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April 20, 2020

As the end of a historic semester approaches, I want to tell you how very proud I am of how our faculty have responded to the greatest teaching challenge of our professional lives.

The abrupt shift to remote teaching required a heavy lift in a very short time. In a single week, our faculty, with help from the Division of Digital Learning, moved almost 6,000 face-to-face and blended sections to remote delivery. This transition occurred in the midst of personal struggles with family care, health concerns, working remotely and, for some, personal loss. Add to that the emotional labor of supporting struggling students, and it is a heavy load.

I am grateful for all that you’ve done and how you continue to support our students and one another.

This sudden change has not, of course, been seamless for faculty or for students. Collectively, our students are facing job loss, fear of illness and the future, and the switch to remote classes. For more students than we would like, this is a hard time. The same is true for our colleagues who work for UCF.

As the semester nears an end, I again ask that you treat your students and one another with compassion. Students with technology problems, illness, or anxiety may need your consideration to complete assignments or exams.

Please also take the online “Kognito At-Risk” training to learn more about how to help students at risk. Instructions are at https://hr.ucf.edu/files/Kognito-Course-Completion-Guide.pdf.

We have been offered a simple way to help our UCF colleagues in need: to donate sick leave hours (or annual leave hours for 12-month employees). Faculty collectively have over 1 million hours of sick leave. Please consider donating some of yours at https://www.ucf.edu/lp/knights-care-leave-share/#donating-leave. I have donated, and I hope you will too.

Thank you, and may you stay safe and well as we look to better days ahead.

Michael D. Johnson
Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs