Letter from President Serrata
Dear EPCC Team, Once again, I can’t thank each of you enough for all you do.
Today we begin a new fiscal year under a new normal, I ask each of you for your continued cooperation, flexibility and hard work. In the year ahead, we will still face ongoing changes and uncertainties, but we must maintain our focus on our mission, vision and service to our students.
While it is not the same to start the year without all of our students and our team onsite, we are prioritizing the safety of our campus community. We are hopeful that the spread of COVID-19 in our region will decrease so we can gradually expand our return to onsite operations.
Since late spring some of our essential employees along with a limited number of faculty and students in our Career & Technical Education Programs were among the first to return onsite with strict safety procedures. The Safe Campus Task Force is carefully monitoring the trajectory of positive cases, positivity rates and other scientific metrics to determine our timelines for allowing more staff to return. Later this week we will be assessing these metrics and if we show our community has maintained consistent downward trends over the past few weeks, we will consider recommending to the Board of Trustees implementing our first phase which will bring approximately 25% of our staff back to campus. During the week of September 8th the Board of Trustees will be announcing whether or not we will be able to begin this initial phase within the next week or two. If we are, Human Resources will be sending out more information, including the safety guidelines that must be followed and additional details will be provided to you by your supervisor. Another ongoing challenge of this pandemic goes beyond safety and instructional challenges. Budget planning in a future with enrollment uncertainties combined with undoubtable cuts from local or state revenue is something we must prepare for. Like many organizations, we have had to make budget adjustments and difficult financial decisions. The Board of Trustees and I are trying to minimize this impact as much as possible by asking each Vice President and their respective division to curtail spending, freezing hiring except for the most essential positions, restricting travel and asking everyone to be as fiscally prudent as possible. Our primary goal is to avoid furloughs or reductions in force while ensuring EPCC has a vibrant and sustainable future. As we move forward, we must remember these difficult times will pass and we must stay the course, make data-driven decisions and support student needs. Each of our efforts must be guided by what is best for our students and follow what has been outlined in our Strategic Plan. Over the past year, Institutional Planning has worked with the Board of Trustees, our faculty, staff, students and other stakeholders to get valuable input and feedback to finalize the 2021-25 Strategic Plan which is our roadmap to the future. The Board of Trustees approved this plan at the August board meeting and Institutional Planning will be rolling it out later this semester. I encourage you to keep this in mind as you make your Area Plans and prepare for this year and those that follow. Despite the challenges that we’ve been through and those that lie ahead, I also know we have done some incredible work. On September 17th at 3:00 p.m., I invite each of you to join me for our first ever virtual State of the College where we will reflect on the past year and celebrate many remarkable achievements. For now, I invite you to embrace the coming year, do everything you can to make each day great and reaffirm your commitment to doing your best for our students. Afterall, we are EPCC Strong!