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Instructor message: Take time to #TakeCareUW March 15-19

March 15, 2021

This message was sent to all instructors teaching this spring 2021.

Dear Instructional Colleagues (please share with your TAs),

With this week of class, we have reached the mid-point of the semester. Vaccines are becoming more available and campus COVID-19 case counts remain low. I’m grateful and optimistic. And, at the same time, I’m more keenly aware than ever of the importance of self-care and wellbeing – for all of us.

Mental Health & Wellbeing Summit and #TakeCareUW
Last Thursday and Friday, campus held its inaugural Mental Health & Wellbeing Summit. Recordings of activities from the summit will be available through this week. Starting today, we’re asking the entire campus community to join us for a week focused on care, which we’re promoting as #TakeCareUW. Of course, the need for self-care and supporting the well-being of others is ongoing. As we make our way through the remainder of the semester, we’ll all need to continue to offer ourselves and one another the grace, care, support and appreciation that we’ve seen throughout our community over the last year.

Ways to Engage with and Support Students
As we #TakeCareUW this week and the remainder of the semester, here are some ways you might consider engaging with and supporting students:

  • While we will not have our traditional week-long spring break, the spring semester does include days with no classes: Saturday, March 27, Friday, April 2 and Saturday, April 3. I encourage you to consider assignment and assessment timing in the context of these brief breaks in the academic calendar. Reconsidering due dates or providing additional flexibility can enhance the benefit of those days without classes for students.
  • Share information with your students about campus resources such as University Health Services, the Dean of Students Office and academic advisors. As instructors, we all play a mentoring role, whether we’re having a one-on-one conversation with an advisee or interacting with a large class via Zoom. I encourage you to consider how you might, as you think appropriate, share your own experience with students, including challenges you’ve faced and ways in which you practice self-care. Hearing directly and personally from instructors who they respect and admire can be incredibly powerful and important for students.
  • Above all, continue to take care of yourselves and one another. I frequently hear about the amazing work you’ve done throughout the pandemic to take care of one another and support our students. We’re sharing some amazing, inspiring stories on our Instructional Highlights webpage. I know those stories are just a small sample of what you’re doing, and that they reflect incredible effort, expertise, professionalism and resilience.

Thank you for all you’re doing and will continue to do.

My best wishes,


John Zumbrunnen (he/him)

Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning

Professor of Political Science

Faculty Affiliate, Integrated Liberal Studies