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A Message to Graduate Students from Dean Camesano

March 24, 2020

Dear Graduate Students,

You have been receiving important messages over the past weeks from President Leshin about all of the changes taking place at WPI as a result of COVID-19, but we felt it was important at this time for us to speak directly to you with information about how these changes specifically impact you. The email below is a summary of some of the information that WPI has already communicated to the entire community, but organized in a way that may be helpful to graduate student’s needs. Please check the WPI Coronavirus (COVID-19) page regularly for more information on how WPI is handling this situation. https://www.wpi.edu/news/coronavirus

Courses. The timing and delivery method of ALL D-Term/the rest of spring semester courses has been changed. All D-term/spring semester courses will now be completed via distance learning, with courses resuming or beginning on or after March 25. The last day of classes is now May 13. For graduating graduate students, the new electronic thesis/dissertation (ETD) deadline is May 18th. Students should return home and continue their studies via distance learning.

Campus Access. Per President Leshin’s email on March 20, campus access is being restricted. WPI employees who can perform their job responsibilities remotely must now do so.  Graduate students are asked not to come to campus at this time. Please reach out to your advisor if you need more information.

Graduate students in on-campus housing that were approved to remain in on-campus housing during and following spring break should follow communications from Residential Services about restricted campus access. The Student Development and Counseling center is providing remote services at this time. Please visit their website to learn more.

Remote work. TAs, GLAs, and graders, should be in contact with their department/program about their support of online courses. TAs will be expected to work remotely to support online instruction, and will be paid as normal. Trainings in online teaching and associated support are taking place this week and TAs have been invited to participate. Please contact the Academic Technology Center with any questions, or if you require additional training.

RAs, and those doing directed research should be in contact with their research advisors to discuss remote research activities that can be conducted for the rest of the semester, should there not be an option to return to campus. Examples of remote research activities might include data analysis, manuscript/thesis/dissertation/fellowship writing, reading journal articles, learning or refining digital research skills (e.g. coding languages, research software programs), and organizing or converting to an electronic lab notebook, among others. RAs conducting research activities remotely are still considered to be fulfilling RA responsibilities. RAs that have discussed remote research options with their research advisor and have not been able to identify any remote research activities that can be performed, should reach out to their Graduate Coordinator or Department/Program Head for further guidance. 

International Students. International graduate students should be in contact with the International House with any questions related to travel out of the US at this time, particularly as there may be implications for obtaining OPT/CPT. 

Career Development Center (CDC). The CDC is offering career services and resources online, including a graduate student virtual career fair on April 10. Graduate Studies is offering professional development programs online the rest of the semester, including the Grad Leadership series starting on Thursday (registration required) and the STARS session on microaggressions and inclusivity this Friday. Additional virtual programs may be added later in the semester. 

And finally, if you have concerns that have not been addressed, please reach out to Graduate Studies graduatestudies@wpi.edu at any time.

Sincerely,

Terri A. Camesano

Dean of Graduate Studies