A message from Dean Jones, Dean Gillespie and Provost Kersh

April 23, 2020

Dear Graduate Students,

Please know that in the Graduate School, the Undergraduate College and the Office of the Provost, and indeed across all units at Wake Forest University, we’ve been thinking round-the-clock about how best to support all our students, faculty, and staff. We are well aware that our graduate students in particular occupy an especially vital place at Wake Forest, and are experiencing a whole set of distinctive challenges as we together navigate the COVID-19 storms.

To all of you who are teaching assistants, thank you sincerely for your dedication to your students. You joined faculty from across the college in spending your spring break (working with faculty mentors and core laboratory staff) revising your sections and labs for the second half of the semester, and now you are, like most faculty, teaching remotely for the very first time. It is difficult but important work. Your commitment to ensuring that our undergraduates can learn successfully under these entirely unforeseen and profoundly transformed circumstances deserves special commendation.

Moreover, while we know your individual faculty mentors are there to support you at this challenging time, we also know that many of the university-wide communications about the impact of COVID-19 on our community are less than clear about their applicability to your specific situations as Master and Doctoral students. We are especially pained that so many of you have had to put your research on hold because you cannot access labs on the Reynolda Campus and at Wake Downtown.

Because we know you are wrestling with all the demands of school, life, work, and home, as well as your professional futures, we anticipate that you may need more support. We want to empower you to get help via some specific Wake Forest resources:

  • During this anxious time in our community we know many of you are feeling the stress of financial hardship. The Chaplain’s Office may be able to provide some emergency support. Please contact Peggy Beckman to explain your situation at beckmapp@nullwfu.edu
  • We encourage you to take advantage of our numerous campus resources that can support your mental and emotional health, beginning with the University Counseling Center. Crisis assistance for urgent mental health needs is available anytime, from anywhere, by calling 336-758-5273. These are high-stress times and all of us are feeling that; have grace with yourself.
  • We also recommend the Professional Development Center for innovative courses and conversations that facilitate your professional growth in an exciting learning community: pdc.wfu.edu
  • The Office of Well Being at thrive.wfu.edu/thrive-remotely provides support on a variety of wellbeing topics to help our community as we transition to remote school and work. These topics include: help with sleep; managing anxiety and stress; fitness/exercise; nutrition education; and resources for the family.
  • Additionally, the Office of Wellbeing offers free, virtual wellbeing coaching sessions on stress, anxiety, time management, and resiliency.

We close this letter by expressing our deep gratitude to each of you, as important and valued members of our Wake Forest community. Never forget that. All of us at Wake Forest are so looking forward to the time we can all gather together again and thank you in person. We miss you–and we know we’ll come out on the other side of this stronger and even more connected.

Sincerely Yours,

Bradley T. Jones
Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Michele Gillespie
Dean of the College

Rogan Kersh
Provost