May 18, 2020

Happy Monday, everyone,

Our Spring 2020 semester is over; congratulations to all of you—students, faculty, and staff—for making it through! And thank you all for staying engaged with your colleagues, your students, your teachers, and your friends these last few months. This has been a difficult time for all of us, and we know that the uncertainty is not over.

That’s why I will continue to communicate with all of you throughout the summer via these emails.  I also encourage those of you who use social media to follow me on Twitter and Instagram. I’ll be staying active on those platforms this summer too.

What I want to tell you all today is that effective this week, I’m shifting to a Monday and Thursday campus message schedule.


I want to urge all of you to take care of yourselves this summer, whether you are teaching virtually, caring for family at home, working remotely, reporting to campus in person, or some combination of these things. One way I hope to do that is by urging you to free up your calendar on Fridays throughout the summer. For every meeting you move off of Friday on your calendar, that’s a meeting someone else gets to move off of their Friday calendar too, so it’s a decision that pays forward.

I know that “no-meeting Fridays” are simply not feasible for all of you, whether because you teach five days a week or interact directly with our incoming students and their families in Orientation. And I know that for others, not scheduling meetings on Fridays doesn’t feel helpful; many of you work enormously long hours in labs, in the field, or in our campus facilities without spending much time in meetings at all.

But I hope you can all find some way to step back, take a deep breath, and put yourself first this summer. That may mean saying no to new projects, turning off your phone in the evening, or scheduling earned annual leave—and then using it to truly relax. It may mean committing to no-meeting Fridays, or no-meeting Mondays, for that matter.

And as you take whatever steps work for you, I ask you all to continue to demonstrate the incredible compassion and empathy that makes CSU such a special place.  Encourage colleagues to take time off—and then don’t email them while they’re out!  Try to be flexible in scheduling meetings and calls. When you get ready to email someone and see their out-of-office message pop up, read it before you hit send. Whether that out-of-office message says that they are on vacation, caring for a sick loved one, or just taking the afternoon off to celebrate their child’s birthday, take a moment to think: Do I need to send this message now, or can it wait?

That’s essentially what I’m trying to do in shifting my email schedule to all of you. There may be urgent information I need to share on a Friday this summer; if there is, I won’t hesitate to share. But otherwise, I pledge to email you only on Mondays and Thursdays for the next few months. As I did this semester, I’ll share updates about our COVID-19 recovery plan, our budget, our Fall semester, and exciting news and achievements from around the university.

I am often in awe of this community’s energy and passion for our land-grant mission. I don’t want us to lose those things, because the world needs them from us now more than ever! So please, take care of yourselves and one another, so we continue to do the extraordinary work we do to change this world for the better.