Friday Futurecast — March 12

Health and safety update for university community members

Welcome to this week’s Friday Futurecast

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

Message from President Joan Ferrini-Mundy:

Dear members of the UMaine and UMM communities,

As Chancellor Malloy noted in his community message Wednesday and as announced in a University of Maine System news release, we are beginning preparations to welcome students back to our campuses in the fall for a more traditional, in-person educational experience. We have every expectation that our fall semester for students, faculty and staff will be very different than last year, maximizing in-person instruction and the campus experience, and ensuring a safe environment for all to learn, teach, work, conduct research and engage in outreach.

At the University of Maine and University of Maine at Machias, we will take the latest UMS guidance and begin to collaboratively build our plans for summer and fall on our campuses, and in our facilities and offices statewide. Working with faculty, staff, students and other stakeholders, we will take what we have learned in the past year, continue to follow civil guidance and be driven by science, and plan accordingly.

We are thrilled to have reached this decision. It is a testament to our commitment as university communities to our individual and collective health, safety and well-being, the status of the pandemic and the importance of vaccines. 

At UMaine and UMM, we look forward to sharing specific plans and details for the summer and fall as they are available. It is an exciting time of preparation and promise.

We are ready to move forward and delighted at the prospect of being back in person. 

Sincerely,

Joan Ferrini-Mundy

Partnering to address health 

  • The University of Maine System Together for Maine website has the latest guidance regarding group gathering limits and spring semester operations. Also on the site is information on summer general operations; expect regular updates throughout the semester as they become available. Also see the UMS website for the latest domestic travel guidance for members of our university communities.

Transparent and continuing communication 

  • The fall 2021 schedule of classes will be available in MaineStreet on March 15. Preparation for enrollment should begin by visiting the Office of Student Records website for helpful enrollment information. Find your enrollment appointment in your MaineStreet Student Center, or use the enrollment appointment schedule to determine when you are eligible to enroll. Schedule an appointment to meet with your adviser to plan your course selection. Enrollment begins on March 29.

  • If you plan to graduate and wish to be part of May 2021 Commencement, and you have not filled out the Graduation Application, please do so as soon as possible. This will ensure that you receive all of the important information regarding Commencement. Find information on how to apply at the Student Records website.

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

  • It’s a busy weekend for UMaine Athletics with games at home and away — all without fans, in accordance with COVID-19 health and safety requirements. Today, Field Hockey is at UMass and Women’s Basketball hosts Stony Brook in the America East Championship game at 5 p.m. The game will be broadcast nationally on ESPNU, streamed here, and can be heard on the radio locally at 96.1 WGUY-FM or at GoBlackBears.com. Baseball travels to Wagner College for a three-game weekend set beginning with a doubleheader at noon on Saturday before closing the series with a single game at 3 p.m. on Sunday. Football will be playing its first home game in 483 days when it hosts UAlbany at Alfond Stadium at noon on Saturday. There will be no spectators or tailgating on campus; the game can be seen locally on WVII ABC 7 Bangor and Maine’s CW–WPXT in Portland. It also will be livestreamed via the FloFootball platform. Local radio coverage is on the Black Bear Sports Network and GoBlackBears.com, or via the TuneIn application. Softball begins its 2021 spring slate with a doubleheader at Merrimack at noon on Saturday. Men’s and Women’s Swimming are in action on Sunday when the men travel to take on Norwich University while the women hit the road to meet Vermont. Both events begin at noon. Women’s Soccer hosts NJIT in its home opener, also without spectators. Sunday’s Women’s Soccer contest can be seen at AmericaEast.TV. Softball concludes its weekend with a doubleheader at Sacred Heart at noon before Baseball meets Wagner College at 3 p.m. in the series finale.

  • Saturday’s football game with UAlbany in Alfond Stadium begins at noon without spectators, in accordance with COVID-19 health and safety guidance. The campus traffic plan remains the same as it is on every game day, with one important exception — there will be no parking in the athletics complex lots. Beginning at 6 a.m. March 13, all College Avenue traffic entering via Long Road will be diverted south on Munson; westbound traffic on Long Road will detour to Flagstaff Road. Tunk Road will be closed. Only authorized vehicles will be allowed in the Alfond, Corbett, Dunn, Gym and Satellite parking lots for the safety of student-athletes and staff utilizing multiple facilities in the area, following civil and UMS guidance. Pedestrians in those areas will be required to follow COVID-19 health and safety guidelines, including wearing face coverings and social distancing. Tailgating is not allowed on campus at this time.

  • Summer University enrollment is up 11% over last year, with students already registered for more than 2,100 courses. The first session begins May 10. More information about Summer University, including how to register for both UMaine and UMM courses, is online.

Flexibility, responsiveness, empathy, and science

  • Earlier this semester, we sent notice that UMaine would revert to the prepandemic pass/fail grading option and extended the deadline to provide time to connect with advisers to ensure an informed choice. Subsequently, UMaine’s Student Government (UMSG), noting increasing student concerns and issues as a result of the pandemic, approached UMaine Faculty Senate and UMaine Administration requesting the extension of COVID-19 pandemic pass/fail grading policies and procedures this semester. UMSG offered compelling data to support the request, and its argument that students’ learning environment conditions have not substantially changed since fall semester was persuasive. As a result, Faculty Senate, which was very supportive of the students’ position, voted on March 10 to support the UMSG request, and the UMaine Administration concurred. Both also support temporary changes to the withdrawal policy this semester. The latest spring 2021 policies and procedures regarding both are online.

Continuing our missions for Maine

  • Links to all the virtual Women’s History Month events offered by the Office of Diversity and Inclusion are online.

  • On Statehood Day, March 15, the Advanced Structures and Composites Center will unveil a custom-made 3D-printed Dirigo Star created for the Maine Bicentennial Commission (Maine200) — a core component of the State of Maine Bicentennial Time Capsule. The 1 p.m. event at the Composites Center, without on-site spectators, will be livestreamed on the Maine200 YouTube page and Maine200 Facebook page. It will commemorate Maine’s 201 years of statehood and celebrate the university’s contribution to this future-focused memorial to our bicentennial year. 

  • Reminder: A virtual roundtable, “Women in Leadership and Social Justice: The Importance of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion,” begins at 4 p.m. March 15 as part of UMaine’s Women’s History Month observance. Joining President Ferrini-Mundy will be Shontay Delalue, vice president for institutional equality and diversity, Brown University; Angela Okafor, Bangor City Council member, attorney and business owner; and Leigh Saufley, dean of the University of Maine School of Law. This is the event link.