I reach out to you today with my heartfelt hope that you and yours are healthy and safe. I also hope that each of you are finding ways to adjust to this temporary remote teaching and learning work environment. As our Governor said, “This is not a permanent state – this is a moment in time.” And I believe we will get through this moment together.
We are a community of educators, researchers, librarians, information professionals, and scholars – individuals who have chosen careers that will serve our communities in important ways. I know this time is even more challenging as we work on how to provide equity in access to knowledge under difficult circumstances. I applaud all of you for your individual acts of courage, persistence, and determination during this chapter. Our hearts go out especially to our healthcare workers and those whose already precarious safety net is further compromised. I am extremely grateful to our faculty, staff, and students in their collective endeavors to help find solutions and ameliorate the suffering of those most affected by this pandemic— thank you for everything you are doing during these challenging and uncertain times!
As a scholarly institution facing these circumstances, we must now reaffirm our commitment to every member of our community, including those who have travelled to UCLA from around the globe. The ethic of care must animate our shared work. Today more than ever kindness, respect, and compassion are of paramount importance. As we keep safe via the recommended proxemics, working together and embracing our diversity strengthens our community. Please take care and stay well – good nutrition, exercise, self-care and wellness routines are helpful.
Here at UCLA our work continues now on a remote basis. As we look ahead to UCLA’s Spring Quarter, faculty are preparing to use distance learning technologies such as ZOOM, as well as text and chat programs and video for classes. Faculty and staff are working to find ways to meet the complex needs of students and to ensure high quality instruction.
Importantly in these trying times, our community is also stepping up efforts to help students and families in Los Angeles. Our K-12 UCLA Community School in Pico-Union/Koreatown now serves as one of 68 designated LAUSD Grab and Go centers operating to ensure that students and their families have access to food during the crisis. Our UCLA Lab School community is busy raising emergency funds for their families who are being heavily impacted. Our Information Studies Department is launching a digital initiative to address the emergent information needs of a public now working, learning, and connecting almost exclusively online and from home.
In the days ahead we will continue to share information and updates about all of our work via email, on Ampersand (the Graduate School’s online magazine), and on our Graduate School website.
Please take care of yourself and your loved ones and keep in touch,
Marcelo M. Suárez-Orozco
UCLA Wasserman Dean & Distinguished Professor of Education
UCLA Graduate School of Education & Information Studies