Faculty Recruiting Support CICS

Celebrating the Class of 2020 & Looking Ahead to Fall - May 9, 2020

Dear CICS Alumni,

These have been a challenging few months for our students and their families, whose spring semester and graduation festivities have been greatly affected by the devastating impacts of COVID-19. Yet with each development, our community responded with ingenuity, concern for one another, and a commitment to our mission.

In a week's time in March, our community quickly came together to move classes and student services, including career development and academic advising services, online. Our 1,130 undergraduate students and 625 graduate students, already steeped in technology, rose to the occasion. The CICS community has proven resilient and resourceful as we wrapped up this academic year, and I could not be more proud of how our students, faculty and staff, and alumni have helped one another and the wider community. 

This week, I am especially mindful of the CICS students whose academic and personal achievements we celebrated at our virtual commencement yesterday. While we're disappointed that we couldn't honor our graduates in person, we did celebrate virtually (see more details here)!  I hope you will join us in recognizing the amazing accomplishments of the Class of 2020, our newest alumni. We look forward to planning an in-person celebration once we are able to do so.

Today, more than ever, computing is vitally important to the well-being and safety of society--forecasting the spread of COVID-19, helping to detect disease, and bringing co-workers, families, and friends together. Here at UMass Amherst, our students have been participating in COVID-19 hackathons, and faculty and recent alumni 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 returning 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.

As 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 20 in North America.

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



Laura Haas