Dean’s Update: Welcome Back for the Fall Semester

Welcome to all!

Mora HeadshotCongratulations on a smooth start to our Fall semester! A new semester is always a time of hope and possibilities, renewal and excitement. This one includes just a little trepidation, too, as we jump into a Fall like no other before, after a summer and spring like no other before.

On behalf of the Jackson School, I extend our heartiest appreciation to those of you who have worked so hard to keep the wheels on the train through the past 6 months and those who have made special efforts to get us ready to open the doors to students again this Fall. Bravo to Chris Stella, Nicole Evans, Charlie Kerans and so many others who have worked hard to prepare the buildings, classrooms and student study areas to support social distancing, masking and hand sanitization.

Kara McCroskey has done a phenomenal job matching our course needs with appropriate space. Danny Stockli and Adam Papendieck again led the charge to bring professors up to date on our online education systems. At Pickle Research Campus, Dan Duncan, Mark Wiederspahn, Poe Chen, Sara Sieberath and Jay Kipper kept the buildings open, the computers humming, and the staff organized, productive and in good spirits.

The research scientists and staff in the labs worked hard to accommodate everyone’s pressing need for data and lab access. Kudos, too, to Associate Dean David Mohrig for his stalwart leadership in working with the Vice Provost for Research to get our research labs back in service. Despite the inconvenience of restricting access to labs through tightly controlled research cohorts, we have worked safely through the past 5 months, with no cases of covid-19 spread through laboratory activity.

The effort to support a research university environment in the face of a pandemic has challenged everyone to work together, to be patient with each other, to recognize the special challenges faced by those juggling work and family responsibilities, and to maintain a high level of personal and civic responsibility. The result has been, if not business as usual, then at least business as possible. The JSG News Reel is still chock full of fascinating research findings and reports on student achievements. The labs are busy and the classrooms are set up for learning. We are ready for you— come to work, to learn and to contribute to the vibrant life at Jackson School of Geosciences!

Dean Mora