Office of the President
Dr. Robert E. Johnson
It’s a time of promise and possibility as we look forward to an active spring semester at Western New England University. We know our students are eager to resume their studies, and we are well-prepared to welcome them back through continued, community-wide adherence to the COVID-19 policies which kept our campus open and students living and learning with us throughout the entire fall semester. While there is hope on the horizon as vaccines roll out nationwide, this is no time for complacency. Now, more than ever, we must be resolute in our commitment and concern for the health and safety of one another that is so central to who we are at WNE.
We successfully navigated the challenges of last fall as a community united in purpose, and we learned from that experience. Of the roughly 3,000 colleges and universities tracked by the College Crisis Initiative, Western New England University was one of just 27% of schools nationwide that resumed primarily 'in-person' teaching last fall. We avoided having to cancel or suspend the on-campus portion of the term and our mask-wearing and strict social distancing in classrooms resulted in ZERO known classroom transmissions of COVID-19 at WNE. I am forever grateful for how our entire community responded and prevailed.
Clear, continual communication was central in keeping messaging about safety practices top-of-mind with students and staff. This spring, we have enhanced the WNE COVID-19 Information webpage (wne.edu/coronavirus) and COVID-19 dashboard to provide current and clear information for our students, staff, and families. WNE has contracted with the Broad Institute to test all community members at the start of the semester and conduct robust surveillance testing throughout the spring.
WNE Golden Bears are eager to return to the University they love because spring is such an active and fun time on campus. Each spring, they are busy in internships, clubs, competitions, and in service to our community. Our seniors and graduate students celebrate their time spent with us and look forward to applying their educations in promising careers.
Since I arrived on campus last August, our community has also been hard at work crafting strategic priorities for a shared ambition that will provide a roadmap to the future of Western New England, positioning it as a model of what a "new traditional" university should and must be. We look forward to unveiling that vision in the coming months.
It is with that excitement and sense of possibility that we must write our next chapter. Spring is a time of healing, renewal, and optimism and this year we must embrace that positivity in all that we do. From this moment, we will arise a stronger, more agile, and resilient institution defined by graduates who are ready for tomorrow.
Robert E. Johnson, Ph.D.