June 2020

President Stuart R. BellA Letter from the President

In March, the difficult decision was made to complete our spring semester remotely to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. We also entered into a period of limited business operations, with most of our faculty and staff working from home. Within moments of those decisions, my executive team was tasked with planning for the completion of the semester and addressing the immediate and longer term financial impacts of COVID-19. On campus, the loss of face-to-face community was immediate.

UA’s spirit still prevailed. The semester and more than 6,000 courses were completed remotely. Students graduated, albeit with a planned delayed ceremony. Essential employees continued to keep the University operational and, like those zooming from home, worked harder than ever. All were a testament to this place and its mission.

As the semester and financial plans were being completed, my attention quickly turned to returning our campus to full operations and support of our faculty, staff, and students. By mid-April, I had established a core work group to help me organize these tasks. They disseminated duties to scores of faculty, staff, and students, and worked closely with a team of experts from the UA System. This report is a product of those efforts.

To say that universities are essential at this time is an understatement. Times like these remind us that The University of Alabama is indispensable – producing the nurses and doctors who treat the sick, the teachers who respond successfully to difficult transitions, the engineers and IT professionals who made these transitions possible, and many more.

This report is a “draft,” which is both a statement of fact and a statement of purpose. We will be nimble. We will adjust. We will learn. Ultimately, we will win and be Still Tide Together.

Dr. Stuart R. Bell