rain (and change) is coming!

Bill Maurer
Friday January 22 14:25:03 PDT 2021

    Dear social sciences faculty, lecturers, staff, grad students and

    Greetings for the end of Week 3, a week when we collectively turned
    a page or two. From the inauguration to the beginning of vaccinations
    for members of the campus community over age 65, there's change in
    the air (and it might rain, too -- always a welcome thing in our
    part of the world). We still need to practice physical distancing
    and wear face coverings, and we'll still be telecommuting and
    teaching remotely for a while, but it is not unreasonable now to
    start imagining a Fall quarter when many of us can return to campus,
    albeit in a different way than before the pandemic.

    At the School level, we are planning for what the post-pandemic
    life will look like. Bill Branch, chair of economics, is heading
    up a committee tasked with re-imagining how we will most efficiently
    use our physical spaces. Ramesh Srinivasan, chair of cog sci, is
    working with a group of colleagues to chart out best practices for
    teaching, now that we have had the experience of remote instruction
    and can more intentionally chart what the future of our teaching
    might be, all the while preserving excellence and enhancing access.
    Holly Hapke, director of research development, has been keeping a
    close watch on Washington, and will be hosting a forum soon on
    changing research funding priorities with the new administration.
    Stay tuned for details.

    And speaking of Washington, there will be a sociologist in the White
    House: Alondra Nelson, director of the Social Science Research
    Council and a close colleague to some of us, has been appointed
    Deputy Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology
    Policy. Her specific title bodes well for the future of the social
    and behavioral sciences impacting policy: she'll be "Deputy Director
    for Science and Society." Her own research on race and health and
    her personal and professional commitments to diversity and inclusion
    mean that that office will be newly attuned to issues of equity.

    Meanwhile, despite the budget crunch, several departments are engaged
    in recruiting new colleagues, and we've already successfully signed
    two new members who will enhance the diversity of the faculty, with
    offers out to several others. Thanks to everyone involved in faculty
    searches for your fantastic work.

    We've also set up a new way for staff to maintain connections to
    each other, so that we can all stay in touch even though we're
    (still) apart. And we've got a full schedule of events, colloquia,
    workshops and more. Coming up soon: the annual Chancellor's visit
    to the school (please do send in questions or be ready to post them
    in the chat during the zoom); Lunar New Year; and a virtual "Stay
    At Homecoming" for our alums.

    As always, please send upcoming events to Allison Marks for our
    weekly memo.

    I know that this is just grinding on and on, and there are times
    when we can be just tired of, well, pretty much everything. Please
    do not suffer alone and in silence! If you need help with your
    classes, please reach out to Janet DiVincenzo or our faculty remote
    instruction coaches; if you need tech support, Andy Hill and his
    terrific team are always at the ready; if you need a shoulder to
    cry on, reach out! Hope's around the corner (at the end of a
    still-too-long street, I know, but it's there!).

    Stay safe, and let's hope we can all have a little walk in the rain
    this weekend,