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Checking in With Dean Forbes - September 2020

With the semester underway, I know many of you are juggling multiple commitments both professional and personal. Moreover, the excitement and energy of a new academic year are mixed with uncertainty as we collectively navigate the shifting terrain of this pandemic. 

Those of you who work directly with students are also no doubt keenly aware of their concerns about keeping up academically, staying motivated and managing stress. With that in mind, I thought it might be helpful to share some resources for helping them stay healthy and stay on course to achieve their goals.

Mental health

If you are interested in improving your skills to better respond to mental health needs on our campus, the Provost’s Office is accepting applications to its Mental Health Advocates initiative through the end of September. In addition, you will find resources for faculty and staff on assisting students in distress here including interactive training modules and guidelines for recognizing signs of distress and making referrals. 

Online teaching

Many courses are partially or wholly online this fall. Those of you teaching this semester have many resources available both here in the College through our Research and Learning Technologies group and through the University’s Office of Information Technology. RLT has assembled information and resources relating to online courses here and OIT offers training and self-help guides here.  

Undergraduate research

Providing research experiences remains a hallmark of the CBS experience and I encourage faculty to continue offering those opportunities online or in your labs. To help streamline the process, the College recently launched a new online portal where faculty can post undergraduate research opportunities called GopheResearch. Please take a moment to explore the platform and submit research openings in your lab.

Student engagement

In a recent message to students I stressed the importance of staying engaged along with the many ways they can do that even at a distance including student groups, CBS Circles and CBS Affinity Groups. Our affinity groups, in particular, are an important avenue for support for students facing additional stressors including Black, Indigenous and students of color, international students and LGBTQ+ students. Please encourage the students you work with to stay connected.

Thank you for your efforts under these unusual circumstances and please don’t hesitate to reach out to department and collegiate leadership with questions or concerns. 


September, 2020