January 19, 2022
Dear Graduate Students, Faculty, and Staff,
Welcome to the Spring 2022 semester!
This month marks one year since I became interim Dean of the Graduate School and Vice Provost for Graduate Education. At the time that I assumed this new role, I was hopeful that the challenges of the pandemic would soon be behind us and that our lives, though changed, would resume some sense of normalcy. A year later, we find ourselves still in the throes of the pandemic, which has been compounded by increased social and political unrest, unprecedented natural disasters, bouts of economic uncertainty, and a growing sense of collective despair. But we cannot lose hope.
In spite of our challenges, we have celebrated several accomplishments over the past twelve months, including an increase in the health insurance subsidy for full-time PhD students and graduate assistants, the piloting of the Rising Star Fellowship, and the expansion of the Grace Jordan McFadden Professors Program.
Later this month, we will launch the new Graduate Student Resources Hub, which will be located on the 2nd floor of the Close Hipp building in Room 204. The Hub, which is designed to provide graduate students with convenient, dedicated, and integrated services, will initially house the offices of Dr. Matt Klopfenstein, National Fellowships Coordinator, and Mr. Nigel Smith, the Career Center’s Manager for Graduate Student Advising. Our goal is to expand the space to include one or two additional services in the months to come.
If you are new to the University, I encourage you to take a look at the virtual orientation held this past fall, which contains useful information about the Graduate School and other aspects of graduate student life here at UofSC. A timeline of the presentations and copies of the slides have been shared with Graduate Directors, who can pass these additional items on to you, as needed.
All members of the graduate community are also encouraged to take some time to (re)view the Campus Helpers Virtual Panel, which was hosted by the Graduate School this past fall. Here you will find important information about Counseling & Psychiatry; Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; Equal Opportunity Programs; the Graduate Student Ombuds, Sexual Assault and Violence Intervention & Prevention, and Title IX regulations.
Of course, as we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, we ask that you please get vaccinated, wear masks, practice safe social distancing, wash your hands, and get tested regularly. The COVID-19 webpage provides important information about these and other mitigation efforts here on campus. And University Health Services provides comprehensive health care when you need it.
In addition to your physical health, it is important that you prioritize your mental and emotional well-being. For students who are in need of assistance, Counseling & Psychiatry offers both individual and group sessions. Appointments can be made by calling (803)777-5223 during regular business hours or after-hours for crisis counseling or by logging into MyHealthSpace. Wellness Coaching appointments can be made by calling (803)777-6518 or logging into MyHealthSpace. And students can also access virtual self-help modules via Therapy Assistance Online (TAO). Most of these services are covered by the University Health Services tuition fee, at no extra cost to students. And faculty and staff also have a wide range of health and well-being resources available to them as a benefit of employment.
While there are still many challenges ahead of us, I remain hopeful that our strength
and resilience will carry us through these difficult times. We must continue to take
care of ourselves and each other. Together, we will get through this.
Best wishes for the semester ahead.
Forever to Thee!
---Tracey L. Weldon, PhD Interim Dean of the Graduate School and Vice Provost for Graduate Education The University of South Carolina
Pronouns: she, her, hers