March 27, 2020
This is an unprecedented time for our society and for all of us at UCF, both personally and professionally. We have asked a lot from you, and I am grateful for the way you have worked thoughtfully, creatively, and hard to help our students succeed. Thank you.
I am writing to give an update, but more importantly to acknowledge the critical need to care for our students and one another during these extraordinary circumstances.
This is a very difficult time for many of our students. They are frightened for their health and for their loved ones. Many have lost employment or are worried about how they can continue their education. Some are worried about housing and even finding sufficient food. Balancing family obligations with their education is even more difficult. Please have empathy and compassion for your students. Listen to their fears and concerns. Help them know of your sincere interest in their well-being, and encourage them as much as you can.
Many of us feel the same anxiety about health and loved ones, and for the future. On top of that, the emotional labor of responding to your students’ very real difficulties can take a toll. Please take good care of yourselves and your colleagues. Please let your chairs, deans, Faculty Excellence, and me know what you need. Email me if you need to talk. And if it can be helpful, please remember that you can take advantage of the Employee Assistance Program.
Those of you on the tenure track may freely ask for a tenure clock extension as a result of the turmoil caused by the pandemic. All requests will be granted.
Remote teaching will continue through the spring semester and into Summer A, C and D. A decision has not been made about Summer B. We have sought to alleviate student stress by giving students the option of choosing S/U grading this spring.
I hope that all of you know of the online resources available, such as the Keeping Teaching website for faculty and the Keep Learning website for students, to help. We have also created a Faculty Toolkit with FAQs and other resources. For the most up-to-date information about the coronavirus developments at UCF, along with more general FAQs for employees, see the UCF Coronavirus website.
We are confronted by extraordinary challenges. More are likely to develop. But I have been lifted up by the response of our faculty and staff these past two weeks. I do believe that, working together, we will continue to hold one another close and serve our students well.
Please stay safe.
Michael D. Johnson
Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs