Published: April 9, 2020

Dear ICS Community Members,

For the past month, our Dean - Terri Fiez - has been leading twice weekly 'problem-solving' sessions involving all Institute Directors and operations managers (for ICS, this is Donna), as well as other research enterprise leaders on campus. 

Before spring break, this group's focus was on protecting everyone's personal safety and shutting down our research and teaching enterprise to stop the transmission of the virus. 

After spring break, our focus shifted to protecting everyone's safety net - salary and health insurance - particularly for vulnerable research positions where the work cannot be performed remotely, and for those individuals who are ill or need to provide child care. I am extremely pleased to report that our administration, with support from across federal funding agencies and many private foundations, has arrived at a uniform policy and set of procedures to support this extremely important goal. 

What this means for you: 

If you normally file a monthly time card AND your ability to conduct research has been impacted by the virus, then you will need to follow the new policies and guidelines. They are a bit complicated, and there is a new form to be filled out (surprise!). Cat will be sending out detailed instructions and supports for everyone later today to help us navigate this new process. Graduate students employed as TAs or GRAs should not be impacted by these new policies. 

A few other things for you to think about and be aware of.......

- By now, we have all transitioned to remote teaching and learning. I know this has been a jarring and a rocky process for both students and faculty. Recently, Prof. Bill Penuel and colleagues have developed a new tool to help us think through this transition, the Remote Learning Resource: Setting Norms

While this tool for 'humanizing remote learning' was developed with K-12 science teachers in mind, I believe it offers important ideas for us in higher education as well. Notably, this tool encourages all of us to recognize that these are not normal times, and that now our classroom cultures - more than ever - need to emphasize pedagogical practices that support community, belonging, and human feelings. I encourage both faculty and students to review this remarkable tool and think about how your own behavior can contribute towards humanizing our remote learning experiences and supporting each other to be successful in our coursework this semester. 

- Also, our thoughts are gradually turning towards how to open up and get our research back on track. Last week, Dean Fiez convened a working group to develop guidelines for when and how to open up CU research facilities. ICS is well-represented on this committee through the participation of Nicole Speer (Director of Operations, INC) and Cinnamon Bidwell (Director, CU REACH). This is just an FYI. At some point, we may need your input into whatever processes or guidelines this group produces. 

And finally......

- Yasko and Jean have resurrect our annual Poster event for the online world. Be sure to email posters (PDF) and Zoom personal meeting room ID to

- Hold this date - Friday April 24th from Noon - 2pm - for an ICS Virtual Colloquium followed by a Zoom poster session. We will update folks on things taking place in the Institute and also discuss our plans and ideas for re-opening the Institute and our research facilities.