Dear graduate and professional students,
Happy New Year and greetings as we embark upon the spring 2021 semester! As we get busy with the work of a new semester, I want to share my profound gratitude for all that you did last semester to persevere through an incredibly challenging time. I want to especially thank our graduate instructors and graduate assistants who are to be applauded for keeping on track with their own studies while staying in service to our students. Our graduate and professional students embody the meaning of “resilient.”
As we press ahead even as we continue to face many obstacles related to the pandemic, I want to convey words of encouragement for the semester ahead. The education and experiences you are gaining here will shape the opportunities and paths you encounter throughout your life. This is because we expect our graduates to be driven by the quest for ingenuity, creativity and the pursuit of big ideas. Especially in light of the unexpected economic challenges caused by COVID-19, the value of your graduate or professional degree is even greater.
Please let us know how we can support you throughout this semester and for the duration of your studies here — the Office of the Chancellor is here as a resource for you. Graduate and professional students are a vital part of our campus community, and it is important that you receive the support you need to thrive. We are committed to ensuring that our graduate and professional students achieve their greatest potential as tomorrow’s top researchers and practitioners.
Best wishes for a successful semester!
Glenn F. Boyce
The Spring 2021 semester is here, and we’re so excited to get back at it! I hope everyone had a great break and that you’re recharged and ready to tackle a new term. In addition, we’re thrilled to welcome nearly 250 new students to our campus community. All the best to our newest arrivals on campus.
We are coming off an unexpected journey in the fall. Our student body showed adaptability, resilience and leadership as the university navigated unprecedented challenges in order to protect the health of everyone in our community. Most importantly, you did all of that while continuing to make progress toward earning your degree. We are proud of how you persevered and moved forward.
Stay Focused, Stay Engaged
Now, a new semester calls for some reminders and caveats. With a condensed calendar, this semester will unfold quickly. For that reason, it is vital that you start this term strong from Day One. You know what you must do to succeed academically, so hold yourself accountable and don’t fall behind. Ask for help as soon as you think you need it. Reach out to your professors and advisors. Tap into the resources and support available to you across campus. We are here for you and want to see you succeed!
For campus life, we’re exploring creative ways to host programming, gatherings and opportunities to stay sharp and fit. The university continues to offer free COVID-19 asymptomatic testing for all students, faculty and staff, which helps us understand the COVID positivity rate and, in turn, inform decision-making about on-and off-campus gatherings. We will monitor testing rates from Jan. 19-Feb. 19 with the hope that social gatherings can take place after Feb. 19.
Vaccine Offers Us A Shot
We’re encouraged with the rollout of the two effective vaccines being administered throughout the state and country. While it remains unclear when college students can get the vaccine, I urge you to get vaccinated as soon as you are able. It will help you stay well while protecting your families, friends, classmates, neighbors and all of those you care about. This is one of the best ways each of us can do our part to have a healthy and safe environment for those around us.
In the meantime, hang in there! We are getting control of this virus, but we must remain vigilant. Last week, you received a letter from Student Affairs highlighting 10 things you need to know for Spring 2021. And I recently saw a tweet from U.S. Surgeon General VADM Jerome M. Adams sharing the five W’s of how we can get as many people as possible to the finish line, as quickly as possible:
Let’s Have a Successful Spring
The start of a new semester is always an exciting time on campus. We have a lot to look forward to including not one, but two Commencement celebrations! We can’t wait to honor the incredible achievements, character and spirit of our graduates for the Classes of 2020 and 2021.
On our campus, students learn in and out of the classroom. That was certainly the case in the fall as our community faced numerous challenges, and I take great comfort and pride in how our students, faculty and staff came through all of this together. Thank you — the strength of our students is a hallmark of our university. It is important that you know we are working creatively and diligently to provide you the best possible college experience during these extraordinary times. I’m looking forward to celebrating the outstanding and numerous successes that our students deliver each spring.
Glenn F. Boyce
Dear faculty and staff,
I’m very pleased to share that Eduardo Prieto will join the University of Mississippi as the first Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Management after a successful national search. A native of Oklahoma, Eduardo brings more than 20 years of higher education experience across several institutions. He offers deep expertise in enrollment management, competitive admission efforts, student recruitment and financial aid, among other areas.
Eduardo will join us in March from Winthrop University in Rock Hill, South Carolina, where he has served as vice president for access and enrollment management since 2014. He will oversee our newly created Office of Enrollment Management, which will bring together the Offices of Admissions and Financial Aid into a combined team of 70 professionals.
The Office of Enrollment Management is an investment that will deliver greater administrative focus and strategic emphasis on building our future, and we are very excited for the seasoned leadership and energy that Eduardo brings. We’re eager to see how his leadership will invigorate university-wide enrollment work and lead efforts for financial aid strategies to maximize support for future generations of students.
To learn more, please read the full announcement. When Eduardo arrives on campus later this semester, please join me in warmly welcoming him and his wife, Traci, to our community.
Glenn F. Boyce
Dear faculty and staff,
As we close out the Fall 2020 semester, all of us are very familiar with the words and phrases that have been used and overused to describe the current environment — “challenging,” “unprecedented,” “unknown.” While we may be numb to these words at this point, that does not make them any less fitting. In our institution’s history, we have rarely faced an external threat like COVID-19 that reshaped our community and the world around us so rapidly.
Reaching every one of our students to provide life-changing educational and growth opportunities is ingrained in our mission and in our culture. In fulfilling that mission, our faculty, staff and administrators faced this semester with tenacity, resolve and skill. Mere words cannot adequately express my thanks and gratitude for your tremendous work and service to our university and our students.
As we commemorate the end of the semester, I hope everyone has a deep appreciation for the way we kept our students on track toward earning their degrees, redesigned how we deliver courses to comply with public health protocols, continued pushing our research enterprise, and implemented necessary training and technology upgrades. We completed the semester without the disruptions that so many of our peer institutions across the nation experienced.
All of this was accomplished in the face of every member of the university family being impacted, professionally and personally. And before the fall was over, you were looking ahead to the Spring 2021 semester and all the ways that we can improve and enhance our academic offerings and campus life opportunities for our students. All of this gets at the core of who we are as a university community that we are all working tirelessly to offer the best on-campus living, learning and working environment possible. I commend you, and I’m thankful for your adaptability, creativity, and commitment to keeping our campus community thriving.
I know we all look forward to the holidays, spending time with loved ones, and celebrating all for which we are thankful. I continue to be tremendously grateful for our caring and dynamic campus community. Over the next several weeks, we will recognize faculty and staff with various activities through the “Red & Blue Because of You!” celebration. Thank you again to the entire university family for your commitment. You are truly an inspiration.
Wishing you and yours a happy and restful Thanksgiving!
Glenn F. Boyce
Greetings Ole Miss parents and families,
As we wrap up the Fall 2020 semester, I know your family is eager to welcome your student home for the holidays. As I recently shared in a message to all students, we know they have navigated a semester that is anything but typical, and we are extremely proud of them. I visited with hundreds of them throughout the course of the semester and their input has been invaluable as we make planning adjustments moving into the spring semester.
While we faced countless challenges and difficult decisions as we rethought how we do virtually everything on campus, I’m proud that we completed the semester without the disruptions that so many universities across the nation experienced. We managed to do this because we adhered to the guiding principles outlined in our Campus Ready plan:
In my Oct. 27 letter to parents and families, we committed to holding as many in-person courses (face-to-face or hybrid formats) in Spring 2021 as we possibly can. In committing to more in-person courses, we pledged to expand the number of places where we host classes, and have explored or utilized non-traditional spaces on campus as well as off-campus locations in order to maximize opportunities for face-to-face instruction in the spring while also practicing the required social distancing in the classroom. Some of these include the Tad Smith Coliseum, Student Union and Johnson Commons East Ballrooms, Ford Center Studio A, Jackson Avenue Center and Vaught Hemingway South End Zone Upper Club, among others.
Spring 2021 registration is underway, and all students now have access to the registration website. We encourage you to visit this resource for an explanation of course delivery formats. Please note that course formats will not change unless under extraordinary circumstances related to the pandemic.
As of November 25, we have been able to increase classes with an in-person component from 2,185 in fall 2020 to 3,329 in spring 2021. While we are excited to offer more face-to-face courses, our registration data indicates that students are signing up for remote/online courses at nearly the same percentage as in the fall. I would encourage you to visit with your student to ensure they take full advantage of the increases in face-to-face offerings.
Please note that we expect the registration numbers to continue to shift as the registration window remains open through the start of the spring semester for students who are still registering for classes or those who want to revise their initial selections.
Thank you for all you do in partnering with us as we seek to provide our students the best possible college experience during these extraordinary times. We hope this update gives you a sense of how we are working creatively and diligently to respond to valuable input from students and parents to make an even better living and learning environment for our students in Spring 2021. We appreciate how encouraging and caring Ole Miss parents are as we all seek to support our students in pursuing their goals while living through a time that has upended the world. We are tremendously proud of our stellar student body.
Stay safe, stay well and enjoy the holiday season.
Glenn F. Boyce