoor air quality and increase control of indoor environments. Work began on these structures the week of May 4 and will continue throughout the summer.
- Greene Hall: This project will focus on failing structural conditions and water infiltration issues. The project will include new water proofing, exterior wall panel replacement and repairs to the large skylight above the atrium. Two elevations of the building will be addressed: (1) east – facing the Athletics facilities and (2) west – facing Manchester Plaza. Access to the building will remain available. Phase One was completed over winter break. Phase Two of the project begins the week of May 18 and will continue throughout the summer.
- Chilled water line extension: The line runs underground along Carroll Weathers Drive past the Worrell Professional Center and will be extended from the Wake Forest Road/Carroll Weathers Drive intersection to Wellman Way. This is the final phase of the 2009 Campus Master Plan to connect the North and South Chiller Plants. This connector is intended to expand chilled water capacity to buildings on the eastern side of campus including Worrell Professional Center, Alumni Hall, Sutton Sports Performance Center/Shah Basketball Complex and Palmer/Piccolo. The extension will also greatly improve chilled water distribution challenges across campus. Intermittent road closures are likely during the project. Work began in early May and will continue throughout the summer.
- Sutton Sports Performance Center completion: The remainder of the natural turf practice field to the west of Sutton Sports Performance Center will be completed this summer. Completion of this project is necessary to return the construction staging site to its pre-project use and to provide proper storm water management for the area to the east of Manchester Athletic Center.
- Wake Downtown: The final phase of build-out for the Department of Engineering at Wake Downtown will be completed later this summer. This work is necessary to provide instructional spaces for the junior and senior classes and to meet accreditation requirements of the program.
- Renovation of Palmer/Piccolo: The renovation of these former residence halls began before COVID-19 and will be continued to provide much needed classroom, lab space and offices for the Department of Anthropology and The Museum of Anthropology.
Carmen Canales, Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer, has accepted a position as Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer for the Novant Health system. She will join Novant Health next month. A search for her replacement will begin after the COVID-19 crisis passes. In the interim, Dedee DeLongpre-Johnston, Chief Sustainability Officer, will assist Hof Milam, Executive Vice President in providing leadership and oversight of Human Resources.
Canales, who came to Wake Forest in 2011, has led the University’s talent functions, including recruitment, campus engagement, compensation and benefits, professional development, HR operations, and HR information systems. Across each of these areas, she has helped further the University’s commitment to diversity, inclusion, and belonging.
“Carmen has had a tremendous impact by positioning Human Resources as a strategic partner for the University,” said Executive Vice President Hof Milam. “Her transformative leadership has made it possible to advance our important talent management work in collaboration with our schools and departments.”
During her time here, Carmen has led the expansion of a comprehensive benefits package, adding inclusive offerings such as gender reassignment coverage and student debt counseling, while increasing retirement plan participation by 55 percent. She also enhanced the faculty, staff, and retiree recognition events with an emphasis on authentic appreciation.
Early in her time at Wake Forest, Canales formed the Leadership Summit, which brings together academic and administrative leaders for professional development and collaboration. This program has featured internal and external experts on topics including innovation, tradition, change management, and friendship. Her vision for developing colleagues across the University also resulted in “Leading at Wake,” a series that focuses on creating a culture of engagement and belonging.
“It has been a privilege to serve the diverse Wake Forest community,” Canales said. “The Human Resources team is talented, thoughtful, and dedicated, and will continue to collaborate with and support staff and faculty colleagues.”
Provost Rogan Kersh emailed the following announcement to faculty and staff on Jan. 10:
Dear Wake Forest faculty and staff,
On Thursday, January 16, Hof Milam, Executive Vice President, and I will be hosting the second Campus Connections of the academic year. We look forward to seeing you in Benson 401 from 8:45-10 a.m. for a light breakfast and presentations by members of our Wake Forest community.
- “Online Update,” Kami Chavis, Associate Provost for Academic Initiatives, Professor of Law, and Associate Vice President
- “Plan for Academic Excellence Update,” Andrea Ellis, Assistant Vice President of Innovation, and Ellen Murphy, Associate Dean of Strategic Initiatives and Professor of Practice in the School of Law
- “Wake Will Lead | Campaign Update,” Mark Petersen, Vice President of University Advancement
Campus Connections will be available via Webex; instructions will be sent out next week.