Dear colleague letters

 

University updates on coronavirus

  • Working Toward the Start of a New Academic Year (August 6, 2020)

    To our University Community:

    In preparing for the fall semester, the University has been guided by two goals that can be stated as one: Keeping the health, safety and well-being of our students, faculty and staff at the forefront of what we do, while we fulfill our institutional missions. Classes for the fall semester begin in a little less than three weeks. As we work toward the start of a new academic year, here are some updates:

    No longer following previous pandemic terminology

    On July 27, Gov. Steve Sisolak announced the State of Nevada will be following a long-term strategy designed to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19. By no longer following the previous pandemic terminology of “phases” for Nevada’s recovery, Gov. Sisolak said the new response allows the State of Nevada and its counties to utilize flexible, data-based public health measures. This will mean a change in terminology for the University as well. Starting on Aug. 15, the University will be following its “Reopening Plan – Fall 2020,” and will no longer use formal numerical “Phases.” The fall plan provides for return to our learning and working environment while being responsive to any change in behavior of the pandemic, based on prescribed public health-based procedures and policies.

    Guidance for suspected or positive COVID-19 Case

    The University has also released on the website guidance for employees and students when there has been or is a suspected case of COVID-19 on our campus. This includes a list of actions that need to be followed by students and employees in the event of COVID-19 symptoms, exposure or a positive test. It also includes information for decision-makers to provide clarity for faculty or supervisors about how to handle situations where a student or employee is suspected or confirmed of having COVID-19.

    Mandatory face coverings

    Facial coverings are required for all employees, students, vendors and visitors in all indoor and outdoor University public spaces, including classrooms, except by employees alone in a private office, removed in order to eat and drink, and unless not advisable by a healthcare professional, against documented industry best practices, or not permitted by federal or state laws/regulations. A “face covering” is defined as a “covering that fully covers a person’s nose and mouth, including without limitation, cloth face mask, surgical mask, towels, scarves, and bandanas” (State of Nevada Emergency Directive 024).

    Size of group gatherings

    An important clarification regarding sizes of gatherings on campus. Per recent directions from Gov. Sisolak, there is a limit of gatherings to no more than 25 people (down from the previous number of 50). This directive will be observed in rooms, work spaces and gathering areas throughout campus, including in our classrooms, where distancing protocols of six feet social distance are already in effect.

    In closing, as we move toward a new academic year, please know that the University continues to use all of its communications channels in getting the most recent and up-to-date information to you. Please consult the University’s Return of the Pack: Preparing for a COVID-19-ready semester web page regularly for the latest updates. If you have additional questions, do not hesitate to reach out to your supervisor, director, department chair, dean, division vice president, or Human Resources.

    Sincerely,

    Marc A. Johnson
    President

  • Update on state budget reductions (July 24, 2020)

    To our University Community:

    On Thursday, the Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents finalized proposed budget reductions implemented by the 31st Special Session of the Nevada State Legislature. The University’s reduction of its state General Fund is $34.8 million, which represents a 17.5 percent reduction of our FY 2021 appropriation. Working directly with our deans and administrative vice presidents, the University has been strategic in planning cuts that maintain our core missions while also being mindful that we must provide a high-quality and safe on-campus experience for the coming academic year.

    Of note, a one year student surcharge of $6 per undergraduate credit and $8 per graduate credit, plus Federal CARES Act funds, as well as measures such as the freezing open positions, reduced travel, delaying deferred maintenance and reductions in operating expenditures, have and will offset some of the impacts on our students and employees. Even with these budgetary measures in place, our institution faces a period of unprecedented volatility and challenge. We will be asked to do more, with less, as we navigate the academic year. Curtailing instructional activities and implementing layoffs are and always will be last resorts as we protect our core strengths.

    A few more important points:

    For our students, the temporary surcharge for graduate and undergraduate credits for the academic year 2020-2021 will help our University mitigate the budget reduction. I wish to thank our student leaders for their input and insight as the discussion of the surcharge has evolved since April.

    Students also should be aware of Senate Bill 2. With passage of the bill, the Regents have the ability to temporarily waive some eligibility requirements for the Millennium Scholarship. This has become an important issue during the COVID-19 pandemic. Senate Bill 2 gives the Regents the authority to approve waivers for Millennium Scholarship GPA and number of credit requirements and any others deemed appropriate. The Regents are expected to address this policy implementation at a special meeting in early August after which we expect to have more details.

    The Legislature directed the use of six (6) furlough days for all employees as part of the Nevada System of Higher Education’s emergency budget response to COVID-19. The furloughs will become effective during the second half of FY ‘21. The Regents are expected to approve the specific furlough plans at a meeting this fall. More information will be provided by Human Resources as it becomes available.

    Given the context of the times in which we are living, the efforts that you continue to make in advancing our mission, are remarkable. Please continue to look out for one another. We are facing a challenging moment. There will no doubt be challenging moments ahead. But we will get through it together.

    Sincerely,

    Marc A. Johnson
    President

  • Reopening Plan (Fall 2020) and other important updates (July 16, 2020)

    Recent days in Nevada have demonstrated that we live in an extremely dynamic time, marked by the possibility of sudden and unexpected change. Although many variables remain that we cannot control regarding the spread of COVID-19, the University has moved forward, in deliberate and carefully considered phases, in our return to campus. Throughout this process, you’ve demonstrated extraordinary resilience in the face of complex challenges – you all continue to do extraordinary things in extraordinary circumstances. Our strategic approach remains focused on the safety and health of all of our people as we advance our institutional missions of teaching, research and outreach.

    Based on current and anticipated conditions in Washoe County for COVID-19, the University has updated the Phase 2 Plan for Recovery to reflect current University operations and instruction for the classes in the second term of summer. Our “Reopening Plan – Fall 2020” has been submitted to the Chancellor and Board of Regents. The University remains committed to reopening and welcoming students back for the fall semester with the release of this plan, Reopening Plan – Fall 2020.

    In the meantime, we have some important changes and additions to continuing to keeping everyone updated:

    Return of the Pack Web Page: Starting today, the University is changing the layout of our current coronavirus web page that has served us well the past few months. We are now moving to a “Return of the Pack: Preparing for a COVID-19-ready semester,” themed web page to better reflect and make more understandable all of this important information, including our plans for the Fall semester. The “Return of the Pack” main page and its sections for Students, Employees and Health and Safety provide all of the most recent updates, policies and return to work, studying and living on campus guidelines for members of our University Community to follow.

    Confirmed COVID-19 Cases Page: In addition to the new layout for the “Return of the Pack,” the University has also created and activated a page listing confirmed cases of COVID-19 by medical professionals, among students and employees reported to the University, including the best information ascertained about when the individual last had contact with the main campus or other University locations. The information includes only positive cases that the University has been made aware of and through which other members of the University community may have been exposed to COVID-19.

    Reporting Form for COVID-19 Cases: The page also includes a reporting form for confirmed cases of COVID-19 for students and employees to report positive COVID-19 tests to the Student Health Center. Although the Washoe County Health District (WCHD) has the primary responsibility for contact tracing in our community, the Student Health Center is working closely with WCHD to provide information about any positive tests that are reported on campus. The form will help inform any needed institutional health and safety decisions going forward. Students and employees are strongly encouraged to use the form when a reported positive has made an on-campus contact.

    COVID-19 Testing Clinic: The Student Health Center has launched our new COVID-19 testing clinic. This clinic provides nasal swab PCR tests for active COVID-19 infections and is available to University of Nevada, Reno students, faculty and staff who are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 or who have been identified as a contact of an individual diagnosed with COVID-19.

    The COVID-19 testing clinic will be available outside the Student Health Center main entrance Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. by appointment only. The first two hours (8:30-10:30) will be reserved for University students and the last two hours (10:30-12:30) for faculty and staff. Those who wish to be tested need only call the Student Health Center the day prior to reserve an appointment time. Patients will be required to complete a COVID-19 screening form available through the Student Health Center patient portal from their phone or computer prior to their appointment. Testing is being offered at no charge; however, faculty and staff will need to submit their insurance information when checking in for their appointment.

    To help slow the spread of COVID-19, members of the University Community are asked to wear facial coverings indoors and outdoors on campus and other University locations, maintain a safe social distancing of at least six feet, and practice good hygiene such as washing one’s hands regularly. Please continue to be vigilant in using these important public health tools that can help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

    We wish to remind everyone that flexibility and patience, which have both been in high demand since the onset of the pandemic in March, will continue to help guide the life of our University. We are living in a world that is far from typical at the moment. Yet we remain hopeful that the uncertainties presented by this pandemic have resulted in a nimble University plan. Our plan is designed to provide a safe and secure learning environment while being responsive in safe ways to any changes of the public health threat. Working together and looking out for one another, we will get through this challenge.

    Sincerely,

    Marc A. Johnson
    President

  • Two students on campus test positive (July 2, 2020)

    To the Members of Our University Community:

    Northern Nevada has seen a rise in the number of positive cases of COVID-19 in recent days. Our University is not immune to the rise of community spread that our region has witnessed. This week two University students on campus tested positive for COVID-19. Both students are now self-isolating and are under the care of medical providers.

    When an individual has been diagnosed with COVID-19, the Washoe County Health District determines who that individual may have had close contact with and provides medical guidance to those individuals. This contact tracing is a vital part in helping to limit the spread of COVID-19. This is the protocol that has been followed with the recent positives. We wish to send our good thoughts to these students, and are wishing both of them a safe and swift recovery.

    This development is a reminder that COVID-19 continues to have an impact on all of our daily lives. It is vitally important that we continue to utilize the tools that we have to help minimize the spread of COVID-19 – mandatory wearing of face coverings by faculty, staff and students while on campus and at other University locations; observance of at least six feet social distancing; and the practice of good hygiene that includes regularly washing one’s hands and cleaning and sanitizing work and study spaces.

    Please stay safe and healthy, and follow the best practices that health experts continue to stress during the pandemic.

    You can find out more information about COVID-19 at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and please continue to seek out the University’s latest coronavirus information and updates.

    Sincerely,

    Marc A. Johnson
    President

    Cheryl Hug-English, MD, MPH
    Medical Director
    Student Health Center

  • Governor's Phase 2 extension directive and University reminders (June 30, 2020)

    To Our University Community,

    n Monday, June 29, Gov. Steve Sisolak announced that Nevada will remain in Phase 2 of the Nevada United: Roadmap to Recovery plan, due to the trends in COVID-19 infection rates, the time needed for expanded contact tracing to identify trends, and to analyze the impacts of the new face covering directive. The Governor has signed an emergency directive extending the length of Phase 2 through the end of July.

    In accordance with Gov. Sisolak’s directive and in alignment with previous health and safety instructions from Nevada System of Higher Education Chancellor Thom Reilly, the University will continue to follow previously issued instructions regarding Phase 2 of our operations. As a reminder, the following will remain in place:

    • Policies and Procedures for Phase 2 — as well as a Plan for Recovery from our divisions and units — that are designed to prioritize the health and safety of the campus environment while we fulfill our institutional missions of teaching, research and outreach. If you have questions regarding your division or unit’s Phase 2 recovery plans, be sure to ask your supervisor or manager for further clarity. Please be sure to review the procedures for the safe return of employees, researchers and affiliates.
    • Research Continuity and Lab Operations will continue in the current mode of operation during the month of July. I’m happy to report three hundred essential, critical or time-sensitive research and laboratory programs have been approved to resume full operations in University settings as we move through Phase II of Nevada’s reopening plan. For updated information and your one-stop source for resources, trainings and announcements related to our research, laboratory, scholarly and creative activities, visit Research Continuity.
    • The University will also continue to follow previously issued instructions regarding Phase 2 of our operations, which include, “Facial coverings are required in all areas except when an employee is alone in a private office space.” This includes use of facial coverings by faculty, staff and students in any type of in-person classroom instruction at any University office, property, field work or sponsored event. This also applies to visitors on campus. The University also continues to stress that social distancing of at least six feet is required at all times.
    • The University will return to on-campus classes for the summer session, which begins July 13. Classes in the second term of summer will be taught via a combination of online, hybrid, and in-person instruction following Phase 2 guidelines on social distancing (maximum gatherings of 50 and six feet of social distancing). There are 163 lecture, laboratory, and studio classes being offered. This includes 31 laboratory and studio classes, which will be taught primarily in person with appropriate social distancing.
    • Faculty have expressed concerns over the enforcement of required facial coverings for students. NSHE legal counsel has confirmed that we have the authority to require students to wear facial coverings and this is directed by Gov. Sisolak. Faculty and students will be required to wear facial coverings and maintain social distancing in the classroom. Institutional support for this policy falls under four categories: Education (why), Training (how), Policy (enforcement and consequences of non-compliance), and Alternative Accommodations.
    • For students, the University has developed a spectrum of plans to provide opportunities for student learning and to meet their co-curricular needs regardless of the conditions. Our goal is to maximize opportunities for safe and responsible in-person education while also providing online options for those who need or prefer it. In all instances, students will be able to continue their education at the University of a Nevada, Reno and graduate on schedule. Our plans are currently under review by the Chancellor along with those of the other institutions in the NSHE. Over the next few weeks, we will be providing regular updates on what to expect for the fall semester. We will meet the Governor’s directives while prioritizing a University experience and health and safety.

    Please continue to visit the University’s Coronavirus Information page for updates to processes and protocols, as they continue to evolve.

    Sincerely,

    Marc A. Johnson
    President

  • Governor's mandatory face mask directive (June 25, 2020)

    This message was sent to faculty, students and staff at the University of Nevada, Reno.

    To Our University Community:

    On Wednesday, June 24, 2020, Gov. Steve Sisolak announced a directive requiring that all Nevadans and visitors to the state wear mandatory face coverings when they are out in public, with a few limited exceptions. Gov. Sisolak’s directive, Directive 024, is effective tomorrow, Friday, June 26, 2020 and comes as the state has faced a four-week climb in cases of COVID-19.

    In accordance with Gov. Sisolak’s directive and in alignment with previous health and safety instructions from Nevada System of Higher Education Chancellor Thom Reilly, the new directive mandates that face coverings must be worn in any public space, including public transportation, public facing work environments or when patronizing businesses, or interacting with others in generally publicly accessible space.

    The University will continue to follow previously issued instructions regarding Phase 2 of our operations, which include, “Facial coverings are required in all areas except when an employee is alone in a private office space.” This includes use of facial coverings by faculty, staff and students in any type of in-person classroom instruction at any University office, property, field work or sponsored event. This also applies to visitors on campus. The University also continues to stress that social distancing of at least six feet is required at all times.

    Sincerely,

    Marc A. Johnson
    President

  • Reminder: Employee Town Hall Today; Phase 1 Policies and Procedures (June 18, 2020)

    To Our University Community: This is a friendly reminder to join us today for a University-wide conversation regarding the recovery plan, during an online Town Hall – Planning for the Return of the Pack from 3 p.m.- 4:30 p.m. In anticipation of the Town Hall, please see Phase 1 policies and procedures for on campus work as of May 18. The town hall will be moderated by Associate Professor and Faculty Senate Chair, Brian Frost and include updates from:

    • President Marc Johnson, welcome and overview of University operations and budget uncertainty;
    • Student Health Services Director Dr. Cheryl Hug-English, COVID-19 campus health status and testing;
    • Provost Kevin Carman, instruction and classroom continuity;
    • Vice President for Innovation and Research Mridul Gautam, research and laboratory continuity;
    • Vice President for Student Services Shannon Ellis, student engagement and services;
    • Associate Vice President for Human Resources Tim McFarling, employees returning to in-person services during successive phases.

    To join the town hall, which will take place as a webinar on Zoom, please register. Should you have questions you would like to provide prior to the town hall, please send them to: townhall@unr.edu. You will also be able to submit questions during the Town Hall using the Q&A feature on your Zoom dashboard.

    Sincerely,

    Marc A. Johnson
    President

  • Plan for Recovery: Phase 2 Follow Up (June 15, 2020)

    As we continue in Phase 2, I want to remind everyone there is a great deal of information available to help inform you and to clarify a few important points:

    The University has implemented a number of Policies and Procedures for Phase 2 — as well as a Plan for Recovery from our divisions and units — that are designed to prioritize the health and safety of the campus environment while we fulfill our institutional missions of teaching, research and outreach. If you have questions regarding your division our unit’s Phase 2 recovery plans, please be sure to ask you supervisor or manager for further clarity.

    In addition to the recovery plans for Phase 2, if you did not get a chance to attend the Employee Information Session on June 3 or the Academic Faculty Information Session on June 8, please be sure to listen to the recordings.

    All employees are required to complete online training, General COVID-19 Training for University Personnel, with subject-specific modules appropriate for their group. Supervisors are required to complete the online Supervisor’s Training for COVID-19.

    The original Daily Health Assessment form is now discontinued. It has been replaced by the Reentry to Campus Certification Form (COVID). This form replaces the Daily Health Assessment and o nly needs to be completed one time, not daily. The Reentry to Campus Certification form (COVID) will be used by most employees.

    The COVID-19 Certification Form for Student Health, School of Medicine clinical practitioners and University Health staff is for medical practitioners seeing patients. Employees who have been working on campus and have been completing the Daily Health Assessment must complete the Reentry Campus Certification Form (COVID) one time. Once the form is completed, a supervisor can verify the completion of the form in Workday. Supervisors are responsible for ensuring this form is completed.

    Processes and protocols continue to evolve, so please continue to visit the Coronavirus Information page.

    In the days that have passed since we moved to alternative operations for the University in mid-March, your commitment to our University and the vital work that we are charged with doing has been simply extraordinary. Thank you for demonstrating to the State of Nevada why our University is one of Nevada’s most treasured assets.

    Sincerely,

    Marc A. Johnson
    President

  • Planning for the Return of the Pack: Employee Information Session Invite (June 11, 2020)

    To Our University Community:

    Our move into Phase 2 of recovery and return to University operations is being made with the health, safety and well-being of all members of our community as our top priority. To this end the University, as it enters Phase 2, is implementing a number of policies and procedures — as well as recovery plans from our divisions and units — that are designed to help our campus have the healthiest and safest environment possible while we fulfill our institutional missions of teaching, research and outreach. In an effort to keep you informed about the latest developments regarding Phase 2 and beyond, the University will be holding a Planning for the Return of the Pack: Employee Information Session on Wednesday, June 3, from 3:30-5 p.m. To join the town hall, which will take place as a webinar on Zoom, please register.

    You must register for the session. Once registered, participants will have a reserved spot. Although we have increased the number of participants who can join the meeting, we recommend you register early. The meeting will be recorded and available to view online. Should you have questions you would like to provide prior to the Employee Information Session, please send them to EmployeeSession@unr.edu.

    We are moving at a quickening pace at the moment, as Nevadans begin re-entry into Phase 2. You’ve all handled these changes with grace, empathy for others, and a continued commitment to our University’s important mission. Thank you for all that you are doing on behalf of our University.

    Sincerely,

    Marc A. Johnson
    President

  • Planning for the Return of the Pack: Phase 2 (May 28, 2020)

    On May 26, 2020, Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak announced that Nevada is ready to move into Phase 2 of the state’s Nevada United: Roadmap to Recovery reopening plan on Friday, May 29. As the Governor’s announcement states: In Phase 2, state offices may begin to resume some services to the public where necessary, although online services are still available and encouraged.

    Today I am announcing that the University of Nevada, Reno is moving into Phase 2 of recovery during the week of June 1, 2020. In Phase 2, the University will begin its return toward the world we knew two and a half months ago. The return will be done in a gradual way that prioritizes the health and safety of all members of our community. The plan to return was developed by faculty and staff across our University community with significant input from medical, health and safety professionals.

    At the end of our spring semester, I instructed our vice presidents, deans and leaders of our major units to provide comprehensive plans for re-entry to University operations. The plans have been formulated with each division, unit, college or school’s unique contributions to our overall institutional mission in mind. Working with the Issues Management Team and the Recovery Working Group, these plans were synthesized into an overall Return to University Operations plan that will serve as the basis of our “Phase 2” actions. The plan is in alignment with directives from Gov. Steve Sisolak in the State of Nevada’s Roadmap to Recovery, as well as with guidance from the Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents and Chancellor Thom Reilly.

    The plan will be vetted this week by the Chancellor and the Internal NSHE COVID-19 Task Force. These plans will be shared by your unit or department leaders as soon as they are approved by Chancellor Reilly. Not every unit’s plan will look the same, as each unit performs a different function. Due to the fluidity of the situation, we soon will be posting Phase 2 policies and procedures, which will look very similar to those of Phase 1. All employees must continue to adhere to these policies and procedures for in-person campus operations. Please see the University’s coronavirus information page for updates.

    The University will be holding an All-Employee Zoom Meeting on Wednesday, June 3, 3:30-5 p.m. to share this information with you and get your ideas. The return of the people of our University will be phased, with groups of faculty, staff and students returning to campus carefully over time. Thank you for your continued good work on behalf of the University. Thank you for the care and concern that you are showing our state, our community and the people of our institution. You are making us all very proud during this historic time.

    Sincerely,

    Marc A. Johnson
    President

  • Town Hall follow up, recording available and more information to come (May 19, 2020)

    To Our University Community:

    During yesterday’s online town hall meeting, I along with a number of administrators stressed that the University will follow a number of safety precautions and protocols as students, faculty and staff begin to gradually return to campus over the coming weeks and months. For the moment, based on the most current directives from Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak and Nevada System of Higher Education Chancellor Thom Reilly, the University remains in an alternative operations mode — most employees will continue to work remotely, buildings are closed, classes and instruction remain online until July 10, on campus work authorization is required, per NSHE instructions.

    The University has implemented a phased approach for a safe and strategic return to campus with a number of policies and procedures, outlined during yesterday’s “Planning for the Return of the Pack” Town Hall. View the Town Hall recording if you were unable to join the meeting and find out more about Phase 1 policies and procedures for on campus work as of May 18. Please also see a recap of the meeting on Nevada Today.

    Although we remain in an alternative operations mode through May 30 or until further notice, the University’s Issues Management Team, working with the Recovery Working Group, is actively planning a safe and measured recovery plan for campus operations for students, faculty and staff. The University’s goal remains to return to campus in phases, working toward resumption of in-person instruction, campus housing and athletics events for second session summer school and fall semester. There will be more town hall meetings planned and information forthcoming from Human Resources about employee training courses, PPE supplies, daily self-assessment, policies, procedures and more. All of the University’s recovery planning will continue to be done with the health, safety and well-being of our students, faculty and staff as our top priority.

    Sincerely,

    Marc A. Johnson
    President

  • Employee town hall: Planning for the return of the Pack (May 13, 2020)

    To Our University Community:

    The University’s recovery plan for summer and fall operations is aimed at ensuring the safety, well-being and health of our faculty, staff and students. The planning and decision-making process has involved leadership from each Vice President, members of the Issues Management Team, the Recovery Working Group, the Dean’s Council and representatives from across the University working in sub-groups.

    We invite all University employees to participate in a University-wide conversation regarding the recovery plan, during an online Town Hall – Planning for the Return of the Pack, on Monday, May 18, from 3 p.m.- 4:30 p.m. The town hall will include policies and procedures related to the plan, as well as how the plan will be implemented based on anticipated future directives from Gov. Steve Sisolak and Chancellor Thom Reilly.

    The town hall will be moderated by Associate Professor and Faculty Senate Chair, Brian Frost and include updates from:

    President Marc Johnson, welcome and overview of University operations and budget uncertainty;

    • Student Health Services Director Dr. Cheryl Hug-English, COVID-19 campus health status and testing;
    • Provost Kevin Carman, instruction and classroom continuity;
    • Vice President for Innovation and Research Mridul Gautam, research and laboratory continuity;
    • Vice President for Student Services Shannon Ellis, student engagement and services;
    • Associate Vice President for Human Resources Tim McFarling, employees returning to in-person services during successive phases.

    To join the town hall, which will take place as a webinar on Zoom, please register online.

    Register for the online town hall

    Should you have questions you would like to provide prior to the town hall, please send them to: townhall@unr.edu.

    I wish to thank you all for the extraordinary effort you have put forth over the past two months. You have all dealt with an immense amount of stress related to work as well as away from work with focus, determination and compassion for others. We have navigated through an emotionally challenging and physically disruptive semester together. Your effort to “Stay at Home” for Nevada has helped keep our campus safe and the people of our institution healthy.

    Sincerely,

    Marc A. Johnson
    President

  • Stay at home through May 30 and adhere to alternative operations (May 8, 2020)

    To Our University Community:

    On Thursday, Gov. Steve Sisolak announced that “Phase 1” of Nevada’s Roadmap to Recovery will begin on Saturday, May 9. The Governor’s guidelines included the announcement that state offices currently closed to the public will remain closed to the public during Phase 1, which is anticipated to run through May 30. In accordance with the Governor’s latest executive order for recovery, as well as a directive from Nevada System of Higher Education Chancellor Thom Reilly, this news means that the University will continue to “Stay at Home” and adhere to the alternative operations model we have maintained, through May 30 or until further notice.

    Key points to note:

    The University will continue to conduct instruction online and to deliver services and functions remotely until further notice.

    • All nonessential employees are to continue to work remotely until further notice.
    • Summer instruction will be presented online through the end of the first session, which concludes on July 10.
    • Campus events remain either cancelled, postponed, or to be delivered online until further notice.
    • Entry into campus buildings continues to require Presidential approval.
    • Critical research and care of research animals, plants, cultures and specialized equipment will continue in the same reduced fashion practiced during our alternative operations of this pandemic. Research continuity and presence on campus require the President’s approval; the VPRI critical research continuity form still is required for entry to campus for limited research continuity with the approval of the Dean, VPRI and President.
    • Although we remain in an alternative operations mode through May 30 or until further notice, the University’s Issues Management Team, working with the Recovery Working Group, is actively planning a safe and measured re-entry, adaptive phasing plan for campus operations for students, faculty and staff. The University’s goal remains to return to campus in phases, working toward resumption of in-person instruction, campus housing and athletics events for second session summer school and fall semester.

    There will be more information about the adaptive phasing plan, including policies and procedures, released to the University community within the next two weeks. All of this planning will be done with the health, safety and well-being of our students, faculty and staff as our top priority. As we all work toward the completion of the spring semester, thank you for all that you’ve done to keep our campus community safe and healthy, and for taking the additional steps of looking out for those who need our help during this challenging time.

    Sincerely,

    Marc A. Johnson
    President

  • Plan to return to normal operations (May 4, 2020)

    We live in a challenging time, bound by an abundance of caution and informed by the guidance of public health strategies in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. The students, faculty and staff of our University have shown themselves to be extraordinarily resilient during this season of challenge and uncertainty. As we navigate this time, we must also be mindful of the timeless principles of our mission. This includes our commitment to an engaging learning, living and working campus environment. The people of our University — students, faculty and staff — share knowledge, experiences and ideas on a daily basis so that we can shape and embrace the future together. Over the past decade, this continuum of vital human interaction has become a transformative agent on our campus. It has enriched and amplified the many successes of our students and the achievements of our faculty and staff. It has made these triumphs all the more human. It is why we have become an institution of compassionately shared experience, always made stronger when we are together.

    Although this is a challenging and uncertain time, and being mindful of the fact that public health circumstances are constantly evolving, we have begun the planning process of the return of our students, faculty and staff to campus. Our goal throughout will be to remain in alignment with Gov. Steve Sisolak’s plan for Nevada’s recovery. In a statement released today, Nevada System of Higher Education Chancellor Thom Reilly wrote that, “The Nevada System of Higher Education has begun planning to resume in-person classes for the 2020 fall semester and more limited in person class offerings later this summer (after July 1). NSHE and institution leaders are working closely with health and education experts on various reopening scenarios and phases, with the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff being at the forefront of our concern. These scenarios include resuming some form of in-person instruction, campus housing, and athletics events.”

    It is our hope that this summer in preparation for the fall semester, we formulate a safe, sound and reasonable framework featuring a phased approach for returning to campus. This will include providing our students with the rich in-person learning experience that is our educational hallmark. We will strive to maintain the health, safety and well-being of our people as we thoughtfully seek the best ways to conduct normal teaching, research and athletic operations for the fall semester. Working together, we will do all we can to make a safe return campus.

    Sincerely,

    Marc A. Johnson
    President

  • Stay Home for Nevada through May 15 (May 1, 2020)

    To our University community:

    As we move into May, and toward completion of our spring semester, there is no doubt that the students, faculty and staff of our University have faced unprecedented challenge and change with an extraordinary capacity to adapt, to make sacrifices for the good of all, and to work proactively and successfully in achieving and furthering the missions of our institution. We continue to strive to support one another as a campus community, particularly in the face of the heightened anxiety and uncertainty that this time brings. Thank you for all that you are doing, and for continuing to look out for one another.

    On Thursday, Gov. Steve Sisolak announced the State of Nevada’s United Roadmap for Recovery (external PDF). Gov. Sisolak’s plan included:

    • An official continuation of the “Stay Home For Nevada directive through May 15.
    • In accordance with this executive order as well as a directive from Nevada System of Higher Education Chancellor Thom Reilly, the University will continue to “Stay at Home and adhere to the alternative operations model we have maintained since mid-March.
    • The University will continue to conduct instruction online and to deliver services and functions remotely.
    • All nonessential employees are to continue to work remotely until further notice.
    • Summer instruction will be presented online through the end of the first session, which concludes on July 10. All campus events remain either cancelled, postponed, or to be delivered online until further notices.

    Here are a few more updates:

    Issues Management Team and Recovery Working Group

    The Issues Management Team (IMT) continues to meet and has directed the formation of a Recovery Working Group (RWG), bringing together a cross-section of University leaders to ensure a comprehensive re-opening strategy. Although we cannot conjecture when re-opening might occur, this sort of proactive planning is a productive necessity. The Recovery Working Group is charged with developing a range of scenarios and recommendations for our re-entry to working, studying, living and learning on campus. The RWG’s recommendations are being reported and shared with the IMT. All working, studying, living and learning re-entry decisions on our campus will be informed and guided by the public health status of Washoe County and the State of Nevada, as well as current directives from Gov. Sisolak and Chancellor Reilly.

    New Student Summer Orientation

    On Wednesday, the University announced that all new student summer orientation sessions will be delivered online. The staff of New Student Initiatives has been hard at work preparing a high-quality online program for new students and their families to participate in. Through the online program, the students will still meet other new students, connect with student orientation leaders and learn about campus life and receive academic advising for the first semester of their academic careers. The family orientation program will also be presented online. The goal remains the same even as we go virtual: to help new students feel connected and confident as they prepare for their first year as one of the Wolf Pack. Check out the New Student Orientation and FAQ page for more information.

    CARES Act Funds

    As part of the federal government’s Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the University has been approved for a one-time, limited allocation of funds designed to assist degree seeking students in need because of the COVID-19 pandemic and its disruption of campus operations. All current degree-seeking students (graduate, undergraduate, medical) enrolled in Spring 2020 affected by the COVID-19 pandemic who have successfully completed a 2019-20 FAFSA (or are eligible to file a FAFSA) are eligible for CARES Act Funds. The University has developed a CARES Act FAQ page with important information regarding this funding.

    As I mentioned at the outset of this message, the resiliency of the people of our University during this season of disruption and uncertainty has been remarkable. Remember to continue to take care of yourselves, your friends and your loved ones. We shall continue to navigate this time together. Please continue to seek out the University’s latest coronavirus information and updates.

    Sincerely,

    Marc A. Johnson
    President

  • Continue to Stay Home for Nevada (April 29, 2020)

    Apr. 29, 2020

    This message was sent to students, staff and faculty of the University of Nevada, Reno.

    To Our University Community:

    Over the past several weeks, the people of our University have shown tremendous resiliency, initiative, patience and empathy in the face of an uncertain time. We have modified operations and delivered services remotely, altered our method of delivery of instruction to online and dealt with the emotions associated with the ramifications of a pandemic. The positive response that our students, faculty and staff have mustered has simply been extraordinary. We have continued, even against the tide of massive challenge, to fulfill the missions of our University through an unprecedented time. To all of you, first and always, thank you for the extraordinary effort you have put forth.

    Gov. Steve Sisolak revealed on a nationally televised ABC News interview that we can expect to hear in his Thursday press conference on the state’s roadmap to recovery, that he will extend the Stay Home For Nevada directive. We will continue to adhere to the “Stay at Home” directive until we hear of any further changes. We are staying connected with Nevada System of Higher Education institutions to share information and best practices, and to keep our communications and policies in sync.

    At the present time, the University remains, in accordance with the latest “Stay Home for Nevada” directive from Gov. Sisolak and Chancellor Thom Reilly, under the same alternative operations mode that has been in effect since mid-March. Summer instruction will be presented online through the end of the first session, which concludes on July 10. All campus events remain either cancelled, postponed or to be delivered online until further notice. All nonessential employees are to continue working remotely until further notice. The Issues Management Team (IMT) continues to meet weekly to evaluate best approaches to restore our daily operations and functions.

    To help you all access the latest information on COVID-19 from a medical perspective and to share the State of Nevada’s Re-Opening criteria, watch the presentation made by Dr. Cheryl Hug-English, director of our Student Health Center, and Amanda Windes, manager of organizational resilience. Cheryl and Amanda’s presentation is extremely informative, timely and valuable.

    The time we are in has not been easy. Yet you’ve accomplished a remarkably high level of work, fortified by the patience, flexibility and empathy you’ve shown for one another. We will do all we can to keep you informed as we navigate this time together. Please continue to seek out the University’s latest coronavirus information and updates.

    Sincerely,

    Marc A. Johnson
    President

  • Budget reduction scenarios and leadership update (April 10, 2020)

    Apr. 10, 2020

    To Our University Community:

    During the past week, University administration has worked in concert with the Nevada System of Higher Education in formulating a proposal for budget reduction scenarios requested by Gov. Steve Sisolak. The Governor’s request has come in the wake of unprecedented fiscal challenges all of Nevada has faced due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

    This message is an update on University budget reduction scenarios and a leadership change approved today during the Board of Regents’ special meeting. The University’s budget proposal will now go directly to Gov. Sisolak, who will make budget reduction decisions in the near future.

    Leadership

    Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the University of Nevada, Reno’s presidential search process was postponed, to conclude in September 2020. Today Chancellor Thom Reilly and the Board of Regents approved an agreement whereby I will remain as president until Dec. 31, 2020, or until my successor is named. As we move from the spring to fall semester, we will be transitioning classroom instruction, operations and services back onto our campus with guidance from Governor Sisolak, NSHE Board of Regents, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Washoe County Health District. We will be facing the prospect of our first major budget reduction in several years. The agreement reached today will afford the University leadership continuity and stability until the new president is in office.

    Budget reduction scenarios

    The University’s approach to budgetary reductions is comprehensive across the University for Fiscal Years 2020 and 2021. During the severe budget shortfalls of the 2008-2013 recession era, selective program closures were implemented to protect the most central and strongest programs of education, student support, research, and community engagement. Since that time the University has focused on deepening the preserved programs and investing strategically in new programs, rather than restoring the programs which were closed. As a result, there are no programs to sacrifice (no curricular program reviews) with the current COVID-19 budget reduction scenarios. This is why the University is proposing to remove resources comprehensively across the University in hopes of preserving as much as possible the recent momentum we have achieved in all programs, which has resulted in national recognitions in teaching quality, research and community engagement.

    The FY’20 proposed 4% budgetary reduction focuses on salary savings and operating fund savings resulting from the statewide hiring freeze and reduced travel and other operating expenditures. The University announced at the end of March that all units should preserve funds to prepare for an impending state budget reduction. Close watch on spending and the hiring freeze make these funds available, though at the expense of year‐end purchases of equipment and supplie

    The FY’21 proposed budgetary reductions, which could range from 6% to 14% depending on state revenue circumstances, will rely first on CARES Act federal stimulus fund distributions to higher education. Further salary savings and operating expense savings across the University will occur on an opportunistic basis, i.e., the hiring freeze will prevent hiring for vacant positions where they happen to be. Very strong justifications for replacements will be considered only when a source of funds is identified.

    With these decisions will come very real consequences. These sacrifices may result in higher workloads for existing faculty during the FY’21 year as critical classes must be taught, critical research conducted and community outreach performed with fewer professors, instructors, student support and administrative personnel. There may be longer wait times for advising and tutoring services as well as potential reductions in course offerings and other wrap‐around services. Classified employees may be asked to do different jobs to fill in where critical vacancies remain. If the University is forced to cover a shortfall in State bond payments on buildings, some deferred maintenance projects will be delayed, exacerbating the existing shortfall. These consequences WILL NOT include Curricular Review of programs resulting in program closures. Also, this approach is designed to limit job layoffs to the greatest extent possible and only in the highest levels of budget reductions.

    We will make sure that the University will engage its shared governance process with faculty, staff and student leaders to reduce the impact as much as possible. These sacrifices also come with recommendations for one year academic and administrative faculty employee furloughs of 6-12 days and temporary student fee surcharges as everyone contributes to sustaining the vitality of the University during this historically unprecedented and unforeseen pandemic crisis. Like during the recession, the people of our University quickly came to understand and support a shared sacrifice approach, from which the University emerged with significant momentum, having protected core programs in order to position itself for future success.

    The University’s proposal asks for special consideration to reduce the impacts of budget reductions on the Nevada State Health Laboratory (a part of the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine), nursing programs, and medical school programs. These units provide for the further training of health care professionals for the workforce and provide health care services during the training of nurses and physicians.

    The University of Nevada, Reno is now awaiting further action from the Governor and Board of Regents to determine the extent reductions must occur and for these plans to be put into action.

    This is an extremely challenging moment. We are not only facing a pandemic being felt the world over, we are facing sudden economic upheaval and social disruption not experienced in our country since the Great Depression. Yet we have it within ourselves to get through it. In the past, the people of our University have chosen institutional unity of purpose contained in our mission to transform countless lives. The character, collaboration and care for one another that all of you have continually demonstrated over these past few weeks will help carry us through this challenging time. Please continue to keep your loved ones, your friends and yourself safe and healthy.

    Sincerely,

    Marc A. Johnson
    President

  • Importance of staying home (April 3, 2020)

    To Our University community:

    This week Gov. Steve Sisolak and Chancellor Thom Reilly reinforced the importance of staying home as Nevada continues its fight against the outbreak of coronavirus.

    On Wednesday, Gov. Sisolak announced an extension to his “Stay at Home” order for all other directives for two weeks under his original Declaration of Emergency, including school, non-essential business and gaming closures, until April 30. Chancellor Reilly further amplified the Governor’s message by directing that all nonessential faculty and employees at Nevada System of Higher Education campuses who are able to work from home, to do so immediately.

    Our most important priority continues to be the health and safety of our students, faculty, staff and community. The University remains open for operations as long as those operations are done remotely. Only in special circumstances is work being allowed on campus. With Gov. Sisolak and Chancellor Reilly’s new directives in mind, it is important to note and be clear on the following:

    Building access is limited. Individuals are not to enter any building on campus without first obtaining acknowledgment and approval from the appropriate vice president and dean. When this approval is given, get in and out of the building quickly. Do not congregate with others. Any ongoing campus work needs written approval of the President.

    Researchers who have laboratories other than those deemed to be critical in nature should immediately transition their research labs to majority-remote operations and suspend on-campus research. A ramp-down checklist can assist in planning for ramp-down of laboratory operations. A separate communication will be issued through Research & Innovation to provide further guidance, and will include a process through which critical lab and research operations will need to be identified and seek express approval of the VPRI and President.

    Also, in accordance with Chancellor Reilly’s memo regarding Summer Session, online instruction will continue for Mini Session, First Session, Regular Session, and all dynamic sessions starting prior to June 30, 2020. Faculty who are teaching during these first sessions should be preparing now for this online modality. Teaching & Learning Technologies has compiled an extensive list of resources to assist in delivering courses online.

    As the current delivery of online instruction continues for the spring semester, faculty who need help with technology issues are encouraged to reach out to TLT for online teaching questions.

    We are in the midst of a very challenging time. While routines have been disrupted, the gravity of this moment cannot be overemphasized. The health of each and every Nevadan is currently at stake. We must re-double our efforts and not let our guards down. #StayHomeForNevada, and know that if you have questions or needs, there are University resources available to help, so please continue to check the latest coronavirus information and updates frequently.

    Sincerely,

    Marc A. Johnson
    President

  • "Stay at Home for Nevada" directive extended to April 30 (April 2, 2020)

    Last night, Gov. Steve Sisolak announced a “Stay at Home” order, sometimes known as a shelter-in-place order and extended all other directives for two weeks under his original Declaration of Emergency, including school, non-essential business and gaming closures, until April 30. Gov. Sisolak has asked Nevadans to #StayHomeForNevada since March 17, and he is now reinforcing the gravity of that imperative as the state continues its fight against further outbreak of the coronavirus.

    The University’s top priority is the health and safety of our students, our faculty and staff, and our community. Classroom instruction is continuing online and day-to-day services and support programs are ongoing via remote operations. Based on Gov. Sisolak’s executive order issued last night, we do not foresee any changes of University operations through April 30.

    We do, however, wish to continue to reinforce Gov. Sisolak’s message, which stressed the importance of maintaining safe social distancing, which includes a distance of at least six feet in outdoor recreation activities, not congregating in groups beyond household members, washing your hands frequently, and perhaps most importantly of all, weighing the well-being of your fellow Nevadans with every decision that you make.

    We will get through this challenging time by showing kindness, understanding and support for all the members of our University community. Please check the latest coronavirus information and updates frequently.

    Sincerely,

    Marc A. Johnson
    President

  • Town Hall Zoom Meeting on Friday, March 27 (March 25, 2020)

    To our University Community:

    The University of Nevada, Reno understands and shares the concerns of the University community regarding novel coronavirus (COVID-19) while we continue our mission of education, research and engagement during this unprecedented time. Moving forward has required additional effort and collaboration from across the University, and in doing so, we have come together to continue serving students, colleagues and the public. We invite all University employees to participate in a University-wide conversation, and join an online town hall Friday, March 27 from 3:00 – 4:30 p.m. The town hall will include the following presenters and format:

    • Welcome & Overview – Dr. Marc Johnson, President
    • COVID-19 Health Update: A Pandemic Perspective – Ms. Amanda Windes, Manager, Organizational Resilience
    • COVID-19 Health Update: A Medical Perspective – Dr. Cheryl Hug-English, Director, Student Health Center Serving
    • Students in a Pandemic – Dr. Shannon Ellis, Vice President for Student Services
    • On-Line Learning: Continuing Lessons – Dr. Kevin Carman, Executive Vice President and Provost
    • Taking Care of Yourself – Ms. Sheena Harvey, Associate Director, Fitness and Recreational Sports
    • Questions and Answers – Moderators Kerri Garcia Hendricks and Patricia Richard

    Should you have questions you would like to provide prior to the town hall, please send them to townhall@unr.edu. We look forward to a productive and engaging town hall conversation.

    Sincerely,

    Marc A. Johnson
    President

  • Experiencing change and uncertainty: We build resiliency (March 23, 2020)

    Our world and our campus have experienced a great deal of change and uncertainty since the middle of March. Our academic calendar at that time indicated that it was the observance of spring break. The reality, however, has meant anything but a break for you, our students, faculty and staff. Our institution has had to quickly pivot in the face of the challenges presented by coronavirus (COVID-19). Among many actions, we have asked faculty to deliver content for for-credit courses online, and we have transitioned the vast majority of delivery of our services online or remotely in order to limit the number of people we have on our campus.

    I am aware that our responses to remote instruction and administrative work is disruptive and that working from home with schools and other businesses closed, children and other family members home, presents challenges. We all are responding to a pandemic we have never before experienced and our responsibility is to take care of ourselves and everyone else by practicing social distancing and carrying on our lives, teaching, research, other work as best we can.

    As we begin the final weeks of the spring semester, it is important that all of you know how much your work and sacrifice is valued by our University. Your efforts are making a profound difference for the health of our University community and broader community in Nevada, the region, and the world as we all do our part to fight community spread. Remember that although you may be studying or working remotely, you should still keep in touch with your work colleagues, fellow students, friends and families through a variety of amazing technologies that can ease feelings of isolation or anxiety. These are technologies that over the coming weeks promise to keep us together – as we maintain social distance. The renowned physicist Stephen Hawking said it best: “Mankind’s greatest achievements come about by talking, and its greatest failures by not talking . . . with the technology at our disposal, the possibilities are unbounded. All we need to do is make sure we keep talking.”

    Thank you for the many adjustments you are making to keep the University open with social distancing. We all are experimenting with ways to build resiliency in our lives and in our work. These tools may be useful in many other ways in the future. But for now, stay home and stay safe.

    Please be sure to continue checking the University website for University and coronavirus information and updates.

    Sincerely,

    Marc A. Johnson
    President

  • Experiencing change and uncertainty – we build resiliency (March 23, 2020)

    Our world and our campus have experienced a great deal of change and uncertainty since the middle of March. Our academic calendar at that time indicated that it was the observance of spring break. The reality, however, has meant anything but a break for you, our students, faculty and staff. Our institution has had to quickly pivot in the face of the challenges presented by coronavirus (COVID-19). Among many actions, we have asked faculty to deliver content for for-credit courses online, and we have transitioned the vast majority of delivery of our services online or remotely in order to limit the number of people we have on our campus.

    I am aware that our responses to remote instruction and administrative work is disruptive and that working from home with schools and other businesses closed, children and other family members home, presents challenges. We all are responding to a pandemic we have never before experienced and our responsibility is to take care of ourselves and everyone else by practicing social distancing and carrying on our lives, teaching, research, other work as best we can.

    As we begin the final weeks of the spring semester, it is important that all of you know how much your work and sacrifice is valued by our University. Your efforts are making a profound difference for the health of our University community and broader community in Nevada, the region, and the world as we all do our part to fight community spread. Remember that although you may be studying or working remotely, you should still keep in touch with your work colleagues, fellow students, friends and families through a variety of amazing technologies that can ease feelings of isolation or anxiety. These are technologies that over the coming weeks promise to keep us together – as we maintain social distance. The renowned physicist Stephen Hawking said it best: “Mankind’s greatest achievements come about by talking, and its greatest failures by not talking . . . with the technology at our disposal, the possibilities are unbounded. All we need to do is make sure we keep talking.”

    Thank you for the many adjustments you are making to keep the University open with social distancing. We all are experimenting with ways to build resiliency in our lives and in our work. These tools may be useful in many other ways in the future. But for now, stay home and stay safe.

    Please be sure to continue checking the University website for University and coronavirus information and updates.

    Sincerely,

    Marc A. Johnson
    President

  • Campus community message (March 20, 2020)

    To the members of our University Community:

    Since the beginning of the outbreak of novel coronavirus (COVID-19), our entire University community has been working diligently to mitigate the impact of this virus. As of this writing, we have no confirmed cases of COVID-19 on our campus, although the number of cases in Washoe County and Nevada continue to rise. Today we learned that COVID-19 has impacted a member of our University, however. A University student who had been studying abroad has tested positive for COVID-19.

    The student traveled directly home and has not returned to campus. The student has been following the 14-day mandated self-quarantining protocol. Through phone calls and emails the student has been in regular remote contact with medical professionals from our Student Health Center. The student is remaining at home and is in isolation, under the medical care of health providers, and is recovering. On behalf of the University, we want this student and the student’s family to know that our entire University community sends our support for a quick recovery.

    This situation is a reminder that to all of us, wherever we are, how important it is to follow preventative measures and social distancing protocols. It is evident that COVID-19 is presenting us all with unprecedented challenges. We appreciate all of the cooperation that we have seen from our students, faculty and staff.

    Over the past two weeks, the University community has taken steps to diminish the assemblage and grouping of people on our campus in order to “flatten” the spread of coronavirus. The vast majority of our students, faculty and staff are now working remotely. We are delivering classes remotely once the spring break ends on March 23. We continue to take the extra measures that the public health community, Gov. Steve Sisolak and NHSE Chancellor Thom Reilly are asking of all Nevadans: implementing social distancing, sanitizing surfaces, working from home. Now more than ever we must remain ever-vigilant in these efforts. As a campus community, we must continue to make the responsible decisions that will help us limit the spread of COVID-19 in order to protect us all.

    Sincerely,

    Marc A. Johnson
    President

  • University implementing new procedures (March 18, 2020)

    To our University Community:

    In response to direction from Gov. Sisolak and Chancellor Reilly over the past 24 hours, the University is implementing immediate procedures so that all non-essential employees and operations at the University will cease no later than 5 p.m., March 18, for at least 30 days. There will be no access by the general public. Access to campus will be available to faculty, staff and students attending to critical functions of the University who have their own building keys or cards.

    This closure includes any operations that may currently be open on campus, such as the fitness center, athletic facilities, vendors, and other locations where any group may socialize. These actions are being made to further reduce the number of employees who are on campus to essential employees who must have a physical presence on campus. Other than those employees who are designated as essential, our employees are directed by Gov. Sisolak and Chancellor Reilly to stay at home, work remotely, and to practice social distancing.

    Although many of you have already begun making these preparations, it is imperative that today each academic and administrative operating units establish systems for staffing and monitoring business continuity needs and student/customer service. Supervisors, managers, and department chairs in consultation with Directors, Associate Vice Presidents or Deans are to develop schedules for on-campus employees which mitigate exposure, diminishes personal contact and to the extent possible, maintains social distance.

    Employee designations

    Human Resources has prepared guidelines for all academic and administrative operating units for the decision-making process of designating employees as: “Employees on Campus,” “Employees Working Remotely” and “Administrative Leave.” It is imperative today that all supervisors, chairs or managers inform employees, including student employees, of their designation. Depending on job responsibilities and business operational needs, an employee’s status may change at any time from one designation to another.

    In general, in making these decisions, the University is stressing: Employees working on campus should take precautions to avoid exposure and be vigilant of CDC protocols. Employees who can work remotely, other than those providing minimal coverage on campus, should do so effective today. The University has provided Guidelines for Working Remotely and Working Remotely Resources from the Office of Information Technology. Employees who need not report to campus and cannot work remotely should be placed on Administrative Leave Time Off with Pay. Employees on administrative leave should enter Administrative Leave Time Off with Pay in Workday.

    Student employees

    Student employees who are designated as Employees on Campus or Employees Working Remotely will continue to log normally scheduled hours and be paid. Student employees who cannot work on campus or remotely will continue to be paid. Please consider all options to reassign these student employees to areas or tasks that can be completed during this period of alternative campus operations. Human Resources will provide guidance within the next few days as to how pay should be calculated.

    Students living in residence halls

    For students living in residence halls, we are asking that they immediately return to their homes, unless they have extenuating circumstances and must remain in the residence halls. Residential Life is reaching out to these students to determine circumstances and needs. Student Services is working on limited food options for students who remain.

    Transition to online instruction

    Faculty should continue to prepare for online delivery of all for-credit courses by March 23, and should be prepared for official online engagement with their classes no later than March 25.

    No building access to general public

    As of today not later than 5 p.m. all buildings on campus will be closed. There will be no access by the general public. Access to campus will be available to faculty, staff and students attending to critical functions of the University who have their own building keys or cards. Contractors who are attending to critical infrastructure needs will also be allowed.

    Buildings with alternate operations

    The following major buildings will have alternative operations:

    Joe Crowley Student Union. Student computer area access only allowed in a social distance monitored area; vendors to close and no other common area access.

    Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center. Student computer access allowed in a social distance monitored area, plus reduced physical presence for Teaching and Learning Technologies and Information Technology – these services will also be available remotely.

    Pennington Student Achievement Center and Fitzgerald Student Services. Staff already on reduced physical presence, many services available remotely already.

    Research faculty

    For research faculty, the University’s Research and Innovation division emailed information to its “ResearchNotes” listserv on March 7. This email, sent to faculty, students and staff directly engaged with research, included considerations for use in contingency planning, steps that can be taken now to ensure continuity of critical functions, additional safety considerations and more. 

    Research faculty with laboratories that require in-person staffing are to use their own discretion and are asked to use CDC guidelines for social distancing, as well as cleaning and disinfecting. Environmental Health and Safety is available remotely.

    While we are asking all of our campus to react nimbly today, we are also advising that all decisions are made with good deliberation and with the best interests of the health and safety of all of the people who work, study and live on our campus and other University locations in mind.

    We ask for your patience as we get further information and details out to the University community. Please continue to look to Novel Coronavirus Information Page for the latest information about coronavirus and University operations.

    Thank you all for your continued dedication to these guiding principles.

    Marc A. Johnson
    President

  • University implementing new procedures (March 18, 2020)

    To our University Community:

    In response to direction from Gov. Sisolak and Chancellor Reilly over the past 24 hours, the University is implementing immediate procedures so that all non-essential employees and operations at the University will cease no later than 5 p.m., March 18, for at least 30 days. There will be no access by the general public. Access to campus will be available to faculty, staff and students attending to critical functions of the University who have their own building keys or cards.

    This closure includes any operations that may currently be open on campus, such as the fitness center, athletic facilities, vendors, and other locations where any group may socialize. These actions are being made to further reduce the number of employees who are on campus to essential employees who must have a physical presence on campus. Other than those employees who are designated as essential, our employees are directed by Gov. Sisolak and Chancellor Reilly to stay at home, work remotely, and to practice social distancing.

    Although many of you have already begun making these preparations, it is imperative that today each academic and administrative operating units establish systems for staffing and monitoring business continuity needs and student/customer service. Supervisors, managers, and department chairs in consultation with Directors, Associate Vice Presidents or Deans are to develop schedules for on-campus employees which mitigate exposure, diminishes personal contact and to the extent possible, maintains social distance.

    Employee designations

    Human Resources has prepared guidelines for all academic and administrative operating units for the decision-making process of designating employees as: “Employees on Campus,” “Employees Working Remotely” and “Administrative Leave.” It is imperative today that all supervisors, chairs or managers inform employees, including student employees, of their designation. Depending on job responsibilities and business operational needs, an employee’s status may change at any time from one designation to another.

    In general, in making these decisions, the University is stressing: Employees working on campus should take precautions to avoid exposure and be vigilant of CDC protocols. Employees who can work remotely, other than those providing minimal coverage on campus, should do so effective today. The University has provided Guidelines for Working Remotely and Working Remotely Resources from the Office of Information Technology. Employees who need not report to campus and cannot work remotely should be placed on Administrative Leave Time Off with Pay. Employees on administrative leave should enter Administrative Leave Time Off with Pay in Workday.

    Student employees

    Student employees who are designated as Employees on Campus or Employees Working Remotely will continue to log normally scheduled hours and be paid. Student employees who cannot work on campus or remotely will continue to be paid. Please consider all options to reassign these student employees to areas or tasks that can be completed during this period of alternative campus operations. Human Resources will provide guidance within the next few days as to how pay should be calculated.

    Students living in residence halls

    For students living in residence halls, we are asking that they immediately return to their homes, unless they have extenuating circumstances and must remain in the residence halls. Residential Life is reaching out to these students to determine circumstances and needs. Student Services is working on limited food options for students who remain.

    Transition to online instruction

    Faculty should continue to prepare for online delivery of all for-credit courses by March 23, and should be prepared for official online engagement with their classes no later than March 25.

    No building access to general public

    As of today not later than 5 p.m. all buildings on campus will be closed. There will be no access by the general public. Access to campus will be available to faculty, staff and students attending to critical functions of the University who have their own building keys or cards. Contractors who are attending to critical infrastructure needs will also be allowed.

    Buildings with alternate operations

    The following major buildings will have alternative operations:

    Joe Crowley Student Union. Student computer area access only allowed in a social distance monitored area; vendors to close and no other common area access.

    Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center. Student computer access allowed in a social distance monitored area, plus reduced physical presence for Teaching and Learning Technologies and Information Technology – these services will also be available remotely.

    Pennington Student Achievement Center and Fitzgerald Student Services. Staff already on reduced physical presence, many services available remotely already.

    Research faculty

    For research faculty, the University’s Research and Innovation division emailed information to its “ResearchNotes” listserv on March 7. This email, sent to faculty, students and staff directly engaged with research, included considerations for use in contingency planning, steps that can be taken now to ensure continuity of critical functions, additional safety considerations and more. 

    Research faculty with laboratories that require in-person staffing are to use their own discretion and are asked to use CDC guidelines for social distancing, as well as cleaning and disinfecting. Environmental Health and Safety is available remotely.

    While we are asking all of our campus to react nimbly today, we are also advising that all decisions are made with good deliberation and with the best interests of the health and safety of all of the people who work, study and live on our campus and other University locations in mind.

    We ask for your patience as we get further information and details out to the University community. Please continue to look to Novel Coronavirus Information Page for the latest information about coronavirus and University operations.

    Thank you all for your continued dedication to these guiding principles.

    Marc A. Johnson
    President

  • University Alternate Operations Update (March 16, 2020)

    To our University Community:

    The events of the past few days in our country and throughout the world regarding the outbreak of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) have been extremely dynamic and are making a profound impact on how communities are dealing with this public health threat. Our campus has taken several measures, including enacting alternative operations in key areas, to greatly reduce the collection of people on our campus in order to diminish the spread and the severity of coronavirus. Each of you, in your own way and in working collectively, have shown a willingness to modify how we work, study, live and learn on our campus – all based on the best science-based information, recommendations, and practices that the public health community of our country and our state has put forward. I am appreciative of the work done in recent days by the University’s Issues Management Team. The group has engaged local public health leaders and state officials to inform their daily discussions and policy recommendations to help ensure the safety and health of our students, faculty, staff and community which we serve.

    COVID-19 presents us with unprecedented challenges. It is requiring us all to modify personal behavior, to lessen our interactions in large groups and public places, to re-think how we work and how we deliver services, and to practice social distancing. We must continue to be vigilant in all of our efforts on these fronts. Doing so will reduce the risk of the spread of coronavirus within the community, especially among those most vulnerable. While we are still not aware of any cases of COVID-19 among University students, staff, or faculty at this time, it is important to note that the number of cases in Washoe County and in Nevada has risen.

    This is why Governor Sisolak declared a state of emergency for the State of Nevada last week and on March 15 requested that all state agencies take further proactive public health measures. Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) Chancellor Thom Reilly has requested that all NSHE institutions transition to remote instruction and operations no later than March 18.

    It is important to note that contrary to earlier erroneous statements today from the City of Reno regarding upcoming planned closures for nonessential businesses that included our campus, the campus does remain open on alternative operations that are designed to diminish the potential for spread and severity of coronavirus.

    Below is an update and reminder on what the University is doing, while remembering that the situation continues to be dynamic, and any announcements are until further notice, or if circumstances change:

    The University continues to use alternative operations. The campus remains open for all necessary operations for faculty, staff, students and contractors. We are limiting public access in terms of outward-facing functions.

    For employees and supervisors, particularly in light of Gov. Sisolak’s announcement yesterday and Chancellor Reilly’s announcement today that state agencies are to determine quickly what closures, or shifts to remote work and online delivery of services must be done in order to ensure the health and safety of the public, clear work guidelines are being implemented.

    Human Resources, in consultation with University administration, is providing the following Definitions and Guidelines for full implementation of alternative campus operations. These definitions and guidelines have been made in an effort to maintain the health and safety of our campus while maintaining continuity for University operations. After consultation with directors, associate vice presidents or deans, managers and supervisors will inform employees of their employee designation. Depending on job responsibilities or business operational needs, an employee’s status may change at any time from one designation to another. Each unit’s role is different, obviously, and managers and supervisors are advised to carefully weigh functions that must be done in person relative to functions that could be achieved while working remotely. Given the fluidity of the coronavirus situation, the University encourages supervisors to be flexible and creative in considering remote arrangements during this time for employees, including student workers, whose job duties can be performed remotely without hampering operations. Supervisors have maximum flexibility to implement this. The University has provided Guidelines for Working Remotely and Working Remotely Resources from the Office of Information Technology.

    All units should include testing remote work capabilities now and implementing flexible remote work options when applicable. Also, all units should work to emphasize the concept of social distancing in all interactions, and by limiting in-person meetings and avoid close contact whenever possible. These are small, but essential steps we must all take as we attempt to “flatten” the severity and duration of the coronavirus outbreak.

    During alternative operations, an important consideration for all managers and supervisors is in-person staffing levels. Some units will need an in-person office presence in order to maintain continuity of operations, while others may not. Solutions could include maintaining your unit’s operations by having some staff work remotely one day while other members are in the office, and then switching those roles the next day.

    Commencement

    University leadership have been in discussion about our Spring Commencement Exercises for quite some time now. As mid-May graduation dates draw closer please know that we are being extremely attentive to deciding how best to recognize one of the largest graduating classes in Nevada’s 146 year-old-history. Cancelling commencement is not under consideration. We are, however, thinking through a variety of options ranging from the traditional gathering which is live streamed to the public to an online ceremony that could be viewed by graduates and others. Obviously, health and safety considerations will be the determining factor as we work closely with authorities to anticipate and plan ahead. We will keep you apprised of decisions and developments in the weeks ahead and thank you for your understanding at the difficult time.

    Campus events

    The University is now changing our protocol for campus events. In accordance with the latest CDC guidelines, any public or other event that gathers more than 50 people in one place on our campus is cancelled or postponed until further notice.

    Museums on our campus, including the Fleischmann Planetarium, are closed to the public until further notice. Museum faculty and staff should maintain regular hours (remote work options are available) and faculty, staff, and students who need access to any of the museums can call with questions and access can be granted as necessary.

    Cleaning

    The University’s custodial cleaning program uses disinfectants which comply with the EPA’s protocol for coronavirus. The Facilities Services in-house custodial services staff and a third-party contracted firm are in the process of implementing extra measures for increased cleaning and disinfecting of “touch points” public areas that includes, but are not limited to surfaces such as door handles, ADA door opening buttons and ramp railings, counters, conference room tables, eye wash stations and buttons, elevator buttons, panic bars on doors, podiums, phones, desk tops and edges, chairs and chair backs, light switches, drinking fountains, classrooms armchairs, and more. They’ll also work with our medical staff to determine the appropriate disinfecting of patient rooms, labs and associated medical equipment. In the next few days, Facilities Services will also be providing some additional information concerning supplying disinfectant in spray bottles to a centralized location within buildings such that buildings occupants could use them in their offices.

    Transition to online instruction

    As a reminder, alternative operations continue to have important implications for our faculty and students. Faculty are encouraged to continue their preparations for the resumption of the spring semester following the end of spring break on March 23. The University will officially begin online delivery of all for-credit academic courses on that date, with all courses online by March 25.

    Student services

    The University of Nevada, Reno Division of Student Services and the Associated Students of the University of Nevada (ASUN) sent a message to all students assuring them of the many services available to them during this period of alternate campus operations. These include grab and go dining options throughout campus; information on securing emergency funds; availability of Pack Provisions, remote teletherapy through Counseling Services as well as advising and mentorship through such programs as OISS, TRIO and The Center. This list of available services will continue to be updated and sent to students.

    Housing

    Students living in the residence halls were contacted by the Executive Director prior to spring break upon the announcement of the University’s alternate schedule and the expectation of taking classes on line. Students were told that we would be treating the time frame of March 23 until further notice as similar to Winter Break where students live off-campus. Students were told that while our expectation is for residents to relocate off campus during this time, we understand some students may not be able to meet this expectation. All students were provided with a link in the message to indicate their housing need and request to live on campus.

    Online learning

    Students are encouraged to be prepared for when instruction officially begins again on March 23. Students can access remote online learning through WebCampus and with direct communication from faculty members. Currently enrolled students without access to mobile technologies can come on campus to use a University computer. The Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center, William N. Pennington Student Achievement Center and Joe Crowley Student Union will be open to students. Please practice social distancing, and personal and public hygiene, when on campus.

    Tutoring and advising

    Tutoring and advising staff are currently making the transition to online delivery of their services. The University will be adjusting its withdrawal/drop deadline for courses from March 31 to April 10. We are removing holds on advising, as well as the directive that all students must receive financial aid counseling in the event of a withdrawal, so that students will not have any disruptions in their planning of fall semester schedules.

    Dining services

    University Dining Services will no longer be offering traditional dining options. Starting March 23, 2020, Nevada Dining will move to a “grab and go” food option at Pathways and Bytes Café. The Eatery at the Overlook will provide Hot Food Options for lunch and dinner. Most of the food vendors in the Joe Crowley Student Union will be open during this time. Visit the Joe Crowley Student Union for hours.

    The Center, Every Student, Every Story.

    The Center, Every Student, Every Story. is committed to offering remote student support through its email thecenter@unr.edu and can be reached through the telephone at (775) 784-4936. The Center will remain open as long as permitted by campus policies, but you are encouraged to connect through email or through telephone.

    Student employment

    Students who have employment on campus should work with their supervisors to determine flexible arrangements regarding their pay and expected duties.

    Emergency funding and needs-based services

    Undergraduate students in need of emergency funds are encouraged to reach out to the Dean of Students Office and the University’s Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships. Graduate students can access need-based services online through the Graduate Student Association.

    Arrangements are being made for students who utilize Pack Provisions, the University’s food pantry. Updates can be found online or by emailing Pack Provisions. Counseling Services will be offering secure, remote teletherapy services in the near future. In the meantime, telephone counseling services are available. Students in need of Counseling Services can call (775) 784-4648.

    The past few days have shown us all what an incredible pivot point our nation has experienced regarding the coronavirus outbreak. Decisions have been made at the federal and state level over the past 48 hours that will have profound consequences of how long and how at-risk our nation will remain. What has been evident over the past several days has been the willingness of all members of our campus community to do their part to look out for one another. We are by no means at the end of the outbreak, and we will all no doubt be asked to do more in the coming days and weeks. But if there is one thing that our University community does exceptionally well, it is that we are at our strongest coming together for a common cause.

    We’ve seen this coming together many times in our past, and we have seen this care and concern for each other rise yet again throughout our University community over the past few days. We must never forget that this remains an integral and defining characteristic of our institution, and that it will continue to be called upon in the future.

    For the latest information about coronavirus and our campus, please continue to consult the Novel Coronavirus information page.

    Thank you again for all that you continue to do to help make our campus safe and healthy.

    Sincerely,

    Marc A. Johnson
    President

  • University novel coronavirus (COVID-19) update (March 5, 2020)

    To the University Community,

    The University continues to understand and share the concerns of our students, faculty, staff and our community regarding the outbreak of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and we remain committed to your health and well-being. We recognize that the situation is dynamic and evolves each day, with new information and understanding that informs the health and safety protocols issued by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Washoe County Health District. In response to the rapidly changing nature of our understanding of the outbreak of novel coronavirus (COVID-19), we want to update you on developments on our campus since last week.

    First though, as the global spread of the virus reached our western region in recent days, it became clear Nevada would not remain untouched by the coronavirus. As of this morning, March 5, it has been reported and confirmed that southern Nevada has its first patient who has tested positive for the virus. Other parts of the country are also reporting an increasing number of confirmed cases. Deaths in the country from the virus remain low, yet remind us of the seriousness of this virus and the importance of following proper health practices.

    The University has preventive measures and controls in place to support the health and safety of our University community. We continue to review and adapt our planning and strategies as more is learned every day. The University has created a Novel Coronavirus Information Page, which will be updated regularly. The page contains the latest information and includes a variety of sources, as well as tips for faculty, students and staff regarding issues that could arise from coronavirus.

    For our University community, we continue to emphasize:

    Preparedness: As a reminder, our administration and Issues Management Response Team continue to hold meetings throughout each week and are coordinating closely with our county and state agencies regarding coronavirus, its spread and what the University can be doing to promote the health of the people on campus and throughout our University community.

    We are actively engaging with statewide and regional health/medical partners in the Washoe County Health District, Nevada State Division of Public and Behavioral Health and the Nevada State Public Health Laboratory, aligning and prioritizing health resources.

    Alignment and collaboration: This week, in conjunction with the CDC, Washoe County Health District requested that the University follow new guidelines from both organizations that stipulate that all individuals returning from or through China, Italy, Iran, Japan and South Korea, must be self-quarantined for 14 days after their return.

    In accordance with the latest guidelines from both the CDC and the Washoe County Health District, the University has informed students and staff who recently had their University Studies Abroad Consortium (USAC) studies cancelled that they are all to observe a 14-day self-quarantine upon their return to the United States. USAC called these students and faculty home out of an abundance of caution, which mirrors actions taken by institutions across the country and internationally. Medical experts and personnel from the University Student Health Center will maintain daily contact via phone or text message with these individuals to assess for the possible onset of symptoms. These medical professionals will provide appropriate health information and guidance, should symptoms develop. The University is also helping students affected by the cancellation by offering academic and financial advisement.

    If you know someone who is in self-quarantine, please consider supporting them through emails and texts, but respect the quarantine; do not visit them in person.

    Suspended University Sponsored Travel Abroad: We have currently suspended all university-supported travel by faculty, staff, students, guest speakers or visiting scholars to, from or going through China, Iran, Italy, South Korea and Japan due to the CDC and Washoe County Health District 14 day self-quarantine requirements.

    Other Travel Abroad: We’re monitoring alerts from the U.S. State Department and the CDC regarding non-essential travel. In addition, any organization, unit, program, department or college or school hosting guest speakers or visiting scholars from foreign countries in the coming months should also be aware of the CDC’s traveler information. Questions on faculty travel should be directed to the Provost’s Office.

    Spring Break Travel Abroad: Given the dynamic nature of the outbreak of novel coronavirus, students, faculty and staff who are planning on personal travel overseas during the upcoming spring break are strongly encouraged to follow the latest guidelines for travel by visiting CDC’s traveler information. Please carefully weigh the risks and benefits of any international travel, stay actively alert and monitor changes and developments that may affect your plans. Monitor travel advisories daily, including potential restrictions on border crossings or closed borders. Prepare for the possibility that countries that you visit could decide to implement travel restrictions with short notice, impacting your ability to return to the United States, and to campus. The 14-day self-quarantine period for certain countries could change.

    Be aware if you choose to go on personal travel to or through China, Iran, Italy, South Korea, or Japan, you will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days upon your return before returning to campus, work or classes. Faculty and staff will be required to use sick leave or annual leave and follow university policy on finding substitutes for classes. Students will not be given special arrangements for homework, attendance or tests.

    Flexibility: For faculty, the University recommends that instructors offer students understanding and accommodations such as makeup exams, alternate assignments, or alternate weighting of missed work due to illness. If needed, you can explore the use of existing remote teaching tools and online learning by consulting with Teaching and Learning Technologies (TLT).

    Even in the absence of coronavirus on our campus at this time, we must be mindful that students, who have already just negotiated a round of mid-terms, could be understandably anxious or stressed about uncertainties regarding the outbreak. Listen carefully to your students’ concerns. Offer resources when appropriate. Keep the lines of communication open. In addition, this is a good time to think about preparing for any situation that could disrupt regular schedules. Think about your own expectations as an instructor for the semester, and what you might need to do in the event you have to refocus your course goals due to unexpected events. Flexibility is be a must for all of us.

    Health, Wellness and Prevention:  We also need your help. The best line of defense against novel coronavirus is to use the “best practices” associated with the CDC’s prevention guidelines. There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. Everyday preventive actions include:

    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
    • Stay home when you are sick.
    • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
    • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
    • Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.
      • CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
      • Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
    • For information about handwashing, see CDC’s handwashing website.

    If you are sick
    First, it’s important to emphasize that, so far, the vast majority of people who have become ill with COVID-19 have experienced relatively mild symptoms, such as fever and cough, and recovered from the illness.

    If you are sick, you should take steps you normally would when sick, including focusing on caring for your health, not attending class and contacting a health-care provider, if you feel you need to. Students on the University campus may contact the Student Health Center at  

    (775) 784-6598 as one option. Please call ahead before visiting any health-care provider so that they can provide you with guidance specific to your symptoms.

    University leadership and faculty are working together to ensure that if you miss class due to illness, opportunities will be provided to make up missed work. For more information, see the University’s FAQs.

    We encourage you to monitor the University’s Novel Coronavirus Information Page, which is being updated regularly. The page contains the latest information from a variety of sources, as well as tips for faculty, students and staff regarding issues that could arise from coronavirus.

    In addition, to help you promote healthy habits and share relevant information about the Coronavirus, the University community is encouraged to download this suite of informational flyers regarding coronavirus. You will find an informational sheet, flyers, posters, and an infographic, as well as a file of recommended social media accounts and online resources.

    In all instances, you should consult with a relevant expert for guidance specific to your circumstances. In particular, please consult the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website, which provides updated information regarding this topic.

    Again, we want to remind you that it is very important to keep in mind the worldwide impact of this virus and the effect on their friends and family all around us. Further, it’s a timely reminder to avoid stereotyping or stigmatizing any individuals or groups, and treat all people with respect and empathy.

    There continue to be a number of unknowns, but we will continue to communicate with you regularly regarding this global event. Along with government and health officials, the University urges people to stay calm and is taking steps to prepare.

    Sincerely,

    Marc Johnson, Ph.D.
    President
    University of Nevada, Reno
    marc@unr.edu
    775 784-4805

    Cheryl Hug-English MD, MPH
    Medical Director
    Student Health Center
    chugenglish@unr.edu
    775 784-6598

  • University update regarding coronavirus (February 27, 2020)

    To the University Community,

    With the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) continuing to make headlines, it is natural to be concerned about the University community. Dr. Cheryl Hug-English, the University’s Medical Director of Student Health and I are jointly providing this update. We understand and share your concerns. Our aim is to inform you about the latest on the novel coronavirus and to reassure you as to the measures being taken to protect our University community.

    The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) continues to believe that the risk of acquiring this virus in the United States is low. While increasing cases are being reported worldwide, it is important to emphasize there are currently no known cases of the Novel coronavirus on the University campus or in the state of Nevada.

    While the CDC indicates that “at this time, this virus is not currently spreading in the community in the United States,” the CDC also must prepare people for the reality that “more cases are likely to be identified in the coming days, including more cases in the U.S.”

    The University anticipates and is prepared for this possibility, aligning and prioritizing health resources and collaborating with our health experts and agency partners. Plans and communications are at the ready to help protect students, faculty and staff.

    Protective measures and precautions already in place

    The University of Nevada, Reno, remains vigilant, alert, aware and prepared. Following CDC recommendations and in collaboration with the Washoe County Health District and the State Public Health Lab, we have taken several important steps and will continue to do so to keep our campus safe: 

    • Since early on, the Student Health Center has continued to stay in constant communication with the Washoe County Health District.
    • The University’s Issues Management Team, comprised of principal, responsible University decision makers, have met and will continue to closely monitor the situation to be ready to take appropriate action to protect the University community.
    • To date, three University communications have kept students, faculty and staff updated.
    • Over the past month, the expertise of the Nevada State Public Health Laboratory (NSPHL), located on campus, has been added to our collaborative health and information effort. NSPHL serves as Nevada’s centralized lab, representing a first line of defense in rapid detection of a public health threat.
    • We continue to monitor the situation closely and to follow the guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
    • We are working closely with the Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS), University Studies Abroad Consortium (USAC) and Student Services to ensure the health and safety of all students, faculty and staff.

    Travel recommendations

    Due to the continued spread of this virus in China as well as some other nations, early on the United States government took additional steps to restrict travel to and from China. For students preparing to travel for the upcoming spring break, it is strongly recommended that you follow the latest travel restrictions, by visiting CDC’s traveler information.

    For students planning to study abroad this year, please contact the University’s USAC office staff below or Cairn Lindloff at (775) 784-6874 at the Office of International Students and Scholars whom can provide information and updates regarding any students currently or planning to study abroad:

    • For information about the status of USAC programs, contact Johanna Moxley at Moxley@usac.edu or 775-682-5885.
    • For coronavirus specific updates, check our updates page or contact USAC’s Health and Safety Managers Christine Sieben or Elizabeth Rice at safetyabroad@usac.edu or 775-784-6569
    • For advising assistance, you may review program information at usac.edu; email studyabroad@usac.edu; or drop by the USAC Advising Center located in the VSG, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

    CDC prevention guidelines

    For commonly asked questions and responses, visit CDC FAQs. There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
    • Stay home when you are sick.
    • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
    • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
    • Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.
      • CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
      • Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
    • For information about handwashing, see CDC’s handwashing website.

    Maintaining perspective, empathy and respect

    While there is understandable anxiety about this new coronavirus, it is important to maintain perspective on the current status of the novel coronavirus in the United States, which has resulted in no fatalities. In comparison, CDC reports over 19 million cases of flu illness and 10,000 fatalities from the flu virus already this season. Simple health practices will help prevent these and other respiratory illnesses.

    Finally, while the University leadership and community health experts continue to focus on protecting our state, our students, faculty, staff, and our community, it’s important to keep in mind the worldwide victims of this virus and the impact on their friends and family all around us. Further, it’s a timely reminder to avoid stereotyping or stigmatizing any individuals or groups, and treat all people with respect and empathy.

    We will continue to monitor this situation, and our medical staff is staying up to date with guidelines and recommendations to help promote the health and safety of our campus. For the latest information and updates, visit the Student Health Center website.

    Marc Johnson, Ph.D.
    President
    University of Nevada, Reno
    marc@unr.edu
    775 784-4805

    Cheryl Hug-English MD, MPH
    Medical Director
    Student Health Center
    chugenglish@unr.edu
    775 784-6598

  • Information for faculty and staff about coronavirus (February 3, 2020

    As news coverage of the Novel coronavirus (2019-nCov) continues, we wanted to update you on the latest information and the steps we are taking to keep our campus safe.The Student Health Center is working closely with the Washoe County Health District and we continue to monitor the situation closely and to follow the guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). We want to reassure you that there are currently no known cases of the Novel coronavirus on our campus or in the state of Nevada and the CDC continues to believe that the risk of acquiring this virus in the United States is low.

    However, due to the continued spread of this virus in China as well as some other nations, the United States government has taken additional steps to restrict travel to and from China.Here are the latest restrictions announced by Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar that took effect at 5 p.m. EST Sunday, Feb. 2, 2020.

    • Foreign nationals who have traveled in China within the last 14 days,other than immediate family of U.S. citizens and permanent residents, are temporarily banned from entry into the United States.
    • Americans returning from Hubei province of China will be allowed into the United States, but only at select ports of entry, and will be subject to a mandatory 14-day quarantine.
    • Americans returning from other parts of China will be allowed into the United States at select ports of entry and will be required to self-screen for signs of illness for 14 days after their return. These individuals are not required to be quarantined or to wear a mask unless there are signs of illness.

    We are working closely with the Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS) and Student Services to ensure the health and safety of all students, faculty and staff.

    While there is understandable anxiety about this new coronavirus, there have only been 11 documented cases of Novel coronavirus in the United States with no fatalities.In comparison, CDC reports over 19 million flu illness and 10,000 fatalities from the flu virus already this season.Simple health practices will health prevent these and other respiratory illnesses.

    • Wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
    • Stay home when you are sick
    • Cover your cough or sneeze
    • Clean and disinfect surfaces

    We will continue to monitor this situation and our medical staff is staying up to date with guidelines and recommendations to help promote the health and safety of our campus.

    Cheryl Hug-English MD, MPH
    Medical Director
    Student Health Center
    (775) 784-6598
    chugenglish@unr.edu

  • Information to campus about coronavirus (January 27, 2020)

    To the University community,

    As many of you may have heard from the news, a new respiratory virus has emerged called the Novel Coronavirus or 2019-nCoV. This virus was first identified in the city of Wuhan, China. At present, the majority of the cases have occurred in Wuhan; however, the virus has spread to other countries, including the United States. Since this is a virus that has not previously been seen in humans, the situation with regard to 2019-nCoV is still unclear. While severe illness, including a number of deaths, have been reported in China, other patients have had a much milder illness.

    What we know

    What we know This virus is part of a family of viruses called corona viruses and can lead to respiratory symptoms such as fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Symptoms may occur in as little as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure. This virus probably originated from an animal source, but now appears to be spreading from person to person. It is likely that the virus is spread by respiratory droplets produced from coughs or sneezes, similar to the cold or flu. More information about Novel Coronavirus is available from the CDC.

    Steps being taken at the Student Health Center

    It is important to remember that this is cold and flu season and that respiratory symptoms are common. The Student Health Center has established protocols for dealing with communicable diseases. Currently, we have a heightened emphasis on obtaining a detailed travel history for all patients presenting with fever and respiratory symptoms. We are continuing to follow CDC guidelines and recommendations. We have not seen any cases of Novel Coronavirus on our campus or in the state of Nevada. We have posted information about 2019-nCoV on the Student Health Center website.

    For our campus

    Students and/or faculty or staff who have had recent travel to China should be encouraged to self-monitor for symptoms of fever, cough or shortness of breath. Anyone with travel history to China within the last 14 days with respiratory symptoms, or anyone who has had contact with someone suspected to have 2019-nCoV, should be evaluated by a health care provider at the Student Health Center, or in the community. As a courtesy, it is important to call the medical facility and let them know about your recent travel history before arriving to the clinic.

    Prevention

    Preventing the spread of respiratory illnesses:

    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
    • Stay home when you are sick.
    • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
    • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

    Although news about a new infectious disease can be unsettling, please know that the CDC and other health authorities are monitoring this situation closely and that our medical staff is staying up to date with guidelines and recommendations to help promote the health of our campus.

    Sincerely,

    Cheryl Hug-English MD, MPH
    Medical Director Student Health Center
    (775) 784-6598
    chugenglish@unr.edu

 

2020

  • Working Toward the Start of a New Academic Year (August 6, 2020)

    To our University Community:

    In preparing for the fall semester, the University has been guided by two goals that can be stated as one: Keeping the health, safety and well-being of our students, faculty and staff at the forefront of what we do, while we fulfill our institutional missions. Classes for the fall semester begin in a little less than three weeks. As we work toward the start of a new academic year, here are some updates:

    No longer following previous pandemic terminology

    On July 27, Gov. Steve Sisolak announced the State of Nevada will be following a long-term strategy designed to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19. By no longer following the previous pandemic terminology of “phases” for Nevada’s recovery, Gov. Sisolak said the new response allows the State of Nevada and its counties to utilize flexible, data-based public health measures. This will mean a change in terminology for the University as well. Starting on Aug. 15, the University will be following its “Reopening Plan – Fall 2020,” and will no longer use formal numerical “Phases.” The fall plan provides for return to our learning and working environment while being responsive to any change in behavior of the pandemic, based on prescribed public health-based procedures and policies.

    Guidance for suspected or positive COVID-19 Case

    The University has also released on the website guidance for employees and students when there has been or is a suspected case of COVID-19 on our campus. This includes a list of actions that need to be followed by students and employees in the event of COVID-19 symptoms, exposure or a positive test. It also includes information for decision-makers to provide clarity for faculty or supervisors about how to handle situations where a student or employee is suspected or confirmed of having COVID-19.

    Mandatory face coverings

    Facial coverings are required for all employees, students, vendors and visitors in all indoor and outdoor University public spaces, including classrooms, except by employees alone in a private office, removed in order to eat and drink, and unless not advisable by a healthcare professional, against documented industry best practices, or not permitted by federal or state laws/regulations. A “face covering” is defined as a “covering that fully covers a person’s nose and mouth, including without limitation, cloth face mask, surgical mask, towels, scarves, and bandanas” (State of Nevada Emergency Directive 024).

    Size of group gatherings

    An important clarification regarding sizes of gatherings on campus. Per recent directions from Gov. Sisolak, there is a limit of gatherings to no more than 25 people (down from the previous number of 50). This directive will be observed in rooms, work spaces and gathering areas throughout campus, including in our classrooms, where distancing protocols of six feet social distance are already in effect.

    In closing, as we move toward a new academic year, please know that the University continues to use all of its communications channels in getting the most recent and up-to-date information to you. Please consult the University’s Return of the Pack: Preparing for a COVID-19-ready semester web page regularly for the latest updates. If you have additional questions, do not hesitate to reach out to your supervisor, director, department chair, dean, division vice president, or Human Resources.

    Sincerely,

    Marc A. Johnson
    President

  • In praise of Supreme Court decisions DACA and LGBTQ+ (June 19, 2020)

    To our University community:

    On Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the decision that the Administration may not immediately proceed with its plan to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program (DACA), a program protecting about 700,000 young immigrants known as Dreamers from deportation. Even though the Supreme Court’s decision is provisional and does not remove the uncertainty that young immigrants have lived with, it is a major victory for DACA recipients, allies, and our campus community. Along with the Nevada System of Higher Education and Chancellor Reilly, we stand in clear solidarity with our DACA students and their families, who have enriched our university community in so many ways. The University of Nevada, Reno will continue to work through the Presidents' Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration to advocate for a much needed defining resolution to this issue. As information is being gathered on how today’s Supreme Court’s decision will impact our DACA students, we continue to monitor the decision and its implications for our campus community.

    This encouraging news follows Monday’s Supreme Court historic decision that the 1964 Civil Rights Act protects gay, lesbian, and transgender employees from discrimination based on sex. We stand in support of our LGBTQ+ community—students, faculty and staff—and recognize the struggles that have been fought, in most recent history, since the Stonewall Uprisings of 1969. We encourage our faculty and staff, advocates and allies, to join Diversity & Inclusion’s LGBTQ+ Task Force and our students, The Center, Every Student, Every Story’s Pride Collaborative.

    For DACA and community resources relating to immigration, we want to continue directing you to our University Social Services Coordinator, Jahahi Mazariego, connected to the Office of Equal Opportunity and Title IX at jmazariego@unr.edu or (775) 682-8984. The UNLV Immigration Clinic continues to provide free consultations for DACA assistance to all NSHE students and their families. You can attend the virtual events being hosted by the UNLV Immigration Clinic to learn in greater detail what this decision means for DACA recipients. To schedule an appointment please call (702) 895-2080

    We are highly encouraged and elated!

    Sincerely,

    Marc A. Johnson
    President

    Eloisa Gordon-Mora
    University Diversity and Inclusion Officer

  • I can't breathe--again (May 30, 2020)

    I can’t breathe—again

    As we gathered our thoughts at having to address, once again, the reality of the brutal death of an unarmed black man, George Floyd, we must categorically condemn the racism, abuse of power and brutality that led to his death. Mr. Floyd, who pleaded repeatedly for his life—I can’t breathe—eerily evocative of the equally violent death of Eric Garner and so many other black lives, is yet another deeply troubling lost life that ought to serve as a day of reckoning for all of us. As a nation, not only have we not resolved the historically deep wounds of structural racism, inequality, injustice and violence in our country, but those divisions, dramatically intensified in recent times, significantly challenge our democracy. We know from extensive evidence that hate and racial violence have increased to frightening levels in recent years. Let us also bear witness to the fact that in a few months we will be marking the one year anniversary of the El Paso mass killings, one of the deadliest anti-Latino and anti-emigrant hate crimes of recent years; a year ago, also, the shooting in the Poway synagogue took place; increasing attacks on mosques, and many others. These sobering realities must continue guiding our educational mandate on equity and inclusion through meaningful collaborations and much needed healing. Our deepest sense of solidarity to the family of Mr. George Floyd. Our particular support goes out to our Black students, faculty and staff in these somber moments.

    Sincerely

    Marc A. Johnson, President
    Eloisa Gordon, Mora, University Diversity and Inclusion Officer

  • Supreme Court Decision on DACA & University Resources (April 23, 2020)

    To the Members Our University Community,

    A ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is expected to be released very soon. Even as we face a time of unprecedented uncertainty and disruption because of the outbreak of COVID-19, the University continues to fully support students and their families who have DACA status.

    Along with other administrators in higher education throughout Nevada and our country, we have expressed our support for our DACA students, and have urged Congress to find a solution that will lead to the safety, well-being and security for our immigrant populations who are living and learning in our country. We have further urged the President of the United States to defer any action until Congress is given time to properly address this important issue. This is especially important now. We face a pandemic and we have a number of people currently living under the protections afforded by DACA who are working in essential occupations and businesses during this time of crisis.

    We therefore are encouraging our University’s DACA recipients to renew their DACA before a Supreme Court decision is made. Although we cannot predict what the Supreme Court’s decision will be, it is imperative that DACA recipients move swiftly in getting this done. The University is offering a number of resources to help with this process.

    Since 2016, Jahahi Mazariego, LSW, Social Services Coordinator and part of the Office of Equal Opportunity and Title IX, has supported students and their families by coordinating campus and community resources. We want to remind you of this invaluable campus resource, as well as to inform you of an upcoming NSHE Virtual Town Hall on DACA issues, featuring NSHE Chancellor, Thom Reilly, Tuesday, April 28, 2020 at 4 p.m. Details on how to attend will be forthcoming from NSHE. Students, employees and community stakeholders are encouraged to submit questions prior to or during the live event.

    Student support services

    Below are several resources to further support students and their families relating to immigration concerns:

    Campus Support

    Social Services Coordinator, Jahahi Mazariego, LSW, supports students and their families by coordinating campus and community resources such as housing, food, legal, and mental health. To schedule an appointment, please call or email at the contact information below. Contact Jahahi at jmazariego@unr.edu and (775) 784-1547.

    University Counseling Services

    Students in need of Counseling Services can call (775) 784-4648 and an urgent care appointment via phone or teletherapy for that same day will be made based on availability.

    Crisis Support Services

    The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides, 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones. Phone: 1-800-273-8255; Text message: Text HOME to 741741

    Social and Cultural Support

    The Center: Every Student. Every Story. has historically provided support to all students from culturally diverse backgrounds including students who are undocumented and students with DACA status. If you need support and would like to talk to a coordinator please email thecenter@unr.edu.

    NSHE Support

    Free DACA Renewals

    DACA recipients are encouraged to renew their DACA if it is set to expire by the end of this year. The UNLV Immigration Clinic is providing free DACA renewals for DACA recipients living in Nevada. To schedule an appointment with an immigration attorney, please follow the link below. If you have trouble accessing internet or a printer we encourage you to connect with Jahahi Mazariego for additional support.

    To schedule an appointment to renew your DACA:

    UNLV DACA Renewal Appointments
    Email:immigrationclinic@unlv.nevada.edu
    Phone: (702) 895-2080

    To learn more about how COVID-19 is impacting immigrants in Nevada please visit, COVID-19 Updates on DACA & Immigration [external Google Doc].

    NSHE All Access Committee

    The mission of the NSHE All Access Committee (NSHE AAC) is to build a comprehensive state-wide support system for students who are undocumented, students with DACA, as well as immigrant students under other immigration statuses. Please read to learn more about renewing DACA in Nevada, NSHE AAC DACA Renewal Assistance in Nevada. For more information, please contact Amey Evaluna, at amey.evaluna@nsc.edu or Mariana Sarmiento at mariana.sarmiento@unlv.edu.

    Statewide Support

    The Nevada Immigrant Resource Guide [external Google doc] was created for undocumented, DACAmented and immigrant people living in Nevada since their immigration status prevents them from accessing public benefits. This resource guide highlights immigrants’ rights when accessing support during this crisis. We hope this guide encourages people to access the health resources without fear.

    Sincerely, 

    Marc A. Johnson
    President

  • Commencement update (March 27, 2020)

    To our University Community,

    Through several constructive conversations this week with graduate and undergraduate students, we have determined that Spring 2020 graduates will have the choice to celebrate their achievements coinciding with, but be separate from, either the December 2020 graduation ceremonies or spring 2021 ceremonies. The level of interest by graduates in which ceremony they choose will help us determine the details of planning a memorable in-person experience for our graduates and their families. There will be no virtual commencement in May as was previously announced. I wish to thank our student leaders, and our team in Student Services for the very positive conversations we’ve shared this week.

    Below is text from a letter that was sent to our students earlier today regarding these developments.

    Dear Spring 2020 Graduates and Families,

    We hope you are well and staying safe in these unprecedented times for our nation and our University. Your lives as last semester scholars at Nevada have been impacted more than other students, including disappointment over the cancellation of your spring commencement ceremonies. You and your families have been looking forward to a great celebration of your achievements for several years. All of us who teach and advise you have been looking forward to it as well. Commencement is the highlight of our year, too. We begin planning your big day several months in advance and it was a difficult decision to make, but it was your health and those of your loved ones that became the driving force in making our decision.

    In an attempt to give you something this spring, we offered a virtual commencement. This was rejected by our student leaders and graduating students. In considering the many options for providing you with a celebration of your achievements, we were not confident that the health concerns of our state and nation would be eased in the months ahead. We did not want to further frustrate and disappoint you with yet another cancelled or postponed event. Through several constructive conversations this week with graduate and undergraduate students, we have determined that Spring 2020 graduates will have the choice to celebrate their achievements coinciding with, but be separate from, either the December 2020 graduation ceremonies or spring 2021 ceremonies. The level of interest by graduates in which ceremony they choose will help us determine the details of planning a memorable in-person experience for you and your family. You deserve to have a unique time to share the joy of your achievement and the bonds of this trying experience.

    We will continue to work with our student leaders as we begin to plan something special for you in which ever ceremony you choose. The University’s graduation department will be sending you more information about these choices and requesting a preliminary show of interest to assist us in our planning.

    Most of all, stay safe and healthy. We know that this, above all else, will help us return to the large campus gatherings and celebrations we hold so dear at the University of Nevada, Reno. We encourage you to frequently visit unr.edu and coronavirus information and updates for the latest updates on commencement and University operations and delivery of services.

    Sincerely,

    Marc A. Johnson
    President

    Shannon Ellis
    Vice President for Student Services

  • Experiencing change and uncertainty – we build resiliency (March 23, 2020)

    Our world and our campus have experienced a great deal of change and uncertainty since the middle of March. Our academic calendar at that time indicated that it was the observance of spring break. The reality, however, has meant anything but a break for you, our students, faculty and staff. Our institution has had to quickly pivot in the face of the challenges presented by coronavirus (COVID-19). Among many actions, we have asked faculty to deliver content for for-credit courses online, and we have transitioned the vast majority of delivery of our services online or remotely in order to limit the number of people we have on our campus.

    I am aware that our responses to remote instruction and administrative work is disruptive and that working from home with schools and other businesses closed, children and other family members home, presents challenges. We all are responding to a pandemic we have never before experienced and our responsibility is to take care of ourselves and everyone else by practicing social distancing and carrying on our lives, teaching, research, other work as best we can.

    As we begin the final weeks of the spring semester, it is important that all of you know how much your work and sacrifice is valued by our University. Your efforts are making a profound difference for the health of our University community and broader community in Nevada, the region, and the world as we all do our part to fight community spread. Remember that although you may be studying or working remotely, you should still keep in touch with your work colleagues, fellow students, friends and families through a variety of amazing technologies that can ease feelings of isolation or anxiety. These are technologies that over the coming weeks promise to keep us together – as we maintain social distance. The renowned physicist Stephen Hawking said it best: “Mankind’s greatest achievements come about by talking, and its greatest failures by not talking . . . with the technology at our disposal, the possibilities are unbounded. All we need to do is make sure we keep talking.”

    Thank you for the many adjustments you are making to keep the University open with social distancing. We all are experimenting with ways to build resiliency in our lives and in our work. These tools may be useful in many other ways in the future. But for now, stay home and stay safe.

    Please be sure to continue checking the University website for University and coronavirus information and updates.

    Sincerely,

    Marc A. Johnson
    President

  • Carnegie Community Engagement Classification (January 31, 2020)

    To the University community

    It is with a deep sense of pride that I announce the news that the University has received the Carnegie Community Engagement Classification by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. This is a recognition achieved by 243 institutions across the country in the 2020 cycle. I wish to congratulate UNLV for achieving this prestigious classification as well.

    The classification highlights the commitment by our students, faculty and staff in collaborating with our city, our region, and our state to enrich scholarship, research, and creative activity, enhance curriculum, teaching and learning, while addressing and finding solutions for the important issues facing our citizens and our world. Becoming a “Carnegie Engaged” institution has long been a goal for our institution. It is an emblem of the impact of the work that is done by our University – work that transcends our campus, lifts our communities, and improves the quality of life of the people of Nevada.

    It took an extraordinary level of commitment by the people of our institution to reach this milestone. Time and again when there have been needs, our people have found collaborative solutions that have profoundly altered and improved the lives of our citizens, in every county throughout Nevada. Added to our classification as a Carnegie “R1” research institution, which we received in December 2018, we now have two highly coveted classifications in the world of higher education that speak to the high quality of work, and the high caliber of people, at our University.

    I wish to extend my heartfelt thanks to all of our students, faculty, staff, and the numerous partners we have found throughout our city, region and state, for working together in achieving this important milestone.

    For an in-depth look at the reasons behind the University’s “Carnegie Engaged” classification visit Nevada Today.

    Sincerely,

    Marc A. Johnson, President

 

2019

  • Good wishes for the winter break (December 20, 2019)

    Dear Colleague,

    As we conclude the fall semester, I wish to pass along to you my heartfelt wishes for a restful and restorative winter break.

    Since the events of July 5 and the Argenta Hall explosion, it has felt like life at our University has been non-stop. Much has been asked of the people of our institution in the days, weeks and now months that have passed since July 5. We have also faced challenges that have asked us all to ask hard questions of ourselves and our institution, while acknowledging that our University continues to mature in its understanding of the pressing societal and social issues of our time.

    While we have done this, the University has remained committed to our mission. Earlier this month winter commencement saw more than 1,800 degrees and certificates awarded to our graduates. Our students, faculty and staff have marked numerous personal and professional achievements during the fall semester that speak to the high quality of performance and expectation that we have at our University.

    Thank you again for all that you do on behalf of the University of Nevada, Reno. I hope you have an enjoyable holiday season as we look forward to gathering here again in January for what will no doubt be a memorable spring semester.

    Sincerely,
    Marc Johnson

  • Coming Together as a Community (October 17, 2019)

    To the University community:

    The past few weeks on our campus have once again allowed us all to give thought about what our University represents.

    Let me be clear: The University of Nevada, Reno recognizes and embraces the critical importance of diversity in preparing students for global citizenship and is committed to a culture of excellence, inclusion, and accessibility. The University unequivocally condemns and denounces hate and abhorrent language that seeks to marginalize any member of our learning community on the basis of race, color, religion (creed), gender, expression, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status.

    And, while this is not the first time I have shared this statement with our University community, I feel it imperative to reiterate that we remain committed to an environment that encourages dialogue that is respectful and promotes a healthy exchange of ideas that will help students, faculty and staff consider perspectives of positive purpose. We believe the critical education our students receive, both in and out of the classroom, is vitally important to help engage understanding to overcome the challenges posed by those who would contradict our values as a learning community.

    As active, engaged members of society, we do this by sometimes critically confronting difficult topics and making the choice to either accept or reject them. There is no question that we live in a time where the concepts of democratic engagement and civil discourse have been abandoned, at times, and replaced with false information and intimidation. During these times, we have witnessed different forms of coercions, threats and overall dehumanization in our communities, our state, our country, and the world.

    In light of this, I would like to address events that have transpired since the start of the 2019 Fall Semester.

    There have been multiple incidents where a swastika was found and reported on campus over the past several months, most recently in the stairwell of the Church Fine Arts Building. The swastika in western society in the 20th century is a symbol of racial supremacy, religious persecution and genocide. Millions died prior to and during World War II in acts of genocide, promulgated under the swastika. Use of the swastika today is poisonous. It is a symbol of intimidation and hatred. This symbol is unwanted not only on our campus, but in all civilized places of gathering throughout the world. Every incidence of a reported swastika in a University facility is documented by the Hate and Bias Response Team and investigated by University Police Services.

    We will take legal measures whenever and wherever we can against those individuals who have been found to violate the law.

    It is immensely important to report incidents of hate and bias so that they can not only be addressed and communicated campus-wide, but also so the University can ensure those targeted are receiving the services they need.

    Further, the University has consulted with Hillel of Northern Nevada as we have learned of the appearance of such symbols. This relationship has proven positive and proactive, as Hillel leadership has met with members of our residence community and the campus in general in explaining and educating why swastikas have no place on our campus or in our society. We will continue to take similar educational approaches with other community groups in our ongoing effort to educate our University as to why such symbols are corrosive, are planted by cowards to sow division in our midst, and have no place at our University.

    Many of you have also expressed concern and dissatisfaction with the recent speaker invited to campus by a student group under the auspices of the undergraduate student government, the Associated Students of the University of Nevada, Reno. In fact, students from a multitude of perspectives expressed concern about questions of personal safety associated with the event itself as well as events leading up to and after its conclusion. It should be noted that ASUN does not discriminate and provides support for more than 300 recognized clubs and organizations. Many of these groups exist on campus by virtue of rights guaranteed to them for peaceful assembly – not necessarily because their values may align with the diversity, equity and inclusion efforts that have become the hallmark of our learning community.

    In response to the speaker, counter-events were held by students, faculty and staff to provide an opportunity for different opinions and ideas to be expressed. The campus that day functioned as all college campuses should in such a situation. Spaces for opinions were created, so that our campus community could come together to consider ideas and make individual choices. Colleges and universities encourage civil discourse to develop and exchange ideas and to affirm equal access to the opportunity to participate in this exchange for every student, every employee and every faculty member. It should also be noted that the University Administrative Manual, 5,303: Public Forum, does address these types of events and informs how they should operate. In addition, the Nevada System of Higher Education’s “Freedom of Expression: Aspirational Statement of Values,” also should be considered in understanding why such events are often held on Nevada campuses: “For members of the NSHE community, a proper response to ideas they find offensive, unwarranted, and dangerous is to engage in robust counter-speech that challenges the merits of those ideas and exposes them for what they are. To this end, NSHE and its institutions have a responsibility not only to promote a lively and fearless freedom of expression and deliberation, but also to protect that freedom when others attempt to restrict it.”

    I am also aware of an open letter addressed to me questioning what is being done to ensure campus remains a safe and inclusive space for all. The letter expresses questions about events that are held on our campus, as well as the policies and procedures that govern these events, among other things. What the letter shows me is that there are numerous people in our community and beyond who genuinely want to see change for the good. Although by no means is the University perfect, it is making progress in ensuring that our campus is safe and welcoming for all. The past week has seen a series of follow-up discussions related to the findings of the University Climate Survey. As a reminder, the University Climate Survey was a direct result of feedback after the multiple incidents that have taken place on our campus these past couple of years. University stakeholder groups from classified staff, undergraduate students, graduate students, academic faculty and administrative faculty were invited to participate in five forum sessions to contribute to the discussion of the Climate Survey to help the University develop a comprehensive action plan based on the survey’s insights and findings. Participation has been strong. With the help of Eloisa Gordon-Mora, our University Diversity and Inclusion Officer, the plan is to hold additional meetings in order to gain the broadest range of ideas and develop a resulting action plan.

    We have a lot of work to do on our campus based on the findings of the Climate Survey, which were released last month. It should be unacceptable to us all that groups that represent in very real ways the trajectory of our future as an institution -- including gender, race, sexual orientation, disability, low-income and religious groups -- expressed that they do not have a sense of belonging here. This was heartbreaking insight.

    Late last week, I met with members of the Young Feminists, a group that is recognized by ASUN and was part of the counter-events on Oct. 7. It was an extremely productive discussion. Equally important, the meeting reaffirmed the idea that we all have a role in making our campus the most welcoming and supportive environment it can possibly be for our faculty, staff and students. I wish to publicly thank those students for sharing their experiences with me.

    The events of the past few months on our campus do not belong to our campus alone. They represent larger issues in our nation that are not easily solved. College campuses throughout the country continue to grapple with issues of free speech, hateful symbols, and how best to come together as a community in order to ensure that there is proper discernment to understand why we all have a personal stake in these issues. Our University will not duck from its responsibility to further the discussion and understanding of these important issues, and many others like them. Yes, the discussion might be uncomfortable at times. But it is necessary. Constructive engagement of the type that the University should aspire to means continuous, informed awareness through constructive dialogue to address our most pressing of societal issues.

  • Climate Study Follow-up (September 25, 2019)

    Dear Colleague,

    On Sept. 18, the University released the findings of its “Speak Your Truth” climate survey during two Town Hall forums. The final report, “Assessment of Climate for Learning, Living, and Working,” the Executive Summary, as well as the Town Hall PowerPoint presentations are available at Speak Your Truth. All of this represents the culmination of more than one year of campus-wide mobilization, intensive work and commitment of resources to strive continually for a University culture and environment marked by the excellence, inclusion and accessibility for all students, faculty and staff that our mission demands.

    The persistent question heard after the forums was: What are they going to do with the data? And that is the question, most certainly. However, another important question ought to be: What are we going to do with the data. The whole objective of conducting the survey and gathering this extensive evidence is to take action. Even though 71 percent of all respondents felt comfortable with the overall University climate, the report also makes palpably clear that that level of comfort is not experienced in the same way by all groups.

    Consequently, we have to continue understanding those critical differences that result in such serious experiences as, lack of a sense of belonging, work or classroom incivility and unwillingness to report on troubling events. We cannot adequately address the needs of the different groups without hearing directly from them; that is, not what has been happening—that we have heard— but what can be done. Further, the need for extensive community involvement becomes more urgent in light of the different expressions of bias, hate and intimidation that have impacted our community during these recent weeks.

    Moving in that direction, and as next steps, we ask that you register and participate in one of the five forum discussions for a University-wide Action Plan that will take place during the week of October 9-16, 2019. You can participate as undergraduate students, graduate students, academic faculty, administrative faculty or classified staff.

    All groups will meet in the Mack Social Science Building (Room 241) from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. Capacity is limited, so you will need to RSVP at Speak Your Truth.

    Responding to the Climate Study sessions:

    • October 9, 2019: Classified Staff
    • October 10, 2019: Undergraduate Students
    • October 11, 2019: Graduate Students
    • October 14, 2019: Academic Faculty
    • October 16, 2019: Administrative Faculty

    The President's Council and Academic Leadership Council have already started discussion to form steps of action in response to what we learned from the Climate Study. Because the ultimate goal is for expansive community-led discussions and actions, we also request that the different department heads, supervisors and senior administrators, as well as faculty, staff and students, organize discussion groups, in light of the climate study findings and how they particularly impact those contexts and environments. These ought to be challenging dialogues, if they are meant to be honest, but also directed at fostering possible solutions, sustaining best practices and encouraging collaborations.

    Those findings can be directed to the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, Eloisa Gordon-Mora at egordonmora@unr.edu.

    It is also important to note that in the spirit of encouraging a University environment that welcomes excellence, inclusion and accessibility for all students, faculty and staff, we must also be mindful of being members of a University that welcomes civil discussion of unpopular or even controversial viewpoints that might differ from our own.

    We are reminded of words from an op-ed written in 2017 by Christopher Church, an assistant professor in our Department of History. Dr. Church’s words still have currency today. Let us reflect on Dr. Church’s words this semester, and let us use them in guiding us in the frank and fair discussion of ideas that we know are right, as well as those that we know are wrong: “…. we know there are multiple sides and perspectives to every issue, and we also know that human society has been and continues to be rife with problems. Exploring various perspectives challenges us to look at our own blind spots and prejudices, to learn from the past in order to improve the present. They should never lead us to entertain or replicate the vitriol that the past often contains … I ask you to continue to listen to the voices of those targeted by hate and oppression; understand the motivations of oppressors in order to resist them; speak out in defense of our fellow humans; and champion sound logic, reliable evidence, and empathy in all that you do. As a community of scholars and as engaged citizens, we must challenge anyone who would claim the ability to solve society’s complex problems with “simple” answers like violence, hatred, and jingoism.”

    Sincerely,

    Marc A. Johnson, President

    Eloisa Gordon-Mora, University Diversity and Inclusion Officer

  • Confronting acts of ignorance and blatant hate (September 17, 2019)

    Dear Colleague,

    There have been a number of abhorrent messages of hate, bigotry, anti-Semitism and anti-democratic ideologies discovered at and around the University of Nevada, Reno in recent weeks. While the University of Nevada, Reno is unfortunately not immune from the environment in which we have seen the same hate and bias incidents happen around the country, we understand how frustrating and disheartening events like this are for our Wolf Pack community.

    Let us be clear: This University unequivocally condemns/denounces all efforts that seek to marginalize any member of our community.

    We are proud of Taylor Johnson, our student who wrote today’s Nevada Sagebrush article, “White Supremacy Persists at UNR, Two Years After Charlottesville,” and commend her for the courage it took to publish her story. Her act of bravery is just one example of how to civically engage in a way that will continue to bring about change. The American Identity Movement does not exist as a registered student group at the University. By exposing groups like this, the campus now knows its agenda and can see the group for what it really is. We have the tools to combat this narrative and to educate our students on the contrary. It is through civic engagement that we call upon our University community to help change this narrative.

    Let us follow Taylor’s lead and call out these acts when we see them. Let us confront acts of ignorance and blatant hate with civility, respectful, active discourse and peaceful protest. Now is the time to stand together. Faculty, staff and students must stand guard against the hateful rhetoric and propaganda that would lead us to believe that our community is fractured. Our power is in standing together. It is our duty to use the most influential tool at our disposal – education – to challenge hate and address incidents of bias.

    It is also immensely important to report incidents of hate and bias so that they can not only be addressed and communicated University-wide, but also so the University can ensure those targeted are receiving the services they need.

    Sincerely,

    Marc A. Johnson, President

  • Welcome back to campus (August 27, 2019)

    To the campus community,

    The past few weeks have been a period of great activity for our campus. Thanks to the combined effort of so many of our faculty, staff and students, who have been working around the clock, we are now embarking on what should be a memorable year for our University.

    Since July 5, when an explosion severely damaged Argenta and Nye Halls, we faced an unprecedented challenge, with about 1,300 beds lost to our residence community and the University’s main campus dining area out of commission for the foreseeable future. The people of our University have come together in a truly inspiring and wonderful fashion since July 5, however. I’m pleased to report that we’ve found solutions for the lost 1,300 beds with the lease agreement we reached earlier this month for “Wolf Pack Tower” with Eldorado Resorts, and, as well, we have implemented the first phase of a two-phase dining solution for the campus.

    Here are the latest updates on these important topics, and a few others.

    The University welcomed students back to campus on two different occasions. The first wave of students arrived on Saturday, Aug. 17, when freshmen students participating in NevadaFIT, the one-week intensive college academic boot camp, moved into our residence halls, including the aforementioned Wolf Pack Tower, where the approximately 1,300 students displaced by the Argenta explosion will reside through May. Then, on Thursday, Aug. 22, the residence halls opened to returning and new students alike. They were greeted by the 20th annual New Student Ceremony in Lawlor Events Center on Friday, Aug. 23, as well as “Pack Palooza” events throughout the rest of the day.

    The first phase of the University’s interim dining facility plan, “Howler Village,” has been open for more than a week now. Howler Village will serve as the University’s interim dining facility until the semi-permanent sprung structure is built later this fall. Howler Village is located in the courtyard east of Great Basin Hall, between the William N. Pennington Student Achievement Center and the residence hall. In addition, in the days following the Argenta explosion, the Overlook Café was converted into an “all-you-care-to-eat” dining facility for cash customers. It is now called “The Eatery at Overlook.” Howler Village is for meal plan holders only. The Eatery at Overlook is All-You-Care-To-Eat and is open to all campus community members.

    There remain a multitude of food/drink options, open throughout the day and into the evening on campus, for faculty, staff and students to utilize. This group includes Pathways (located in the Center for Molecular Medicine), Bytes (in the Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center), Forklift (in the Fitzgerald Student Services Building), Las Trojes (in the Ansari Business Building), “create chopped and wrapped” (in the William N. Pennington Student Achievement Building), Elements (in the Davidson Math and Science Center), food trucks on campus and several retail dining/food operations within the Joe Crowley Student Union. Hours and menus vary, so consult dineoncampus/unr for more details.

    This semester results from the campus climate survey will be released. Rankin & Associates Consulting is finalizing a report that will be presented to members of the campus community at Town Hall meetings. To accommodate busy schedules, there will be two Town Hall meetings. The first is from 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., and the second is from 3:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 18 in Milt Glick Ballroom A in the Joe Crowley Student Union. The full and final report will be made available on the “Speak Your Truth” website after the Town Hall meetings. We want to remind everyone the climate survey is a mechanism for determining measurable actions to move our campus toward a heightened sense of belonging for all campus members.

    Please mark your calendars for the annual “State of the University” address, which will be held on Oct. 8, at 4 p.m. in the Glick Ballrooms of the Joe Crowley Student Union. I will speak about the events and achievements of the past year, and what the University’s plan will be in the wake of having realized several “big” institutional goals.

    In closing, I hope you have an enjoyable, enriching and productive semester. This is a wonderful time of year on our campus. There is so much energy and enthusiasm in the air as we welcome new students, new faculty and new staff. Thank you for all that you’ve done – and all that you hope to do this year.

    Sincerely,

    Marc A. Johnson, President

  • Wolf Pack Tower Contract (August 1, 2019)

    To the campus community,

    The University of Nevada, Reno has come to an agreement with CCR Newco, LLC, a subsidiary of Eldorado Resorts, to secure the 1,300 student beds needed after the July 5 explosion, which left Argenta and Nye Halls uninhabitable. University Residential Life and Housing will occupy the newly-renovated, non-gaming West Tower (“Sky Tower”) of Circus Circus Reno, ensuring an academic and community environment that promotes student success.

    The interim hall will be called “Wolf Pack Tower.” Students living in Wolf Pack Tower will be an active part of Residential Life and Housing programs and will engage in activities designed to aid in the student experience and the transition to being part of the University.

    We are extremely pleased that this agreement has been finalized. We are fortunate that our longtime community partner, Eldorado Resorts, understands what the needs of our program are and has agreed to work with us on transitioning their property into a residence space where our students will live, study and thrive. I also wish to thank the Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents for recognizing the urgency of housing so many students in such a short time, and moving quickly in unanimous support of our efforts to secure the needed housing.

    The University will commit resources to provide for the safety and security of all students in Wolf Pack Tower. Students will have separate, non-gaming entrances and exits to the building, and around-the-clock security. All entrances and exits will be staffed by University employees and a key-card system will be utilized for entry into the building. Additionally, University Police Services is planning for a substation in the building with a University police officer patrolling the building 24/7. Security cameras are also in place.

    The payment under the lease agreement with Eldorado Resorts is approximately $21.675 million. This amount will form part of the University’s claim through its insurance. Housing rates will remain consistent with the University’s currently published rates. Student fees and tuition are not being used to pay for Wolf Pack Tower.

    Additional information about Wolf Pack Tower can be found through Residential Life, Housing and Food Service.

    Since the University’s main dining facility was also damaged by the July 5 explosion, dining facilities for all residence hall students with a meal plan will be available through two temporary structures, built sequentially. Starting the week of Aug. 12, the University will have a mobile kitchen and temporary tent structure in the plaza east of Great Basin Hall. This structure will feed and seat up to 400 students at a time. The Overlook Café will also continue to operate as an all-you-care-to-eat residence hall dining facility. Later in the fall, the University will open a semi-permanent dining facility over the lawn between Thompson Hall and the Jot Travis Building.

    Sincerely,

    Marc A. Johnson, President

  • Argenta Hall update (July 9, 2019)

    To the campus community,

    First responders and public safety professionals from local, regional and state agencies were on campus within minutes. Our community stepped forward in major ways by offering donations for our displaced students. Governor Steve Sisolak, Nevada System of Higher Education Chancellor Thom Reilly, Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve, Washoe County, and our congressional delegation in Washington, D.C., have all offered their support for the work we are doing, and will continue to do, as we move on from Friday’s explosion.

    Today the University held its fourth press briefing, which included State Fire Marshal Bart Chambers, University Police Services Chief Todd Renwick, Executive Vice President Kevin Carman, Vice President of Student Services Shannon Ellis and myself. Please see Nevada Today to find out more about what was shared, including important information about the care of our students, the path ahead for living on campus, preliminary insight into the cause of the explosion, and what still must be done in the days to come.

    The people of our campus have shown themselves to be brave and thoughtful, concerned and caring, laser-focused on all emergency tasks yet full of personal grace as the events of the past few days have unfolded. Thank you for showing why the University is a special place. Our University is located deep in all of our hearts. It is a place where we vindicate all of our best hopes, and our best actions. The past few days have shown why this is so.

    Although the work is far from over, thank you for all that you have done.

    Sincerely,

    Marc A. Johnson, President

  • Update for Cost of Living Adjustment (June 18, 2019)

    Dear Colleague,

    The Board of Regents today adopted a recommendation from Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) Chancellor Thom Reilly that approves a 3 percent Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) starting July 1 for all eligible classified and professional employees. This will be reflected on the first paychecks of next fiscal year which is the August 1 check for professional employees and the July 25 check for classified employees. As you are likely aware, today’s vote came as a result of a $6.4 million state budgetary shortfall reported earlier this month.

    We will be discussing how to best fund this unfunded mandate with Faculty Senate and administrators of our colleges and divisions. The presidents of all of the NSHE member institutions are to report back by December to the Board of Regents about their plans to bridge this gap.

    As I have committed before, we will not use the new increase in student registration fees to fund this shortfall.

    As these decisions are made, I remain committed to keeping you informed of our next steps.

    Sincerely,

    Marc A. Johnson, President

  • COLA updates (June 7, 2019)

    Dear Colleague,

    The Nevada Legislature adjourned its 2019 legislative session Monday, June 3. There has been much confusion regarding the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) starting July 1, 2019 to NSHE employees. As a result, the chair of the Board of Regents has called a special meeting, set for Friday, June 14, to discuss this issue. Additional information and direction to the NSHE institutions will follow that meeting. I am committed to keeping you informed as information related to the COLA is shared and when the direction has been finalized.

    Sincerely,

    Marc A. Johnson, President

  • Parking updates (April 8, 2019)

    Dear Colleague,

    As you are aware, we implemented a sizeable parking permit fee increase last year to fund the new Gateway Garage and to fund the multi-year deferment of necessary maintenance obligations on asphalt parking lots, roadways and garage facilities.

    At the time, I committed to an annual review of the University Parking and Transportation budgets to evaluate the need for smaller, incremental increases each year. I have completed this review. Because the unit is self-supporting, it does not receive any state funding and must cover the increases in operational expenses through the revenue raised from permit sales. Due to increases in routine operating expenses and rising construction costs, additional funding is needed.

    Beginning in August 2019, parking permit fees at the University will increase by three percent across each permit type. The annual dollar increase will range between $1 and $20 depending upon the permit. A breakdown of the increase can be found on the Parking and Transportation website.

    I am pleased to announce that the south-campus Gateway Garage, expected to house 700 to 1,000 cars, is in the early stages of design. With the anticipated growth of campus in the Gateway District, and the expected continued demand for parking permits in the south end of campus, we anticipate it will be available in summer 2021 and will provide much needed additional parking for our campus.

    Lastly, the shuttle bus service, which was expanded to serve longer hours last year, will return in August to a basic service that will operate in one continuous loop around the campus, serving 12 stops between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. each day. By way of background, the revenue derived from transportation services is not sufficient to cover the expanded service hours provided. As a result, the students of the University were consulted to determine if the expanded hours of service were important, and if so, would they be willing to pay a fee for the service. Although our students appreciated the expanded shuttle service, in the end, they decided not to fund the expanded hours of operation.

    It is our goal to maintain parking and transportation expenses in line with revenues, while also providing students, faculty, staff and visitors to the University safe, well-maintained parking and transportation options. With that in mind, I have approved (1) the proposal to increase parking fees, which can be found on the Parking Permit Fee Increase webpage, and (2) the reduction in shuttle operating hours. The shuttle map, stops and hours can be found on the Shuttle Operations webpage.

    Sincerely,

    Marc A. Johnson, President

  • University Diversity & Inclusion Officer announced (March 25, 2019)

    Dear Colleague,

    I am pleased to announce that Dr. Eloisa Gordon-Mora has been appointed University Diversity and Inclusion Officer. The University Diversity and Inclusion Officer is a very important position, one that will influence the climate and culture of the campus for years to come. Last summer, in an effort to receive as much input as possible about this position and how its impact could be most fully realized, I met with more than 30 people on our campus to arrive at the appropriate position description, which was then advertised nationally.

    Dr. Gordon-Mora has had a distinguished career in academics and administration as well as in the world of non-profit organizations which partner with underrepresented groups. From 2007-2015, Dr. Gordon-Mora was the Dean of the School of Social Science, Humanities and Communications at Universidad Ana G. Méndez in San Juan, Puerto Rico. From 2015-2017 she was Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs at Universidad del Sagrado Corazon in San Juan, Puerto Rico. She returned to Universidad Ana G. Méndez to the Office of the Vice-Chancellor, as Director of Special Projects in 2018, focusing on general education, diversity and citizenship.

    During her time at Universidad Ana G. Méndez, she provided leadership in the School of Social Science, Humanities and Communications’ undergraduate programming and in the development of new graduate programs within the university system. As Provost at Universidad del Sagrado Corazon, she developed a comprehensive academic vision focused on innovation, excellence and social responsibility. As Vice President for Government Affairs for New York State’s largest victim assistance non-profit organization, Safe Horizon, Inc., Dr. Gordon-Mora was instrumental in developing the organization’s advocacy agenda, which centered on diversity and addressed such issues as domestic violence, child abuse, homelessness and human trafficking. She also has served as executive director of the Daphne Foundation, a community-oriented organization in New York City which aids neighborhoods facing discrimination, violence and poverty, as well as executive director of El Barrio Popular Education Program, a New York City-based literacy and adult education program for low-income Latinas. Dr. Gordon-Mora’s research agenda includes democratic theory, higher education, diversity and inclusion, social violence and marginality. She received her Ph.D. in Political Science and her M.A. in International Relations from the University of Notre Dame, and her B.A. in Political Science from Rockhurst University.

    The University Diversity and Inclusion Officer serves as the institution’s executive-level strategist responsible for guiding practices and creating opportunities to define, assess, and promote inclusive excellence, access, and cultural proficiency for faculty, students and staff. Dr. Gordon-Mora will be responsible for leading the development and implementation of a diversity and inclusion strategic plan in consultation with students, faculty, staff and administration. She will also engage community constituents through outreach efforts that will engender a strong sense of trust, fairness, respect and understanding of the University’s commitment to inclusion and equality. She will be a central source and point of coordination and communication for diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives and programs, and will oversee the budget and staff of the Office of the University Diversity and Inclusion Officer. She will report directly to the Office of the President and will be a member of the President’s Council (vice presidents and other campus-wide leaders) and the Academic Leadership Council (vice provosts and deans).

    With Dr. Gordon-Mora’s appointment, our University enters a new and exciting time. We must continue to strengthen our campus as well as the learning, living and working environment that we offer here through initiatives and ideas that will help us more productively listen, reflect, collaborate and understand one another. Dr. Gordon-Mora brings a deep and nuanced knowledge of how diversity and inclusion can help drive institutions to excellence in these key areas.

    I wish to give thanks for the time and dedication of the search committee, which was co-chaired by Vice President for Student Services Shannon Ellis and Daniel Enrique Perez, associate professor of World Languages and Literatures and director the Core Humanities Program. We had four excellent finalists with quite varied backgrounds and experience.

    Dr. Gordon-Mora begins her appointment in June. Please join me in offering her the warmest of Wolf Pack welcomes to our campus.

    Sincerely,

    Marc A. Johnson, President

  • Spring Semester Message (February 12, 2019)

    Dear Colleague,

    We are now well into the spring 2019 semester. There are many exciting events to look forward to in the coming months. I have a few updates/important dates to share with you.

    CAMPUS CLIMATE SURVEY: The Campus Climate Survey will commence on Feb. 19 and run through March 15. As many of you are already aware, this survey is an assessment of learning, living and working at the University of Nevada, Reno. It is an opportunity to identify successful initiatives, document and quantify specific challenges facing members of our community, and develop strategic initiatives in order to address challenges. It is your opportunity to describe your personal experiences, your observations, and to offer suggestions for change that might enhance the campus climate at the University. By sharing your perspective and experience, you will help inform the way policies and programs are created or improved. You truly can make a difference by simply, easily and confidentially, speaking your truth. To find out more, go to the Speak Your Truth webpage. In addition to the Campus Climate Survey, the search for the University Diversity and Inclusion Officer is proceeding. The search committee for this position will be bringing candidates to campus at the end of February and in early March. Information about the finalists and their visits to campus will be made available soon.

    UNIVERSITY IS NOW CARNEGIE R1: In December, the University learned that it reached the classification of “R1,” or “very high research activity,” by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. In order to reach this prestigious classification, doctoral universities must demonstrate uncommon productivity and output in the areas of research and graduate education. Only 130 universities, including our University and UNLV, were included in Carnegie’s R1 classification. This achievement was the culmination of a five-year effort by the faculty, staff and students of our University, requiring diligence, hard work, collaboration, creativity and a belief that our University was capable of doing great things. One hundred percent of the credit for reaching this classification has to go to all of the people at our University. Thank you all for making it happen.

    CHIEF GARCIA ACCEPTS NEW POSITION: Adam Garcia, assistant vice president and director of Police Services at the University since 2001, has accepted the newly created position of associate vice president and director, Southern Command Police Services. In his new position, Adam will report directly to the Southern Police Advisory Group, which is comprised of the four presidents of Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) institutions in southern Nevada (College of Southern Nevada, the Desert Research Institute, Nevada State College and UNLV). The Board of Regents voted unanimously in October to combine the police departments of UNLV and the College of Southern Nevada, citing student safety and efficiency. This model mirrors a similar consolidation of police services that occurred in 2016 between our University, Truckee Meadows Community College and the Desert Research Institute. In addition to Chief Garcia’s key role in the 2016 consolidation that occurred here in northern Nevada, he has been honored numerous times throughout his career at the University by national professional organizations, including his selection in 2016 as Police Director of the Year by the National Association of Campus Safety Administrators. We wish Chief Garcia all the best in his new role, and thank him for the good work he has done on behalf of the students, faculty, and staff of our University as well as the entire community. Todd Renwick will serve as interim assistant vice president and director of University Police Services while a national search for Chief Garcia’s successor is conducted.

    NEW WEBSITE COMING SOON: For the past 18 months, the Office of Marketing & Communications has been working on a complete rebuild of the University's main website. The goal was to modernize the look and feel of the site, improve user experience and navigation, and bring our website into compliance with accessibility guidelines. The updated version is on the horizon with the initial launch scheduled for late February. Be on the lookout for additional information regarding the site’s planned migration schedule.

    As the spring semester continues, I want to wish you all a productive and personally enriching time. Thank you for all you do for the betterment of our University.

    Sincerely,

    Marc A. Johnson, President

  • Legislative Session message (February 12, 2019)

    Dear Colleague,

    The 80th session of the Legislature kicked off last week, bringing new and familiar faces to Carson City. Sixty-three lawmakers will roam the halls of the legislative building during the 120-day session.

    To coincide with the start of the legislative session, I wanted to take the opportunity to remind everyone that the University’s Executive Director of Government Affairs, Heidi Gansert, is officially on a leave-of-absence from her position at the University to fulfill her role as a state senator.

    In her absence, Kerri Garcia, Director of Communications (784-1880) serves as University’s representative to the President’s Office during the session, working with University leadership and the NSHE Government Affairs team.

    The University Diversity and Inclusion Officer serves as the institution’s executive-level strategist responsible for guiding practices and creating opportunities to define, assess, and promote inclusive excellence, access, and cultural proficiency for faculty, students and staff. Dr. Gordon-Mora will be responsible for leading the development and implementation of a diversity and inclusion strategic plan in consultation with students, faculty, staff and administration. She will also engage community constituents through outreach efforts that will engender a strong sense of trust, fairness, respect and understanding of the University’s commitment to inclusion and equality. She will be a central source and point of coordination and communication for diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives and programs, and will oversee the budget and staff of the Office of the University Diversity and Inclusion Officer. She will report directly to the Office of the President and will be a member of the President’s Council (vice presidents and other campus-wide leaders) and the Academic Leadership Council (vice provosts and deans).

    To ensure we remain consistent with NSHE Policy, I remind you to keep Kerri updated and notify her in advance of any visits to the campus and/or meetings you may have with all elected officials (city, county, state and federal). This is important to keep us updated, but also so that we have an opportunity to provide guidance and assistance as needed.

    Sincerely,

    Marc A. Johnson, President

 

2018

  • Holiday Message (December 21, 2018)

    Dear Colleague,

    With final examinations for the fall semester drawing to a close, I wanted to thank you for all that you have done on behalf of the University.

    We have accomplished much in 2018 – from record graduation numbers, to great gains in faculty and staff productivity, to the important collaborations and partnerships we continue to establish with our community. This past year we’ve also asked difficult questions of ourselves and have come together as an institution, sharing thoughts, perspectives and ideas about who we are, what we have achieved, and what we still hope to become.

    An institution of higher learning is many things, but at its core the best institutions are all about forging the way forward -- inspiring people to ask more of themselves, in order to better lives. We see this play out every day on our campus – how the impact of our mission does indeed change lives and helps people find new dreams and directions that were not always thought possible. This is due to the staggering accumulation of effort, energy and empathy that is put forth daily by the people of the University of Nevada, Reno.

    Thank you for all that you have done to make this happen. I hope you have an enjoyable and relaxing holiday season. I look forward to seeing you in 2019.

    Sincerely,

    Marc A. Johnson, President

  • R1 Very High Research Classification (December 20, 2018)

    Dear Colleague,

    It is with tremendous pride, gratitude and a terrific sense of achievement that I bring you the news that the University of Nevada, Reno has been notified by the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education that our institution has been elevated to the top classification for research universities: R1- Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity. This is the culmination of a quest that began years ago and was only made possible through the significant contributions of so many within our University community.

    This R1 classification was awarded to the University by the Carnegie Commission through a formula that considered the numbers and variety of doctoral degrees awarded, the University’s research expenditures, and other factors such as the amount and types of laboratory space on campus, all relative to the overall size of our institution.

    I’m also happy to report, and send a hearty congratulations to, our sister institution UNLV, which also has been newly recognized as an R1 institution.

    Additional information about what this will mean for our University will be forthcoming in the weeks ahead. Until then, let me again thank and congratulate all of you who played such a pivotal role in this significant achievement and milestone.

    Sincerely,

    Marc A. Johnson, President

  • Campus Welcome (August 30, 2018)

    Dear Colleague,

    The 2018-2019 academic year is upon us. There is a palpable sense of energy on campus, as over the past several days we've welcomed a record number of students into our residential communities. Classes have begun. As always, I am so impressed with the level of commitment that our faculty and staff demonstrate as the campus ramps up for another academic year. Thanks for all that you have done in preparation for 2018-2019. May the coming year be one of personal and professional fulfillment.

    Here are a few quick updates:

    On Aug. 16, we celebrated the grand opening of our newest residential community, Great Basin Hall. Great Basin is home to students who are interested in the disciplines of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). This STEM focus will provide students with an informal mentoring system in an effort to recruit and retain students in the STEM fields.

    The University Arts Building continues to make good progress and is on track for completion by the end of the fall semester.

    Work has begun on the William N. Pennington Engineering Building. It is expected to be completed in 2020.

    The 80th session of the Nevada State Legislature will convene on Feb. 4, 2019. The University is already working in concert with the Nevada System of Higher Education to establish a list of budgetary/capital improvement priorities. The input and support from Faculty Senate and Staff Employees Council will play an important role in the development of our priorities. I encourage you to stay abreast of this semester's meetings of both of these governing bodies. I plan to provide more detail concerning the legislative priorities for our University during the annual "State of the University" address, which will be held on Sept. 26, at 4 p.m. in the Glick Ballrooms of the Joe Crowley Student Union.

    During 2018-2019, the University will undertake a campus climate assessment. To provide a more complete perspective, we have contracted Rankin & Associates Consulting to help lead this effort. Rankin & Associates, of Howard, Pa., is a nationally recognized leader in institutional evaluation. A team from Rankin & Associates will be working with a committee of students, faculty and staff to develop and implement the assessment. This study will provide our students, faculty and staff an opportunity to have their voices heard on defining campus climate issues. A web site is being developed to provide communication on the project's process and results. It will go live in the next few days, and will include a timeline for completion, FAQ's, and other pertinent information.

    Also this fall, the University will undertake a national search for a leader for inclusion and equity. A position announcement will be forthcoming early next month. The University will be seeking an individual who will help guide our efforts around diversity, inclusion and equity, and who will help us foster a campus culture of respect, understanding and openness to new ways of thinking. The position will report directly to the president and will be a member of President's Council and Academic Leadership Council.

    A number of successful grants were made by our faculty this summer. Congratulations to all who have received this recognition. Our efforts on the innovation front have also been notable. One new company, tech startup ClickBio, has graduated from the InNEVation Center to commercial facilities. This is just one example of how the University is helping to develop new industries, companies and jobs for the 21st-century Nevada economy.

    It is only late August. But we all know how quickly time moves on our campus. Before we know it, it will be time for December's Commencement Ceremony. Between now and then, enjoy what is to come. Thank you for all that you do to further our University's mission, and for making a profound difference in the lives of the people on our campus, and in our community.

    Sincerely,

    Marc A. Johnson, President

  • A Message from President Johnson (August 29, 2018)

    Dear Colleague,

    To the University of Nevada, Reno community:

    As we mourn the loss of lives at The Living Tree Synagogue in Pittsburg, we express our sorrow and outrage at senseless violence directed toward people of one religion.

    But what can we do about it? First, be watchful and aware of friends and colleagues most affected by fear and emotion related to this incident; let them know your personal support of them and encourage counseling, if appropriate.

    Second, use the opportunity offered by this University to study and work with people of many different backgrounds; listen and seek to understand what is important to them and seek value in their ideas and contributions.

    Third, provide leadership for inclusion throughout your lives; each of us, as citizens and colleagues shape our culture.

    Sincerely,

    Marc A. Johnson, President

  • Great Basin Hall Grand Opening August 16, 2018 (July 25, 2018)

    Through the naming of Great Basin Hall, the University of Nevada, Reno is honored to recognize the traditional homelands of the Indigenous peoples of Nevada and would like to acknowledge the tribes of the Great Basin who historically and currently reside in the state of Nevada: Newe (Western Shoshone), Nuwu (Southern Paiute), Numu (Northern Paiute) and Wa She Shu (Washoe).

    Great Basin Hall will be home to students who are interested in the disciplines of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). This 114,000 square-foot residence hall is designed to house more than 400 students, 90 percent freshmen and 10 percent upperclassmen. As a Gold LEED-certified ("green") building, Great Basin Hall has a very low impact on the environment. This certification is due to features that include: energy-efficient mechanical systems, LED lighting, low water-flow fixtures, recycled materials and large windows to maximize natural light. This STEM themed residential community will provide students with an informal mentoring system in an effort to recruit and retain students in the STEM fields.

    President Marc A. Johnson
    invites you
    to a grand opening ceremony for
    Great Basin Hall
    Thursday, August 16, 2018


    Program • Multipurpose Room
    10:00 a.m.

    Tours and light refreshments to follow

    Great Basin Hall
    University of Nevada, Reno


    Please RSVP by Thursday, August 9 to Katie Suga via email or call (775) 682-6014

  • Campus Climate Survey (July 12, 2018)

    Dear Colleague,

    Reflecting our values of diversity, inclusion and our heritage as a land-grant university, it is important that we continually strive for a campus environment marked by openness, fairness and equal access for all students, faculty and staff. In fact, it is clear that our University is at its best when we acknowledge and nurture the individual needs, abilities and potential of all of our people. Over the past year, we've engaged in constructive dialogue, with emphasis placed on mutual respect and a willingness to implement change in areas where it is needed, to help us become a more understanding, diverse and inclusive campus. Still, there is much more we can do if we are to become a place where all individuals feel not only a sense of belonging, but that their own experiences, both personal and professional, are valued.

    During the 2018-19 academic year, the University will undertake a campus climate assessment. To ensure full transparency and to provide a more complete perspective, we have contracted with Rankin & Associates Consulting to help lead this effort. Rankin & Associates, of Howard, Pa., is a nationally recognized leader in institutional evaluation. They have conducted more than 190 campus climate assessment projects over the last 20 years.

    A team from Rankin & Associates will be working with a committee of students, faculty and staff from the University to develop and implement the assessment. The results will enable us to develop programs and policies to increase inclusivity in areas which are shown to be problematic and, as well, to enhance and replicate programs and policies in areas which are shown to be successfully meeting the needs of our campus community. Just as important as the results are the opportunities the assessment will provide our students, faculty and staff to have their voices heard on defining campus climate issues - issues that promise to position our University and how effectively we realize our mission for years to come.

    A climate project web site is being developed to provide communication on the project's process and results. In the coming weeks, we will forward this site and additional information about the project as it becomes available.

    We have had excellent dialogue over the past several months on how best to create a safe and supportive campus environment. The campus climate assessment is the next important step we must take. I hope that you will join me in supporting this important project.

    Sincerely,

    Marc A. Johnson, President

  • COLA Increase and Changes to Distribution (June 25, 2018)

    Dear Colleague,

    I am pleased to remind you that the 3% legislatively approved cost of living adjustment (COLA) increase is effective July 1, 2018. This increase is applicable to most faculty and all regular classified staff. The 3% increase will be paid on the July 25 paycheck for regular classified staff and on the August 1 paycheck for faculty.

    For faculty, annual salary worksheets will no longer be sent. Salary actions are viewable in Workday by the employee after the effective date of the transaction. The COLA increase can be viewed by affected employees on or after the July 1 effective date. After viewing your new pay rate in Workday, if you believe there are any errors, please notify your dean's or director's office immediately. All employees can view their salary history in Workday from October 1, 2017 going forward. You can access your salary information in Workday by following the instruction in the Workday Knowledge Base.

    The terms and conditions of your employment incorporate the Code and remain in effect pursuant to your last Terms of Employment. Your acceptance of the salary change will be in accordance with the provisions of NSHE Code, Title 2, Section 5.4.4.

    Thank you for your continued service to the University of Nevada, Reno.

    Sincerely,
    Marc A. Johnson, President

  • Chief Diversity Officer Change (May 10, 2018)

    Dear Colleague,

    The past year has challenged the University to confront incidents of racism, discrimination, bias and hate. We have and continue to hear from many voices on and off campus. I am proud of the efforts of our students and colleagues to engage in dialogue and offer constructive ideas to make our campus more diverse and inclusive.

    We have initiatives and projects that are starting to take shape and grow, and groups and individuals throughout our campus have been essential in helping to guide us towards taking important steps and assessing the effectiveness of these efforts. While the work thus far has been promising, we know this work is far from complete.

    At the request of Patricia Richard, who is currently serving in a dual capacity role on campus, the University will move forward with a national search for a chief diversity officer. The position will be full-time, dedicated to bringing elevated attention and energy to the breadth of issues and challenges we face. Patricia will remain in the current role until we have a new chief diversity officer in place. Over the summer I will be studying the appropriate structure and role for diversity leadership to fulfill the University's commitment to diversity and inclusion. I welcome your perspective and suggestions.

    A note of thanks is in order for the work that Patricia has done. From the beginning, she has taken a proactive approach to fully embrace the vision the Board of Regents has set for diversity and inclusion. She has taken the time to involve herself in reaching out to the many diverse groups on campus to open dialogue and discussion on issues related to diversity, inclusion and equity. In forming a Diversity Council, she has brought together professional leaders on campus, as well as representatives from Faculty Senate, Staff Employees Council, ASUN and GSA. These important groups have helped bring expertise and perspective from a number of diverse interests to coordinate work, including a comprehensive climate study to be conducted, and the development of a Diversity Plan. These important elements, both in terms of collaboration and shared vision, have positioned our campus well for the future.

    These steps represent the next stage in what must be an ongoing effort. We have made progress, and we must continue to build upon these efforts. There is certainly more work that needs to be done. Every day, we can and should ask more of ourselves as we address the issues of diversity, equity and inclusion. This is an institutional commitment and a responsibility we all share.

    Sincerely,
    Marc A. Johnson, President

  • Classified Employee Family Opportunity Program (April 9, 2018)

    Dear Colleague,

    The University is pleased to announce the Classified Employee Family Opportunity Program for spouses, domestic partners and dependents of our classified staff. This program, which will pay a portion of the base registration fee, will begin in time for the 2018 fall semester, and is the culmination of a months-long effort by the University and the leadership of Staff Employees Council (SEC) to provide a broadening of access and additional benefits for our classified staff. A recent campus-wide survey of our classified staff indicated that an overwhelming majority of respondents - more than 95 percent - indicated that they wished the University would pursue a registration fee reduction benefit of this kind. Working in concert, Administration and Finance, Human Resources and SEC, under the leadership of chair Meghan Ezekiel, have developed the following eligibility guidelines for classified staff.

    Eligibility:
    Spouses, domestic partners and financially dependent children of active regular classified employees working at least .53 full-time equivalent at the University of Nevada, Reno.

    • "Spouse" is defined as any individual lawfully married to another individual;
    • "Domestic partner" is defined as any individual so registered with the Office of the Secretary of State of Nevada;
    • "Financially dependent child" shall mean a natural, adopted or step child of a classified staff member who is not financially independent, is claimed as an exemption for federal income tax purposes under the U.S. Internal Revenue Code (26 U.S.C. § 152), and has not attained the age of 24. The classified staff member must attest to a dependency each time a tuition reduction is issued. The University of Nevada, Reno may at any time request proof of dependent eligibility for verification purposes;
    • The financially dependent children of a domestic partner are also eligible.
    • For qualified, dependent children who have served on active duty in the United States Armed Forces, the age limitation will be extended for the period of such active service, but not to exceed six years.

    There is no age limitation for a spouse or a domestic partner.

    Limitations and Course of Study:
    The Classified Employee Family Opportunity program may only be used for undergraduate state-supported courses at the University of Nevada, Reno.
    There is no limit to the number of credits that will be covered for each term (Fall, Spring, Summer I, II and III).
    Fees covered by this program amount will be equivalent to the current amount of the grant-in-aid benefit for professional employees and pay for a portion of the base registration fee.
    This program does not pay for the cost of additional fees such as differential registration fees, special course fees, excess credit fees, or books.
    Student health fees will not be waived for spouses, financially dependent children and domestic partners (even if they are covered on the employee's health insurance).
    If a spouse or dependent child does not quality as a resident student, only the state portion of the general registration fee is paid by this benefit.

    Courses eligible for reduced registration fees:

    1. All for-credit classes that are included in the weighted student credit hour calculation for state funding
    2. University Studies Abroad Consortium classes
    3. NevadaFIT
    4. Extended Studies/Summer Session classes (see restriction below)
    5. 365 Learning on-line for-credit classes

    Restrictions on courses eligible for reduced registration fees:
    The following programs are not eligible, or have restrictions:

    1. Pearson on-line sponsored programs (PEARSON) are not eligible.
    2. Gerontology (GERO) is not eligible.
    3. Intensive English Language classes (IELC) are not eligible.
    4. Remedial classes <100 level are not eligible.
    5. Non-credit classes offered through Extended Studies are not eligible for this benefit.
    6. Extended Studies/365 Learning, including Summer Session, reserves the right to refuse to honor a Classified Grant-In-Aid in a requested academic credit class.

    It should be noted that the existing grant-in-aid program for classified staff remains the same, and that the University encourages its classified staff to pursue training and educational opportunities available to them. The Classified Employee Family Opportunity program for spouses, domestic partners and dependents will begin accepting applications in May. For specific questions related to this benefit, visit the Human Resources website.

    I wish to thank all of the individuals who have spent a great deal of time meeting, discussing and formulating this plan. The University has for many years wished to develop a program like this for our employees. As members of our classified staff continue to grow their careers at our University, it is our hope that their spouses, domestic partners and dependents will use this new benefit to further their access and pursuit of an education at our University as well.

    Sincerely,

    Marc A. Johnson, President

  • University Parking and Transportation Services Update (March 15, 2018)

    Dear Colleague,

    University Parking and Transportation Services closely monitors and evaluates the parking options and availabilities on our campus. Annually, five parking space availability counts are conducted and, as the University continues to grow, it has been determined that by FY22 - just four years from now - there may only be an estimated 600 remaining parking permits left to be sold as compared to the 1,336 available today.

    As a result, the University is working to establish a south-campus location for a new 750- to 1,000-space parking complex. With the anticipated growth of the south campus in the Gateway District, and the expected continued demand for parking permits in the south end of campus, the timeline for opening the new Gateway District parking complex is slated for summer 2020 or 2021.The estimated cost of the new parking complex is approximately $16 to $20 million.

    University Parking and Transportation is a self-supporting entity that does not receive state funding. The department's budget is no longer adequate to fund new construction and the existing maintenance needed of parking lots, University roadways and garages. Over time, multi-year deferment of necessary maintenance obligations could result in a costly backlog as well as poor quality facilities. It is also important to note that the University shuttle service, PACKTransit, receives significant financial subsidies from parking operations to operate the bus services.

    In order to continue these services, maintain existing facilities and to fund the new parking complex, additional funding is needed.

    Beginning in August 2018, parking permit fees at the University will increase. The majority of parking permit holders will experience a 17-percent increase, residence hall (Yellow permit holders) will experience a 37.5-percent increase and contractors, reserved department and reserved Silver permit holders will experience a 43-percent increase. A breakdown of the increase, along with some Frequently Asked Questions, can be found on  Parking and Transportation's website.

    While these new fee increases are significant, it is important to note that during the Great Recession, Parking and Transportation Services did not raise its rates. In fact, parking fees have not increased at the University since 2011. As part of the rate increase, the University compared these new rates to 21 peer institutions and found that the University's median cost for parking permits is still significantly lower.

    Like many other four-year institutions of higher education, parking is often viewed as an issue both for its cost and availability. It is our goal to bring parking and transportation expenses in line with revenue, while also providing students, faculty, staff and visitors to the University different parking and transportation options. With that in mind, I have approved the proposal to increase parking fees, which can be found on the  Parking Permit Fee Increase webpage (2018).

    Sincerely,

    Marc A. Johnson, President

  • Important DACA Update (March 2, 2018)

    Dear Colleague,

    On September 5, 2017 the announcement made to end Deferred Action of Childhood Arrivals (DACA), pressured Congress to create legislation to extend or replace DACA by March 5, 2018. This initial announcement limited the opportunities for recipients to renew DACA, however, on January 9, 2018, a federal judge in California issued a nationwide injunction on the repeal of DACA. This injunction permits DACA recipients to continue to renew their DACA despite the March 5, 2018 deadline.

    If you or anyone you know has DACA please read U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services information to renew DACA. We encourage DACA recipients to consult with an immigration attorney or a Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) accredited representative before renewing their DACA. Our community has four nonprofit organizations (listed below) that can provide legal advice on immigration issues. These organizations are currently prioritizing renewals for DACA and Temporary Protective Status (TPS).

    On March 5, 2018, The Equal Opportunity and Title IX Office is organizing an Immigration Panel so students, families, faculty and the entire University community can learn more about DACA and TPS. Immediately after the panel discussion, attendees will have the opportunity to attend an immigration fair where nonprofit organizations from our community will be available to provide information on services offered. The Immigration Panel and Fair will take place on Monday, March 5 at 5:30 p.m. at the Joe Crowley Student Union, Ballroom A.

    We want to recognize the psychological impact our undocumented communities are currently facing. For any students who need emotional and/or mental health support, we encourage you to reach out to UNR Counseling Services or call the Crisis Call Center (775) 784-8090. Additionally, Jahahi Mazariego, Social Services Coordinator, can help students and their families navigate immigration based resources and local community resources. Jahahi can be reached by calling (775) 784-1547 or by visiting JCSU 303-C. For additional resources, please visit Equal Opportunity and Title IX: Resources for Undocumented and DACA Students.

    Catholic Charities of Northern Nevada
    Catholic Charities of Northern Nevada Website
    (775) 393-3877
    500 E. Fourth Street, Reno, NV

    Progressive Leadership of Nevada (PLAN)
    PLAN Immigration Website
    (775) 800-1851
    495 Apple St., Ste. 108

    Tu Casa Latina 
    Tu Casa Latina Website
    (775) 432-9929

    Washoe Legal Services 
    Washoe Legal Services Website
    (775) 329-2727
    299 S. Arlington Ave, Reno, NV

    Marc A. Johnson, President

  • Workday Update (January 19, 2018)

    Dear Colleague,

    As we begin 2018, we can look back on our first three months with Workday. I'd like to thank you all for your patience, flexibility, and collaboration as we learned the new system. 

    While there have been challenges and frustrations along the way, we can also be proud of our successes.  We have hired 563 new employees, submitted approximately 20,000 leave requests, processed nearly 12,500 PCard transactions, and approved more than 3,000 expense reports all in Workday.

    For a full listing of Workday statistics go to Workday

    Paying our employees accurately and timely is an important responsibility. While the majority of payroll information has processed correctly, some unique situations continue to arise. As these are identified, Human Resources and Payroll will continue to correct these issues, determine the underlying cause and investigate to determine if other individuals were affected.

    The last few months have presented a significant learning curve and challenges. The Workday staff will continue to provide support to help continue successful use of the system. There are a number of resources available to you.

    • Workday Help Desk - In the first three months of Workday, the Help Desk received nearly 3,000 tickets and closed more than 94 percent of these calls. Create a Workday Help Desk ticket or call 775-784-6086 for answers to all your Workday questions.
    • Workday Announcements - The Workday Announcements page includes links to all communications sent out regarding Workday. Review previous communications on topics including time tracking, expense reports, and managing employees. 
    • Workday Knowledge Base - Based on feedback from you, the Workday project team has put forth significant effort to improve the Workday Knowledge Base. Use the Knowledge Base to find University-specific frequently asked questions.
    • Workday Training and Resources Page - The Workday Training and Resource Page provides links to resources based on specific Workday roles and transactions. Follow these links for updated job aids, presentations, and videos to help you complete your work.

    With each month, we all become more comfortable with Workday and the project team continues to make enhancements to the system. Thank you again for your patience and support and we look forward to a new year with Workday.

    Sincerely,

    Marc A. Johnson, President

 

2017

  • We Stand With Dreamers (December 13, 2017)

    Since the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program was started in 2012, the University of Nevada, Reno has proudly stood with our "Dreamer" students. We have seen the valuable and highly positive contributions these young people have made for our institution, our community, our state and our nation. We are quickly learning, however, that many of the protections afforded the Dreamers by the federal government are diminishing. As a University, and as a nation, we cannot afford to let this happen. The University's administration has met with our congressional delegation in Washington. We have made it clear to our legislative leaders that commitments to the future of Dreamers in our country must be honored and sustained. Temporary solutions must give way to permanent legislation that will ensure that Dreamers can pursue the same future as any of the other student groups on our campus. DACA recipients must be assured that they and their families will not lose protection from deportation, and that they will continue to be able to study and work here legally. Our Dreamers deserve the opportunity to use education to realize their own vast personal potential while they continue to make positive contributions to our society. We stand in solidarity with the Dreamers.

  • Holiday Message 2017 (December 11, 2017)

    Dear Members of the University Community,

    As the fall semester draws to a close, I wish to extend my sincere wishes for a joyful and happy holiday season. Without your hard work and dedication to the mission and core values of our University, the accomplishments of 2017 would not have been possible. The talent, knowledge and passion that you show for your work makes the greatest possible difference in the lives of so many people.

    Happy holidays.

    Sincerely,
    Marc A. Johnson, President

  • The Passing of President Joe Crowley (November 29, 2017)

    Dear University Campus Community,

    Joe Crowley, who served our University with distinction, beginning as a professor of political science in 1966 and then, for a record-setting tenure from 1978-2000 as our president, died on Tuesday at age 84.

    Today we mourn his loss, we remember his legacy, and we offer sincere condolences to Joe's wife Joy, and the entire Crowley family.

    Joe will be remembered as one of the finest presidents in the history of our University. He will be spoken about in the same breath as some of our most influential figures in the history of Nevada.

    At a time of tumult when he first became president, he re-established a sense of order on our campus and created a stronger sense of statewide respect for our institution. Moving throughout his historic 23-year tenure as our leader, Joe served with distinction, skill and integrity. He built the University into what it is today. He did so with a rare sense of personal grace that endeared him to an entire generation of students, faculty and staff at the University, and made him a beloved figure in our community and our state.

    He used to always say, "Just call me Joe."

    Today, hoping that Joe doesn't mind the superlatives, we remember him for being a faithful steward of the promise that is our University, from his time as a professor and throughout his days as our president.

    His dedication and devotion toward the students of the University of Nevada, Reno will live on in the legacy of his work, and, as well, in the union that bears his name where students will continue to gather for generations to come.

    Sincerely,

    Marc A. Johnson, President

  • Upcoming Diversity Events (November 14, 2017)

    Dear Colleague,

    The University is committed to providing a welcoming, safe, inclusive and diverse campus community for all students, faculty, and staff - one that enriches our understanding and appreciation of each other.

    Below are some of the events that are excellent ways to join the conversation related to diversity, equity and inclusion on our campus:

    International Education Week  
    November 13-17 - learn more at  www.unr.edu/international

    Dare to Dream: A Discussion About DACA
    Tuesday, November 14 from 7-9 p.m., MIKC Wells Fargo Auditorium
    Speakers, including representatives from the Department of Legislative Affairs, will be speaking about DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). Topics will include what DACA is, who it affects, and what the future holds.

    A Status Report on the Navajo Language
    Wednesday, November 15 from 11:30 a.m. - 12:15 p.m., JCSU Room 324
    Like other indigenous languages in the United States, Navajo is considered an endangered language. However, the details of this categorization varies across languages. Join Dr. Montoya as he discusses the current state of the Navajo language and shows how it exhibits signs both of risk and uncertainty and of vibrancy and renewal. In addition, Dr. Montoya will present some of the distinctive linguistic characteristics of the Navajo language.

    Coffee House Series featuring Lijie
    Wednesday, November 15 from 6-8 p.m., JCSU Blind Onion
    You can enjoy music from Lijie, a musical artist who will be performing in both English and Chinese. Lijie moved from China to the U.S. when she was 5 and she began her musical foundation with lessons on piano. She has toured the U.S., London and China. Free treats and coffee from Blind Onion.

    Implicit Bias Search Committee Training
    Beginning in the fall of 2017,  all search committee members, including search chairs involved in faculty searches, will be required to attend this training. This workshop will discuss how to promote diversity and manage implicit bias in faculty searches. We will also address the search process, the roles of the Search Chair and the Committee, as well as other issues that can affect the fairness of a faculty search.
    Thursday, November 16 from 8-10 a.m., JCSU Theater
    Tuesday, December 5 from 9-11 a.m., JCSU Theater
    Monday, December 18 from 9-11 a.m., JCSU Theater

    Faculty and Staff Green Dot Training
    Friday, November 17 from 9 a.m.-noon, JCSU Room 320
    Traditional prevention programs may only approach men as potential perpetrators and women as potential victims. Green Dot approaches all students, staff, administrators, and faculty as allies. The original Green Dot program was conceived in the college setting to prevent dating violence, sexual violence and stalking. It relies on the premise that if everyone does their small part and commits to individual responsibility, the combined effect is a safe campus culture that is intolerant of violence. The college-based curriculum draws heavily on the experiences of college students and the reality of this issue in their lives. This curriculum uses interactive activities to reinforce core concepts and encourages students to envision their future and the world in which they want to live, then aligns their bystander behavior with that vision. To register, visit Green Dot Training.

    Night of All Nations
    Friday, November 17 from 6-9 p.m., JCSU Ballrooms
    Experience the culture of more than 20 countries serving food and presenting their traditions. Dancers and musicians will entertain the crowd, while attendees will have the opportunity to participate at various craft booths and meet representatives from international clubs and organizations. More information, including ticket information, is available on the  Night of All Nations website

    Elect Her
    Saturday, November 18 from 12:30 p.m. - 5 p.m.
    Elect Her is a training program that prepares college women to run for student government on their college or university campuses. Research has shown that women who run for student body elections in college are more likely to run for office as adults. We welcome and embrace intersections of identity, including gender expression and identity, sex, sexuality, race, ethnicity, national origin, first language, ability, age, religion, party and socioeconomic status. To be considered for the training program we ask that students submit a short application to help us get a better understanding of why they are interested in serving the student body. For more information, please visit Elect Her.

    Get to Know Us - Ask a Muslim
    Tuesday, November 21 from 5-8 p.m., JCSU Ballroom C
    Get to Know Us ... Ask a Muslim is an event organized by The Center: Every Student, Every Story. The purpose of the event is to strengthen the communication between the Muslim community and the Reno community. Muslims want to spread their message of peace by coming to this event and talking and engaging with all who attend. Guests are strongly encouraged to bring a vegetarian dish to share with the community.  Following the dinner, guests are encouraged to visit the multiple stations that are organized by Muslim members.  The purpose of these stations is to provide information/resources to members of this community. Stations include, Henna design, Ask A Muslim, Try a Hijab, Your Name in Arabic, and Islamic Resources. For more information, contact Araceli Martinez at 775-784-4936. 

    Something to Talk About: Fall 2017 Film Series
    This series is meant to provide students with the opportunity to watch a recent film and engage in dialogue around the issues brought up in each film in regards to its impact on our society today. All films will be shown at the Joe Crowley Student Union Theater.
    December 6 at 7:30 p.m. - Lion

    Northern Nevada Diversity Summit  
    April 12, 2018, JCSU
    The Cultural Diversity Committee will be hosting the Northern Nevada Diversity Summit titled "Challenges, Changes, and Solutions: The Reality of Equity and Diversity within Higher Education and the Community." The deadline to submit a proposal is  Friday, December 8th, 2017 at 5 p.m. (PST). Presenters will be notified by email about the status of their proposal by January 30, 2018. Visit Diversity for more information.

    Microaggressions Workshop
    This hour-long training brings awareness to the topic of microaggressions and the impact they have on those affected by them, while providing participants with strategies and methods that can be used to decrease microaggressions in their daily lives. To schedule the workshop with your group, please contact Aubrey Flores at  aubreyf@unr.edu.

    Sincerely,

    Marc A. Johnson, President

  • Traffic Stop Campus Letter (November 9, 2017)

    Dear Campus Community:

    The internal affairs investigation conducted by University Police Services and a separate investigation conducted by the University's Office of Equal Opportunity and Title IX regarding the police traffic stop earlier in the fall have been completed. Appropriate steps have been taken following University and Nevada personnel policies. It should be noted that personnel actions are confidential by law, due to Nevada Administrative Code 284.718.

    I understand and empathize with individuals who feel frustration regarding the traffic stop and its aftermath. The thoughts, suggestions and personal testimony shared by our faculty, staff and students have reinforced in my mind the importance of a safe and welcoming campus environment.

    The Equal Opportunity and Title IX Office, Chief Diversity Officer and Police Services have worked to improve the efficiency and responsiveness of our reporting policy and procedures when a crime, threatening action, or threatening words are reported. Further, Chief Adam Garcia has been meeting personally with numerous student groups on campus to understand their perceptions of safety, and will continue to do so. He has also instituted comprehensive training processes called "Bias Policing Training" for all department members, with participation from respected community members. The department has embarked on a recruitment drive to further diversify the department. Training will be ongoing.

    Given what has been happening in our country, I can understand why some might feel that official statements denouncing hateful words and actions are not enough. We've had many conversations, meetings and workshops this semester to address these events and the impact they've had on our campus. We will continue to hire the most diverse faculty we can, to bring the campus together for thoughtful, meaningful dialogue on the subjects of diversity and inclusion, and continue to hold trainings and workshops so that we can all better understand each other in the workplace and in the classroom.

    This is our focus going forward.

    Sincerely,

    Marc A. Johnson, President

  • Church Fine Arts Graffiti (October 13, 2017)

    To the UNR Community,

    Recently the Church Fine Arts "graffiti stairwell" was tagged with swastikas and threatening language. The stairwell is a space intended as a celebration of artistic expression.

    University Police has asked that anyone with information related to this incident please contact them at (775) 334-2677. 

    In response to the tagging, Dean Debra Moddelmog and her colleagues in the College of Liberal Arts are inviting graffiti artists, students and faculty to join them this Sunday (10/15) at 2 p.m. to repaint and restore the graffiti stairwell to its function as an artistic creative outlet for art over violence.

    Dean Moddelmog stated that, "Taking back the stairwell demonstrates our commitment to love over hate, peace over violence, and community over intimidation.

    Please watch the University events calendar for details.

    Sincerely,

    Marc A. Johnson, President

  • Upcoming Diversity Events (October 4, 2017)

    Dear Colleague,

    As I stated in my State of the University Address last month, we are committed to a culture of inclusion at the University. Below are some of the events that are excellent ways to join the conversation related to diversity, equity and inclusion on our campus:

    Diversity Dialogues: Campus Representation
    Thursday, October 5 from 3:00 - 4:30 p.m., JCSU Graduate Student Lounge
    Diversity Dialogues invites the campus community for continuous discussion throughout the year on diversity related topics and current events. It is a space for upper administration, academic, administrative and classified personnel to engage in meaningful dialogue with our student body in an effort to continue to strive for a better University of Nevada, Reno in an effort to "respect and reflect the gender, ethnic, cultural, and ability/disability diversity of the citizens of Nevada."

    Latinx/Hispanic Heritage Month Dinner
    Thursday, October 5 from 6:00 - 8:00 p.m., Jot Travis 105
    To celebrate Latinx/Hispanic Heritage Month, The Center is engaging with all Latinx/Hispanic-affiliated clubs and organizations, faculty/staff and students for an evening of familia and cultura. This dinner is meant to unite our Latinx presence through leadership and vision, and promote a deeper sense of what it means to be Latinx at our school. Please know that you do not have to be Latinx to partake in this event as there are many allies that truly love the Latinx culture. Also, you do not have to be a part of a particular club/org and/or affiliation to participate. Todos son bienvenidos (Welcome all)!  
    Facebook Event Page

    Ethnicity and Identity North of the Great Wall
    Friday, October 6 at 6:30 p.m., MIKC 124
    Dr. Christine Lee, plenary speaker at the Western Bioarchaeology Conference this year (6-7 October, 2017),  is currently an Assistant professor at Cal State, Los Angeles. Her research interests include the effect of imperialism on local populations in China and Mongolia. She specializes in non-Chinese ethnic populations including ancient Mongolians, Tibetans, Uighur, and Dian. She is a National Geographic Emerging Explorer and a TED Global fellow.

    Shut Out Trafficking events hosted by the student organization, Students to Abolish Sex Slavery (SASS)

    • Monday, Oct 9th, 5:30 pm, Scrugham Engineering and Mines 101 - Dr. Richard Lapchick from NCAS and Hanna Cody from UNICEF will be delivering a keynote address on global and national human trafficking.
    • Tuesday, Oct 10th, 7:00 pm, Mathewson- IGT Knowledge Center 107. Documentary screening of Not My Life with a panel of global and local experts who will answer questions afterward.
    • Wednesday, Oct 11th, 10:00 am-2:00 pm, Mathewson- IGT Knowledge Center lawn. Free Trade Fair with vendors and samples of fair trade products to educate students about how they can use their purchasing power to end demand for labor trafficking products.

    International Students' Dialogue (Open to all)
    Monday, October 9 from 6:00 - 7:30 p.m., JCSU Great Room
    Recent events may have raised fears, questions, and concerns for international students. Please join us to share your perspective amongst your peers in a safe, open, and respectful environment. We will also provide information about resources available to students. Speakers include: Dr. Eleni Oikonomidoy, Associate Professor Multicultural Education; Dr. Joseph Walloch, Licensed Psychologist; Adilia Ross, International Student Advisor; Elizabeth Loureiro, International Recruitment and Adm.; and Sandesh Kannan, GSA President.

    The Story of Standing Rock: A Lesson in Reporting on Race
    Thursday, October 12 from 4:00 - 5:00 p.m., Reynolds School, Studio A
    The number of race-related violent incidents, police-involved shootings, and immigration reform protests has amplified in recent months. Local journalists have unique relationships with their communities, and their reporters are often on the frontlines as first informers, reporting on these stories as they unfold.  By presenting clear examples of how incidents were covered at Standing Rock, comparable and contrasting ideas will be examined in recent coverage of the violence that stemmed from Charlottesville, Virginia and the recent pardoning of Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, to name a few examples -- in an effort to raise questions about how should reporters be prepared to write responsibly about these volatile situations? Join award-winning journalist, Jenni Monet for a discussion about reporting on racially sensitive stories.

    Discover Science Lecture Series: Scott E. Page, The Diversity Bonus
    Thursday, October 12 at 7:00 p.m., DMSC 110
    The value of an integrated society, the desire for social justice, and a belief in equity
    Scott E. Page, the Leonid Hurwicz Collegiate Professor of Complex Systems, Political Science, and Economics at the University of Michigan, where he also directs the Center for the Study of Complex Systems. His current work examines the role diversity plays in complex systems.

    Disruptions in the Classroom
    Wednesday, October 18 from 12:00 - 1:30 p.m., JCSU Great Room
    Members of the University faculty are invited to attend the workshop, "Disruptions in the Classroom," which is being held throughout this semester. This workshop is intended for academic faculty who deal with students in the classroom as well as administrative faculty who interact with students in capacities such as advising. It provides the tools needed to address conversation in classrooms, meetings and other campus settings. Please register for the workshop.

    Black Student Organization 3rd Annual Forum
    Wednesday, October 25 at 6:00 p.m., MIKC Wells Fargo Auditorium
    BSO Nevada will be holding its 3rd Annual Forum discussing cultural appropriation, racism, and prejudice on campus. The goal of this event is to bridge the gap and come together as a campus.

    Something to Talk About: Fall 2017 Film Series
    This series is meant to provide students with the opportunity to watch a recent film and engage in dialogue around the issues brought up in each film in regards to its impact on our society today. All films will be shown at the Joe Crowley Student Union Theater.
    October 25 at 7:30 p.m. - Get Out
    November 8 at 7:30 p.m. - The Interview
    December 6 at 7:30 p.m. - Lion

    Microaggressions Workshop
    This hour-long training brings awareness to the topic of microaggressions and the impact they have on those affected by them while providing participants with strategies and methods that can be used to decrease microaggressions in their daily lives. To schedule the workshop with your group, please contact Aubrey Flores at aubreyf@unr.edu.

    Sincerely,

    Marc A. Johnson, President

  • Social Services Coordinator (October 3, 2017)

    Dear Colleague,

    In May, Jahahi Mazariego began work on our campus as Social Services Coordinator.

    Jahahi has a number of duties in service to all of our students (and in helping their families). This includes directing our DACA students and Undocumented Students to resources here on campus and in the community, and, as well, working with all students regardless of immigration status in the coordination of campus resources and basic needs such as food, affordable housing and financial aid. Jahahi is bilingual, and can also provide resources for translators if students or families need this service.

    Jahahi's office is on the third floor of the Joe Crowley Student Union, room 303C. Her phone number is 784-1547.

    For DACA students, there are a number of key resources to be aware of in the coming days.

    These include:

    Know Your Rights:   "Know Your Rights" cards are available for anyone and can be obtained by contacting Jahahi.

    Non-profit Immigration Assistance (Board of Immigration Appeals Accredited)

    (Note: PLAN is offering free assistance for DACA renewals up and until the Oct. 5 deadline for DACA renewal.)

    Jahahi also helps students become aware and to use numerous campus resources, including:

    Counseling Services, 784-4648

    Equal Opportunity and Title IX, 784-1547

    Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships, 784-4666

    Sincerely,

    Marc A. Johnson, President

  • DACA Renewal Deadline and Resources (October 3, 2017)

    To the campus community:

    The fear and anxiety felt by our DACA students has been heightened by the announcement to end the program in less than six months. If you are a DACA student or employee, we want to remind you that the deadline to renew is Oct. 5, 2017 if your DACA is to expire between now and March 5, 2018. If you know anyone who has DACA status, please ensure that they are aware of the renewal deadline. The government is no longer accepting new applications for DACA.

    There is also important financial resources information for Non-FAFSA eligible students.  There are funds from institutional and private sources that are accessible if certain requirements are met. In anticipation of the start of the spring term and the new federal changes for DACA students, please reference the following resources and application process.

    The 2018-2019 Institutional Methodology form for Non-FAFSA eligible students opened on Oct. 1, 2017.  Financial Aid is still receiving applications for the 2017-2018 year.

    Students who have exhausted their financial aid options may contact the Dean of Students Office (682-6846) to explore emergency financial assistance that may be available to them.

    Please contact the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships at 784-4666 if you have any questions.

    Sincerely,

    Marc A. Johnson, President

  • Las Vegas Tragedy (October 2, 2017)

    o the campus community:

    The University, our community and the entire state are in mourning today for our friends and family in Las Vegas in the aftermath of the tragic shooting. Our campus has numerous connections with Las Vegas, from students who proudly call Las Vegas their home to colleagues, friends and alumni who live and work there. Our campus is deeply saddened by what has happened. Our condolences and prayers go out to all of the victims, their families and their friends.

    We ask the campus community to reach out for services that are available to help, to counsel and answer questions. These services include the Counseling Center (775-784-4648) and the Associate Vice President for Student Life (784-1471) can assist with class absences, academic, financial and personal support.

    A candlelight vigil is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 3 at the Gateway Plaza in front of the Joe Crowley Student Union. The campus community, as well as the community at large is invited to participate.

    Please continue to keep those affected, both directly and indirectly, in your thoughts.

    Sincerely,

    Marc A. Johnson, President

  • Workday Implementation (September 19, 2017)

    Dear Colleague,

    We are now less than two weeks from the October 2nd implementation of our new HR and Finance system, Workday.  As previously discussed, the Workday system will bring significant changes to our Finance and Human Resource processes.  UNR employees have held key positions within the project team to ensure that our collective "campus voice" was heard as the system was designed and configured. 

    A change effort of this magnitude can cause uncertainty and ambiguity as familiar paper-based practices are replaced with new automated business processes. Please keep in mind the following as we transform our existing procedures to new, more efficient ways of conducting our human resource and financial business processes.

    • No one is expected to know how to perform all business processes at the time of go-live.  We will all be learning a new system, new terminology and improved ways of doing business. 
    • Not every transaction will need to be completed on October 2nd. There will be time to familiarize yourself with the system before some processes are initiated.
    • A Workday lab will be available after go-live. You will be able to bring your work to the lab and receive assistance with using Workday.
    • Workday training will be on-going after go-live. If you do not have the opportunity to attend training prior to go-live, please schedule time after October 2.
    • A variety of training materials, including videos, job aids and a knowledge base, will be available for most end-user functions.
    • A Workday help desk will be available during normal business hours to answer your questions and help guide you through the system. 

    Every employee will utilize Workday in some way. External candidates will apply through the Workday system and on board using the Workday system. Purchase requests, p-cards, expense reports and many HR functions will be automated. I ask that you be patient as we learn how to use Workday and leverage the system's capabilities. This is the largest and most complex project that the Nevada System of Higher Education has ever undertaken. 

    Please continue to stay informed regarding the Workday project by visiting Workday . You will continue to receive information from the project team regarding the Workday implementation, training and support. Thank you again for your continued patience and willingness to learn this new system, which will be of great benefit to our entire University.

    Sincerely,

    Marc A. Johnson, President

  • A Statement of DACA Support and University Resources (September 6, 2017)

    Dear Colleague,

    For more than 140 years this public land grant university has welcomed students from all backgrounds with a desire to pursue a higher education regardless of immigration status or citizenship. We have absolutely no intention of changing that. In fact, recent events have leadership of this University recommitting to access, learning and success for our students. We further commit to creating a safe and supportive campus environment for our undocumented and DACA students. The University will continue to advocate for and stand with our DACA students. Our DACA students are important to our University, to the community, our state and our nation. I am traveling to Washington, D.C., on Sept. 12 in order to meet with all of the members of our Congressional delegation to advocate for immediate Congressional action to extend DACA. Below is a letter I sent to our Congressional delegation earlier today on this matter.

    Here are some important resources, information and events that we highly encourage you to support and attend. Below also is the statement that the University originally released on Sept. 1 regarding the impending news that the DACA program would be rescinded.

    Thank you for your continued good work on behalf of the University’s efforts in building a diverse and inclusive campus.

    Training

    Integrated Implicit Bias Search Committee training started on Aug. 22 and will continue weekly through mid-November. The integrated training reflects the efforts of the 2016-2017 Faculty Diversity Committee, a committee that was jointly convened by the Faculty Senate and the Office of the Provost and charged with establishing a faculty recruitment process that ensures both the excellence and diversity of our faculty. The integrated training also reflects the combined efforts of the Office of the President, the Chief Diversity Officer, faculty and staff members in the Medical School Office of Diversity and Inclusion, and faculty and graduate student researchers from the Department of Psychology Behavioral Analysis Program to ensure the program is evidence-based, immediately accessible and task relevant. Faculty sign-ups and more information about this semester's training sessions are available online: Workshop Registrations and Information.

    In order to give faculty the tools needed to address conversation in classrooms, meetings and other campus settings, members of the University faculty are encouraged to attend one of the upcoming workshops, “Disruptions in the Classroom.” The upcoming dates and times include: Friday, Sept. 15, at 1 –2:30 p.m. at Pennington Student Achievement Center 113; Tuesday, Sept. 19 at 8–9:30 a.m. at Chemistry Building 111; Wednesday, Sept. 27 at 8-9:30 a.m. at RSJ 101.

    Micro-aggression workshops are available to understand and identify harmful actions and language. Contact Chief Diversity Officer Patricia Richard at 784-4805 or prichard@unr.edu

    Support

    Enrollment Services and Financial Aid have already been working with a number of DACA students over the past several weeks. If you know of any of our DACA students who need assistance, please advise them to seek guidance from these important units who have the latest information regarding changes in DACA. The Center. Every Student. Every Story. is also an integral resource in helping our students find the information they need. Enrollment Services: 784-6196; Financial Aid: 784-4666. The Center: 784-4936.

    The University also has on staff Social Services Coordinator Jahahi Mazariego who is available to all students. Contact Jahahi at 682-8984 or jmazariego@unr.edu

    Counseling Services is also available to help all students. If you have a student or faculty colleague in need of help, please explain these services to them and encourage them to seek them out. Counseling Services: 784-4648.

    Events

    On Thursday, Sept. 7, "Charlottesville: A Conversation with History Professors" will be held in the Wells Fargo Auditorium in the Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center at 6 p.m. University history professors will discuss the history, causes and implications of the recent racism and violence in Charlottesville.

    The Center. Every Student. Every Story. is hosting a Diversity Dialogue event, “Disagreeing Without Disconnecting,” on Thursday, Sept. 7, from 3-4:30 p.m., in the Graduate Student Lounge of the Joe Crowley Student Union.

    The Student Union, in conjunction with the Center and ASUN, is developing a monthly movie series choosing documentaries and mainstream movies around the themes of race, poverty, bigotry, anti-Semitism and other important topics. A faculty speaker will lead the pre- and post-movie discussion. There will be more details about the movie series made available soon.

    Reporting

    The University is encouraging all students, faculty and staff to report anything they might see or hear that is threatening, violent, harassing or hateful to our Police Services and to our Title IX office. Police Services: 784-4013. Title IX: 784-1547.

    Faculty Letter to Students

    I wish to thank the authors of a letter from faculty to our students, reaffirming our values as an institution. The letter unequivocally rejects white supremacy and racism. The letter’s original authors have asked all faculty to sign “A Collective Letter to Students.” I have signed this letter, along with more than 650 other faculty as of Wednesday.

    The people of our campus over the past several weeks have demonstrated a remarkable ability to gather together for the common good. The thoughts that you’ve shared, your willingness to help others, and the actions that you’ve taken on behalf of our University have affirmed our mission and our values as an institution. As a University, we stand together for the shared values of inclusion, diversity, and respect.

    Sincerely,

    Marc A. Johnson, President


    Statement to Congressional Delegation Regarding DACA

    Sept. 6, 2017

    To the members of Nevada’s Congressional Delegation:

    I am appealing to you to support immediate Congressional action to extend the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program for individuals who are in school or college to permit them to finish their programs of study and to work to make money to cover their school and living expenses.

    The University of Nevada, Reno is educating DACA students now. Many of our DACA students have expressed feelings of great fear and stress because of this renewed possibility of deportation for themselves, their families and their friends. The anxiety brought by the uncertainties of the DACA policy is a cruel distraction for individuals striving to improve their minds and skills to further the future of our nation.

    Please act quickly to provide a humane sense of security for these young individuals who were brought to this country by others.

    Sincerely,

    Marc A. Johnson
    President, University of Nevada, Reno

  • DACA Statement (September 1, 2017)

    Dear Colleague,

    Since the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program was started in 2012, we have witnessed the critical benefits of this program for our students, and the highly positive impacts on our institution and community. We are proud of all of our DACA students. We want to protect the opportunity for anyone who comes to our University to pursue their dreams through education. We will continue to embrace our mission and support the members of our diverse groups, who are a valued and critical part of our campus community. With reports indicating that DACA may be rescinded, we are affirming our stance that all students who are ready to pursue a higher education are welcome here at the University of Nevada, Reno. We will continue to advocate for DACA's continuation with our representatives in Washington, D.C. Earlier this week a number of our student-centered programs and divisions met to discuss what we can do now given this latest threat to DACA. The past several days have been very stressful for our DACA students and their families, as they have been dealing with a high level of uncertainty. The University of Nevada, Reno values our DACA students, and we are here to advocate for them and stand with them.

    Sincerely

    Marc A. Johnson, President

  • Letter on Charlottesville Follow-up (August 14, 2017)

    Dear Colleague,

    Equal opportunity, inclusiveness and diversity are core values for the University of Nevada, Reno. We must always encourage a campus environment that supports and respects all members of our diverse learning community. This defining principle includes standing against all forms of bigotry, hatred and racism, as well as providing learning environments that are peaceful and encourage the free exchange of ideas. We also stand for the basic principles of the Constitution, which says we have freedoms to peacefully assemble and to have free speech.

    Over the weekend, tragic events in Charlottesville, Virginia, have brought about several questions regarding these defining principles. The University unequivocally rejects the positions and ideology that were espoused during the white supremacist rally that occurred in Charlottesville, Virginia.

    There have been numerous inquiries about Peter Cvjetanovic, a student at our University who participated in the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville. Based on discussion and investigation with law enforcement, our attorneys and our Office of Student Conduct, there is no constitutional or legal reason to expel him from our University or to terminate his employment.

    We realize there are concerns regarding the safety of our campus, particularly for students, faculty and staff. Our Police Department has been coordinating resources and information with all local law enforcement agencies to ensure that we have a safe campus. We have a strong law enforcement community in northern Nevada as well as federal law enforcement representatives who are working closely with members of University Police Services to ensure that our campus remains a safe and welcoming place.

    We are also providing resources for faculty and students in how best to discuss and interpret information related to the events in Charlottesville, and, in a larger context, how important subjects such as race relations figure into a positive learning atmosphere in our classrooms and in our curriculum. Our Diversity Initiatives Office is currently working with administration, academic leadership and Student Services in developing a landing point of information and upcoming training sessions so that our faculty has all of the tools necessary to conduct civil and positive discussion regarding these important issues.

    With students soon to move back onto campus, we are stressing that we must be vigilant regarding what we see and hear. We cannot ignore insensitive comments, hateful language or actions that threaten the safety of members of our community.  Please report any of this type of behavior immediately to our Title IX office, 784-1547, or  Police Department, 784-4013.

    The First Amendment freedom of free speech requires us all to understand that sometimes support of this freedom can be uncomfortable. It is one of the most difficult freedoms we live with. It requires us to support the right of people to express views which we sometimes vehemently disagree.

    Sincerely,

    Marc A. Johnson, President

  • Peaceful Assembly (August 8, 2017)

    Dear Colleague,

    We have been witness to the violence that has taken place this weekend during the white nationalist march in Charlottesville, Virginia. One of the marchers photographed has been identified as a University of Nevada, Reno student.

    Racism and white supremacist movements have a corrosive effect on our society. These movements do not represent our values as a University. We denounce any movement that targets individuals due to the color of their skin, their religious beliefs, political beliefs, sexual orientation, ability/disability, or whether they were born in our country. As an institution, we remain firm in our commitment in denouncing all forms of bigotry and racism, which have no place in a free and equal society.

    The University of Nevada, Reno is a caring and safe community of students and employees from a broad range of backgrounds with differing beliefs. This community will not be divided by hateful language and violence. Our learning environment respects the right to freely express views and debate openly in civil discourse. There will be clashes of beliefs and opinions, but they must be peaceful. As a community, we abhor violence and it has no place on our campus. If we are to come to greater understanding of each other, it will be through open, honest, non-violent discussion and exploration of all ideas. Educating ourselves on the other's point of view is the key to understanding and peaceful co-existence.

    The tragedy that occurred this weekend in Virginia is an important reminder that we must recognize the perspectives of all individuals. Peaceful assembly and exchange of ideas is part of the bedrock of any free society. We will maintain a commitment to the safe, peaceful expression and exchange of ideas on our campus.

    Sincerely,

    Marc A. Johnson, President

  • Workday (July 27, 2017)

    Dear Colleague,

    As we approach the beginning of a new academic year, the entire University community will be involved with our new financial and human resources computer system, Workday. The Workday implementation in October will bring significant changes to our Finance and Human Resource processes. Workday is an integrated system that will modernize the way we manage these processes.

    Workday will impact all employees and provide timely information in the following ways:

    • Vice Presidents, Deans, Chairs and Managers will have increased visibility into finance and HR transactions as well as real-time reports that will help them to manage their units and provide the assurance that business processes are routing to the correct people in a timely manner;
    • Academic faculty will have access to real-time data to support research spending as well as decision-making for their awards;
    • Administrative and classified employees who are involved in routine business processes will have the ability to perform these processes electronically.  This will expedite our processes and provide a mechanism to determine when and where a process is stalled;
    • All employees will have the ability to view and update their personal information, request leave and submit expense reports.

    Workday replaces the Nevada System of Higher Education's (NSHE) antiquated business systems. The current Advantage, HRMS and iLeave systems will be replaced by the Workday system. All eight NSHE institutions and the NSHE office have worked to evaluate current business processes and design a system to meet the needs of all the institutions. The University has been heavily involved in this collaborative process and has eight functional experts, more than any other institution, acting as designees on the project and leading the configuration of their area.

    The project team and a group of 200 end-users are completing the final phase of testing. Your colleagues with high-impact roles are executing simulated business processes in Workday to become familiar with the system and provide feedback to the project team on available training and support resources. Training will begin in earnest in August and will continue through the October "go-live" date. Workday system training will employ a variety of methodologies, including classroom training, online videos and job training, Frequently Asked Questions and a system knowledge base. Faculty members and classified staff will be able to refer to online training resources for the information that is needed to complete tasks within Workday.

    Stay informed regarding the Workday project by visiting Workday. In the weeks to come, there will be additional information and training opportunities for you. Please take advantage of these opportunities as the new system will greatly improve our business processes across the institution. Thank you again for your continued patience and willingness to learn this new system, which will be of great benefit to our entire University.

    Sincerely,

    Marc A. Johnson, President

  • Leadership Change (June 19, 2017)

    Dear Colleague,

    This letter serves to announce a leadership change at the University of Nevada, Reno.  Ron Zurek, Vice President for Administration and Finance, has announced his retirement effective September 1, 2017.  Ron joined the University of Nevada, Reno in 1993 and played a central role in UNR's successes over the past 24 years.  During the last 15 years as Vice President, Ron has helped plan, finance, implement and manage a wide range of major financial, operational and capital projects during a period of record campus growth and achievement.  Having served five different UNR presidents, Ron has provided invaluable advice and counsel across the campus and effectively represented the University in a variety of public and private settings.  He and the entire Administration and Finance Division staff have exemplified the highest level of commitment in service to the University.  While retiring as Vice President, I have asked Ron to remain on staff and available to me on a limited basis to help continue and complete several major planning and real estate related initiatives that will have important impacts on the future of the University.

    Also effective September 1, 2017, I am appointing Vic Redding as Vice President for Administration and Finance at the University of Nevada, Reno, an action approved by Chancellor John White.  Vic currently serves as Vice Chancellor for Finance for the Nevada System of Higher Education.  Vic was appointed by Chancellor Dan Klaich to serve as Interim Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance in June, 2012 and the permanent appointment was approved by the Board of Regents in April, 2016.  Mr. Redding oversees a variety of functions in the areas of fiscal policy, budgeting and financial reporting, as well as the day-to-day operations of the NSHE Risk Management office, Banking and Investment Office and Internal Audit.  Prior to this appointment, he served as assistant vice chancellor of finance and the senior fiscal operations officer in the NSHE System Administration office.  Vic has a bachelor's degree in business management and a minor in accounting from Montana State University, Bozeman, and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Nevada, Reno.  Vic also is a Certified Management Accountant (CMA).  He was appointed by Governor Brian Sandoval in February, 2012 as a Nevada Western Interstate Commission on Higher Education (WICHE) commissioner.

    Vic already is well known to many of us from our many interactions with him at NSHE over the years, from his previous tenure as assistant CFO for the University of Nevada School of Medicine prior to joining NSHE in 2005, his current work as a member of the NSHE Workday Steering Committee (which he will continue), and his principal financial representation for NSHE with the Governor's Budget Office and the Nevada State Legislature during the last two sessions.  We look forward to Vic re-joining the University in this important role for which he is uniquely qualified.

    Sincerely,

    Marc A. Johnson, President

  • Administrative and Legislative Updates (June 19, 2017)

    Dear Colleague,

    As we move into summer, I would like to share the results of administrative reviews, the 79th session of the Nevada State Legislature and the June Board of Regents meeting.

    Administrative Reviews

    During the winter and spring of 2017, Executive Vice President and Provost Kevin Carman, Dean of the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine Tom Schwenk, and I received major evaluative reviews.

    Provost Carman's review included a Faculty Senate survey and many other survey inputs. He received very strong endorsement to continue in the position emphasizing his energy, commitment to student success and faculty opportunity concentrating on fulfillment of core university missions. Provost Carman was praised for his successful efforts in expanding online educational programs, international student recruitment and development of the NevadaFIT program. I have reappointed Kevin for another five-year planning horizon (recognizing he is on an annual contract with an annual review) through June 30, 2022.

    Dean Schwenk's review similarly received very strong endorsement. It cited his leadership, his resiliency through many changes, which have occurred relative to the School of Medicine transitions during the last five years, and his leadership in building strong relationships with hospitals (especially with Renown) and outreach partners, along with developments for the four-year medical school in Reno and the physician's assistant program. I have reappointed Tom for another five-year planning horizon (recognizing he is on an annual contract with an annual review) through June 30, 2022.

    I was also subject to a regularly scheduled periodic review according to Regents' policy. A four-person review committee held faculty, staff and student forums and interviewed many individuals on campus and in the community. The Faculty Senate performed a comprehensive faculty survey. The results were very favorable with some recommendations for improvement, which I take seriously. The Board of Regents, at their June 9 meeting, offered me a new three-year contract as President ending on June 30, 2020.

    Nevada State Legislature

    The 79th session of the Nevada State Legislature concluded Monday, June 5. The session included finalization of the state's budget and funding for the state's system of higher education, including our University.

    On behalf of the University, I wish to express my appreciation to Gov. Brian Sandoval and our legislative leaders for the work they did on behalf of the people of Nevada. The closing days of the legislature demanded that members of both parties and members of both houses work together, and in concert with the governor, in order to reach positive solutions that included the passage of a full budget and much-needed funding for higher education.

    The University had clear priorities for this session, which included raises for our employees and the furthering of our teaching and research missions through continued capital improvement growth.

    Here is a brief rundown of some of the more notable actions and budgetary items that will no doubt have an impact on our University over the coming biennium:

    • All state employees, including academic faculty, administrative faculty and classified staff, will receive a 3 percent cost of living adjustment each year of the biennium;
    • The state's capital improvement projects package, which included a proposal for a $41.5 million state share of a new $87.8 million engineering building, was passed. Governor Sandoval chose the University of Nevada, Reno campus for signing of the capital improvements bill, along with the two bills mentioned below, Friday, June 16. Construction for this facility, which will be nearly 90,000 square feet and will include state-of-the-art laboratories, research and teaching spaces, could begin as early as summer 2018;
    • The passage and signing of Assembly Bill 522 includes $300,000 for our successful NevadaTeach program, which is helping produce highly qualified graduates to teach in our state in the fields of mathematics, science or engineering at the middle or high school level.
    • Gov. Sandoval signed Assembly Bill 69, confirming Nevada's place as a leader in autonomous vehicle policy and testing. The bill will have important implications for the University's Intelligent Mobility initiative, an ambitious effort to explore solutions for safe, clean and efficient transportation and to establish the greater Reno-Sparks-Carson City area as a Living Lab for research and testing.

    "We've got to see the future then we've got to embrace the future, then we have to shape the future, and that's what the importance of these bills are today," Gov. Sandoval said during the Bill Singing Ceremony at the University Friday.

    June's Board of Regents Meeting

    During the Board of Regents meeting June 8-9, held at the University, a number of property transactions were approved. The University will lease a building on Moana Lane to house several units, which will be moving out of the Nelson Building on 2nd Street as the building is prepared for sale. The University was also granted approval to accept ownership of three more houses in the gateway area on the south edge of campus.

    Additional elements of reorganization within the Division of Health Sciences also occurred to make the School of Community Health Sciences an independent unit with a dean. Reorganization will include formal incorporation of the Sanford Center for Aging into the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine and formal incorporation of the Center for the Application of Substance Abuse Technologies (CASAT) into the School of Community Health Sciences.

    I send my best wishes for happy, healthy and productive summer activities.

    Sincerely,

    Marc A. Johnson, President

  • Online Content Accessibility (June 1, 2017)

    Dear Colleague,

    Last fall the University received a complaint from the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) within the U.S. Department of Education citing areas of our website which contained barriers to access for people with disabilities. OCR's mission, in short, is to provide equal access to education and, specific to the Web, to ensure our nation's schools adhere to the standards outlined in Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. The University understands and fully supports this mission.

    The University promptly resolved the issues identified by OCR. In addition, the University reviewed its policies regarding persons with disabilities having an opportunity equal to that of their nondisabled peers to participate in the University's programs, benefits and services.

    The University's online content and functionality must always follow accepted accessibility standards, summarized in the Benchmarks for Measuring Accessibility. These standards are meant to guarantee that people with disabilities are able to acquire the same information, engage in the same interactions, and enjoy the same benefits and services as their nondisabled peers. While we do much of this now, the website requires ongoing vigilance because of its extensive and dynamic nature.

    As part of our ongoing compliance with and commitment to accessibility, we have undertaken, or will undertake, the following measures:

    • The University submitted this week to OCR for approval a set of proposed policies and procedures outlined in a "Plan for New Content" to ensure all new, newly added, existing, and modified online content, functionality and software will be accessible to people with disabilities.
    • The University hired SSB Bart Group (AKA SSB), a firm specializing in helping organizations provide digital systems that are accessible to persons with disabilities. SSB will audit all existing content and functionality on our website, including, but not limited to, the home page; all school, college and unit sites; the LMS (Learning Management System); and intranet pages and sites. The audit is to be completed by September 20.
    • Once the audit is completed, the University will submit to OCR for approval a proposed Corrective Action Plan with a detailed schedule for the corrective actions to be taken by the University to be completed within 24 months of their approval of the plan.
    • Consistent with the Corrective Action Plan, the University currently offers-and will soon require-website accessibility training for academic faculty and anyone responsible for developing, loading, maintaining, or auditing web content and functionality. Until such time as OCR closes its monitoring of this agreement, the University will submit to OCR on a quarterly basis documentation of this training and other measures taken.  

    For academic faculty, this means that from this point forward all content used in teaching or  for instructional purposes must be accessible to people with disabilities. The  Information and Communication Technology Committee  will help you understand the implications of these policies and the steps necessary to comply. This comprehensive committee is comprised of forty-six academic and administrative faculty, staff and students representing the membership of the University. The chart below provides the names and contact information for the subcommittee chairs and the types of issues with which each person can help.

    Thank you for your attention to this important issue and for helping to make our University ever more accessible to those with disabilities.

    Sincerely,

    Marc A. Johnson, President

  • Facilities Services Building (April 18, 2017)

    Dear Colleague,

    I'm writing to notify you of a development on campus involving the Facilities Services Building, which sits between Ansari Business and Mackay School of Mines.

    The Facilities Services Building, built in 1920, was funded by the State of Nevada and operated by the U.S. Bureau of Mines until it became University property in 1954. In recent decades it has provided office space for approximately 30 Facilities Services personnel; we don't believe classes have ever been held there.

    The University received an email this fall from Nevada's Radiological Control Program (NRCP), acting on the authority of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The email indicated the U.S. Bureau of Mines had conducted research in the building from 1920 - 1924 that involved the separation of radium from ore. In the same email, the NRCP asked the University to take measures to assess the current radiological impact of this research on the facility. The University immediately conducted testing that found the existence of radium in the building and the State's follow-up testing generally confirmed those results. 

    At the recommendation of the NRCP, the University then contracted Perma-Fix Environmental Services, Inc., a nuclear services and waste management company, to survey and document the presence of any radiation in the facility. Perma-Fix completed their assessment and issued a report last month that showed radium in various locations in the building. The findings are within the Federal Government's public exposure limit and are not thought to pose a health risk to the employees working in the building.

    The radiation readings in the building are all below the government's maximum permitted exposure of 100 millirems-a measure of radiation dosage per year-and below the levels that often occur naturally in the atmosphere, especially in higher altitudes. All of the buildings in the surrounding area were tested and found to be free of radium contamination.  

    Because the law requires that we remove radium even if the amount falls below the maximum permitted exposure level, the University is relocating the occupants to alternate office space so that it can evaluate the most feasible next steps. We have received recommendations from Perma-Fix that range from decontamination to removal of the building. Decontamination is preferred given the historic nature of the building, if it is not prohibitively costly.

    I want to express my thanks and appreciation to our Facilities employees displaced by this turn of events and also to our Director of Environmental Health and Safety Stephanie Woolf and Radiation Safety Officer Myung Chul Jo for their ongoing attention to this issue. If you would like additional information, please contact Stephanie Woolf at swoolf@unr.edu.

    Sincerely,

    Marc A .Johnson, President

  • Executive Order (January 30, 2017)

    Dear Colleague,

    As stated in our institutional mission, this University recognizes and embraces the critical importance of diversity in preparing students for global citizenship and is committed to a culture of excellence, inclusion and accessibility.

    The January 27 executive order regarding border security and immigration enforcement has raised concern among members of our University community. Accordingly, the University is committed to offering support, resources and information to help our students, faculty, visiting scholars and staff fully understand the executive order's implications and take the most appropriate action.  We recommend that students and scholars from any of the countries listed in the order stay in the United States for at least the next 120 days.

    The staff of our Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS) will be closely monitoring the situation and can advise and answer questions as information becomes available. Individuals affected by this executive order are advised to stay in regular contact with the office via their website (www.unr.edu/oiss), email, or phone (775-784-6874)

    The Association of International Educators, formerly NAFSA, is providing information helpful in understanding the language and application (thus far) of the executive order on their website.

    The Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities is also tracking this information closely and will be providing updates at their website.

    We value the contributions made by our international faculty, staff and students to our learning environment, which in turn greatly enhances our ability to serve the needs of Nevada, the nation and the world.  At the University of Nevada, Reno, we encourage diversity of experience and perspectives and must continue to embrace this important aspect of our mission while providing a safe and welcoming environment for all students and employees.

    Sincerely,

    Marc A. Johnson, President

  • University Flood Message (January 6, 2017)

    Dear Colleague,

    Simulations performed by the National Weather Service (NWS) indicate two events which may impact institutional and community operations and have the potential for widespread and damaging flooding. Based on the NWS forecasts, the University, in conjunction with local jurisdictions are declaring the greater Reno-Sparks area in a state of emergency.

    The Weather Service predicts a series of intense atmospheric rivers Saturday through Monday that will produce a period of intense rainfall across the Sierra and western Nevada that will most likely bring moderate to significant flooding. A colder, windier atmospheric river pattern will continue Tuesday and Wednesday that could bring heavy snows and renewed flooding.

    The University's Manager of Organizational Resiliency, Amanda Windes and the campus Crisis Action Team (CAT) are evaluating and preparing for potential impact and damage - especially for known flood plains - as well as coordinating and communicating closely with regional partners, including the Washoe County Regional Emergency Operations Center and the cities of Reno and Sparks. Additionally, NSHE Board of Regents Chairman Rick Trachok and Vice Chair Allison Stephens have been notified regarding preparation and declaration and have offered their full support.

    The University is being cautious and taking steps to minimize potential damage. Physical mitigations have been taking place for several days on and around campus, including clearing storm drains, installing flood walls, sandbagging known problem areas, and moving resources, equipment and livestock to higher ground in flood-prone areas.

    Declaring a state of emergency will assist in efforts to obtain financial reimbursement as appropriate.

    Instituting a Declaration of a State of Emergency does not mean a suspension of campus services or classes. In the event the University must suspend some services or cancel classes, the public and campus community will be notified through usual communications channels (homepage; text alerts; calling the main campus number 775-784-1110 and then pressing option 4 for information on inclement weather; University social media channels; and alerts through the local media).

    If an issue arises on campus or a problem area is spotted due to flooding, University Facilities is available by calling 775-784-8020. University Police Services is also available at 775-745-6195 or by calling 775-334-COPS (2677).

    The University reminds students, faculty and staff to familiarize themselves with what to do before, during and after a flood. The best local resource for information on flooding is Nevada Floods.

    Check our homepage for important University updates or changes to campus operations and The National Weather Service for an up-to-date weather forecast. Join the conversation online by using the hashtag #NVFlood17.

    Sincerely,

    Marc A. Johnson, President

2016

  • Holiday Message (December 21, 2016)

    Dear Colleague,

    With the 2016 fall semester now completed, I wish to thank all of you for the work you've done on behalf of the University.

    The past few months have seen our campus continue its ascendancy as a high-impact research institution. We've marked numerous notable achievements as an institution. Individually, we have seen our faculty, students and staff colleagues accomplish great things. We've faced challenging times and pressing societal issues through the sharing of a wide range of perspectives and ideas. We have done so respectfully, with empathy, thoughtfulness and concern for all people.

    This is an outgrowth of the collaborative, collegial atmosphere of our campus; our accomplishments as a University are an ongoing affirmation of the untold possibilities and potential we have as a people. Ours is an inclusive community that always wishes to do more, for the betterment of others.

    On behalf of the University of Nevada, Reno, I wish to thank you for the important work you are doing. I hope you have a wonderful holiday season. We will look forward to seeing you all in 2017.

    Sincerely,

    Marc A. Johnson, President

  • Commitment to DACA (December 14, 2016)

    Dear Colleague,

    In recent weeks, there has been much discussion, both on our campus and nationally, regarding the safety and security of immigrant students. A particular emphasis has been placed on the current and future status of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, as well as questions regarding the University's position on sanctuary campus status. Several points are important. First, the University supports DACA, which was enacted by the administration of President Barack Obama and is considered law. Two, in my discussions with the campus, I've made it clear that the University will not be declared a sanctuary campus. The concept of sanctuary campus at a public institution does not have a foundation in law or policy. Further, the legal ramifications and definitions of such a designation, particularly given the uncertainty of immigration policy in our country, are still to be determined. Three, I re-stated the University's commitment to DACA last week in person to the leaders of the Latinx Student Advisory Board, who staged a rally in front of Clark Administration. Several members of the group delivered a petition, which we officially received. We committed to study the petition, and we set a meeting to discuss its contents with the members. A meeting scheduled for December 14, in which we planned to share our response to the petition, was cancelled by the group. We will look to re-schedule after Winter Break.

    Given these occurrences, I thought it might be helpful to provide some background regarding DACA, and the University's role in the program since it became law in 2012.

    In June 2012, the Secretary of Homeland Security announced that certain people who came to the United States as children and who meet several guidelines may request consideration of deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal. They are also eligible for work authorization. According to U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services, deferred action is "a use of prosecutorial discretion to defer removal action against an individual for a certain period of time." Deferred action does not provide lawful status. However, these individuals have chosen to voluntarily come forward to participate under the protections of DACA. It is estimated that since DACA's enactment in 2012, hundreds of thousands of college-age students have requested consideration of this deferred action. They have come to be called "Dreamers," which speaks to these students' aspiration for a better life through the benefits of education. It is important to note that the DACA program is not the same as amnesty. Each individual case is assessed on its own merits to ensure that an applicant meets specific criteria and poses no security threat. Because of DACA, these students are free to study and work on our college campuses. Since 2012, the University, like the vast majority of colleges and universities throughout the country, has complied with DACA. In recent weeks I joined more than 500 university and college presidents nationwide in proclaiming the value and importance of DACA and requesting that the program be continued. I've also proclaimed my support for the "Bridge Act" legislation, a bipartisan effort proposed at the federal level by Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) which would allow hundreds of thousands of young immigrants who have gotten deportation reprieves and work permits under the Obama administration to keep those benefits for three more years if they are revoked.

    Why has the University complied with DACA, and why do we feel it is still important? Our University has as one of its core missions the success of all its students. We remain committed to creating an environment for student success in which all admitted students can successfully matriculate and graduate. In the past several days, our University has engaged in active dialogue regarding DACA. In late November I met with faculty from our Gender, Race and Identity program, as well as with faculty and staff who serve our students. On December 7, I met with leaders of our student body, to speak to their concerns and reiterate the University's support of DACA students.

    The University will continue to work with students, faculty, staff and community members to protect the opportunity for anyone who comes to our University to improve themselves through education. The University will continue to obey the laws of our federal government and the guidelines that have been set through DACA. All students who are academically qualified are welcome at our University.

    I wish to express my thanks to the students I have met with, who have engaged our campus and this administration in productive, proactive and positive dialogue. More meetings are scheduled with faculty, students and staff regarding this issue in the weeks to come.

    Our diversity is one of our greatest assets and our commitment to diversity is explicitly embedded in the University's mission statement: "Inspired by its land-grant foundation, the University of Nevada, Reno provides outstanding learning, discovery and engagement programs that serve the economic, social, environmental and cultural needs of the citizens of Nevada, the nation, and the world. The University recognizes and embraces the critical importance of diversity in preparing students for global citizenship and is committed to a culture of excellence, inclusion and accessibility." (Note: Previous emphasis is mine.)

    We will continue to embrace our mission and support the members of our diverse groups, who are, and will continue to be, a valued and critical part of our campus community. It is important that we continue to ensure that all members of our student body can live, work and study safely on this campus.

    Finally, below is text of my statement regarding DACA, which was released to all media on December 6, 2016.

    Sincerely,
    Marc A. Johnson, President


    "Because of our diverse campus, we understand this issue to be of concern for many. We feel very strongly that our diversity is one of our greatest assets; it not only makes our institution whole; it allows us to realize our fullest potential as human beings."

    "The core mission of higher education is the advancement of knowledge, people and society. We are committed to upholding free inquiry and education, and to providing the opportunity for all our students to pursue their learning and life goals."

    "Since the advent of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in 2012, we have seen the critical benefits of this program for our students, and the highly positive impacts on our institution and community."

    "We want to protect the opportunity for anyone who comes to our University to improve ourselves through education; therefore, I, along with more than 400 college and university presidents have signed a statement calling for the continuation and expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program."

    "We don't know what changes will occur with the new presidential administration, but all students who are academically qualified, are welcome here at the University of Nevada, Reno"

    - Marc Johnson, President, University of Nevada, Reno 

  • Tobacco Free Campus Anniversary (November 16, 2016)

    Dear Colleague,

    We are now celebrating one year of being a tobacco-free campus. This action was endorsed through resolutions by the Faculty Senate, Staff Employees Council, Graduate Student Association and the Associated Students of the University of Nevada, Reno. This effort has enabled us to join more than 1,000 other U.S. colleges and universities that are also tobacco-free.

    Our tobacco-free campus initiative is in support of a larger effort by our University to emphasize the health and well-being of our students, faculty and staff.  We are working each and every day in enhancing this initiative. The focus is on building a healthy environment and encouraging lifelong healthy lifestyles. This effort reflects the fact that our campus promotes education and educated choices with long-term implications for the success of one's life. We should also be very proud of the fact that there are now three other community colleges in our state who are following in our footsteps with similar tobacco-free initiatives.

    On Thursday, we will mark the American Cancer Society's Great American Smokeout, a national event to encourage and support quitting tobacco. It is a day where individuals, with the help of the community, can make a plan to quit or plan to quit on that day. Quitting - even if for one day - is an important step in realizing a healthier lifestyle and reducing one's cancer risk.

    The University offers free cessation resources for faculty, staff and students who wish to quit.

    In addition the "Freedom From Smoking" program has helped hundreds of thousands of individuals quit smoking. The program has a $40 value. The University is sponsoring the program so that it is free to faculty, staff and students.

    On Thursday, from 10 a.m. until 12:30 p.m., I would like to encourage individuals to stop by the Health Den in the Knowledge Center. There, individuals can sign up for tobacco cessation and get a free "quit kit." Other wellness information and free wellness assessments will also be provided.

    There are many individuals and units that have helped us reach one year of being a tobacco-free University. I would like to thank all of these people and acknowledge the effectiveness of their programs, as well as the involvement of our entire campus community, for the continued support and actions in support of this initiative.

    Visit Student Well-Being to learn more about the University's ongoing effort to create a healthier campus.

    Sincerely,

    Marc A, Johnson, President

  • University Core Values (November 10, 2016)

    Dear Colleague,

    The presidential election has given us all an opportunity to ponder and discuss the future of our country, and, as well, to remind ourselves of the core values of our University.

    Our President-Elect has used very derogatory and divisive terms related to people of diverse religions, races, national origins, disabilities and genders. It is our sincere hope that these comments from leadership are not taken as license for others to denigrate anyone. As a University, we are committed to fostering a campus environment that respects, supports and values all members of our wonderfully diverse learning community. Through our words and our actions, we honor every individual who studies and works at the University. We feel very strongly that our diversity is one our greatest assets; it not only makes our institution whole, it allows all of us to realize our fullest potential as human beings. Through a culture of mutual respect and compassion, we create an environment where all individuals work with, learn from, and study with people from all backgrounds. These interactions and relationships enrich all of our lives, and help to deepen our understanding of all people. Sharing a wide diversity of experiences and ideas, and welcoming all people from all walks of life onto our campus, are at the core of who we are as an institution.

    The work of any University, even on its best day, is often difficult. While the world around us can at times feel rancorous and divided, our entire campus has an exceedingly important role for our community, our state and our nation. Our abiding responsibility is to ensure that people have the freedom to think and talk about all ideas, openly and safely, while they are on our campus; and, once they leave our campus, for them to exercise similar freedoms in the most respectful and thoughtful manner in the service and betterment of our society.

    We have a number of resources on our campus that help us nurture a more inclusive, diverse and safe learning environment. They are available to all of us, and we highly encourage the entire campus community to make note of them and to use them in the event you feel you need help, or wish to seek out aid in dealing with uncomfortable or unwanted situations. We believe our campus culture is inclusive and safe, and feel these resources help individuals have a supportive and positive experience on our campus:

    • A team of professional counselors is committed to promoting student safety and empowerment through training, education and support in personal safety and sexual assault prevention;
    • The Equal Opportunity and University Title IX Office is committed to ensuring that people on our campus have the right to an education and to advance in employment without fear of discrimination. Please report any unwanted situations to the Equal Opportunity and Title IX Office at 775-784-1547
    • The University has ongoing "Diversity Dialogues" that are held monthly throughout the academic year. Our next "Diversity Dialogue" is scheduled for today, Nov. 10, from 3-4 p.m. in the Graduate Student Lounge of the Joe Crowley Student Union. For a schedule of "Diversity Dialogues," go to  www.unr.edu/dialogues

    In addition, the University has ongoing efforts to promote campus safety. These include:

    • The "Safe Pack" mobile app that gives users access to campus information and personal safety tools. SafePack is available in the Apple Store and Google Play;
    • The University offers a campus escort service which provides a safe transportation option;
    • A 24-hour Sexual Assault/Sexual Misconduct Hotline allows students, faculty and staff to report incidents that occur on or off campus. The caller may remain anonymous if he/she chooses; the hotline number is 775-784-1030;
    • Stationed throughout the main campus and the Redfield Campus parking lot are "blue light phones" that allow quick access to "911" and emergency assistance.

    In closing, we sincerely hope that our campus, our community, our state, and our nation will use this moment in our history as a reminder that America is at its strongest when we foster a spirit of respect and compassion. We can do this by making every effort in the weeks and months to come to rise above the divisiveness of the past political campaign, and to come to a better understanding of our differences through respectful dialogue and the common ground of empathy and understanding. Talk often and share experiences. Listen carefully and when appropriate, provide support and guidance. The University of Nevada, Reno is a campus for everyone. Let's protect this fundamental value.

    Sincerely,

    Marc A. Johnson, President and Kevin Carman, Provost

  • A Campus Conversation on Teaching (November 3, 2016)

    Dear Colleague,

    Teaching has always been the lifeblood of our University.

    From the humanities to the sciences, to engineering and education, the beauty of teaching is it always gives us the opportunity to pass knowledge on to our students.

    And when innovative approaches to teaching receive attention and support, the results can be extraordinary.

    Perhaps most notably are the experiential "hands-on" learning approaches that many of our faculty are using.

    Experiential learning is helping our students shape their personal exploration of knowledge by asking them to apply their knowledge in real-world situations. An example of the success of this approach has been the national achievement of our student competition teams in Concrete Canoe and Debate, which have earned championships and renown in national competitions.

    It's important to note that the University continues to cultivate a culture that places a high value on teaching. Provost Kevin Carman has initiated an online course designed by the Association of College and University Educators (ACCUE) in an effort to implement more of the "best practices" that are associated with effective teaching and promote student success. Thus far the ACCUE initiative, led by facilitators Lynda Wiest (College of Education) and Beth Leger (College of Agriculture, Biotechnology and Natural Resources), has received a positive response from our campus. We plan on gathering feedback from participants to decide if the University will bring this resource fully on board next fall.

    Still, there is much more we can do to continue to enhance the effectiveness of our teaching.

    This is why I would like to invite you to our next Campus Conversations. It will be held on Monday, November 7 at 4 p.m. in the Rotunda of the Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center. The topic will be: Teaching.

    We will discuss a number of aspects of teaching, including:

    • Why teaching will play an important role in our goal to become a Carnegie "High Research" University;
    • What are some of the ways we can better evaluate the effectiveness of our teaching and how often should we evaluate such work;
    • How we can enhance a strong teaching culture by implementing more of the "best practices" of teaching excellence;

    Along with Provost Carman and Faculty Senate Chair Fred Harris, I wish to hear your thoughts regarding these questions and much more.

    I hope to see you on Monday, November 7 at 4 p.m. in the Knowledge Center for the next Campus Conversations.

    Sincerely,
    Marc A. Johnson, President

  • Campus Updates (August 24, 2016)

    Dear Colleague,  

    Classes for the new academic year begin next week. But already the campus is buzzing with activity. On Sunday, more than 1,000 students moved into our residential communities for NevadaFIT, our highly successful academic preparation program. On Thursday, it is estimated that an additional 1,900 students, who will be living in our residential communities, will move onto campus to begin preparations for what is shaping up to be one of the most exciting academic years in our history.  

    Before we look ahead, here are a few updates on initiatives that have occurred since our Commencement ceremonies in May.

    Earlier this month, the Nevada System of Higher Education, the University, and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas finalized an agreement that will ensure Nevada's two public medical schools each have its own faculty as well as clinical practices. This agreement assures quality medical education opportunities for students statewide, will expand patient care across the state, and will provide the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine the opportunity to enhance its education and clinical operation. By July 1, 2017, the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine will be able to accommodate all or most students in Reno for all four years of their medical education. In addition, the School of Medicine's faculty practices will continue to grow in Reno through partnerships with community physicians and hospitals, particularly our comprehensive affiliation with Renown Health. I am pleased that our medical faculty, who have served medical students and patients superbly in southern Nevada, will continue to be part of Nevada's medical education system.  

    The renovation work in advance of the 50th  anniversary of Mackay Stadium continues full-throttle ahead of the Wolf Pack's season opener on Sept. 2 against Cal Poly. Coupled with ongoing construction at the nearby site of the E. L. Wiegand Fitness Center, which is slated to open in January, I would like to remind the campus that we all need to be cautious in our travels around these sites, and that we also need to exercise patience regarding parking and transportation during the home opener on the evening of Sept. 2. As always, we are delighted the community is engaging with the University and is supporting the Wolf Pack. 

    Wolf Pack Welcome Week, as I mentioned earlier, has livened the atmosphere on campus considerably over the past few days. There is an unmatched sense of possibility and excitement in the air at this time of year. In addition to Thursday's Move-In Day, the New Student Opening Ceremony will be held on Friday at 9:30 a.m. at Lawlor Events Center. One of the campus' finest instructors and most accomplished artists, Dr. Albert Lee of the Music Department, will be the keynote speaker. I highly encourage all faculty and faculty colleagues to consider attending this important rite of passage for our first-year students.  

    In the spring and throughout this summer, the University has been actively engaged with the City of Reno in moving plans for the Gateway Project forward. The Gateway, which is incorporated in our Strategic Plan and is part of an ambitious Master Plan that has included the City of Reno in its development, promises to link our campus to the community like never before. Integral aspects of the Gateway concept include linking land that the University has purchased or is in the process of purchasing north of Interstate 80 and south of campus, with downtown and midtown Reno. We envision using this space for academic buildings, such as new facilities for the College of Engineering, the College of Business and, running in parallel with this effort, ongoing restoration and renovation of several of our most historic buildings on campus. This includes renovation of Lincoln Hall (which is reaching completion this month) as well as Thompson Hall and Palmer Engineering. The Lincoln Hall renovation will include more than 70 total offices for faculty from the College of Liberal Arts. The University's commitment to renovate many of our historic campus buildings totals about $26 million, including $8.5 million for 120-year-old Lincoln Hall. Although our opportunities for in-fill capital improvement projects on campus are dwindling, there is a notable effort worth mentioning: the Act II School of the Arts expansion. Act II will provide much-needed teaching, practice and performance space for our faculty and students in the Performing Arts. It will also, by its very nature, bring a sense of renewal and energy to our "lower" campus area in and around Hilliard Plaza. Regarding the above mentioned new Engineering Building, significant progress has been made to position this facility for a state funding proposal that has also included significant fund-raising success for the project for the University's share of the cost.

    We have continued to make progress in our efforts to reduce classroom student-to-faculty ratios with an enrollment/faculty hiring strategy that will see our fall enrollment increase, though not as robustly as in years past. Although it is difficult to say for certain what our final fall enrollment headcount will be, most enrollment projection models are indicating that we will exceed last year's record of enrollment of 20,898 by several hundred students. Accompanying our slower enrollment growth strategy, the University will welcome close to 60 additional faculty members to the campus this week. This intentional "slow" growth enrollment and faculty growth strategy should help us continue to offer the quality, "hands-on" experiential learning that has become one of the memorable characteristics of the learning environment we provide our students.  

    Our Tobacco Free University initiative has seen many positive strides over the past several months, and will continue this academic year. All students and parents have received information during orientation this summer, and information continues to be provided during new faculty and staff orientations. The campus will also see additional signage regarding a Tobacco Free University during the first few weeks of the fall semester. A "Get Your Health On Health Fair" on Sept. 15 will highlight the educational and informational aspects of this initiative. Our efforts have helped lead the way for a broader implementation of similar initiatives at other NSHE institutions. Both Truckee Meadows Community College and Western Nevada College will be going "Tobacco Free" in the next year. Both institutions have reached out to us for expertise and insight into our own experience regarding this important endeavor. To find out more, go to "Tobacco Free."

    In closing, I hope you have all had a productive and rejuvenating summer. With "opening day" just around the corner on Monday, it is my sincere wish that the coming academic year will be one of professional achievement and personal enrichment for all of you.  

    Sincerely,

    Marc A. Johnson, President

  • Profound Tragedies (July 14, 2016)

    Dear Colleague,  

    In recent days, our nation has experienced profound tragedies in Baton Rouge, La., Falcon Heights, Minn., and Dallas, Texas. These events have led to protests, memorial services and an effort by all Americans to make sense of why they happened, and what they mean to our society.

    These are not easy issues. The shootings have exposed divisions in our country about race, and of the role of the police in our communities. The African-American community has raised questions about the use of excessive force by police, saying members of their community have been unfairly targeted. They have looked to the nation for support as they've asked these legitimate and important questions. Police departments throughout the country have posed questions too, noting that the vast majority of their officers go about their duties quietly and honorably while maintaining law and order in our country. They, too, have looked to the nation for support as they've done this necessary and important work.

    I am not writing today to say which side is right, or whose point of view holds more merit. The tragedies that have occurred are still too raw for many of us to make sense of, or to decipher their meaning against a larger societal context. And yet, as educators, it is our job to bring events into context, and to provide an environment where one's personal perspective and experience is valued. As a University, and as a community, we do this by nurturing discussion that is honest and thoughtful. We encourage our campus community to engage in dialogue that is respectful and understanding of all points of view. Through this effort, where all perspectives are heard and all experience is acknowledged, I believe our University can help in making measurable progress on these deeply complicated questions.

    On Friday, the University's Center for Student Cultural Diversity will host an open forum, from 2-4 p.m., in the Rita Laden Senate Chambers, to allow us to connect and gather for dialogue and reflection regarding the tragedies of this summer. As we grieve the loss of black citizens and the police officers who were on hand to defend all citizens' right to assemble and to peacefully protest, we must always remember that our country should never be defined through lines of division. The promise of our country is in understanding and through empathy. In the days and weeks to come, let us all remember this promise of unity through understanding as we work together to fully grasp the difficult questions that are still before us.  

    Sincerely,

    Marc A. Johnson, President

  • Campus Sustainability (April 21, 2016)

    Dear Colleague,  

    Our University is engaged in an array of endeavors to improve campus sustainability. Here is a brief rundown of some of the recent work that has been done in this important area.  

    The University has a long-standing Environmental Policy as well as a Sustainable Building Policy. Please join in continuing these efforts to minimize the campus footprint. Small steps taken by an entire community can add up to very large impacts; each person's commitment to these efforts certainly can help. 

    As many of you know, the campus has undertaken many steps to improve our efficiency and offer opportunities for participation. Some of these steps include: 

    • The campus is working rapidly on improving our central cooling system. Much like the central heat plant that our campus has used since 1908, this will allow us to more efficiently cool our buildings. Many of you may have seen the construction notices or seen the pipes going into the ground recently. This needed project will help lower our energy use.
    • Over the past few years all the parking garages were re-lamped with energy efficient LED lights that can adjust brightness for further energy savings.
    • Two large solar arrays were installed, a 30KW on the Joe Crowley Student Union, and an 80KW on the Valley Road Greenhouse Complex. These complement the solar thermal system that has been in use at Nye Hall since the 1980s.
    • The campus single-stream recycling program began in the summer of 2014. This initiative greatly expanded the range of materials recycled on campus.
    • Campus green waste has been diverted to composting and electric utility carts; battery-operated landscaping tools are replacing petroleum-powered equipment.
    • Hydration Stations were installed throughout campus to make it easier to use reusable water bottles.
    • ASUN recently voted to eliminate bottled water at events and purchased two large bottle filling units instead.
    • The Offices of the President, the Provost and the University Foundation will no longer have bottled water at events. Instead, we are asking campus catering to provide pitchers of filtered water. We encourage all other units to do the same.

    I am also excited to share that under the guidance Provost Kevin Carman, the University has registered as a participant into AASHE, the national Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System, better known as "STARS."  This program is a self-assessment tool used by institutions of higher education to measure their sustainability progress. STARS will help our institution set and meet sustainability goals while fostering collaboration and information-sharing across our campus. STARS will also enable our institution to benchmark with peer universities.  

    Participating in STARS requires a substantial amount of data collection in four main categories, "Academics," "Engagement," "Operations," and "Planning & Administration." The Campus Sustainability Committee, chaired by John Sagebiel, assistant director of environmental health and safety, is leading this effort, and will be spearheading data collection on campus. The committee needs your assistance in providing data for this important endeavor.

    There is a great deal of sustainability work being done by our campus community and I wish to thank all of you for your daily efforts in this area.  

    To find out more about the STARS initiative, or what you can do to help further our effort to make this the most sustainable campus that we can, please contact John Sagebiel at jsagebiel@unr.edu. 

    For more information please see the STARS website. 

    Sincerely,

    Marc A. Johnson, President

  • Campus Conversation Updates (April 14, 2016)

    Dear Colleague,

    During this week's "Campus Conversations," several individuals expressed their concern regarding a recent hiring made by the men's basketball program, and how it related to the larger question of campus safety, sexual misconduct and sexual harassment. The questions that were raised were extremely thoughtful, and I deeply appreciate the candor and concern that was expressed.  As an institution of higher learning, we must constantly ask these types of questions of ourselves if we are to maintain a safe and welcoming environment. After announcing the selection, but before finalizing the contract for Yann Hufnagel, we reviewed additional materials that did not appear to have been previously reviewed and considered, and, are sufficiently comfortable moving forward with the hire. Mr. Hufnagel agreed to make this additional information available to others. The University will release this information to the media today, and it will be made available to the public and our campus through Linda Ward in the Office of the Provost, who acts as the representative of the University for the processing of all Public Records Act requests.  

    Our University remains diligent regarding the issues of sexual misconduct, sexual harassment or other actions that damage the lives of others. Our actions must always be rooted in professional accountability and personal decency, with empathy and understanding. This includes fair treatment and protection of individual rights for all people. We have a number of resources on our campus that speak directly to how we are building a more inclusive, compassionate and safe environment, including: a case manager to assist the Office of Equal Opportunity and Title IX in the investigation of sexual assault and harassment complaints; a victim advocate from the region's Crisis Call Center to provide confidential crisis intervention, information and referral; ongoing workshops and seminars on these issues; mandatory sexual harassment training for all employees.

    Collectively, it is important that we continue, as a University and as a community, to engage in meaningful dialogue regarding these issues. There were many honest and sincere questions that were raised during "Campus Conversations." I promise you that I take the concerns expressed very seriously. Our University continues to be focused on creating a safe and welcoming environment for all.  

    Sincerely,

    Marc A. Johnson, President

  • Workday Updates (April 8, 2016)

    Dear Colleague,  

    As many of you are aware, the University of Nevada, Reno, as well as the rest of the Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE), plans to replace our outdated, legacy Human Resources and Financial systems with Workday. The implementation project team, including representatives from the University, have been hard at work ensuring the new system meets the needs of the institutions.

    The expected go-live date was to be October 1, 2016. However, it recently became apparent that in order to ensure a successful implementation, that date is not realistic.  

    The Nevada System of Higher Education is the first group to implement Workday across an entire university system. We are innovators on this front, and like all innovators, we have run into some unexpected challenges. Workday is the right solution for NSHE - but we need more time to build and configure the system in a way that meets our needs and substantially enhances service. Because Workday has never been implemented across an entire university system, the extent of the issues were not fully realized until we completed initial testing. Workday anticipates software updates in the coming months that will address many of the issues NSHE has identified. Experts from the System level and campuses are working diligently with both Workday and Sierra Cedar to ensure the best solutions and identify additional appropriate project resources.

    In early March, University representatives participated in a planning meeting with representatives from the other campuses, the NSHE Administration, the project's implementation consultants Sierra-Cedar Inc. (SCI), and Workday.  During the meeting the group discussed the project timeline, resources, and the overall project plan. Based on feedback generated during the planning session, it became apparent the October 1, 2016 date was not feasible.  

    A new go-live date will be determined in the near future and will be presented to the Board of Regents for final approval.  While we don't know yet what that new go-live date might be, it is evident that it will not be during the calendar year 2016.

    The Workday project team will continue working hard to deliver the best system for the University. Updates on the revised schedule will be communicated as they become available.  

    For more information, please visit Workday. Please email the Workday team at workday@unr.edu if you have any questions. 

    Our Workday initiative is one of many important steps the University is taking as we continue on our path as a high-impact research university, one that serves the needs of our students and faculty colleagues as well as the citizens of Nevada. Thank you again for all you do on behalf of this effort.  

    Sincerely,

    Marc A. Johnson, President

  • Diversity Activities (March 22, 2016)

    Dear Colleague,

    Diversity is at the core of our educational mission as a University. By creating opportunities for student learning that are directly related to a campus environment that values diversity, equity and inclusion, we become a better University - one that respects, supports and values all members of its diverse learning community. We are currently building a foundation that entails planning and programming that will help ensure that diversity, inclusivity and equity are woven into the life of our campus.

    Here are three important news items that relate to our goal of recognizing a diverse campus:

    Recently, I formed a Diversity Council, consisting of many offices that work on these important issues. Chaired by Chief Diversity Officer Patricia Richard, the Diversity Council's tasks will include standardizing operating procedures, recommending training and educational programming, coordinating and promoting activities, and assessing the success of current programs and strategies. The Diversity Council consists of:

    • Susie Askew - Director of International Students and Scholars;
    • Denise Cordova - Director of Equal Opportunity and Title IX;
    • Terina Caserto - Director of Veterans Services;
    • Rita Escher - Director of Academic and Opportunity Support Services (Trio-McNair-Upward Bound);
    • Mariluz Garcia - Director of Dean's Future Scholars Program;
    • Jennifer Grogan - Manager of Faculty Recruitment, Human Resources;
    • Blane Harding - Director of the Center for Student Cultural Diversity (The Center - Every Student, Every Story);
    • Jen Hill - Director of Gender, Race, and Identity Program;
    • Marcelo Vazquez - Associate Dean of Students;
    • Mary Zabel - Director of the Disability Resource Center;
    • Lana Reeves - Staff Employees Council;
    • Representative from Faculty Senate to be named soon;
    • Representative of the University of Nevada School of Medicine to be named soon;
    • KaPreace Young - Director of Diversity and Inclusion, ASUN;
    • Veronica Zepeda - Graduate School.

    I should also note that Patricia Richard will retain the position of Chief Diversity Officer until June 30, 2017, at which point we will have determined whether the role can be effectively fulfilled in concert with the President's Chief of Staff position.  

    We also have two important events scheduled on campus in the coming days, both of which I highly encourage you to attend.

    First, ASUN is organizing a Diversity Panel on Wednesday, March 30 at 6 p.m. in the Wells Fargo Auditorium of the Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center. The panel will consist of seven students with diverse identities who will share their experiences, both positive and negative, at the University. This conversation is intended for, and is open to, all University employees. Recognizing that equality, inclusiveness and diversity are core values for our University, this is an important opportunity for faculty and faculty colleagues to better understand student perspectives, and, further, to examine ways that each of us - professors, administrators, other employees and advocates - can work to make our University a more welcoming environment. While we are moving toward the University's strategic goal of increasing diverse faculty from 21 to 25 percent, students from our underrepresented populations often remark that they do not see themselves consistently reflected in our faculty. To truly have a campus culture that embraces diversity, conversations such as the one scheduled for March 30 are critically important to deepen understanding and to identify concrete actions we can all take in embracing diversity. The seven students who will be participating in this dialogue are hopeful that by sharing their experiences, we can all engage in a thoughtful, meaningful and ultimately personal conversation of what they have experienced on our campus. 

    On April 6-7, the University will host the Northern Nevada Diversity Summit at the Joe Crowley Student Union. The Summit, "Exploring Diversity and Equity Through Access, Retention & Engagement" promises to be our most ambitious diversity gathering in quite some time. The event, now in its third year, is hosted annually by the Cultural Diversity Committee at the University, and is expected to attract more than 500 attendees from higher education personnel, students, K-12 teachers and staff, as well as community leaders and organizations from northern Nevada. More than 70 presentations are planned, in varying formats, all with the goal to publicize current research, share resources, provide networking, create collaboration across disciplines/constituencies/communities, highlight accomplishments, and identify existing needs pertaining to diversity, inclusivity and equity. The summit is free and open to all.

    To find out more about the Northern Nevada Diversity Summit, go to: www.unr.edu/diversity-committees/cultural-diversity/diversity-summit

    I highly encourage you to support the programming and events we have scheduled in the coming weeks and months ahead.  

    This is an exciting time for our University, as we work toward our goal of becoming a high-impact, high-quality research university. The commitment we make today will enable our students, faculty and faculty colleagues to flourish professionally and personally; the richness of our peoples' backgrounds, talents, experiences and ideas will make us a better University. Creating a diverse campus culture gives us greater breadth, depth and quality not only in teaching and research, but also in an equally important part of our mission - finding understanding and common purpose through the sharing of the human experience.

    Sincerely,

    Marc A. Johnson, President

2015

  • Holiday Message (December 12, 2015)

    Dear Colleague,

    As the fall semester draws to a close, I wish to thank you for the work you have done. During the holiday season we give thanks for the people that are most important in our lives and the accomplishments that will live on in memory. And it is my sincere wish for you to know the University deeply appreciates the work that you do on behalf of our institution.

    This holiday season is especially poignant. Acts of violence have occurred in recent weeks that have targeted innocent people. The perpetrators of these acts have wished to instill fear and hate into our lives. We cannot allow our lives to be ruled by fear. We must make every effort to ensure that the darkness of hate is always replaced by the transformative power of understanding and empathy for all human beings.

    As we move forward with the University's mission of learning, discovery and engagement, we impact the lives of all people. We continuously work to make our community, our state and this world a better place. We have a noble mission in that we often provide a needed counter-balance for terrible events that occur in our world. Each of us has a very clear role to play in encouraging and furthering a climate guided by empathy and compassion, by tolerance and acceptance, by thoughtful, careful consideration of all perspectives.

    The people of our University understand that the wonderful quilt work that holds our campus and our country together is woven from many strands. We know that as a people, we come from many places, from many backgrounds, from many experiences, from many faiths and from many nationalities and races. Within the diversity of experience and ideas and backgrounds of the people on our campus, we find our greatest strength. There is unity and hope in this knowledge. We know that as we make this effort to understand and to find the human bonds of commonality, there is always the possibility of justice for those who suffer injustice, the promise of compassion for those in need of encouragement, and the guiding hand of wisdom for those in need of direction.

    Thank you again for the work that you do for our University. In words and in actions, you exemplify why our campus is a welcoming place for all people, from all backgrounds, from all faiths and from all nationalities and races. At this time of year, and at this particular moment in our history, perhaps this is the finest gift we can ever offer one another.

    Sincerely,

    Marc A. Johnson, President

  • Faculty Updates (November 30, 2015)

    Dear Colleague,

    Over the past two years, the University has authorized 101 new faculty positions, of which about 80 percent are tenure-track positions. We have added 41 more positions this year. These hires are part of a multi-year process. Eventually, this investment in new faculty positions will total about 400, including at least 300 tenure-track positions.

    These are exciting and imposing numbers. With this influx of new faculty come challenges. As we all know, new or junior faculty must often find ways to navigate the ins and outs of a new campus culture. This can run the gamut from the operations of the new department they serve, the people they work with, the students they teach, and the research and engagement they wish to accomplish.

    We have a unique opportunity to address many of these challenges. In many ways, the success of our new colleagues is addressed in significant and noteworthy fashion through the collegial nature of our institutional culture, which centers on collaboration, on interdisciplinary approaches, and shared success.

    Still, we can always do more in this area. Our future depends on it. This is why our next Campus Conversations, scheduled for Monday, Nov. 30, from 4-5 p.m. in the Joe Crowley Student Union Great Room, Room 403, will focus on the topic "Junior/Early Career Faculty Retention and Mentoring."

    Along with our host, Faculty Senate Chairman David Sanders, and Provost Kevin Carman, I will be on hand to hear your thoughts, your ideas, your questions and your concerns regarding this important issue. Please join me on Nov. 30 as we engage in a conversation that will address junior/early career faculty retention and mentoring, and the steps we must take as an institution to transform retention and mentoring into one of the biggest prizes we have in higher education today: A sense of belonging, of personal fulfillment, of ultimate professional success.

    Sincerely,

    Marc A. Johnson, President

  • Workday Updates (November 10, 2015)

    Dear Colleague,

    A new, cloud-based, desktop- and mobile-friendly system is being implemented to simplify and automate our human-resource and finance business processes. Coming in fall 2016, Workday will be implemented across the institutions of the Nevada System of Higher Education, including the University of Nevada, Reno.

    All employees will access the Workday system. For example, initiation of a leave request, benefit enrollment or procurement process will all be initiated through Workday. To check your individual payroll information, you will use Workday. There has been considerable feedback about the opportunity to automate sponsored-award management and reporting, and this, too, will happen through Workday.

    Please plan to attend one of the upcoming sessions being held to provide you an introduction and status of Workday:

    1. Monday, Nov. 16, 3 p.m. Joe Crowley Student Union Theatre
    2. Tuesday, Nov. 17, 9 a.m.  Joe Crowley Student Union Theatre

    The many anticipated benefits of Workday are

    • Improved efficiency and turn-around of processes,
    • More timely availability of information to support decision-making,
    • Reduced paper use,
    • Streamlined processes across NSHE institutions.

    The target launch date for Workday is Oct. 1, 2016. Of course, with a system implementation of this scope there will be a period of adjustment. An implementation team is in place and already developing plans for training and support.

    The Workday project is part of a large-scale, NSHE-wide initiative to improve efficiency by standardizing processes and to provide more timely and accurate data. The launch of Workday, initially referred to as the Integrate II project, follows the implementation of People Soft, the Integrate I project completed in 2011.

    Human resources and finance processes are foundational for our organization and operations. As we strive to improve our business processes, the ultimate goal is to advance the foundation by which we achieve student success, research progress and impactful outreach to our communities. Your support of the system implementation ahead, as well as our many co-workers directly involved with this effort, is appreciated.

    For more information, please visit Workday

    Sincerely,

    Marc A. Johnson, President

  • Spring Semester Welcome (January 23, 2015)

    Dear Colleague,

    Welcome back to campus. I hope the holidays were rich and rewarding for you.

    This should be an exciting semester - our enrollment continues to grow, the accomplishments and achievements of our community are garnering worldwide attention, and our capital improvements progress steadily toward completion.

    In December, the Board of Regents approved our Master and Strategic Plans, allowing us to position our University for further growth and a continued connection to our community.

    Our fall-to-spring student retention rate remains very high at more than 92 percent. While this has created a number of pressure points, we are being disciplined, strategic and thoughtful in our growth.

    Gov. Brian Sandoval's State of the State Address on Jan. 15 was filled with optimism and a sense that we are facing an extraordinary future in our state.

    In terms of higher education, the Governor's Executive Budget Proposal contained several items important for our campus:

    • Elimination of the furlough program which will restore professional and classified salaries by 2.3 percent for non-grant-funded full-time employees and end the six days per year of unpaid leave;
    • Caseload growth which allocates state funds for the additional weighted student credit hours generated in fiscal year 2014 over the previous base in fiscal year 2012;
    • Restoration of merit pay for classified employees, i.e., merit-based step increases;

    Regarding caseload growth, the state defines "caseload growth" using a funding formula that weighs student credit hours. Because the caseload formulation rewards institutions based on course completion, our University will fare extremely well given our robust growth. Put simply, this formula will increase state revenues to our campus.

    I cannot emphasize enough how important it is for the state to continue to use this formula. Just as the state has previously allowed us to keep our tuition and fees, by allowing the University to generate revenues based on course completion, we can reach a budgetary level to address recent enrollment growth-a budget responsiveness not seen on our campus since before the deep and painful state-mandated budget reductions that began in 2009.This means we will have resources to invest in key areas of growth and development toward University goals.

    Unfortunately, the Executive Budget recommendation did not contain funding for professional merit. However, when the Nevada State Legislature convenes on Feb. 2, Chancellor Dan Klaich and the lobbying team of the Nevada System of Higher Education will continue to make Regents-approved budget requests a top priority during the Legislative Session and for consideration in the final state budget.

    As the legislative session commences, I will keep you informed about the developments in Carson City that will affect our University.

    On a related note, if you intend to testify before the legislature, please first touch base with Heidi Gansert, our Executive Director of External Relations and our legislative liaison. Heidi can provide guidance and a unique insight to you given her past experience as both a legislator and a senior aide to Governor Sandoval. A healthy legislative process depends on and benefits from the meaningful participation of its citizens; however, so as not to be in violation of NSHE policy, if you do testify, as a matter of procedure you must delineate that you are speaking as a private citizen and not on behalf of the University.

    In conversation with the campus community, I've heard your concerns regarding class sizes, questions about office and laboratory space, the plan and process to hire 272 new tenure-track faculty, and more generally, "What are our major goals and how do we plan on getting there?"

    I appreciate such questions and hope to have a meaningful dialogue with you through three upcoming Campus Conversations—on Feb. 10, March 9, and April 29—which will each feature a key topic or theme.

    Our February 10 Conversation will focus on the University's plan to reach the Carnegie classification of "Research University/Very High." We will discuss why reaching RU/VH is important, as well as the specific issues related to researcher start-up packages, sponsored projects and grant money, graduate stipends, and whatever research-related issues you would like to discuss. I am anxious to hear from you about the opportunities and challenges that we face in realizing this important goal.

    In addition, I intend to communicate with you more frequently using these Dear Colleague letters so that I may better keep you updated on the many initiatives on campus. You should also feel free to email me at president@unr.edu.

    There is much to report about campus capital improvements. This month the University will hire a contractor to build a new residential hall to replace White Pine Hall, with double White Pine's capacity, to open in 2017. In addition, we have a firm working on a conceptual design for a new Engineering building and a redesign of existing Engineering space. We also hired a firm to turn existing Chemistry and Physics teaching labs into research labs; and Lincoln Hall will be reopened as office space by fall 2016. Fundraising for a new Arts Building continues to make good progress as well. A significant amount of office relocation can occur with the opening of the new William N. Pennington Student Achievement Center in January 2016, as well as the repurposing of the Continuing Education Building, Thompson Hall and office space on Valley Road.

    Assessments and recommendations are ongoing, but for a perspective on the important metrics behind our campus' projected growth, as well as space considerations and construction needs, I would highly recommend you read the University Capacity Study.

    Building on last year's tremendous success, the Cultural Diversity Committee is again hosting a conference and this year's topic is, "Exploring Diversity and Equity in Education, Careers and the Community" on Thursday and Friday, Feb. 26 - 27, in the Joe Crowley Student Union. To register for this event, please go to cdcc.eventbrite.com.

    Provost Kevin Carman and I understand the Campus Community's commitment to the University's mission. So, while we want this semester to be one of accomplishment and achievement - we also want it to be one of appreciation and gratitude.

    For now, as the campus again hums with the energy of students returning to class, my hope is that you will have a successful and personally enriching semester.

    Thank you for what you've done, and what you will do as we face an intriguing and exciting moment in our history.


    Sincerely,

    Marc A. Johnson, President

  • University Growth (January 9, 2015)

    Dear Colleague,

    Growth is a subject of utmost importance, and we see it everywhere we turn on our campus.

    We see it in the form of record student enrollment, new additions to our faculty and staff, in projects that are turning earth and creating new facilities, and in the plans to repurpose and renovate old buildings.

    Growth carries with it many positives. Our ability to enroll more students, and to retain and to graduate these students, has advantages relative to the State of Nevada's higher education funding formula. These are areas which we excel as an institution, and if the current funding formula holds through this legislative session, we stand to benefit in terms of increased funding. Our growth in enrollment also provides us with increased revenue through tuition and fees, which we have been allowed to keep. This revenue can then be used to enhance our University.

    There is also an important psychological component to growth. Growth creates momentum. It can infuse a college campus with a palpable sense of purpose. We live in an era of unprecedented re-calibration and transition for higher education, and a University that is on the move - one that is seen as growing and doing the important work of its time - is perhaps the best way we can equip ourselves for the challenges that lie ahead of us.

    Growth, when it is done right and planned for carefully, can supply the unifying prospect of collective future achievement. It can energize a campus and the community it serves.

    There is no doubt, too, that growth presents challenges. In my discussions with many of you, I've heard concerns about high student-to-faculty ratios. You've shared with me how available space on our campus feels sometimes as if it is under strain. And, you've wondered about our plans to add faculty and staff in the face of such change. These pressure points create very real challenges for our University.

    These questions, and many others like them, are essential to the thoughtful planning that must guide us if our campus is to continue its trajectory. As we continue to plan for our future, I'd like to encourage you to attend our next Campus Conversations event, at 4 p.m. on Monday, March 9th at the Joe Crowley Student Union.

    This Conversations event will focus solely on the topic of growth. It will deal with the broad question of, "Are we ready for growth in faculty ... in students ... in staff ... and in facilities?"

    My hope is that we will drill down deeply into this topic for meaningful dialogue.

    I would like to highlight and provide updates for a couple of these issues.

    Reducing the student-to-faculty ratio from nearly 23-to-1 to 18-to-1 over the next few years remains one of our top institutional goals. After reductions in faculty and staff during the budget reduction period, we are now positioned to attract up to 420 new faculty (with at least 300 of them tenure-track lines), as well as additional positions in the administrative and classified areas.

    With our student enrollment increasing, the addition of these positions will be imperative if we are to remain a dynamic, national Tier 1 research university offering students an education of the highest qualityand, as well, offering our faculty and staff a modern, exciting workplace where they can reach their professional goals. We also must recognize that enrollment growth, even as it offers increased revenue and the potential for new positions, also carries with it increased demands and needs for our faculty, staff and students. We often see this in the form of classrooms that are full, cramped work spaces, and laboratory and research space in need of expansion or renovation.

    Last year, the University Capacity Study was completed, as were the University's Strategic and Master Plans. These planning documents provide important data, projections and goals for the University for the next several years. Their message is positive - that, with careful planning and prioritization fortified by meaningful campus dialogue and the type of innovative thinking that is the hallmark of the people of our University, growth that will ultimately make us a stronger institution is indeed possible.

    I highly recommend that you spend some time with these documents as we discuss the issue of growth on our campus.

    Earlier, I mentioned campus capital improvements: repurposing, renovation, and new construction. Here is an update on where we stand, as all three efforts contribute to our success in managing our current situation while planning for our future growth. Together, these changes will increase space allocated to academic units in order to accommodate recent and future growth in faculty and research.

    We are in the process of retaining architectural and engineering firms for Thompson Hall and Lincoln Hall,which will be repurposed and renovated to house academic units in the liberal arts beginning in fall 2016. We are reviewing use of space on Valley Road and will repurpose space there for growth in the life sciences. As we prepare for the opening of the E. L. Wiegand Fitness Center in 2017, Lombardi Recreation will be adapted for use by academic units, campus recreation, and intercollegiate athletics. We have retained firms to plan renovations to improve existing engineering space in the Scrugham and Palmer buildings and to renovate existing teaching labs in Chemistry and Leifson Physics into research labs. We have also reallocated space used by administrative units in the Continuing Education building, Clark Administration, and Morrill Hall.

    We have a firm working on a conceptual design for a new Engineering building; and fundraising for a second Arts Building continues to make good progress.

    Over the next few years we will continue to review current space use and assignment, prioritize in accord with strategic plans and hiring goals, and reallocate as needed. This process will entail some moves necessary to make best use of newly available space and some in order to create room for growth in areas where the University most needs it. During periods of renovation, some temporary relocation of academic offices will be necessary. We will keep the campus updated as we move forward.

    In closing, I need to note that our last "Campus Conversations" in February was excellent. We traded open and honest dialogue, and the wide range of perspectives shared was yet another example of why our campus is such a remarkable place.

    On March 9, during our next "Campus Conversation," I want to hear from you about your understanding of our capacities - and our realities - as they relate to growth. It will be an opportunity to share, to suggest, and yes, to "grow together" as we discuss the reality of growth that is clearly intersecting with our capacity for future growth.

    Thank you for the continued excellence you achieve, on a daily basis, on behalf of our wonderful University.

    Sincerely,

    Marc A. Johnson, President

  • RU-VH Update (January 9, 2015)

    Dear Colleague,

    From the promise of continuing engagement with our community to our ongoing efforts to provide Nevada with a high-quality research university that is steadily growing in reputation and excellence, we are poised to do exciting and important work in 2015.

    Of particular note is the University's effort to reach the classification of "Research University/Very High" ("RU/VH") by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

    I thought it would be helpful to further explain this aspiration. There are very clear benefits associated with being an RU/VH institution.

    The Carnegie Foundation classifies more than 4,000 colleges and universities in the United States. Approximately 300 are classified as research universities.

    The University is currently classified as "Research University/High" which places us among approximately the top 200 colleges and universities in the United States.

    The status of RU/VH, which would place us among approximately the top 100 colleges and universities, is the next logical step for us to make, due to a variety of factors.

    One of the most important is our growing student enrollment, which contributes to our region's workforce and vitality and is an indication of our commitment to provide a top-quality, high-value educational opportunity. Continued growth in enrollment also results in increased revenue for the University, which will help us make regular and substantial investments to increase our faculty, graduate teaching assistantships, classified support and departmental operating budgets.

    Increases in revenue also allow us to invest in the success of our current faculty and to further enhance the academic experience of our students.

    Gains in our research infrastructure will help our current faculty expand their own academic, scholarly and research agendas and provide them with the type of institutional support that is so critical to professional growth and achievement.

    In addition, the University's reputation and overall impact will benefit from the push for RU/VH status.

    Ascension to RU/VH will help cement the University's position as a pillar for economic development and innovation in the region and the state, helping to catalyze a knowledge-based, education-driven economy.

    An investment in our research capabilities and infrastructure will lead to new ideas, technologies, patents, commercialization and economic diversification.

    Reaching the RU/VH classification will align the University with other major public universities such as the universities of Utah, New Mexico and Oregon.

    The initiative will also have the potential to double our amount of externally funded research, and to bring more grant-based employees and graduate students to Reno.

    There is no doubt that this is an institutional "stretch goal" that will require some heavy lifting.

    However, it is important to note that we have a favorable confluence of factors working to our advantage at this moment.

    Our effort at achieving RU/VH is running in parallel with our comprehensive capital campaign, which has helped align institutional priorities with those of our colleges, departments and programs. This undertaking, therefore, is multi-faceted, with aspirations and goals in complement to one another.

    Our push to increase research funding levels will require us to create much-needed space, which will, in turn, be of benefit to our entire faculty and student body.

    Growing our talented faculty will help entice talented and ambitious graduate students to our campus.

    As the reputation of our undergraduate and graduate programs grow, so will the value of a University degree.

    The University Capacity Study, completed last year, deals with many of the specific benchmarks and the projected allocation of resources, both human and physical, which will frame our dialogue and guide our planning decisions regarding RU/VH.

    The Capacity Study indicates that, based on enrollment projections for the next few years, we are indeed capable of reducing our student-to-faculty ratio, investing in current faculty while adding new faculty, and meeting our current infrastructure demands through new construction or the re-purposing of existing research/laboratory/teaching space.

    In an effort to encourage dialogue on this subject, I hope you will attend our next Campus Conversation event, at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 10, at the Joe Crowley Student Union. This Conversations event will focus solely on RU/VH.

    I hope this conversation will help us answer important questions, such as, "What will RU/VH mean to our University?" and "What will RU/VH mean to you?" Please bring your questions and your concerns, your hopes and your dreams, your green lights and your red flags, for what should be an important give-and-take regarding RU/VH.

    Sincerely,

    Marc A. Johnson, President