Dear graduate students,
I hope this note finds you and your families healthy and secure despite the unprecedented challenges we’ve endured over the course of the past month. Like many of you, I am working remotely, and the solitude has provided me with time to reflect on the resilience, strength, and character of the various members of our community, especially our graduate students.
Given the unusual events that have taken place over the past weeks, it’s likely that you’re unaware of the special significance this week has in our community. Yesterday marked the first day of the 17th annual National Graduate and Professional Student Appreciation Week (NGPSAW). Started in 1993 by the National Association of Graduate-Professional Students, this week is meant to emphasize the contributions, impact, and value of graduate and professional students on campuses throughout the United States.
Until recently, the Graduate Student Association and Graduate Studies were planning to host a week-long NGPSAW celebration, featuring events and social opportunities throughout the week. Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic and resulting suspension of operations made it impossible to proceed with the celebration as planned. Though this year’s festivities have been canceled, I want to express my sincere appreciation for each and every one of the over 5,000 graduate students at UC Davis, especially during these trying times.
As we continue to adapt to this challenging environment, my staff and I are keenly aware of the many disruptions, uncertainties, and difficulties that you’re all facing. Many of you are juggling parenting or caretaking responsibilities while working from home. Others may be adapting to new modes of teaching delivery or potentially impacted by the ramp-down of research activities. It doesn’t escape me that many of the changes you’ve been asked to make in the name of public health may necessitate significant inconvenience and personal sacrifice. Though we don’t have all the answers, my staff and I are committed to helping where we can.
As I mentioned in my March 18 letter, your health, the health of your family, and public health come first. Know that Graduate Studies and our academic partners hold fast in their unwavering commitment to your health and well-being. We continue to update our Coronavirus Guidance Page for graduate students and postdoctoral scholars, and we’re working closely with programs to ensure that academic concerns are addressed with the utmost flexibility and compassion.
We are currently in unfamiliar terrain, and the onslaught of stressors may result in a need for additional emotional support. As information about the coronavirus unfolds, there can be a wide range of thoughts, feelings and reactions. Student Health and Counseling Services (including the Medical Services, Pharmacy, and Counseling Services) remains open for students, and has released a guide on managing fear and anxiety around coronavirus. There is no shame in seeking additional help. Individuals who feel an overwhelming worry or anxiety should seek additional professional mental health support through Student Health and Counseling Services.
As always, the Graduate Studies staff and I stand ready to assist you in any way that we can. If you need help with an issue related to your graduate education, please don’t hesitate to call upon us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Allow me to conclude this letter by echoing Chancellor May’s sentiment, “We may not all be together, but we are in this together.” Take care of yourselves and each other.
Vice Provost and Dean, Graduate Studies
About Graduate Studies
Graduate Studies at UC Davis includes over 100 dynamic degree programs and a diverse and interactive student body from around the world. Known for our state-of-the-art research facilities, productive laboratories and progressive spirit – UC Davis offers collaborative and interdisciplinary curricula through graduate groups and designated emphasis options, bringing students and faculty of different academic disciplines together to address real-world challenges.
UC Davis graduate students and postdoctoral scholars become leaders in their fields: researchers, teachers, politicians, mentors and entrepreneurs. They go on to guide, define and impact change within our global community.
For information on Graduate Studies’ current strategic initiatives, visit the Graduate Studies strategic plan page.