Provost's Messages

August 9, 2021  |  Academic Year Greetings from Academic Affairs

August 9, 2021

Dear Faculty and Staff in Academic Affairs:

As we begin the 2021-2022 academic year, I hope this email finds you and your families healthy and well. I hope that you were able to find some time this summer to reflect, recharge, and refocus in meaningful ways.

The leadership across Academic Affairs spent some time this summer reflecting on the past year and thinking about the many ways our community came together to address the challenges that we faced. As I stated at the end of the 2020-2021 academic year, your work had positive impacts on the lives of our students – and therefore on our society for generations to come.

As the fall begins, there certainly are non-COVID-19 related updates that we need to share, and information we need to discuss regarding the priorities for the year ahead. However, COVID-19 and the global pandemic continue to challenge us with the recent surge in cases due to the variants. While there will be time for us to discuss non-COVID-19 related matters, our immediate priority must be to come together to successfully navigate the beginning of the academic year in a dynamic environment. Thus, I write today to share information and updates with you regarding university operations. Please know that we don’t have all the answers at this point, but I am committed to listening to our community and working to ensure that we can provide information to help illuminate the path forward.

As we reflect on our current circumstances, the university is taking steps to ensure we meet our two most important priorities: the health and safety of our campus community and the high-quality delivery of the curriculum in a manner consistent with its design and our students’ expectations. Given that guidance from health and government officials continues to evolve as society learns more about the virus and its impacts, I am asking members of our community to come together to ensure our students’ success.

To the goal of sharing information, I would invite you to review the most recent guidance (attached) on a variety of topics. We are also working on a FAQ document, and we will provide this information once it is available. I also invite your participation at the open forum that is scheduled on August 11 from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.

I know that the start of the coming fall semester is not the one we imagined or hoped to see. However, I also know that our community can overcome challenges by working together. As I have said previously, I ask that you show grace with one another and remain flexible, creative, and innovative in the ways we approach our work.

As I close this message, I want to take a moment to ask you to continue to take care of yourself, our students, and our colleagues, as we begin the academic year. I know that many of you are understandably still tired. Anxiety challenges us each in unique ways. Take the time to “check in” with others as we start the year and encourage individuals who may need extra support to reach out. Students can leverage the UNCW Counseling Center. For Faculty and Staff, the Employee Assistance Program is an excellent resource.

I know I say this at the close of all my messages, but I sincerely thank you for all that you have done and are doing to ensure the success of our campus community. I am proud to be a Seahawk!

Please feel free to reach out if there are questions or suggestions for ways to support you!

Sincerely and with gratitude,

James J. Winebrake, Ph.D.
UNCW Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs
Pronouns: he, him, his