Message From the Dean
Sharon James McGee, Ph.D.
March 20, 2020
Dear Graduate Students,
As you read in Dr. Noland’s message to campus, events this week around the US and also in Northeast Tennessee have led East Tennessee State University to significantly limit the number of people on the ETSU campus and VA site beginning Friday, March 20, 2020.
Effective immediately, students who are conducting primary laboratory research must
- Begin to bring all research to a stopping point.
- Not begin any new experiments or projects.
- Contact your graduate mentor about what needs to be done and how to address any research impact.
Graduate students, including Graduate Assistants, will not be allowed in labs after Tuesday, March 24.
Graduate Assistants should not be working on campus to support administrative, research, or teaching activities. As is possible, work with your mentor to transition your work online.
This decision has not been made lightly: We realize that reducing research activity could impact your progress. However, we feel it is imperative that the ETSU community do what it can to help flatten the curve for COVID-19 exposure and keep our students, faculty, and staff safe.
Please be in touch with your graduate research mentor about what you can do during this time (such as analyze data already gathered, update your lab files/notebook, or conduct a review of literature).
Questions related to research can be addressed to your graduate advisor or Dr. William Duncan (duncanw), Vice Provost for Research.
Yours in Social Distancing,
Dr. McGee Sharon James McGee, PhD
Dean, School of Graduate Studies
Professor, Department of Literature and Language
Previous Weekly Youtube Updates
March 28, 2020
March 13, 2020
Dear Graduate Students,
As you most likely know, President Noland announced yesterday that ETSU will move to remote/online instruction from March 23 to at least April 9. Moving to remote instruction allows the University community to follow CDC recommendations for social distancing in an effort to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
Know that the School of Graduate Studies has been working closely with graduate coordinators, academic deans, the Provost, and other campus units. I want to provide you with some information that may ease concerns you have.
University offices will remain open during normal business hours at this time. Graduate Studies staff will be available from 8:00 am-4:30 pm Monday-Fridays to assist you, as will other offices like Financial Aid, Sherrod Library, etc.
ETSU is committed to your continued academic progress, which is why, as possible, learning will be moving online. ETSU graduate students conduct research and engage in scholarship and creative activities using myriad methods and methodologies. For students who utilize secondary sources, access to the library and databases can continue from off-campus with minimal disruption. For those who are conducting primary laboratory or field research (especially person-based research), access to labs, clinics, and field sites could be an issue. Your graduate coordinators, department chairs, and college deans are coordinating with these sites and with the appropriate accreditation and licensing organizations to address any concerns. Please bring any questions about these issues to your graduate coordinator.
Some of you may be concerned about moving to online instruction. Your faculty will be working to maintain academic integrity and engage in best practices. If you have questions about the technology being used, please utilize the Information Technology website and Help Desk.
If you have planned to defend your thesis/dissertation this spring, I encourage you to continue making progress toward a spring defense. Graduate coordinators know that oral defenses can continue either face-to-face (for small groups and if everyone is comfortable doing so) or via Zoom. At this time, the deadlines remain unchanged for defenses (last day to defend is March 30) and manuscript deposit (last day to deposit is April 6), and that is because we have deadlines related to graduation.
Programs that deliver in-person comprehensive exams are planning for alternative testing formats.
GRADUATE ASSISTANTSHIP/TUITION SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENTS HOURS AND RESPONSIBILITIES
While there is not a one-size-fits-all approach to GA and TS hours, these are general principles that we will be following:
- GAs/TSs should continue, as possible, their usual activities.
- President Noland indicated that Graduate Assistant and Tuition Scholarship contracts will be honored, that is, they will be paid and there will be no changes to your tuition.
- GAs/TSs who are helping a faculty member with secondary research can do so remotely. You and your faculty member will need to stay in routine contact and you will be responsible for fulfilling your obligations.
- GAs/TSs who have full teaching responsibilities or who conduct break-out or other learning support for a course should be working with a faculty member or mentor to understand the plan for moving classes online and receive the training you need to do their jobs competently. ETSU’s Center for Teaching Excellence and Information Technology offer useful resources to help you.
- GAs/TSs who have responsibilities for laboratories, studio spaces, animal care, or who work in an administrative unit (like CPA) should receive instructions from your direct supervisor as to what will be expected from you and your responsibilities during this time.
This can be a frightening time. Social distancing can have a psychological impact. Please know that we are here to help you. The Graduate Student Success Specialists will still be working in-person and via phone call/web conference/email to support you.
The BucsCARE website is meant to be a resource for students and for student referral. BucsCARE includes the most referenced offices and campus resources in various categories. This page includes a link to ETSU’s “Need Help?” site which includes a comprehensive listing to other resources by topic area. https://www.etsu.edu/bucscare/ The website also offers an opportunity to submit a “Care Report” to request assistance for others or yourself.
If you or a graduate student colleague becomes ill in Johnson City and needs supplies, we can mobilize staff to get a care package delivered to your door. Bucky’s Food Pantry will be operating, so you can get food if needed.
Continue to check ETSU’s COVID-19 website. We are fortunate to have ETSU Health as a resource with some of the region’s best public health and medical experts right here.
Be Well and Go Bucs!
Sharon James McGee,
Dean, School of Graduate Studies
Professor, Literature and Language