Looking Ahead: Important Information and Updates – April 29, 2020

Dear FSU Community,

Normally around this time of year, our beautiful campus is in full bloom and buzzing with excitement about the upcoming end-of-year celebrations and recognitions. Instead, as I look out my office window, Crocker Grove is empty and our campus is nearly vacant.

Most of us are huddled up at home waiting for the spread of COVID-19 to abate. I hope you and your loved ones are healthy as we finish up the semester remotely. I miss seeing all of you on campus and look forward to when we can gather as a community once again. Until then, I want to share some things to look out for as we wrap up this semester and prepare for the fall.

First, Some Quick – But Important - Reminders

  • Please don’t forget that you have the option of taking any course this semester as pass/fail. Students will be able to request to change a course grade to pass/fail during the period of May 18th until May 27th, 2020, using a form that will be available through the myframingham portal. A grade of pass is defined as D- or higher. If you have any questions, please contact your Department Chair, College Dean, or the Advising Center.
  • The deadline to withdraw from a class with a W or to request a leave of absence from the university has been extended to May 1st
  • As finals approach, the Center for Academic Success and Achievement (CASA) continues to offer services to all students, including tutoring and supplemental instruction. Additionally, you may either request help or submit questions on the CASA website, or you may visit the CASA tab on Blackboard for links to tutoring services.

Mental Health and COVID-19

The staff in the Counseling Center are available to support students who are struggling with their mental health during this time of high stress, fear, and anxiety. The Counseling Center is open and engaging in teletherapy, i.e., offering therapy sessions by phone or through Zoom. Please contact them to set up an appointment.

If you have any physical health-related questions, the Health Center is also available. The Health Center’s website includes a number of helpful resources, including information on telehealth appointments, access to the You.framingham.edu portal and more.

Celebrating you!

Just because we cannot be together physically, doesn’t mean we cannot celebrate your outstanding accomplishments remotely!

  • Many departments or colleges are planning virtual honors and awards ceremonies for students.
  • The Center for Excellence in Learning, Teaching, Scholarship and Service (CELTSS) is planning to feature student research projects that would have been part of the annual Student Conference for Research and Creative Practice on its website and through Blackboard.
  • I hope to see all of our graduating seniors at the Virtual Toast we have planned for May 15th.
  • I know how saddened everyone was that we had to postpone commencement, but the University still has every intention of holding an in-person commencement ceremony for the Class of 2020 at some point in the future. As soon as we know more, we will let you know.

Financial Planning

Framingham State University entered this past academic year in a strong financial position, which has helped us weather the initial phase of this crisis better than many other similar colleges.

  • The reimbursement of room, board and parking fees to students created a nearly $4 million budget gap for the current fiscal year. We have managed to absorb that loss through a combination of funding we received from the federal CARES Act and by tapping trust funds we had in place for emergencies.
  • Most of our attention is now on the 2020-2021 fiscal year, which begins on July 1st. We are planning for several different scenarios that have different assumptions about our enrollment, state funding, and whether or not we will be able to open campus as scheduled.
  • Planning will focus on the long-term financial well-being of the institution while ensuring operational capacity.  It is anticipated that there will be limited reductions in staffing over the next few years commensurate with projected enrollment declines.  The expectation is that personnel reductions will be instituted through attrition and reassignments.  Other responses will include refunding of bonds to reduce costs, reduction of certain operational expenditures, and selective further use of reserves.

Summer 2020

Framingham State University will not be holding any formal programs on campus this summer as we will be preparing for our return to campus. New student orientation and family programs are being held virtually.  All summer courses will be offered remotely. Registration for graduate and undergraduate courses this summer is now open.  All campus offices will remain open, even if remotely, to assist you if you have questions or need support.

Looking Ahead

Framingham State University has every hope of reopening campus this fall. We want to welcome new students to our beautiful campus and resume our normal on-campus operations in September with all of you. We recognize, however, that there are some factors beyond our control, including guidance and orders from the state and federal government.

  • The University’s leadership team is creating multiple contingency plans, including the possibility of a slightly delayed start to the fall semester and other hybrid models that will allow for remote coursework for those unable to travel due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.
  • We will continue to be in close contact with students and their families as we learn more and will provide updates to our fall planning on a timely basis.
  • We are committed to providing you the highest-quality liberal arts education that enables you to think critically and creatively and positions you for a satisfying and successful career.

None of us has ever experienced anything like this past semester, and I’ll always be proud and grateful of how you adapted to our new environment. Please remember to stay in touch moving forward and be on the lookout for important updates and information from the University. Please also continue to monitor our COVID-19 webpage, which we will update regularly as things change and new information is made available. I look forward to when we can all gather again in person.