We wanted to write to express our deep appreciation for the incredible efforts that you are making to support our students and maintain academic continuity under these trying circumstances. We recognize that everyone on campus — faculty, staff, and students — is navigating a public health crisis that is causing significant temporary changes in both daily life and campus practices. It is important in such circumstances that we take care of ourselves and each other as we navigate this temporary crisis.
But we also wanted to reassure you of our deep and ongoing commitment to UCLA as an in-person, residential research university. Although we are moving to remote instruction to help secure the health of the university, this is a temporary response to an immediate crisis. UCLA has a long tradition of bringing faculty and students together to pursue knowledge in classrooms, laboratories, libraries, and museums; to encourage the arts in performance spaces and studios; and to discover and disseminate new knowledge and techniques in clinics and hospitals. Moreover, we believe firmly that the residential setting allows for the informal creativity and sharing of ideas and arguments that help students, researchers, staff, and faculty thrive intellectually and personally.
We want to make one final point. UCLA faculty and staff have, for many years, been involved in exploring the possibilities of online teaching and learning. As those who have participated know, successfully mounting online courses takes a tremendous amount of labor, thought, and time. Our current online classes also have undergone rigorous Academic Senate review. Although we do not doubt the tremendous creativity of our faculty and graduate students, we want to assure everyone that we know that the remote courses that you will be offering this spring are not truly “online courses.” No one can expect you to master all of the various technologies, suddenly transition to sophisticated document delivery, or skillfully lead 500 people in a Zoom discussion without appropriate preparation. We are asking that you do your best in thinking of ways to offer your students your course materials in alternative modes under trying circumstances for all.
The campus has been working hard to provide you with support as you move your classes into remote modes. Please seek out the help you need, but please remember that this situation is uncharted territory for the staff who are trying to help you to provide the best education that you can in this moment.
UCLA is a remarkable institution filled with remarkably creative and talented people. We will get through the disruption of COVID-19. When we do, we are committed to returning to the teaching and learning that has made UCLA such a distinguished educational environment.
Emily A. Carter
Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost
Chair, UCLA Academic Senate