Faculty and Staff COVID-19 Update

We hope you are continuing to do well as this crisis continues. Today marks the official first day for President Stephen Standifird and CFO Jeffrey Blade - welcome to Bradley!  Here are the latest updates:

Stay at Home Order

Governor JB Pritzker extended his stay at home order through the end of May. That means we will continue as we are for the next several weeks. Our intent is to give you advance notice about the plans for returning to campus so you can make any necessary arrangements regarding childcare or other issues.

Fall 2020

Bradley is committed to resuming on-campus classes beginning August 26, as scheduled, while keeping the health and safety of all students, faculty and staff as its top priority. The Virus Response Team, with assistance from representatives from the faculty and staff, is diving deep into fall 2020 scenario planning. The university is preparing several plans of action for reinstating campus operations with the final determination of how and when to be based on federal, state and local health guidelines.

Benefit Changes

This week, Human Resources announced changes in Bradley’s health benefits and short-term disability offerings. Short-term disability changes will go into effect June 1, 2020, while the majority of the remaining changes will begin January 1, 2021. There are changes in the deductible and premium amounts, new requirements for spouses who have coverage available through their employer, a new evaluation mechanism for short-term disability claims and more. 

In the email, reference was made to tables regarding premium changes. That was in error as details on those topics will be forthcoming.  Information about the retiree plan is also being developed and will be shared later this fall.

Bradley has a history of providing rich benefits and these changes are not easy to make. Given the current financial status of the university and the economic pressures resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, we believe these changes are required.  Be sure to review the email sent this week and if you have questions, contact Bradley’s Human Resource Department at 309-677-3223.

Student Move Out

Details for the student move out were communicated to applicable students this week. Those who lived in residence halls and other campus-owned properties will be able to move out starting May 1. We are limiting the number of people who can be in any one building at a time in order to abide by social distancing guidelines. Time is set aside for students/families with compromised immune systems and everyone entering a building will be required to wear masks. We also consulted with the Peoria County Health Department and Bradley's medical director to create this process.


We know this is not how our graduates wanted to finish their time at Bradley.  We enjoy celebrating with them and even though we can’t be together, we have some plans in place to celebrate:

  1. Friday, May 15, we will release “The Last Lecture” video by Brad Eskridge and graduating senior MacKenzie Newman. 
  2. Saturday, May 16, we will release a video created to salute their accomplishments and ability to adapt to this crisis. 
  3. We plan to share with our graduates a fun digital toolkit that includes Instagram GIF stickers, Zoom backgrounds, printable signs, Facebook frames, Augmented Reality filters and a Spotify playlist. 
  4. We have a few more ideas up our sleeves, but we don’t want to give them all away right now. More details about the May celebrations will be coming next week.  

While we know these efforts are not enough to replace a May ceremony or any on-campus experience, we do want to recognize our graduates on what would have been their graduation day.  We will also hold a special ceremony for the May & August graduates on December 19. More details will be shared later this summer.  All plans are contingent upon government and health guidelines.

Staff Engagement Team

A staff Virtual Coffee Break will take place every Thursday from 9 a.m. - 10 a.m. and a staff Virtual Happy Hour every Thursday afternoon from 3:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. Join the Staff Engagement team and your colleagues to talk about how you are getting through the pandemic.  A new topic that impacts staff will be highlighted at each gathering.   

Morning Zoom link: click here; Meeting ID: 997 8848 2312; One tap mobile +13126266799,,99788482312# US (Chicago).

Afternoon Zoom link: click here; Meeting ID: 942 8318 3339; One tap mobile +13126266799,,94283183339# US (Chicago).

Faculty Engagement Team

The Faculty Virtual Happy Hour events continue this Friday. Join the Faculty Engagement Team for Virtual Happy Hour, 4–6 p.m. on Zoom.  This week, Barb Kerns will lead a discussion about online assessment including how to test on Sakai and other platforms. There will also be plenty of time to discuss new resources, share recent classroom experiences and general camaraderie with your peers.

Meeting ID: 962 8432 9446; One tap mobile +13126266799, 96284329446# US (Chicago).

New Chief Financial Officer

Jeffrey A. Blade, CEO of Matilda Jane Clothing since 2013, will join the university as chief financial officer effective May 1. Blade was CFO and chief administrative officer at luggage and handbag giant Vera Bradley from 2010-13. He previously served in senior roles at Central Garden & Pet, Steak ’n Shake and Cott Beverages. Blade also held numerous roles of increasing responsibility at The Kraft Heinz Company. He earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Butler University’s Andre B. Lacy School of Business in 1983, followed by an MBA from Northwestern University in 1991. Blade succeeds Pratima Gandhi, who has been at Bradley since 1993, serving as CFO and treasurer since 2018. She leaves to join the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point as its CFO and vice chancellor for business affairs.

We are Here for You

This is our fourth and final installment of the “We are Here for You” video series. Thank you again to everyone who participated and sent in videos to share with our students. It shows how much you care about them!