(COVID-19): Campus Health Updates
5/20/2020 - Daily COVID-19 Graduate Division Update
Happy Wednesday! Fun tip from me and my many many years waiting tables: Wednesday is one of the busiest nights in pre-covid restaurant life in the US, what many call “hump day,” because people are trying to get over the “hump” of the middle of the week. I don’t know if this still applies in our new world of takeout only, but if you do order dinner tonight, be kind to your delivery person. They may well be dealing with an onslaught of orders!
Now, for today’s updates:
Many of you have reached out after seeing this statement from the president:
I know that some of you are confused, so I wanted to clarify what it means for you. In short, GSRs are excluded from the announced salary freeze right, and ASEs (TAs, Readers, and Tutors) are currently bound by the terms and conditions of their Collective Bargaining Agreement. So, in short, the primary categories with which we employee graduate students the vast majority of the time (GSR, TA, and Reader) are currently not subject to the salary freeze. Likewise, post-docs are represented and so also currently bound by the terms and conditions of their CBA.
CARES Funding Through Financial Aid
The first waves of CARES funding have gone out to some graduate students. If you are a Title IV eligible student and filed a FAFSA without us at some point, you probably have money in your Zot Account. Wait a day or two if this applies to you but money hasn’t arrived yet. The process is not easy, especially if you already have loans, fellowships, and other support, which most of you do. If you are Title IV eligible and you have never filed a FAFSA with UCI, you likely will need to file a form. The form is still in testing to make sure it meets legal standards. Hold tight, we expect it to be out by the end of the week.
I know grad students are super stressed about summer funding right now. Please know that all over campus, we have a variety of efforts to get you all covered if at all possible. That said, I know nothing removes the stress until you know you have that GSR, TA, internship, or fellowship.
We anticipate announcing PDY, FMP, and GDDF as well as the Inclusive Excellence Fellows by the end of this week.
If you need summer funding and want to act as a DTEI fellow (remote fine!), please fill out this SHORT form: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdvduCSwd5OS6cv2HE6rWqCRVPt0p_cATTNPesiTXJmJzyVSQ/viewform
It takes less than five minutes and is really important. Whether or not you have already talked to specifical faculty, your department chair, or someone else about doing this, we need you to file the form.
For the post-docs, I have been seeing more and more calls from our federal agencies to extend current grants in light of covid effects. I am sending in such an extension myself next week. I am ever hopeful that many of these will come in allowing for extended funding on your projects. Please do talk to your PI about these extensions and whether there is anything you can do to help write one.
Research and Academic Re-Openings
I know many of you are frustrated and want to get back on campus ASAP, while for others, you would rather not come back until we have a vaccine. Please know we are taking all of these perspectives into account. There are several groups working on reopening for various parts of campus. I am leading the one on graduate academic/curricular concerns, the Vice Chancellor for Research the one on Research, the head Librarian the one on Libraries, and so on. We are also all working together through the academic senate, academic personnel, a strategic advisory group to the Chancellor and Provost, and so on. On the one hand, this kind of shared authority with so many groups can seem frustrating, especially when all you want is clear answers. UCI works this way, though, as part of our core mission and values to include many people and get many perspectives on our decision making. Of course, the context keeps changing too, which doesn’t exactly make things easier. We hope to release some principles related to graduate education soon that should help people with planning and remind people of what is really important: our people. In the meantime, enjoy this image from the AcademicBatgirl Twitter account:
[Alt text: Batgirl in three panes: 1) We don’t know what’s going on. 2) Everything is going to change. 3) So please make a plan accordingly.]
Dean’s Office Hours
As always, either myself or a senior member of my staff will be available to answer questions each day. I am very sorry that so many of them are morning appointments this week. I know you all like the afternoon ones better! Somehow my schedule just got sucked up in the afternoons this week.
Dean’s Virtual Office Hours: https://uci.zoom.us/j/7277477057
- Wednesday, May 20 9:30am – 10:00am
- Thursday, May 21 9:00am – 9:30am
- Friday, May 22 9:00am – 9:30am
- Monday, May 25 No office hours due to holiday
- Tuesday, May 26 9:00am – 9:30am
- Wednesday, May 27 9:00am – 9:30am
- Thursday, May 28 9:00am – 9:30am
- Friday, May 29 10:00am – 10:30am
I want to close today with a quote from Winona Ryder. For you young folks out there, she was an icon of my generation until she shoplifted. It has made teenage me wildly happy to see her career return through Stranger Things. But I digress… she said, “when you finally accept that it’s OK not to have answers, and it’s OK not to be perfect, you realize that feeling confused is a normal part of what it is to be a human being.”
Graduate school and post-doctoral studies are times of enormous confusion and uncertainty. Throw a sprinkle of covid on there, and you get… well, you know what you get, you are living it. One of the most important lessons I ever learned in graduate school was to let go of a perfect ideal. I promise you that the difference between almost perfect and perfect is not what is going to get your dissertation done, the next job, or almost anything else.
It’s OK not to be perfect. I like you very much, just as you are.
Wow, I just quoted Bridget Jones Diary and Winona Ryder in the same message. It must be time to walk away from the computer.
Wishing you the best and hoping some of today’s news gives you some peace and joy.
On behalf of Graduate Division,
Kleist Professor of Informatics
Vice Provost for Graduate Education
Dean of the Graduate Division