(COVID-19): Campus Health Updates
8/20/2021 - Daily COVID-19 Graduate Division Update
Dear Graduate Students and Postdocs,
Right now, some of you are thinking, “wait, I thought she moved these messages to every two weeks and we just got one last week.” And some of you might be thinking “has it already been two weeks?” because if you are like me, time has kind of lost its meaning. In actuality, it has been only one week, and yes, we did say we would shift these messages to only twice a month. However, it has been a pretty packed and difficult week for many of you, so it seemed like a good time to go ahead and ramp back up the writing a bit.
First of all, this week has been disastrous for many around the world. Between the earthquake in Haiti, humanitarian need in Afghanistan, and wildfires here on the west coast, some of you may be feeling helpless. You can check Charity Navigator for vetted organizations (including ones local to the nations you want to help): https://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=content.view&cpid=489
Second, we are continuing to watch Covid variants rampage around the world. I have heard from many of you who are anxious about what this means. For those of you needing to travel back to Irvine from somewhere else, the idea of traveling right now may be daunting. For those of you with kids in Irvine Unified and other local school districts, your children may be going back to in-person schools or you may have made the tough decision to stay at home with them another year. Whatever you have going on, it can feel exhausting. You are probably sick of hearing how resilient and powerful and strong you are. You would probably prefer not to have to be strong right now. I agree! And yet, here we are. There is some good news on the pandemic front, however:
- Vaccination rates are high and climbing in Orange County and in Irvine in particular. Faculty and staff vaccination compliance is incredibly high (I haven’t seen the numbers in a few days but well before the deadline, we are already >80% compliant).
- Infection rates, while still higher than we’d like in the surrounding area, do appear to be potentially plateauing or even dropping. Of course, with a pandemic, you never know how things might turn, but I remain optimistic at this point that we may be at a turning point.
- Other UC’s that are on semesters saw vaccination rates on day one of class nearing 90%, which gives us hope that once our student body uploads their cards, we will see similar rates. Speaking of, please upload here if you haven’t already: https://osh.chs.uci.edu/clearances.aspx The deadline to upload is September 6, but the earlier you can upload the better.
- UCI has a robust system in place to support you should you need alternative options this fall:
- If you, AS A STUDENT, need approved disability-related accommodations to take a class, an exam, or other academic experience, you should contact Disability Services Center: https://dsc.uci.edu
- If you, AS AN EMPLOYEE (e.g., GSR, TA, Reader), need approved disability-related accommodations to do your work, you must go through the Disability Management Services, which is housed within Human Resources: https://accessibility.uci.edu/accommodations/disabilitymanagement.php. Please Do NOT contact Disability Services Center for EMPLOYMENT related requests. Contact Disability Management Services for these. And please forgive us for the overlap in names, which I fear is creating some confusion.
- If you, AS A STUDENT, need alternative instruction due to Covid related but not disability reasons (e.g., visa problems), please email UCITeachingQuestions@uci.edu.
- If you, AS AN EMPLOYEE, need alternative employment opportunities due to Covid but not disability (e.g., visas), please contact your department chair and/or graduate program chair. Please note, such alternatives are generally prioritized for people who CANNOT arrive in Irvine, not for people who choose not to arrive.
- We have heard from some of our doctoral students that months ago when we offered Covid completion fellowships for PhD students who were out of funding and nearing completion of their doctoral work, they thought they were on track but are now finding they have lost time. As promised then, we will be reopening this fellowship process. Please stay tuned for more information soon.
More Information Regarding UCI Ventilation System Upgrades
I’ve been receiving requests to go into specifics when it comes to the recent UCI ventilation system upgrades. This page goes a little more in depth https://www.ehs.uci.edu/public-health/covid-19/hvac.php. This document (https://ehs.uci.edu/public-health/covid-19/_pdf/hvac/UCI-Filter-Reference.pdf ) breaks down the MERV rating by building, essentially rating the air quality building by building. Anything above an 8 is very good and for all buildings that have a rating of 8 or below, portable air cleaners will be installed.
Enroll in Duo now so you don’t lose access to UCI accounts
Sign up for Duo before fall quarter to ensure you don’t lose access to important accounts linked to your UCInetID. Enrolling in Duo multi-factor authentication is quick and offers continuous protection for your essential UCI resources. Get Duo today!
Watch this video to learn how to set up Duo, and follow these three simple steps:
- Step 1: Download the Duo app on your mobile device (iOS or Android)
- Step 2: Enable Duo on your device through the Duo Support Desk
- Step 3: Login to any UCI account to test that Duo is working
That’s it! The next time you log in with UCInetID, Duo’s app will generate a notification on your mobile device. Hit the green check on your smart watch, phone or other device and you’re good to go.
Continuation of the temporary extension of Chancellors’ authority to grant a seventh year extension to academic student employee total length of service
As a reminder, Provost Brown has extended the already existing policy that extends the time a student is allowed to be employed in certain academic positions, including, but not limited to: readers, teaching assistants, teaching fellows, and associates. Click here to read the full statement: https://grad.berkeley.edu/wp-content/uploads/Chancellors-re-Extension-of-ASE-Appt.-Limits-8-6-2021.pdf
Next Graduate Division Town Hall
September 3 | 3 pm - 4 pm PT - Fall 2021 Back to School Readiness
With a panel of UCI experts, you will learn about the new practices and procedures implemented since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic to the present. We will also answer any questions pertaining to safety, public health, travel, and much more. We know you have so many questions and things keep changing. Please do join us for the latest information and up to date guidance.
- Register: https://uci.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_nAm45swVTiaiDt-UyHI0WQ
- Gillian Hayes, Vice Provost & Dean of Graduate Education
- Mike Dennin, Vice Provost & Dean, Office for Teaching and Learning
- Sonia Lepe, Senior Employment and Fellowship Analyst, Graduate Division
- Dr. Frances Diaz, Director, Student Counseling Center
- Marcela Ramirez-Stapleton, Director, Cross-Cultural Center
- Tim Trevan, Exec. Director of Student Housing
- Dr. Albert Chang, Medical Director, Student Health
- Archana Sheth, Interim Associate Director, International Center
- David Souleles, Director of the COVID-19 Team, Public Health
Please register! Current registrants are 90% faculty and staff, and we really want YOU, our wonderful students and postdocs, to be there and asking your questions!
DTEI Course Design - Certificate Program
This program provides a foundational overview of successful course design practices. Participants will practice ‘backwards, integrated course design,’ by establishing goals for student learning and aligning assignments and assessments with these goals. For more information and to sign up click here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfSwlxqvvQ15JBgwgy20q_tUdvOIH_LQFfVDo0A6RtJvdlngQ/viewform
Virtual Graduate Welcome and Orientation
I know our incoming students are getting these emails now, and we’re so excited to welcome you to UCI! If you haven’t registered already, make sure to register for our Virtual Graduate Welcome and Orientation set to begin on Monday (August 23rd)! For more details visit https://www.grad.uci.edu/services/campus-orientation/campuswide-orientation.php. Any specific questions can also be directed to email@example.com.
Become a UCAN Student Ambassador
The UC Office of the President is now accepting applications for the 2021-22 UC Advocacy Network (UCAN) Student Ambassador Program. Student ambassadors will push for lawmakers to provide additional investments for UC in the state budget and advocate for Congress to increase funding for federal financial aid, as well as help advance state and federal legislation that would benefit the UC community. This program is a great opportunity for students who want to flex their political power and influence state and federal higher education policies, share the student perspective with lawmakers, and develop resume-building experience in public affairs and advocacy. The program is open to all UC undergraduate, graduate and professional students.
Applications are due on Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021.
Students may apply here: http://bit.ly/UCANapply
Learn more about the program here: https://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/news/we-need-your-voice-join-our-team-uc-student-advocates
Campuswide Honors Collegium Graduate Fellows
UCI’s Campuswide Honors Collegium (CHC) invites interested and qualified UCI graduate students to apply for a Graduate Fellow (GF) position. GFs will serve a minimum of two quarters in this position, although extending the term of employment beyond two quarters is preferred and will be determined upon evaluation of the first quarter’s work. CHC GFs will hold office hours in the CHC Office and advise students who are embarking on undergraduate research about the benefits of research experience, the research process, finding a faculty advisor, etc. GFs will also develop related co-curricular programs and workshops for CHC students. GFs will receive training on the CHC’s research/thesis requirement, UCI/CHC research resources, University undergraduate support services, University technologies, etc.
Graduate Dean’s Recent Alumni Fellowship
The deadline to apply for the Graduate Dean’s Recent Alumni Fellowship is on September 13th. This fellowship aims at easing the transition from graduate school into full-time careers either in academia or other industries. While the fellowship is unpaid, a recipient of this fellowship will receive access to resources that will pay immense dividends going forward. For specific questions email associate dean Jaymi Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org.
WriteNow Access Program
The Graduate Division can fund doctoral students to participate in the WriteNow Access program run by the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity. This is an eight-week accountability and tracking program focused on a writing project, and it runs from Sept. 20- Nov. 12. The program allows you to track work time and offers guidance on how to develop a more effective writing schedule and process.The program is excellent for someone trying to finish a writing project such as a dissertation chapter, academic article or grant proposal. For more information about the program click here: https://www.facultydiversity.org/writenowaccess. For specific questions email associate dean Rodrigo Lazo at email@example.com.
The NASA Postdoctoral Program
The NASA Postdoctoral Program provides fellowships to conduct cutting-edge research at NASA Centers and NASA-affiliated research institutes. Click here for more information: https://npp.usra.edu/
2021 Grant Application Open Now for Horowitz Foundation
The application for the 2021 Horowitz Foundation grant cycle is open. Applications from Ph.D. students doing dissertation work that addresses contemporary issues in the social sciences and has social policy application are encouraged.
The grants are for between $7,500-12,500 and are unrestricted. To learn more about eligibility and past recipients visit their website here: https://www.horowitz-foundation.org/ .
UC Center Sacramento is pleased to announce the 2021-2022 STEM Solutions in Public Policy Award.
This award will recognize one or more outstanding proposals for new California legislation from UC STEM graduate students. The winner(s) will receive $1,000 for research support and -- should their bill advance through the legislative process –travel expenses covering a trip to Sacramento to convene with Legislators and/or legislative staff.
Submissions will be accepted until midnight Pacific time on October 22nd, 2021 and applicants will be notified of their status in December 2021. Further information is available at UCCS STEM Solutions or on the UCCS website (uccs.ucdavis.edu).
Torrey Pines Leadership Development Program at Stanford Burnham Prebys
This premier leadership development program at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute is designed for early career PhDs. In this program, participants will learn more about their leadership styles and preferences, and the leadership styles and preferences of others, towards understanding how they and their future teams can succeed. Certificates will be awarded to participants who complete all program requirements. Click here for more information: http://sbpleaders.org/SitePages/Home.aspx
Online SKY Campus Happiness Retreat
Sign up for a 3-day virtual retreat which trains participants in the evidence-based SKY meditation practice, breathwork practices, social connection, emotional intelligence, and mindful leadership. SKY has been shown to significantly reduce anxiety and depression, lower stress markers, and increase wellbeing, focus and optimism.
The program is available to all UCI students, staff, and faculty members. The scholarship is available through funds raised by the club. There are limited spots for the program and availability is first-come, first-serve. Attendance is mandatory for all the 3 days.
Apply and learn more here: http://tiny.cc/applyskyuci
Upcoming Office Hours
Come see me! I opened this message with some acknowledgement of the tough times. Some days, when things are hard, I struggle to find the “why” in what we do. Office hours are where I find my why. Today was an excellent example of that. I was fortunate enough to have two students come by --one brand new and one returning. They didn’t come together, so it was lucky that they happened to be from the same department. The new student brought all the joy and wonder and excitement I remember from my first days as a grad student. Seeing the world through the eyes of new students, so full of wonder, is truly a gift. The returning student brought me the best news of my day--a visa we had been awaiting has been issued. I screamed so loud I scared the puppy! You all make what we do worth every minute. Keep coming to see us, keep sharing your joys, your struggles, your questions, and today--your answers for more junior students.
No appointment needed, all sessions are a half hour, Pacific time, first come first serve, and at this zoom: https://uci.zoom.us/j/7277477057
Monday August 23: 9:30AM - I will be a touch late, but a member of my staff will be there right on time, and then I will join a few minutes later
Friday August 27: 9AM
Monday August 30: 10AM
Tuesday August 31: 10AM
I went to a training this week (always be learning!) about leading in a hybrid work environment. I learned a lot about supporting the Graduate Division staff, and I am going to try to pass those lessons along, share, and support folks as best I can.
One of the things that came up that I thought should be shared with all of you was the importance of authenticity, of being vulnerable, of sharing. Every now and then I will write something in these messages, and I think to myself “wow did I really just share that with more than 5000 people?”
[alt text: meme of “Oversharing all the things” overlaid over an enthusiastic cartoon character]
And every time I do, I am so grateful for the messages that come back telling me you are feeling the same way or wishing me well (I got a lot of amazing mold and plumbing stories from you all last week!). So… I guess those researchers that say being real matters are right. As always, thank you for the sharing you do with me and with the rest of us here at Graduate Division. More than that though, I want to encourage you to keep sharing with each other. The people you meet in grad school--whether you are here for a year or six, whether you are in an online, weekend, or fully in-person program, whether you are in a research or professional degree--these people are going to be there for you for the rest of your lives. Enjoy them. Lean on them. Lift each other up.
And today, you don’t get an inspirational quote or poem from me. Instead you get this:
[alt text: some cards meme of man sitting on desk that reads “Your inspirational quotes have inspired me to unfriend you.”]
Don’t worry, I’m sure I will be back to being unbearably cheesy sometime soon.
On behalf of the Graduate Division,
Kleist Professor of Informatics
Vice Provost for Graduate Education
Dean of the Graduate Division