Averett CoffeeBreak 3-17-21

Posted on March 17th, 2021 by Matt Bell

CoffeeBreak is an e-newsletter distributed to Averett faculty and staff to keep them up-to-date on campus activities and information. Please send information you would like included in CoffeeBreak via this form. For the next CoffeeBreak, please submit by Friday, March 19, for a Wednesday, March 24, publication.

President’s Spring 2021 Update

Dear Averett Family,

Reasons for optimism abound as we think back to almost exactly one year ago. On our campus, within our community and across the Commonwealth, ‘normal’ was no more, and we could not imagine then the length of time we would be responding to this pandemic.

I’m reminded of how far we have come when I see our students safely congregating on campus, our faculty and staff members working diligently in their classrooms and offices, and our student-athletes competing after seasons that were previously cut short or postponed.  All of this and more are signs that the Averett community support for our comprehensive approach to COVID-19 health and safety protocols has paid off.

Just one glance at our University’s daily COVID-19 dashboard will paint a very encouraging picture. The prevalence of cases in our surrounding community continues to decline, and vaccine supply in our health district keeps ramping up. While we will remain vigilant in our health and safety practices, we are looking ahead and excited for what’s on the horizon.

As always, I want to thank everyone for their commitment to a safe and healthy campus, and I wish for a successful finish to the spring semester.

Go Cougars!

Dr. Tiffany M. Franks, President

Vaccination Update

Working with partners like the Virginia Department of Health, SOVAH Health, the City of Danville and Pittsylvania County, Averett University has joined the community fight against the spread of COVID-19, working tirelessly for the past two months to vaccinate approximately 18,000 of our most vulnerable neighbors. From our School of Nursing students and faculty administering vaccination shots, to hosting the inaugural mass community vaccination clinic in our health district, to the Center for Community Engagement and Career Competitiveness’ volunteer coordination for all community vaccination events – we are committed to the health of this community and contributing in any way we can to help us curb the impact of this devastating virus.

Now, we are excited to share that the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) has moved into Danville at the old JC Penney building in the Danville Mall to give 3,000 doses of the vaccine per day, Monday-Friday, 10 hours per day for the next 60 days. Given the sheer volume of this initiative, the Region’s health leaders have decided to register as many people as possible (over the age of 18) to receive the vaccine, if they wish to do so.

This means that ALL of our Averett students, staff and faculty (18 and over) are now eligible to register. The vaccine is FREE of charge, and a person only has to have a photo ID at the vaccination site to receive the vaccine. Currently, the Moderna two-dose vaccine is being used, and all patients will be scheduled to receive their second dose 30 days after they receive their first dose. You will be registered on-site to receive your second dose.

We strongly urge our Averett family to consider visiting vaccinate.Virginia.gov to get into the system. VDEM will pull all names from this portal.  Anyone lacking access to technology can call 877-VAX-IN-VA to register.

Spring Commencement

The whole Averett community—graduating seniors, their family and friends, administration, faculty and staff—looks forward to Commencement every year as the crowning ritual and celebration of one of life’s most important milestones. To that end, Averett is committed to ensuring that graduates experience a safe and memorable graduation ceremony during a challenging time (in the context of directives from local, state and federal agencies).

Spring 2021 Commencement will be held on Saturday, May 8. To maximize health precautions for COVID-19, we anticipate the event will be held outside at the Frank R. Campbell Stadium at 10 a.m.

In the case of precipitation and prohibitive temperatures, Commencement will be postponed until the following day on Sunday, May 9, at 10 a.m. at the stadium.

To ensure social distancing, two guest tickets will be distributed to each graduating senior. We continue to follow local, state and national guidelines as they will determine event size and format. Please check your email regularly for updates, or check our graduation webpage by clicking here.

Fall 2021

Our focus on the fall is well underway, and we are preparing to welcome students back to a vibrant campus for the start of Averett’s 163rd academic year.

We have received more than 3,000 applications for next academic year – 400 more than last year’s strong entering class – putting us on par with some of our largest class years ever. Fall registration for current students begins this month, and this summer we will host both on campus and virtual registration days for new entering students, with a strong emphasis on students and families coming to campus for these events.

We anticipate most classroom experiences to be in the traditional, in-person format, without the need to offer as many courses in the hybrid and/or online format.  We have heard your desire for more learning options, and we are pleased that we are continuing to roll out the Anytime, Anywhere program, as we have in the last two summer sessions. This will allow traditional students to take some courses offered in the online program, thus allowing for more flexibility.

Likewise, we’re also planning for a return to as close to normal levels of activity, including fine arts events, sports and spectators, and campus activities in general.

Our expectation is that COVID-19 vaccines will be widely available and accepted over the coming months and that transmission rates of the virus will remain extremely low. Having said that, the past year has proven we are capable of adapting and providing a robust Averett education and experience under challenging circumstances and we will continue to put the health of our students, faculty, staff and community members first as we plan for the fall semester. We will continue to monitor the conditions around COVID-19 very carefully and adjust if needed.

Health and Safety Reminder

Much of the news related to COVID-19 has been positive in recent weeks, and I am extremely proud of our students, faculty and staff for their work and responsible behavior throughout the pandemic. While we are very optimistic for both the remainder of this spring and the fall, now is not the time to let our guard down. As a reminder, face coverings are still required to be worn in all Averett facilities and outdoors on campus.

We also have a responsibility to our community members to follow the rules established by the City of Danville and community service providers. We’ve come so far and worked so hard to get to a better place…let’s stay focused on doing the right things so we can enjoy a safe end to the semester and a better summer and fall.

A Note from Dr. Huckstep

Thank you all for your cards, emails, calls and other expressions of support following the death of my mom Lottie Huckstep. I take comfort in being surrounded by my Averett family during this time.

With Gratitude,

Susan Huckstep



Your Input is Needed: Campus Climate Survey

Dear Averett Family,

The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Task Force is in the midst of a Campus Climate Survey scheduled to close on March 31. We want to hear from as many of you as possible, as this feedback will drive our areas of focus and where improvement is needed the most.

I can’t stress enough how important your input is to helping us be our very best for one another. Diversity is one of our greatest strengths, and inclusive excellence is foundational. This Task Force has been charged with ensuring Averett is a community of belonging, and we need participation from our full campus community – students, faculty and staff.

The survey will take approximately 20 minutes to complete. All responses are anonymous and will be compiled by an objective third party researcher which will share a final report.

Please click on the link below to access the survey.


Thank you in advance for contributing to this important work, and much appreciation to the DEI Task Force for shepherding this effort.

Dr. Tiffany Franks

Women’s History Month

In honor of Women’s History Month, you’re invited take part in these upcoming events.

Thursday, March 18, at 8 p.m.: Women’s Leadership Expo
The CCECC has partnered with Sister4Sister for this event. Join us by registering here.

Tuesday, March 23, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the MPR: Voice Line Project
The CCECC is holding this event in partnership with HAVEN of the Dan River Region.

Monday, March 29, at 6 p.m.: TRUTH Talk:
From History to Her-Story, Women in Leadership with LaShawn Farmer. Register now by clicking here.

Staff Meeting, Social Update

Exciting News! Please join the staff meeting on Thursday, March 18, for more information about our April staff social and staff scavenger hunt! Dates to keep in mind are April 13 and 14!

Spring into Spirit – Online Only

The Averett Campus Store is having a sale ONLINE ONLY through Thursday, March 18. Spring into Spirit with 25% off entire purchase of clothing, accessories and gifts. Discount will display in the cart after entering promo code SPRING25. Exclusions: Offer not valid on facemasks, backpacks, graduation regalia, electronics, computer hardware, textbooks, supplies and gift cards. Other restrictions may apply.

University Book Club

On Thursday, March 18, the Averett University Book Club will meet at 4:45 p.m. and we would love to hear what you are reading! Click here to register.

We meet for approximately one hour. The book club is open to the AU family including students, staff, faculty, retirees and alumni. There is no assigned book as we each share what we are reading. If you have questions, please feel free to email Penny Hudson, Linda Lemery or Liz Cervantes.


IALR 2021 Summer Internship Program: Deadline Approaching

Do you know of a student looking for a PAID summer internship? The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR) is accepting applications for the 2021 Summer Internship Program.

The program will place up to 11 interns in meaningful, on-the-job training experiences at IALR in various areas ranging from coding and precision to agriculture to talent development.

Apply soon! Applications are due by 4 p.m. Monday, March 22. Apply by clicking here. Questions? Email Ryan Taube.

Save the Date: Spring 2021 Edition of New Employee Orientation (NEO)

Make sure to save the date for the spring NEO on Thursday, March 25, from 11:15 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. at the Frith Fine Arts Center. Boxed lunches will be available. If you were hired since the fall 2020 NEO in August, or if you could not make the August program, look for an evite via Punchbowl from Human Resources Director Kathie Tune.

We are so excited that you may join us in March! Call or email Kathie Tune with questions at 434-791-7106.



Outstanding Faculty and Staff Award Nominations

The time has come to nominate your fellow Averett faculty and staff members for their impactful work over the last year and course of their career! Nominations for the outstanding faculty and staff award are currently being accepted, and must be submitted by Monday, April 19, at 4:30 p.m.

The first form, available by clicking here, is a list of the criteria each nominee must meet to be eligible for nomination. Please note you can nominate one faculty member and one staff member.

The second form, available by clicking here, is a link to the nomination form that will be submitted to the nominations committee. All completed forms or questions can be emailed by clicking here.

Input Opportunity for Averett 2025 Project!

As part of the Averett 2025 plan, in the Enrollment Growth and Visibility Imperative, as part of Student Stakeholders, in support of growing Averett’s Traditional enrollment to 1100, there is a great project that needs your input!

Project: Create processes to message the Averett value propositions in unexpected ways to dramatically increase the admissions funnel!

What is an admissions funnel you ask? It is the breakdown of prospective student stages as they move through the enrollment process at a university. Our main focus is starting at the top of the funnel by thinking of new ideas to gain interest from perspective students.

If you have ideas that you think will spark interest from students and parents to inquire about Averett University, please share your thoughts by filling out the form by clicking here!

No idea is a bad idea! Let’s put our heads together and think of new innovative ways to get students to fall in love with Averett and apply!

See a Need? Let the Facilities Team Know!

Averett family, we need you to report issues on campus in addition to submitting ideas for improvement. As was noted, something doesn’t have to be broken necessarily for work to be done. If you see an area on campus that appears to be in need of some tender loving care, fill out a report on the NetFacilities site and it will be added to the list of things to do. The team is working diligently to make improvements to campus, and this isn’t possible without your help!

Nominate Now for the Golden Bagel

The Golden Bagel is an Averett University employee of the month award. Implementing a monthly employee recognition program can have a powerful effect on Averett University. The criteria to select an employee for the golden bagel award should include impeccable work performance and creating a respectful, fun and overall positive working environment. You can pick anybody each month to win the golden bagel award. Please submit your nomination to StaffCouncil@averett.edu.