Friday Futurecast — October 30

Health and safety update for university community members

Welcome to this week’s Friday Futurecast.

These updates are archived on the UMaine Fall 2020 website. The University of Maine at Machias also has a Fall 2020 website.

Message from President Joan Ferrini-Mundy:

Dear members of the UMaine and UMM communities,

The weeks go by so quickly, and as we approach this weekend, we complete our ninth week of our planned in-person/on-campus semester at the University of Maine and the University of Maine at Machias. We are doing so well, and I thank all of you for following the Black Bear and Clipper Pacts, for participating in our testing program, and for caring about one another and our community.

This week I want to give a special thank you to our teaching assistants and Maine Learning Assistants — graduate and undergraduate students who are vital partners in our instructional program, across instructional modalities. They are bringing their disciplinary knowledge and their understanding of teaching and learning to our in-person classrooms, to Zoom breakout rooms, to recitations and to office hours. They are expanding our effectiveness in reaching learners wherever they are and supporting them, and they are extending the reach of our faculty and instructors. Thank you.

To all — enjoy this Halloween weekend, keep all of your masks on, stay distanced, avoid gatherings and continue your commitment to caring.


Joan Ferrini-Mundy

Partnering to address health 

  • Two more rounds in phase three COVID-19 testing remain this semester at UMaine: Nov. 3–5 and Nov. 17–19. Notifications will be sent by email for those selected for randomized testing. At UMM, the next round of random sample testing is Tuesday, Nov. 3; notifications will go out soon.

  • Campus status Nov. 30 to Jan. 24: All classes will be taught remotely when they resume on Nov. 30. Existing campus activity in research/scholarship/creative work may continue during the period between semesters, and faculty and staff members may use their offices at will while continuing to follow health and safety guidance. In departmental offices, staffing should be maintained at the level necessary to support program needs for the remainder of fall semester and during break, and in preparation for spring semester. UMaine and UMM are not returning to the lockdown operations of the pandemic’s early days. Guidance will be updated if pandemic-related circumstances change.

Transparent and continuing communication 

  • The UMaine Division of Student Life sent a Halloween weekend health and safety reminder to students this morning: Continue to take great care with the safety of yourselves and others in our community. We have only a month left of school and we really want to stay as safe as possible for as long as possible. There will be an increased police presence on campus and in our community this weekend enforcing the COVID-19 regulations, and very little tolerance will be given to those who disregard the regulations that keep people safe. Remember the Black Bear Pact —  protect yourselves, protect others, and protect the college of our hearts always — and have a safe and fun Halloween weekend. For some safe, fun activities for the weekend, check out the weekend events at UMaine and UMM.

  • Chancellor Malloy’s fall 2020 “Keep It Up” Campus Tour at the University of Maine is Nov. 2. The Chancellor is visiting all University of Maine System universities and the University of Maine School of Law to highlight the many innovations, hard work and leadership that are making it possible to provide in-person instruction, and prioritize community safety and well-being during the pandemic. A virtual town hall from 1:45–2:30 p.m. (link: hosted by President Ferrini-Mundy will provide an opportunity for the Chancellor to learn more about how operations have needed to change to adhere to health and safety guidance, and to thank faculty, staff and students who are making it possible for us to be Together for Maine this fall.

In-person, on-campus experiences and other learning modes

  • NOTE: Undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in UMaine classes have the option to convert their fall 2020 class(es) from graded to Pass/Fail, or to withdraw from one or more classes without academic penalty (equivalent to a grade of W). The university’s goal in making these changes is to be as student-centric as possible by offering choices that promote academic integrity and positive learning outcomes. Students received an email about this earlier this week; the information also is online.

  • At UMM, students have until Dec. 11 to withdraw from classes without academic penalty. There is no change to the Pass/Fail policy at UMM. Students are encouraged to speak to a faculty advisor before making the decision to withdraw from a course.

  • This year, Culturefest will be offered on an interactive website designed to convey the stories of our international students’ experiences at UMaine, and to allow students to share their cultures and traditions through a variety of multimedia platforms. Student groups can sign up online for a page on the Culturefest website where they can share a variety of information about their countries or cultures, including recipes of traditional foods, poetry, readings of childrens’ stories, dance videos or pictures and stories of life back home. The Culturefest website is expected to be live Nov. 23.

  • The UMaine 2020 senior art exhibition “Surviving Anecdotes” will be on display through Nov. 12 in the Lord Hall gallery. The show features more than 100 works — from paintings and sculptures to animation and performance art — from 16 student artists. The gallery is open 9 a.m.–4 p.m. weekdays, following health and safety protocols. More information is online.

  • Zillman Art Museum’s new exhibition, “Living Windows: Gene A. Felice II & Kamathi Moore” is now open. The immersive media installation featuring sound design by Moore and video projections by Felice is a journey through the depths of aquatic ecosystems in California, Maine and North Carolina. The exhibition is on view through May 1. ZAM is located at 40 Harlow St., Bangor.

  • Check out UMaine’s Self-guided Walking Tours website. Whether you’re on campus or remote, the self-guided walking tours site provides opportunities to explore the university’s historical and cultural heritage.

Flexibility, responsiveness, empathy, and science

  • UMaine residence halls will close to students at 8 a.m., Nov. 25 as we transition to fully online learning. Residential students need to plan to vacate the halls no later than this time and should take with them all belongings they will need for the duration of break. Access to the residence halls during break is not permitted.

  • A very limited number of rooms will be available for residential students with a demonstrated critical need for emergency semester break accommodation. These rooms will be located in Knox Hall; not in the hall in which students are currently assigned. Moving will be necessary. Students who require accommodations for any period of time during the semester break (Nov. 25, 2020–Jan. 24, 2021) must apply and be approved for emergency break housing in order to stay on campus. The link to the emergency break housing application is here. Applications will be accepted through Nov. 6. Students should expect a decision regarding their application by email on or after Nov. 13.

  • The Residence Life team has created 20 virtual learning communities to keep students engaged while they are away from campus. Topics are based on survey data recently collected from current residents, including cooking and baking, video games, film and television, music, literature, fitness, travel and stress management. In the coming weeks, residential students will be sent an email survey to indicate their interest in participating. Students in each community will have access to remote programs and activities, educational information and a virtual communication platform to connect remotely with peers who share their interests. Residence Life also will maintain a virtual component for all of our established physical learning and themed communities, a list of which can be found here

Continuing our missions for Maine

  • The annual Combined Charitable Appeal for University Employees campaign (CCAUE) is underway to assist those in need across our state, throughout the country and around the world. The 2020 campaign runs through early December. A donor guide and more information, including how to contribute via payroll deduction, are online. The UMaine and UMM campaign chairs are Angela Michaud and Rose Mondville, respectively. Click here for the President’s video message about this year’s CCAUE campaign.

  • Election day is Nov. 3. Orono residents can register and vote from 7 a.m.–8 p.m. in New Balance Field House.