UCI Forward

UCI Forward is our commitment to the well-being of our community as we ramp up campus operations. Working together, each of us doing our part, we can move UCI Forward.

Sept. 10 - How 9/11 changed America, two profs honored by OCBJ

Section 1

The Maya Lin sculpture and twisted trees at the Claire Trevor School of the Arts

The Maya Lin sculpture and twisted trees at the Claire Trevor School of the Arts. Photo by Ian Parker

Q&A Ask the Expert header

Each day, a UCI expert will answer one of your questions about COVID-19, vaccinations, variants or the future of work. Submit questions via email.

For today’s Ask the Expert, we are recapping the Return to Campus Town Hall, during which leadership addressed staff’s most-asked questions about UCI’s new hybrid work environment. (A full recording of the webinar will be available on the UCI Forward site soon.) Some good news was also shared: More than 90% of employees and nearly 90% of students are vaccinated against COVID-19, which will help with health and safety as we approach an in-person fall quarter.

Ramona Agrela, chief human resources executive and associate chancellor, Ron Cortez, chief financial officer and vice chancellor, and David Souleles, director of the COVID-19 Response Team, answered these questions:

What is UCI doing for my safety against COVID?

There are multiple protective measures that, layered together, make the campus as safe as possible for in-person research and instruction: vaccination, face coverings, hand hygiene, daily symptom checks, symptomatic and asymptomatic testing (including new drop-in asymptomatic testing), contact tracing and isolation, and quarantine support.

What is UCI’s plan for handling isolated COVID exposures?

UCI’s contact tracing team will conduct case investigations, ID close contacts and call them. It will also provide isolation instructions, if needed, and make sure employees have what they need in concert with Occupational and Environmental Health. There is a system on the student side too.

Managers do NOT have to determine who needs to isolate or quarantine, nor do they need to determine to shut down an office. There is an infrastructure to handle such decisions.

Does leadership really support a hybrid work model or is this only temporary?

Now that we are resuming normal operations, remote work may not always make sense, depending on each unit’s operational and business needs. However, there is support for continuing remote work when it makes sense. It is not just UCI – the world has changed. Hybrid reduces office density, which is a public health layer of protection.

Will there be additional spaces on campus to eat outdoors?

Yes, UCI is working on recommendations for additional outside tents for employees to take breaks and eat lunch.

Can employees move away and still work remotely?

International relocation is not permissible due to labor laws and tax laws. To relocate to another part of California, employees must check with their supervisor to see if it can be accommodated.

What reasons would justify us going back to 100% remote or 100% onsite environment?

Campus leadership is constantly monitoring a series of metrics, and using this data as a guide to see if or what additional measures are needed. It’s not all or nothing. There are strategies that can be employed progressively to create the desired safety. UCI also monitors state and local public health orders.

In conclusion...

We are all in this together – and we are learning as we go. Thank you for being patient.


Two UCI professors honored by Orange County Business Journal

UCI’s professors are earning kudos in the community. Dr. Kenneth Chang, a professor who is chief of the Division of Gastroenterology and executive director of the H.H. Chao Comprehensive Digestive Disease Center, was named the 2021 OCBJ Innovator of the Year. Professor Philip Felgner, who is director of the UCI Vaccine Research and Development Center, was awarded the OCBJ Global Impact Award.

Back-to-campus advice on free expression and civil discourse

Eighteen months away from campus. It’s been a long time. To help enable productive conversations on campus, the UC National Center for Free Speech and Civic Engagement has compiled some tips and resources for students, staff and faculty, including guides related to civil discourse and freedom of expression.

Last year, the center’s executive director, Michelle Deutchman, who is based at UCI, appeared on the UCI Podcast to discuss the pandemic’s effect on free speech on college campuses.


How 9/11 changed America

On the eve of the 20th anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks, several UCI scholars examine how 9/11 has reverberated for the past two decades.

  • Roxane Cohen Silver, Distinguished Professor of psychological science, public health and medicine, and Alison Holman, professor of nursing, explain the collective trauma induced by the 24/7 media coverage of the attacks.

  • Jan K. Brueckner, Distinguished Professor of economics, looks at how the climate of fear that led airlines to adopt passenger restrictions immediately after the attacks persists to this day.

  • Erin Lockwood, assistant professor of political science, explains how the attacks normalized the use of military force against state targets in response to an attack by nonstate actors on U.S. civilians.

  • David Kaye, clinical professor of law, recalls witnessing the attack on the Pentagon after evacuating his office at the State Department and describes the cult of national security that was reinforced by the attacks.

  • Matthew Beckmann, associate professor of political science, examines how the legacy of George W. Bush is tied to the legacy of 9/11, and the new world order that the former president sought to create.

  • David Theo Goldberg, professor of comparative literature, analyzes how the events of 9/11 lended themselves to a new era of misinformation, with false claims related to weapons of mass destruction, birtherism and even COVID-19 vaccines.

Intermission is over. Arts tickets on sale starting Sept. 15

After many months of no in-person performances, the UCI Claire Trevor School of the Arts is selling tickets for the 2021-22 season. Ticket packages are available, including significantly reduced rates for UCI students.


Friday fun fact

Preserving California: The UC Natural Reserve System covers more than 750,000 acres and represents most of California’s major ecosystems. Sites managed by UCI host researchers, students and volunteers addressing ecological challenges.

UC is top college in America, according to new Forbes rankings

UC Berkeley ranks as the best school in the country in Forbes’ annual list of America’s Top Colleges, the first time a public university has topped the ranking since its inception in 2008. Five other UC campuses are in the top 50, including UCI.

Biden’s new vaccine mandates could cover 100 million Americans

President Joe Biden has imposed stringent new vaccine rules on federal workers, large employers and healthcare staff in a sweeping attempt to contain the latest surge of COVID-19, CNN reports. The new requirements could apply to as many as 100 million Americans, or nearly two-thirds of the American workforce.

Babies, the delta variant and COVID: What parents need to know

NPR offers five recommendations for pregnant women and parents of young children to protect against the delta variant.

Vaccination reduces risk of long COVID, even when people are infected

Fully vaccinated people are much less likely to develop long COVID compared to unvaccinated people, even when a breakthrough infection occurs, according to a new study in the U.K, STAT reports.


UC IT Town Hall with President Drake
Tuesday, 9:30 a.m. (sponsored by UCOP)

Supporting Yourself and Others with Pandemic Stress
Tuesday, 11 a.m. (sponsored by UCI Human Resources)

Vaccine Boosters: Community Information Session
Tuesday, noon (sponsored by School of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences)

Supreme Court Review: The State of Reproductive Rights and Justice in America
Tuesday, 5:30 p.m. (sponsored by UCI Law and the Center for Biotechnology and Global Health Policy)

Aging Eyes
Tuesday, 7 p.m. (sponsored by Gavin Herbert Eye Institute)

Visit today.uci.edu to see and submit event listings. Events of general interest will be shared in UCI Digest two days before they occur.


Are COVID-19 Booster Shots Variant-Specific?

Verywell Health, Sept. 9
Cited: Philip Felgner, professor of public health and the director of the UCI Vaccine Research and Development Center

The best employers for remote workers; Workplace trends, September 2021

Quartz, Sept. 8
Cited: Melissa Mazmanian, an associate professor of computer science and organization and management

Research finds ethnic studies in San Francisco had enduring impact

EdSource, Sept. 7
Cited: Emily Penner, an assistant professor of education


New campus case

One on-campus student tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday. For more information, visit the UCI COVID-19 dashboard.

Remember to upload your vaccine record

Vaccination is a critical step toward our campus's fall return. Help our community by uploading your vaccine record.

Student Record Upload

Employee Record Upload

Potential workplace exposure

UCI provides this notification of a potential workplace COVID-19 exposure. Employees and subcontractors who were in these locations on the dates listed may have been exposed to the coronavirus. You may be entitled to various benefits under applicable federal and state laws and University-specific policies and agreements. The full notification is available on the UCI Forward site. If you have been identified as a close contact to a COVID-19 case, the UCI Contact Tracing Program will contact you and provide additional direction.

For COVID-19 questions

UCI Forward - information on campus status and operational updates

UCI Health COVID-19 Updates - important information related to UCI Health

UCI Health COVID-19 FAQs

UCI Coronavirus Response Center - available at covid19@uci.edu or via phone at (949) 824-9918

Contact Tracing and Vaccine Navigation Services - assistance with vaccines and vaccine uploads; available at contacttracing@uci.edu or via phone at (949) 824-2300

Program in Public Health chatline - answers to questions about COVID-19

For questions specific to your personal health situation, please contact your doctor or healthcare provider.