News and Updates
We request that faculty, staff, and students communicate ALL international and domestic travel plans, including personal travel, to the Office of Human Resources via the SUNY ESF Travel Report Form. Please note that employees traveling for ESF purposes will still be required to complete a Travel Authorization Form in addition to the SUNY ESF Travel Report Form.
- Messages from the Interim President
- Messages from the Provost
- Messages from the Provost for Instruction & Dean of the Graduate School
- Message from the Ranger School
- Message from Faculty
- Message from the Vice President of Research
Messages from the Interim President
Latest Message from Interim President Amberg, May 1
Dear ESF Community,
Governor Cuomo recently issued executive orders requiring the wearing of face coverings in public areas. In summary the order requires the wearing of face coverings when an employee comes in direct contact - within six feet - with people as part of their work. It is important to note, if you are the only person in an office or vehicle or performing maintenance or contracting work alone, you do not need a face covering.
For those work-related initiatives covered by the Governor's executive order, ESF is supplying commercially available masks. Departments can obtain them from the A&TS Stockroom in Baker 116 by making arrangements with Marlene Braun (email@example.com or X6869). Departments will not be charged for the masks, but since demand is high, supplies are limited, and deliveries are delayed, we currently must limit departments to 2-week supplies. Commercially available products include surgical masks, N-95 respirators, etc., but the executive order also permits the use of homemade face coverings, bandanas, etc. Personally, I purchased some very stylish Grateful Dead Steal Your Face cloth masks that do meet the Governor's executive order on Etsy.
Please allow me to share a few additional thoughts. It is believed that face coverings/masks do not reliably protect the wearer from infection, but they might help stop those who are already infected from spreading the virus further. Wearing face coverings/masks does not replace the need for social distancing and environmental hygiene practices. Please continue to maintain six feet from others, wash your hands with soap and water, do not touch your face and stay home when you're sick.
In addition, please understand that wearing face coverings/masks is a difficult mandate for some members of our community. The fact remains that when a person of color wears a mask, some people behave despicably, acting on racial stereotypes of historical and contemporary perceived criminality. This behavior creates fear. So much so that some members of our community are defying the Governor's order, jeopardizing health because of other's inappropriate actions. We will not tolerate racial bias. The College of Environmental Science and Forestry has a nondiscrimination policy and statement that ensures equal educational opportunity, employment, and access to services, programs, and activities, without regard to an individual's race, color, national origin, religion, creed, age, disability, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, familial status, pregnancy, predisposing genetic characteristics, military status, domestic violence victim status, or criminal conviction. Anonymous, anti-bias reporting can be done by clicking www.esf.edu/ide/bias.htm.
In closing, please wear a mask if you are working in close proximity with others. Wear the mask correctly. (See this Youtube video for instruction.) Practice good hygiene. And, remember, neither I nor ESF has tolerance for bias, racial, and discriminatory behavior.
Messages from the Interim President
- 5/1: Face coverings and masks
- 4/16: Finding Hope through Research
- 4/8: Commencement (PDF)
- 4/6: Practice Social Distancing
- 4/1: Celebrating Asian American/Pacific Islander Month
- 3/31: Facebook Live with Bramble
- 3/30: A video, 4/15, & an opportunity to help
- 3/27: Spring 2020 student grades and Fall 2020 registration
- 3/26: Commencement Postponed
- 3/25: Details on Student Refunds
- 3/23: Info to relieve stress for students
- 3/23: Info to relieve stress for employees
- 3/22: Returning Students and the "New York State on PAUSE" executive order
- 3/21: Governor Andrew Cuomo's request to stay at home
- 3/20: Classes resume March 23
- 3/19: Campus building restrictions / Quarantine procedure
- 3/17: Buses departing / Telecommuting Pilot Program
- 3/16: Current status
- 3/15: Guidance for personnel in research laboratories
- 3/14: Hotline at Upstate / Testing updates
- 3/13: Chancellor's message
- 3/13: Spring break
- 3/12: Transition from residential to virtual instruction
- 3/11: Current status
- 3/10: Potential scenario
- 3/7: State of emergency declared
- 3/6: FAQs
- 3/3: Prevention advice/Links to expert agencies
- 1/30: Coronavirus information
Messages from the Provost
Latest Message from Provost Newman, April 3
We have now completed our second week of online course delivery, and I hope that many of the kinks associated with this new normal have been ironed out. We know that this has been a challenge, both for the students and faculty, and we are doing our best to help all of you through it. To that end, I want to give some updates on some recent actions that we have taken.
- Last week I announced that we would implement a Pass/Fail grading option for students. After some reflection and feedback from students and faculty, we have decided to extend the decision date for exercising this option to April 24. If a student wants to exercise this option, they should send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org identifying the course (or courses) they wish to utilize this grading option. The link to get this information to the registrar can also be found at https://www.esf.edu/registrar/
- In addition, we have also extended the final day to withdraw from a course to April 24. For both of these options, we recommend that you communicate with your advisor about the implication of any of these decisions.
- Given the extraordinary circumstances this semester, we are planning to temporarily suspend and alter our regular end-of-semester academic standards review process. The College will instead implement a process of administratively reviewing each student's GPA at the end of the semester, and initiating or extending "academic probation" for all undergraduate students failing to meet the College's 2.00 Cum GPA requirement (3.00 for graduate students). Unlike a typical semester, we will not "academically suspend or dismiss" any student who has continued to participate in online coursework and completes the semester, regardless of their GPA or use of the P/F grading option. Keep in mind that this decision does not change Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements for financial aid. If you have any concerns about these requirements, please contact the financial aid office (https://www.esf.edu/financialaid/)
- We will be a sending a postcard out to all students addressing our concern that some of you may have had access problems for your classes and/or our communications. If you are having troubles or lacking equipment/connectivity, please let your instructor or department chair know ASAP. We are hoping that next week we will be able to loan some laptop computers, provided by SUNY, to those students who do not have the equipment to continue their courses.
We now have less than 4 weeks to go with classes. Keep up the remarkable work that most of you have been able to do to finish out this semester. We are here to try and help you if you have any issues. There are many programs and services coordinated by the Division of Student Affairs, such as counseling, tutoring, and career advising, that are available to you remotely. Don't hesitate to reach out to our Student Affairs staff by calling 315-470-6660 if they can assist you in any way.
Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
Messages from the Provost
Message from Provost for Instruction & Dean of the Graduate School
Latest Message from Associate Provost for Instruction & Dean of the Graduate School S. Scott Shannon, March 13
I’m sure you have all been following the coronavirus response that the college, SU, and SUNY have been developing. Also, as I’m sure many of you are aware, graduate students are in a more complex situation than undergraduate students. Many of you are both students and employees of the college, and many of your programs are predominantly research-based as opposed to classwork-based, making the personal and public health dimensions of managing the college’s response more complex. Following is a set of emergency policies outlining our evolving plans for the next several weeks, and in all probability, through the end of the semester :
- Research projects: Graduate students are encouraged to continue to conduct and monitor ongoing research projects on campus and in the field, while exercising additional precautions such as social distancing to limit potential for transmission of infections.
- Expectations for funded graduate students, including all state funded GA’s and RF funded RPA’s: Graduate students funded on assistantships will continue to be paid and are expected to continue performing their roles and responsibilities outlined in the terms of their appointments. Where possible, we ask that graduate assistantship work be completed remotely. If a graduate assistant leading is a lab, studio, recitation, or discussion section, the graduate student is expected to work with the instructor of record to develop online or alternative modalities to host their sections online after Friday, March 13. GA’s who are not lab or discussion leaders should nonetheless work with their faculty mentors to provide ongoing GA support either in person, or remotely based on the duties of the GA assignment. The same is true for students who are working as RPA’s on research projects or in another graduate assistant role. In general, graduate students who have departmental funding are expected to adhere to expectations based on the needs articulated by departmental leadership. This could include remote or on-campus work.
- GA training for online instruction: SU’s Information Technology Services (ITS) will provide graduate TAs with training for online instruction this Friday, March 13, from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Students can access the “live” online training session beginning at 10 a.m. The session will provide graduate TAs with essential strategies needed to move their face-to-face course components fully online, including an overview of how to use Blackboard Collaborate to host live, video-based class sessions. Instructions for accessing a recording of the training will be distributed to GAs following the live session. We thank the Graduate School at SU for extending this service to our GA’s!
- In addition, extensive online resources are available for graduate students who seek to work remotely or who will need to teach online.
- Graduate students who are not employees of the college holding assistantship appointments, and who are not conducting active research using campus laboratory or other critical facilities are asked to work from remote locations whenever possible.
- All Graduate Students: If you should choose to leave the immediate Syracuse or central New York region, we request that you do not return to campus until the college has communicated a resumption of normal operating procedures.
Thank you for your patience and understanding as we navigate the next several weeks or months. The college administration is focusing on maintaining the health and safety of our students and the entire college community in a time of great uncertainty and challenge. We will also do our utmost to continue to provide all of our students with the high quality education to which you have entrusted us. Please look for additional messages from the college and the graduate school as this situation evolves, and we adapt our responses to best meet the needs of the community.
S. Scott Shannon
Associate Provost for Instruction & Dean of the Graduate School
Messages from the Provost for Instruction & Dean of the Graduate School
Message from the Ranger School
Latest Message from Director and Professor Dr. Michael R. Bridgen, March 12
Last evening, we received official approval from SUNY to cancel our spring break and continue holding classes at Ranger School. Students will not be leaving campus. The faculty are working out a revised teaching schedule to accommodate this decision.
This decision is in response to the Governor’s directives to cancel in-classroom lessons, but we are one of the exceptions. Apparently, we are a “special” School.
The key principle we are following is that of “reduced density”. Our students are less likely to be infected with disease if they stay on campus. We are also taking other measures including:
- Denying student visitors to campus
- Cancelling field trips off-campus
- Cancelling the Open House in April (we may develop a “virtual” Open House)
- Cancelling groups tours or uses of the facility
- Possibly holding some classes on Saturdays
There will be other changes, and uncertainty is the rule of order today. I have already received useful suggestions from the faculty, from students, from food service staff, and I welcome any thoughts you may have as well.
The Ranger School is a special school. The College and SUNY recognize this fact. We produce graduates having the skills and talents needed in a world encumbered with numerous environmental problems. Our current students will have to address and solve unknown issues which only the future will define.
I am confident that we can get through this crisis well, that our students will be better for it, and the Ranger School will be strengthened by it.
I greatly appreciate all of the service which each of you provide.
Messages from the Ranger School
Message from Faculty
SRM Summer Program 2020 students:
Our SRM Summer Program (and the associated course FOR 304 Adirondack Field Studies), scheduled for May 24-June 19, 2020, is CANCELED due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was canceled this morning with ESF's Provost's (Dr. David Newman) approval, in consultation with me as Department Chair and Summer Program Director.
Students who need the program this year: If you plan to graduate in December 2020 or May 2021, contact me. We are making plans for a late summer (one week long session just before classes start)+Monday afternoon semester long course as a replacement. This replacement course is just now being developed -- more information will be forthcoming as it becomes available.
All other students may take the program and associated class, as per normal, in Summer 2021.
Please plan to work with your SRM advisor on this during your pending advising period.
Please let me know of questions or concerns.
Regretfully, necessarily, and respectfully,
Message from the Vice President of Research
ESF Guidance for Fieldwork during the COVID-19 Pandemic
A number have asked about field studies/research during the COVID-19 pandemic. Note that researchers in the field are subjected to the same concerns as people in the lab, although risks may be more readily reduced with proper precautions. To the extent possible we are requesting that field researchers, similar to lab researchers limit field research and to work remotely to follow the NY PAUSE plan and executive order of Governor Cuomo.