Dear Michigan Engineering Community:
I hope you all are doing well and are finding ways to manage in this situation. We have now come upon a month since the University moved classes online, and we began to transition to remote operations. On Thursday, Governor Gretchen Whitmer extended Michigan’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order to 30 April.
Although we may all be sheltering in our homes to flatten the curve and reduce the spread of COVID-19, I know full well that we have not been idle. Teams around the College, the University and the entire community have been working tirelessly on multiple fronts to tackle the challenges presented by this global pandemic, head-on.
Research and Education Innovations
Our engineering researchers have been collaborating with Michigan Medicine and others around the globe through our Rapid Response Team, responding to the call to identify and create potential solutions to protect our front-line workers – and ultimately beat COVID-19.
Michigan also has joined our colleagues at engineering schools and colleges around the nation in “Engineering for COVID,” a collaboration of top schools/colleges taking daring and quick action. Meanwhile, faculty members, students, postdocs and staff are persevering on ongoing research projects under challenging remote circumstances, in order to continue to provide scientific and technological leadership.
Our faculty have adapted rapidly to online delivery of education, and our students have shown resiliency in their ability to stay on track, offering feedback along the way. Nexus, the College’s hub for online learning, remains available to help all engineering faculty members design their upcoming courses for remote delivery.
Our staff have been working around the clock – telling the stories of work being done, reaching out to current and admitted students, ensuring the safety of individuals and facilities, and sharing both virtual and physical resources – to ensure our entire community is being supported.
Dozens of staffers have stepped up to join our first “Victory Garden” projects, volunteering to do work not usually in their job duties to serve areas of high need, or donating blood to serve the common good. Volunteers are needed for new projects being added. If you have projects that could use assistance, please log those here and the Victory Garden team will work quickly to get you assistance.
Planning for the Future
In early March, a structure was put in place at the College to tackle implications of the pandemic on numerous fronts. COVID Action Teams have been reacting to urgent needs, and planning for the future in areas such as continuity of education and operations, community care, communications, research, and department administration. The College’s COVID website houses much of the information and results of those teams’ work.
My office is working closely with each of these action teams, the Provost’s and President’s offices, and deans across the University, to respond to emerging needs and anticipate future concerns. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to provide that feedback in this form.
Staying True to Our Values
Finally, I want to emphasize the importance of living our values in this time. I have seen examples of our leadership and innovation every single day of this crisis. I have also witnessed incredible collaboration, collegiality and daring.
Despite uncertainty and fear, we must keep our core values, and our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, in our hearts. We have heard of despicable acts of discrimination or hate emerging across the country against people of Asian heritage. This behavior is absolutely unacceptable, and we must not tolerate any of it in our community. If you are witness or subject to any discriminatory behaviors, I urge you to report them to the Campus Climate Support team immediately.
As we stand together to fight a virus that is ruthless and indiscriminate, I am relying on each and every student, staff and faculty member to hold true to our mission to serve the common good. I have no doubt we will do so.
Stay safe, and stay well,