"Provost Rogan Kersh" Archive

CARES Act information for faculty and staff

This message was emailed May 5 on behalf of Provost Rogan Kersh and Executive Vice President Hof Milam by Wake Forest Communications and External Relations:

Dear Wake Forest faculty and staff,

Over the past two months, so many have worked so hard to sustain and advance the mission of Wake Forest. Thanks also for your efforts to adhere to social distancing practices; the overall health of our community is something for which we can all be grateful. To date, very few cases of COVID-19 infections have been reported among faculty, staff and students. Protecting the health of our community took unprecedented yet necessary steps, and it will take the same degree of commitment to preserve the fiscal health of Wake Forest.

As predicted, revenue losses have mounted, and we are actively managing our budget and finances accordingly. Significant steps have already been taken, including pausing hiring and constraining spending, and we are grateful to each of you for your compliance with those measures. We have now completed the process of issuing pro rata housing and dining refunds of nearly $10 million to our undergraduate students. We were grateful that more than $200,000 of those refunds was returned as a donation to the Wake Forest Crisis Response Fund. However, more steps are needed, and we remain vigilant in looking for ways we can improve our fiscal integrity.

In our April 8 message about the financial situation facing the University, we noted that a team was researching the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the largest federal relief legislation in history, allocating more than $2 trillion to help people and organizations overcome the pandemic’s short-term financial impact. The CARES Act provides federal funding to help support student expenses related to the disruption of campus operations, and to offset specified revenue losses. Additionally, the CARES Act provides two programs of support that can help Wake Forest and our employees who, because of the pandemic, are unable to work remotely or who are working fewer hours: voluntary furloughs and payroll tax credits. Each of these programs is potentially beneficial to both the University as a whole and those individuals who qualify for them; employees of all types and job classifications are eligible. Based upon the nature of the work performed by employees within each unit, implementation options are available to each dean and vice president. Deans and vice presidents will share details about how voluntary furloughs and payroll tax credits will be implemented in each school or division, with consideration for the unique circumstances of each unit across our campus.

Voluntary Furloughs

The CARES Act provides eligible employees who, due to the nature of their work, are not able to work right now, $600 per week, supplementing the up to $350 per week unemployment benefit from the state of North Carolina. Our employees who make less than $49,400 per year may qualify to receive up to $950 per week in combined unemployment benefits through July 25, which is more than their current Wake Forest pay rate. Furloughs may also be structured in a way that does not diminish income for employees who make more than $49,400.

The furlough must be an official leave without pay from Wake Forest in order to qualify for CARES Act funds. However, participation in the health care plan will be sustained at the University’s expense through the period of furlough, and employees will receive credit for a continuation of service, meaning there will be no impact on PTO accrual, time in service or tuition remission status due to the furlough.

Payroll Tax Credits

Additionally, the CARES Act provides relief to organizations that continue to pay employees who may be working fewer hours because of the pandemic. Wake Forest could be eligible to receive up to a $5,000 tax credit payment for each employee in this status. Each vice president and dean has been asked to explore the possibilities for individuals to go on “COVID-19 Leave with Pay” between now and December 31 for reduced work schedules.

Voluntary furloughs and payroll tax credits are two of the many steps the University is taking to preserve the fiscal health of Wake Forest. Deans and vice presidents will seek implementation options that maximize the potential benefits for the schools and units within their area of responsibility, eligible individuals, and the University.

We are deeply grateful for everything you are doing to sustain our financial integrity, culture and values through these trying times. We very much look forward to the day when we can resume normal activities on campus. Until then, we wish good health and safety to you and your families.

Sincerely,

Rogan Kersh
Provost

Hof Milam
Executive Vice President

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Managing the financial impact of COVID-19

This message was sent to faculty and staff on behalf of Provost Rogan Kersh and Executive Vice President Hof Milam on April 8.

Dear Wake Forest faculty and staff,

As we face the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, we have learned a great deal. We have learned that even amid the unknown and profoundly uncertain, we are a community that bands together. We have discovered how to engage our students remotely; we have figured out how to manage our now more limited housing and dining services while practicing social distancing; and we have embraced the many ways we can continue to fulfill our mission. Amid it all, we have affirmed and honored who we are as a community, holding fast to the core of our identity and values.

We have embraced two guiding principles: Sustain our full mission of teaching/learning and research/discovery, and support the physical and financial well-being of the members of our community.

This pandemic presents an ever-changing set of circumstances for each of us to navigate personally and as a university. As we continue to respond to this still developing crisis, we must also continue to adjust thoughtfully our normal practices. Just as we have taken measures to contain the spread of the virus, emerging fiscal realities now call for decisions that enable us to carry out our mission within new financial constraints.

We are closely tracking the substantial new expenses required to manage the impact of the COVID-19 virus. Like all our higher-ed peers, we are experiencing significant losses in expected revenues with numerous refunds and cancellations of programs, as well as uncertainty about when we will resume normal operations. With that in mind, we are implementing a series of steps to address our immediate budgetary concerns. In addition, as we prepare for a still very murky future, we are pausing on previously planned increases for next year’s budget. It is our intent that by making these adjustments, we can position ourselves well for the summer and beyond. The measures outlined below are designed to accommodate all that we can reasonably forecast at this time.

Immediate Action:

Discretionary Spending
All discretionary spending is suspended immediately. This includes travel, food/meals, conferences and events, recognition banquets, consultants and other expenditures that are not critical to the operation of the University. Essential expenditures that directly support the mission of Wake Forest must be approved in writing by the provost or executive vice president.

Capital Projects
All existing and planned capital projects are suspended unless they are necessary for the health and wellbeing of our students, faculty and staff; suspended projects will be reevaluated to determine whether they should proceed.

Pause on New Hiring
We have enacted a University-wide hiring pause on all administrative, faculty, staff and temporary positions. Any exceptions must be initiated by a vice president or dean and approved by the executive vice president and the provost.

Reduction in Executive Compensation
President Hatch and all Reynolda cabinet members and academic deans have volunteered to take a 10% salary reduction, starting immediately.

Realignment of Workforce
Between now and the end of June, there is much creative work to be done to continue and enhance remote engagement with our current and future students. As we strive to build community with and among those we serve, we may ask some employees to temporarily shift responsibilities, in order to deliver the personal nature of Wake Forest while operating largely by remote means.

Fiscal Year 2021 Planning:

Pause of Salary Increases
We will be unable to offer any salary increases for fiscal year 2021, which begins on July 1, 2020. Any arrangement that may arise or may already be in discussion will be closely evaluated and must be approved by the executive vice president or the provost.

Pause of New Hiring
We will continue a University-wide hiring pause on all administrative, faculty, staff and temporary positions. Any exceptions must be initiated by a vice president or dean and approved by the executive vice president and the provost.

Reduction of FY21 Operating Budgets
Administrative and academic leaders have been asked to review their budgets and find savings by discontinuing non-essential programs and events. These moves will help us weather the loss of revenue from on-campus programs, including summer camps that will be canceled. Our focus must be on upholding our core mission and attending to the needs of our students.

Financial Support for Faculty, Staff and Students:

Wake Forest Crisis Response Fund
We are grateful for the tremendous response from our alumni, faculty and staff in support of Wake Foresters through the Crisis Response Fund. We created this fund to enable our generous community to help alleviate the hardships on students, employees and contract employees. The Crisis Response Fund can be used to replenish existing funds, such as the Chaplain’s Emergency Fund, as they make financial awards to people in need. We have asked Beth Hoagland, assistant provost for budget and planning, to lead a committee dedicated to directing the resources we raise through this fund.

Students facing significant hardships should continue to initiate requests for support through the Financial Aid Office (financial-aid@nullwfu.edu or 336-758-5154. Faculty, staff and contract employees facing great need should email Peggy Beckman in the Chaplain’s Office (beckmapp@nullwfu.edu) about their circumstances.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act
One week ago, Congress passed the largest federal relief legislation in history, offering more than $2 trillion to assist people, companies and organizations overcome the short-term impact of the pandemic. We have a team of leaders working with urgency to understand and make recommendations regarding opportunities for Wake Forest employees and contract employees who are underemployed due to remote working and social distancing requirements. In addition, we are reviewing ways that the CARES Act might help Wake Forest meet its guiding principles amidst these uncertain economic times.

We convey these measures to provide you with the clearest information we have at this time, hoping you will find strength in the knowledge that we are taking every step at our disposal to manage the impact of this global crisis.

Wake Forest is strong and resilient. Our University has weathered world wars, depressions and a tumultuous move across the state. At this latest juncture in our history, our intensive planning always keeps in the forefront what has always made this institution special: its people. Our gratitude to each of you is immeasurable: Thank you for all you do for Wake Forest.

We will continue to communicate regularly with you in the days and weeks ahead. Above all else, please stay healthy and safe.

With deep appreciation,

Rogan Kersh
Provost

Hof Milam
Executive Vice President

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University Registrar Harold Pace to retire in fall 2020

Harold Pace

After leading the University Registrar’s Office for nearly a decade, Harold Pace will retire this coming fall.

Pace joined Wake Forest in July 2011 as University Registrar and Assistant Provost for Academic Administration. He will retire from that position on Oct. 1.  Said Provost Rogan Kersh, “Harold Pace has truly been Wake Forest’s indispensable figure–working closely with faculty, staff colleagues in seemingly every corner of our campus, and students to ensure not only that the vital operations of the Registrar’s Office are carried out expertly, but also that our university itself thrives.  From first-year students’ initial registration through our University Commencement, Harold has reshaped for the better every aspect of our students’ experience, across the College and our graduate/professional schools.  I’m still trying to imagine our community without him at the absolute center.”

Pace and his wife, Cathy, look forward to remaining in Winston-Salem after his retirement.

“Cathy and I plan to stay here in Winston Salem where our daughter, Leann, and our two grandkids live,” Pace said.  Leann Pace is an assistant teaching professor in the Department for the Study of Religions.

“Cathy and Leann tell me that just getting the grandkids to all of their school and after-school events will provide me with the necessary transition job,” he joked, but added, “I am still considering what I want to do in this upcoming life change.”

In his remaining months in the University Registrar’s Office, he will stay focused on the overarching priority he has held from the start—helping faculty and students administratively so that they can stay on track with their academic priorities.

“I have always held that administrative tasks required of students and faculty by the registrar, such as reporting grades, registering for classes, keeping up with degree progress, class lists and more should be easily accomplished, so that the core work of the University—learning, research, and teaching—is not shortchanged,” Pace said.

Pace arrived at Wake Forest with lengthy and wide-ranging experience as a registrar.  “I came to Wake in 2011 after being the University Registrar at two other institutions, Notre Dame and Louisiana Tech, for a total of 29 years,” Pace said.  Earlier in his career, he worked for ten years in registrar positions at Texas A&M and Lamar University.

He launched his career after earning a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s in student personnel and guidance.  As his career progressed, he received a doctorate in educational administration.

Looking back on his Wake Forest tenure, Pace said one of his primary jobs “has been to hire a talented academic services staff and work with them to improve academic services, the integrity and security of our records, and the efficiency of the faculty-approved processes.”

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A message from Provost Kersh

Provost Rogan Kersh shared the following message with the campus community on March 23, the first day of remote classes:

On this first day of remote classes, Provost Kersh has a message as we begin this new journey. In the midst of our challenging times, may you be inspired to carry on the good work you started and encouraged in the days to come.

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Campus Connections cancelled for April 2

Provost Rogan Kersh emailed faculty and staff with this announcement on March 17:

Dear Wake Forest faculty and staff,

As we follow the preventative measures the University is taking against the global spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), our April 2, 2020 Campus Connections is now cancelled.

We will be in touch with a rescheduled date in the near future.

Rogan Kersh,
Provost

(Editor’s Note: Many events are being postponed or virtualized, recently. Please check the Events Calendar for details)

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