Someday in the future, we’ll look back at the past and marvel at what we did to get through the history being made today. Learning from home, working from home, teaching online, sharing screens in self-isolation, all parts of the virtual and actual worlds of living through a pandemic. Here you’ll find a—virtual, what else?—scrapbook of observations, advice and images from Mocs on how we got through the sudden transition. We pitched in, solved problems and overcame challenges because it’s what we do. Because Mocs Fly Together.
What a semester it’s been and what a great accomplishment in such a short time. Faculty, staff and students responded in style and just stepped up and got it done. The leadership team at UTC has been phenomenal. I feel like we did three years’ worth of work in about three weeks, and I’ve never been prouder to be a Moc. In the face of COVID-19 and in the face of tornadoes, people have stood up. They have helped each other and they’ve done everything they could to make this work, going above and beyond the call of duty.
I know what an incredible group of people that we have who are the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, and while the world changed drastically, the commitment of the University, our faculty and staff to our students has not changed at all.
Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs Yancy Freeman:
We are really fortunate and pleased to have the Tim and Denise Downey fund, which is used to provide basic life necessities for students as they happen through life experiences. Students can apply, receive funds and use those funds to pay bills, if they have them. If there are other sorts of emergent needs that occur, they can visit the Dean of Students’ website, in particular, the Student Outreach and Support page on the website to get information.
We will get through this together. This is certainly not something that will stop the Mocs.
Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Jerry Hale:
We migrated more than 80% of our courses from face–to–face meetings to online instruction in a little more than a week. We modified grading options available to 100% of the undergraduate curriculum. We ensured that our students had hardware, software and internet access to complete online courses. If chaos from the pandemic was not disruptive enough, then the lives of thousands of members of the UTC community were made even more difficult by tornadoes and severe storms.
Nearly all of our faculty members had never taught online. Nearly all of our students had never taken an online course. And nearly all of our staff had never worked from home or another remote location. Through it all, we offered our students high quality of instruction and helped keep them on track toward completion of their degrees. I am proud of our students, faculty and staff for their persistence, creativity, compassion and commitment to excellence under very difficult circumstances.
Executive Vice Chancellor Richard Brown:
The business and operations staff worked courageously and unselfishly to ensure campus operations and services continued to be delivered during this most challenging period in the history of our university. They engendered a true spirit of collaboration to ensure our university community remained safe and functional. Our faculty, staff, students, administrators and community support colleagues truly stepped up to respond with great care, sensitivity and courage. As executive vice chancellor, I am confident we will get beyond COVID-19, tornadoes and other challenges that are in front of us, because we have each other. More importantly, we work together for the mutual benefit of all who share our community.
Assistant Vice Chancellor for Emergency Services Robie Robinson:
Our office has had plenty of work to do this semester. From utility outages, weather emergencies, COVID-19 and others, we have had the opportunity to test and improve our plans and preparedness. We have built new relationships and strengthened others as we have worked through the myriad issues that have arisen. Through it all, I have been impressed by the commitment that I have seen from our campus community to help one another and I know that we are stronger today. I believe that UTC and all of the MOCs family have a bright future ahead.
Chief Health Affairs Officer and Director of the School of Nursing Chris Smith:
Neither Dr.Yasmine Key nor I envisioned our careers at UTC would allow us to use our knowledge in such a unique way. As Family Nurse Practitioners, I don’t think we ever thought of ourselves as epidemiologists, social workers, mental health counselors or logistics coordinators but we have had the opportunity to work in all those areas in the last six weeks. There have been times when it felt like one day melted into the next. So many decisions needed to be made. We are now in a very good place where I feel we understand what may lie ahead for us on the campus, in our community and in the country. But we must remember one thing: whatever we thought we knew about COVID-19 one day often changed rapidly, sometimes within hours. We have learned to be very flexible in response to the changes that came our way. And, we all know that good old soap and water is really very effective.
Director of University Health Services Yasmine Key:
It’s hard to find a way to capture the feeling these past few months into a few sentences. This time has been unprecedented for all of us. In a time that our circumstances could divide us, I’ve witnessed a unification—of individuals, resources, departments, community organizations, national and worldwide organizations—all for the greater good of humanity. UTC has always proudly prioritized our students, and now, I see how UTC strives to support our entire community inside and outside our campus walls. Being a member of the UTC community as an alum and as an employee is truly an honor.
We asked various UTC community members to congratulate our graduates:
Assistant Provost and Director of the Walker Center for Teaching and Learning Dawn Ford:
The willingness and positive attitudes of faculty in pivoting quickly to support students remotely has been inspiring to us in the WCTL. In six short weeks, we have responded to over 2,000 requests and offered 160 training sessions with over 1,200 participants to assist with this unprecedented transition. We have collaborated with not only faculty, but many other units on campus to creatively solve challenges in teaching and learning presented by COVID-19. We look forward to continuing our efforts to support the campus as higher education is reimagined for the future.
Library Dean Theresa Liedtka:
We miss seeing all our Mocs in the Library, in what must be one of the most challenging semesters in UTC history. From a library perspective, the majority of UTC Library collections are available online and our research, creative, writing and instructional services were already online or transitioned easily to the online environment. The addition of new services, like sending technology and books to students and faculty, were spontaneously stood up and we are glad to have played even a small part in helping our wonderful colleagues and students finish the semester.
Faculty Senate President Jamie Harvey:
“Change is constant.” That is life as we have lived these last few weeks. The consistent question has been “What is best for our students?” We have been inconvenienced; we are uncomfortable; however, faculty have adjusted class delivery with grace and patience. Our faculty have been surrounded by campus services and colleagues to help students transition. Academic integrity remains an integral part within our academics though fraught with changes. Decisions made throughout these rapidly-changing days have been collaborative with many collective conversations. We are a university community currently distanced but will return to campus as the vibrant community among friends. Go Mocs!
SGA President Stan Settles:
Wow. What a close to a semester that never seemed like it would end. It has been a tremendous honor to serve in this capacity over the course of this year. Mocs stuck together, they worked together, and we overcame together. Just like we always will. That’s what brings us together. I am proud to have served as your Student Body President, and I am very proud of this University. Always a Moc.
Graduate Student Association President Haley Wilson:
While this semester has been a whirlwind for most, it has been truly inspiring to watch my peers overcome and join together through these tough challenges. They have taken on the role of homeschool parent, juggled jobs alongside moments of doubt, dealt with uncertain circumstances after tornado destruction and all while persevering in their school work. A professor recently reminded me of UTC’s motto, “Faciemus,” which is latin for, “We shall achieve.” My fellow Mocs have been a shining example of this motto over the past few months. They have persisted, endured and achieved. Go Mocs!
Customized videos were sent to each of our graduates. Here is an example of one created for CHEPS: