Dean Gallimore – We’ll get through this together

Dear CoE Community:

It’s been two weeks since our university took the necessary yet unprecedented safety measures of putting our academic institution entirely online. A lot has happened, and no doubt there is more to come. But rather than delve into more news about the changes, I want to take a moment to pause, and ask each of you to take a moment for yourselves. 

Although engineers may make robots, we are not ourselves robots. We are all human beings, and our lives have been upended by these events. This is no small matter, and not to be treated as such. 

Please take care of yourselves, and reach out to care for others. Many of you in our community have stepped up to be leaders and voices of equity and compassion during this time. Thank you for helping to shift our resources in ways that support all of us, not just some of us. I’ve heard stories of research groups meeting virtually and then enjoying a party game together before signing off. Do more of that. We need to care for each other to stay charged and motivated to take care of the complex and dire problems facing the world. 

For all of us employed at the University, both as faculty and staff, I want to thank you for your tireless efforts to bring together communication, websites, programs, funds, online classes, meetings and committees. It’s amazing what you’ve accomplished in just 14 days. 

To our students – some of you in particular have faced unexpected moves, a fast departure from friends and jobs, and disappointing news from internships and companies that are also struggling to adapt. As graduate students, you may have had to present your dissertation, years in the making, via your laptops, or pause your research unexpectedly. Hearing your voices and stories reminds me why what we do is so important. This video shares some of those stories and how many of you are coping.

I’ll be honest with you – there are very serious and challenging moments ahead of us as a community, and an institution. But your resilience in the face of adversity is nothing short of admirable.  If you’d like to share how you’re doing, to both comfort and inspire others, you can use #UMichEnginAtHome. We all adapt differently, but we will all adapt together. 

Stay home and stay well,

Dean Gallimore