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Panhandle State Opens Their Campus for Fall

Panhandle State Communication on 07/08/2020

Oklahoma Panhandle State University started the final phase of the three-phase reopen on July 6. The final phase reopened the campus to the public. There has been a tremendous amount of time spent planning this safe reopen.

University President, Dr. Tim Faltyn stated, “This fall semester will be like no semester any of us have ever encountered. As long as we work to understand and appreciate each other’s points of view and reasons for what they are doing, I predict that we will emerge from the fall wiser and better for how we handle the various situations that are coming our way.”

OPSU faculty and staff are excited to reopen to the public and have students back on campus. Despite the unique circumstances of COVID-19, OPSU faculty and staff have worked hard to see a 70% increase in enrollment this summer compared to last year. All classes for the summer semester were offered online while the campus was closed to the public. All classes this fall will be offered in a hybrid format, with options in traditional classrooms, synchronous live streamed classes, and classes offered totally online.

College of Agriculture, Science, and Nursing Dean, Shawna Tucker stated, “During the spring semester, I was extremely impressed by how faculty moved their courses to a virtual format, while maintaining academic integrity and a student-centered focus. We will build from that knowledge and experience to make the hybrid model an excellent learning experience for our students.”

As students return, OPSU is committed to providing them with the most normal campus experience while taking necessary safety measures. President Faltyn commented, “I am confident that we will maintain the academic integrity of the University and provide the best possible student experience.”

OPSU saw a 4.7% decrease in budget allocations from the state for the 2020-2021 fiscal year. There are currently 26 frozen positions in the budget that spans the entire campus operation. As a team, the campus came together and worked to ensure there will be no furloughs or reductions in force from our current faculty and staff. Leadership at the departmental level is helping to craft plans for refilling those positions soon if enrollment holds steady or increases.

President Faltyn commented, “While there is no predicting what will happen with the state economy we are controlling what we can control and are happy that we’re not having to take any of the drastic measures that many other universities are having to endure.”

OPSU will have two new positions filled internally this fall due to the high demand for an online college and increased needs in academic support. These positions will be filled with applicants from within the university who will maintain their current duties and take on new responsibilities as they bring their talents and leadership to the university in academic support and online learning. The two positions being added are the Associate Vice President of Academic Support and Dean of the College of Online Programs. These additional roles will help with succession planning for the University.

President Faltyn stated, “Succession planning ensures the future stability and success of the University. We believe these two positions will allow us to serve all students more effectively in the traditional on campus and the online college experience. I am excited to see these positions filled internally.” He continued, “The University is honored by their willingness to step up to a new role and become a part of leading the University in the future.”

University Provost, Dr. Julie Dinger commented, “This has been a collaborative effort over the last several weeks and months. The Deans and Department chairs helped create these positions to provide vision and direction for online programs and academic support. Our faculty leadership recognized that creating these leadership positions would catalyze and provide momentum to keep the future bright at OPSU.”

Interviews will begin on July 9 via Zoom with stakeholder groups from across campus.