Building relationships has always been a key part of the Texas Wesleyan experience. Regardless of generation, students have come to consider individual members of the faculty and staff as mentors and, more often than not, friends. Undoubtedly, relationships within the campus community and, indeed, the entire world have changed as a result of the COIVD-19 pandemic. For Texas Wesleyan students, missing are the impromptu gatherings in the Martin Center, the campus mall, the West Library and Ben’s Triple B. The traditional classroom has changed as well. Through the medium of live virtual learning, faculty and staff have remained connected to Texas Wesleyan students, despite the loss and comfort afforded by the proximity and intimacy of the physical classroom.
Faculty and staff are acutely aware of the burdens the pandemic have placed on our students. In virtual conversations over the past months, faculty and staff have listened as many students told stories of how they have filled positions in those retail establishments deemed “essential” just to survive, often attending virtual classes during the day while working in risky environments in the evenings and on weekends. Faculty, staff and students are deeply affected by the loss of the customary, collegial face-to-face interaction, and we all look forward to safely returning to campus for the fall semester.
To demonstrate our continued commitment to students, the Texas Wesleyan Faculty Council formally supported the creation of a special fund into which faculty and staff can contribute up to 5% of their salary to directly help students with tuition through the 2020/2021 academic year. Faculty understand the greater stress this pandemic has placed on our students and we want to help.
Educating students is not just the mission of Texas Wesleyan; it is the passion of its faculty and staff. In the words of one faculty member speaking at the May 5 Faculty Assembly, “we are Smaller. Smarter. and caring when it comes to our students.” To some, that may seem out of the ordinary, but for generations of Texas Wesleyan students, such is simply the foundation of the strong and enduring relationships for which we are known.