President's Update - July 24, 2020

Dear Chattanooga State Faculty and Staff,
We are one month away from the start of the fall semester. This is always an exciting time on campus with everyone gearing up for classes to begin and planning events to welcome back our students. Although our start to the fall semester looks different this year, I can still feel the energy and enthusiasm. Let’s start the semester off strong! Below are a few updates for this week.


The SACSCOC Visit scheduled for October will now be a virtual visit and not on-site as originally planned. However, an on-site visit will be planned for a later date. Even though the visit is virtual, the same level of rigor, the same types of interviews, and the same types of presentations will be expected. Please continue to hold October 20-22, 2020 on your calendar.

Policy Review

A cross-representative working group, led by Brian Evans, has drafted a new telecommuting policy. This policy will be critical for the College as we move forward in our new working environment. Even when the COVID-19 situation has passed, I expect that more employees will work remotely on a regular or occasional  basis. I consider this new policy a starting place. As we continue to work through it in the future, we will know how it might need to be modified.

Please review this policy and provide feedback to your representative on the Policy Review Board prior to July 31, 2020. The policy can be accessed at this link: Scroll down to Summer 2020 Policy Tracker. 

Faculty Senate, Professional Staff Association, and Support Staff Association were all represented in this working group. Thank you to all who helped shape this proposed policy.

Committee Members: Debbie Adams, Bo Drake, Traci Williams, Gardner Long, Quincy Jenkins, Michael McCamish, Tabitha Banks, Andy Cross, Elizabeth Norton, Robbin Robinson, Jeff Lemon, Jessica Green, John Phillips, Karen Eastman, and Crystal Gordon.

2020 Convocation & Plenary

Save the Date: August 10, 9-11 a.m. and 1-3 pm for this year’s Virtual Convocation. Virtual Plenary sessions will run throughout the week of August 10 and August 17. Additional details, including the Plenary schedule, will be available soon.

Fall 2020 Enrollment

As of this morning, we have enrolled 4,992 students for the fall, down 14.9% versus year ago (44 days until census). Thus far, our returning Nursing and Allied Health students have yet to register. Additionally, we anticipate more dual-enrollment students registering as high school students continue to make their decisions relative to learning options this fall. Total enrollment YA at census was 8,050. More and more students are registering each and every day. This week, our eight professional advisors, under the leadership of Dr. Terri Hernandez, are scheduled to advise several hundred  students, which could bring us many additional students by the end of the week. More than 40 students attended an on-campus registration session so far this week, and 100 more were scheduled to attend yesterday. We will continue to host the on-campus registration sessions (and virtual sessions) for the next few weeks as we work to minimize the enrollment gap.

Budget Update

As you know, our budgets are tied to our enrollment numbers. We will continue to monitor enrollments over the coming weeks. If we can narrow our enrollment gap for fall, our operating budget will be in much better shape for the fiscal year. We will continue to hold vacant positions and look for other ways to save funds moving forward. 

I am so grateful to everyone who is working so hard to make the fall semester happen. Faculty are training, Academic Deans and Department Heads are constantly planning and pivoting, advisors are registering students, Student Affairs, Academic Affairs, Technology, and Business Office staff are working as a team to solve problems and pave the way for student success. The Custodial staff has participated in training to understand how best to keep our campus germ-free. The level of teamwork happening at the College inspires me every day.

Chattanooga State is a great place to be. We are resilient. We are innovative. We are united. We are ChattState!

Rebecca Ashford, Ed.D.