Their Conference Postponed, ACUP Members Gather for Lively Video Call
The ACUP 2020 conference would have been in full swing this week in Lincoln, Neb., had COVID-19 not ruined everything. To help relieve some of the gloom for those who had planned to be there , IPI Editor Bob Neubauer arranged an impromptu video conference yesterday using the Zoom platform. More than a dozen higher-ed in-plant managers joined for a 45-minute conversation about how the coronavirus outbreak is impacting their operations.
Managers talked about the services they are still providing (mostly mail), jobs they are still printing (many COVID-19 related projects, payroll checks, and some Admissions work), and how their schools are paying staff during the pandemic (some are paying everyone for now, some are asking people to go on furlough).
Some managers are in their shops, handling issues not normally in their wheelhouse, but most are working from home. Most are not delivering mail but are making it available for pickup.
One heavy topic was the aftermath of the pandemic. Most agreed that, with so many campus events canceled, they will be looking at some very slow months ahead when their shops finally reopen. But once life returns to normal, they felt, their in-plants will be extremely busy trying to catch up.
The more long-ranging effect of the pandemic, however, is that universities are now forced to experiment with long-distance learning, and many will realize they can deliver high-quality education without the infrastructure costs. This may fundamentally shift the paradigm in higher-ed for years to come, directly impacting college and university in-plants.
It was no ACUP conference, but the call was a great opportunity for a handful of higher-ed managers to catch up and share stories, from the isolation of their homes and empty campuses.
For a look at what ACUP is really like, here’s a video from ACUP 2017, when 110 in-plant managers gathered in Cincinnati.