A Message from Provost Noel Wilkin
As we close out our first week of online and alternative course delivery, I’m heartened by the hard work, dedication and positive spirit of so many across our institution. We need to support each other now more than ever, and I am finding examples of this caring support throughout our institution.
This is a time for each of us to be compassionate with one another as many of the things we took for granted are no longer the norm. This week, I was reminded of this by ceramics professor, Matt Long, who talked with me about the thirst we all have for human contact and interaction. Of course, his discipline is grounded in touch, contact with the clay and the importance of feeling. He observed that while we can talk with each other through technology, it is difficult to satisfy the need for more meaningful human connection during this time.
I believe we can reach each other and support each other through compassion. It doesn’t replace the need for face-to-face human interaction, though it does connect us in meaningful ways. I have found that compassion starts with the recognition that each of us is facing new struggles, new challenges, uncertainty and fear. At the same time, the things we did or had to lean on may no longer be there to comfort us in the same way. However, we can be there for each other in new ways, and I encourage you to look for and take those opportunities. I’m confident that we will get through this. We will come to develop a greater appreciation for those things that seemed so simple, and we will emerge a stronger community of scholars. Thank you.
Today Provost Wilkin shared important academic updates with faculty, staff and students about the current term and future terms including Summer 2020 and Fall 2020. He also shared information about the grading policy for graduate students and options for standardized test scores for the Graduate School.
Update from the Office of Community Engagement
The Office of Community Engagement in the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement shared an update about its office operations and remote community engagement activities, including how to provide support to the organizations and agencies who continue to serve the day-to-day needs of people in the Lafayette/Oxford/University (LOU) community.
A note from the Center for Inclusion and Cross Cultural Engagement
The unavoidable disruptions from the coronavirus have heightened stresses for UM students, instructors, and families. Creating an inclusive, mutually supportive, uplifting and respectful learning community is more critical now than ever before. With the shift to online learning, we need all of us to commit to fostering learning environments that value diversity, inclusion and equity.
During this time of heightened anxiety and swift transition for our community, we must reject online behavior that vilifies, demeans or disrespects others. COVID-19 is not specific to any ethnicity, race or community – this infection does not discriminate. It is important that all members of our community feel included and supported. Students, faculty, and staff who experience harassment or discrimination are encouraged to visit the Center for Inclusion and Cross Cultural Engagement’s website for resources.
Spread the Love
Do you have friends or coworkers who have made comments in the last few weeks that lifted your spirits and strengthened your resolve? Do you feel the need to spread your own positive vibes in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic? University Marketing & Communications invites you to share a shout-out about a colleague or friend for a story compiling words of inspiration from UM employees. Our hope is to provide encouragement through a list of uplifting quotes from faculty, staff, students and administrators. Please take a brief second from your busy day to respond to this Google survey and help spread the love!
Faculty and Staff
Join UM’s Folding@Home Team
Stephen Perry, research and development engineer for the National Center for Physical Acoustics, has created a Folding@Home team for the university. Folding@Home is a program that utilizes your computer’s idle processing power to help researchers around the world understand diseases better, including COVID-19, and develop treatments. You can learn more at https://foldingathome.org/.
It is pretty simple. Just install the software, and it will run in the background while you surf the web, check emails, do homework or play games. Feel free to join the University of Mississippi team and score some points for bragging rights.
Other Things to Know
The University of Washington Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation has launched a state-by-state projection of the effects of COVID-19 on hospital resources and the human toll of the pandemic, including when both are projected to peak. Read more about the project.
Ad Age is keeping a regularly updated list tracking how brands are responding to COVID-19. Read More.
Starbucks is serving free coffee through May 3 for first responders and healthcare workers dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. The offer is open to police officers, firefighters, paramedics, doctors, nurses, hospital and medical staff and medical researchers. Read More.
On the lighter side: Museums closed due to coronavirus crisis are sending each other virtual flowers to spread joy on social media. Read More.