VandenBosch to chairs: Additional information related to the Chancellor’s message on campus operations

The following message was sent by Dean Kate VandenBosch to department chairs and administrators on March 11, 2020.

Chairs and department administrators-

You saw the message from Chancellor Blank issued earlier today outlining changes to campus operations in response to the spread of COVID-19. I want to share a few additional items relevant to our college, recognizing that there will be degrees of uncertainty as we begin to implement these changes. I want to thank you for your leadership in advance. Thoughtful and considerate judgement and patience will be needed as we navigate many changing situations over the coming days and weeks.

We know that shifting from in-person to alternative modes of instruction will require significant effort. Campus is doing two things to help instructors make this shift. First, they created a website with links to tools that instructors can use for online and other types of distance instruction. Secondly, they are standing up a team that can rapidly assist instructors who need help in moving to distance instruction.  I am asking if departments have any instructional design personnel who could be reassigned to work on the campus-wide team supporting these efforts. If you have staff who have instructional technology expertise and who can assist this team, please send their names to Therese McHenry by 8:30 a.m. tomorrow (Thursday, March 12). It would be helpful if you can add just a short description of the expertise of each individual.

In recognition of the extra effort this shift in instruction will involve, the college plans to cancel standing meetings of college-level committees (e.g., APC, EDC) during this time period (at least through April 10th) to free up time for instructors. Faculty and staff will receive cancellation notices for these committee meetings directly. We encourage your department to consider taking similar steps in order to allow instructors more time for this additional effort.

Several departments are in various stages of faculty searches at the moment. If you have questions about your faculty search process, please contact Senior Associate Dean Mark Rickenbach to discuss next steps.

Finally, I want to make sure a point in the Chancellor’s message is clear – the campus remains open and all faculty and staff should continue their regular work schedules unless advised otherwise by their dean, director or supervisor. Graduate assistants (RAs, TAs, and PAs) and post-degree training appointees are included in the faculty and staff category and can continue to report to their labs during this time.

Please continue to monitor the UW-Madison COVID-19 website for the latest information. For standard operational questions, please continue to work with your contacts in CALS HR, Business Services, Research Division and Academic Affairs. For questions that cannot be handled by your usual contacts, please send an e-mail to

I appreciate your leadership very much,