2021-22 Senate Chair Welcome Letter

Letter from the Senate Chair: Welcome to 2021-22

September 22, 2021

Dear Senate Colleagues,

Welcome to the 2021-22 academic year. I write to remind you of resources and share brief thoughts as we return to in-person instruction.

I happen to be slightly ahead of the curve, having just finished teaching an in-person summer course. In my experience, students are excited to be back in the classroom. It’s been heartening, like seeing an old friend after many years. I hope you experience the same.

This is not to downplay justified apprehensions about our return. To be candid, I do not expect our return to be seamless. We have had, and will likely continue to have, oversights in planning. I only ask that we be kind and patient with one another—and with ourselves—as we figure all of this out.

My greatest confidence in our return comes from our multilayered health measures. Our overall campus vaccination rate is an outstanding 96% as of this writing. As Provost Croughan noted in her recent Fall 2021 Campus Planning Update, our vaccine mandate, masking and testing requirements, ventilation upgrades (find building information here), contact tracing processes, and additional measures are all working together to reduce our risk of return. Even so, we must remain prepared for all circumstances, including a pivot back to fully remote instruction. I see that possibility as small but non-zero.

To help your return, please be sure to review the fall instruction FAQs and other information hosted on Campus Ready. Please continue to submit questions and comments through the Feedback for Fall form, or contact me directly at aschair@ucdavis.edu for Senate-specific matters.

On a non-pandemic note, this year the Senate will continue its work on several priorities. We will review and implement recommendations from the Special Committee on the Assessment of Step Plus and from the Special Committee on Evaluation of Teaching. We will monitor the pilot Equitable Access program, now in its second year. Finally, we will advise our campus budget teams as they address the fiscal impacts of COVID-19 and its interplay with preexisting structural deficits.

I wish you all a safe and healthy fall quarter and upcoming year. I cannot thank you enough for your dedication to our campus, to our students, and to each other. Truly, your efforts toward continuity over these past 20 months are extraordinary.

I am proud—humbled—to work alongside you.

Take care,

Richard P. Tucker, Ph.D.
Chair, Davis Division of the Academic Senate
University of California, Davis