I hope you are well and taking all reasonable precautions to protect yourselves and others during these unprecedented times. The past few weeks have transformed our campus. Classes and labs no longer meet face to face, employees are working remotely when possible, residential students have gone home and commencement has been postponed.
These changes have been difficult, but we’ve been overcoming challenges and solving problems since 1890. With public safety in mind, we remain committed to doing everything we can to fulfil our mission of teaching, research and outreach.
We’re making sure that learning continues online. I thank our faculty and staff, who have adapted quickly to this new format, and our students, who have shown patience and grit during this transition.
The need for social distancing and the absence of student workers has affected our research capacity. Many researchers have shifted their focus to manuscripts and proposals and grant writing when public safety considerations have interrupted ongoing experiments. I thank our researchers for their resolve to be productive in the face of setbacks.
The professionals in Cooperative Extension at N.C. A&T, our primary outreach arm, are using technology to reach the limited-resource individuals who it is our special duty to serve. They’re sharing useful information like educational activities for children and easy, healthy recipes. Extension personnel continues to advise farming communities via phone and other technological tools, I encourage all of you to follow @NCATExtension on Twitter and like @CooperativeExtensionatAandT on Facebook. I thank all of our Extension professionals, those based on campus and those based in counties across the state, for sharing their expertise, which we need now more than ever.
Our gratitude is also due to our essential employees, like those at our University Farm, greenhouse and labs who are continuing to come to campus on a daily basis to tend to animals, plants and ongoing experiments.
In the weeks and months ahead, CAES leadership will continue to work closely with university leadership to protect and support our students and employees. For the latest updates about how the university is responding to the coronavirus, visit www.ncat.edu/coronavirus.
If you are in a position to do so, please consider a gift to the Student Emergency Fund created by University Advancement to help students suffering financial hardships due to the pandemic. This fund helps students afford basics like food and toiletries, travel home and unexpected education-related expenses.
I wish you and your loved ones well. I have faith that the CAES will emerge from these trying times stronger than ever.
Dean, College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences
North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University