To the UC Davis Community:
As of today, we have updated and expanded our Campus Ready website highlighting essential information for students and families, academics and staff, worksite planners and campus visitors. You will find a new Campus Status and Operations page that provides current information regarding the gradual reopening process and key updates. We have also redesigned the FAQ for undergraduates to make it easier to find answers to specific questions and will continue to update the questions and content as needed.
We’d like you to help us spread the word about our Campus Ready website by using one of the email signatures we have created. You’ll find them here. I’m using one of them in today’s letter.
The state’s public health guidelines for reopening higher education, which we received a week ago, are long and complex — and we appreciate that. Our top priority, like the state’s, is the health and well-being of our campus community. We have been reviewing the guidelines, and we are confident that at this point we can proceed with the gradual reopening we have been planning — including a very limited number of in-person courses.
All courses that we know will be delivered via remote instruction in fall 2020 are now designated in Schedule Builder. Students are encouraged to check this information for all of their courses. We are still evaluating whether a small subset of courses can take place in-person and their designation will be added to Schedule Builder by Aug. 30.
I’ve said time and again how impressed I am by how well our faculty and staff transitioned to remote instruction — and for continually striving to improve. Toward that end, the Center for Educational Effectiveness has launched ACCELERATE Asynchronously, an online course designed to support the creation of inclusive and equitable e-learning. Faculty, teaching assistants and other staff involved in instruction can take the course at their own pace, at their convenience. Our Keep Teaching website lists other online support for instructors, by way of live and recorded webinars.
Going after the coronavirus
Wednesday we announced the exciting news that UC Davis Health is a partner in a clinical trial of an investigational vaccine against COVID-19, adding a significant component to our university’s response to the pandemic. As part of the partnership, we will enroll as many as 200 participants for the trial that will involve roughly 30,000 people around the world. Learn more.
Our leads on this project are Timothy Albertson, principal investigator, and Angela Haczku, co-principal investigator. Dr. Albertson is chair of the Department of Internal Medicine and a leading expert in pulmonary and critical care medicine, and Dr. Haczku is associate dean for translational research.
In our news release, Dean Allison Brashear of the School of Medicine said: “This upcoming COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial is a historic opportunity for the UC Davis School of Medicine and our community at large to directly have a hand in preventing the spread of COVID-19 and potentially save lives across the globe.”
David Lubarsky, vice chancellor of Human Health Sciences and CEO of UC Davis Health, added: “We are uniquely positioned to help with a possible breakthrough due to our clinical trials expertise, ability to recruit for clinical trials quickly, and track record of outreach to minority communities.”
UC Davis Health has a total of 14 clinical trials in progress addressing different aspects of COVID-19. These are among the close to 40 COVID-19-related research projects on the Sacramento and Davis campuses.
Checking in elsewhere:
- Child care — As you are likely aware, one of the most common topics that working parents are addressing at the moment is how to effectively do their jobs while they simultaneously parent and educate their children. HR’s WorkLife unit has put together this “How to Find Child Care” guide to help in a process that has only gotten more difficult over the past six months. The guide is just the start ... please see other resources we have compiled, including child care options on- and off-campus in Davis and Sacramento, and programs for older children.
- Travel — Global Affairs has posted a travel advisory update, based on the latest guidance from the UC Office of the President and the State Department. The advisory emphasizes that all international travel for university business needs approval from the Travel Review Committee and all university travel must be registered. The guidance for international business travel, international personal travel, domestic business travel and domestic personal travel remains the same on the webpage.
- “Restoring Justice. Transforming Education at UC Davis” — I hope you will make time for this campuswide webinar, from 11 a.m. to noon Wednesday, Aug. 26, and take the opportunity to join us for follow-up conversations and action planning on bias and structural inequality, led by the founders and co-directors of our Transformative Justice in Education Center: Maisha Winn, Chancellor’s Leadership Professor and associate dean for academic programs in the School of Education; and Lawrence “Torry” Winn, assistant professor of teaching in education. They will assist with a baseline and common framing around examining histories and futures with attention to race, justice and language for the campus community. Register here.
- Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Croughan — We would love to have a campus meet-and-greet with our new provost, but, considering the pandemic, we’re doing the next best thing — inviting the campus to get to know her in this introductory video. Hear in her own words what she thinks are UC Davis’ strengths and what she hopes to focus on during her time here.
- Excessive heat — You don’t need me to tell you it’s hot outside. The National Weather Service has posted an excessive heat warning through at least Wednesday, so please be careful. See “Tips for Preventing Heat-Related illness,” from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If you’re the outdoors type and thinking about Stebbins Cold Canyon Reserve, please keep in mind: Our UC Davis Natural Reserves office advises against using the trails during excessive heat warnings.
This is not the summer that anyone expected to have, but we have spent it preparing to welcome our students back as warmly and effectively as possible.
We will continue over the next several weeks to get as ready as we can be for fall 2020.
Gary S. May