Graduate Division Implements No-Meetings Wednesdays

Dear Graduate Division Community,

On the third Wednesday of every month, beginning September 2021, the Graduate Division Dean's Office will implement a “No Meetings Wednesday,” when Graduate Division staff members will be unavailable for scheduled meetings – with each other, other members of the UCSF community, and beyond – to have protected time to focus on complex projects and important work that is often deferred in favor of more immediate meetings and emails, which are particularly pervasive in the virtual workspace.

We are piloting this policy for the sake of our learners, and in particular support of those who serve them.

This pilot is a direct result of the Black Lives Matter advocacy work within the UCSF community over the past year. As we have witnessed, Black staff, especially Black Women, continually take on additional responsibilities in addressing white supremacy, systemic inequity, racial injustice and harm, and anti-Blackness that is embedded in academic institutions and policies. This work is complex, physically and emotionally taxing, and there is a robust body of literature documenting the challenges this work poses and the toll that it takes. In addition, many who are in positions of providing support to others, including learners, have spent the last year reacting – to trauma and to traumatic events and news that affect our community – at the expense of developing interventions and opportunities for proactive support and care. This policy seeks to support Dr. D’Anne Duncan, assistant dean for diversity and learner success in the Graduate Division. In addition to this small opportunity to combat anti-Blackness, we also believe that other members of the UCSF community who are in leadership positions, who are working for equity and justice, and who work to support others, may also benefit from a similar policy.

Therefore, on the third Wednesday of each month our staff will be unavailable for meetings. We will seek to disconnect from email so you will also receive an out of office message on these dates. If you are trying to reach us for a non-urgent matter, we ask that you reach out again at a later date. If you have a truly urgent matter to discuss, please contact me directly (Liz Silva, [email protected]).

The Graduate Division’s “No Meetings Wednesdays” will take place on:

  • September 15, 2021
  • October 20, 2021
  • November 17, 2021
  • December 15, 2021

Finally, I would like to thank our students, Jhia Jackson, Antoine Johnson, and Erin Johnson, and our colleague, Zach Smith, who proposed and brought this proposal to fruition. I am grateful for their advocacy and innovation in support of our Black faculty, staff, and students. Thank you all for the support of this endeavor, and I welcome you to email me directly with any feedback you might have.  

Liz Silva
Interim Dean