While students and faculty have been working hard to finish their courses and prepare for final exams, papers, and presentations, there’s another group that has been working diligently – often behind the scenes – to make sure the University continues to run despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
That group is UNC Greensboro’s nearly 2,000 staff members.
From Financial Aid to the Dean of Students Office to Information Technology Services, UNCG staff have been going above and beyond. Many are working from home and juggling responsibilities as professionals, spouses, and parents. Some, given the nature of their jobs, continue to report to campus. The University is grateful for all the work that continues to be carried out, despite difficult circumstances.
As a way to recognize the hard work of UNCG staff, we’ve highlighted just a handful of the many employees who continue to support the University’s mission in the midst of a global pandemic. We encourage other departments across campus to highlight their staff members on social media with the hashtag #SpartansTogether.
We asked these Spartan staff two questions: How has your work changed due to COVID-19? And how are you staying positive?
Here’s what they had to say.
Assistant Dean of Students, Dean of Students Office
“My work has shifted more toward working with students directly impacted by the move to online classes. I speak on the phone or via email daily to students who have experienced a tough transition and do my best to let them know about the resources available to them on and off campus.
“I am trying to take each challenge one step at a time. The last six weeks have taught me that there are few guarantees, and focusing on the small things gets me through my days. For example, I try to focus on the students I am able to assist and check in with them regularly. Hearing how much that means to them helps me stay positive.”
Director, Office of Emergency Management
“Like many others, the virtual way of life has taken over. My role requires ongoing meetings and conversations with stakeholders, which are typically best facilitated through in-person interactions. Now that we are all practicing social distancing, all interactions are now through Zoom, Facetime, or other virtual means.
“As a coordinator of emergency activities, I am most humbled when the folks I work with do their absolute best to solve hard problems during challenging times. And that is what I am seeing right now. Watching our dedicated faculty and staff continue to push forward keeps me both positive and inspired.”
Administrative Associate, Counseling Center
“Not being able to see or interact in person with the students has been an adjustment for me. With all of my interaction with students being over the phone, now I must be able to listen for indications of distress in the student’s voice, instead of seeing or reading it on their face. I always stress to each student that the Counseling Center is here to help them in any way and to assist them in the adjustment to this new COVID-19 world.
“I am always positive, and I do not focus on the negative or things I cannot change. I have been here at the Counseling Center for over 13 years, and I love my job and the students that we serve. This is just a setback, an opportunity to do things differently. So, I strive to always do well in what I do and keep a positive attitude while I am doing it.”
Admissions Counselor and Social Media Coordinator, Office of Undergraduate Admissions
“My social media duties have expanded to manage our student texting platform, as well as editing videos for our virtual visit options on our website, and hosting weekly live streams on our Facebook page for new and prospective students. The work itself hasn’t changed because of the outbreak, but the means of completing it has changed greatly. All meetings happen over Zoom, students text us when they have questions instead of calling or coming into the office, and my email inbox has never been more crowded.
“For me, staying positive involves going running a few nights a week, cooking a lot more, and baking too much bread.”
Instructional Technology Consultant, College of Arts and Sciences
“Broadly speaking, my job has not changed significantly. I still provide the same services and I am able to do my work from home easily, though I do miss working with instructors in person. However, I am now providing more support to more people at once. Also, with the emergency move to remote instruction, I have been providing much more support for synchronous instruction (via Zoom) than normal.
“I do enjoy my office mates (husband upstairs and two cats with me downstairs). I have also taken up every hobby that I have ever had. I like reading, gardening, and interior design, and I have started painting and cross-stitching again.”
Assistant Director for Building and Environmental Services, Housing and Residence Life
“As you can expect, my work has changed dramatically. In my role you have to consider the safety of staff and students. There are tasks and functions of our job that still need to be completed, while making sure we keep staff safe and respect those who may not be able to come to campus for many different health concerns.
“I’m proud to see people pulling together and helping others. People are being creative again on how we do things. I believe if we continue to look after one another, take precautions, and stay positive, we will come back a stronger nation.”
Senior Counselor for Scholarship Operations, Financial Aid Office
“The majority of our office is working from home currently. While many of our processes were already web-based, we still processed a fair amount of paper forms and documents so we have had to find ways to work around that. It has also been a bit isolating working from home. We are all pretty social so it’s been tough not having those face-to-face interactions each day.
“I remind myself that this is only temporary! That it is the best option to keep the UNCG community healthy. I also love my son and husband, so seeing them more has actually been one of the highlights.”
Manager of Cloud Collaboration & Productivity Services, Information Technology Services
“The CCPS team has always been focused on helping students, faculty, and staff take advantage of cloud-centric tools. Now that we are staying home, these tools are more than in demand – they are essential. Every day I am learning of new challenges Spartans are facing. How will course material be accessed? How will this dissertation defense be conducted? How will this search committee function? We are actively working to address those needs: solving problems with our existing tools, researching new methods, and offering new tools.
“I try to take morning walks in my neighborhood. I am calling fellow congregants to offer a word of encouragement. Lastly, after consulting with colleagues and wrestling with the need to stay home but also engage in some self care, I have taken some time these past weeks to slip away and go fly-fishing, the most social-distancing sport ever!”
Executive Residence Captain, Spartan Catering
“I went from catering events all around campus to preparing and serving meals to students in the Spartan Market. I am enjoying this time ‘catering’ to our students who have remained on campus. I know how stressful this time is for them, and being able to bring a smile to their faces by interacting with them for a few moments each day has been one of the most rewarding moments of my career.
“I am staying positive during this time by making the most of my time at work, including dressing up as the Easter Bunny and passing out baskets to the students. I also really enjoy reading and being in nature, so I am trying to take advantage of this time and read outside, listen to the birds, and go for a walk.”