Last week, the University of Georgia successfully made the switch to online instruction. The magnitude of this achievement cannot be overstated. It was a difficult and challenging task, to be sure, and one that required significant collaboration, flexibility, and dedication by each and every one of you. Thank you for your tremendous efforts to adapt, persevere, and succeed. I could not be prouder of how our University community is working together during this ongoing crisis.

I want to share some data to illustrate the scope of our transformation to online learning and teleworking. Between Monday and Friday of last week:

  • Our faculty delivered more than 11,000 course sections online to over 37,000 students.
  • Kaltura (media storage and streaming solution) usage increased by a staggering 12,562%, up from an average of 1,454 plays per day to 18,266 plays per day.
  • Collectively, we participated in Zoom meetings totaling more than 4.5 million minutes (which is 8.5 years!).

But that’s not all. Even in the midst of this significant work, UGA faculty, staff, and students are finding creative ways to apply their expertise and commitment to serve needs in our local community, state, and nation during this challenging time. UGA researchers, for instance, are developing and testing new vaccines and immunotherapies to combat the novel coronavirus and leveraging data science to better understand its spread and transmission. A team of staff and students is producing medical face shields for local medical professionals facing a shortage of protective equipment. UGA Campus Kitchen is delivering prepared meals and groceries to food-insecure families in Athens. These are just a few examples among many, and I encourage you to visit to read about these vital efforts.

As we begin this week, let’s reaffirm our commitment to the highest standards of academic excellence. Let’s also remember the importance of patience, understanding, and compassion as new obstacles inevitably arise. I am sure many of you, at times, are frustrated or disappointed, but remember we are in this battle together. Most importantly, let’s continue to make choices that protect ourselves and others and help stem the spread of COVID-19.

Without a doubt, the challenges before us are immense, but so, too, are our resilience and determination. We are proving that point every single day. Let’s get to the finish line more united than ever! 

With warm regards,

Jere Morehead