July 24, 2020

Dear Students and Families,

The countdown to the fall semester is here!

Two weeks ago, the University of Florida unveiled Our Plan Forward, outlining our approach to academics and student life this fall. We began the next phase of UF Health Screen, Test & Protect which requires all students, even those taking classes remotely, to complete the screening questionnaire and gives the option for students to be tested.

It is our goal to promote a safer, healthier campus and community. I’m so appreciative of all the thoughts and suggestions we’ve received from you all. Our Plan Forward is a living and flexible document built to evolve. Your care and thoughtful questions are helping us continue to update our FAQs and move forward.

Like you, we are keeping a watchful eye on the rates of COVID-19 across the state. All our planning and action is done in concert and collaboration with UF Health epidemiologist and specialists. I invite you to read Dr. Michael Lauzardo’s, Deputy Director of UF’s Emerging Pathogens Institute and Associate Professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases and Global Medicine at UF College of Medicine, recent article on his perspective on the rise of cases.

It seems everything we do is shrouded in conversations and protocols related to COVID-19 but know the University of Florida continues to look ahead in pursuit of our mission to provide exceptional education and opportunities to our students.

This week on behalf of Provost Joseph Glover and the university, I’m pleased and proud to announce new opportunities in Artificial Intelligence and Data Science for all students. These two technologies are quickly becoming central to almost all academic disciplines and real-world occupations, and we think that all students should have the opportunity to learn about them. We are building “AI across the curriculum” so that students can learn about these subjects at whatever level of proficiency interests them. You can acquire a passing familiarity, a comprehensive understanding of their uses, or deep expertise.

We are also pleased to announce that UF has been gifted the world’s most powerful AI supercomputer in higher education. It will be fully functional in January, although some components of it are already here and operational. Students will be able to train on this state-of-the-art hardware that will give them a leg up in their chosen occupations. We are very grateful to UF alumnus Chris Malachowsky and NVIDIA, the company he co-founded, for making this gift possible.

Data science is one of the pillars of machine learning and AI, and those students who are interested in the new Bachelor degree in Data Science can consult the Undergraduate Coordinator in the Department of Statistics. For those interested in plunging into Artificial Intelligence this Fall, there will be an introductory course EGN 4932 Special Topics: Artificial Intelligence Fundamentals. There will also be a survey course in the Spring “What is AI?” which will bring guest speakers to UF from all industries from the arts, to agriculture, business, engineering, medicine, and much more. If you are interested in either course, please consult the UF Schedule of courses.

This year in some ways, time seems to stand still. But we are making progress to address not only the matter at hand but also to build a path for our future.

Be safe, be well, and as always – Go Gators!

Dr. D’Andra Mull
Vice President for Student Affairs


Advancing Access at UF; 30 Years of ADA and Disability Inclusion
The American’s with Disabilities Act has created opportunities for equitable participation for people with disabilities over the last 30 years. The impact of the ADA at UF, has been a catalyst to enhance the success of students, faculty, and staff with disabilities by ensuring an accessible environment in which to learn and work. The Disability Resource Center and the Office of ADA Compliance invite the UF community to join a virtual panel discussion about this historic milestone on July 27 from 3 – 4 p.m. Learn more at https://disability.ufl.edu/events/advancing-access-at-uf/

Virtual Student Union
Programs and events are continuing this summer on the Virtual Student Union. Stay connected with your Gator Student Experience by participating in workshops, programs and events, including:

• Attending the virtual wellness coaching program with GatorWell
• Getting your resume edited virtually with the Career Connections Center
• Support workshops through the Counseling & Wellness Center
• Finding community through student organizations, leadership development and student events

Financial Support for Students
The University of Florida has been allocated funds from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). The CARES Act established and funded the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) to provide emergency financial aid grants. These critical funds will help eligible UF students cover expenses related to unanticipated travel, additional technology requirements, or other needs related to an emergency situation. Graduate assistants (this includes medical and veterinary residents), post-doctoral fellows and associates must apply as employees via the Faculty and Staff Aid-a-Gator program. UF Online, International, and DACA students are not eligible to receive CARES Act funding, but emergency funding for these students may be available through the UF Aid-a-Gator program.

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