• Published Date:
  • Categories: Campus Operations, Bison S.A.F.E.: University Pandemic Response
  • Supporting Unit: Human Resources

It has been a challenging two years since we were first impacted by the pandemic. We’ve learned so much about ourselves and each other, as a community, and we are all adjusting to life with new public health standards.

Times that have already tested our resolve and commitment seem to be getting more difficult. And yet, our community has continued to honor the tradition and mission of this great University on a daily basis. In spite of complex challenges, you remain as the support system for thousands of students, tens of thousands of neighbors in our community, and an entire sector dedicated to teaching and training within a historically Black context. We could not be more grateful for your courage and example.

To honor you and your work, we know that it is important as an institution to provide support at every possible opportunity. As we navigate the typical elements that challenge us during an academic semester and continue to confront unforeseen anxiety-producing moments, we will continue to promote and facilitate good health practices, particularly in mental, emotional and financial wellness.

Earlier this month, the University observed a one-day respite from instruction and standard operations to give the campus community an opportunity for self-care. This initiative was an extension of our ongoing commitment to encouraging faculty and staff to take advantage of programming offered on campus and by way of our health care provider to support strong mental and emotional health outcomes.

In December, the University announced updates to its telework policy as part of our evolving Bison S.A.F.E. pandemic response plan. Designed to give managers and executives more autonomy in providing staff with virtual and socially distanced work opportunities, its guidance also reflects greater flexibility in employee access to therapy, crisis management services and mindfulness resources.

In November, our health care partner Cigna offered a Fit For You health and wellness event to encourage biometric health screening, panels on breaking mental health stigmas, and awareness of behavioral health support for students, faculty and staff.

In October, the Office of Human Resources promoted its Work-Life Balance Challenge for employees, encouraging employees to compete in fostering healthy habits like consistent sleep, physical activity, healthier eating and self-care.

These programs fostered by our Office of Human Resources and our health care partners have complemented mental health awareness initiatives in other areas of the institution. One of our best areas of outreach is conducted through the Andrew Rankin Memorial Chapel, which offers the following resources for conversation, meditation and active mindfulness.

We implemented phased employee salary increase to support your financial wellness and will continue to offer programming focused on financial literacy, saving and retirement planning via our vendor partners, such as TIAA, JPMorgan Chase and Cigna, to name a few.

We will continue to broaden this portfolio of services and events to lend institutional support to every employee’s personal effort to maintain good, holistic health. Additionally, our Department of Public Safety will also continue to promote training opportunities for the campus community to encourage peace of mind and preparedness. Our most recent training was held yesterday, and DPS welcomed staff who learned more about active threat preparation and response.

We care about your well-being and recognize the connection between good health and personal fulfillment in career and lifestyle. Make it a habit to take time out of your daily routine to care for yourselves and each other.

Please, reach out to the Office of Human Resources at any time for more information on wellness programming and with any feedback on opportunities our office can take or create to advance this important element of employee engagement.

If no one said it to you today, let us be the first to thank you for your service to Howard University and our community. We appreciate all that you do!