Skip to main content

Chancellor Blank: Thank you for your tireless efforts

March 23, 2020

Dear Colleagues,

Spring “break” is over, we’re in the last half of the semester, and the world looks very different than it did just a few weeks ago.

I want to take this opportunity, as we resume classes, to say “thank you” for the tireless work each of you is doing to ensure that we can successfully complete the academic year.  I’ve told the Deans that successfully finishing courses is the highest priority at UW over the next 7 weeks, after dealing with the safety and health of our students and employees.

I know the last few weeks have been extremely difficult.  Transitioning to online learning has happened on top of anxiety about your own health and your family’s well-being, as well as uncertainty about your research and professional obligations.

I have been amazed at the dedication the faculty, instructional staff, academic staff, advisors, graduate students, and others have shown in shifting to entirely new modes of teaching with just a couple of weeks to prepare.  I know how much work this has required, especially during this past week when many of you thought you would be away on spring break.

Not everything is going to go smoothly in this coming week.  We’re building the plane while we’re flying it.  Please speak up if you need additional technical support.  Please be patient and flexible with your students as they adjust to this new reality…and ask that they be patient and flexible with you.  Additional information on support for faculty and instructional staff is available.

Students may be particularly stressed right now, unable to pursue their normal activities.  Information on the array of services we’ve set up for students – from emergency financial assistance to mental health resources – is available at

I want to thank you for your commitment to our students and to one another.  I am deeply grateful for your commitment to teaching as effectively as possible through the end of the semester while balancing all that the covid-19 pandemic has brought (and will continue to bring).  While buildings are closed and we aren’t seeing each other face-to-face, we are still a campus community.  UW–Madison will remain a remarkable place through the collective efforts of you and thousands of other talented, deeply committed colleagues.

Please let me know how I and others can help you when needed.  We’ll get through this.

And most of all, take care of yourself and your family.

Thank you,
Becky Blank