April 1, 2020
Dear Eastman Graduate Students,
I hope that you are all well and staying safe. Now that we are adjusting to online instruction and finding a new “normal” rhythm in our professional lives, I would like to update you on some policies and support systems for you that have been developed over the past couple weeks as a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic we all are experiencing. Our highest priority is your health, safety, and well-being, but our second priority is to facilitate your successful degree completion. Much about the future—for example, when travel restrictions will be lifted—is still unknown, but I want to share with you where we are at this moment. Please remember that the most current information about COVID-19 at Eastman can be found on this website; be certain to check this site regularly. Some of what follows may have appeared in other messages to the Eastman community, but below you will find a summary of those policies that pertain directly to ESM graduate students.
- Recitals and MM oral exams: As you know from previous announcements, the degree recital requirement (or, in the case of DMA students, final degree recitals that were scheduled for spring 2020) as well as the MM oral-exam requirement for students scheduled to graduate in May and August 2020 have been waived. If you still wish to perform your final recital and have a safe place to give it off site, you may record and send it to your teacher and department.
For DMA students who would be graduating if they pass the summer comprehensive exams, the degree-recital requirement will be waived PENDING successful completion of summer comps. If they pass the comps, their recital requirement is waived and they will graduate. If they do not pass the summer comps, then the degree-recital requirement will not be waived and the degree recital will need to be rescheduled for the 2020-2021 academic year. In such cases, we will be maximally flexible with the lesson registration policy and NOT require these students to register for additional lessons to present their recital in fall 2020.
There is no change to degree-required recitals or MM oral exams for graduate students who were not planning to complete their degrees in May 2020 or August 2020. These students will have their degree recitals scheduled during the 2020-2021 academic year.
- Grades for the spring 2020 semester: As you know from previous announcements, all grades for all courses taken during the spring 2020 semester will be graded on a “pass/fail” system, to enable students to adjust to an online learning environment. However, you may opt to receive a letter grade; the deadline to select the letter-grade option has been extended to April 10, and you should use this webform to select the letter-grade option for any or all of your courses. Please note that the webform requires you to log in with your NetID and password, but no VPN connection is required.
- Graduate Awards and TA and DA stipends: You will continue to receive your tuition scholarships and stipends throughout the spring 2020 semester. Most of you are continuing your TA/DA duties, and many of you have been leaders in helping the faculty convert quickly to online instruction; we are grateful to you! Some of you will be asked to serve your department in new ways, since the positions initially assigned to you have been altered or have evaporated. Please remain in contact with your TA/DA supervisor for details.
- Potential Refunds: This is a complex matter that involves university-wide policies. Dean Rossi will address your questions about potential refunds at the Student Town Hall meeting scheduled for later today, Wednesday, 1 April, at 5:00 pm. I encourage you to attend. As reported in the last Eastman Weekly, you may participate via Zoom:
Join Zoom Meeting: https://rochester.zoom.us/j/677408451
- DMA Comprehensive exams: Normally the summer comp exams occur during the month of June. At the time of this writing, it appears unlikely that university facilities will reopen by then. We are exploring several options right now and will let you know what decisions have been made no later than 30 April, so that you can plan accordingly. Several students have already written to us about challenges you are facing and changes in your plans, and we encourage you all to stay in touch with Deann Phillips in the Graduate Office (email@example.com).
- Graduate student support systems:Eastman students who are still in Rochester and who are in need of food and basic provisions may submit requests for groceries through the Food Pantry. The River Campus Food Pantry will supply items to the ESM pantry via Food Link, and ESM students can arrange for an order and pick-up time, Monday-Friday, 10:00 am-4 pm, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.You will be asked to complete a pantry preference form, and orders may take one business day to process.
The CARE Network is accepting and reviewing referrals and offering virtual appointments to students in need of support. If you or someone you know needs help getting connected to a resource, or if you have a concern, but don’t know who to contact, please submit a referral at https://www.rochester.edu/care/. Our Graduate Advisor, Mr. Peterson (email@example.com), serves as the CARE Network liaison for Eastman.
Practicing social distancing is of course necessary these days but isolation can also take an emotional toll. Dr. Blaire Koerner (Career Advisor) and Mr. Peterson (Graduate Advisor) invite you to take part in a virtual coffee and happy hour. They will be available to answer questions about advising, next steps after Eastman, and converse about anything currently on your mind. BYOB!
Virtual Coffee Hour: 9:30 – 11:00AM EST on 14 April 2020
Virtual Happy Hour: 5:15 – 6:45PM EST on 16 April 2020
Last but not least, the University of Rochester will be celebrating Graduate Student Appreciation Week from 13 to 17 April 2020. UR’s Graduate Student Life Committee is diligently planning this year’s events with more details to come!
Senior Associate Dean of Graduate Studies