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More on Work-Life Balance

October 22, 2020

Good afternoon, 

Subsequent to recent meetings I have had with central administration and university human resources leadership, I asked department chairs to discuss challenges impacting work-life balance with their faculty and staff.  I also asked that staff within our administrative service units be surveyed about this same topic.  My hope was that it would help provide CHS leadership information related to how each of you are managing our current remote situation and what improvements could be done at the college level.  Thank you so much for such for your thoughtful participation in these discussions and surveys. I know that it was just one more thing for you to participate in during these busy times, but your answers are critically important for our college operations.  The results were overwhelmingly positive and demonstrate what amazing people we have working within the college.  This unimaginable situation is far from ideal, but the positive results prove that we have a hardworking and flexible team.  

As CHS leadership reviewed the feedback there were a few things that stood out that I would like to respond to:

  • Many of you expressed apprehension about what future semesters on campus will look like.  I can only tell you what I know-the spring schedule and course modalities for instruction have been set.  These mirror the current term and in the absence of a significant change in university practice we will be in a similar mode as current.  Administrative and academic faculty and staff should plan to continue their current remote work schedule through at least the end of the academic year.  Research and clinical faculty and staff should plan to continue their essential work operations on campus.
  • The mental health of our staff, faculty and students is extremely important, maybe now more than ever.  The university has weekly programming available through the UK Counseling Center.  The schedule can be found here, along with information for scheduling individual counseling appointments should you be interested.  The UK Human Resources office is also offering virtual events on a variety of topics related to well-being and community.
  • There were several responses that addressed how hard it is to shut work off at the end of the day and during the lunch hour.  Because we are working and living in the same space, it is sometimes difficult to separate the two worlds and we end up working far more than we should.  These exact concerns were brought up in a recent meeting I had with the UK Work-Life office.  We are working on setting up a session that specifically addresses this topic and will give you the tools necessary to help build boundaries while working from home.  This session is completely optional, but we hope you will find it helpful. 
  • I have had the opportunity to speak with several small groups of faculty and staff and have felt appreciative and inspired that you have shared your personal stories and challenges. I will continue offering these opportunities for open discussions with the next session being held on Tuesday, November 10 at 1:00 PM.  Please let Meredith know if you would like to join and she will send you zoom connection information.  I have also spoken with students in various classes thanking them for their courage and commitment and discussing how best to further support them.  I am happy to join any of your zoom classes for the first several minutes to thank and reassure them that we are constantly striving to improve their experiences.  Anyone who might be interested can reach out to Meredith to schedule.

There will be forthcoming messaging from central administration containing updates on support and resources for the campus community.  I will also hold a college-wide meeting in November so that we can gather as a group to discuss updates and challenges before the holidays.

Again, thank you for all that you have done and continue to do for the college.  I cannot express to you how appreciative the CHS leadership team and I are for all that you are doing.  Your dedication and commitment amaze me daily.  We are blessed to work with such a great group of people.