While things might look a little different at Concordia University Wisconsin due to careful measures implemented to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19, our mission to prepare students in mind, body, and spirit for meaningful lives of service endures, perhaps even more fervently than ever before.
At Concordia “COVID Conscious” is more than a campaign. It is a bold, voluntary system of shared attitudes and individual actions and choices that ensure everyone—students, parents, employees, and guests—that Concordia is an informed, proactive, and caring community in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The COVID Conscious Campus initiative involves a series of actions that culminate with the signing of a pledge. Signed pledges of employees who choose to participate are proudly displayed on walls, desks and office doors throughout campus.
COVID Conscious is a voluntary action process that was conceived by Dr. Gretchen Jameson, senior vice president of strategy and university affairs, after months of daily planning meetings with her senior leader colleagues as they banded together to guide our campus through the pandemic.
According to Jameson, “We implemented the COVID Conscious Campus designation to ensure that every member of the CUW workforce is engaged not only in the behaviors and procedures required to succeed in this COVID moment, but also on boarded to the change mindset necessary to effectuate true change success.”
Jameson will gauge the success of implementation over the fall term based on the following outcomes:
- Faculty, staff, and administration will promote and perform responsible behaviors.
- Workers will feel positive and empowered.
- The spread of Covid-19 will be mitigated on our campuses and at our centers.
“Mindset is key,” says Jameson. “Each of us need to hold ourselves accountable and demonstrate a commitment and belief in what we’re doing. Through our passion and practice we will persuade students to get involved. Together, we can change the culture on campus and help to mitigate the spread during this really hard time.”
Concordia’s five steps to a COVID Conscious Campus:
Action 1: Complete the Safe Colleges COVID-19 training module.
Every employee at Concordia University has access to a comprehensive catalog of online learning programs and tools that cover important human resource topics in higher education.
Action 2: Become familiar with the daily health screening process.
Employees are invited to self-monitor by answering a series of questions daily.
Action 3: Read, mark, and inwardly digest the Uncommon Return website.
All information related to the university’s response to COVID-19 from our move to online-only learning in spring to our plans for an Uncommon Return in fall are available and organized on the site. The site is updated frequently.
Action 4: Self-monitor and be accountable to others.
Physical distance, wear a mask, use proper hand washing techniques, utilize virtual tools for meetings when possible.
Practice the 5-steps:
- hands; wash them often
- elbow; cough in it
- face; don’t touch it
- feet; stay 6 ft apart
- feel sick?; stay home
Action 5: Choose to complete the COVID Conscious Campus pledge. Display it proudly and encourage others to do the same.
The program was introduced in a series of live training sessions using Zoom technology. Each session incorporated managers into the presentation to elevate the level of engagement and motivation.
Following each session, employees were asked to participate in a survey. Of the 294 individuals who responded from both Concordia University Wisconsin and Concordia University Ann Arbor, engagement was high and positive.
In one of the questions, employees were asked to identify a word or a series of words to keep in mind as we return to campus. Patience, flexibility, and understanding were among the most mentioned.
The voluntary participation in the COVID Conscious training resulted in the majority of employees agreeing/strongly agreeing that (weighted average included for each) 1) they know the values and mutual interest driving our strategy (4.5) 2) I know the mitigation protocols and feel I can consistently perform them (4.5) 3) I generally agree mitigation strategies are necessary to achieve our goal (4.6) 4) I believe our employee community can perform these behaviors (4.3) and 5) I generally agree these strategies are worth doing (4.5). These critical knowledge, motivation, and organizational influences will influence Concordia’s ability to achieve its performance goal: which is a robust and safe achievement of its educational mission for the entire 2020-2021 academic year.
— Lisa Liljegren is vice president of marketing and strategic communications.
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