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iConnect News

President’s Perspective – December 2020

December 15, 2020
Posted In: President's Desk

President's Perspective header graphic

Reflecting on 2020

Our hearts go out to all those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Whether an illness, loss of a friend or loved one, or unemployment, many have suffered.

Fortunately, even through the fog of 2020 events, many ATSU students, faculty, staff, and alumni lifted our collective spirits.

This year, I am particularly thankful for many things, including:

  • Our students, vice presidents, deans, faculty, staff, and trustees for successfully rallying together to address the challenges of 2020.
  • ATSU’s courageous patient care center team members for continuing to offer care and support to patients and families during a deadly pandemic.
  • Our COVID-19 Task Force members for meeting daily, and now weekly, to assure safe, best practices are in place.
  • Facilities and security staff for working on-site every day and fostering a safe and clean environment.
  • Academic, Student Affairs, and Human Resources personnel who interact with and provide resources for SARS-CoV-2 positive and potentially positive students, faculty, and staff.
  • Our many alumni on the front lines continuing to risk their health and lives to care for patients.
  • ATSU’s commitment to cultural proficiency and appreciation for the uniqueness each of us brings to our University community.
  • A little less traveling and a little more family time to more deeply know my better half, Stacy, and son, Zach, and appreciate little things often missed when too busy to notice.

Goals for 2020-2021

Our primary goal this academic year is to continue adapting to the pandemic and ensuring the safety of our faculty, staff, students, and patients. Additionally, we are updating our strategic plan and enhancing our cultural proficiency awareness while continuing to focus on health and wellness of faculty, staff, and students; safety and security; and innovation and scholarly activity.

Health and wellness of faculty, staff, and students
The ATSU community has worked cooperatively to slow the spread of SARS-CoV-2. For ATSU community members infected, or primary contacts, the University has provided advising, counseling, support, and referrals for testing and treatment. We are happy to report the influenza vaccination rate for ATSU personnel exceeded last year’s rate. In addition, virtual Still Healthy programs have continued, and open enrollment was a success.

Safety and security
Security and facilities personnel continue to assure ATSU locations are safe and clean. Cybersecurity, especially while working, teaching, and learning remotely, has remained a priority for ATSU’s Information Technology Services team. The Required Employee Training serves as an annual reminder regarding the University’s anti-harassment and anti-discrimination policies and resources.

Innovation and scholarly activity
ATSU recently held the first virtual Interdisciplinary Biomedical Research Symposium, continuing education conference, and Founder’s Day, in addition to the virtual research events held this spring. Increased internal funding of scholarly activity projects and active external grant submissions continue to boost faculty efforts.

Mission moment

This year marks the 25th anniversary of ATSU-ASHS. Dean Ann Lee Burch, PT, EdD, MPH, and the ATSU-ASHS community commemorated this milestone on Wednesday, Dec. 9, with a virtual celebration where guest speakers shared the School’s history, memories, program happenings, timeline video, and testimonials. In recognition of ATSU-ASHS’ continued support for its students and its focus on compassion, integrity, innovation, and collaboration, the 25th anniversary celebration will continue throughout the year. Please visit to learn how you can support ATSU-ASHS’ latest initiatives.

COVID-19 update

Thank you, once again, to all members of the University community for your vigilance and perseverance over this past year. Those who are able will continue to work remotely upon return from the holiday break. On our campuses, we will continue to follow CDC, state, and local guidelines as long as necessary. Fortunately for all ATSU locations, known COVID-19 cases remain low. ATSU continues to work with local public health officials, community health center partners, and independent practices on vaccination opportunities.

For national and local updates, including vaccination information, please visit the following sites:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services
Arizona Department of Health Services
Maricopa County
State of Missouri

Required Employee Training (RET)

More than 1,150 employees have completed the 2020 RET, for a completion rate of 80%. Please remember to complete your RET by Thursday, Dec. 31, if you have not already done so. This annual training, which will be renamed Required Employee Education (REE), is critical for ATSU’s ongoing legal compliance and best practice management. For questions, please contact John Gardner, PhD, MEd, director, Title IX and training, human resources, at or 660.626.2113.

Professional development and learning opportunities

ATSU is committed to the educational and professional success of all students, faculty, and staff. In LinkedIn Learning, ATSU employees have completed 79,372 videos and 3,493 courses since moving to a remote work environment. Employees have spent more than 4,380 hours on these videos and courses – that’s more than 182 days combined. In UltiPro Learning, employees have completed more than 3,600 educational opportunities this year.

Faculty and staff updates

Recent promotions: Please view the list of employee promotions (PDF).
Accomplishment kudos: Please view the list of accomplishment kudos (PDF).
Anniversary milestones: Please view the list of employee anniversaries (PDF).

Ideas or concerns?

Please submit your ideas to Each email will receive a personal response from me. Ideas are only shared with the sender’s permission.

If you see something you are worried about, please contact the anonymous Fraud Hotline to report situations or behavior that compromises ATSU’s integrity. The hotline is available 24/7 at 1.855.FRAUD.HL (1.855.372.8345) or

In closing

Thank you for taking a few minutes to catch up on some the wonderful accomplishments of our students, faculty, and staff. Also, thank you to all students, faculty, staff, alumni, Board of Trustee members, and advocates for your support and the individual uniqueness each brings to the University. Please stay safe and well during the holiday season.

Yours in service,

Craig M. Phelps, DO, ’84

A.T. Still University of Health Sciences serves as a learning-centered university dedicated to preparing highly competent professionals through innovative academic programs with a commitment to continue its osteopathic heritage and focus on whole person healthcare, scholarship, community health, interprofessional education, diversity, and underserved populations.

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