Communications From LUMS

Communication to STUDENTS

 

Tuesday, March 25, 2020

Dear Students,


We hope you and your families are safe and healthy. We also hope you are finding positive ways to keep your spirits high and staying virtually connected with each other. I am writing this note to provide a quick update on what is going on here at LUMS.

As you may know, the Government of Punjab has announced earlier this evening a partial lockdown, which goes into effect from tomorrow, Tuesday, March 24 until Sunday, April 5.

During this period of partial lockdown, LUMS will maintain a minimal presence of essential faculty and staff on-campus. These faculty and staff members have been deemed critical to meet high priority university commitments, such as maintaining security, energy and power operation, payroll, admissions and RO processes, etc. All other faculty and staff are continuing to work online.

As before, teaching and learning activities will continue to be suspended on campus. However, you should know that faculty are busy planning a smooth transition to help you to complete your remaining work. They are also engaged in designing effective ways to teach you online.

We have formed a high-level “Pedagogy-Technology” Committee led by Dean Sabieh Anwar and several experts in learning and teaching. The committee along with the LUMS Learning Institute is helping to support faculty complete this important work. Please continue to be patient with us and communicate with faculty through email or any other modality for course specific and other questions you may have. Meanwhile, please make sure you have completed the LUMS Online Instruction Survey (click here).

To stay connected with the LUMS family, I and others from LUMS will be available every other day during a live webcast where you can ask me/us your questions that we can help you with. More on this soon. In addition, you may also send your questions to ask@lums.edu.pk and we will endeavour to respond immediately if not within 24 hours.

Our prayers for your health and for your loved ones.

Regards,
Arshad
 

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Tuesday, March 17, 2020 

Dear Students,

As you head out of LUMS to reflect ore deeply on health, safety and social distancing, we ask you to prepare for what will likely become a new normal. We are sharing a few thoughts topmost on our minds today, but it’s likely that our thinking and actions will evolve as circumstances change around us. We will be in regular communication with you and encourage you to share your concerns.

Who has symptoms?

Please read the guidelines on the  LUMS website. If you feel the slightest bit ill, call a medical expert. This is not the time to persevere and downplay your symptoms because adverse health effects can multiply exponentially. When you return, trained personnel will assess and direct you to medical assistance through our dedicated Hotline (042-3560 8500 or 2543/8500).  The pandemic must be taken seriously, and you definitely have a role to play.

Does the 4-Feet rule apply at LUMS?

Yes! the virus travels in tiny droplets, saliva and mucus, which typically spread 3 to 5 feet. At LUMS (and outside) please be mindful of this common-sense rule. Some students have unfairly ostracized their peers who tested negative after returning from Turkey, but thought it was fine to join parties and raves. Others are congregating at restaurants and hanging out with friends. It is not OK to join any event, meeting, outing, or visit – This is a time to self-isolate as much as possible.

What am I to do until April 6?

This is an extended spring break to prepare and successfully complete the term. Finish your readings, review your notes and get ready to be assessed! The only thing we recommend you do in excess is to learn! In addition, you will likely have more time to access some of the world’s best courses which have become free (see for e.g. Coursera). What about that novel you’ve been meaning to read? Or earning a digital badge (for e.g. at edX)? Meanwhile, we are currently planning effective assessments so you can complete your courses. 

Until you return on April 6, LUMS is open for staff and faculty with stringent measures in place to protect the health and safety of all.

We will continue to provide periodic updates. Let us remind ourselves that we are a privileged few in Pakistan. How we respond to this pandemic through acts of leadership, fellowship and generosity will mark our way forward. This is the LUMS way. It is how we will continue to excel.

Thank you!

Regards,
Arshad and Kamran

Dr. Arshad Ahmad
Vice Chancellor

Dr. Kamran Asdar Ali
Interim Provost
Dean, School of Humanities and Social Sciences
 

 

 

 

Communication to Faculty, Staff and Students

Friday, March 13, 2020 

Dear LUMS Community,

Earlier this evening we received an announcement from HEC which has determined that academic operations of all public and private institutions of higher education must remain closed until April 5, 2020.

However, faculty and essential staff - as designated by their HoDs - will continue their work.

Hostels must be vacated, except by international students. Students are advised to leave the hostels as soon as practically possible, but no later than March 18, as we need to fully comply with the nationwide government directive.

All core information systems will be remotely accessible if needed (helpdesk@lums.edu.pk).

The university will continue to maintain its dedicated hotline for any medical related queries 042-35608500

Any HR questions can be addressed to HR at hrd@lums.edu.pk.

We will continue to monitor any new developments and provide periodic updates.

We also deeply regret the inconvenience and look forward to seeing you again soon. Thanks very much for your understanding.

Regards,
Arshad and Kamran

Dr. Arshad Ahmad
Vice Chancellor

Dr. Kamran Asdar Ali
Interim Provost
Dean, School of Humanities and Social Sciences

 

 

Communication to Faculty, Staff and Students

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Dear Faculty, Students, Staff, Alumni and members of the LUMS Community,

As you learn more about the COVI-19 pandemic, I want to assure you that LUMS is doing its utmost to safeguard your well-being and the interests of the community at large.

The LUMS Medical Center is open 24/7 and is your first point of contact if you feel unwell; the number to call is 2543 from within LUMS. Over the next few days, a direct hotline will be available as we add more medical staff at the Center. You are encouraged to contact them for advice on whether you need medical attention.

We are exploring online and other alternatives for both learning and assessment. To give ourselves time to plan this carefully and diligently, we will be extending the mid-semester break which will start as planned on March 16th and classes (either online or on campus) will resume on Monday, April 7th.

Meantime, we ask you to double your efforts to postpone travel, improve hygiene by using sanitizers (and extended use of soap) and do your best to increase social distancing. A new website link will be provided on preventative measures, links, university updates, and other relevant information.

I also want to clarify that 21 LUMS students recently returned from Turkey after attending a Model UN Conference. As a precaution all of these students have been tested for COVID-19. All results received so far are negative.

As we move through unprecedented challenges together, official communication and dialog with you will continue to evolve. We want to encourage each of you to do your part in raising evidence-based awareness, support your loved ones, friends and those in need as we will pull through these testing times with the best possible outcomes.

Wishing everyone health and safety!

Thank you,
Arshad

Dr. Arshad Ahmad
Vice Chancellor

Dr. Kamran Asdar Ali
Interim Provost
Dean, School of Humanities and Social Sciences

Dr. Sabieh Anwar
Dean, School of Science & Engineering

Dr. Tahir Andrabi
Dean, School of Education

Dr. Alnoor Bhimani
Dean, Business School

Dr. Adnan Khan
Dean, Student Affairs

 

COMMUNICATION TO FACULTY AND STAFF

The Ped-Tech Committee

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Dear Colleagues,

Thank you for everything that you are doing and working beyond the call of duty. These are anxious times for everyone as we navigate the public health crisis and do our best to keep our families, friends, our communities and ourselves safe. On health and safety issues, as you know, we have formed a high-level committee that is being led by the Provost and the Dean of Students. Much is already underway and we will continue to improve our efforts.

Similarly, the teaching and learning issues in front of us pose considerable time-sensitive challenges. They also provide an unprecedented opportunity to strengthen the way we assess learning and improve our teaching. Accordingly, we have created a high level Ped-Tech Committee, with several members chaired by Dean Sabieh. This committee will be sharing its terms of reference and a framework that allows LUMS to make thoughtful and considered decisions for the systematic coordination of a broad learning and teaching implementation framework.

The committee will, among other tasks first take stock by rapidly procuring data from all Schools and the RO regarding approximately 340 classes that are currently being offered this semester. This data will include average class sizes for graduate and undergraduate programs, the types of assessments underway, graduating students, and more.

Following a discussion on assessment, the committee is also thinking about how teaching can continue in hybrid and online modalities. To ensure system-wide solutions, the Committee will recommend how the majority of assessments can be carried out and how teaching can be conducted for the remainder of the semester through robust, time-tested and relatively easy to implement set of alternatives.

The committee feels, and we fully agree, that we must coordinate our response to ensure quality across the board. As mentioned, our choices should therefore seek to improve learning outcomes and the student experience. We know that one out of two students worldwide have already taken online courses. Nobody wishes to reinvent the wheel but as we consider hybrid and online-solutions, the good news is that quality instruction can be accomplished with low-tech approaches.

Adoption and diffusion of technology interventions is also a function of coordinated solutions (for example, using one LMS which affords a range of available tools students become familiar with). As we already have Sakai, which is as good as any LMS one can find in the marketplace, the committee will be advocating for its widespread use. Similarly, low resolution, light band-with solutions including, email, slides, voice, etc., will be some of the alternatives that will become part of the standard toolbox. While the committee encourages unique and out of the box tech solutions, for the moment, we ask you to refrain from implementing novel approaches until you hear about system-wide alternatives that the Committee will recommend.

To emphasize, given the short timeframe, the Committee will help in providing centralized guidelines that are robust, low tech and relatively easy to implement. We cannot have 340 individualized solutions. As the Committee provides categories of a handful of alternatives for assessment and for teaching, they will also prioritize categories of class size, graduating students, etc. In addition, the Learning Institute and IT will play a critical support role and provide several offerings including webinars, workshops and training. Stay tuned for their offerings.

You can be sure that the Ped-Tech committee will be looking for your ideas and your full participation. Meanwhile, we want to thank Dean Sabieh for leading this effort and for all committee members who have stepped up at for now. We are confident that leadership for this committee will not only improve our offerings at LUMS but also showcase a way forward for other Universities in Pakistan.

Thank you for your patience as we will continue to provide updates and regroup to meet again soon.

Best wishes

Regards,
Arshad and Kamran

Dr. Arshad Ahmad
Vice Chancellor

Dr. Kamran Asdar Ali
Interim Provost
Dean, School of Humanities and Social Sciences