Novel coronavirus information

November 30, 2020

How instructors can support students’ well-being, and academic and career success (Message to Seattle campus instructors)

This message was sent to all instructors at the University of Washington’s Seattle campus.

Dear Colleagues,

Throughout autumn quarter, we’ve seen remarkable innovation and tenacity in spite of — and because of — the pandemic. I continue to marvel at the ways you have leveraged technology and instructional design support to enhance your remote teaching. Students have noticed, too, as their mid-quarter course evaluations cite an improved academic experience.

Now, as the end of the quarter approaches, you may notice that some of your students are struggling emotionally or academically. The pandemic has brought on cognitive, social and economic burdens that so many of our students are carrying. You can help them by referring them to appropriate on-campus resources, some of which I list below.

Health & Wellness
Learn ways that you can support students’ mental health, in addition to sharing with them the link to Husky Health & Well-Being, a portal to medical services and 24/7 mental health support for students on the Seattle campus.

Technology for Students
Students in need of technology items may be directed to the Student Technology Loan Program (STLP) located in Kane Hall. This student-funded program is offering quarterly laptop and tablet loans to assist with online instruction.

Teaching Support for Instructors
As always, the Center for Teaching & Learning offers ongoing instructor support for Teaching Remotely. Additionally, the UW Resilience Lab’s new Well-Being for Life and Learning Guidebook provides instructors with strategies and resources for supporting students.

Academic Support for Students
Academic Support Programs continues to offer CLUE (Center for Learning and Undergraduate Enrichment) services online, including virtual meetings with student success coaches. The Instructional Center also offers remote programming for students who are first-generation, underrepresented or from low-income backgrounds, while the Ethnic Cultural Center continues to support historically marginalized and underrepresented students.

Career Services
Instructors, along with career coaches and academic advisers, play a crucial role in preparing students for the job market. The Career & Internship Center has worked with a group of faculty members to develop resources to help you do that. These include strategies for integrating career readiness into your curriculum; instructions on how to assign a LinkedIn Learning course (pdf) and track student viewing directly in Canvas; and a fall webinar series introducing instructors and staff to resources they can use to help students find purpose, build skills and find internships.

Looking Ahead
As announced earlier, winter quarter will look much like autumn quarter, with the majority of courses being taught remotely. Discussions about spring quarter are ongoing; and while we hope to offer more courses in person by spring, much depends on the course of the pandemic, including progress of the expected vaccination efforts. In the meantime, I want to thank each of you for everything you are doing. I appreciate your part in making students aware of new policies that make life easier for them, such as satisfactory/not satisfactory grading options.

Many of us are spread thin after months of balancing teaching, research and caring for families, and I encourage you to set aside time this holiday season to take care of yourself, time to recharge, time to think. And remember, as I’ve said before, good enough is often exactly right.

We’ve been through a lot since the pandemic began almost 10 months ago. Lights are appearing at the end of the tunnel; but the coming months will be very difficult, and sadly with continuing burdens that are inequitably distributed. We will get through this together through hard work and dedication to our values, but also through compassion, empathy, and faith and trust in each other.

Please be safe and stay healthy!


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