In Thursday Thoughts, above, Chancellor May and LeShelle respond to a question about their retirement plans. Her answer involves a place with a beach; his answer involves paying for a place with a beach. Plus, learn about LeShelle’s Cuban heritage.
To the UC Davis Community:
As we head into the long weekend, it’s a good time for reflection. Memorial Day reminds us of the sacrifice made by so many people on behalf of our country. For the second year in a row, UC Davis’ Memorial Day Ceremony was canceled due to COVID-19. However, I encourage you to read our story and watch a video tribute organized by the Memorial Day Committee and edited by student intern Christopher Selvo. You can also visit the Golden Memory Book online to learn about the 136 Gold Star Aggies who died in service to our country.
Also, don’t forget about holiday closures on Monday. That includes most campus facilities and the COVID-19 testing kiosk in the ARC.
We had another reason to reflect this week. It was just over a year ago that George Floyd was murdered by police in Minneapolis. His death was the impetus for many people across the country to protest against racism and injustice and to work toward necessary and lasting change. I encourage you to read about the many steps UC Davis has taken in the past year to advance diversity, equity and inclusion. Read the Dateline article. All of this supports our strategic goal to make UC Davis a model for diversity and inclusion.
I’m proud that both of our campuses were among Forbes’ 2021 list of “America’s Best Employers for Diversity.” This is the third year in a row UC Davis Health was recognized and the second for UC Davis. UC Davis Health moved up in ranking significantly, from No. 101 in 2020 to No. 59 this year. This recognition shows that all of our hard work to advance diversity, equity and inclusion is paying off.
The Academic Senate has approved flexibility for final exams and student grading modes in summer sessions. This includes waiving a requirement for final exams in undergraduate courses. Instructors will have flexibility to explore alternative assessment methods that demonstrate comprehensive understanding of course materials.
Passed/Not Passed (P/NP) and Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U) grading will have extended deadlines and unit exceptions. Learn more about the specific details on the Academic Senate’s COVID-19 webpage. Additional instructional and advising guidance for students is available on the Campus Ready student FAQ webpage.
In line with the return to in-person instruction, the Academic Senate has announced a return to normal academic policies in fall 2021. Should circumstances warrant revisiting flexibilities for fall 2021, the Academic Senate will do so.
Our fall plans continue to take shape. I hope you saw yesterday’s fall 2021 campus planning update from Provost Croughan. It includes details about UC’s proposed mandated vaccination policy, how to request a medical or ADA accommodation, travel recommendations, a timeline for return to campus for staff, and more.
I know many of you have been wondering if we will continue to require testing and other COVID-19 protocols when we return to campus in the fall. Provost Croughan reports that we anticipate vaccinated individuals will not be required to take weekly COVID-19 asymptomatic tests. However, those who are not fully vaccinated will be required to undergo asymptomatic testing up to two times per week. By late June, we also anticipate some loosening of requirements for visiting scholars, prospective students, parents and others accessing campus programs and events.
Students should note that there will be very limited remote course offerings. If circumstances related to COVID-19 impact a student’s ability to attend class in person, taking a leave of absence for fall is an option. Flexibility for the Planned Educational Leave Program has been extended to fall 2021. Read the full update for all the details.
Even a global pandemic can’t dampen the enthusiasm of our 2021 graduates getting ready to go out and do some good in the world. Here are the virtual and/or limited-scale, in-person ceremonies still to come: School of Education, Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing and Graduate Studies, June 9-10; undergraduates, June 11-13; and Graduate School of Management, June 12. Visit the commencement website for more information and updates. Plus, our popular Grad Cap Contest (which includes face coverings this year) is underway and runs through June 14. Graduating students can enter their designs for a chance to win here.
I’m always looking for new ways to connect with this incredible campus community — and to highlight the excellent work of our students, faculty and staff. Recently, I had a great conversation with UC Davis’ award-winning women’s basketball coach, Jennifer Gross. Watch it on Face to Face With Chancellor May. I also encourage you to check out my visit to the ASUCD Bike Barn in a special edition of That May Be the Chancellor.
Finally, as we look forward to the summer months and a return to in-person instruction in the fall, “Checking In With Chancellor May” will be moving to a monthly schedule. 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