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Dear students, faculty, and staff,
Good Wednesday morning.
The evening before the first day of classes each Fall Quarter is normally a special time designated for our Freshman Convocation. That is a most memorable experience for us all. Given our current situation with the coronavirus and our need to limit large gatherings, we made a decision a few weeks ago to do the Freshman Convocation in a different but meaningful way this year. We will let you all get started in your classes and then send out details about the Convocation soon. We are thrilled to have our outstanding Class of 2024 on campus. Welcome to Tech!
I hope our faculty and staff had an opportunity to watch this year’s online Faculty and Staff Convocation, broadcast yesterday on YouTube. Though it was different from years past, we were able to share some information and maintain some of our important traditions for the event.
Dean Devonia Love-Vaughn gave most inspirational remarks as she previewed some of the work we can expect to see in diversity, equity, and inclusion on campus this year. I hope that many of you will choose to support our initiatives during the 2020-21 year:
- Development of the Inclusive Excellence Advisory Council that will help inform inclusion initiatives on our campus;
- A national search for a new director for the Office of Multicultural Affairs to continue the important work of the office;
- Opening the LGBTQAI+ Resource Center later this Fall in the Office of Multicultural Affairs;
- Policy and processes brought forward from the Naming Committee, which is charged with assessing and vetting the naming of spaces and facilities on our campus, and;
- Capitalizing on the momentum and motivation created by the Black Lives Matter march organized by our exceptional students this past June.
The work that Mrs. Love-Vaughn and others are doing that is tied to increasing inclusion and accessibility will help Louisiana Tech grow and provide greater support to underrepresented students. Increasing access to education will help level the playing field for current and future Tech students, and I appreciate Devonia’s commitment to these members of the Tech Family.
During convocation, we also honored our faculty and staff members who are working to achieve great things in the classroom, lab, or office. Congratulations to these award winners:
- Dr. Pedro Derosa – University Senate Chair Award
- Dr. Nicole De Fee – Louisiana Tech Foundation F. Jay Taylor Undergraduate Teaching Award
- Dr. Timothy Reeves – Faculty Advisor Award
- Dr. Laura Bostick – Virgil Orr Undergraduate Junior Faculty Award
- Melissa Hughes – Outstanding Service Award – unclassified
- Terri Odenbaugh – Outstanding Service Award – classified
- Emily Poole – Student Outreach Award – unclassified
- Debbie Lee – Student Outreach Award – classified
- Ashley Jackson – Loyalty Award – unclassified
- Cindy Franklin – Loyalty Award – classified
These faculty and staff members serve as wonderful representatives of our campus. Their work, dedication to students, and commitment to our University is an inspiration for us all.
I look forward to sharing more information about our campus contact tracing in tomorrow’s update. This important work, done by the volunteer Student Resource Team, will help slow the spread of COVID-19 on the Louisiana Tech campus.
I will also be announcing opportunities for free COVID-19 testing on our campus.
Please remember to wear your masks, keep physical distance, and watch for symptoms as you get ready for class tomorrow. Do not come to class if you have COVID-19 symptoms.
I look forward to greeting our students – as is my own tradition – on the first day of class. See you all in the Quad!