Welcome to Spring 2021

February 3, 2021

Dear Colleagues,

As we mark the beginning of a new semester and a new year, we stand at a powerful inflection point. Although Spring 2021 may look similar to Fall 2020 in many respects, let me assure you that, thanks to a community-wide effort, we have made incredible progress over the past 11 months.

Together, we learned so much about how to adapt our academic and campus activities to the health and safety requirements of COVID-19. Navigating the pandemic also highlighted our strengths in new ways, through research, service, volunteerism and engagement—and showcased our innovation, empathy and resilience as a community.

There is no question 2020 was quite the rollercoaster, and we are all still in dismay and disbelief over the violent insurrection that took place at the U.S. Capitol on January 6. As a country, we can and must defend our democratic values while standing firmly against racism, hatred and injustice. As an institution of higher education, we play a critical role in this process.

These are important issues we will continue to address through our continued planning and programmatic initiatives developed by Academic Affairs, Student Affairs and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. As we celebrate Black History Month, this will be an opportunity to reaffirm our institutional commitment to diversity, equity and inclusive excellence.

Despite the multiple challenges we face, I could not be more confident about UAlbany’s future. While we must remain vigilant in observing our health and safety protocols and participating in surveillance testing, relief is on the horizon as vaccines become more widely available.

We will also work together to address the financial issues we face. This will require working collaboratively to build a stronger and more resilient institution, focusing on our academic and research strengths; offering more innovative and rigorous academic programming to the growing “adult learner” population in New York; centralizing and strengthening our professional and continuing education programs; and strengthening our research infrastructure, among other initiatives, with a focus on student success.

In order to sustain and strengthen our institution, we must also review our academic and administrative programs, as well as our organizational structure. As we cannot do more with less, we have to grow our resources—and streamline and rightsize, where necessary. Also, the better-than-expected news regarding New York State budget projections, as well as the forthcoming federal stimulus funding, will certainly provide some economic relief, and we will continue to adjust our budget projections and planning process accordingly. As you know, the budget is fluid, but we will keep you informed as new information emerges. There are important challenges before us, but also significant opportunities.

I am enthusiastically looking forward to the not-too-distant future when we can gather as a community—whether in the Campus Center, Casey Stadium, SEFCU Arena or the Performing Arts Center. Meanwhile, we need to support and care for each other and help our friends and colleagues overcome the challenges we all confront. Collectively, we can make a significant difference.

Thank you for everything you have done and will continue to do as dedicated members of the UAlbany family. Above all, please stay safe, stay healthy and stay engaged. #OneUAlbany



Signature of Havidan Rodriguez

Havidán Rodríguez