The University of Texas at Dallas

Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science

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Dean’s Message

Greetings Fearless Engineering and Computer Science Students,

My name is Stephanie G. Adams and I am the Dean of the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science. I wanted to personally reach out to you during this time of increased uncertainty due to COVID-19 to reassure you.

As you’re aware by now, classes for the rest of the semester will be taught online. Over the past week or so, faculty and staff have been preparing for your return to classes under a new format.

As of March 24, those in Dallas County are required to remain at home and those not in Dallas County have been strongly encouraged to remain at home, thus there should be no reason for you to be on campus. I also want to reassure you that you will still receive a quality engineering and computer science education over the next four weeks. All decisions being made at the Jonsson School, the University and UT System level are being made with your wellbeing as our top priority.

One of the reasons that I accepted the position as Dean of the Jonsson School last August was because of YOU: you all are smart, ambitious, industrious, techie and persevering students. By the way, these are all qualities that will serve us well during this time.

This transition to online instruction is providing an opportunity for faculty members to think creatively about how they teach.

The University is providing resources and instruction for anyone teaching a class to make this transition as smooth as possible. Here are expectations regarding online education for the remainder of the spring semester:

  • By Wednesday, March 25, your professors will be sending you updated syllabi including attendance policies, assignments and exams; the updated syllabi expectation also applies to classes that are already online.
  • Updated syllabi will be available in eLearning and in CourseBook.
  • You will not be expected to purchase software or extra equipment to complete courses this semester.
  • Student advising will be conducted virtually.
  • Final examinations, oral and for individual classes, will be conducted online, but again, you should not incur any software fees.
  • If you have challenges with computer equipment or internet accessibility, which might hinder your ability to participate in classes online, please let associate dean for undergraduate studies, Dr. Ntafos (for undergrads) or associate dean for academic affairs, Dr. Balsara (for grads).
  • If you are limited from online services because of technology (a computer, internet access), please contact [email protected] or your department head.
  • If your experience differs from these expectations, please contact your department head or associate dean for undergraduate studies, Dr. Ntafos (for undergrads) or associate dean for academic affairs, Dr. Balsara (for grads).
Update for Alumni

There may be questions related to summer and fall class registration and delivery. As of right now, the processes remain the same, but we are monitoring the evolving COVID-19 situation and will inform you of any changes.

I am a firm believer that a college education is about more than what occurs in the classroom, and I am proud that UT Dallas leadership agrees. As such, the Student Success Center will be offering virtual services following our extended spring break. You can visit https://www.utdallas.edu/studentsuccess/ for information about the continuation of student support for issues such as financial issues and peer mentoring.

It might be tempting to feel alone during this time of decreased social contact, but know that you are not. Feel free to reach out to faculty and staff members that you trust to catch up, as well as to University counseling services if more support is needed.

And lastly for now, to students who were scheduled to graduate this semester, I am sorry this major milestone in your life is suspended at this time.

Commencement is a time of sheer delight for you and your family, especially if you are lucky you get a speaker who imparts wisdom that will stick with you for the rest of your life. I was fortunate to have US Congress Edolphus Towns from New York as my speaker in 1989 and he told us “sometimes the elevator is broken, and you’ve got to take the stairs”. To me, this meant sometimes there will be challenges or the road won’t always be easy; that we may have to work harder than we thought, but we shouldn’t let go of our goals. We will be a stronger school, university, nation and world on the other side of this current pandemic and I look forward to celebrating this milestone with you this fall.

Stay safe, practice social distancing and remember to wash your hands.

Stephanie G. Adams, Ph.D. F. ASEE
Dean and Lars Magnus Ericsson Chair
President, American Society of Engineering Education
Erik Jonsson School of Engineering & Computer Science

Originally sent to students on March 23 with this link.

For the most up-to-date news, please see the University’s official COVID‑19 information webpage.


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