August 31, 2020

Dear Faculty and Staff:

I hope everyone’s semester is off to a great start. The beginning of the Fall semester is always a time of adjustment, this year perhaps more so, as we are adjusting to what life is like on our campus with social distancing, mask wearing, and the other steps necessary to keep each other safe.
I appreciate everyone’s patience and cooperation during the first week. Most members of our community have been great about wearing their masks and keeping their distance, as our guidelines call for. But we need everyone to follow the rules if we want to remain on campus. My refrain this semester will be, “Wear your mask!” You will get tired of hearing me say it. That’s OK. As long as you do it. And if you don’t, you can’t stay here. It is that simple. 
Given the unusual nature of this semester and the importance of regular communication, I plan to continue weekly updates to the community. Each Monday, I will communicate regarding issues related to our pandemic response, as well as broader matters of concern to students, faculty, and staff. 
Pandemic Response  
Updated COVID-19 Webpages:
Since the beginning of the pandemic, our COVID-19 Information webpage has been updated regularly with the latest news, guidance, and data. With the start of the new semester, the page has been updated to include a link to a dashboard, among other things, where data on the cumulative number of positive COVID-19 cases in the William Paterson community will be posted. This information is being shared in the interest of transparency and only includes students, faculty, and staff who have been on campus in the 14 days prior to testing positive. The numbers will include recovered cases, as well as active ones, so the total number may not be reflective of the current situation on campus. 
Federal privacy rules prevent us from sharing any specific information about positive cases, but please be assured that if there is any chance that you have interacted directly with someone who tested positive, you will be contacted for follow-up. If you are not contacted, that means these cases are not in your classes, office, or other work areas.   
Class attendance: 
Faculty, please remember the importance of course attendance for contact tracing purposes, and to do so regardless of your teaching modality, including online. Further guidance on why this matters, how to do it using the new Banner Attendance Tracker, and how it is also being used for required enrollment verification is posted to the Provost’s Office website
Classrooms/Common spaces:
After some early issues in stocking classrooms with cleaning supplies, things are going smoothly on this front. I would like to remind everyone that supplies are designated for particular rooms and spaces, so please do not remove them. If you need to borrow some from a neighboring room, please be sure to return them. If a room is not supplied as it should be, please contact the departmental secretary. Also, because rooms are arranged in a way to facilitate social distancing, please do not rearrange furniture in any campus rooms or spaces, including the Student Center food court and common areas.
Enrollment and Budget 
Enrollment Update:
As of Friday, enrollment was down 1.2% year-to-date, and 5.2% down against our enrollment goal. Graduate enrollment is up 17.3% year-to-date, while undergraduate enrollment is down 4.3% year-to-date.  Continuing students are down 2.9% and new enrollment is down 10.86%.
WP Online has been very successful in terms of enrollment. Our WP Online enrollment goal for both the summer and fall, combined, was 410 students. Currently summer and fall enrollments total 481 students. This is 17.3% above goal! Congratulations to all who have worked hard on this effort. Retention is currently at 71.9%, which is 4.1% ahead of where we were last year at this time. While these numbers continue to change daily, census is just around the corner, and we will be able to provide final numbers soon.  
Appropriation Numbers:
Governor Murphy presented his initial budget last week. We were initially disheartened to learn that we were to receive $25.6 million, a $4.4 million dollar cut. The night prior to his presentation, we were told that our appropriation would be flat. However, we have now been told there was a mistake in the budget presentation, and both the Governor and legislative leaders indicated that we will be made whole for the $30 million. Additionally, William Paterson is slated for $2.5 million in Outcomes Based Funding. A gentle reminder that we are early in a short budget cycle, in the middle of a pandemic, and this is New Jersey, so anything can happen. Once these numbers are finalized, we will share more. 
As a reminder, please make time to join me virtually for my Fall 2020 State of the University Address this Thursday, Sept. 3, starting at 12:30 p.m. Check your email for the link, which was sent last Wednesday and will be sent again this Wednesday. There will be an opportunity to ask questions during the event, or you can submit them in advance at Thank you, and have a great week!
Richard J. Helldobler, PhD