Q&A with Interim Chair Howard Katz about Fall 2020
What can students expect from their Fall 2020 DMSE classes while learning from home?
“The teaching is going to be enthusiastic, high tech and hopefully offering some opportunities to share information and interact with each other that might be unique or even better than live classes!
What about research?
“Research is already up and running! We have to stay a little farther apart from each other but as researchers, by nature, we are attentive to safety protocols in the lab, so we are being extra cautious but moving ahead together.”
What are you most looking forward to about Fall 2020?
“I’m looking forward to seeing how our faculty and students get creative to overcome the challenges associated with socially distanced learning with different interactive platforms like Zoom, Teams and the HoloLens. We also have two huge centers being started up by Tim Weihs and Mitra Taheri so there will be a lot that goes into kicking those off in the coming weeks.”
What are your hopes for Fall 2020?
“I’m hoping we can continue to pay attention to connecting people and that in classes we look for opportunities to have discussions and share a little bit about our daily lives outside of the classroom or lab. I hope that despite it happening on a screen, we can get to know each other and learn more about one another as people. The better we all know each other, the better and stronger our department will be!”
Got any pet peeves about working from home?
“Well I’m at the mercy of telecom providers right now. If you can hear me and see me, though, it must be working… for now! I also wish there weren’t quite so many platforms and technologies to learn just because it’s stressful for everyone. In some ways, communication has gotten better because we’re all online but I do miss the friendlier-feeling interactions of in-person meetings and casual conversations in the hallways.”
What message do you have for students starting their semester off at home?
“Try to make as many connections as you can. This will provide a counterweight to the stress we’re all feeling living through this pandemic. One of the only things we can all control right now is making people feel included, valued and as welcome as possible. Try to spend the extra time we have staying at home to find ways to improve ourselves in ways that aren’t related to classes, or at least try and find ways to have fun when it’s possible.”
Last question – will there still be a cello concert this year?
“I like to use music as a teaching tool so there will be music popping up here and there!”