Mar 26, 2020 10:01 AM

MASON: Tiger innovation, persistence and ethic of care on display

Posted Mar 26, 2020 10:01 AM
Dr. Tisa Mason, FHSU president
Dr. Tisa Mason, FHSU president

The halls of Fort Hays State University have been quiet for more than a week. The flurry of activity that should have fill the days prior to our annual spring break was replaced with a somber stillness across campus. The COVID-19 health crisis has turned our world upside down. FHSU students in China and our online students were the first to face daunting challenges to their health and livelihoods. With heavy hearts, we were forced to send our beloved Tiger students, faculty, and staff home at the end of last week.

As we navigate these uncertain times, all of us have spent sleepless nights reviewing the federal, state and local guidance on how to navigate this crisis and planning for the endless “what if” scenarios that continue to arise. Through it all, we have been guided by our values and our faith in one another We will not cancel the important work of our university.

Fort Hays State’s response to the corona virus began in China, where our Teaching Innovation and Learning Technologies team successfully transitioned more than 4,000 students from a traditional classroom environment to mobile phone-based instruction. Remarkable! The TILT team’s efforts on this project formed the launchpad for the transition we are making from in-person to online instruction here in Hays.

Throughout our community, Tigers have risen to meet the evolving obstacles we face every day. We have put the health and well-being of our fellow Tigers at the forefront of our efforts, and the creativity and resourcefulness of our people continue to inspire me. Faculty, staff, and students have stepped up to bring classes online and to stay connected despite the practice of social-distancing. They’ve spent countless hours helping each other adapt to this new reality. A few examples of these inspiring and dedicated Tigers:

Dr. C.D. Clark has worked to transition the Department of Physics online by preparing videos for his fellow faculty to help deliver complex content in an engaging and relatable way. C.D.’s innovation blows away preconceived restraints on science education, and his efforts will help students in this challenging discipline stay on track for graduation.

Sara Stroup and her staff in Tiger Tots are collaborating with Early Childhood Connections to bring together educational resources and free digital learning media and activities that parents can access to help meet the needs of young children who are now engaged in at-home learning. And Sarah Broman Miller of the university’s Virtual Literacy Center is delivering free read-aloud stories to children who are learning from home because of the COVID-19-driven closures of Kansas schools.

Stacey Lang, study abroad coordinator, and the staff in the office of International Student Services intervened to bring Grecia Ruano-Corona and Cassidy Locke home when foreign travel options suddenly became very limited. This commitment to leave no Tiger alone during this crisis extends to our students abroad and our foreign students on campus. 

No other institution delivers quality online learning quite like Fort Hays State. We will continue to deliver our brand of rigorous learning to all our students regardless of the modality.

We are so grateful for the powerful teaching and learning expertise that our online faculty and students have helped drive. In so many ways they are our heroes. Hays, Kansas, isn’t the same without the energy of the Tigers who bring this campus to life. Still, the response of our Tigers to the coronavirus pandemic is proof that our university not just a collection of limestone walls, cottonwood trees and classes. It is our people and their countless demonstrations of innovation, resilience, and compassion that make Fort Hays State University, and it is those qualities that we take with us and share around the world.

We are committed to converting and transitioning as much of our academic and cultural offerings as possible during this crisis. We have made plans to bring the John Heinrichs Scholarly and Creative Activities Day online and to ensure students have ready access to online services from Student Health and the Kelly Center.

Fort Hays State Tigers never run from a challenge, we pick up the torch and charge headlong into the darkness, lighting the way for those who will follow. I have no doubt that the challenges we face today will fundamentally change the way we teach, communicate, and work. That change will be for the better.

We will find new ways to collaborate and share knowledge. We will innovate to find solutions to problems posed by distance and time, and our remarkable people will emerge from this hardship with new tools that they can apply in the classroom and their daily lives.

I know we will all face difficulties and sacrifices over the coming weeks, and I also know there is no other university community better equipped to meet those challenges and overcome them. While we may be practicing social-distancing, we are in this together, and I look forward to the day when we can look back on these as our finest hours.

Continue Reading Hays Post
Mar 26, 2020 10:01 AM
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*All Kansas public and private schools, Kindergarten through Grade 12, are closed through their respective spring semesters by order of the Kansas governor.*

*Kansas has a "stay home" order until at least April 19, 2020.*

April 11

Hays Toy Show postponed

April 12
Eagles Lodge in WaKeeney cancelled the Easter Sunday Chicken Buffet.

April 15

Hays VFW Stag & Stagette canceled

April 16

Hays Job Fair canceled

May 1

FHSU Half-Century Club Spring Luncheon canceled

Annual Chamber Golf Tournament rescheduled for September 18

May 2

Hays Symphony Concert has been canceled

May 3

Hays VFW Stars and Stripes Breakfast canceled

May 11

Hays After 5 dinner meeting canceled


Trego County Courthouse closed to public until further notice.

City of Hays offices closed to public until further notice; airport remains open

Hays Municipal Court appearances suspended through April 6

Ellis City Hall closed to the public until further notice. City employees will still be available on premises during regular office hours and will be available by phone or email. Citizens should utilize the outside drop box, mail, or phone in utility payments.

Victoria City Hall closed to public until further notice

Eagle Media Center in Hays closed until furthur notice.

Doerflers' Harley-Davidson closed until further notice. We will offer curbside service along with motorcycle pickup and drop-off by appointment.

Big Creek Crossing stores closed - click here to see most recent updates

Hays Recreation Commission including the Fitness Center closed through April 30, 2020

Center for Health Improvement at Hays Med closed until further notice.

Hays Chamber canceling/postponing all public events until April 30.

Hays United Methodist Church online services and broadcast on KAYS 94.3 FM and 1400 AM only

Hays North Oak Community Church Activities and services canceled; Online Sunday services at www.northoak.netHays VFW Fish Fries have been canceled though Lent

Hays Public Library closed until further notice

Russell Public Library closed

No bingo at the Heritage Eatery and Bingo in Hays

The Hays Senior center meal site is closed, but will still be offering to go meals and home deliveries to current home delivered customers. To arrange for food call 785-628-8824.

Group meetings for DREAM, Inc. canceled. Clients should call 785-628-6655 to schedule telephone sessions.

Community Assistance Center in Hays will have no shopping available until further notice.

The ARC Thrift Store in Hays closed until further notice.

Habitat for Humanity of Ellis County ReStore closed until further notice; not accepting donations.

Fort Hays State Historic Site closed until further notice.

Walter P. Chrysler Boyhood Home & Museum in Ellis closed until further notice.