Dean Lach's Updates for SEAS Faculty and Staff

March 12, 2020

I wanted to share with you the email I sent last night to all SEAS students. In addition to providing some general information about online education and affirming our commitment to continue providing high quality education, I wanted to emphasize the importance of our SEAS community in navigating difficult times such as this. Even though we will be physically separated, we must continue to be intentional in how we care for and support one another. This is especially important for students who may already feel marginalized or on the fringes of our community, as online education may lead to further isolation.

So I would also like to ask all of you to be intentional in your care for our students and for each other in the weeks ahead. Check-in with that quiet student who usually sits by themself in class. Pay attention to who attends (and doesn't attend) your virtual office hours to make sure some students aren't falling behind. Regularly request feedback from the students about what is and isn't working for them with the online format, and do your best to respond to it. Similarly, show care for your colleagues by checking-in with someone caring for an elderly loved one, help out those who are affected by childcare disruptions, be patient and understanding when something isn't done as quickly as you'd like, etc. The SEAS community is truly special, but just as many of you were intentional in the creation of it, we all need to be intentional in preserving and even leveraging it through this challenging time.

One specific request of all instructors is to *please be flexible* in the weeks ahead. If you need to deviate from policies, processes, or deliverables stated in your syllabus, feel free to do so - just make sure to clearly communicate any changes to your students. As an example of how you might leverage our SEAS community in that flexibility, you may consider alternatives to exam proctoring that depend on the trust we have established with our students. If you have ideas, suggestions, questions, lessons learned, etc., please share them with your colleagues - we're all trying to figure out how to best continue our mission to educate engineering leaders for the mid-21st century.

To that end, Raoul Gabiam and his team will continue to assemble information here:
https://seascf.seas.gwu.edu/instructional-resources
Bookmark this page, check it regularly for updates, and send Raoul suggestions for anything that should be added.

Thanks again for all of your efforts to prepare for continuity of instruction, and thank you for doing your part in our SEAS community. As I wrote to the students, we look forward to the time when we can all come together again. But in the mean time, let's all care for one another and commit to doing the best we can to move forward under the given constraints and to promote the health and safety of ourselves and our communities.

Best regards,
John