March 6, 2020
As I write this message, our university, along with the rest of the world, continues to deal with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Like others at Virginia Tech, Pamplin faculty and staff have quickly adapted to meet the educational needs of our students in this new era of social distancing and telecommuting.
Our faculty rose to the immediate challenge of converting courses for online delivery. Some faculty members have taught online extensively and very successfully, but many others have not, and some also had reservations about the format. But all took the necessary steps right away, including knowledge sharing from the experienced online teachers, who offered suggestions on effective delivery, engagement, and evaluation to those who wanted advice.
Our faculty are also helping by offering their research and teaching expertise to the general public via local and national media stories. For example, Pamplin faculty members Barbara Hoopes, David Simpson, Derek Klock, and Nancy McGehee, from the departments of business information technology, finance, and hospitality and tourism management, have been quoted in stories about the impact of the pandemic on global supply chains, cyber risk and security, finance and the national economy, and travel and tourism.
Our IT staff members and their student assistants spent countless hours developing training, answering questions, pointing us to university resources, and supplying appropriate hardware and software.
Our administrative staff have also stepped up, responding to the needs of students, faculty, and the broader community and providing direction and support to all of us.
I have heard from many Pamplin students who expressed appreciation for the hard work and assistance they received from our faculty and staff. I am deeply appreciative and very proud of their efforts.
We do not know how our work and lives will change over the next months. The college is looking at possible contingencies and making plans for how we can respond.
Meanwhile, please take care of yourselves, your loved ones, and others in need. I hope that this issue, which highlights engagement, leadership, and service, will encourage or inspire you to make a difference in the lives of others. We have to stay apart for now, but let’s come together as Hokies, in the spirit of Ut Prosim.
—DEAN ROBERT SUMICHRAST