Faculty Recruiting Support CICS

Celebrating Our Graduates, Looking Ahead - May 7, 2020

Dear CICS Undergraduate and Graduate Students, 

These have been a challenging few weeks for our students and their families--we have all been affected by the devastating impacts of COVID-19 and you are all in my thoughts as we wrap up this academic year. 

This week, I am especially mindful of the CICS students who will be graduating tomorrow, May 8--this is a day they have all worked towards and deserve. While we're disappointed that we won't be able to celebrate with our graduates during our in-person ceremonies, which will be rescheduled for a later date, we do have virtual festivities planned (see more details here). I hope you will join in celebrating the amazing accomplishments of our graduating undergraduate, master's, and doctoral students. 

Our community quickly came together this spring to move classes and student services, including career development and academic advising services, online. Our 1,130 undergraduate students and 625 graduate students rose to the occasion. I am proud of the resilience and commitment that our students, faculty, and staff have shown under these extreme circumstances. 

As we have seen over these weeks, computing is being used to forecast the spread of COVID-19, help detect disease, and bring co-workers, families, and friends together. Here at UMass Amherst, our students have been participating in COVID-19 hackathons, and faculty and recent alums are working across disciplines to quickly apply their research and lend a hand in the fight against the virus (you can see examples of this work here and here). Computing, especially now, has the power to help people and do good in the world. 

I sincerely hope that we will welcome our new and continuing students back to campus in the fall for in-person, in-classroom instruction. However, uncertainties and quickly changing circumstances around the pandemic mean that we may need alternate plans to protect the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff. Please know that CICS is thoughtfully planning for any eventuality with the goal of maintaining the continuity and quality of our academic, research, and student support programs. 

However we gather together in the fall--hopefully in-person, but perhaps online--I am confident that we will do so with the same collaborative spirit and commitment to excellence that have put our college among the top twenty in North America. 

In the meantime, we are here for our students. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me directly at dean@cics.umass.edu

Until we can be together, 

Laura Haas