On Monday, April 20, 2020, the Oakwood University Board of Trustees spring meeting was held virtually due to coronavirus restrictions. The spring meeting covered a number of topics relevant to the virtual and remote operation of the university during this time of disruption.
Two key outcomes emerged from the meeting. The first was the unanimous vote on the Oakwood C.A.R.E (Career Advancement and Readiness Education) proposal. The second was the vote to transition the chair of the Oakwood University Board of Trustees from Daniel R. Jackson, president of the North American Division (NAD) to G. Alexander Bryant, executive secretary of the NAD.
Prayer, Praise, and Plans
The meeting began at 9 a.m. with a welcome and prayer by chairman Daniel R. Jackson, president of the North American Division. Leslie N. Pollard, Oakwood University president, presented a devotional titled “Surely!” based on Psalm 91:3. The worship moment culminated with a video presentation of our Oakwood University Aeolians’ “We Shall Overcome.”
Pollard gave a report on the university’s reaction to the coronavirus disease pandemic and plans for during pandemic closures. In this report, the virus response timeline and the creation of the “University Continuity” plan was shared.
In the early stages of the COVID-19 crisis, Pollard offered details about the newly-established responsiveness task force. Actions of the task force included:
• Bringing students who were studying abroad home to the U.S.;
• Implementing health protocols to prevent the spread of the virus on campus;
• Closing the campus on March 13, 2020, and providing students a week to return home by March 20;
• Transitioning the annual alumni homecoming to a virtual event;
• Postponing commencement exercises; and
• Informing students that the Office of Student Activities has continued to engage with students in such things as trivia nights and the continuation of the Mr. and Miss Oakwood Pageant on a virtual platform.
It was also reported that a decision was made on March 19 to substantially reduce the percentage of Oakwood’s essential work force reporting to campus to those deemed as critical employees. The university subsequently invested heavily in technology that would enable employees to work remotely with little-to-no disruption in productivity.
“Our staff continues to accomplish great things during this time,” shared Pollard. “During this time our faculty were asked to expedite the migration of traditionally face-to-face classes to the virtual environment. … We anticipate a strong finish to the academic year.”
Pollard continued, “With increased financial burdens for families related to COVID-19, we have created the Oakwood University C.A.R.E. program to provide scholarships and internship opportunities for students willing to apply themselves and work hard to be successful in college.”
The C.A.R.E. program will enable incoming freshmen students to enroll at Oakwood and finance their education and graduate after four years with a debt load, after four years, that figures between $2,500 and $10,000. [To learn how you can help the C.A.R.E program, visit https://give.oakwood.edu/ou-2020-all-in.]
During the meeting, Jackson’s contributions were highlighted. Jackson, who has served as the chair of the Oakwood University Board of Trustees for the past 10 years, will be retiring from his position as NAD president as of July 1.
“Our time with the trustees was both informative and fruitful. We were able to discuss in great detail Oakwood’s response to the coronavirus pandemic and items of ongoing consideration,” said Pollard. “I thank all of our board members for their fervor and unwavering support of Oakwood University.”
This article and originally appeared on the NAD website.
Photo courtesy of the NAD website.
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