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Task Forces

Last Updated: Jul. 10, 2020 at 9:03 am

Four Task Forces are actively planning for the fall semester, engaged in developing scenarios for a phased opening of campus in accordance with appropriate health, safety and government guidelines, and thinking ahead to our future beyond the pandemic.

Lehigh’s planning rests on the foundation of the following core decision-making principles:

  • Minimizing community health risk
  • Providing Lehigh-quality education and character
  • Enabling a Lehigh-quality student experience
  • Supporting current and future Lehigh research and scholarship
  • Maintaining financial stability
  • Supporting a fully engaged faculty and staff
  • Promoting equity across the Lehigh community
  • Embodying a responsible university and community member and instilling confidence by current and future constituents
  • Supporting an outlook of long-term sustainability
  • Complying with external requirements
  • Maintaining flexibility and developing attitudes and processes that will enable optionality in the future

Task Force to Safely Open the Lehigh Campus

Members

  • Brent Stringfellow (Co-Chair, Associate VP and University Architect)
  • Chris Halladay (Co-Chair, Associate VP, Human Resources)
  • Steve DeWeerth
  • Bob Flowers
  • Bill Gaudelli
  • Heather Hosfeld
  • Jackie Krasas
  • Katherine Lavinder
  • Kim Nimmo
  • Donald Outing
  • Georgette Phillips-Chapman
  • Sarah Stevens
  • Nathan Urban
  • Whitney Witt

Charge

To establish the policies, procedures and operational guidelines to enable the physical reopening of our campus to faculty, staff, students and visitors, and do so in a deliberate and phased manner to promote the health and safety of the university community while supporting the mission and values of Lehigh.

The Task Force will develop a clear, concise and operationally sound plan that facilitates the start of activity as soon as it is permitted by government authorities and guidelines as well as the growth in campus activity until we are fully in residence. The group will create procedures that facilitate and support faculty, staff and students in performing mission-critical work on campus. The Task Force will strive to develop a plan that emphasizes flexibility for campus activities and operations to account for any external or internal events that would require additional response, such as a second wave outbreak. The plan will coordinate short-term steps with a long-term strategy for Lehigh, mindful of how the steps we take now comport with the character of Lehigh as an institution.

The plan will be developed considering the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Department of Health Guidelines and recommendations of the CDC and other contributing health agencies (e.g., the American College Health Association). The recommended plan will be developed in coordination with the Task Forces listed below. The Task Force will also use data gathered via the faculty/staff survey and input from various subject matter experts. 

Community Engagement Approach

The Executive Group is responsible for recommending the reopening plan and protocols based on internal discussion, input from internal working groups and review of external resources. The Task Force recommendations will be subject to the approval of senior leadership. This team coordinates (and in some cases overlaps) with other Lehigh Task Forces related to COVID-19. Working groups of faculty and staff, focused on specific aspects of the university, will inform the work of the executive group listed above.

Task Force for Academic Planning

Members

  • Nathan Urban (Chair, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs)
  • Ric Hall
  • Jennifer Jensen
  • Pat Johnson
  • Doug Mahony
  • Greg Reihman
  • Pat Farrell

Charge

To develop a plan to support academic coursework and educational continuity in the 2020-2021 academic year. The Task Force must prepare for situations of varying severity of COVID-19-related restrictions and will develop a structure for the academic curriculum for undergraduate and graduate courses. The priority for this Task Force is to promote a thriving academic environment for students, on campus if at all possible, and to maintain high-impact educational practices with creative responsiveness to changing scenarios. This group will develop criteria and procedures for changing the academic calendar, if needed, and drafting policies related to remote learning expectations for students and instructors.

Community Engagement Approach

Members will engage with respective university departments and faculty and staff. The Task Force will use information drawn from surveys of students (by Student Affairs and Library and Technology Services) and of faculty. Plans are in progress for discussions with representative groups of faculty, staff, parents and students.

Task Force for Financial Planning

Members

  • Pat Johnson (Chair, Vice President for Finance and Administration)
  • Laura Chiles
  • Chris Halladay
  • Warren Loller
  • Doug Mahony
  • Jim Quinn

Charge

To develop, assess and plan for multiple financial scenarios for the university for the Fiscal Year 2020-2021. The Task Force will utilize financial data, projections, and financial modeling tools to identify options and make recommendations to senior leadership for assessment of the various financial impacts of COVID-19 on the university, implications for the current and subsequent Fiscal Year, and options and plans to respond to the financial impact of COVID-19 and to promote the university’s financial resiliency for the next and future Fiscal Years. This group will assess the financial impact of recommendations made by the other Task Forces and external constraints.

Community Engagement Approach

All the financial managers of each major business unit and each of the colleges will be contacted regularly for updates on spending, budget adjustments, reserves and the potential impact of the pandemic on future activities.

Task Force for Forward-Thinking Planning Beyond the Crisis

Members

  • Alan Snyder (Chair, Vice President and Associate Provost for Research and Graduate Studies)
  • Sirry Alang
  • Leslie Chow
  • Jenna Lay
  • Rita Jones
  • Jeremy Littau
  • Lori McClaind
  • Corinne Post
  • Karen Rodriguez
  • Nathan Urban

Charge

To consider what Lehigh should look like in a post–COVID-19 world, in a manner that informs how the university navigates through this period. The Task Force will focus on the shared sense of Lehigh’s mission and purpose that endures despite events, changing perspectives, and challenged assumptions. With intent that the Lehigh experience remains extraordinary in its transformative potential, the Task Force will work to discern ways in which the university community needs to grow, things we need to learn, and capacities we need to develop over the next two years.

Community Engagement Approach

The Task Force will proceed by engaging the community along various lines of inquiry:

  1. Clarifying the university’s shared sense of enduring mission and purpose, independent of how universities’ worth and contributions have been measured in the recent past. What is true about Lehigh and the Lehigh community regardless of what happens, and how perspectives change, and what assumptions are challenged?
  2. Discerning what the world of higher education and the external world might look like coming out of the current crisis. Regardless of how the COVID-19 pandemic progresses and concludes, what do we expect to remain true?
  3. Determining where we at Lehigh want to be in two years. How can we be well-positioned to move ahead, amidst some knowns and a lot of unknowns?
  4. Identifying ways in which we need to develop, things we need to learn, and capacities we need to acquire over the next two years. The Task Force expects its inquiry to benefit from the perspectives of the diverse core group, literature and commentary on higher education and the evolving environment and consultation with the wider Lehigh community.

Have Feedback?

To send feedback related to Lehigh University's Task Forces, please email us.
Faculty/Staff: incovid@lehigh.edu
Undergraduate and Graduate Students and Families: inopen@lehigh.edu