April 27, 2020
To: Faculty, staff, students and parents
April 25, 2020
Dear Campus Community,
The work of UC Merced continues, in person and remotely, and I want to both thank you all again for the great effort you have put in to continue our mission and remind you that what we are doing now is not “the new normal.” We are exploring every day how and when it will be possible to safely restore operations for students, faculty and staff to fully experience a University of California education and culture.
As Gov. Newsom reminds us, what we must decide on is not a date, but a set of indicators. The work of the institution is important, but more important is the well-being of all of us in the UC Merced community. This means that the most important traits we can model are patience and hope. COVID-19 has not been easy for any of us, and a good part of the difficulty has been not knowing for certain when things will improve. So I thank you again for the patience that I myself have struggled with — moving quickly or arbitrarily is not a responsible path.
As of April 24, Merced County has reported 102 positive COVID-19 cases, half of whom have recovered. We have heard of no positive tests within the UC Merced community in several weeks, and those few of whom we were aware are on the mend.
In the past week, we have discussed changes to the employee performance review process for this year , and I hope you had the chance to read about the tremendous work of your colleagues in the spring edition of Inside UC Merced ; I call your attention particularly to the opportunities it offers for volunteering to help your community. I hope as well that you have enjoyed the new Interactive Virtual Campus Tour that highlights new and older facilities, faculty research and special benefactors of UC Merced; this is a wonderful resource for so many of us to share with potential students and colleagues as well as all those who want to learn more about the university.
I’d like to remind you once more of the virtual commencement ceremony on May 16, and encourage you to ask all graduating students to submit photos, videos and messages to share at the ceremony.
Media have featured the research and expertise of UC Merced faculty on a number of COVID and non-COVID topics:
- Zulema Valdez, associate vice provost for faculty, discusses how universities can recruit and retain diverse colleagues during the pandemic: Diverse Issues in Higher Education
- Psychological Sciences Professor Jennifer Howell talks about the effects of our calendars reminding us of all the events canceled during the crisis: Washington Post , Seattle Times , Daily Herald
- Professor Katrina Hoyer of quantitative and systems biology explains her motivation for studying Valley fever: Science Friday
- Christina Lux, associate director of the Center for the Humanities, published the poem “Passover Palms” in the new Community in Poetry section of the Merced County Times .
Finally, today is Bobcat Day — the time when so many admitted students and their families come to campus each year to learn more about UC Merced and the amazing education that awaits them. This year, it is a virtual celebration, and already 1,000 people have registered to join online for a special day being put together by the hardworking teams in the Division of Student Affairs.
Please remember to take care of yourselves and your loved ones, and remember that even apart, we are better together.
This is an important message from UC Merced. Please share with colleagues who may not have ready access to email. If you require a Spanish translation, please email firstname.lastname@example.org .