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President McRobbie shares 'reason for optimism' in latest update to IU community

In his December President's Update, Indiana University President Michael A. McRobbie thanked students, faculty and staff for their response to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and praised IU's public health effort that allowed the university to make it to the end of the fall semester without having to reverse course. McRobbie also discussed why he is optimistic that IU may be able to return to normal, pre-pandemic operations by next fall semester.

"We have successfully made it to the end of the fall semester without having to reverse course in any way -- something even just a few months ago many believed was not possible," McRobbie wrote. "Our ultimate goal, of course, is to return to the world as it was pre-COVID-19."

While acknowledging that it is too soon to make definitive projections about fall 2021, McRobbie highlighted "encouraging news" on the development and deployment of effective COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca. He added that this news offers yet even more reason for members of the IU community to "double down" in the coming weeks on the health and safety behaviors that have kept IU's campuses safe.

Need help over the holidays? We've got you covered

With students home for intersession, as well as planned PTO for staff and the closure of many units and departments, Inside IU has rounded up contact information for vital areas in case you need help during the upcoming holiday season:

Capital Planning and Facilities: If you have a building emergency, contact your campus facility services office.

UITS: If you have a computer or service issue, contact your campus IT support center.

Financial services: Contact the emails below for assistance.

Box to be 'read-only' starting Jan. 11

The migration from Box to the Microsoft and Google storage platforms is nearly complete, and the final phase is Box Health data, which will begin in January.

University Information Technology Services said that in addition to users' folders, which are already "read-only," users' Box accounts will become "read-only" after Jan. 11, and faculty, staff and students will no longer be able to edit or upload files in Box. However, documents can still be viewed and downloaded until May 2021.

UITS also shared these reminders:

  • It is important that new data not be added to Box, as any changes will be lost when IU's contract with Box expires.
  • Make sure you have everything before Box retires. Review your migration error report for group and personal accounts to ensure that you have everything you need before IU's contract with Box expires.
  • New IU students, faculty and staff will no longer automatically receive Box accounts upon joining the university. Users who need to access Box Health but don't yet have a Box account should contact their campus UITS Support Center for help.

IU South Bend to offer voluntary asymptomatic COVID-19 testing

Starting Dec. 14, IU South Bend will offer voluntary asymptomatic COVID-19 testing, with 50 spots open each week during the intersession, through Feb. 7. Faculty, staff and students will have the option to schedule a voluntary test, with results back within a few days. Appointments are required for these saliva-based tests, which are offered at the same on-campus sites where mitigation testing is conducted.

You should NOT schedule a voluntary test if you:

  • Have symptoms of COVID-19, including fever, cough, congestion or runny nose, sore throat, muscle or body aches, or new loss of taste or smell.
  • Have been selected for required mitigation testing that week.
  • Have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 90 days.
  • Are currently in quarantine as a close contact of someone with COVID-19.

Voluntary asymptomatic testing is also available at IUPUI and IU Bloomington.

To schedule a test, click the appropriate campus link on the COVID-19 testing requirements page. Testing slots open up the Friday before the week of testing (2 p.m. Friday for IUPUI and IU South Bend, and 6 p.m. Friday for IU Bloomington), so the new IU South Bend testing appointments will not be visible until after 2 p.m. Friday.

Holiday safety, vaccines among topics in December 'Ask Aaron' webinars

Dr. Aaron Carroll, one of the leaders of Indiana University's COVID-19 Medical Response Team, will answer COVID-19-related questions from staff, faculty and students in two upcoming "Ask Aaron" webinars on Dec. 9 and Dec. 16.

The live Q&A sessions will include topics such as:

  • Keeping healthy -- physically and mentally -- over the winter session.
  • Understanding why cases are spiking across Indiana and the U.S.
  • When and how vaccines will likely be distributed.
  • Celebrating the holidays safely.

Visit covid.iu.edu for the latest updates.

Additional "Ask Aaron" webinars are being planned throughout the remainder of the academic year.

IU South Bend has new academic affairs leader

IU South Bend has named Jill Pearon as its new executive vice chancellor for academic affairs. She will start Feb. 15.

Pearon has more than 13 years of professional experience in higher education leadership. She most recently served as interim dean for the Crane School of Music and associate provost and associate vice president for academic affairs at the State University of New York at Potsdam, where she is also a professor in the Crane School.

IU East professors speaking at STEAM conference for young women

Three IU East professors will speak during the First Midwest Regional Virtual Conference: Breaking Down Barriers and Building Bridges, which is intended for young women of all ages interested in STEAM fields of science, technology, engineering, art and math. The online conference runs from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Dec. 12.

IU East professors among the virtual conference speakers are:

  • Parul Khurana, associate dean and associate professor of biology for the School of Natural Science and Mathematics. 
  • Ann B. Kim, associate professor of fine arts for the School of Humanities and Social Sciences.
  • Carrie Longley, assistant professor of fine arts and Fine Arts Program coordinator for the School of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Two IU East faculty and one student have helped organize the conference:

  • Ange Cooksey, Honors Program director and senior lecturer of humanities, philosophy and religious studies for the School of Humanities and Social Sciences.
  • Edwina Helton, director, adviser and professor of women's and gender studies and English for the School of Humanities and Social Sciences.
  • Tatyana Whited, founder and president of New World Energy, senior business intelligence developer and a senior Honors Program student.

Presenter biographies, conference information and registration are available on the conference website.

IU Kokomo women's giving circle sets record for grant funding

Indiana University Kokomo's women's giving circle awarded its largest amount of grant funding in its four-year history, giving more than $33,000 to 12 projects last month.

Women of the Well House funding benefited programs to:

  • Add trees to campus.
  • Provide overdose training to future nurses.
  • Equip mentors for students, faculty and future teachers.
  • Host a podcast festival on women's issues.
  • Support women in technology fields.
  • Prepare teachers to use technology.

Computer help for students during intersession

Are your students worried that their computers can't handle online learning? Here's a solution: Students can use IUanyWare to access campus computers.

Don't let old, iffy or outdated technology stop your students from completing coursework while away from campus this winter. With IUanyWare, students can remote in to a Student Technology Center machine. It will look just like the Student Technology Center computers they are used to, with all the power and software of IU behind it.