Humanities Graduate Student Association Webpage: June Meeting with Dean Canning and COVID Resources

In memory of Clancy Taylor, our fellow humanities graduate student, and HGSA Executive Board 2019-2020 member, please share this link to The Clancy Taylor Fund established by Clancy’s family.

HGSA Solidarity Statement on BLM

Dear Fellow Humanities Students,

The HGSA executive board joins in solidarity with other organizations both on campus and within our community to voice our unequivocal support of Black lives and our Black community. We stand together against systemic racism and violence against Black individuals and communities. We know that many of you are heartbroken and in mourning over recent events, and we join with you in that mourning. We promise to continue to advocate for each of you, and to listen and learn from you as well.

There are many ways we as students can get involved and instigate change:

As always, we are here to serve you, so please continue to contact us with any questions or concerns you may have or to suggest new resources or volunteer opportunities.

If you have not taken the survey to express your needs and concerns about the fall 2020 semester, PLEASE do so now! The survey will close on 6/30, and we are trying to get as many responses as possible to best represent all HUMA grad students. Thank you!

Information on the CARES Act, sent out by Dean Matsuda on June 15, 2020 can be found here.

Summary of Executive Board meeting with Dean Canning on 6/17:

Fall Schedule:

  • School will open August 24, 2020 and the semester will end on November 20, 2020.
    • “Study week” will be an independent study period for finals from December 5-8, 2020.
    • Finals will be December 9-15, 2020.
    • Final exams will be open note, open book.
  • Students who leave for the break can not return. Those who need to stay on campus can stay, but will not be permitted to leave and return.
  • Election Day will not be a university holiday, but there will be no assignments or quizzes due on that day, students cannot be asked to be in the classroom, and teaching will be asynchronous.
  • Class durations will be increased by 5 minutes.
    • There will be 20 minutes between classes to clean rather than the regular 10 minutes.
    • Schedule will expand the teaching day from 8am-10pm in order to not have Saturday classes.
    • 4 hurricane proof tents will be set up, with air conditioning and full media, with students sitting socially distanced.
      • This is also a bigger space for groups to meet such as town halls.
  • All hangout spaces will be closed, many meetings will be on zoom, and there will be no use of conference rooms.

Dual Delivery: 

  • There will be an in person component wherever possible.
    • Older faculty (30%) do not need to come into the class– they will be broadcasted into a classroom full of students.
  • Every class must have an online component.
    • Even with few students, classes will be dual delivery and asynchronous so that those in other time zones can listen in.
  • Courses with enrollments above 100 students will be only online.
  • Courses with 50-100 students will likely be online only, unless the prof asks for a request from the chair to be in person.
  • Those who will be teaching in the fall can practice dual delivery in HUMA 226 (trial classroom). For more information check out the CTE website.
  • Every department will have a return to work plan (for all staff and faculty, anyone with a teaching contract).

Health and Safety: For up-to-date health and safety information please check out the weekly emails from Kevin Kirby or the Rice Crisis Management page.


  • Do they have a plan for if there is an influx of COVID19 and everyone has to shut down?
    • They have not spelled it out yet, but everyone should be ready to transition to online zoom courses at any moment.
  • What about students with children/childcare?
    • The university knows about this issue, but no information has been released yet. Both graduate students and faculty share this concern, and we are considering opening a childcare center on campus in an emergency situation. 
  • How will black and brown students specifically be supported during this time?
    • We are starting with the following actions: Juneteenth events, the task force with Professors Byrd and McDaniel, and the 24 hours of giving day will get a lot of visibility for AAAS.
    • We cannot release information at this moment but faculty are considering a workshop series for the fall, and we are looking to hire through AAS.
    • A link to the letter from President Leebron and Provost DesRoches sent on June 15, 2020 with the action items to increase diversity and inclusion at Rice can be found here.
    • More than anything, we are open to all of your suggestions!

Immediate help and support

  • If you are self-isolating in Houston and can’t get groceries/are otherwise unable to access resources, email (or contact us on Twitter or via Facebook) and we will find a way to get you what you need.
  • We have made a spreadsheet indicating who has identified themselves as (a) still in Houston, (b) not among the most vulnerable, and (c) having access to transportation. If you fit this bill and are willing to help, email and let us know if you’re comfortable being on this spreadsheet. We may contact you for help with bringing resources to other graduate students.
  • Scott Pett ( at the OISS has volunteered to be a point of contact for International Students and postdocs.

Events and Communication

Teaching/Learning/Research Resources

  • Zoom guides published by Rice:
  • As of 5/20 Fondren library opened up a walk up (like a curbside delivery process) for materials from the library and the storage facility this morning. They will expand the phased services once plexiglass shields, signage, and some other measures are in place. For more information about the library and walk up services, visit the homepage:
  • Following Gov. Abbott’s decision to allow libraries and museums, among other places, to reopen at 1/4th of their capacity, Fondren is looking into safely reopening some of the library’s functions. The first thing to be reinstated will most likely be the ability to checkout books. We might not be able to browse the stacks for a while, but we’ll most likely be able to order books for pickup (kind of like the grocery store pickup model) starting next week.
  • Instead of browsing the shelves physically, we can use the “Virtual Browse” function in OneSearch, see for example here: all the way at the bottom (it kind of looks like the “Others also bought…” function)
  • If Fondren does not have the physical OR digital copy, we have the possibility to request a physical copy that the library will then order from Amazon and have delivered to your house. When the library reopens we can return the book to the library. Email your subject librarian if this is something you need.
  • If you need to access your library office or locker (or any office on campus) you can request access through the building control. For Fondren this is Sue Garrison ( They will notify Access Control that you need access to the building, and Access Control will forward permission to RUPD. When you’re on campus you can then contact RUPD and they can escort you to your building, so you can grab the stuff you need.
  • For those of you teaching in the Summer or Fall: Fondren wants to know how they can support your remote teaching needs–do you need a private study room or office to record your classes? Do you need tech support or materials to check out? Do your students need help accessing materials? LEmail Els Woudstra at and she will pass it along.
  • Lastly, the DMC has a ton of virtual resources available, from remote Zoom workshops to 1-on-1 help. They will teach you how to use Photoshop, make videos, or whatever you can come up with. Beyond this, Jane Zhao would like to know what kind of in-person resources or services humanities grad students need from the Digital Media Commons–in the next month as well as on the longer term. Email Els to share info.
  • Fondren is no longer able to mail books or scan articles as of 3/24/2020. Follow Fondren updates here.
  • Fondren outlines current available services and resources here.
  • The Internet Archive will suspend waitlists for the 1.4 million (and growing) books in their lending library by creating a National Emergency Library to serve the nation’s displaced learners. This suspension will run through June 30, 2020, or the end of the US national emergency, whichever is later. Here is a Remote Library Services guide that includes links to a few of the e-resources being made temporarily available by publishers:

Other Info

  • Parking: Graduate students who need to go on campus are free to park at North Lot and its annex whenever they please, and are encouraged to do so as parking lots near the medical center are being converted into medical staff parking. Currently, the parking committee has recommended to keep parking at its current rate for next year, and are hoping to even push for lower rates in light of current economic conditions. Graduate students are not being reimbursed, mostly due to an oversight by administration. Rebecca Earles, a graduate student parking committee representative, will come up with a petition or a call for comments so that the issue can be pushed.


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