To the UC Davis Community:
Every year we hear important safety messages around the Fourth of July, including be safe with fireworks, be safe in and around the water, and be safe on the road. This year brings an urgent new warning to avoid social gatherings outside of your household, no matter how much you want to connect with friends after three months of physical distancing, no matter how much you want to celebrate like every other Fourth of July.
This isn’t your typical Fourth of July. We are in the midst of a pandemic. We are seeing a surge in new cases of COVID-19 in California and elsewhere around the country. Yesterday Governor Newsom reinstated certain restrictions in Sacramento County and 18 other counties, prohibiting indoor dining in restaurants, along with certain other business activities indoors. The order covers about 70 percent of the state’s population; Yolo County was not included, but announced that it will reinstate the same restrictions voluntarily.
So, gather with your own household for the Fourth, enjoy a barbecue in your own backyard, set up Zoom calls to celebrate with others.
And face coverings: Wear them! The state says you must wear a mask in high-risk situations, including when you are inside of, or in line to enter, any indoor public space; and outdoors in public spaces when it is not feasible to maintain a minimum physical distance of 6 feet from people who are not members of your household or residence.
Please, look at the numbers, listen to what public health officials are saying. We must flatten the curve (again). We are in the very early stages of bringing people back to campus. We do not want to go backwards. We hope to have students on campus in the fall for as much in-person instruction as we can allow, pending state and county guidance. Being here is an important part of the university experience, as students interact with and learn from one another.
Welcome, Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Mary Croughan! (And while we’re talking about the coronavirus, it’s important to note she is an epidemiologist.) Amid a thousand and one things to do Wednesday, her first day on the job, she took time to sit down for a question-and-answer session with some of the folks who put out internal communications on our Davis and Sacramento campuses. Look for Q&As Tuesday in the Dateline e-newsletter and online (Dateline and The Insider intranet site).
Spring grading for undergrads
A reminder to undergraduates about spring quarter grading: The Academic Senate is allowing greater flexibilities for retroactive grade mode changes (that is, going from P/NP to a letter grade or vice versa after the quarter has ended). These flexibilities and instructions are limited to courses taken during spring 2020 and apply only to undergraduate students. Courses taken any other quarter are subject to thestandard policies and guidelines for retroactive grade mode changes.
Thanks to faculty feedback, we “keep learning” about how to make our Keep Teaching website even better — and today (July 2) you can see the results in a major update to the Teaching section. As this TechNews article explains, the update makes key resources easier to find, features peer-to-peer comments from faculty, and presents seven pedagogical topics for instructors to consider as they teach remotely.
Many thanks to the Center for Educational Effectiveness and Information and Educational Technology (including Academic Technology Services) for this wonderful asset.
Academic Technology Services will have more to share at its annual Summer Institute on Teaching and Technology, hosted by Andy Jones, associate academic director at ATS. The institute, re-envisioned to meet faculty needs during the pandemic, will be held July 22-24 (register here); prerecorded faculty presentations and interviews will be available starting July 20.
This week HR launched its Race Matters webpage, an initiative brought forward by Christine Lovely, chief human resources officer, to assist leaders in supporting and engaging with their staff on matters of race. The page includes “Do’s and Don’ts for Discussing Race With Your Staff,” as well as racial equity resources (including common language, a reading list and training opportunities) and printable guides (Race Matters and Flip the Script: Race & Ethnicity). You will also find a link for reporting hate and bias, and contact information for the Academic and Staff Assistance Program, which serves the Davis and Sacramento campuses.
The Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is regularly updating its Resources for Racial Trauma page, including the calendar, where you will see, among other listings, this event scheduled for Tuesday, July 14: “Addressing Privilege and Anti-Blackness in Research Culture,” presented by the Asking Different Questions work group at our Feminist Research Institute.
The “merit” program that we have paused for a year, as mentioned in last week’s letter, is for nonrepresented staff. The pause does not apply to represented staff, who work under contracts; nor to faculty merit/promotions.
No clarification needed here: Have a happy and safe Fourth of July!
Gary S. May