Dear PI Colleagues,
Many of you are returning to your labs and research spaces this week, and I wanted to send a note letting you know, again, how much I appreciate your patience as the university finalizes all the details of a gradual re-opening plan this summer and into fall. My original intent was to email you today to share links to an upcoming town hall and surveys — and we’ll get to those. What I want to emphasize first is that we can’t and won’t pretend not to be affected, personally and professionally, by George Floyd’s murder. This last week has been an extremely stressful and emotionally turbulent time for our community (and nation) as a whole. It’s only the most recent trauma added to decades of injustice, inequality, and violence inflicted on African Americans and historically marginalized groups in the United States. On a personal level, each of us will be called to act as our conscience and heart dictate. Professionally, though, as UT researchers, we must deliberately make our teams, our review committees, our research spaces, and our classrooms more diverse and inclusive. We must listen to the diverse voices of our colleagues, invite them to lead, and reflect personally on how our own actions, thoughts, and behaviors might contribute to them not having equitable space at the table. On a fundamental level, our reason for being — to transform lives for the benefit of society — can’t be fulfilled until we create equitable environments for such pursuits. I hope it goes without saying to please extend grace to yourselves and each other right now. Remember that your contributions as UT researchers — from social work, public policy, and law to the natural sciences, arts, and engineering — are the scaffolding upon which so much good in our society will be built, and it will be that much stronger if it reflects our collective experiences and expertise. You likely have many other emails to wade through these days, so I’ll quickly call out a few important things. Upcoming Town Hall: Thursday, June 11 at 10 a.m. As I mentioned in my email last week, I’ll be co-hosting two town hall meetings this month through Zoom: one for PIs and one for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. I want to hear your concerns and feedback, and for the PI town hall, I’ll be joined by Interim President Jay Hartzell, University Health Services’ Chief Medical Officer Dr. Terrance Hines, and several of our associate deans for research to help answer your questions. Please visit this page for more information and to register. Once registered, you will receive a confirmation email with a Zoom link. Pre-Event Submission Form Use this form to send us your questions and comments before June 11 so we can be better prepared to respond to them. Research Restart Climate Survey We also invite you to take our climate survey to let us know how the restart process is going for you and how you feel, safety-wise, about returning to your on-campus labs, research spaces, and offices. Thank you again for all that you do, and I look forward to speaking with you on Zoom next week. Sincerely,
Alison R. Preston, Ph.D.
Interim Vice President for Research
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