Friday Futurecast — December 18

Health and safety update for university community members

Welcome to this week’s Friday Futurecast

These updates are archived on the UMaine Fall ’20–Spring ’21 website. The University of Maine at Machias also has a Fall ’20–Spring ’21 website.

Message from President Joan Ferrini-Mundy:

Dear members of the UMaine and UMM communities,

I continue to marvel at the great efforts of our students, faculty and staff at UMaine and UMM during the past nine months and look forward to the time when we are able to all gather together again. This week, our nation has achieved a major milestone with the administration of the first dose of coronavirus vaccine and I am optimistic about our collective efforts to tackle this global pandemic. I am also saddened that in this same week, we reached 300,000 deaths in our nation.  

As we prepare for the holiday season (and there are many to celebrate), I wish to extend my overwhelming gratitude to every member of the UMaine and UMM communities who has contributed to our ability to continue to offer high quality educational opportunities with great attention to care, concern, health and safety.  


Joan Ferrini-Mundy

Partnering to address health 

  • President Ferrini-Mundy will chair the University of Maine System Vaccine Planning and Partnership Task Force to coordinate and report on the work underway across the campuses to plan for and support the distribution of vaccines for COVID-19. The task force, appointed this week by Chancellor Malloy, is charged with expanding and facilitating the use of university resources to assist with vaccine distribution, recommending needed changes to UMS immunization requirements, and contributing to student and public awareness about the efficacy and safety of FDA-approved vaccines. A news release about the task force is online.

  • Reminder: We have information online about COVID-19 testing sites in the Orono area and statewide.

Transparent and continuing communication 

  • Spring return move-in/testing dates and times for UMaine residential students have been assigned and can be accessed on the myHousing portal. If a student wishes to request a date/time adjustment, email Residence Life at

  • At UMM, residential students will return to campus for move-in and testing on Jan. 19–20.

  • All students, both residential and those living off campus, who wish to remain engaged in the campus community can sign up to be part of a virtual community through Residence Life.

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

  • UMaine deferred students can take advantage of Black Bear Paws, a program featuring online course options, statewide hands-on internship and 4-H STEM Ambassador opportunities, and adventure-based Maine Bound programming. More information is online.

  • The Collins Center for the Arts’ Six Picks to keep us connected to the world of performing arts includes a link to “Home for the Holidays,” a livestreamed performance from the CCA at 7 tonight (Dec. 18) featuring UMaine artists Danny Williams, Emily Cain, Fran Vogt and the top three winners of the CCA talent contest. Other picks include Natalie MacMaster & Donnell Leahy’s “Celtic Family Christmas,” “The Hip Hop Nutcracker,” “Eleanor’s Very Merry Christmas Wish,” “A Christmas Carol” and more.

  • Good luck to all the Black Bear student-athletes competing over break. For the schedule of contests, results, and opportunities to listen or watch:

Flexibility, responsiveness, empathy, and science

  • 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. More information is online.

  • Reminder: The Chancellor has declared Dec. 24 and Dec. 31 paid administrative holidays. The hope is that those who can take advantage of the four-day holiday weekends will enjoy time away from the burdens of work to spend time with their loved ones — and stay healthy doing it. See his message.

Continuing our missions for Maine

  • The UMaine Career Center, in partnership with the other UMS career centers, has developed a new website that lists many programs, resources and opportunities for students to learn the skills that will help prepare them for their next steps.