ENGINEERING NOVEL CORONAVIRUS UPDATES AND RESOURCES

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MSU Community Information

Engineering Coronavirus Site -- “People First, Student-Centered”

“I ask everyone to live by this thought: People First, Student-Centered. We will get through this and show our Spartans Will.” – Engineering Dean Leo Kempel

MSU is currently asking all employees to work from home (i.e. remotely) unless their job duties are such that they must be present. Unit leadership is expected to work with managers, supervisors and employees to find creative ways to allow employees to work remotely. There are a number of resources available on the remote.msu.edu/working website for arranging telecommuting or flexible work schedules, as well as the most up-to-date work-related FAQs. While we work in alternative locations and understand this may impact some of our operational work, we want to re-iterate that the University is not closed; our operations continue.

Please refer to the following specific documents in this rapidly changing situation. Later documents will supersede earlier ones:

Dear Spartan Engineers,

As we hit the one-year anniversary of our year of extraordinary challenges, I’d like to reflect on the personal and professional trials we continue to live with.

From out of nowhere a year ago, we found ourselves quickly readjusting our work and personal lives while confronting threats to our physical and mental health. Every single person in our college, including myself, faced upheaval and uncertainty during anxious and stressful times.

As the months rolled through, we modified and acclimated – learning lessons and helping our students and each other along the way. Watching the success of those efforts brings me a great sense of pride in you, your colleagues, and our community.

You may have seen President Stanley’s message last week about his optimism that MSU will begin to safely transition toward more in-person experiences in the fall. Our college will join MSU in continuing to prioritize the health and well-being of our students, faculty and staff as we make measured strides in returning to a campus that looks more traditional.

In the meantime, I want to thank you for your many contributions in the past 12 months. Talented faculty and staff reshaped working remotely and figured out how to celebrate achievements from afar. We educated and protected our students and ourselves. Collectively, we balanced demands, worry, and even loss.

We’re all better for those difficult lessons, so let me thank you again for everything you bring to the College of Engineering and our MSU community. Your Spartans Will has served us well.

Let me know if I can be of service as we move forward together.


Best wishes,

Leo

Nov. 16, 2020

Dear Spartan Engineers,

We have received the following guidance on MSU’s implementation of the Emergency Order released by the State of Michigan yesterday (https://www.michigan.gov/coronavirus/0,9753,7-406-98178_98455-545136--,00.html):

  1. All in-person teaching activities in the College must be suspended after tomorrow, Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2020. If you have something scheduled after tomorrow please make alternate arrangements. Since the previously planned end of in-person activities was Nov. 25, this means the balance of Fall semester must be done remotely.
  2. Research activities may continue according to currently approved research plans.

There may be additional guidance in the next few days and we will pass that on when we receive it. We understand that this is inconvenient and very much appreciate your cooperation.

Best,

Leo Kempel

Dean, College of Engineering

Oct. 22, 2020 

Dear Spartan Engineers,

Earlier today, President Stanley announced plans for Spring Semester, which will include more in-person undergraduate classes, expanded availability of on-campus housing, and changes to the spring calendar. President Stanley’s primary focus is on the health, safety, and well-being of our MSU community, and these decisions were made with that in mind. Most of these updates do not directly impact graduate students in our College, although we do hope to offer a few more opportunities for TAs to help with in-person labs during the spring semester.

In the coming days, the Schedule of Courses will be updated to reflect changes that have been made to course delivery. We expect that most graduate courses in our College will maintain their current delivery methods (online, hybrid, or in-person), and will continue to offer both hybrid/in-person and online options for students who need to enroll in specific types of courses to maintain their visa status or who are living away from campus. International students should consult with OISS if you have questions about whether in-person/hybrid or online courses are appropriate for your needs. All students should talk to their faculty advisor before making changes to your class schedule, and work with your graduate secretary if you need assistance in updating your graduate program plan. All students who will living on campus, or coming to campus for in-person activities, will be required to participate in the COVID-19 Early Detection Program.

As we study and learn, please remember that we need to continue to be supportive of one another and to understand the fact that we each face unique challenges as we continue to navigate the remote environment. Our community members’ mental health and well-being is incredibly important. Please remember that access to student mental health resources is readily available, and that graduate assistants (TAs, RAs) are also eligible for services offered through the MSU Employee Assistance Program. Dr. Katy Colbry is another excellent resource for graduate students in our College, and can be reached at colbryka@msu.edu or by appointment at http://bookkaty.colbry.com

The emphasis will continue to be, as it has been since last spring, “Safety First, Student-centered.” Together we will Engineer the Future (even during a pandemic)!

Best wishes,

Leo

Dear Spartan Engineers,

Earlier today, President Stanley announced plans for Spring Semester, specifically regarding the availability of on-campus housing, the spring calendar, and the teaching modality of our courses. President Stanley’s primary focus is on the health, safety, and well-being of our MSU community, and these decisions were made with that in mind. We all appreciate the hard work and sacrifices you have all made to continue your MSU Engineering education, and hope that you will look forward to another semester as a Spartan Engineer.

In the coming days, the Schedule of Courses will be updated to reflect changes that have been made to course delivery. While many classes will still be online, we expect to greatly expand the amount of in-person opportunities in Engineering, mostly in our lab courses. If you are not in the East Lansing area, however, you will be able to continue your education entirely online. If you do need to make changes to your schedule after seeing the adjustments, please contact your academic advisor. For those of you living on campus, or coming to campus for in-person activities, please remember that participation in the COVID-19 Early Detection Program will be required.

First-year and transfer students, regardless of where you are living, should be encouraged to remain connected with their Circles of Success mentors who were assigned to them at the beginning of fall semester. Students who have not yet joined this program can login to get connected with a mentor today. Students who are not first-year or transfer students should consider taking advantage of the other mentoring and coaching opportunities we have across campus in support of their student success.

As we study and learn, please remember that we need to continue to be supportive of one another and to understand the fact that we each face unique challenges as we continue to navigate the remote environment. Our community members’ mental health and well-being is incredibly important. Please remember that access to student mental health resources is readily available

The emphasis will continue to be, as it has been since last spring, “Safety First, Student-centered”.
Together we will Engineer the Future (even during a pandemic)!

Best wishes,
Leo

Oct. 19, 2020

Hi Everyone,

This is a follow-up to my message from 15 October.

One of the technology approaches to mitigate the spread rate of COVID-19 is to notify people as soon as possible

that they have been near someone who tested positive. The State of Michigan created the MI Covid Alert app to

help in the fight.

What this app does NOT do:

  1. Know your absolute location
  2. Reveal who you are (to the state, to employers, Apple or Google, etc.)

What this app does do:

  1. Estimate distance between users using Bluetooth
  2. Measure time within 6 foot distance w/ another user
  3. Put anonymous tokens one each others phone when 6 foot or less and 15 minutes or more is met
  4. If a person you have been near indicates to the system that they have tested positive, a message is

released to all who have been near them in the last 10 days

The links for downloading the app are:

Join the fight against COVID-19. Download the MI COVID Alert app to be able to receive notifications if another app user you have been nearby goes on to test positive for COVID-19, and be able to notify others if you test positive.

The app is available at:

Apple App Store:
https://apps.apple.com/us/app/id1527644912

Google Play Store:
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=gov.michigan.MiCovidExposure


I also encourage you to consider inviting friends and family from within the app. I have.

Best wishes,

Leo

Oct. 16, 2020

Dear Spartan Engineers,

This is an updated version of a message I sent earlier this year regarding expectations during this time of “what can be done at home must be done at home”. I want to emphasize that we have empathy for

the various conditions that people in the college are experiencing the pandemic and working under less than ideal conditions. You many notice that at the end of this message, Leo has a new line he is

trying to include in his messages based on a best practice he learned from an alumna.

Support staff are an important and highly valued part of our team here in the College of Engineering. We greatly appreciate their dedication to our students, faculty, staff and alumni and friends. They have really stepped up in difficult circumstances in continuing to provide exceptional service to all of us.

With the majority of campus working remotely, the real challenge for many is the lack of clear boundaries between work and home life during the pandemic. During this time, we ask that everyone, including faculty, be thoughtful and realistic regarding the availability and productivity of support staff. While many staff may still be maintaining their normal work schedules and productivity hasn’t seemed to dip, those with children or those taking care of a parent or loved one, may find it difficult to be as available or productive as they would normally be if they were reporting to the office for work. Answering/returning phone calls may have to wait until there are no screaming children or barking dogs in the background. Returning emails may have to wait until their family has had lunch or children are napping.

Please be cognizant of the following:

1) Most support staff are continuing to work their 40 hours/week but working from home does NOT mean they are available 24/7. Support staff are only expected to be available during their working hours as arranged with their supervisor.

2) Support staff work hours may flex during the week. This may mean that they are not working the same hours each day.

3) There will be times when they are not available due to vacation or sick days.

4) Getting answers to your questions may take longer, be patient. Staff may have to reach out to other areas of the University such as CGA, Human Resources, etc. who may be overwhelmed with questions already, so their response time may be slower.

5) Productivity may be down. For some, working from home presents other challenges. They may have difficulty with technology, be distracted or experience a lack of focus.

Bottom line: Please be kind, realistic and patient. 

A useful article to consider is: https://www.chronicle.com/article/Why-You-Should-Ignore-All-That/248366/?fbclid=IwAR1gayUU-4Ez7BOV518N4q5t8PDwoNrENwo6EPQJbNfzB4bFaShlIEmsnN8#.XoTNSsISraM.facebook

If any support staff are being asked to work outside their communicated work hours, please contact Leo, Heather Bentley or Nikki Shook.

Again, to all of our support staff, THANK YOU for all your dedication and hard work!

Hope you are all healthy!


Best wishes,

Leo Kempel, Nikki Shook, Chris Contag, Abdol Esfahanian, Neeraj Buch, Theo Caldwell, Tom Voice, Amanda Idema, Don Morelli, Laura Genik, Andrew Christlieb, Daina Briedis, Katy Colbry, John Papapolymerou, James Klausner, Brad Marks, Steven Foley, Stephen Bates, John Verboncoeur

Dear Spartan Engineers,

I encourage you to download the MI Covid Alert app to your Apple or Android phone and use it to help reduce the time between exposure to the virus. This app was created by the State of Michigan and is intended for statewide use. As of now, it is only fully functional in Ingham County as MSU and the county were selected to be pilot users.

It does NOT track location of the users, it does NOT identify users to the State of Michigan, Apple or Google, MSU or any other entity. It cannot tell if you have a face covering or any other risk mitigation strategy other than spatial distance. It DOES estimate the distance between two phones.

The advantage of this technology is better contact tracing by Ingham County and more rapid identification of potentially infected individuals.

Several members of the college were involved in vetting the technology including Mi Zhang, Chris Contag and myself.

I have it on my phone. I see it as a means to protect my family, friends and community as I see face coverings and other measures we, as MSU students/employees as well as members of our community, have taken to reduce the risk of passing an infection to others.


Best wishes,

Leo

 


Dear Spartans,

Since the start of our fight against COVID-19, I have asked you to make sacrifices for the greater good of our MSU community. At every turn, and with true Spartan spirit, you have answered the call. You have demonstrated that no matter how difficult, you are committed to doing the things that are necessary to help slow the spread of the virus.

As we enter the fall and winter months, it is more important than ever that we remain vigilant in our efforts to protect ourselves and our community. That means continuing to do the things that matter — wearing masks, physical distancing, getting tested and cooperating with contact tracing officials. 

This week, in partnership with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and the Ingham County Health Department, MSU is bringing an important new tool to the fight against COVID-19. 

The MI-COVID Alert app — available from the Apple and Google app stores — will notify you if you might have been exposed to someone who has recently tested positive for COVID-19. It’s simple to use, and it is the best means available for getting early notification that you may have been exposed to the virus. The alerts are confidential, and the app provides detailed instructions regarding what to do to avoid potentially spreading the virus. 

As an infectious disease researcher, I know how important early detection is in slowing the spread of COVID-19. That’s why I want to encourage every Spartan to pick up your phone and join me in downloading the app. It’s another way to show that we are all committed to doing everything we can to bring our Spartan community back together on campus.

Sincerely,

Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D.
President

 

Sept. 28, 2020

Dear Spartan Engineers,

One of our own is no longer with us. I attended the funeral service for one of our students this weekend. It is a terrible loss to our Engineering family, community, nation and world to lose one of our students. At the service, his brother said that “It is OK to say the word suicide out loud”. So I am taking this opportunity to reach out to all of you.

The extraordinary challenges we are currently facing during the COVID-19 pandemic and most recent period of racial/social unrest have impacted every facet of our lives as individuals, families, organizations, and communities. Every single person in our college, including myself, is facing unprecedented upheaval, fear and uncertainty; these are anxious and stressful times. You are not alone. You are a valuable member of the MSU Spartan Engineering community, and we are here to support you.

As we all continue to do our part to practice social distancing, reducing the risk of transmission of COVID-19 and addressing the societal ills that impact us all, I want to address a different but equally important part of this challenge: the impact of the current pandemic, social isolation and racial/social injustice on mental health. Mental health is just as important as physical health and the COVID-19 pandemic combined with acts of racial/social injustice have negatively impacted people’s mental health and has created new barriers for people already suffering from mental illness. That’s why the College of Engineering is making a commitment to do all we can to promote your mental and emotional health.

While there is no way to fully remove the stress and anxiety that is present in our everyday lives, we can work together to address mental and emotional health challenges. We can all play a role in prioritizing each other’s overall health, by looking out for each other and taking part in creating a mental health friendly environment.

If you’re facing a mental or emotional health challenge – school-related or otherwise – you have the full support of this college. You can speak to your instructors, advisors, or residence life staff with the confidence that your mental/emotional health concerns will be taken seriously. In addition, you can access mental health services through CAPS, Counseling & Psychiatric Services https://caps.msu.edu/ . You can also visit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention https://afsp.org/suicide-prevention-resources for an extensive list of resources outside of MSU. We are all here to help.

If a friend, classmate, student or colleague are facing a challenging time, help them. Contact an academic advisor, or Theo Caldwell or Amanda Idema for undergraduate students; Katy Colbry for graduate students. For employees, contact the chairperson of your department, Heather Bentley, Nikki Shook or Tom Voice. Anyone can contact me. As an Engineering family, we need to help each other during this pandemic and beyond. Ask yourself, “What can we do to build and maintain connections among our fellow Spartans?”

Thank you for everything you bring to the College of Engineering and our MSU community. You are not alone, and we will get through this together. Together We Will. Let me know if we can be of service to you during this difficult time.

Best wishes,

Leo

Sept. 9, 2020

Dear Spartan Engineers, 

I hope your fall semester is off to a good start. Thank you for your patience as we work out access to campus facilities, as the Engineering Building will remain locked for fall semester (except for those with pre-approved access). 

For those without EB access needing printing capabilities, DECS has made the C-4 Wilson Hall lab available to Engineering users. The lab is on the first floor of Wilson, across the hall from The Center. The lab will be open during the same hours as Wilson Hall, which is currently 7 days a week from 7 am -10 pm. Please note, this is NOT for long-term computer usage. Users will be able to log in for 15 minutes to print their documents, and then log out. Please contact DECS with any questions or issues with the lab. 

MSU does have several other facilities and computer labs open this fall for those needing quiet study space. View an updated list here

Please remember that all members of the MSU community, including visitors, must wear face coverings and practice physical distancing while inside any building, including in offices, hallways, elevators and restrooms. In addition, everyone must fill out the health screening form every day before coming to campus (students living on campus must fill it out daily as well). 

Failure to adhere to this may result in facilities being closed. 

Please feel free to reach out to me directly if you have questions/concerns (agidema@msu.edu). 

Stay safe, and be well.

Dr. Idema

Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Studies

Sept. 4, 2020

Dear Spartan Engineers,


I hope this message finds you and your family safe and healthy, and that you’ve gotten off to a good start to fall semester no matter where you are in the world.There are a LOT of links and information below – save this message so you can refer back if you need it later this semester.Please also continue to reference MSU’s Together We Willwebsite, as it will have the most up-to-date information on campus.

Here in the College of Engineering, this communication is meant as an update to information from my August 11 emailis accurate as of September 4, 2020, and is subject to change.

Information about fall semester classes:

  • Schedule of Courses has been updated with final exam times, and locations for the very few classes approved to have an in-person component. 
  • Very few undergraduate classes have an in-person component. If you are in one of those classes, you must fill out the Spartan Health Screening Form each time you come to campus. It’s also accessible through the MSU App.
  • If you are still unsure of how to access course material, please contact your instructor ASAP to make sure you can connect.
  • Remember that regardless of mode, all in-person class instruction will end on November 25 and be remote for the duration of the semester.

 
Information about connecting…in several different ways:

 
Please feel free to reach out to me directly if you have questions/concerns (agidema@msu.edu). 

Stay safe, and be well.
Dr. Idema
Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Studies

Sept. 3, 2020

Dear Spartan Engineers,

Welcome to Fall Semester. This is a different semester than we expected but as Engineers, we are identifying issues, mitigating and moving forward.

Few gentle reminders:

  1. Every day anyone comes to campus, the Spartan Health Screening form must be completed by that person. For faculty, please remind your students that this is a requirement if you are teaching one of the five courses that have “in-person” components. They can do this from the MSU App if they wish. 
  1. Please remember that the majority of our staff are working remotely. They are working 40 hours per week but they also must balance work and life. Some have children at home (taking K-12 classes with all those challenges), some have other family members they are providing care, and they have the same 101 things that need to be balanced as all of us. So if it takes a little longer to get a response, or there are challenges; please be considerate and polite. Our college expects civil behavior between all members of the MSU community.

    Our staff are asked not required to respond to messages outside normal business hours (8am-5pm M-F). They are great people and we are fortunate they are part of our college.
  1. Faculty, if you need help on how to teach in this semester, a number of colleagues in the college have a placed a great set of material on D2L and you should have access to that material. It was especially curated for the type of courses we teach in Engineering. If you need more information about it, please contact either Michele Grimm or Daina Briedis.
  1. In the unlikely event that you or someone else in your group travel out of the country, please check out a laptop from DECS, load it with what you need for the trip and when you return to the USA, DECS will wipe it clean. I have a good friend who had his laptop seized by TSA one time and it was not returned for a few months. Not an experience any of us want.

I also want to express my tremendous gratitude to all of you for stepping forward with resiliency and flexibility while we have fundamentally changed the way we operate during this pandemic. As Spartans, we continue to meet the challenges that arise, even while at times, we feel as though our lives have been turned upside down. While these words may not bring you much comfort, please know that I see your efforts, struggles, commitment and contributions. I am truly grateful for your extraordinary service to our MSU community.

Best wishes,

Leo

Aug. 25, 2020

In conjunction with the recent announcement of encouraging undergraduate students to stay home, the MSU Police Department’s Parking Office will automatically process refunds for the following parking permits: Lots 15, 24, 25, 65, 83, 89, and 91.

Parking permits provided for the Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine, Human Medicine, and Veterinary Medicine will also be refunded.

If you have purchased one of these parking permits, no further action is needed on your part. Transactions processed through CashNet, the University’s online payment system, will be refunded through CashNet, and funds will be posted back to the credit card used for the purchase.

Parking permits do not need to be returned. PLEASE NOTE, these permits will not be valid in these parking areas for Spring Semester, 2021, and new permits will be available for sale before the start of that semester.

Complimentary parking will be provided in the following parking areas through December 31, 2020: Lots 15, 83, 89, 91, 100, Ramp 3 (Wharton Center, Lot 19), Ramp 5 (Trowbridge Road, Lot 102), Ramp 6 (Grand River Avenue, Lot 103) and Ramp 7 (Harrison Road/1855 Place, Lot 16).

All other parking areas will be restricted per existing posted regulations and times. This includes employee parking areas and metered parking areas (single and multi-space meters).

Employee parking fees will not be waived, however, if the available complimentary parking will meet your parking needs, you may request a refund by submitting the online refund request form available at https://police.msu.edu/permrefreq

Nicole Shook

Budget and Planning Administrator

MSU College of Engineering

Hi Everyone,

These are stressful times for all of us. The Covid-19 pandemic has caused significant disruption to the daily lives of all of us and at times, seems never ending. It has affected the way we work, learn, teach, shop, and socialize. Feelings of anxiety and uncertainty are completely normal during times like this.

It is important to realize that social distancing does not have to mean social isolation, especially with the modern technologies available to us. Connecting with our colleagues, friends and loved ones, whether by Zoom, Teams, Skype or through simple phone calls, will help us maintain ties during the stressful days ahead. Personally at the end of a day of Zooming and Teaming, I really appreciate phone calls.

Staff are under tremendous stress, both personally and professionally. People are struggling with a myriad of issues: work responsibilities, teaching & childcare, personal/familial obligations, loneliness and depression, health & safety concerns and financial uncertainty. With no clear end to the pandemic in sight, many people are emotionally, psychologically and physically exhausted. If you think someone may be struggling, please encourage them to reach out for help or guidance.

Recognizing that your needs are important is essential. Self-care can help produce positive feelings about yourself, lower stress levels and help boost your confidence and self-esteem. Take a break, go for a walk or run, journal, pet your dog/cat, or take time for a deep breathing exercise or meditation.

“Hope is a renewable option: If you run out of it at the end of the day, you get to start over in the morning.” - Barbara Kingsolver, Novelist 

Phone calls, e-mails, texts after normal work hours (M-F, 8am-5pm) are not usually critical. Take time for yourself and your family.

I want to reassure you that one of my top priorities is the well-being of the Engineering staff. Every day you continue to amaze me with your loyalty and dedication. You are the backbone of this college and you contribute immensely to our success. It’s important to remember that now, more than ever, we need to support each other and our MSU community. I am proud of the work we’ve done to keep our college operational despite the ever changing challenges and obstacles.

Thank you for all you have done and all you continue to do to help our Engineering community weather this crisis. Your resilience and commitment are noticed and appreciated.

Best wishes,

Leo

P.S. Try to enjoy the weekend. I understand the weather in Mid-Michigan will be wonderful!

Aug. 18, 2020

Dear Spartan Engineers,

Today President Stanley announced that most (not all) undergradate classes are going to remote only operations for the Fall term. The specific intent is to reduce the number of people on campus in light of groundtruth data that we are observing at other unversities similar to MSU. Our new Provost (and colleague) is managing this transition in this rapidly evolving climate and we need to help.

I support President Stanley’s decision and Provost Woodruff’s call to provide excellent educational opprotunities for all of our students.

We are all dealing with many challenging (and changing) variables and so I ask for patience in giving us time to craft the best possible approach for our students. We will be efficient and we will be effective.

For the College of Engineering, the departments and college will be making decisions on which courses that are listed now a “hybrid” or “in-person" will be transitioned to “online only”. We expect to complete that by Thursday 20 August 2020. Priority for “hybrid” instruction will be given to courses necessary for students who intend to graduate this Fall semester and those necessary for VISA compliance. “Online only” courses will continue to deliver the learning objectives necessary for students to progress in their studies.

For students, they will be asked to contact their academic advisors for more information after 21 August (advisors need time to have concrete answers to questions).

This new decision does not impact graduate-level courses or research activities. The same operating procedures we have used up to today for research will continue.

The emphasis will be, as it was this past Spring Semester, “Safety First, Student-centered”.

Together we will Engineer the Future (even during a pandemic)!

Best wishes,

Leo

Aug. 15, 2020

Dear Spartan Engineers,

Today is the last day of summer (if you think in academic year terms) and so it is appropriate that I send a big “THANK YOU” to acknowledge the work of many of our employees and students during this summer to prepare for tomorrow, Fall Semester. We will welcome (or welcome back) around 5,900 undergraduates (with 1,550 entering Spartans) and 1,000 graduate students (190 are joining us this term). 

So much has already been completed by so many. There’s a multitude of Spartan Engineers to thank, so let me begin with the whole-hearted efforts of the Instructional Models Committee.

Earlier this year, I asked this group to develop a compendium of resources to support remote instruction, course planning, and implementation relevant to our College. The committee’s working group developed a faculty community site through D2L, the University's learning management system.

Over a two-month period, the committee developed a rich D2L website that provides "one-stop shopping" for instructors to learn about methods, tools, best practices and excellent online learning experiences for our students. The college’s D2L website was introduced at a college-wide town hall meeting on Aug. 5 that attracted 130 participants to the virtual meeting.

I’m already hearing that the early results are phenomenal. Not only will the new D2L site support student learning in a remote environment, it is connecting faculty members with educators who have transitioned to new learning environments.

So on behalf of our college community, I’d like to express my gratitude to Committee Chair Daina Briedis and members Neeraj Buch (civil and environmental engineering), Maddalena Fanelli (chemical engineering and materials science), Steven Foley (DECS), Laura Genik (applied engineering sciences), Michele Grimm (mechanical engineering), Tim Hogan (electrical and computer engineering), Carl Lira (chemical engineering and materials science), Luke Reese (biosystems and agricultural engineering), Charles Owen (computer science and engineering), Geoff Recktenwald (mechanical engineering), and the department representatives who also helped along the way. 

My expression of gratefulness also extends to other Spartan Engineers for their exhaustive planning and accomplishments: 

  • In the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Neeraj Buch told me about the skills that went into organizing teaching modalities for 21 undergraduate and nine graduate courses for this fall. Kudos are due to Syed Haider and others on the Laboratory Resources Committee. Pete Savolainen is among those focused on solving graduate studies issues. And Susan Masten deserves a major compliment for developing the Google Sheet, and organizing data, to keep preparations moving forward. 
  • When the university cancelled in-person instruction this spring, the Department of Computational Mathematics, Science, and Engineering swiftly established an online education committee consisting of Adam Alessio, Dirk Colbry, Bill Punch and Devin Silvia, and chaired by Brian O'Shea. This committee established policies and best practices to facilitate instructional development of online and hybrid courses. Dirk Colbry worked tirelessly to set up course website templates and the computing labs. Bill Punch led efforts to refactor our qualifying exams so that they would work in a virtual environment and has been proactive in keeping our international graduate students informed about the start of the semester. Devin Silvia established virtual faculty office hours and led, along with Dirk Colbry and Assistant Dean Theo Caldwell, a series of virtual town hall meetings about diversity, equity and inclusion. I appreciate these efforts, and those by other CMSE faculty and staff, to put us in a strong position to provide a quality education for all students this fall. 
  • Daina Briedis mentioned that Geoff Recktenwald and Michele Grimm put extra effort and invaluable expertise into the Online Instruction Resource Committee. Michele also uploaded and organized ASEE papers – in addition to her attention to the Remote Active Learning group. 
  • Judy Cordes and Sandy Christlieb, from Women in Engineering (Student Success) for their exceptional work on a First-year Student Portal to engage new students early and often. This portal goes a long way in ensuring that our incoming students see the College of Engineering as a nurturing academic home even when the students are learning remotely.
  • James Klausner asked me to give Ron Averill (mechanical engineering) a big shout out for organizing the ME fall curriculum and its 90%-plus of hybrid course offerings.
  • There are many who assisted with the classroom strategies needed to offer appropriate social distancing. Many were involved in a serious review of the timing for courses. I can’t forget the Spartans who never left campus or have been returning regularly to sanitize and clean buildings, prepare signage, receive packages, greet guests, help students with questions and keep the college’s maintenance and business functions moving forward. 

My list of thanks could go on and on. I’d like to call attention to John Verboncoeur and his leadership in guiding our way to building and lab openings, among the thousands of other details he has helped with; Tom Voice, who often spends his days going from one Zoom meeting to another to answer questions, evaluate requests, and problem solve; and the determined help that Amanda Idema (undergraduates), Katy Luchini-Colbry (graduate students) and Theo Caldwell (inclusion and diversity) continue to invest in Spartan Engineers. 

For the others that I missed today - my apologies! So many have done so much – so tell me who I missed and I’ll include their thanks as our year progresses. If you know of efforts that deserve a special recognition, please send a note to our communications manager Pat Mroczek at mroczekp@egr.msu.edu and she’ll help me include them in a future message. 

We are opening our next academic year during extraordinary circumstances. The only way we’re even able to educate, do research and provide service is you, your colleagues, and our Spartan community.

I send a sincere thank you for your efforts and wish you a good Fall Semester. Let’s stay in touch and make this the best academic year that we can.

Together We Will… Engineer the Future!

Best wishes, 

Leo

Aug. 12, 2020

Dear Graduate Students,

I hope this message finds you and your loved ones safe and healthy. Fall semester is just around the corner, and many of you have already started preparing for classes to begin on September 2. Please continue to reference MSU’s Together We Will website, as it will have the most up to date information on campus.

Here in the College of Engineering, this communication is meant as an update to information from my July 13 email and is accurate as of August 12, 2020 and is subject to change.

Information about fall semester classes:

  • Schedule of Courses has been updated with class locations for any in person/hybrid courses. Note that classes will take place in some non-traditional spaces this fall, so please read your schedule carefully.
  • Remember that regardless of mode, all in-person class instruction will end on November 25 and be remote for the duration of the semester.
  • Final Examinations for fall semester 2020 will take place between December 14-18, 2020. All final exams will be held virtually that week, so no building/room information will be listed. Date/time information will be posted for sections in Schedule of Courses by August 14, 2020.


Information from DECS:

  • The DECS Support Office will be open for the Fall semester. However, our in-person operations will be altered to provide a safe and socially distanced environment for all. The DECS Support Office will be limited to one patron at a time. We ask that you wait in the designated spaces in the hallway until a DECS staff member invites you into the office. Traditional amenities will not be available in the Support Office, such as: document scanner, printers, lab-style computers, stapler, 3-hole punch, paper cutter, etc... Remote assistance will be available via phone and email. More information, including contact details and hours, can be found on our website: https://www.egr.msu.edu/decs/
  • The majority of the DECS public computer labs will be reserved for scheduled classes only. One computer lab will be available for use by individuals with insufficient computer or internet resources. Students should use the remote environment when possible. Information on connecting can be found here: https://www.egr.msu.edu/decs/help-support/how-to/connect-decs-remote-desktop-services-rds-servers 
  • DECS printers will still be available in the labs, however exact locations may change due to social distancing requirements.

 
Information from the College Graduate Studies Office:

  • Katy Colbry and Wendy Baker will continue to work remotely in fall semester. You can reach them by email (colbryka@msu.edu, or bakerwe@msu.edu) and you can make appointments with Katy here: http://bookkaty.colbry.com.
  • Katy Colbry will host open office hours via zoom on Tuesdays this fall from 9-10am Eastern (GMT -5). These start September 8 and continue through December 15. Save the link! https://msu.zoom.us/j/98925901507
  • We’ve had a number of requests to continue the “Monday Motivation” emails during the fall semester, and will do our best to oblige. If you have topics to suggest, links or resources to share, etc., please email Katy (colbryka@msu.edu).
  • The College will host virtual “Lunch & Learn” seminars this fall semester; watch your email for a survey next week where you can share your ideas and preferences for this popular series!
  • The College is working on a new D2L “course” where students can fulfill part of their annual requirements for RCR (responsible conduct of research) training. Watch your email this fall for more information (you can find the RCR requirements here: https://www.egr.msu.edu/graduate/rcr

 
Information about Campus:

  • For those students living on campus in the fall, please keep checking REHS/Live-On for updated information.
  • Every Spartan is expected to take personal responsibility to help slow the spread of COVID-19. The MSU Community Compact applies to all of us!

As always, please let me know if I can be of any help. You can find me by email (colbryka@msu.edu) or make an appointment for a phone or video call at https://bookkaty.colbry.com

Katy

Katy Luchini Colbry, Ph.D.
Assistant Dean, Graduate Student Services

College of Engineering, Michigan State University

Aug. 11, 2020

Dear Spartan Engineers,

I hope this message finds you and your family safe and healthy. Fall semester is just around the corner, and many of you have already started preparing for classes to begin on September 2. Please continue to reference MSU’s Together We Will website, as it will have the most up to date information on campus.

Here in the College of Engineering, this communication is meant as an update to information from my July13 email and is accurate as of August 11, 2020 and is subject to change.

Information about fall semester classes:

  • Schedule of Courses has been updated with class locations for any in person/hybrid courses. Note that classes will take place in some non-traditional spaces this fall, so please read your schedule carefully.
  • Remember that regardless of mode, all in-person class instruction will end on November 25 and be remote for the duration of the semester.
  • Final Examinations for fall semester 2020 will take place between December 14-18, 2020. All final exams will be held virtually that week, so no building/room information will be listed. Date/time information will be posted for sections in Schedule of Courses by August 14, 2020.

 
Information from DECS:

  • The DECS Support Office will be open for the Fall semester. However, our in-person operations will be altered to provide a safe and socially distanced environment for all. The DECS Support Office will be limited to one patron at a time. We ask that you wait in the designated spaces in the hallway until a DECS staff member invites you into the office. Traditional amenities will not be available in the Support Office, such as: document scanner, printers, lab-style computers, stapler, 3-hole punch, paper cutter, etc... Remote assistance will be available via phone and email. More information, including contact details and hours, can be found on our website: https://www.egr.msu.edu/decs/
  • The majority of the DECS public computer labs will be reserved for scheduled classes only. One computer lab will be available for use by individuals with insufficient computer or internet resources. Students should use the remote environment when possible. Information on connecting can be found here: https://www.egr.msu.edu/decs/help-support/how-to/connect-decs-remote-desktop-services-rds-servers 
  • DECS printers will still be available in the labs, however exact locations may change due to social distancing requirements.

 
Information from UGS (Undergraduate Studies):

 
Information about Campus:

  • For those students living on campus in the fall, please keep checking REHS/Live-On for updated information.
  • Every Spartan is expected to take personal responsibility to help slow the spread of COVID-19. TheMSU Community Compact applies to all of us!

 
Please feel free to reach out to me directly if you have questions/concerns (agidema@msu.edu). 

Stay safe, and be well.


Dr. Idema
Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Studies

Aug. 10, 2020

Dear Spartan Engineers,

The MSU community is fully engaged in opening a Fall academic semester during difficult circumstances. As President Stanley has said, safety is the highest priority as we plan for a connected experience for all.

MSU’s redeveloped website, Together We Will, is continually being updated and is a good source of current information as Autumn approaches. If you haven’t specifically read about the MSU Community Compact yet, I’d like to call it to your attention. It explains the personal responsibility students, faculty, staff, alumni, contractors, vendors, and visitors are being asked to accept. It also offers a way to express concerns about noncompliance through an anonymous MSU Misconduct Hotline at 800-763-0764 or misconduct.msu.edu.

I am so proud of how hard everyone in the college has worked this summer in preparation for Fall semester. Your efforts on behalf of our students and our college community have been as relentless as the current challenges we face. I am gratified for your creative response and the opportunity to watch your problem solving and planning in real time.

One example is by the College's Instructional Models Working Group which developed a faculty community site through D2L, the University's learning management system. An Engineering Town Hall on Aug. 5 introduced faculty to this D2L community site and its step-by-step instructions, practice opportunities, and a place to discuss the methods and tools needed to adapt courses for this fall. I’ll write more about this important work soon.

Great news: MSU has received a "clean bill of health" from the Higher Education Learning Commission for our mid-cycle assurance review. For those of us in Engineering, this the the university-level version of ABET.

If you haven’t greeted our new colleague Teresa Woodruff yet, I hope you will say hello now. Teresa joined MSU on Aug. 1 as provost and executive vice president for academic affairs and a faculty member in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, as well as the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Biology in the College of Human Medicine.

She is an award-winning researcher and advocate for women in science, and she brings a tremendous background in leadership and collaboration to MSU. Her scientific accomplishments have already been translated into medical care, which helped earn her a Guggenheim Fellowship and election to the National Academy of Medicine. Her honors also include a Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring.

I encourage faculty to keep her up-to-date on your research programs, especially as they align with her expertise. And I look forward to hearing her insights on ways to offer more opportunities as we strive to build a better world. 

Another important element of our new learning environment this Fall will be the heightened attention for the programs and services that support diversity and inclusion at MSU. There is good work being completed to advance diversity, equity and inclusion on campus, along with already established education and development resources for faculty, staff, and students.

Here in the college, two of our colleagues have new advocacy roles to provide leadership. Theodore Caldwell is now the assistant dean for equity and inclusion, and Tamara Reid Bush is the new faculty excellence advocate. Theo is supervising for the inclusion and diversity of engineering students, and also working to increase diversity and inclusion training. Tammy’s assignment includes ensuring a fair and equitable process in hiring, promoting, and managing ranked faculty and academic staff, as well as seeking methods to enhance diversity among our faculty and academic staff. Please support their efforts for creating a safe and respectful environment by continuing your own self-examination through education and training.

As we move toward the Fall, Spartan Engineers continue to compile awards, grants, and ongoing evidence of their powerful abilities. Here’s more examples:

  • CSE Professor Xiaoming Liu has been elected a Fellow of the International Association of Pattern Recognition (IAPR). Only 0.25 percent of all IAPR members are named Fellows. He is director of the MSU Computer Vision Lab.
  • Civil engineer Yadu Pokhrel is helping a team at MSU foster environmental justice in the Mekong, home to 60 million people in five countries. Pokhrel will conduct hydrological simulations for the Mekong Culture WELL Project,which has received $1 million from the Luce Foundation.
  • ECE Professor Hayder Radha, ECE PhD student Su Pang, and CANVAS received international recognition at the recent Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR). The highly competitive CVPR workshop on autonomous driving attracted 40 worldwide participants from major industrial labs and other top academic institutions. MSU’s solutions, which included object tracking and forecasting for autonomous vehicles, were awarded an honorable mention.
  • A paper co-authored by CSE assistant professor Josh Siegel received the 2020 IEEE Sensors Journal Best Paper Award. The research, "Low-Cost Diaper Wetness Detection Using Hydrogel-Based RFID Tags," reports that disposable diapers with low-cost, moisture sensors would help the elderly and disabled, along with hospital patients and infants.
  • PhD students Daniel Griffinand Katherine Skocelaswere awarded three-year National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowships. Daniel (CMSE) will study the dynamics of team resilience, and Katherine (CSE) will focus on how immune systems evolve.
  • Ray Boeman and MSU’s Scale Up Research Facility (SURF) in Detroit’s Corktown will have a significant role in two projectsthat received major support from the U.S. Department of Energy in July. SURF will work with Ford on smart composite structures with electronics integration for smart vehicles ($7.5 million) and General Motors on tailored composites for structural battery enclosures ($7.5 million).
  • The National Science Foundation awarded almost $350,000 to MSU to establish a Research Experiencefor Undergraduates Site in Sociomobility. Peter Savolainen, MSU Foundation Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, will lead an interdisciplinary group that is looking at the implications of the large-scale deployment of autonomous vehicles on society.
  • And if you haven’t read the Student Viewby future neural engineer Ti’Air Riggins, a PhD student in biomedical engineering, take a look. She is the winner of a prestigious fellowship - an NIH Blueprint Diversity Specialized Predoctoral to Postdoctoral Advancement in Neuroscience Award.

I have said it before, your support during this crucial time in the history of the college is both needed and appreciated. Thank you for your many efforts for our Spartan students and for the support you are giving each other. Together We Will!

Best wishes and stay healthy,

Leo

July 13, 2020

Dear Spartan Engineers,
I hope this message finds you and your family safe and healthy. MSU just introduced a new website with updates on the reopening of campus, including details on face covering requirements, fall classes, housing and dining, travel, and other important topics. If you haven’t seen it yet, take a look at: Together We Will.

Here in the College of Engineering, this communication is meant as an update to information from my June 29 email and is accurate as of July 13, 2020 and is subject to change.

Information about fall semester classes:

  • Updates to the Schedule of Courses will continue to happen over the next few weeks. For in-person and hybrid courses, room assignments will be made starting on July 15, and continuing throughout the summer.
  • Remember that regardless of mode, all in-person class instruction will end on November 25 and be remote for the duration of the semester.
  • Final Examinations for fall semester 2020 will take place between December 14-18, 2020. All final exams will be held virtually that week, so no building/room information will be listed. Date/time information will be posted for sections in Schedule of Courses by August 14, 2020.

 
Information about CAPS (Counseling and Psychiatric Services)

  • Counseling services through CAPS is still available via phone and video, and is confidential and free of charge.
  • CAPS is also running virtual support groups during summer 2020 on a variety of topics
  • CAPS also offers virtual outreach offerings:
    • Black Girls Need Room: A CAPS virtual listening space for MSU Black Female identified studentsTo Be Heard ~ To Breathe ~To Scream ~ To Lead ~ To Grow. We are making room and look forward to students joining us. Sessions are scheduled from 2:30-3:30pm on Wednesdays in July (8, 15, 22, 29). Register through link below and/or learn more through email contact: easterl5@msu.edu https://msuhipaa.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJItceuhpzoiHtNW3ZgT2AWLvWOZuK47jj1D
    • Latinx Wellness & Connections: A psychoeducation and support webinar series for MSU Undergraduate and Graduate Latinx identified students on topics that impact the Latinx experience as it relates to stress, intersectionality, boundaries, connections and the overall balance of mental wellness. Sessions are scheduled from 1-2pm on Thursdays in July (9, 16, 23, 30). Email contact for more information and access to webinar: oyoqueje@msu.edu
    • #NoFilter: A webinar series for MSU Undergraduate Students that will explore the impacts of social media on mood, self-worth, anxiety, and overall well-being. Tuesdays, 3-4pm on July 14th, 21st, 28th and August 4th.  Attendance at all sessions are encouraged to maximize awareness, however, not required. Email contact for more information and access to webinar: deyoun80@msu.edu
    • CAPS CON: Calling all fans of entertainment and mental health! A 3-week webinar series for MSU students to explore mental health topics around general coping, managing emotions, and family dynamics through a unique lens incorporating pop culture, superheroes and fictional characters. Scheduled for Fridays, 1-2pm on July 17th, 24th, 31st. Email contact for more information and access to webinar: scottol1@msu.edu 

 
Information about campus:

 

My intent is to share new/updated information every couple of weeks. Please feel free to reach out to me directly if you have questions/concerns (agidema@msu.edu). 

Stay safe, and be well.
Dr. Idema
Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Studies

July 13, 2020

Dear Engineering Graduate Students,

I hope that this message finds you and your loved ones safe and healthy. This email is the second in a series of periodic updates that I will be sending through the rest of the summer as we learn more about the plans for returning to campus, and is a follow up to my last message on July 2. There are still many unknowns, but I wanted to make sure that you have the most current information as it applies to graduate students in our College.

 
This information is accurate as of July 13, 2020 and is subject to change.

Information about fall semester classes:

  • Updates to the Schedule of Courses will continue to happen over the next few weeks. For in-person and hybrid courses, room assignments will be made starting on July 15, and continuing throughout the summer.
  • Remember that regardless of mode, all in-person class instruction will end on November 25 and be remote for the duration of the semester.
  • Final Examinations for fall semester 2020 will take place between December 14-18, 2020. All final exams will be held virtually that week, so no building/room information will be listed. Date/time information will be posted for sections in Schedule of Courses by August 14, 2020.

Information about TA assignments for fall semester classes:

  • Many graduate student TA appointments have already been offered/accepted. If you expect to receive a TA appointment and have not received an offer let yet, please check with the graduate secretaryin the department offering the course.
  • Graduate students assigned to in-person TA duties for fall 2020 who have extenuating circumstances that may prevent or restrict their in-person activities should speak with their graduate program director as soon as possible, but absolutely no later than August 16, regarding options; the attached document outlines the University’s process for addressing concerns related to teaching assignments (including both faculty and graduate TAs) for Fall 2020.
  • All graduate student TAs should work closely with the supervising instructor to understand the various plans for teaching the course during fall 2020, recognizing that circumstances may require a shift in teaching modality during the semester – and that all courses will finish the semester in a remote-only format (after November 25). Be sure to talk to your supervising instructor about TA duties after November 25 and what hardware/software/network capabilities you may need to access in order to complete your TA responsibilities.

Information from the MSU Graduate School

  • The Graduate School provides a variety of updates for graduate students and graduate program faculty/staff weekdays via email and through their website: https://grad.msu.edu/cv19
  • A variety of virtual professional development activities are available for graduate students throughout the summer; pre-registration is typically required: https://grad.msu.edu/calendar

Information about CAPS (Counseling and Psychiatric Services)

    • Latinx Wellness & Connections: A psychoeducation and support webinar series for MSU Undergraduate and Graduate Latinx identified students on topics that impact the Latinx experience as it relates to stress, intersectionality, boundaries, connections and the overall balance of mental wellness. Sessions are scheduled from 1-2pm on Thursdays in July (9, 16, 23, 30). Email contact for more information and access to webinar: oyoqueje@msu.edu
    • CAPS CON: Calling all fans of entertainment and mental health! A 3-week webinar series for MSU students to explore mental health topics around general coping, managing emotions, and family dynamics through a unique lens incorporating pop culture, superheroes and fictional characters. Scheduled for Fridays, 1-2pm on July 17th, 24th, 31st. Email contact for more information and access to webinar: scottol1@msu.edu


Information about campus:

The College intends to share new/updated information every couple of weeks; I am curating the information for graduate students, and Dr. Idema is composing the messages for undergraduates. Please feel free to reach out to me directly if you have questions/concerns (colbryka@msu.edu). 

Best wishes,

Katy Luchini Colbry, Ph.D.

Assistant Dean, Graduate Student Services, College of Engineering

MSU GUIDES AND FAQ'S

“The dedication I have witnessed to support our students, keep our campus running, and support one another is uplifting and shows our Spartan spirit.” -- Samuel L. Stanley, Jr., M.D., President