August 20, 2020 - A message from Chancellor Sobolik to UMSL faculty and staff

Dear Faculty and Staff,

As we quickly approach an upcoming fall semester unlike any we’ve known before, I want to take a moment to extend my sincere appreciation for everything you have done – individually and collectively -- to bring us to this point.

In one of my first communications about the pandemic last spring, I mentioned that apart does not equal alone. That we will continue in this together, across whatever distance we might encounter. It is no exaggeration to say you have proven that statement to be true on a daily basis ever since. The sheer amount of teamwork, dedication and resilience I’ve seen within this campus community makes me proud beyond words. I feel an immense gratitude that’s hard to express. But that certainly won’t stop me from trying.

Thank you for doing everything you possibly can for our wonderful students. Thank you for approaching your work each day with energy, passion and generosity, even when you felt certain you had none left to give. Thank you for bringing your creativity and expertise to the virtual table at every turn – for approaching new technology and ever-changing guidelines with class, patience and an absolutely vital sense of humor. Finally, thank you for continuing to navigate personal and family situations that I know have felt frightening, difficult, even insurmountable, all while simultaneously doing your best for UMSL. I know you may not feel you’ve accomplished each of these things, but trust me when I say that you have.

As we move forward, I wish – as always – that I could tell you exactly what’s coming and when. Quite often right now, it feels as though the only certainty is more change, and that can make us all weary. But please take heart. Know that whatever comes, we will adapt and change together.

Lastly, please know that though the phrase “the new normal” may be going around a lot these days, I’m very aware there is nothing “normal” about all that our community is going through. Please remember to grant yourselves the same grace and respect you’ve been extending to your students and colleagues these past months. Increased workloads and family needs, projects shuffled or paused, even goals we had before any of this all started, can leave us feeling stressed and worried. Stay with me. Know that no one expects you to do it all in the exact same way you did before. You are enough. Let's keep going.

Gratefully forward,

Kristin Sobolik
University of Missouri–St. Louis


Key Resources: 

  • Start Safe, Stay Safe: Your guide to health and safety information for the fall.
  • Keep Teaching: Helpful tips and tools for faulty including adaptation guides for lecture, seminar and lab courses, in addition to training and webinars.
  • Keep Learning: Provides resources for transitioning to remote and online instruction for students.
  • IT Work Resources: Information Technology FAQs for employees.
  • HR-700 Enhanced HR Policies for Employees in Response to COVID-19
  • Working Through COVID-19: Information on work continuity, telework and leave policies.
  • Working Well: Includes a range of personal health and wellness resources as well as professional development and volunteer opportunities.
  • Employee Assistance Program: Offers free, confidential professional services to eligible employees and their dependents.
  • Sanvello: a free app with tools to create a mental health roadmap and track the progress of a user’s journey.
  • Health, Counseling and Disability Access Services