(COVID-19): Campus Health Updates
5/8/2020 - Daily COVID-19 Graduate Division Update
Dear Graduate Students and Post-Docs,
You’ve made it through another week. Hopefully, you’ve had a little joy from our #UCISpringUpChallenge: https://twitter.com/hashtag/UCISpringUpChallenge. We’d love to see more student videos mixed in with the faculty and staff! At the very least, we are pretty sure you are better dancers than we are, and I got a serious workout following along with one of our superstar dance students.
I am so aware that my biggest frustration right now is the uncertainty of this all. I get asked just about every day when campus will physically reopen. If only we knew! We are watching and working closely with Orange County public health, UCOP, and just about everyone else in the world it sometimes seems. Our first goal of course is to minimize risk to you, to our staff, and to our faculty. Our next goal is to get scholarships back up and running, and that is especially important for our graduate students and post-docs. I anticipate more concrete guidance to come out very soon. This is pretty unlikely to be in the form of a date. Rather it will most likely look like a set of criteria that need to be met (and continue to be met following any changes).
In the meantime, please check out the information we have this week, many of which are focused on funding and employment, so even if you are like, “dude, I am so sick of your emails, please stop spamming me”, this is probably one you want to read.
CARES Act Direct Compensation to Graduate Students
You may have heard that the first half of the CARES funding has arrived on campus. This funding will provide some relief to our Title IV eligible students. Undergraduates, who are nearly all Title IV eligible, are being alerted to their funding soon. Graduate awards are a bit more complicated to deliver than undergraduate, in part because most graduate students have not filed a FAFSA. We are working to make a process that is as easy as possible and it does not require a FAFSA for those who have not yet filed them. We are also examining whether and how we might provide additional funds for those who are not Title IV eligible. We thank you for your patience and look forward to providing you more information on your awards next week.
Summary of Unemployment Compensation Provisions on the CARES Act
The Council of Graduate Schools has put together a package outlining individuals and what compensation they may be eligible for based on the CARES Act. Click here to read more.
Campus is actively working on expanding the number of summer employment and fellowship opportunities. Many schools will be hiring more TAs this summer as we have expanded summer session offerings by nearly 50 courses campus wide. We have also asked faculty with grants and/or setup funds to hire their students this summer. If you think this applies to your advisor, please talk with them and make sure they know what your summer support options are. In addition to the GDDF and Inclusive Excellence Ambassador fellowships, we are also working to develop other options. We appreciate the urgency of this for all of you, but allocating funding in a state with a $54 Billion deficit is a bit challenging at the moment. Please bear with us. I hope to have something more to share next week.
We have made the second round of allocations for the emergency funds, and those funds should be in your accounts soon. Thank you to everyone who reached out with your need. I am sorry we were not able to fully fund every request, but I hope what we have provided will help you. Also, a HUGE thanks to those of you getting by okay who did not request emergency funding. Your thoughtful engagement with the process allowed us to prioritize those most in need. I am, as always, humbled by the immense cooperative spirit I see the vast majority of you displaying. It would be easy in these moments to demand more, to be angry, and to focus that frustration here. Instead, what I see day after day, is a group of absolutely committed, generous, and wonderful graduate students and post-docs who are here for each other.
Teaching Opportunities at Vistamar School
Independent schools do not require teachers to have teaching degrees or credentials, though they often give preference to candidates with experience teaching and/or working with young people (ie: coaching, mentoring, tutoring, etc). Vistamar is looking for teachers who know the importance of building relationships with their students, who cultivate those relationships in a culturally-responsive manner, and who are excited at the prospect of working with high school students. Salaries are competitive with other Los Angeles area independent schools. You can find additional information about our school as well as links to open positions here.
Vistamar is particularly interested in hiring outstanding faculty of color. Moreover, as a woman of color who received my doctorate in history in 2014, Dr. Nimisha Barton is happy to speak with diverse MA and PhD candidates who might be facing uncertain professional prospects at the moment and are interested in learning more about what it’s like to work in independent schools.
Dr. Nimisha Barton
310.643.7377 | firstname.lastname@example.org
VistamarSchool.org | Facebook.com/VistamarSchool
SEMINAR: Awaken's Challenging Anti-Asian Racism and Xenophobia during COVID-19
Thurs, May 21, 2020
3:00PM - 4:00PM Zoom Webinar
With rising cases of COVID-19, a global shutdown, falling stock market prices and mass layoffs, there is no doubt many of our lives have been turned upside down in just a few short weeks. With 24/7 news updates and alarms going off in all directions, there is a thick air of overwhelm and anxiety across the globe.
This session will discuss how this panic and anxiety are impacting Asian communities and identify ways to respond to anti-Asian racism and show our Asian/Asian-American communities that we care.
This event is free and open to all students, faculty and staff at UCI. This event is brought to you by the Office of Inclusive Excellence Confronting Extremism Program. Please visit the Confronting Extremism webpage to find out more.
Join us on May 21 at 3:00 p.m. Please register at the RSVP link and you will be sent the zoom link to participate.
SEMINAR: PRESENTING RESEARCH IN A VIRTUAL SETTING
Tuesday, May 19, 2020
3:00PM - 4:00PM Zoom Webinar
Registration limited to the first 50 people!
Join us for a workshop with communications expert, Bri McWhorter! Learn practical techniques, best practices and gain confidence to successfully present your research to a virtual audience.
Event open to all graduate students, DECADE community members, and postdoctoral scholars.
Bri McWhorter is the the Founder and CEO of Activate to Captivate, where she teaches communication techniques from an actor's point of view. She specializes in public speaking, scientific communications, interview skills, and interpersonal communications. Bri is a proud UCI Alumna, she received her MFA in Acting.
Irvine Company Rent Forgiveness Information
We know all of you have different living situations. Here is some information regarding a rent assist program for those renting in properties owned by Irvine Company.Click here for more resources for current Irvine Company residents.
We hear the construction has started in earnest on Verano 8. This probably has a lot of you celebrating. The housing units should be available Fall 2022 and represent an additional 1200 slots for graduate students. How big is this? HUGE. It likely means we will be able to extend the housing guarantee for PhD and MFA students to Time to Degree. It also means we will likely be able to offer more on campus housing to people who do not qualify for the guarantee. We also hear this construction has made some of you not so happy. We are looking into what can be done in terms of noise as well as more strongly enforcing social distancing protocols for the workers, careful vetting of those coming to campus, and so on.
As always we strongly encourage you to reach out to housing if you are struggling, need to cancel a lease, or need anything in particular right now. Housing understands the challenges you are all going through and will work with you on a case by case basis.
Internet Performance Issues
The Office of Information Technology (OIT) is aware that some of us are experiencing internet performance issues that are negatively impacting your ability to work and teach remotely from your homes. This message contains information on self-service options that may assist you in resolving connectivity problems.
Broadband Internet (for people NOT ON CAMPUS)
The highest performance Internet option is to use a broadband Internet service from a service provider such as Cox or AT&T. If you experience internet performance issues, take the following steps:
- Test your network speed. Here are two test tools you may use:
- Try using an Ethernet cable to connect directly to your router. Network performance is often significantly limited by using WiFi wireless networking. You may want to test and compare the speed when connected with a cable vs with WiFi.
- If you suspect slow WiFi, try moving closer to your WiFi router.
- Report network performance issues to your Internet service provider and ask about your options for improving the performance.
- Call your Internet service provider to request upgrade options. Cox offers up to 1Gbps service. Even during a slow network performance event, a 1Gbps service should be faster than a 150Mbps service.
- Many providers are offering discounted services or deferred payments due to Covid-19.
- If cost is an issue, you may be able to work with your department to request temporary reimbursement from COVID-19 funds.
- Cox and AT&T broadband Internet service provider information:
Cox: Support | Available Plans. AT&T: Support, 855.419.3048 | Available Plans
Mobile Device Wifi Hotspot and Mobile Wifi Hotspots
If you are unable to connect satisfactorily through your internet broadband service consider using your smartphone as a WiFi hotspot and increasing your data quota to unlimited.
- Contact your mobile phone service provider to ask them to enable mobile hotspot functionality/tethering. There may be an extra charge, but some providers are providing this temporarily for free.
- Request a temporary increase in your data usage quota to unlimited. Many providers are providing this temporarily for free.
- Reach out to Turner Dahl (email@example.com) for additional WiFi hotspots. Those living off campus are prioritized, but we will try to help where we can.
- This option will probably not provide better network performance than your broadband Internet service from Cox or AT&T.
- The network performance of this option is also dependent upon the strength of the cellular data signal inside your home, so your performance will be variable depending upon your location and which cellular provider you are using.
On Campus Options
Returning to your campus office to perform remote instruction is also an option, if desired. The governor’s order and our campus mandate allow for educational exceptions, which has been interpreted to mean that if instructors want to use their office or assigned classroom for remote instruction, they can. Please check with your unit’s administrative leadership regarding building closures and availability (mostly this is a department chair, but if you are a TA, you can check with your lead instructor first as well).
If you did not get ethernet cables, adapters, and switches that you need to try a wired solution at home, please reach out to Turner Dahl (firstname.lastname@example.org). We will continue to distribute these on a rolling basis.
REMINDER: Dean’s Office Hours
Just a reminder, I will continue to have my virtual office hours all throughout May. Please stop by, even if it’s just to say hello!
This week, just some of the highlights: I got to talk entrepreneurship and business life with a PhD student who is thinking of taking that path after graduation and I got to hang with a super cute 5 year old who has a lot of opinions about science.
Dean’s Virtual Office Hours: https://uci.zoom.us/j/7277477057
- Monday, May 11th 12:00pm – 12:30pm
- Tuesday, May 12th 9:00am – 9:30am
- Wednesday, May 13th: 11:30am – 12:00pm
- Thursday, May 14th 2:00pm – 2:30pm
- Friday, May 15th 11:30am – 12:00pm
UCI IN THE NEWS - COVID-19 Article List
Redmond Reporter, May 9, 2020 -Federal Way woman is first patient in COVID-19 clinical drug trial
Orange County Register, May 8, 2020 -Coronavirus: Six degrees of mask making at UC Irvine shows the power of teamwork
Inc. May 8, 2020 -How the PPP Is failing America’s small businesses
Los Angeles Times, May 8, 2020 -Tens of thousands of California college students to get relief from emergency grants
Los Angeles Times, May 8, 2020 -At protests, mostly white crowds show how pandemic has widened racial and political divisions
The Atlantic, May 7, 2020 -A guide to staying safe as states reopen
WebMD, May 7, 2020 -100 days into COVID-19, where do we stand?
Los Angeles Times, May 7, 2020 (Opinion) -Opinion: Newsom is right to order OC beaches closed
Aristotle once said “patience is bitter but its fruit is sweet” or wrote it… he probably wrote it. Where are the Classics scholars when you need them?
States are beginning to open, bit by bit. And many of us feel like a coke bottle that has been shaken and is ready to burst out. I can only say to you, now is the time, no matter how bitter a taste it leaves, to be patient a bit longer. The public health experts tell me every pandemic in recorded history has had a second wave. The ICU and ER doctors I know tell me that just because we can open doesn’t mean it's gone, and it definitely doesn’t mean you won’t get it. It is time to wear our masks, wash our hands, and continue to stay in as much as we can. Some estimates indicate that if just 80% of us wear masks that are even 60% effective, we will crush this disease while still going out and about.
We are working through what it looks like to get you back to campus, where there is Air Conditioning and better WiFi. We will need to do it with as little risk as possible, and so we all have to wait just a little bit longer. And if you don’t want to listen to me...listen to the Cap’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=47n6v4e3QJE…...or listen to Obi-Wan Kenobi. Both give pretty solid advice.
(Alt text: picture of Obi-Wan Kenobi with the word “patience” displayed)
Missing you. Thinking of you. Wishing we can all be together again soon.
On behalf of all of Graduate Division,
Kleist Professor of Informatics
Vice Provost for Graduate Education
Dean of the Graduate Division