A message from UCI social sciences dean Bill Maurer
- March 23, 2020
- March 23, 2020
To our social sciences Anteater family,
Our thoughts are with you and your families during these unprecedented times as we cope with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. We want you to know that we are here for you and we care very much about you and the amazing community we all share - one that extends far beyond our traditional classes and Irvine campus grounds.
Our entire Anteater community is navigating rapid change and adjusting in real-time as we face challenges of economic instability, caring for loved ones, working and teaching from home, and a new normal that feels anything but.
But it is in times of great turbulence and trial that we have to remember - humanity perseveres. It's important that we continue to find the good, to highlight hope through helping and healing, to be the light in the darkness. A team of UCI researchers is already working on a COVID-19 therapeutic drug study. Backed by the National Institutes of Health, this clinical trial is considered the first that has possible efficacy and should be ready for patients soon. Other university work is underway to develop tests, treatments and vaccines to help us identify, contain and prevent pandemics. In social sciences, faculty are kickstarting new projects on halting the spread of disinformation about the pandemic, understanding how to rebuild trust, tracking public perception of COVID-19, developing policy proposals to stem hoarding of crucial supplies, and studying the shifting operations of Chinese firms in response to the pandemic, among many other projects.
Here at social sciences, the maverick spirit is alive, well and thriving in our students, faculty and staff. As our amazing and incredibly resilient students get settled in their off-campus locations and ready for spring instruction with our outstanding and rapidly learning faculty - who are developing engaging remote instructional tools by the hour - we wanted to update you on measures we're taking on campus, in social sciences and in our own lives to ensure the school's mission and well-being continues.
- Spring quarter will offer us all a new opportunity to experiment with remote technology including Canvas, YuJa, Zoom, Google Classroom, email and more as teaching, learning and working move remotely. Our faculty and staff have been working tirelessly around the clock to ensure our world-class instruction and operations continue at the level of quality we've all come to expect.
- We've launched remote.socsci.uci.edu, a site to help us all as we adapt to our new remote environment. Check it out for information on how faculty, students and staff are teaming together to share resources, tips and tricks for navigating online spaces, creative places and remote faces.
- Previously planned programs for our community - talks, events and other activities - are being re-imagined for interactive remote delivery and curated for those of us who are now outside the Pacific time zone. We're launching a spring lecture series delivered via Zoom on timely topics including misinformation in the age of COVID-19, a brief history of pandemics and how public health recovers, and ways interactive tools keep us all connected. Stay tuned for announcement of our "Zot Zeries" and more ways that you can stay connected with the critical thought leadership in the school and beyond.
- In social sciences, we're also adapting and retooling our research. Faculty and grad students are reimagining how they can do social and behavioral science research - and remember, we study humans, in societies, who are usually operating together in physically proximate groups. For some, their work already involved computational techniques, and so it just moves from the office to their home workstations. For others, it involved interacting with people - but we're all now learning how to do that via our screens and phones. Still others were already on the track of exploring human (and machine) interaction in crisis environments.
- UCI is keeping the Anteater community in the know about COVID-19 updates that impact campus. Stay in the loop via uci.edu/coronavirus.
We remain committed to pushing the boundaries of research as we provide structure
for scientific breakthroughs and teaching and service that creates positive change
in societies, economies, and for human well-being. We also find comfort in the curative
qualities of our uniquely California canvas - one that's emboldened generations of
mold breakers to make waves, to reach higher, to step up, and make a difference. As
we continue tackling some of the heaviest topics, the awe-inspiring natural backdrop
of our Golden State landscape becomes an ever more important fiber in our collective
Together, we will find our footing amid the crisis and chaos brought on by COVID-19 and we must remember the beauty that can be found if we just take a moment, breathe, and walk outside.
Keep with us; we will weather this storm, and - together - we will create a more brilliant future.
Bill Maurer, Dean