After a year of COVID – shifting to a focus on the future

Through our Future Campus Committee, we will move out of crisis and recovery and into earnest planning for a post-pandemic campus experience

Today marks one year since the University of Michigan went to fully remote operations. One year since we all upended our way of work, education and life. At the risk of repeating what’s been said a thousand times already – it has been a difficult and long road, and through it all you have persevered. Thank you.

Since March of 2020, we have been in emergency response and recovery mode, with several working groups tackling multiple aspects of the pandemic under the guidance of the College’s COVID Council. That framework served us well as we attempted to continue teaching, learning and working through the pandemic, and I want to thank all of those involved for their tremendous work. 

Now is the time to look to the future, and plan for a Fall semester where the energy and excitement of our community can be felt once again. COVID case numbers are on an optimistic downturn, and vaccine delivery continues. Our enrollment and application numbers remain high, and as you heard from Provost Susan Collins, our financial outlook is optimistic as a result.

Today, I’m announcing the focus on our next chapter with the creation of a Future Campus Committee. This committee will be charged with helping to lead a reimagining of a post-pandemic campus experience at the College, evaluating and approving the progress of several working teams tackling specific deliverables to ensure their products are in alignment with our values and mission. This will require community engagement, longitudinal planning and ongoing decision-making.

Details are still being determined, but you can learn more about the committee and planning process, including initial working groups being spun up to tackle specific areas, in this presentation.

The planning does not start today, nor do these teams begin at ground zero. The work of learning, evaluating and planning has been done in earnest throughout the pandemic. However, the act of focusing on a target – meeting society’s progression by returning to a more “normal” campus by fall – will be at the heart of our efforts.

Throughout this process, the expertise of our faculty and staff, and engaging with our community, will be key. Each individual work team will be reaching out to various groups as they conduct their work, and the Future Campus Committee will continue to view communication and transparency  as cornerstones of our work during COVID.

As opportunities arise, I encourage you to engage with the working groups, and ensure you are providing your unique and diverse perspective on the future of our campus. I can’t wait to hear your ideas!