October 28, 2020

Paino Addresses Faculty/Staff Concerns in Live Chat

President Paino spoke to faculty and staff yesterday in a live online forum designed to address questions and concerns that have surfaced throughout the past weeks as the University community has dealt with the coronavirus pandemic and worked to adjust to a “new normal.”

On the heels of a similar live student Q&A session, hosted on Zoom and YouTube, Paino answered more than 20 questions from employees in departments across the University. He covered a range of issues, from plans for students’ return to campus and admissions yield strategies to budget concerns and telework situations.

“Going through this, we’re going to learn a lot about ourselves and our operations moving forward,” Paino said. “I think that this will probably cause us to have a lot of deep conversations about our work in a variety of ways that we weren’t expecting just a month ago.”

Paino said he remains optimistic that students will be back on campus for the start of the fall semester and that he is putting together a task force to think through how that might work.

Provost Nina Mikhalevsky and Executive Director of Human Resources Beth Williams joined Paino in the live chat, answering questions related to their respective areas. Together, they addressed concerns about how altered operations have impacted students, how the overall UMW landscape could change, and the importance of community-wide contributions to admissions efforts.

Paino praised faculty for their ability to make a quick change from in-person to remote teaching and urged all employees to take time to care for themselves, both physically and emotionally.

“I think the thing that I’m most gratified by is that I get to work, even if it’s remotely, with such amazing people, and that has lifted my spirits,” he told Procurement Services’ Michelle Pickham, who joined the conversation to ask about Paino’s personal well-being.

“Even through the challenge and uncertainty of these times, I get to work with … people like yourself and others on campus who have given me such encouragement and such a sense of optimism that we’re going to meet this challenge and make it through.”

Hear the live Q&A session in its entirety on YouTube.