April 17, 2020
McGovern College Students:
Here's an update for Friday, April 17, 2020:
Update on fall 2020 semester and delivery of instruction
Reiterating what was in my last update, at this moment there has been no decision on the format or any other matters regarding the fall 2020 semester. If you are aware of information stating that a decision has been made on the status of the fall semester, that information is false. The time remains too early to make an informed decision about the fall semester; we simply do not have enough information at this time, and the situation continues to evolve at a relatively rapid pace, for us to be able to make an informed decision. Any decision at this time would be premature and based on incomplete information.
I remain committed to not making a last-minute decision regarding the fall semester; but we are not there yet. I would instead like to focus now on addressing whatever needs you may have as we approach the end of the spring semester and the summer, as you consider the important topic of continuing to make progress toward your degrees. We are committed to providing the instruction you need in the time that you need it, so that your educational careers can continue without interruption at this most important time.
In that regard, remember that summer enrollment is now open. Undergraduate summer offerings have been expanded, and you might find this to be an ideal time to satisfy degree requirements---expecially CORE requirements. All mandatory fees except the extended access fee will be waived for all students enrolling in any number of summer credits; all mandatory fees of any kind (including the extended access fee) will be waived if you enroll for six or more credits. The interim undergraduate grade policy applies to all summer 2020 semesters. Graduate students have additional incentives to consider, including additional Graduate Tuition Fellowships for DMA and MFA students, waiver of GRE scores for University of Houston undergraduates applying to University of Houston masters programs, and the interim graduate grade policy. Visit the website of the Graduate School and navigate to COVID-19 updates for more information.
Health and wellness
Mental health and wellness continue to be priority concerns, as we recognize the enormous emotional and personal toll of the pandemic on our students. Counseling and Psychological Services on campus is providing a free workshop and discussion series, "Coogs Conquering Covid," or "C-3," helping students manage the emotional and other challenges brought by these unprecedented conditions. I encourage you to take advantage of the series, which offers sessions on anxiety, grief, relationship conflict, and other important topics.
Access to technology
Acess to the computer and internet equipment required to keep pace with remote instruction remains a priority. To address access to computers, the campus has initiated a laptop loaner program. A limited number of laptops are available for checkout for the duration of the spring semester. Due to the limited availability, UIT is prioritizing checkouts; students in need should complete a questionnaire that will determine priority order. Laptops will not be distributed on a first-come-first-serve basis but rather will be checked out to students who cannot provide their own computer resources, with priority for students who are close to graduation. For more information, visit the UIT website or contact the help desk at 713-743-1411 (via call or text) or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Again, take a break and have a look at the wonderful arts content that your colleagues from across the college are producing: 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 the Blaffer Art Museum are all online. #MyArtMyStory, on what the arts means to you during a time of physical distancing, has launched as well on the college's social media channels. Remember that we want to hear from you! Take a break, make a statement, and tag it online with #MyArtMyStory.
I repeat that these are extraordinary and stressful times. We can meet the challenges if we tackle them together. Protecting your health and well-being and ensuring that your education continues uninterrupted remain our highest priorities. I urge you to continue to consult the university’s COVID-19 website for additional resources, including access to Counseling and Psychological Services and a very helpful page with answers to many frequently asked questions.
Please let me know what additional questions you have, and I will continue to provide answers.