A Message from the President: Facing COVID-19 with Faith, Together (3-24-20)

Lee este mensaje en español.

Friends and Colleagues,

I trust each of you is adjusting to the new work and home routines required to contain the spread of COVID-19. I am appreciative of the flexibility, adaptability, and tireless work demonstrated by the APU Community to assist in the University’s responsiveness to regional and national changes amidst this crisis. Over these last two weeks, we have, together, made a remarkable conversion in our campus operations both in Azusa, our Regional Campuses, and across the world.

We have effectively transitioned, together:

  • Our courses to online delivery. I am inspired by the phenomenal effort, led by our innovative faculty, to maintain our academic mission in the midst of flux. Their efforts were supported by the heavy lifting of ITT and IMT to provide resources to make this all possible. This monumental work illustrates the APU Community’s shared commitment to excellence, rigor, and student learning.
  • Our students to online learning. I have a heart of gratitude and compassion for our students who have shown resilience adapting to new and abrupt changes in their learning environment, while grappling with the disappointment of special events altered, athletic seasons canceled, and an on-campus semester cut short.
  • Our residential students safely home. I am impressed with the outstanding efforts of our Student Affairs team and other campus partners to expedite the transition of most of our residential students home, leaving those students with need on the Azusa campus to be housed and cared for by those wonderful professionals.
  • Our Study Away Students in Ecuador and South Africa, despite incredible international hurdles, safely home. Thanks to Carrie Ullmer and our Center for Global Learning and Engagement Staff for tireless care and efficiency to bring our students home.
  • Our staff to telework, where appropriate. These off-site staff continue to efficiently run university operations with aplomb. To our “essential” employees, including Dr. Emerson and the Student Health Center, Campus Safety, Facilities Management, the Critical Incident Response COVID-19 Task Force, and others who remain in place to ensure location-based university services remain active, your dedication encourages us all. A special thank you to the Business/Finance and Human Resources Teams for facilitating your roles with kindness and concern.

I recognize there will still be questions to answer as we uncover a full understanding of this unprecedented health crisis and continue to assess the current and future impacts of this pandemic. As we seek ways to connect during this time, virtual meetings will be an essential tool for us to retain focused communication in addition to email and phone. I was encouraged to use Google Meet last week with Deans, Chairs, Program Directors, and Interim Provost Fernando. I look forward to our next virtual meeting with the faculty tomorrow. The President’s Cabinet began using Zoom Conference for our weekly meeting. The Spiritual Life team has creatively built opportunities to minister to our students virtually.

These are but a few of the many strategic ways our APU Community has come together to address this extraordinary situation with such an amazing spirit of collaboration, helping one another and lifting each other up in prayer. I am confident that our University has not only risen to the immediate challenge in close partnership with our governmental and public health agencies, but also will stay strong as we face continuing uncertainties. Be encouraged that the President’s Cabinet and Board of Trustees remain dedicated in their service to you and the University, addressing pressing tasks at hand and moving with purpose toward the future.

I was blessed this past weekend studying the Psalms. Psalm 46:10 reminded me Who remains sovereign, even in the times of trouble: “Be still, and know that I am God,” I am also confident that as we pray for God’s Glory, we will see amazing evidence of His working through us, together.

Looking forward to connecting with you virtually during the next few weeks!

With much gratitude and affection,

Paul W. Ferguson, Ph.D., DABT