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Staying Connected in Troubled Times

Monday April 06, 2020 1:46 pm

Dear Faculty,

During this most unusual of “spring breaks” I hope you found at least a few moments of rest and time to take a deep breath. There is so much that is unknown and so much that is unsettling for all of us. As we move through these days it is important that we take time to connect with ways that replenish us. Below is an invitation for connection from two of your faculty colleagues, Kristi Kanel and Michele Wood. I will also be sending another email to you with a resource for your students to help them in dealing with stress. May we together learn how to live as well and wisely as we can €“ as we go through these days of unknowing.

Take care and be well,

Pamella H. Oliver, Ph.D.
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Greetings Fellow Titan Faculty:

We are proud to be part of this community and wish to maintain strong and healthy shared community experiences.

Faculty in the Colleges of Health and Human Development and in Humanities and Social Sciences have been thinking about all our campus colleagues during these isolating times. We are without the ability to see each other passing in hallways, in Parking Lot B, at Club 57, or elsewhere around campus. We would like to invite any of you who may be interested to participate in a small-group Zoom session (ideally 10 or fewer) to talk and connect virtually, as a temporary substitute for our usual in-person connections with each other. 

Research tells us that people respond to stress in a variety of ways. Sometimes reactions to stress are behavioral, such as disruptions to our usual sleep habits or appetite, increased alcohol or drug use, or decreased energy and ability to complete tasks. Sometimes people experience stress emotionally, with feelings of sadness, anxiety, anger, suicidal thinking, hopelessness, helplessness, or worthlessness. The effects of stress may be cognitive and result in impaired concentration; negative attitudes about ourselves, others, and the future; feelings of inadequacy, self-blame, blaming others, or memory loss. And sometimes, the effects are social and result in impaired parenting, relationships, or communication with co-workers. People experiencing any of these potential signs of stress may benefit from spending virtual time with colleagues who are experiencing similar issues. 

If you have been experiencing any of these indicators, you may wish to attend a meeting which would last about an hour in its inaugural format, but could be extended based on faculty’s level of interest and teaching schedules. €”Our goal and intention is to help people connect with each other, feel better, think more clearly, and improve social and daily functioning as well as overall feelings of well-being.

If we don’t hear from you, best wishes to all.  Let’s all try to have a basic optimism about the future and our ability to navigate through these unprecedented times. Our community has come together and stepped up to the challenge of responding to this crisis so far€”the Titan family is strong, flexible, resourceful, and we are proud to be part of it!

Take good care of yourselves and each other, and contact one or both of us if you would like to join.

Wishing everyone the best of health!

Kristi Kanel, Ph.D., Professor, Human Services,
Michele Wood, Ph.D., Professor, Public Health,