Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates
We are working to support faculty, staff, and students as the situation continues to develop. Stay up to date with the following resources:
SPECIAL MESSAGE FROM CHAIR:
May 16, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected just about every aspect of our lives. Previously, most of us go about our daily lives occupied by the details of existing and getting tasks done, but this virus reminds us that Health and Life are paramount. I hope you have not lost loved ones and have been spared serious illness among your friends and family; however, I know too many of our community have felt the pain this disease is causing. Nothing can replace a loved one, but know that you have us to lean on for support.
All of you – students, staff and faculty – deserve praise for the way you have stepped up during this crisis to keep education going and not despair when the foundations of our society have been shaken. To those graduating, your disappointment at not being able to share a joyous celebration with family and friends at Commencement is understandable. Although not physically close, the spirit of your success is still vibrant and will resonate for years to come. If nothing else, the devastation caused by the mutation of a nanoscopic virus reinforces the critical need for excellent Science in today’s world. Most probably do not connect Geological and Environmental Sciences with health, but the connections are numerous even if sometimes subtle and hidden.
I am very proud of the actions and reactions of our Geological and Environmental Sciences community during this trying time. No whining, no complaints, just adapting and striving to make the best of a bad situation. This struggle should give you all confidence in handling Life’s challenges in the future which will lead to success.
MESSAGE FROM THE CHAIR
April 24, 2020
Chairs Message – Spring 2020
The Covid-19 pandemic has had a major impact on the way we are conducting classes, research and our daily lives. Fortunately, UTEP faculty and students have been adaptive and resilient in dealing with this global crisis. We were able to switch to online classes over the extended spring break, and although this is not ideal for most Geological Sciences topics, everyone is making the most of a bad situation. Some advantages arise by going online, such as the ability to invite alumni outside of El Paso to attend seminars (thanks to Jason Ricketts for being the first to experiment with this and to Terry Engelder of Penn State for joining us on May 20).
I hope everyone is being as safe as possible. Although we try to be productive as possible, I do not think anyone should stress about not being as productive as they normally are. Keeping mentally and physically active is a good way to avoid feeling helpless in this wave of illness and death, but no one should feel guilty about not working up to their highest standards. Taking time for extra reading or writing papers & proposals are things we can do from home. My day is less hectic, so blocks of time can be set aside for scientific thought that are hard to come by in a regular work week.
People have been sharing photos and thoughts via Facebook. Please keep in touch with us, and let us know if there is anything you need. There is still much uncertainty about how the SARS-COV-2 virus will behave this summer, so we cannot predict how the State, City and University will respond. There are many questions that need to be answered, but after a townhall with President Wilson and a video conference with Provost Wiebe and Dean Crites, I have confidence that UTEP leadership is planning for the future to support students & faculty to the greatest extent possible.
I wish you all well and hope your internet service holds out. When all else fails, you can always watch those videos of kittens and puppies ridiculous antics.
Chair, Geological, Geophysics & Environmental Sciences UTEP