State of the Gevirtz School April 2020

Wednesday, April 15, 2020
Dean Jeffrey Milem

(photo credit Matt Perko)

Friends,

We have received many calls and emails from alumni, friends, and community partners to ask how COVID-19 is affecting the Gevirtz School. We hope the following update gives you a glimpse of our reality and path forward. As usual, the dedicated people of our school are coming together digitally as a community to activate encouraging solutions.

In compliance with California’s statewide Shelter in Place restrictions, all of our efforts are requiring a new mindset. I am pleased to report that all classes are proceeding virtually. The majority of our School’s student services are uninterrupted and being offered via email and chat. Our clinics are using online tools like Telehealth to work with clients. All of our academic administrators and staff are working remotely and productively.

In the not-to-distant future, we will offer video-talks and webinars to share expert advice from our faculty and alumni about education and mental wellness during this pandemic. These digital events will be publicly available and provide insights on teaching at home, supporting children through crisis, accessing digital mental health resources, etc.  We are also seeing some very timely and interesting pandemic-related research projects emerging in the school; indeed, one of our graduate students has pivoted to make her dissertation study Coping with COVID-19, and she will investigate what social and emotional experiences help individuals cope with the current Coronavirus outbreak.

Like all of you, the Gevirtz School is facing unprecedented challenges and difficult decisions. My immediate concern is for our graduate students, some of whom will encounter academic and financial obstacles brought about by the COVID-19 disruptions. However, I’m reassured by the collective commitment and fortitude of the Gevirtz School community – we will get through this together.

Over the coming weeks, I will reach out with updates as appropriate. Please feel free to contact me with questions. Please follow us on social media to know of our latest updates and the work our faculty, students, and alumni are doing during this pandemic. Many are already sharing insights via APA articles and webinars and other outlets. We are also undertaking a journaling project that will give you weekly reports from the education and applied psychology frontlines during the pandemic.

Let me offer wisdom from a folk philosopher from whom I have learned a thing or two, my dad, Paul. For as long as I can remember, Dad would end nearly every conversation I had with him with three seemingly simple words: “Do your best.” All we can ask of ourselves and of each other is to do our best, especially during difficult and challenging times like these. At the Gevirtz School, we are all doing our best in very challenging times.

May you and all you hold dear be well in this difficult time.

Sincerely,

Dr. Jeffrey Milem
Dean and Professor, Gevirtz School
UC Santa Barbara