Dear Alumni, Family and Friends:
First, let me start by thanking all of your for your continuing and unwavering support of our department. It makes a big difference in the experience we can offer our students, especially in these challenging times. As I’m sure you are aware, emergence of COVID-19, and the university decision to suspend all in-person classes half way through the semester, meant that Geology faculty had to pivot all courses into an online format at a moment’s notice. The work involved in doing this has been enormous, and I want to thank all the faculty and graduate teaching assistants who went above and beyond to make it happen, doing their utmost to maintain the highest quality educational experience for all of our students. Unfortunately, there were some things we just couldn’t do. All field trips had to be cancelled, for example, including a major excursion to Hawaii that was planned for our Regional Geology course this year! Lab-based activities were also curtailed, but we did our best to limit the spread of the virus while meeting the educational needs of our students.
We are currently in the planning stages with regard to how instruction will be delivered in the fall. At the moment, the university aims to have students back on campus in the fall, and we are hard at work assessing classrooms and labs to see how we can provide adequate social distancing for students and faculty. At the same time, we are acutely aware of the possibility of, once again, having to move instruction online, depending on the development of COVID-19. In this regard, we have been trying to put together a contingency plan, assessing how we can teach geology well online or in a hybrid environment. This ‘new normal’ will be challenging for all of us, but with your continued support, I know we will succeed.
Professor and Head