It is my pleasure to welcome new students to and returning students back to the University of Southern Maine! Go Huskies!
Without a doubt 2020 has been a unique year. In my 27 years in higher education, with 22 of them being at USM, this will be one of the most challenging for me and for students, faculty, and staff.
As Dean of Students, it is my role to foster a healthy, safe, and inclusive University community. This is so you can focus on pursuing your educational goals and maximizing your potential. My mission is steadfast even in this ever changing world of the COVID pandemic. We have worked hard to develop safety plans, create safe spaces, and offer new resources to assist you as you continue your academic endeavors. Our goal is to get to tomorrow and then do it again, and again, safely.
As a member of the Husky Community, we are going to ask a lot of you while both on campus and off campus. If we have not learned anything else about this pandemic, is that your actions as an individual can affect many others. We are not individuals moving around campus but we are a part of a large community. We need to protect ourselves which, in turn, protects others.
Campus has changed a great deal from last year. Most offices will require an appointment and walk in traffic will be handled virtually. Don’t wait until the last minute to connect with an office. Go online and send an email to set up an appointment to talk with an academic advisor, financial services, or a faculty member. Since our @maine.edu email access the Gmail platform, utilize the many resources available to you. For example, put your class schedule on your calendar, add notification alerts for your scheduled appointments with campus services offices so you don’t forget.
Follow the arrows while walking on campus, and in buildings. All buildings have been marked with entrance and exit signs to indicate your pathway. Stairways and hallways have directional markings and must be followed. Take time to view your surroundings and know which way it up.
Plan your Work and Work Your Plan!
Utilize University Resources
Faculty and staff across the University are dedicated to helping you succeed. Take time to visit the Academic and Campus Resource section on the Health Huskies site to learn about the USM resources available to you. Do not hesitate to reach out with questions or if you need help, we are here for you.
Over the last few months, these offices have worked very hard to provide online services for you to access tutorials, FAQ’s and various videos to assist you this semester. Learn more about the many academic support resources at the USM Learning Commons at usm.maine.edu/learningcommons. Check out how to work with Brightspace, schedule a tutoring appointment for classes and for technology assistance, and more.
Stay Safe – “Watch Your Six”
In order to keep everyone safe you must adhere to the face covering policy at all times while on campus. Though uncomfortable at times, it is one of the easiest ways to control the spread of the virus. Remember that you are wearing the mask to protect you and members of your community.
Also, I am asking you to “Watch Your Six” and keep 6 feet apart from each other. It is easy to assess…just have those around you all extend their arms and if you can touch someone, then you are too close.
Get Involved and Stay Healthy!
Joining a student organization or participating in campus activities can help you to connect with the USM community, meet new friends, and make lifelong memories. Though we are in a virtual mode with limited face to face opportunities at this time, you can still get connected with campus events and student organizations. The Office Student Engagement and Leadership, formally Student Activities is available to assist you in finding those connections. Check out the website for daily events taking place at usm.maine.edu/engagement.
Reach out if you have questions or need assistance connecting to one of our many campus resources available to you. Remember that you are part of a community now. A community that is diverse, unique, talented and all here for the same reason…to be a student and learn. Please have patience with each other, please respect each other and please be safe because of each other.
Welcome to the fall 2020 term!
Rodney Mondor, M.Ed
Dean of Students