(COVID-19): Campus Health Updates
(COVID-19): Campus Health Updates
4/2/2020 - Daily COVID-19 Graduate Division Update
Hello Grad Students and Post-Docs,
In some ways it is hard to believe it is already April, and in others, it feels like 2020 has already been a decade long. Many of us are only coping a few weeks (or maybe even a few hours) at a time right now. For those who are thinking far ahead though, a few things to think about:
Fellowships: See below for fellowship advising appointments for the fall
Fall teaching and learning: We simply don’t know yet what is going to happen in the fall. The latest estimates have the crisis cresting in California in late Spring or early Summer. So, we are assuming we are open for business this fall.
For international students (especially new ones who might be arriving this fall), we are planning for you to be here this fall and processing I-20s this way. If you can’t (or your friends arriving this fall can’t), we will do everything we can to make it all work.
Okay, back to the more immediate issues:
You may have seen the message that went out today. The University of California has today committed to no layoffs at least through June 30. I sincerely believe the leadership is trying to make no layoffs at all, and I really hope they can. In the meantime, I am happy that they have at least been able to commit to the next three months. A commitment to no layoffs right now helps the most vulnerable and lowest wage workers in the system during the worst of the crisis. We are also all working with state and federal agencies to secure as much emergency funding as we can to protect these workers longer term despite the major losses that the campuses are all incurring.
It’s still the first week of Spring quarter, and I have been so impressed with how well people have pulled together and rolled with the chaos. I have also heard a lot of stories about getting dropped from video calls in the middle of a discussion section or getting locked out of access to an archive, a fieldsite, or a wetlab. I remain hopeful that as we adjust to this “new normal,” we will find ways to overcome. In the meantime, don’t be shy about sending notes to OIT and Housing about the internet (we really are working on it, but if you have detailed notes about a particular wall jack that doesn’t work well or a time of day or a website that isn’t loading, etc. feel free to send.), making requests to the library to digitize archives and books you need that are only available in print right now (announcement coming from library soon on increasing access to such services), sharing any concerns about your research with grad program chairs, DECADE mentors, and others.
Please know that the faculty, graduate council, and graduate division are aware of your concerns regarding time to degree and time to advancement. As a reminder, you already have a de facto extension of one quarter with the waiving of filing fees and other mandatory registrar and cashier related fees for Spring and Summer. Faculty have been asked to be as flexible as possible with qualifying exams, advancements, thesis defenses, and so on this Spring and into the Summer. I am heartened by the number of exams I have already heard of being rescheduled as well as the number that students have excelled at and passed remotely under these unprecedented conditions. Faculty and administration are watching these effects closely and will assess them as the time progresses. In the meantime, should you have an exceptional situation, please reach out through our usual exception process.
Childcare for Essential Onsite Staff:
UCI is offering childcare to essential onsite staff through the YMCA. This benefit includes post-docs and graduate students with childcare responsibilities. If you are essential onsite staff, as some of our postdocs and graduate students--especially those with clinical work or COVID related research are--please complete the following form to access this benefit:
We are exploring what might be done more broadly in terms of childcare for affected students and faculty who are not essential onsite staff in the wake of local schools closing through the end of the year. Trust me, I am homeschooling a 6 year old and an 8 year old at the moment. I empathize!
Zoom (also known as our entire lives these days);
OIT is addressing security vulnerabilities that exist in Zoom, in cooperation with the company. Zoom has created a patch which corrects these vulnerabilities and will continue to monitor the security landscape.
It is very important that you are running the latest version of Zoom which includes these patches.
Please follow Zoom's instructions at: https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/201362233-Where-Do-I-Download-The-Latest-Version- to update Zoom.
If you are not able to install software on the machine you are using, please seek the assistance of your local IT support.
You can read more on Zoom’s efforts to provide safe, secure use of Zoom on their blog: https://blog.zoom.us/wordpress/2020/04/01/a-message-to-our-users/
As a reminder, you can also use other tools if you prefer them, and I personally find that popping between Hangouts, Zoom, Facetime, and the occasional old fashioned phone call seems to help my internet situation a bit. (Or maybe I am just thinking wishfully).
Fellowship Advising Appointments
Are you thinking about applying for a fellowship this fall? Now might be a great time to think about preparing these application materials, even though the deadlines are not for several months. You can start identifying fellowships and learning about application requirements, and sometimes thinking about things far in the future can help distract from the difficulties of today. Starting now gives you plenty of time to draft and prepare competitive materials for these prestigious awards and for us to help you craft those materials.
Don’t know where to start? Set up a virtual fellowship advising appointment with Dr. Kayleigh Anderson-Natale. Click here to request a meeting. Fellowship advising appointments can be spent:
Identifying and discussing resources for finding appropriate fellowships
Discussing strategies for drafting competitive application materials
Provide feedback on fellowship materials content, such as appropriateness of proposed research, etc.
Help to find answers to questions about specific fellowships
- National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships
- Fulbright Fellowships
- Ford Fellowships
We also still recommend consulting with our GPSRC Writing Consultants for writing specific needs, such as help with grammar, structure, clarity, etc.
Dean’s Virtual Office Hours
As a reminder, I or someone from my senior staff will be available for virtual office hours for 30 minutes every day, Monday - Friday for as long as needed to answer any questions or concerns. All graduate students and postdocs are welcome!
You don’t have to have a question to stop by office hours, you can just come to chat. Today we had a couple of students stop by who just wanted to chat, and I got to learn about their research, and they got to learn about the career paths of two Grad Division staff. We also brainstormed some great ideas for supporting our students more broadly that we hope to roll out in the next few weeks. Thank you to them both for their ideas!
All you need to do is click this link to join the virtual office hours and you’ll be in: https://uci.zoom.us/j/7277477057. Below are our office hours for this week.
Friday, April 3: 10am – 10:30am
Monday, April 6: 1pm – 1:30pm
Tuesday, April 7: 11am – 11:30am
Wednesday, April 8: 3pm – 3:30pm
Thursday, April 9: 8:30am – 9am
Friday, April 10: 3:30pm – 4pm
Monday, April 13: 2:30pm – 3pm
Tuesday, April 14: Noon – 12:30pm
Wednesday, April 15: 11:30am – Noon
Thursday, April 16: 9:00am – 9:30am
Friday, April 17: 3:00pm – 3:30pm
Virtual Yoga and Meditation
Please join us for a virtual yoga and meditation class on Wednesday, April 8th from 10:30 am -11:30 am. The class will be live-streamed on UCI Graduate Division's Instagram page (@ucirvinegd) and facilitated by graduate counselor and yoga instructor Phong Luong.
The class is designed to allow for a full body stretch for beginners and fundamental breathwork. It is open to the wider UCI community. Mats are recommended, but not required!
Today, I am feeling the Anteater community, both globally and locally, more than usual. Words do not do justice to the amount I have seen people pull together. It is a common misperception that people go all Mad Max on each other in times of crisis. Actually, the research suggests we work together more, are more understanding, more helpful. So, perhaps it should not be surprising, and yet I am so pleased and thankful. Keep being the wonderful people you are! Thank you. I see you.
Helen Keller, who spent so many of her early years alone in so many ways, said “Alone we can do little; Together we can do so much.” I’ve been thinking about Helen Keller a lot lately as I think about the accessibility challenges of our new remote lives. When touch is your primary source of access to the world, imagine what this current physical distancing world might bring.
And yet, I have hope, because I agree, together we can do so much. You are not alone. We are here, and we are working through this together, even as we are physically apart.
Looking forward to a day when we can be together in person!
On behalf of all of Graduate Division,
Kleist Professor of Informatics
Vice Provost for Graduate Education
Dean of the Graduate Division