Novel coronavirus information

March 30, 2020

In gratitude (Message to instructors)

This message was sent to faculty, teaching assistants and instructors across the University of Washington.

Dear Colleagues,

I am writing to you on this first day of our 2020 spring quarter for one simple reason, and that is to say, “thank you.” It has been almost a month (seems like a year) since President Cauce and I determined that for the safety of our community we would have to complete the winter quarter of instruction remotely. And it has been less than two weeks since, accepting the inevitable, we announced that our spring quarter would be taught remotely in its entirety.

Since those wrenching decisions, you have responded magnificently to the challenge. I could go on and on about your individual and collective acts of determination, creativity and just plain hard work, and indeed a time will come for acknowledging your countless contributions. But today I want to highlight just one remarkable fact:

Of the approximately 7,000 courses we typically offer across our three campuses during spring quarter, as of this writing only 175 of them (2.5%) have been cancelled.

As you continue to reach deep within yourselves to serve the students whom we all care about so much, and as we all grieve the many losses we have suffered and will suffer in the days ahead, please pause for a moment to meditate upon your accomplishment, which is hard to describe as anything less than miraculous.

We are in for a long march, not a sprint. Pace yourselves. Don’t let the great be the enemy of the good as we all put forth our best effort. And please take care of yourselves and your families, even as you care for the welfare and futures of our wonderful UW students. We have never had more to be proud of as a Husky family.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Mark A. Richards
Professor of Earth and Space Sciences
Provost and Executive Vice President