Faculty Council explores COVID-19 impacts


Pace University

The Faculty Handbook is a guiding document that faculty looks upon to ensure they are being granted fairness amongst all aspects of the university.

Katie Walsh, Managing Editor

COVID-19 has served as a stem for unforeseen circumstances. This was no exception as the Faculty Council Meeting for both the NYC and PLV campus held their first ever joint faculty council meeting during the summer. The meeting addressed areas of impact taking place on the university due to COVID-19. The President and Provost appeared at the meeting to update the Pace community personally and to answer questions.

The topics covered included the academic calendar, Pace’s budget and the faculty’s role with the uncertainty of the Fall 2020 semester.      

The academic calendar committee presented 4 new potential scenarios (2 for Fall and 2 for Spring), in addition to the 2 already pre-approved calendars. This enables Pace to have a multitude of options to be able to cater to the state recommendations and potential COVID-19 waves in the future. 

PV Viswanath was the main presenter from the calendar committee.

The calendar options that were proposed take into consideration of:  

  • Student and Faculty health 
  • Student and Faculty convenience
  • Federal and State Regulations
  • Flexibility 
  • Faculty Governance

These new pending approval scenarios acknowledge the committee’s goals of: 

  • Two alternatives for each term.
  • Minimization of student travel away from campus.
  • Minimization of length of term while remaining within state/federal guidelines.

The aforementioned state/federal guidelines are:

  1. Each course has to meet 14x (1x week) or 28x (2x a week) within a semester.
  2. Each term has to have 14 full weeks +apart of a 15th week.
  3. Three Enrollment Periods (Fall, Spring + Summer) that cannot overlap.
  4. Any sequence of two semesters must be 30 weeks long. 


Fall Option A (Preference of Pace):

  • Semester begins August 24th and takes place until December 5th.
  • Earliest possible start date with shortest possible term length. 
  • Maximizes usage of the dorm room. 
  • Classes meet during all holidays (religious + federal). During these days classes will meet remotely and asynchronously. 
  • Classes would not meet Wednesday – Sunday on Thanksgiving week.
  • After Thanksgiving, the remainder of the classes would be completed remotely. 
  • Pre-Labor Day Class may be taught remotely (Asynchronously) if students/faculty are not able to come to campus. However, the University is pushing for Freshman classes to meet on campus.


Fall Option B: 

  • Semester begins October 14th and takes place until February 2nd. 
  • Variant of Provost Scenario B2.
  • If unexpected COVID-19 Spike, this is a delayed start alternative. 
  • Classes meet during some holidays (religious + federal). During these days classes will meet remotely and asynchronously. However, students would receive a break for Thanksgiving and Christmas/New Year’s. 


In both Fall scenarios, If the university would need to transition to remote learning only. Pace would allow a few days of break so students can transition back home. 


Spring Option A : 

  • Semester begins January 23rd and ends May 1st. 
  • Does not allow for Spring Break 2021 to minimize term length and avoid travel. 
  • Classes meet during all holidays (religious + federal). During these days, classes can meet remotely and asynchronously. 
  • Scenario can follow Fall Option A and Winter Intersession.


Spring Option B : 

  • Semester begins February 10th and ends May 19th. 
  • Duration of the term is the shortest possible, while still allowing breaks between Fall and Spring and Summer and Fall terms. 
  • Does not allow for Spring Break 2021 to minimize term length and avoid travel. 
  • Classes meet during all holidays (religious + federal). During these days classes will meet remotely and asynchronously. 
  • Scenario can follow Fall Option A with normal winter intersession or Fall option B with an overlapping Winter Intersession.


Spring Option C: Current Approved Term 

  • Semester begins January 25th and Ends May 15th.
  • Spring Break is permitted in March with normal days off for holidays. 
These are potential schedule combinations for the 2020-2021 academic school year.










Academic Scheduling 

  • Once Pace receives guidelines from New York State, administration will be working closely with advisors and department chairs to alter the academic schedule for Fall 2020. These alterations will look into class sizes, social distancing measures and the instructor of the courses. 
  • Pace is looking at extending the time period of course offerings to be able to enhance the amount of in-person instruction available. 
  • Classes will likely be taught in remote, in-person and hybrid formats. 
  • Social distancing measures will be implemented.



Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration and Chief Financial Officer Bob Almon was the spoke about the University budget.

  • Enrollment for Fall is currently down 11% due to the virus, which is better than administratively predicted. However, this number can drastically change over the course of the summer. 
  • Enrollment for the New York City campus has a sharper decrease than the  Pleasantville campus.
  • Pace is implementing 4 phases of budget cuts to decrease the deficit. Although all the cuts are not definitive and will depend on guidelines from New York State, as well as enrollment/learning platforms. 
  • Pace is looking somewhere between a best case 16.6 million dollar deficit to a 22.6 million dollar deficit. 

Budget Cuts Implemented: 

  • Staff and Faculty incentive to retire. Must be declared by July 31st. 12 Faculty members have taken the package at this moment. 
  • Reduction of Graduate Assistants. 
  • Part-time staff reduction 
  • Cancelled Sabbaticals 
  • Reduce supplies and Services by 50% in each department. 
  • Utilization of School Endowed Funds 
  • Faculty and Staff Hiring Freeze
  • Senior Administration temporary salary reduction 
  • 403(b) pause
  • Furlough
  • Stipends
  • Capital Projects delayed

Potential Budget Cuts 

  • Decreasing number of administrative staff and looking for consolidation of office space. Rolls may be done remotely to reduce leased space that Pace. 
  • Reducing adjunct employees and selectively increased workload of faculty. 
  • Potential 5% salary deduction.
  • Merit

The council also held a moment of silence and shared thoughts for the passing of two members of the Pace Community: James Castagna and Scott Leith.