In this week’s edition of the award-winning Thursday Thoughts, above, Chancellor May and LeShelle offer tips for finals and answer a question about their favorite way to exercise. Plus, they have a brief discussion of the “wand” that Darth Vader wields in Star Wars. About that award: It’s an honorable mention from PR News in judging of digital and social media content that connects leadership with the community. Chancellor May and LeShelle thank all their viewers, as well as the Strategic Communications production team.
To the UC Davis Community:
If you would have asked me a few years ago how UC Davis would function during a global pandemic that required almost every aspect of the university to be rethought and reconfigured, I doubt I could have imagined our many successes 15 months into such a world-changing occurrence.
Yet here we are, with one week left in the spring quarter after an incredibly trying year. Our successes have been many, and I am grateful to you all for keeping UC Davis running in high gear.
Health and safety
As part of our ongoing support of the well-being of all Aggies, the Division of Student Affairs will significantly expand health and wellness programs for undergraduate and graduate students starting in fall 2021.
Mental health and self-care are more critical than ever, and feedback received from students and student leaders throughout this past year has been vital in helping develop bold, new programming that is responsive to the needs of our student community. Read the announcement to learn more about the expansion of counseling and psychiatry services as well as Campus Recreation programs.
Campus safety is also a top priority. Earlier this week, UC President Drake released a draft plan that “lays a foundation for transforming UC’s culture, policies and practices to achieve a vision of safety in which all members of the community feel equally welcomed, respected and protected from harm.” Look for the plan here, accompanied by a comment form. Feedback is requested by June 30.
As pandemic restrictions are lifted across the country and people prepare to return to workplaces and prepandemic activities, some are understandably anxious. Yesterday (June 3), UC Davis LIVE featured Professor Angela Drake, a clinical neuropsychologist at UC Davis Health, and Professor Kimberly Elsbach of the Graduate School of Management, discussing “Reentry Anxiety After the Pandemic.” The episode answers questions about the psychological issues around going back to the office and mingling with people again, how employers will react to those who want to keep working from home, and more generally, what does a “new normal” look like.
WorkLife and Healthy UC Davis
For our staff and faculty, I would like to call to your attention to two WorkLife webinars next week:
- “Your Headache Isn’t All in Your Head,” presented by headache medicine specialist Shweta Teckchandani, D.O., of the UC Davis Health Department of Neurology. Remote, 12:15-1:15 p.m. Wednesday (June 9).
- Building Resilience Series starts Thursday (June 10) with Overcoming Challenges, followed by two more programs the second Thursday of the next two months: Burnout (July 8) and Working Hard to Let Go (Aug. 12), all from noon to 1 p.m., all remote.
And don’t forget the wealth of programming offered through Healthy UC Davis for staff, faculty and students in Davis and Sacramento. Check out the calendar, jam-packed with Meditation, Gentle Yoga, Laughter Yoga, Tai Chi, Zumba and more.
Vice Chancellor for Research Prasant Mohapatra has advised that research operations on campus are steadily returning to pre-COVID-19 levels. Phase 4, the final stage of the Research Ramp-Up Plan, starts June 15, and there are no approvals needed from the Office of Research to reestablish operations. Unit chairs, deans and directors may mandate additional restrictions and approval requirements; and, as always, public health officials may require we change the status of the ramp-up process with short notice.
White House calls, we answer
This week President Joseph Biden announced the COVID-19 College Vaccine Challenge as part of a National Month of Action to boost the vaccination rate to 70 percent (at least one shot) by the Fourth of July.
We are among more than 200 colleges and universities across 43 states that have accepted the challenge so far. UC Davis already has done much to meet this challenge, on campus and off, through Healthy Davis Together.
We encourage our unvaccinated students and others to make their appointments through the state’s My Turn online system, or by calling My Turn, 833-422-4255. Vaccination in Davis is as close as the Activities and Recreation Center, and in Sacramento through UC Davis Health.
A reminder to students, faculty and staff who have been vaccinated: Remember, UC is considering a vaccine mandate starting in the fall, and, while this policy is still a proposal, you are invited now to voluntarily submit your vaccination information to the campus, by way of the Health-e-Messaging portal. You can submit your data (and upload an image of your CDC vaccination card) no matter where you received your vaccinations. Thank you.
Our biggest and final round of commencements starts Wednesday: School of Education (June 9-10), Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing (June 10), Graduate Studies (June 10-11), Graduate School of Management (June 11-12) and undergraduates (June 11-13). We are happy we could accommodate our students’ requests for in-person ceremonies (albeit of limited scale) and to also give students the option of virtual ceremonies.
Congratulations to all! You have worked hard, and we are proud to see you through to your degrees.
As you head off to your new lives, we will be taking a bit of a breather by distributing “Checking In With Chancellor May” on a monthly basis during the summer. My last weekly communication will be June 11. Of course, you’ll still be able to connect with me across all of my social media channels — and very soon, in person. Go Ags!
Gary S. May