April 13, 2020
McGovern College Students:
I have remained very aware of the amount of information flowing to students, and I and my team have worked hard to determine and filter information that is crucial, information that you need immediately, and information that can wait. Thus after a week off from updates, some information has accumulated that I would like to share with you here on the Monday of the fourth week of remote instruction.
I have continued to receive communications directly from students, including questions that you need answered. I have either answered or acquired answers to all of the questions that have been send to me; if this is not the case, and if you have sent me a question and have not yet received an answer, please contact me directly.
Summer registration and enrollment
Summer enrollment is now open. Please be sure to look at summer enrollment options, including your options for satisfying CORE requirements. Many summer offerings, including in the CORE courses, have been expanded, so you may find that you may have more options than usual. Note also the very beneficial cost savings that have been approved for summer 2020: all mandatory fees except for the extended access fee will be waived for all students enrolling in any number of credits; the extended access fee will also be waived if you enroll for six or more credits. I know that many of you will find that this summer is a prime opportunity to make progress toward your degrees.
Graduate students please note as well the availability of supplemental funding in the form of additional Graduate Tuition Fellowships to support summer enrollment for DMA and MFA students. These funds will ensure that many of the students currently supported on GTF funding in Spring 2020 will be able to enroll during the summer session and continue making academic progress, despite the challenges of the pandemic. Graduate students are also positively impacted by the approval of a permanent policy of waiver of GRE scores for University of Houston undergraduates applying to University of Houston masters programs, by the extension of the thesis and dissertation deadline to May 22 (check with your advisor for specific impacts on the timing of degree completion deadlines in your own situation), and the interim graduate grade policy. The graduate School maintains an updates page with very helpful information.
If you are an undergraduate considering the University of Houston for graduate school, please contact your advisor for more information or answers to any questions you might have.
If you have questions about summer enrollment, please contact our Academic Affairs and Student Success team or your academic advisor.
Access to technology
We are asking that all students for whom access to computers, internet, or other necessary technology and equipment is an issue to please report this information either to me, your advisors, or directly to your professors. We are very aware of the strain this puts on the access to technology, especially in cases in which the technology is not readily available.
Information and other resources for students
The University of Houston continues to expand its COVID-19 website; please continue to monitor the site for information, including answers to frequently asked questions. The FAQ page includes information on topics such as status of campus services; technology and access to computers and internet; refunds on housing, meal plans, and parking; and many others.
In the McGovern College of the Arts, we have also created a list of resources that I hope you find helpful. This page includes information on external financial resources for students, external local resources for artists and nonprofits (including the organizations with which many of our students are involved), and informational resources to inform better decision making (many of which we have been using in the college to make administrative decisions of our own). If you find that this list of resources could be expanded in order to make it more useful, please contact me directly.
Library continuity of services
We continue to maintain continuity of services in the libraries, including in the Music Library and the Architecture, Art, and Design Library. Music Library Coordinator Madelyn Washington also maintains a blog with very helpful information. Please note (as explained in the blog) the recent agreement with HathiTrust, a consortium of academic and research libraries that provides acces to digitized items. Cross-referencing HathiTrust digital holdings with University of Houston collections has determined that we now have access to 48% of University of Houston holdings, even with the physical library space closed--a remarkably high number by any standard. I hope you are able to take advantage of library resources during this time.
Update on fall instruction
We know that questions exist on the status of fall instruction. At this time there is not enough information on which to make a decision on fall instruction. We will continue to this information and make an additional assessment of where we stand at the end of the spring semester. At this time, fall is proceeding as scheduled, and I encourage everyone to look closely at fall enrollment options and to contact your academic advisor, as always, for further information. We will continue to deliver the instruction you need in the time that you need it.
Arts go virtual
We have worked to keep the arts at the forefront during this time of crisis by delivering virtual arts content that aids the health and mental well-being of everyone, including our students. I encourage you to take a break and have a look at the wonderful content that your colleagues from across the college are producing. See, for example, the 42nd Annual MFA Thesis Exhibition from the School of Art; the Moores Music @ Home series from the Moores School of Music; and #MuseumFromHome from our own Blaffer Art Museum.
And don't forget about contributing to #MyArtMyStory, on what the arts means to you during this challending time. We want to hear form you! Take a break, make a statement, and tag it online with #MyArtMyStory.
Plase let me know what questions you have, and I will continue to provide answers.