Dear Faculty: As midterms are fast approaching and spring registration is just a few weeks away, it is a good time to connect with your students and advisees to ensure they are fully engaging in the material and are thinking about their plans for spring semester. Remember, students look to faculty for guidance and advice on not only course selection but opportunities for internships, research, and career planning. To this day I am thankful for the faculty support and advice I received throughout my undergraduate experience.
This week, I am writing again to share some important information that I hope will be helpful to you.
- At a recent Teams Live session for students and families, we heard about feelings of isolation. Please continue to do all that you can to create opportunities for connection within class. If you have a few moments at the end of class, remind your students to check out UVM Bored for virtual and in-person things to do. There’s also a great post by our students on the UVM Bored blog about how to make friends in a pandemic – it's worth sharing.
- Our first-year students need to download Navigate to ensure that they receive important academic information, and NearPeer to make social connections with students with similar interests. Navigate is available on the App Store or the Google Play Store. NearPeer is available at NearPeer.net. If you teach a class with a significant first-year enrollment, please encourage you students to download both of these apps.
- Please make sure your on-campus advisees and students in your on-campus classes are aware of the study spaces we’ve created for their use. These include:
- Waterman Manor
- Howe Library and Dana Medical Library
- Multipurpose Center/Indoor Tennis Court
- Davis Center Green Tent
- University Heights Oval Tent
- Fleming Green Tent
- Interested in trying appointment campaigns in Navigate to facilitate easy scheduling of registration advising appointments? Appointment Campaigns allow faculty and staff to email specific populations (such as advisees) and invite them to schedule appointments in a designated window of time. This chance to connect with and support our students is especially important this semester. Training and support for faculty using advising campaigns has been expanded, with more information available on the Navigate for Advisors website. The site includes: (1) how-to guides for appointment campaign implementation, (2) a video tutorial, and (3) Teams links for drop-in help hours. Information about campaigns can also be found within the Navigate FAQ list here. Advisors can also reach out to the Navigate User Support Teamfor support. The best window for a campaign begins after the schedule of courses is published October 26, and runs through the week of registration itself: October 28 – November 20.
- Priority registration at a reduced rate is open until October 21 for the Spring 2021 intensive 12-week Faculty Success Program offered by the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity. Please discuss with your mentor, chair, or dean how participation in this program can benefit your professional development. Please also share this information with your graduate students and post-docs.
- The Center for Teaching and Learning and the Center for Cultural Pluralism are co-sponsoring “Teaching in Tumultuous Times: A Faculty Panel” on October 28 from 1:30 pm - 3:00 pm. It’s not always clear how faculty should navigate teaching in the midst of tumultuous events such as the pandemic, the election, police violence, and social justice protests. Professors Pablo Bose, Rachael Montesano, Jane Okech, and Cynthia Reyes will share strategies to address diverse student perspectives, to create the conditions that foster discussion, and to facilitate those discussions. For more information and to register: https://www.uvm.edu/ctl/event/teaching-in-tumultuous-times/
- UVM has added more flu shot clinic dates for faculty and staff in the months of October and November. These will be held on campus and administered by professionals from our local CVS pharmacy. Flu Shots are by appointment only and are available from 8:30 am –5:00 pm on October 19, 21, 29 and November 2, 4, and 5. Visit the Employee Wellness website to register for a flu shot appointment Register for Flu Shot. If you do not take advantage of UVM flu shot events, please be sure to get a flu shot from your local health care provider or pharmacy. The cost of a flu shot is 100% covered by the UVM medical plan. For more reasons to get a flu shot, visit Four Reasons to Get Your Flu Shot This Year. Students can receive a flu shot at the Davis Center testing site.
- You can find detailed information on COVID-19 tests administered and results on the Weekly Testing Report. Last week’s student tests were running at a more than 99.99% negativity rate. Faculty and staff who are participating in testing voluntarily had a 100% negativity rate. In my weekly briefings with the Governor’s Office and the Vermont Department of Health, it has become clear that travel outside of Vermont is the most frequently cited reason by contact tracers for positive COVID-19 tests. Please be mindful of out of state travel and limit your travel to emergencies if at all possible. This is a message that we have been sending to our students as well.
Autumn has always been a favorite season of mine and although all seasons have their special beauty, watching the leaves change colors in Vermont is a gift we are fortunate to experience each year. The fiery brilliance of the reds, yellows and golds is quite something to see. I hope you have taken a moment to enjoy the colors this fall. It is nice distraction from the screen time and isolation so many of us having been experiencing these past several months.