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Office of the Provost

Provost Communication

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All Faculty

January 29, 2021

Dear faculty colleagues,

I last wrote to you just before Winter Break. Since then, we have: begun the Spring 2021 term; witnessed the making of history when the U.S. Capitol was invaded and the House of Representatives impeached the 45th President for the second time; watched the televised pandemic inauguration of the 46th President; learned that, even as highly-effective vaccines begin to rollout to specific populations, scientists have identified three mutations of the coronavirus - all of which are now present in the U.S.; and mourned the reported death of the 400,000th victim of Covid in our country. It is the effects of the pandemic on you and our students about which I write to you now.

Recently, you have received emails and messages in the Osprey Update urging you to take advantage of the Covid testing options at UNF, and I would like to add my voice. Covid testing for the UNF community is important, free, and available on a walk-in basis at the Osprey Landing, Building W outside Room 106, on Mondays from noon to 3 p.m., and Tuesdays through Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. You can find a map and the UNF Covid-19 Consent Form on the Testing on Campus webpage. Testing is mandatory for students returning to assigned on-campus housing and strongly encouraged for our faculty and staff. If you missed the announcement, we are fortunate that the university has been provided a number of vaccine doses for our UNF community who are 65 and older beginning February 2. More information is located on the Coronavirus Updates webpage. We want to do everything possible, including masking, safe distancing, hand washing, screening, testing, and vaccinating to ensure that our beautiful campus is safe - and so are you.

Covid fatigue is real. Many of us are finding it difficult to achieve a work-life balance, have mixed feelings about near-constant Zooming and the need to rely upon remote technologies, and are concerned about the future. Empathy and self-care are ever more important, and I encourage you to reach out to each other, your department chair, the Office of Faculty Enhancement (OFE), the faculty ombudspersons, or me if you need support. As faculty, four weeks into the Spring semester we are also keenly aware that our students are experiencing Covid fatigue as well. They need not only our empathy but our active support.

Please watch your students' attendance - is someone ghosting? Reach out to them! Build early and ongoing assessment and feedback mechanisms into your curriculum to identify students who may be struggling academically. Reach out to them too. UNF has a unique reputation for close communication and collaboration between faculty and students. Don't underestimate your influence and ability to positively affect the college experience of many UNF students.

Beyond the role of professors and instructors, UNF also offers critical interventions to encourage student success, including the Dean of Students' Supporting Our Students (SOS) Program and Undergraduate Studies' wide array of Student Academic Success Services (SASS). You can learn more about these services and hear from students and faculty, including Katherine Hooper (Psychology), Jason Haraldsen (Physics), Quincy Gibson (Biology), Nathan Kunz (Management), and Oliver Schnusenberg (Accounting and Finance), who engage with them at the OFE event scheduled for Friday, February 12 from 1:00 to 2:00: "What Faculty Should Know about SASS." Of course, academic struggles may be evidence of deeper personal issues as well. Consider referring those students to the UNF Counseling Center - or submitting a student referral.

As always, I see and am humbled by the dedication, innovation, and commitment demonstrated day after day by our faculty across all colleges and in every department. Thank you.

 

Warmly,

dr. patterson signature

Karen