Dear Colleagues,

As we prepare for the first day of classes for this fall semester, I’d like to pause and let you know what WE, as a community, have been doing since March to plan for our anticipated return to campus.

To say that it has been quite a journey for all of higher education is an understatement. I’m sure you’ve seen the published reports detailing with the financial and societal effects of schools not returning to on-campus classes in the fall. Many schools are struggling with the immediate and long-term impacts of devastating decreases in revenue, and continual increases in expenses. The effects of student enrollment deferments, dismantled athletic programs, loss of room and board revenue, and the added expense of reconfiguring physical spaces to implement health order requirements have overwhelmed traditional financial models. So much so, that our colleagues within The Claremont Colleges have had to make some tough decisions over the past couple of months: deep pay cuts, furloughs, layoffs, reduction of benefits, and more.

Since March, when we began our discussions to develop a path forward, our priority has always been YOU, the KGI community. Our goal has been to conserve our resources and ask everyone to do more with less so that we could limit the impact this pandemic had on each of you and your ability to provide for your families.

We asked for your help to do that, and you did so in incredible ways:

  • All of you transitioned within days to working remotely, retaining academic and operational continuity to lessen the impact to our students and campus.
    • Every single one of our courses went online within a week — and the results were inspiring.
    • Many of you did this while also supplementing your children’s school experience and sharing kitchen-table space with your families, who are also working and learning from home!
  • We asked our academic faculty to take their summer programs online and expand their offerings to open up access, and to quadruple the enrollment we had last year. They did so with phenomenal results.
  • We asked our admissions department and our marketing department to double down on the online, social media and remote efforts to transition applicants to admitted students, and then move them along to become enrolled. The personal touch provided by our admissions team was transformational: they spoke to every student (multiple times) to make sure our enrollment numbers not only met our goals but hopefully will exceed them.
  • We asked folks to serve on committees or provide recommendations regarding COVID-19 response and preparation. You enthusiastically led committees and wellness workshops, helped in any way possible, and went beyond any specific mandate, often to provide insight and analyses that have shaped and improved our responses and outcomes for safety and stability.
  • Some of our staff have worked physically on campus while most of us began working from home. Their efforts kept our infrastructure strong and enabled our IT, HR, finance and accounting systems to operate effectively, enabling our remote activities. Because of their selfless efforts, we know that when we eventually return to campus, our facilities will be maintained, they will be appropriate for the new teaching models, we will be safe, and our work spaces will continue to be effective and efficient.
  • Our Student Affairs teams rallied to provide extended support to help our students through their online transition in the spring, employing a series of virtual orientations and Town Halls, and dealing thoughtfully and sympathetically with the social, health and financial problems that can intensify in an online environment. Their efforts to completely transition Career Services online, and providing student support and student involvement with many activities and workshops, will possibly become a national model.
  • Human Resources created COVID-19 protocols and policies to allow for a seamless transition to remote work and to ensure our safety as we return to campus. Beginning this month, the HR team will be sending out meeting invitations for monthly “All Employee Meetings.” We want to stay engaged and keep you informed throughout the semester, so keep an eye out for upcoming announcements for HR sponsored activities as we approach the holidays.
  • Our research continued unabated. Despite having to implement safety protocols, our research staff continued to do necessary laboratory work and published high impact journal articles. They have written numerous grant proposals, and have made contributions that will provide cures and treatments for this, and future pandemics.
  • Members of the KGI COVID Task Force and the KGI Return to Work Committee have devoted countless hours to researching, evaluating, and communicating the overabundance of news and information surrounding the virus, and then evaluating proposed restrictions and regulations, and ultimately formulating actionable plans for how to get us back to campus safely.

This list is only a sampling of the extraordinary work you have all done. We’ve asked you to do more with less, and your efforts and sacrifices have not gone unnoticed.

Every. Single. Person. You have all had a hand in ensuring KGI is surviving this ever-changing situation.

I want you to know that as we turn the corner and look towards winter and spring, you remain our priority. We continue to monitor our finances closely, and trust that our diligence has put us in a position to lessen some of the previous budget restrictions we put into place earlier in the year. We will have a better sense of this in late September.

I am grateful that your patience with our conservative approach to this trying time has allowed us to get to this point without pay cuts, furloughs, layoffs, or a decrease in benefits. We will maintain this strategy as we evaluate our budget for this fiscal year.

All of this is to say, the dedication, commitment, and resiliency of the entire KGI community have been nothing short of incredible. I cannot express enough how proud I am of what you have done, individually, and collectively. You all have my most profound thanks and admiration, and the sincere gratitude of the Board of Trustees.

Bell well and stay safe,

Back to page