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Emergency Notification

From the Dean

November 9, 2020

Hourglass at sunsetNovember 2020

Dear Arts & Letter Community:

Happy November – and Veterans Day! While last week’s attention was suitably focused on election matters, the College also focused on its signature professional development event: Connect the Dots – Virtually!

This all-day event featured 24 College of Arts & Letters alumni across 12 panels facilitated by faculty and department chairs from across the College. Our alumni, most within one and five years of graduation, discussed their first steps along their professional pathways, and how they connected the dots between their classroom learning and their early career employment outcomes. Approximately 75 students participated. The event gave me the opportunity to again share the results of a study of 500 CEOs and hiring managers that clearly indicates that the disciplines in the College of Arts & Letters can lead to positive employment outcomes: the college learning outcomes that both audiences rate as most important include oral communication, critical thinking, ethical judgment, working effectively in teams, written communication, and real-world application of skills and knowledge.

It’s hard to believe there is only one month remaining of the Fall 2020 semester (December 12 is the last class day; exams finish by December 19). In our remote learning / teaching / working environment, I have found it is sometimes hard to keep track of time. Days, weeks, and even months seem to run together. We have lost some of our traditional time markers like “going back to campus” in August, or “going” to school or work during weekdays. As a consequence, it is more important than ever to develop good time management skills. If you don’t do so already, consider posting a weekly calendar over your workspace where you can mark out blocks of time to be present in class, work on homework, attend to your job, and also to exercise and relax. As we approach the end of the semester, there may be deadlines and due dates to pay attention to also…so add those in.

If you’re struggling not only with managing time, but also with managing stress, please take advantage of the services provided by Counseling and Psychological Services (for students) or the Employee Assistance Program. The last full-blown pandemic was in 1918 so it’s OK to feel completely “flabbergasted,” and to seek help when you need it. Please remember to get enough rest and take care of yourselves, in addition to studying and working.

On a positive note, I am happy to report that 108 College of Arts & Letters students received College scholarships this fall. These are scholarships that are in addition to those provided by the University, state, or federal aid. They are derived from endowments – larger gifts that generous alumni and friends of the College have made to support student learning in perpetuity. In addition to these scholarships, we were also able to distribute COVID emergency relief grants to 76 students in the Department of Television, Film, and Media thanks to a unique and timely gift from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Their generosity is greatly appreciated!

Please remember that the University is closed November 11 in observance of Veteran’s Day. To those who have served our country, Thank You! My own father was a veteran of World War II; his service was the formative experience of his life. There will be no classes November 23-25 and the University is closed November 26 and 27 in observance of the Thanksgiving holiday, a day when I reflect on the indigenous history of country and acknowledge the original stewards of our land.

With warm best wishes for the month,
Linda Essig
Dr. Linda Essig, Dean