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A message from the Provost:
Welcome to a new academic year. I’m pleased to salute our returning faculty, back for another rewarding year at UMSL, and to welcome each of our new faculty to the campus.
It’s an understatement to say that this academic year is beginning in a different, more challenging, way because of the situation in both Ferguson, MO, and around the metropolitan area. UMSL will be opening as planned. The academic schedule remains intact and UMSL will be starting on time. Enrollment is higher than last fall and our residence halls are full. With this, it’s important for us to understand that the campus community includes new and returning students (as well as some faculty and staff) who have been personally affected by the events in Ferguson.
In these difficult times, some of these students may have challenges with reentry into an academic setting. While we would not ask you to vary your standards or course requirements, it is important for us to be considerate of our students’ situations. Some of them may have had their home life disrupted. Some may have had employment changes or difficulties. Others who live in affected areas could find themselves with transportation issues or child or elder care challenges. Since many of our students have families to support, they might be more affected than the typical college student. In fact, this semester we may have more students who are in atypical situations than usual (and we usually have quite a few.)
Some of our students may need a little time to make arrangements that will allow them to do well and enjoy their courses. Students may need excused absences early in the semester while they work these things out, and/or they may want or need counseling or other assistance. We have campus resources to help them, from student health, wellness, and counseling services, to academic support with math, writing, or other tutoring needs, multicultural student services, financial aid, or personal and community safety. Please do not hesitate to refer students to these services and encourage them to use those they need.
If the need is academic, you might suggest that they seek assistance from their department or college advising office. Otherwise, or if you don’t know where to refer students, please contact D’Andre Braddix (DAndreBraddix@umsl.edu ) and/or refer students to him for assistance in finding the appropriate help.
I’m certain that you have experienced the fact that Natural Bridge Road is undergoing its major redesign. It will soon become a “great street,” leading to the area now known as “university square.” This construction will result in the permanent change to two lanes (one in each direction) and turn lanes, as well as a major beautification of the streetscape. For the first few days of class, this may also result in serious traffic snarls and delays. Please plan your schedules accordingly and be considerate of students’ possible confusion about traffic, parking, etc. Police and parking personnel will be around campus to help students and visitors find their way. There is sufficient parking on campus, but it may not be as close to buildings as you or students would like. Please plan ahead, and be thoughtful of students needs.
Finally, it’s important to pause and reflect on the reality that, in addition to the stresses we face within the larger community, there are so many good things now happening on campus. Thanks for being part of our wonderful campus. With your help, we can have another great semester.
Thanks for your help and consideration of our students.