(COVID-19): Campus Health Updates
5/29/2020 - Daily COVID-19 Graduate Division Update
Dear Grad Students and Post-Docs,
Despite it being only a four day workweek this week, it felt like a year. It is hard to believe all the turmoil we have seen this week. Top that off with our usual end of quarter and end of year chaos, I can imagine many of you are feeling quite overwhelmed.
Hopefully you all received the message from Vice Chancellor Haynes yesterday evening regarding anti-Black racism in America and recent events of violence around the nation. I urge you all to read it and to think it through deeply. I also want to applaud a student who called me out on my silence on this issue last night. This student was bold and spoke truth to power but did so in a way that showed compassion and respect. That is a hard path to walk.
And now I will do my best to speak honestly to all of you. In my home, I have conversations with my young sons about what they can do to keep their friends safe as they age. Black parents have long had to talk to their children about how to stay safe in America. It is equally important that white parents talk to our children about not perpetrating violence.
However, at the university, I have not spoken up publicly. I have remained silent, partly because my voice, as a white tenured professor, gets heard enough. But I must admit, I have also remained silent out of my own fears. Little I can say will heal your pain, and I was very afraid that anything I might say would worsen it. My fears are nothing compared to the fears of people afraid to go for a jog, walk to the lab at night, or shop in peace. So, I am speaking up now, but mostly to humbly say I am here to listen and to learn. We all have work to do, and I believe our colleagues at UCI are committed to doing that work.
It is not enough to not be racist. We must all strive to be anti-racist. If I, or anyone else in Graduate Division, can be of service, please come talk to us. As always, I can’t promise I can give you what you want, but I promise to listen.
China Researcher and Student Visa Proclamation
By now, many of you have likely seen the recent proclamation by the President regarding Chinese researchers. The proclamation blocks certain graduate level and above Chinese nationals associated with certain universities in China from using F or J visas to enter the United States. The University of California, alongside other major research universities, advocated strongly against this policy. While UCI is required to comply with federal law, we are actively working with other universities and legislators to ensure all scholars in the US for academic research are permitted to pursue their work. Major university organizations, such as APLU, ACE, and AAU are mobilized and working with immigration attorneys to fight this policy.
We believe this affects a very small number of researchers nationwide. However, the UC Office of the President is working to understand what the impact of this proclamation will be on our students and post-docs systemwide, including who might be affected, as that list is unclear now. Locally, both the Office of Global Affairs and the International Center are working to secure further guidance. It is possible that our students and scholars will soon start to see visas revoked and orders to return to China. There will surely be legal actions to delay implementation of the entire proclamation and possibly to delay compliance while individual cases are evaluated. Should you receive such an order, please reach out immediately to Zara Syed <email@example.com>, Associate Director of the International Center, Victoria Jones <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Chief Global Affairs Officer, and myself.
At UCI, we value all of our graduate students and post-docs immensely. Please reach out with your concerns about these impacts. Once we know more, we will also share that with you all.
Returning to Campus For Research and Courses
I know many of you are incredibly frustrated by the lack of information on plans for returning to on campus life. The public health context continually changes, and faculty, staff, and the administration are scrambling to keep up and make the best recommendations we can. As you saw this week, the Office of Research has announced that a PHASED return to on-campus research operations will begin June 8. Those of you who need to return to campus for your scholarly activities, please coordinate with your PI/Advisor/Associate Dean for Research to make these plans. The short version of the guidance is, if you can do it from home, please do. If you need access to physical resources on campus, come, use those resources, and then return home again. This is not discipline specific--as there is much scholarly work that can be done from home regardless of discipline--but rather specific to the need to access resources physically housed on campus. If you encounter challenges or are being asked to do something you are not comfortable doing, you can always come talk to us in Grad Division, and we will do what we can do to help.
You have hopefully seen by now the principles for Graduate Instruction for next year. If you are one of those people who, gasp, deletes or spam filters ZotMails, they are copied below the text of this message as well.
Principles for Graduate Education During COVID-19 (As seen in previous email today)
Dear faculty and graduate students,
Several weeks ago, at the direction of the Provost, we formed a sub-committee focused on Graduate Education and Instruction for the 2020-2021 school year in light of the effects of COVID-19. Attached is the first part of this group’s work: a set of principles towards which the UCI campus will work in the coming year. We expect to release more detailed guidance periodically as the context changes with the release of an implementation plan coming in the next 2-3 weeks. We thank this group for their continued work as well as the many members of the UCI community who have contribute to and commented on these principles as they were developed. UCI remains committed to the absolute highest standard of Graduate Education while ensuring that we prioritize the needs of our people, including faculty, staff, and students.
Please reach out to anyone on the committee with any questions or comments.
Click here to download a PDF version of the Principles for Graduate Education During COVID-19 document.
Carroll S. Seron
Professor Emerita, Criminology, Law, & Society
Chair of the Graduate Council, 2019-2020
Professor, Physics & Astronomy
Professor of Physics & Astronomy, Chair-Elect of the Graduate Council
Robert A. and Barbara L. Kleist Professor of Informatics
Vice Provost of Graduate Education & Dean of the Graduate Division
PRINCIPLES FOR GRADUATE EDUCATION DURING COVID-19
- Public Health. The health and safety of UCI employees and students remains our top priority. No faculty member, staff member, nor student should be compelled to be on campus while teaching and/or learning during terms impacted by COVID-19 in keeping with UCI campus-wide policy.
- Equity and Inclusion. UCI is committed to equity and inclusion in its graduate programs. UCI is a public institution committed to the success of its large population of first generation, under-represented, and otherwise minoritized students.
- Educational Continuity. UCI is committed to graduating a new class of graduate and professional students each year. Thus, our programs should adapt to ensure that all are making progress towards graduation in a timely manner.
- Instructional Quality. UCI is committed to ensuring that all graduate students in our academic programs have the opportunity to learn and demonstrate the competencies necessary for their programs.
- Excellence in Graduate Education. UCI is committed to delivering the highest quality graduate education and producing scholarship that sustains UCI’s reputation for excellence and is consistent with our values.
- Decisions about testing, physical distancing, and course scheduling and delivery will be based on the best scientific, medical, and epidemiological evidence as interpreted by UCI experts, the Orange County Department of Health, and California and Federal guidelines.
- Decisions about reopening educational environments should be made in consideration of all programs in all schools and the Graduate Division. No program should make decisions that interfere with the orderly progress of another program’s curriculum.
- Faculty, staff, and students will work together to limit the negative impacts of COVID-19 as much as possible with known information at the time. At all times, the well-being of the graduate student population will be at the forefront of guidance for 2020-2021 graduate curricular and co-curricular activities.
- Some instructional activities for graduate students are planned to be on campus with others remote in 2020-2021. In-person instruction may swiftly move to remote, consistent with public health guidance.
- Due to limited space and facilities, assignments for educational and co-curricular activities that can only be conducted in person will be prioritized; graduation needs for advanced students and cohort-building for early students will be considered.
- Some training requires physical proximity between individuals that is closer than that directed by physical distancing recommendations (e.g., clinical work, some performing arts). In those circumstances, the faculty in charge should follow specific protocols, approved by the Dean or Dean’s delegate, with safety measures that are consistent with infection control guidelines (masks, gowns, gloves, face shields) for prevention of spread of diseases.
- All planned teaching activities must take into account the current public health context and respond accordingly.
- Decisions about on-campus activities will be impacted by the latest evidence and expert recommendations regarding COVID-19, campus policies, and coordination with UCI Housing and best practice recommendations for accommodations.
- Graduate education spans research, teaching, and learning. As such, major decisions regarding graduate research will come under the guidance of the Vice Chancellor for Research, graduate teaching under the dual guidance of the Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning and the Vice Provost for Academic Personnel, and graduate learning under the guidance of the Vice Provost for Graduate Education.
- Regardless of the content of this document, the Chancellor retains ultimate authority for activities on the UCI campus.
UCI Graduate Curricular Planning Sub-Committee to the
COVID-19 Strategic Advisory Group to the Chancellor
Scott Bartell, Professor of Public Health
Elizabeth Bennett, University Registrar
Ryan Cherland, Assistant Vice Chancellor, Institutional Research & Decision Support
Gillian Hayes, Vice Provost for Graduate Education, Dean of the Graduate Division
Paul Lampano, Deputy Registrar
Michael McBride, Professor of Economics, Associate Dean for Graduate Studies & Support, Social Sciences
Michael Mulligan, Professor of Biological Sciences, Associate Dean of Graduate Studies, Biological Sciences
Ruth Quinnan, Director of Admissions and Academic Affairs, Graduate Division
Vincent Olivieri, Professor of Sound Design, Associate Dean for Graduate Affairs, Claire Trevor School of the Arts
Arvind Rajaraman, Professor of Physics & Astronomy, Chair-Elect of the Graduate Council
Carroll Seron, Professor Emerita of Criminology, Law, & Society, Chair of the Graduate Council
Chris Whytock, Vice Dean and Professor of Law and Political Science
Applications have been forwarded to the schools, but they are still mapping out their needs. We expect them to begin to make assignments next week or shortly thereafter. Please note that we received many more applications for DTEI fellow slots than we are likely to assign. We WILL have additional summer funding opportunities for those not selected. We are still working on it. Ensuring that as many of our students are covered for the summer is a very high priority for me, the Provost, and campus generally. Thank you for your patience.
CARES Act Direct Aid to Students
Graduate students all fall into one of three categories:
- Not Title IV Eligible
- Title IV eligible and filed a FAFSA - You should have already received your CARES funds in your ZotAccount
- TItle IV eligible and did not file a FAFSA - You should have received an email from Financial Aid telling you that the on-line CARES Emergency Grant Fund affidavit for students that did not file a FAFSA is live: https://apply.admissions.uci.edu/register/caresrequest
If you believe you are in category 2 or 3 but Financial Aid has not been in touch, please contact them early next week.
Dean’s Office Hours
As always, come see us in Office Hours. Sometimes you just need to vent or celebrate or laugh or cry. If you want to do that with us, please do come. You can also come for specific questions of course. We are here for you no matter what you need.
Upcoming Dean’s Virtual Office Hours: https://uci.zoom.us/j/7277477057
- Monday, June 1 8:30-9AM
- Tuesday, June 2 9-9:30AM
- Wednesday, June 3 8:30-9AM
- Thursday, June 4 11:30AM-Noon
- Friday, June 5 11-11:30AM
- Monday, June 8 11-11:30AM
- Tuesday June 9 9-9:30AM
- Wednesday June 10 11-11:30AM
- Thursday June 11 2-2:30PM
- Friday June 12 9-9:30AM
It is hard to believe that less than a week ago I was wishing for a time when the headlines would not be about COVID-19. And yet, the headlines that have replaced COVID-19 have not been what anyone would wish to see. We have seen a week that is all too familiar for many and that has shaken the core beliefs of many others. We will have tough times ahead, and we will all need to work together, because as Teddy Roosevelt said:
“Justice consists not in being neutral between right and wrong, but in finding out the right and upholding it, wherever found, against the wrong.”
I am holding you all in my heart today and always. I hope we can work together towards justice, peace and good. I have said before that our Anteater family has impressed me throughout the COVID-19 crisis with our ability to come together and support one another. Let us continue to hold one another up.
All of us here in Graduate Division are for you. I am honored to continue to lead this group. Today, we had space in our staff meeting to talk about how everyone is coping. Despite coping with their own experiences with brutal racism, their own COVID-19 diagnoses, their own family member’s illnesses, and their own outrage and fears, this wonderful group of people that is your Graduate Division staff still focused on all of you first during our meeting, asking “How are our students and post-docs doing?” and “What more can we do to help them?” We are here for you, and we are so grateful that you are here for us.
We are here for each other.
Sending you all my best wishes for peace, and on behalf of all of Graduate Division,
Kleist Professor of Informatics
Vice Provost for Graduate Education
Dean of the Graduate Division