Message from Chancellor Sartarelli: Planning Update; Input Requested

Friday, May 15, 2020

Dear Faculty and Staff:

I hope you are well and safe and have been able to find at least a few moments to rest and relax as the semester has wrapped up.

I want to share an update on the Fall 2020 planning process. As I shared at the end of April, I have charged a Planning Team – facilitated by Dean Charlie Hardy (CHHS) – with developing a sustainable and nimble strategy to address our fall operations. Specifically, this group is developing a series of potential academic, operational and financial models for the fall and will articulate the advantages, disadvantages, and required actions associated with each approach.

The three units within the Planning Team are as follows:

  • The Task Force is responsible for the overarching, strategic work of the Planning Team, including identifying possible operational models and organizing all elements of the work into a common vision.
  • The Workgroups are responsible for identifying the actions and resources needed to operate the university under different operational models. Eight workgroups were convened, focused on various topics.
  • The Special Advisors include subject matter experts from both UNCW and the wider community, who are providing input to the Task Force and Workgroups as needed.

The Task Force has completed their first phase of work: the development of guiding principles and potential operational models. Recommendations are being generated with the health and safety of our campus community as the top priority. Student success, quality teaching and learning, financial sustainability, and community interaction are also being considered at every turn.

This work cannot be successfully completed in a vacuum. We have already enlisted a number of faculty and staff to contribute to this process, and we are counting on your engagement as well to inform this ongoing effort. In order to gather input from faculty and staff about how to operationalize our campus this fall, the Task Force has developed a short survey. As the planning continues to unfold, we will provide additional opportunities for gaining your valuable insights. You are also welcome to send us input at any time via

Between now and May 22, the workgroups will develop and provide guidelines and resource implications for each potential model. The Task Force will subsequently work to weave that information into a set of recommendations about Fall 2020 operations, which I expect to receive by May 29.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the members of the Planning Team for their work on this important initiative. This complex issue requires concerted attention, in addition to the work that was already on their plates, and their investment in this effort is something that will benefit us all. We have to think beyond our “normal” frame of reference, but I am confident that we have assembled a terrific team to position us well for Fall 2020, within the framework of our 2016-2021 Strategic Plan.

Thank you for your continued dedication and patience as we plan for the opportunities and challenges ahead. Please continue to be safe. Go Seahawks! 


Jose V. Sartarelli