COVID-19 Communications Header Thin

All together, now

Different majors, same conclusion: VCU Engineering is where these undergraduate students have found their home. Hear their takes on the VCU Engineering difference. Learn more at https://egr.vcu.edu/admissions/.


Reach out and stay connected

Staying safe by staying home doesn’t mean you have to be disconnected and isolated. If you’re feeling lonely, sad or anxious, get in touch with your social support networks. Pick up your phone or try a new app to connect with friends, family and neighbors. Some of our Ram Engineers have been using Skype and Discord to stay in touch. Slack and Google hangouts are other ways to meet face-to-face — virtually. We’re all in this together. For more resources on emotional wellness, go to https://ramstrong.vcu.edu/covid-19/


VCU alumnus in the news

Zach McAfee

Mechanical engineering alumnus Zach McAfee (B.S.’04), founder of Sim Seats, is featured on WTVR 6 News Richmond. The company designs and fabricates driving simulators — currently the only way for race car drivers to hit the tracks.


Question of the week 

Who will you connect with or check on today? 

Share your answer — and find out what others said — by tagging us on social media.

 

How VCU Engineering is operating during COVID-19

Marketing and Communications

The Marketing and Communications team is focused on driving results for VCU Engineering’s major goals: recruitment and retention, reputation and rankings, and research and resources.

During this period, the team will prioritize communication related to COVID-19, producing a daily newsletter with ongoing updates for the college, assisting in communications about canceled events and focusing on important messaging from the dean and senior leadership. Ongoing efforts include campaigns to drive freshman enrollment for fall 2020, enrollment in Fundamentals of Computing courses and publicizing the great stories of VCU Engineering.


Walk-to-Run Incentive Program

Need a little motivation to get your steps in — and get outside? VCU RecSports is kicking off a five-week challenge to go from walking to jogging or running three miles. Tune in live on Instagram Tuesdays and Thursdays to learn about that day’s training. Check in every week and register to win a prize!


Welcome, new Ram Engineers

Coming soon: Class of 2024

VCU logo drawing

A big Ram welcome to @casonwillingham16, who will be starting at VCU in the fall and is considering mechanical or biomedical engineering. He claims he doesn’t normally draw but shared this freehand drawing of the VCU logo. Nice work!

How VCU Engineering is operating during COVID-19

VCU College of Engineering Foundation

During the teleworking period, the VCU Engineering Foundation is continuing to provide stewardship and communicate regularly with the college’s friends and donors. They are also in touch with sponsors of events that have had to be canceled or postponed. The foundation office continues to oversee corporate relations and is working with Engineering Career Services to help ensure that corporate partners stay engaged. Regular committee meetings are going forward remotely and plans for full Board of Trustees meetings are in the works.

Reach the VCU Engineering Foundation team by calling their office lines, which will ring their mobile phones, during business hours. They are also available by email.


Put ‘Zoom Bombers’ out of business with these security tips

A number of recent media reports have highlighted the phenomenon of “Zoom Bombing,” where certain bad actors — often not actual students — use Zoom’s sharing feature to disrupt classes. Faculty members: Don’t let it happen to you. Here’s how:

  1. Control access to your meetings. Don’t post your personal meeting room link on public sources such as social media. Disseminate meeting links through email messages to specific individuals or post links on Blackboard or other pages accessible only to enrolled students.
  2. Learn from the pros. VCU’s Information Security Office has developed Zoom Meeting Security Guidelines (PDF) with many helpful hints for keeping meetings secure.
  3. Optimize your sharing settings. You always have the option to change your settings to limit content sharing to yourself, as host. Find this setting on your Zoom Profile page under Settings > Meeting > In Meeting (Basic).
  4. Don’t forget you can change settings during a meeting. If you need to change the share setting in the middle of a meeting, click on the caret next to the “Share Screen” icon on your meeting toolbar and choose “Advanced Sharing Options.” Select “Only Host” or “All Participants,” depending on your needs. Note: This change will only last the duration of the meeting. To make your choice the default, see tip number 3 above.

Contact mssvideo@vcu.edu with any questions or concerns about Zoom.


Engineering Shout-Out to Dr. Cartin

See the full post

Screenshot of an email to Dr. Cartin

How VCU Engineering is operating during COVID-19

Career Services

Engineering Career Services continues to serve all engineering students through structured professional development opportunities and employer engagement.

During the telework period, the career services department is focused on helping all current internship and co-op students manage changes required because of COVID-19. The team is also working with employers to share best practices for remote internships and encourage virtual engagement with students.

Engineering Career Services continues to reach out to students weekly with a jobs newsletter that now includes opportunities for virtual engagement with employers and continues to teach professional development, internship and co-op courses. They are working to move the professional development course to an asynchronous online course. The department is also planning for fall employer recruitment events.


Telemedicine option lets employees see providers and maintain social distancing

The Department of Human Resources Management shared that all employees enrolled in any of the COVA plans (COVA Care, COVA Healthaware and COVA HDHP) have access to telemedicine (related to COVID-19) until June 14, 2020. This is an excellent benefit so you don’t have to go out of the house unnecessarily. Learn more.


Engineering Shout-Out to Professor Hadimani

A screenshot of a LinkedIn post

How VCU Engineering is operating during COVID-19

Information Technology

During the teleworking period, VCU Engineering’s information technology (IT) team’s main focus is supporting remote teaching. The IT team provides remote help to engineering students, staff and faculty at both VCU campus plus the Bio+Tech Park.  

Users who need help should email egrfixit@vcu.edu


A comprehensive digest of resources for these times

The VCU School of Social Work Staff Council has pulled together a massive digest of tools for the new normal brought about by COVID-19. Instead of Googling dozens of search terms, check out this resource. You’ll find ideas for self-care, livestream events, help for homeschooling and professional development, resources from the government and nonprofit sectors — and more.


Question of the week:

Self-care is important. How have you been taking care of YOU lately?


Engineering Shout-Out

BEST lab tweet

How VCU Engineering is operating during COVID-19

A fireside chat with Dean Boyan (Watch for an appearance by Easton)


We asked and you answered

Online tools that are helping you Ram on

Last week's question was “What’s the online tool you could not live without right now?” Answers included Skype, Google Drive and MATLAB. This week, it’s all about taking care of you. Share your favorite self-care strategies on social media. 


Question of the week:

Self-care is important. How have you been taking care of YOU lately?


Engineering Shout-Out

BEST lab tweet

How VCU Engineering is operating during COVID-19

Facilities

The college’s facilities department is in charge of security, maintenance, receiving, inventory and oversees construction on the Engineering Research Building (ERB). 

VCU Engineering’s buildings (West and East Halls and Bio+Tech 1 and 8) are currently operational. However, these buildings are locked 24/7 and open to essential personnel only. 

East Hall will continue to receive packages. Members of the facilities team are monitoring deliveries throughout the day and are open for pick-ups from 2 to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. 

West Hall is also receiving packages and offers pick-ups from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 3 to 4 p.m.

Bio+Tech 1 and 8 are open for receiving packages, as well. 

Facilities continues to coordinate ERB activities with the appropriate offices.


New Zoom backgrounds make it easy to show (or hide) where you’re coming from

No time to stage a Zoom-worthy space for your next virtual meeting? Or maybe you just want to show your Ram Engineer pride. Marketing and communications has you covered with a suite of branded Zoom backgrounds. This resource also comes with simple instructions that will have you up and running — in a lot less time than it takes to clean an office. 

How you can help: VCU Medical Center needs PPE 

The VCU Medical Center is in need of the following personal protective equipment (PPE):

  • Surgical masks
  • N95 masks
  • Face shields
  • Disposable gowns
  • Latex-free gloves
  • Goggles
  • Shoe covers
  • Head covers
  • Germicide wipes

If your laboratory has these items, please consider donating them to the hospital. Faculty members may want to ask students who have worked in their labs about inventory of these essential supplies. 

Donations may be dropped off at the valet entrance of the VCU Medical Center Gateway building at 1200 E. Marshall St., Richmond, VA 23298. Donation drop-off is open Monday through Friday, from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. If you are unable to drop off, contact Nathan Cunningham at Nathan.Cunningham@vcuhealth.org to coordinate a pick-up.


Got an idea for a COVID-19-related solution?

The VCU da Vinci Center for Innovation has a sprint for you

The Health Innovation Consortium (HIC) and the VCU da Vinci Center for Innovation are partnering to create a series of virtual healthcare sprints. All VCU students are invited to team up and create COVID-19-related solutions through healthcare and innovation. And there are cash awards: $1,000 per team member, with a limit of $5,000/team. Multiple groups can win. Learn more here. Contact davincicenter@vcu.edu with questions.


Engineering Shout-Out

Berger Twitter

How VCU Engineering is operating during COVID-19

Academic Affairs

The academic affairs office is responsible for undergraduate and graduate program support, financial management of student support programs and enrollment management.

Academic affairs offers remote access to students because in-person meetings are not possible at this time. During this mandatory telework period, the academic affairs office is holding daily Zoom meetings within the office and weekly Zoom meetings with program directors. The team is also working closely with VCU’s grants, human resources and finance offices to ensure students have the resources they need.

The academic affairs office is working on several new enrollment, retention, professional development and degree completion projects during this teleworking period.


VCU Engineering offers free resources for parents who are suddenly homeschooling

The VCU College of Engineering has free programs and resources for parents who are suddenly homeschooling.

A free online coding camp for middle school students called Code Beats will be offered next week by David Shepherd, Ph.D., an associate professor in the Department of Computer Science. With a multidisciplinary team of VCU faculty members, Shepherd is turning to hip-hop music as an effective — and more importantly, fun — way to teach basic computer science concepts.

From Monday through Thursday, campers will go through a lesson and work on their own projects. On Friday at 5 p.m., the students will livestream a Friday Night Code Beats Tournament in which the students and families can vote for a winner.

VCU Engineering also offers a free online Early Engineers Handbook of kid-tested engineering learning activities for students in grades K-8. Provided by the Office of Community Outreach and Engagement, the handbook sparks curiosity and introduces/reinforces STEM concepts. No special equipment is required; just ordinary household items. There’s also a free, online book of paper airplane designs.


Engineering Shout-Out

We salute the women veterans who make up the VCU Engineering ranks, including Carolyn Galcik, Laura Lemza, Bridget Thompson-McInnes, Ph.D., Sachiko Murakami and Autumn Randell. The skills and knowledge you gained while serving the nation are on full display here, as well. Thank you for your service — and for making VCU Engineering great.

How VCU Engineering is operating during COVID-19

Academic Advising

The Engineering Office of Student Services is ready to help students every day. This office oversees curriculum advising for all undergraduate students while also coordinating with faculty on retention efforts, classroom issues and course scheduling.

Since moving to a remote platform, their work priorities have not changed. They are meeting with students via Zoom, phone and email. Director Jennifer Rivers and her team are working to help students overcome any adverse situations students may encounter during this remote period. This team is meeting regularly through Zoom and interfacing daily through ongoing email threads. Students, if you need assistance from Student Services, please email Jennifer Rivers.

Remote Advising Details


Let’s get moving

VCU Rec Sports offers virtual fitness programs

Feeling the need to get up and move? VCU Recreational Sports has you covered. The gym may be closed, but VCU RecSports has created a portal of virtual sports and fitness programs for all VCU students, faculty and staff. Categories include indoor and outdoor fitness activities, online sports and fitness tutorials, with new content coming regularly.

And don’t forget your [virtual] cooperation and collaboration muscles. Check out RecSports’ Virtual Escape Rooms. There, you and up to seven of your friends and colleagues can embark on a one-hour, guided experience in real time and discover how to communicate and work creatively using online communication.


Question of the day:

What’s the online tool you could not live without right now?

Share your answer — and find out what others said — by tagging us on social media.</p

How VCU Engineering is operating during COVID-19

Purchasing

Each day, we will profile a department within the College of Engineering and share how it is operating during the telework period of COVID-19. Today, we feature Finance and Accounting with important information about purchasing.

The finance team is responsible for procurement and ordering, travel management, budget and cash flow and financial reporting and reconciliation. During the telework period, the standard ordering process will remain in place for the foreseeable future. We expect delays as supply chains weaken over time. All university travel is currently on hold. Reporting remains available through the Finance Dashboard, which is always open or by sending an email request to Bill Bulbrook. The finance team is communicating via email, phone and Zoom.

University Procurement Services is working to implement temporary process and procedure changes to help departments continue operating. They have provided an FAQ and information that will be updated regularly.

Here’s helpful contact information:

Please keep in touch with the finance team if you need any help. They would love to hear from you.


Video communications tip for teleconferences

Non-verbal cues of communication, such as facial expressions and body language help foster a deeper and more meaningful connection. If you have the option, please use your video during teleconferences. And as an added bonus, sometimes a pet makes a cameo appearance!


Question of the day:

What’s the online tool you could not live without right now?

Share your answer — and find out what others said — by tagging us on social media.

Engineering News Briefs

VCU Engineering needs to know about all student internships

If you are currently serving as an intern, are planning a summer internship, or you recently completed an internship, the College needs to know. College leaders are working with companies to preserve this valuable educational experience. Please upload your internship information to Handshake using this link, if you haven’t already done so. Screenshots of this process and detailed directions are available here.

Our community will return

Yeah - the current situation isn’t much fun … but we’re Ram Engineers and we have a great sense of community!  Please know that the fun activities that brought us together in the past will return and we will come together again, whether it’s food trucks, cookouts, student org activities or all types of events, our engineering community will be reunited. Take heart! We’ll see you soon. In the meantime, know that we’re here for you. Please connect with your professor or supervisor about any concerns or challenges you’re experiencing. And let us know creative ways you’ve found to power through the challenges. Tag us at #EngineersMakeItReal.

Video communications tip

Non-verbal cues of communication, such as facial expressions and body language help foster a deeper and more meaningful connection. If you have the option, please use your video during teleconferences.


How VCU Engineering is operating during COVID-19

Human Resources

Each day, we will profile a department within the College of Engineering and share how it is operating during the telework period of COVID-19. Today, we feature Human Resources (HR).

The HR team will emphasize COVID-19 guidance regarding telework and designation to be on campus for our employees. In addition, this team remains focused on faculty hiring and onboarding, assisting managers with current searches, immigration changes/guidance, benefit changes, timekeeping for the entire college, managing any special leave requests and assisting managers in developing thoughtful projects their employees can work on, if needed.

This team remains the first point of contact for all engineering HR-related inquiries. Please contact them to seek guidance on working through concerns, advice on complex/confidential matters such as contract development and execution as well as any employee relations issues. The HR team is communicating daily through Zoom, email, Google Hangouts and phone to ensure work continues moving and will disseminate pertinent HR updates as needed.


VCU Parking and Transportation updates

VCU Parking and Transportation will issue prorated refunds for all standard student commuter and 24/7 commuter permit holders for the remaining months in the spring 2020 semester. Commuter permit holders will be refunded for April and May 2020, and 24/7 permit holders will be refunded for April, May and June 2020. Refunds do not apply to evening permits.

Student Subscriber Details Employee Subscriber Details

Engineering News Briefs

VCU Engineering needs to know about all student internships

If you are currently serving as an intern, are planning a summer internship, or you recently completed an internship, the College needs to know. College leaders are working with companies to preserve this valuable educational experience. Please upload your internship information to Handshake using this link, if you haven’t already done so. Screenshots of this process and detailed directions are available here.

Our community will return

Yeah - the current situation isn’t much fun … but we’re Ram Engineers and we have a great sense of community!  Please know that the fun activities that brought us together in the past will return and we will come together again, whether it’s food trucks, cookouts, student org activities or all types of events, our engineering community will be reunited. Take heart! We’ll see you soon. In the meantime, know that we’re here for you. Please connect with your professor or supervisor about any concerns or challenges you’re experiencing. And let us know creative ways you’ve found to power through the challenges. Tag us at #EngineersMakeItReal.

Video communications tip

Non-verbal cues of communication, such as facial expressions and body language help foster a deeper and more meaningful connection. If you have the option, please use your video during teleconferences.


How VCU Engineering is operating during COVID-19

Human Resources

Each day, we will profile a department within the College of Engineering and share how it is operating during the telework period of COVID-19. Today, we feature Human Resources (HR).

The HR team will emphasize COVID-19 guidance regarding telework and designation to be on campus for our employees. In addition, this team remains focused on faculty hiring and onboarding, assisting managers with current searches, immigration changes/guidance, benefit changes, timekeeping for the entire college, managing any special leave requests and assisting managers in developing thoughtful projects their employees can work on, if needed.

This team remains the first point of contact for all engineering HR-related inquiries. Please contact them to seek guidance on working through concerns, advice on complex/confidential matters such as contract development and execution as well as any employee relations issues. The HR team is communicating daily through Zoom, email, Google Hangouts and phone to ensure work continues moving and will disseminate pertinent HR updates as needed.


VCU Parking and Transportation updates

VCU Parking and Transportation will issue prorated refunds for all standard student commuter and 24/7 commuter permit holders for the remaining months in the spring 2020 semester. Commuter permit holders will be refunded for April and May 2020, and 24/7 permit holders will be refunded for April, May and June 2020. Refunds do not apply to evening permits.

Student Subscriber Details Employee Subscriber Details

Resources During COVID-19

University Updates

Research Information

Engineering Career Services