Just over a month ago, we implemented the University’s mandate to transition our community from in-person work. Since then, we have continued to execute COVID-19-related priorities, most recently; 1) providing university-wide leadership on remote instruction best practices; 2) ensuring community access to innovative and coordinated virtual programming; and 3) planning for impending long-term implications, including budget, Fall residency, and physically and mentally-affected community members.
In parallel with what SPS has been doing, I’ve also been concerned about how YOU are doing.
Abrupt change is affecting us in similar and distinct ways. After discussions via senior leadership, the COVID-19 Task Force, and your direct outreach to me, here is what you’ve said:
- Experiencing emptiness from lack of convening and adjusting to sudden and total remote engagement;
- Expressing pride in our ability to adapt by, for example, hosting virtual town halls and setting up online labs in physics and chemistry;
- Feeling overwhelmed by the combination of pressures at home and “too many Zoom meetings”;
- Conveying gratitude, to 1) essential workers for fearlessly maintaining their responsibilities, and 2) healthcare professionals who are treating those infected with this virus;
- Encountering frustration over the slow cadence and evolution of decisions (e.g. remote transition, pass/fail grading, graduation format, Summer session, Fall semester, and tuition refunds); and
- Having hope that this pandemic will soon end and a transition back to “normal life” will commence a healing journey.
As a reminder, there are resources and communication channels available to us including:
- The University’s COVID-19 Hub, for updates and announcements and the new Columbia Together Page, for faculty and staff to share images of their virtual workspaces, offer shoutouts, and more
- SPS virtual social gatherings, ranging from last Friday’s Coffee Chat to the upcoming Pet Parade
- Our SPS COVID-19 Task Force, who are fielding your questions, comments, and accounts sent to SharewithSPS [[at]] columbia [[dot]] edu to better inform the Executive Committee
Your feedback is evidence of the variety of emotions we are all feeling as we embrace a new and challenging work environment. Again, I am deeply grateful for, and appreciative of, your ongoing fortitude and unparalleled professionalism.
You are all stepping-up right now, in a big way. We will surely persevere as a united team.
Please be sure to take care of yourselves.
Jason Wingard, Ph.D.
Dean and Professor