2021-2022 Undergraduate Students Update

Table of Contents

Dear Returning Students,

I am excited to be able to write this message to you in preparation for your return to campus for the 2021 fall semester – our 89th academic year. While this fall will be different from last year with regard to our campus Covid-19 mitigation efforts, we are not yet done with the pandemic. With cases increasing locally, nationally and internationally because of the Delta variant, we are opting to protect all members of our campus community. We will begin the semester with an indoor mask requirement and an assurance testing program for those who are not vaccinated against the Covid-19 virus. Please take the time to review our latest guidance and policies. We will start the new academic year in a better place than where we were one year ago; however, it is critical that we continue to work hard to keep each other safe and healthy.

By way of campus news, we are excited to welcome to Wilkes, Dr. David Ward, our new Senior Vice President and Provost. As the chief academic officer of the University, Dr. Ward leads the academic division of the University. Dr. Ward is a native of New York and earned degrees from Colgate University and New York University. He comes to us following his most recent assignments at the University of North Carolina, Pembroke. The campus is busy preparing for your return, but also for the Presidential Inauguration Ceremony for Dr. Cant. Dr. Cant’s inauguration will be held on Friday, Oct. 1, at 10:30 a.m. at the FM Kirby Center for the Performing Arts on Public Square. During Inauguration Week (Sept. 24 – Oct. 3), we will have numerous celebrations to which you will be invited. We’ve chosen this weekend for Dr. Cant’s inauguration so it can coincide with our annual Homecoming celebration.

The University’s Barnes & Noble bookstore that had been operated jointly with King’s College on Public Square for the past 15 years has now moved back to our campus. Now known as the Colonel’s Corner, the new campus store is located on the first floor of the Henry Student Center. The store, in its convenient campus location, will not only sell textbooks and course supplies, but also Wilkes apparel, gifts and accessories. 1 Please feel free to share this update with your families and let them know that our annual Family Day is scheduled for Sept. 25.

We look forward to seeing you soon and extend our very best wishes for a great fall semester. Should you have any questions with which I can help, please call me at 570.408.4505.

Sincerely,

Paul S. Adams
Vice President, Student Affairs

Message from the COVID-19 Task Force

Welcome back! First and foremost, I want to thank everyone who patiently endured last year’s COVID restrictions. Your understanding and compliance got Wilkes through a particularly challenging year without interruption. I would like to say that the pandemic is over. However, as I write this update, numbers are once again on the rise as a result of the Delta variant. Although we do not anticipate as many restrictions to start the academic year as we had in 2020-21 there will COVID-related expectations. Here are a few:

  • All students who will have a presence on campus this fall will required to complete a vaccination notification form or submit a waiver by Aug. 13. Failure to do so will result in removal from courses and residence hall space (if a resident student).
  • For students who have completed waivers and are not vaccinated, you will be required to participate in regular assurance testing through the academic year.
  • Effective Aug. 5 all students, staff and faculty will be required to wear masks indoors.

As the semester begins, we are all looking forward to bringing our academic community back together with fewer restrictions than last year, however, the same high expectations for compliance of existing regulations in order to keep everyone safe. Through this pandemic we have learned that things can change pretty quickly and we will continue to stay on top of the latest guidance from federal, state and local officials along with the scientific community and adjust our policies accordingly. Best wishes for a healthy and productive year.

On Behalf of Wilkes University's COVID-19 Task Force,

Mark Allen, Ph.D.
Dean of Students

Residence Life

Returning Students

Move-in for returning resident students is contingent upon where you are placed. For detailed move in information please visit, wilkes.edu/moveinday.

First-Year Students

Move in for first year resident students will be Thursday, Aug. 26 based on your e-Mentor assignment. These times will also be sent to students’ emails and visible on the Housing site through the portal. Students should pick up their keys from the tent outside of the Henry Student Center.

Please note that the first available meal for all students will be Thursday, Aug. 26 with lunch.

Winter Recess

Move Out

24 hours after last final or 12/22/2021 at 11 a.m., whichever comes first.

Move In for Spring 2022 Semester

01/15/2022 at 12 p.m.

Spring Recess

Move Out

03/05/2022 at 11 a.m.

Move In

03/13/2022 at 12 p.m.

Summer Recess

Move Out

24 hours after last final OR 05/14/2022 at 12 p.m., whichever comes first.

Additional Information

Residence Halls close for Winter Recess, Spring Recess and Summer Recess; all students will be expected to vacate unless approval to stay is received from the Office of Residence Life.

You will receive reminders about hall closings to your Wilkes email as well as information to request access to your housing assignment during official University breaks. Please visit wilkes.edu/housingcalendar for more information.

Wilkes University Police

Wilkes University notifies the campus community of emergency and crisis situations using Wilkes Alerts. These messages provide information on what is happening, what to do, and links to available additional information. The University employs text and email messaging as another technological solution for communicating swiftly and effectively with our campus community in the event of an extreme emergency on campus.

This system will be used only for emergency communication and not for general information or advertisements. While there is no charge to register a phone, your service provider may charge you a nominal fee for the airtime used for receiving these messages. Possible uses for this system will include closures and delays, community crime notifications, weather emergencies and power outages.

University faculty, staff and students Wilkes email addresses are automatically enrolled into Wilkes Alerts. Your Wilkes Alert account is accessible via the Wilkes Portal using your Wilkes username and password. Parents, guardians, and family members of students should ask their student to add their phone number and email address as their second or third contact numbers.

Once your cell phone is registered and validated, a text message will let you know that you have successfully signed up for the notifications.

In support of our emergency notification system, Wilkes University also offers a public safety app called the Wilkes Shield. This app is free to download at the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store. Once downloaded onto your smartphone, users have the ability to make emergency calls to the University Police Department, send/ receive real time text messages on the iReport function and access campus resource information. The app also has a COVID-self assessment tool designed to assist the user in determining their health safety before coming to campus.

Those who have signed up for parking this semester will be notified by email of additional information related to when and where to pick their parking permit.

Individuals who do not pick up their permit on the assigned date may forfeit their ability to park on campus and their application will be moved to the back of the list for further consideration.

University College - "The Center for Student Success"

Here are some important things happening this fall at University College, The Center for Student Success.

If you would like extra support in a class, take advantage of our peer tutoring. The  individual tutor request form, small group, and supplemental instruction schedules will  be posted online and emailed to students in selected classes. For more information on tutoring, contact Katy Betnar, Director of the  Learning Center (katy.betnar@wilkes.edu).  

University College will offer study skills workshops during Welcome Weekend. In  addition to the workshops, students can make an individual appointment with Jessica  Buickus (jessica.buickus@wilkes.edu) to identify and develop appropriate strategies to  improve their learning. Areas of focus may include strategic time/task management,  goal setting and motivation, textbook reading, note-taking and preparing for exams. 

If you have a documented disability and are in need of accommodations, please contact Ms. Katy Betnar at katy.betnar@wilkes.edu. The Disability Support Services Office is located in Conyngham Hall. The documentation guidelines and related information can be found online.

Your professors have the opportunity to share any concerns they have about your performance through an early alert message. Early alert allows you to be proactive in  developing new plans or approaches to your coursework. You will receive an email with  the professor’s concerns. A copy is also received by your advisor and University College.  These alerts give us the opportunity to help you continue towards your academic goals. 

The beginning of the semester will be a great time to reconnect with your academic  advisor! Be sure to contact them to set up a meeting the first few weeks of the fall  semester. Keeping your advisor informed of anything that may affect your educational  plan can allow them the opportunity to support you along your academic pathway. You  will also want to be sure your advisor is aware of your progress or any difficulties you are  facing. They can lead you to academic support that may be helpful. Your advisor will  help guide you through your college curriculum, along with providing professional and career support.

Advising Coordinators in University College work as part of the team of professionals to  provide advising support to advisors and students in the academic colleges and schools  across campus. If you are unable to reach your advisor, you can email the advising  coordinators at advising@wilkes.edu for additional support.

Advising Coordinator School/College
Jessica Buickus Sidhu School of Business
Dr. Mary Beth Mullen 

College of Science & Engineering

Jeanne Rabel Passan School of Nursing & Nesbitt School of Pharmacy
Karen Riley School of Education & College of Arts, Humanities & Social  Sciences

Several years ago, a new policy went into effect that may help students who change their  major. The GPA Adjustment Policy is a policy and procedure for a student to request  removal of substandard grades in majors/programs for which they attempted, but did  not continue to pursue. Removing grades of less than 2.0 may help the student gain  confidence in his/her academic ability, choose another academic career path, increase  their GPA to be removed from Academic Probation or Ineligibility, and, possibly,  reinstate financial aid. Specific conditions must be met in order for the policy to be  enacted. The complete policy, it’s procedure and the form are available electronically on the Registrar’s form page. The full policy may be viewed online.

Brief Policy Description

  1. The student MUST change majors/programs. This can include changing between declared majors/programs, changing from declared.
  2. The student MUST receive permission from the Department Chair of the new major to invoke this policy along with the support of staff in University College.
  3. The student may initiate the GPA Adjustment Policy anytime during his/her current academic career. A returning student may apply the Policy to previously completed courses with no time limit.
  4. The student may only apply a maximum of 18 credit hours of courses to the GPA Adjustment Policy during his/her academic career at Wilkes. 5. The student must follow the Director of Financial Aid’s Federal Guidelines regarding the maximum number of acceptable credits earned each academic year and minimum GPA. This implies that the Policy may be applied more than once during his/her academic career at Wilkes as long as the student follows the Federal Guidelines and changes majors/programs a second time.

Center for Career Development and Internships

The staff of the Center for Career Development and Internships invites all students to participate in our events and services designed to help you launch successful careers. The Center is comprised of a designated academic Internship and Cooperative Education Program, designed to support your search for experiential opportunities to enhance your professional development and academic career. Contact Sharon Castano at sharon.castano@wilkes.edu, ext. 2950 for information about planning your internship. Also at the CCDI, Career Services provides mentorship and coaching to all students of every major regarding their career planning and decision-making, as well as connections to professionals and resources to help them reach their employment or graduate school goals. Connect with us at careers@wilkes.edu, or call ext. 4060. 

A fall semester highlight is the launch of The Career Gateway Program, which affords students the opportunity to explore, connect and gain guided experiences from their first through senior years while achieving a professional network to bring forward into a career. 

Prepare to join the #1 career network app, Handshake! Learn of opportunities from thousands of employers, along with personalized career development resources and updates, by downloading the Handshake app and completing your profile. https://wilkes.joinhandshake.com/ 

Also, take advantage of: 

  • CAR 398A, Career Success Plan, a one-credit elective course for all juniors and seniors. Wednesdays at 12 p.m., CRN #31045.
  • Internship, career or grad school questions? Connect with us via our zoom sessions during the semester. Visit Today@Wilkes and Handshake for the Event times and register to attend.
  • Employer Visits via Zoom or Microsoft Meetings!
  • “Career Conversations” are hosted via podcast with a variety of alumni!
  • Virtual Resume Sessions
  • The Intern, Career and Grad School Fair is 10/21/21 this semester see the details on Handshake! 

For additional information and services, email careers@wilkes.edu to schedule an appointment with the staff at the Center for Career Development and Internships, rear of the Henry Student Center, or go to wilkes.edu/coop, and check the Handshake app for our event updates.

Center for Global Education and Diversity

The staff of the Center for Global Education and Diversity invites all students to visit the Center and to participate in the multicultural, inclusion, and international activities sponsored by the Center.

There are several activities already scheduled for the fall that will be advertised in Today@Wilkes. The Center consists of the Office of Diversity Initiatives and the Office of International Student Services. The GEDI staff offer support, programming, and advocacy for students from underrepresented groups and international students. All students are invited to these popular events.

The Center for Global Education & Diversity hosts a Global Coffee Hour held every Wednesday from 2-4 p.m. in the Savitz Multicultural Lounge (second floor SUB). American and international students gather to learn about world cultures in an informal setting of conversation and playing board games. Occasionally there are themed presentations and there is always coffee and other refreshments. For more information, contact Georgia Costalas by emailing georgia.costalas@wilkes.edu or calling x7854

The Global Hub, first floor of the Max Roth Center (corner of South St. and S. Franklin), is a lounge with computers, a television, workspace, and coffee. It is open Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. There is an extension of the Colonel’s Closet where students can pick up food items to carry to their residences.

The Office of Diversity Initiatives will host a Welcome to our Neighborhood Social. Everyone is welcome. Join us on Tuesday, Sept. 14 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Ballroom (second floor SUB) for food and games and to meet new people and campus resource staff.

Off-Campus Student Information

If you have not already done so, students residing off campus (in apartments, not at home) are asked to provide their off-campus address and telephone number via the form below. You can use this link to do so here. Sharing your local address does not substitute for the Wilkes Emergency Contact System or vice versa.

Off-Campus Address Form

In light of CDC guidelines regarding safety in this time of COVID, off-campus students are reminded that large gatherings are not permitted. Restrictions allow for groups of less than 25 people with proper physical distancing and masks.

If you have any questions about off-campus life, please contact Gretchen Yeninas at the Office of Students Affairs by emailing gretchen.yeninas@wilkes.edu or calling 570-408-4107.

University Dining Service News

  • Keep an eye out for all of the seasonal favorites that you love!
  • Join us at the Starbucks location inside UCOM Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and weekends from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • The P.O.D. Market is the one stop shop for all of your convenience needs on campus, and this fall you can get your Sushi fix too! Pick up your favorite roll Monday through Friday 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.!
  • Eating healthy in a hurry? The P.O.D. Market at Stark will have a full line of Grab & Go salads and sandwiches, as well as Naked Juice options.
  • Greens To Go will be serving up your favorite salads, as well as new weekly features like Asian Chicken Salad and Pear Walnut Chicken Salad. Greens To Go is open Monday through Friday 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • From the Grille to the freshly toasted sandwiches, you’re sure to find something to appease your appetite!
  • Schedule:
    • Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
    • Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
    • Sunday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Vegetarian Zone: find your vegetarian options at our Vegetarian Station or make a delicious salad from our vegetarian salad bar.
  • Vegan items made-to-order for lunch each day!
  • Food allergy? No problem! Campus Dining is here to make eating easy for you at Wilkes! Our visiting dietitian, Michelle would love to talk with you! Our gluten free area is expanding this Fall! We now have more options at Henry’s including gluten free grill favorites, breakfast options and more! Email james.watkinson@wilkes.edu with any allergy concerns.
  • Cash Equivalency is a cash amount that is credited towards the purchase of food items in Rifkin Food Court (Grilleworks & Which Wich?) and Greens To Go in the Stark Learning Center.
  • A “meal” is deducted from your meal plan balance and a cash equivalent value is applied toward the total cost of items purchased.
  • Any outstanding balance can be paid for with Dining or Flex Dollars, cash or credit.
  • Students may use one swipe during each of the following periods
    • Breakfast & Late Night Swipe: $5.11
    • Lunch & Dinner Swipe: $6.46

Athletics

The President’s Council for the Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC) and the United  Collegiate Hockey Conference (UCHC) made the decision to return to intercollegiate athletics competition. The Presidents recognize the important role athletics plays in the lives of student-athletes and will continue to revise and reassess plans as necessary.

The University is committed to provide opportunities for student-athletes to return to a full schedule of practices and competition, including strength and conditioning sessions.

With advice from the COVID-19 task force and guidance from the NCAA, the MAC and UCHC Presidents and athletics directors will continue to monitor the athletics landscape throughout the 2021-22 academic year. 

Health and Wellness Services

University policy requires that all students living in university owned housing or participating in an intercollegiate athletic program must show proof of health insurance in addition to the completed health form before receiving keys for housing. International students on an F or J visa must have proof of health insurance and can write to the International Office (Georgia.costalas@wilkes.edu) for suggestions of companies that meet requirements. Wilkes University does NOT offer any type of student health plan, it is up to the individual to obtain health care coverage privately.

In an effort to help the student find an affordable health insurance policy the following link may be used as a resource: www.individualhealthquotes.com/listings.jsp.

  • In an effort to reduce face to face symptom assessment, ALL visits will be made  by appointment only after answering a few questions prior to making the  appointment. Please call 570-408-4730.
  • Doctor’s hours will remain Tuesday 9 to 11 and Wednesday 10 to 12 by appointment only.
  • Telemedicine will be offered via a secure internet/HIPPA compliant system. For  a telemedicine appointment call 570-408-4730. You will be instructed how to  access telemedicine when you are making the appointment.
  • Allergy shots and other injections, including Mantoux testing, will require an  appointment. Call 570-408-4730.
  • Appointments can be made between the hours of 8:30 am and 4:30 p.m. The office will be closed from 12 to 1 p.m. for lunch. 
  • For Campus Counseling appointments, you can call 570-408-4101 or directly email Dr. Maria Richards at maria.richards@wilkes.edu or Melissa Gaudio at  melissa.gaudio@wilkes.edu.
  • To the best of our ability, we will offer all of our regular services but sometimes in a different landscape. We will provide a safe and effective health and wellness experience to our Wilkes campus community, while following the CDC guidelines regarding Covid-19.
  • In case of an emergency call 911.

Student Leaders

  • Alexi Payne, President Student Government 
  • Ben Wojciechowski, Vice President Student Government
  • Megan Makovsky, Recording Secretary Student Government
  • Danielle Morris, Corresponding Secretary Student Government • Allie Faunce, Treasurer Student Government
  • Nathan Pitcher, Parliamentarian Student Government
  • Matthew Franchetti, President Residence Hall Council
  • Brynn Stahl, President Commuter Council
  • Kathrine Ermeus, President Multi-Cultural Student Coalition
  • Madison Yeager, President Programming Board

Required Notifications

Wilkes University is committed to providing a welcoming environment for all members of our community and to ensuring that all educational and employment decisions are based on individuals' abilities and qualifications. Wilkes University prohibits discrimination in its educational programs, employment, admissions or any activities on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, age, religion, disability, pregnancy, gender, gender identity and/or expression, sexual orientation, marital or family status, military or veteran status, genetic information, or any other characteristic protected under applicable federal, state or local laws.

Consistent with this principle, Wilkes University will comply with state and federal laws such as the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act or other applicable state law, Title IX, Title VI and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, the Ethnic Intimidation Act of 1982 (P.L. 537-154) and other laws that prohibit discrimination.

As a recipient of federal financial assistance for education activities, Wilkes University is required by Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 to ensure that all of its education programs and activities do not discriminate on the basis of sex/gender, including in admissions and employment. Sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating and domestic violence, and stalking are forms of sex discrimination, which are prohibited under Title IX and this Policy.

All members and visitors of the Wilkes University community have the right to raise concerns or make a complaint regarding discrimination under this Policy without fear of retaliation. Inquiries about this Policy statement may be addressed to the University's Title IX Coordinator in person, by mail, by telephone or by email, using the contact information listed below. A report may be made at any time (including during non- business hours). Anonymous complaints may also be made via the online reporting form.

Deputy Title IX Coordinators

Student Coordinator

Philip J. Ruthkosky, Ph.D.  
Associate Dean Student Development  
2nd Floor Passan Hall Wilkes-Barre, PA 18766  
Phone: (570) 408-4108 philip.ruthkosky@wilkes.edu 

Faculty & Staff

Kristin Pitarra  
Human Resources Director  
10 East South Street, Suite A  
Wilkes-Barre, PA 18766  
Phone: (570) 408-2034  
kristin.pitarra@wilkes.edu

Inquiries about Title IX may be directed to Wilkes University’s Title IX Coordinator, the Assistant Secretary, or both. The Assistant Secretary can be contacted at U.S. Department of Education, Office of Postsecondary Education, 400 Maryland Avenue S.W., Washington, D.C. 20202, or (800) 421-3481. For further information on notice of non-discrimination, you can find the address and phone number of the OCR office that serves your area online or call 1-800-421-3481.

Information regarding graduation and persistence rates as required by the Students’ Right to Know Act is available at the Office of Student Affairs, the Registrar’s Office, the Office of Admissions and the Athletic Director’s Office. Consistent with law, this information is disseminated according to regulations. 

The WILKES UNIVERSITY DEPARTMENT of Public Safety prepares and distributes the “For Your Safety” Annual Safety and Security Report. This document is prepared in compliance with Act 73 of 1988 of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act, 20 USC 1092(f). This report is available in hard copy format upon request during normal business hours at the DEPARTMENT of Public Safety, 148 S. Main St.; the Office of Admissions, Chase Hall, Reception Area; and the Office of Student Affairs, Passan Hall, Reception Area. An electronic copy of this report is available on the University website. Additionally, daily logs and crime logs are available for review during normal business hours at the DEPARTMENT of Public Safety. Any questions regarding this report and the specific requirements of the Acts that govern its production can be addressed to the DEPARTMENT of Public Safety, ext. 4982 

The link below provides important information regarding the drug and alcohol information. They include: effects associated with drug and alcohol use and abuse, federal, state, and local laws and campus policies; and resources for those seeking professional help. Please take a few moments to review these important documents.

Drug and Alcohol Prevention

The University encourages all students to take seriously their responsibility, as citizens, to vote. Voter registration information is available online at usa.gov/register-to-vote. It takes only minutes to register!

Student Handbook

The 2020-2021 Undergraduate Student Handbook is available online below

2020-2021 Student Handbook

In the Handbook, you can find important resource information as well as the most current policies and procedures at the University.

Fall 2021 Attendance Policy

We strongly recommend all members of the University community to be attentive to their health and safeguard others by following the CDC's guideline to "stay home when you are sick” and to seek appropriate medical evaluation.

Instructors are expected to:

  1. Inform students in writing of their attendance policy at the beginning of the semester.
  2. Take attendance and report excessive absences to the Dean of Student Affairs.
  3. Discourage absence from classes prior to the beginning of a holiday period.

Attendance at all scheduled classes is expected and required. Repeated absences are a sufficient cause for failure.

After five consecutive instructional hours of unexcused absences from a class, students may be readmitted to the class only by action of the Office of Student Affairs and the department chairperson concerned. Any absence beyond that permitted in the course is a matter between the student and the instructor. Absences due to illness, religious holidays, or participation in athletic or other University sponsored activities are usually considered to be acceptable reasons for absences, but notification of such absences and arrangements to make up missed work should be made with the instructor by the student. 

In the unfortunate event of a death in the family, students are asked to contact the Office of Student Affairs so that notification might be sent to faculty members and arrangements made with them to assist students in making up missed work. 

If students are ill and will be missing a test, examination, or presentation, it is their responsibility to contact the instructor by email prior to the start of the missed activity. 

When students are going to be absent for a period of two days or more, if they notify the Office of Student Affairs, written notification of their extended absence will be sent to the students’ instructors.

Pandemic-Related Protocol

Students who are engaging in isolation or quarantine at the direction of the Wilkes Barre Health Department, Wilkes University Health and Wellness Services Office, or their health care professional, should not attend class. Students will be required to provide documentation of isolation/quarantine directions from their healthcare professional to the office of Health and Wellness Services. Students will not be penalized for absences, missed exams, labs, or other critical academic activities, unless they fail to notify their instructors of their absences. Students must take responsibility for their absences and keep up with their coursework if they cannot attend class. They must:

  • Inform their instructors/professors and the Office of Student Affairs of their inability to attend class prior to class meetings. 
  • Refrain from coming to the classroom or visiting the instructor/professor.
  • Maintain open communication by notifying instructors and student health services (anita.burns@wilkes.edu, 570-408-4730) as soon as they become aware of the situation. 
  • Keep up with classwork, unless they are unable to do so. 
  • When available, attend class remotely and submit assignments digitally, unless they are unable to do so.
  • Work with their instructors to reschedule exams, labs, and other critical academic activities as soon as possible.