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My letter to students regarding the change to UMass’s reopening plan

Last night, the University announced a change to their reopening plan. In short, the goal is to reduce the number of students on campus and in the surrounding area. While I applaud the efforts to mitigate the spread of the virus, and the science-based decision making, I felt it was important to reach out to my students to both acknowledge the stress they were undoubtedly feeling with such a change so close to the start of the semester. I also want to point out that there was still an option for those students who had nowhere else to go as I felt that this message was (understandably) minimized in the announcement.

My letter to my students is below. I post it in case anyone else wants to use it as a template.

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Conference paper on AI in answering student forum post done in collaboration with Chemistry and the College of Information Sciences Published

Zylich, Brian, Adam Viola, Brokk Toggerson, Lara Al-Hariri, and Andrew Lan. “Exploring Automated Question Answering Methods for Teaching Assistance.” In Artificial Intelligence in Education, edited by Ig Ibert Bittencourt, Mutlu Cukurova, Kasia Muldner, Rose Luckin, and Eva Millán, 610–22. Lecture Notes in Computer Science. Cham: Springer International Publishing, 2020. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-52237-7_49.

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Toggerson’s Syllabus Used as Example of Inclusive Syllabus

Kirsten Helmer of the University of Massachusetts Amherst Center for Teaching and Learning has developed a asynchronous webinar on inclusive syllabus design at: https://www.umass.edu/ctl/inclusive-syllabus-design. I was exposed to similar content as part of my TIDE (Teaching for Inclusion Diversity and Equity) Fellowship and found it to be quite transformative. I highly recommend anyone designing a syllabus to give it a look. I am honored that my syllabi (both pre- and post-transition to remote) are given as examples.

Jake Shechter Reflects on Job Searching

Jake Shechter

Jake Shechter was instrumental in developing the Physics 691G course and will finish his Ph.D. this summer.

As such, he was on the job market this past spring (pre-COVID-19). He was looking for a teaching position, either high school or higher-ed.

Below are his reflections on the job search. Hopefully, this will be helpful to others looking to begin the process in the near future

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