Best Wishes and an Update from Our School
I have thought of our alumni, parents and friends often over the past several extraordinary weeks. The disruption caused by the novel coronavirus likely has been keen for you, just as it has been for us here in Charlottesville. I am sure that, like us, you are doing everything possible to support the health and well-being of your family and community.
I am writing to share my best wishes and provide an update from the School of Engineering. At this point, the University has transitioned to online instruction, and faculty and staff are all working remotely unless they are involved in essential activities. This has been an incredible undertaking, implemented at breathtaking speed. I am so proud of UVA Engineering’s students, faculty, and staff, who rose to the challenge with ingenuity and grace.
Many are going above and beyond. UVA Engineering faculty helped each other get courses online. Students, staff and faculty donated protective equipment such as masks to local medical practices. Using #WeAreUVAEngineering, encouragement and tips have been exchanged on social media and our novel coronavirus blog. And students built a coronavirus tracking website that has received millions of views.
One of the most important examples of service to society comes from computer science faculty who lead the Biocomplexity Institute and Initiative. The Institute is at the forefront of the national modeling, monitoring, planning and response to COVID-19. The National Science Foundation announced this week the Institute is receiving a five-year, $10 million collaborative grant to lead more than 40 researchers from 14 U.S. institutions and more than 20 international partners in a project titled, “Expeditions in Computing: Global Pervasive Computational Epidemiology.” The project will revolutionize real-time epidemiology to fight global pandemics.
UVA Engineering community members are courageous, resilient, and dedicated to serving society. Our core values, knowledge and skills are relevant – both now, as we grapple with the implications of the pandemic, and later when society needs us to rebuild, learn from these experiences, and prevent future global health disasters.
I appreciate the words of support and encouragement I have received from alumni, parents, and friends. I am confident that UVA Engineering will emerge from this challenge prepared to continue our strong momentum.
Please take care of yourself and your family. We will provide additional updates soon.
Craig H. Benson, Dean