Dear students, faculty, staff, and alumni:
None of us guessed that the semester would take us down the path it did. I speak for all of us, I believe, in expressing a desire to return to normal patterns. I look forward to seeing you on campus. I write during final exam week, not to give you another reading assignment, but to express my admiration of all that you have been doing. From the heart: thank you.
The spring semester brought significant other changes: my transition to interim president and the appointment of Tarek Sobh as the interim provost, to name a few. Tarek and I are grateful for the hundreds of kind emails and letters of support that we have received. We are committed to working with each of you on behalf of this institution.
Over the past several weeks, I have been a part of good conversations with faculty, staff, students, and alumni about their concerns and hopes for the future. I am grateful for the contributions of students, in particular Myranda Burkit ’21 and Kevin Cano ’21, who serve as members of the Presidential Task Force. At the task force’s last meeting, they spoke about the challenge students face working in the new online environment. To our students, please know that we are listening and taking steps to assist. A recent example is the updated pass/fail policy that expands options to apply pass/fail credit to non-major courses in the spring semester.
In our continued response to the coronavirus pandemic, summer session one and two will be held via distance learning. We remain hopeful that clinical experiences might be held on campus by session two. As we embark upon another semester of online instruction, I welcome suggestions and feedback about how we can improve the student experience. A survey has been administered, seeking information about how we can do better. Please share additional thoughts with me at email@example.com.
As you know, the May 2020 commencement ceremony will be held virtually. All three colleges will be a part of this experience to be held on May 16, 2020 at 10 a.m. Though we cannot be on campus, the day will mark this important moment for our students. Students who were pre-certified for graduation should continue to check their UB email accounts and the commencement website for additional information.
For many faculty across the institution, the coronavirus did not stop their commitment to research in addition to their teaching and instructional responsibilities. A few examples will illustrate this.
- There are 41 active projects taking place in the College of Health Sciences, studying the impact of e-cigarette use, mental health outcomes in traumatic brain injury, to name a few.
- Ruba Deeb, PhD, is conducting research on the development of an epithelial tissue injury and repair model that is relevant to chronic inflammation and cellular pathology of airway diseases.
- Kathleen Engelmann, PhD, is developing dandelions (Taraxicum officinalis) as a model system for studying nutrient transfer via mycorrhizal fungi.
- Elif Kongar, PhD, had two academic papers accepted for conference presentations this spring, “Retail Social Media Usage and Ramification to Business Performance: A Comparative Analytical Study” and “A Comparison of Machine Learning Methods In Multi-Class Text Classification.”
- Mark Pitcher, PhD, is conducting collaborative research between the College of Health Sciences and College of Engineering, Business, & Education. His work focuses mainly on the epidemiology of High Impact Chronic Pain, complementary and integrative approaches for chronic pain, and epidemiology of opioid abuse in Connecticut.
I am inspired by your dedication as you continue pursuing your studies, engaging in teaching and research, and supporting the daily efforts of our common work. Stay in touch.