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Message to EGSC Faculty/Staff

Message to EGSC Faculty/Staff

by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | April 20, 2020
Last Edited: April 20, 2020 by Katelyn Moore

Faculty and Staff,
   If you missed last week’s video, click here.
   We are all, I suspect, asking ourselves the same questions as we shelter in place. When this finally ends, will our personal lives ever return to the way they were? Will our beloved East Georgia State College ever return to “normal?” I think we all know the answers. Of course, not.
   Some of the elements of our COVID-19 personal lives will, mercifully, go away and some parts of our lives will return to “normal.” May I never again experience a spring without a Final Four? May I never again experience Easter in front of a computer? May I never again be banned from walking and running on the beach?
   Yet, some elements of our personal lives have been changed forever. Some changes are tragic and negative. Lives have been lost. Financial security has been shaken or, in some cases, shattered. Some changes, however, have been unexpected and positive. We all seem to appreciate one another more and treat each other better.
   This same dichotomy is certainly true for colleges and universities across the entire United States. East Georgia State College is certainly no exception.
   Some of the COVID-19 changes at East Georgia State College will go away. Campus will, again, become a vibrant place filled with students, faculty, staff and community members. The simple joy of being able to walk down the hall, sit in the office a colleague and have a conversation will return. I will again be able to look out of my window and see students and faculty members playing music or drawing or discussing a great book outside.
   Yet, some changes such as the financial stress created by the coronavirus will take years to remedy. On the other hand, a bright aspect of the horrific worldwide pandemic is that it has forced all of us to learn new skills. It has required us to adapt rapidly.
   Take one example at East Georgia State College. Six months ago, if you had asked me how long it would take to convert 100% of our classes to a wholly on-line format, I would have told you that a timeline of one year would be extremely aggressive. When the University System of Georgia recently directed us to get it done in two weeks to keep our campus and community safe, our faculty and staff did it in two weeks. And they did it well.
   So, after the COVID-19 crisis abates, will we ever return to offering the same percentage of face-to-face classes as we offered prior to the crisis? Certainly not. Students will return to our residence halls. Students will resume their daily commute to our beautiful campuses. However, a larger percentage of our students will want and need a wholly online college education.
   Consider the adult learner who wants to prepare for the future while continuing to work full-time and support their family. Consider the employer who wants its talented staff to take classes at their place of work in order to enable its staff to adapt to the future while continuing to get the work done each day. The new skills we have learned during this challenging period, will enable us to serve those students and those employers much more effectively.
   I suspect many of you are experiencing a similar pattern in your personal lives. Just a few months ago, I would have scoffed if you had suggested to me that I should order my groceries online and then have them brought to my car at the grocery store. I Face Timed with my grandchildren almost every day. I would have stared at you with skepticism, however, had you suggested that we get together for a cup of coffee via Zoom. I am yearning to be able to shop inside a store and to have coffee with friends face to face. However, I have found the new shopping methods and online coffee breaks to be truly enjoyable. I am not going to throw out the old stuff. But I am not going to discard my new skills either.
   All of this is to say that I am deeply saddened by the damage and tragedy which COVID-19 has brought our treasured community and college. Yet, I am positive about the future of the community and the college. The COVID-19 crisis is presenting enormous financial challenges for the college. It is presenting the college huge enrollment challenges. However, it has also taught us that we can adapt to change rapidly. It has caused us to think about how talented our colleagues, students and community members are and how we treasure our time with each of them. So, it will never be the same after the crisis ends. Yet, we will recover and move forward because we have been reminded that we are strong and adaptable as a community. Certainly, none of us will ever take our colleagues, or our amazing students or our wonderful and supportive local community for granted.
   So, let’s turn now to the events of last week. This week at EGSC, we have accomplished a great deal. As a recap of the activities, note the following:

  • We have received guidance from USG regarding the CARES Act and stimulus funding for students. Our plan for distributing those funds will be forthcoming soon.
  • Honors Night was held “virtually” on Thursday evening April 16. You may view our virtual honors night celebration at www.ega.edu/2020-honors-night, on our YouTube Channel, or on Facebook. The event was well “attended” with several holding virtual “Watch Parties” and posting comments. Congratulations to our amazing students for all your hard work.
  • EGSC Augusta held a virtual workshop for counselors and schools on April 17. Attendees learned about our admissions procedures, financial aid, housing and dual enrollment along with many of the other facts about EGSC.
  • Dr. Sharman, our vice-president for academic and student affairs, is leading a combined group from enrollment services and marketing to develop a dynamic plan to increase enrollment in the summer and fall.
  • The Correll Scholars application deadline was April 15. We are in the process of evaluating essays and applications to choose applicants to be interviewed through Zoom technology.
  • The “virtual” 10th year anniversary celebration of the Sudie A. Fulford Learning Center, a gift to the college from Pete and Ada Lee Correll in honor of Ada Lee’s mother (a long time Emanuel County educator) is scheduled for April 30. More information will be sent to each of you this week.
  • Our virtual graduation celebration plans are also coming together. Stay tuned for updates.
  • The EGSC Foundation Board of Trustees participated in a Zoom meeting question and answer session with me on April 14.
  • Fee and housing refunds were posted to student accounts this week. Postings were in accordance with the method the student has chosen for their Bank Mobile deposits.
  • Messages from IT –
    The University System of Georgia (USG) now requires all USG employees to complete USG Cybersecurity awareness training on a biannual basis. Going forward, the USG Cybersecurity group will release the cybersecurity training courses during the Spring and Fall semesters. With that in mind, and as part of the USG’s focus on cybersecurity, all USG employees (full-time and part-time) as well as student workers are required to complete the biannual cybersecurity awareness training.
       • The Spring 2020 Cybersecurity Awareness Training course is now available in EGSC’s GeorgiaView D2L / Brightspace system and must be completed by all EGSC employees (full-time & part-time) as well as student workers by May 8, 2020.
       • To access the 2020 Cybersecurity Awareness Training course, login to the myEGSC web portal and select “GeorgiaView D2L / Brightspace” link located under the “LaunchPad” section of the web portal.
       • Once in GeorgiaView D2L / Brightspace system, locate the “2020 Cybersecurity Awareness Training” course. Instructions for completing the course are posted in the “Announcements” section of the course.
       • The estimated time to complete the course is 20 minutes. You should complete the course in one sitting as the course does not track progress and will not resume if you exit. If you exit before completing, you will need to start over.
       • If you do not see the course, click on “View All Courses” link in GeorgiaView D2L. If you have questions or issues accessing the course, contact EGSC IT department at 478-289-2066 or 478-289-2062 or via email at cswork@ega.edu
    Due to the University System of Georgia’s Cybersecurity policy requirements as well as recent cybersecurity threats, EGSC Information Technology will be enabling Duo two-factor authentication (2FA) on Tuesday, April 14, 2020, for all EGSC employee Office 365 accounts in which Duo 2FA has not yet been enabled.
       • The Duo 2FA process for accessing your EGSC Office 365 email account will function the same as the Duo 2FA process for accessing the OneUSG Connect system.
       • Once Duo 2FA has been enabled on April 14, when accessing your EGSC Office 365 email account, you will enter your EGSC email credentials (username & and password) as usual. You will then receive a Duo 2FA authentication prompt, which you will respond to by either using your EGSC-provided Duo keyfob or the Duo mobile app on your mobile device (cell phone, tablet).
       • When accessing your EGSC Office 365 email account thereafter, the Duo 2FA prompt will not occur immediately but will occur throughout the day as your cached username and password credentials begin to expire as well as depending on the applications you have open or what you're accessing. For new devices, you should see a Duo 2FA prompt immediately after entering your password. Additionally, once Duo 2FA is enabled, if you access your EGSC Office 365 email via a mobile device (cell phone, tablet), please monitor the email app on your mobile device to ensure it is still receiving new emails. If you notice your device is no longer receiving new emails, you may need to remove your EGSC Office 365 email account from the device’s built-in email app and install and configure the Microsoft Outlook app for use with your EGSC Office 365 email account. Below are links to instructions for configuring the Outlook app for Apple and Android devices: · Apple: https://support.office.com/en-us/article/set-up-email-in-outlook-for-ios-mobile-app-b2de2161-cc1d-49ef-9ef9-81acd1c8e234 · Android: https://support.office.com/en-us/article/set-up-email-in-the-outlook-for-android-app-886db551-8dfa-4fd5-b835-f8e532091872
       • When Duo 2FA is enabled on Tuesday, April 14, EGSC Information Technology be monitoring system login status to help ensure a smooth transition of EGSC Office 365 accounts to Duo 2FA. If you have any questions, concerns or experience any problems using the Duo 2FA, please contact EGSC IT at cswork@ega.edu with the Subject: Office 365 Duo or via phone at 478-289-2004.
  • Reminder to check the website regularly, www.ega.edu/covid19 for updates from me, the USG, Governor’s office and Legislature, CDC, Georgia Department of Public Health, Health care providers, Chamber of commerce updates and other vital information.

   Perhaps the biggest thing that has happened this week is that we are continuing to educate students, fulfill our mission and stay on course in the face of COVID-19. We are doing this with excellence because of your commitment. You have my sincere gratitude.
   As the president of East Georgia State College, I have the honor of observing each day the transformational role of East Georgia State College—a special place focused on students, committed to intellectual excellence and social responsibility, small enough to be personal and welcoming, yet large enough to provide access and opportunity. That keeps me going during these challenging times.
   Over the past several weeks, we have had challenges no one could have foreseen. Yet, we continue to thrive as we adapt to our new normal. Circumstances change daily and I applaud you for your flexibility and positive attitude. You continue to make it possible for the college to carry out this transformational role in the face of COVID-19.
   Be safe. Be healthy.
   Bob Boehmer
   President