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SAS Responds to Global Crisis with Expertise, Insight, and Inspiration

Rutgers University COVID-19 Updates

COVID 19 1x2 4 15 2020

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Rutgers School of Arts and Sciences has demonstrated the many ways in which a liberal arts institution contributes to the well-being of the world. 

From scientists working to stop the virus, to literature scholars showing STEM students the societal impact of illness, to a museum reaching out to families with free, public programming, the articles below tell the story of Rutgers University's largest school—its faculty, staff, and students—responding to an unprecedented crisis. 

It is a response that stretches across the school’s academic spectrum and includes the natural and mathematical sciences, humanities and social and behavioral sciences.

The articles directly below are original stories produced by the School of Arts and Sciences Office of Communication and highlight the innovation, insight, and hard work across the Arts and Sciences community at Rutgers University–New Brunswick

The section SAS COVID Experts in the News showcase news stories in local, national, and international media that quote School of Arts and Sciences faculty or cite their research and teaching. 


 

Rutgers Historian Launched Medical Ethics Class just as Pandemic Struck

Students found context in ‘80s HIV crisis When Johanna Schoen decided to teach a course on the history of medical ethics, she knew she had an abundance of compelling material to share with students. Schoen, a professor of history at Rutgers University-New Brunswick, is known for research that shined a light on the sterilization of thousands of people over decades under the Eugenics Board of North Carolina. She has also written extensively on the history of abortion since Roe v. Wade. But just a...

The Dark Side of Positive Thinking

Sociologist examines blind optimism in the age of the coronavirus  Why do people always look on the bright side, even when evidence suggests they should not? Karen Cerulo, a professor of sociology, took up that question in the early 2000s, examining people’s tendency toward blind optimism, and the consequences that result. In a recent essay for Sociological Lens, Cerulo revisited her research against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic and concluded that unwarranted optimism may have hindered the...

Student Groups at Rutgers Find Ways to Connect During Lockdown

Social media, virtual events keep clubs busy    Despite a campus bereft of people, student academic groups in the School of Arts and Sciences have been staying active and engaged, staging virtual events and using chat apps, social media, and e-newsletters to keep members connected.   “When you’re isolated at home, it might seem daunting to keep all your obligations and commitments,” says Yoni Friedman, president of the Cognitive Science Club. “But in fact, people have been reaching out and making the...

A Rutgers Alumnus Steps up to Support Students as Economy Worsens

“We must stand firm in the face of adversity”  —Larry Agron    With the coronavirus pandemic ravaging the economy, a Rutgers University alumnus has stepped up to support School of Arts and Sciences students who face financial challenges.  Laurence “Larry” Agron RC’71 has made a significant gift that will benefit both the Agron Family Annual Scholarship and the Dean’s Emergency Assistance Fund.   “In the face of this dire threat, we need to safeguard Rutgers’ ability to provide an affordable,...

With Campus Quiet, Students Go Online to “Swap” Languages

Drawing from Rutgers’ linguistic diversity for virtual exchanges One student grew up in Edison and is determined to learn Chinese. The other is an international student from China who wants to improve her English. The Rutgers University undergraduates—Samil Tabani and Yijun Xiong— are among 34 students who have been paired up this semester to “swap” language abilities through the new Language Engagement Project, a School of Arts and Sciences program that plugs into Rutgers’ diverse culture for a...

Pandemic Provides Chilling Confirmation for Students Studying the Literature of Illness

“Suddenly this isn’t something we’re reading in a book” — Rutgers undergraduate   Talk about a teachable moment. The Rutgers University students who signed up for “Introduction to Health, Medicine, and Literature” this semester were eager to explore themes of illness and disease through major literary works, the writings of neurologist Oliver Sacks, and films like Contagion and Outbreak. They never expected an actual pandemic to disrupt their world and provide an all-too-real example of a...

A Veteran AIDS Researcher at Rutgers Joins the Battle Against Coronavirus 

Scientist wants to help with “wartime effort”  Eddy Arnold knows all too well the challenges involved in stopping a virus.  The Rutgers University structural biologist has spent 33 years engaged in the battle against HIV, helping to discover two FDA-approved anti-AIDS drugs.  Now Arnold is feeling an eerily familiar sense of urgency as he watches the novel coronavirus spread around the world, infecting hundreds of thousands and sowing panic, fear, and confusion.  So this veteran scientist has joined...

As NJ Stays In, the Rutgers Geology Museum Reaches Out

An impromptu online program engages kids and relieves parents With schools closed, and much of New Jersey grinding to a halt, staffers at the Rutgers University Geology Museum gathered online last week to confront a daunting challenge: How would they continue their mission during the COVID-19 health crisis? “We see upwards of 150 school groups a year—and suddenly nothing,” says Lauren Adamo, who serves as co-director of the museum with Patricia Irizarry, “We have worked for years to build up...

Message From the Dean: A Note of Thanks in a Time of Crisis

"Your commitment to students is inspiring"–  Peter March   Dear Colleagues, I want to thank faculty and staff for the heroic work that has enabled the School of Arts and Sciences to continue bringing a liberal arts education to students during a time of national emergency. Despite a health crisis that has upended our lives, you have worked tirelessly mastering new technologies, adapting or creating new syllabi, and maintaining our School’s reputation as the center of undergraduate education at...

The View from the Virologist

A Rutgers expert on viruses discusses COVID-19 Colm Atkins has long been fascinated with viruses. As a research associate and lab manager working under Brian Daniels, a professor in the Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience, Atkins is part of a team that studies how the central nervous system coordinates immune responses to infection and injury. Since the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, Atkins, who earned his PhD in biochemistry and molecular genetics from the University of Alabama at...

Despite Lockdown, Rutgers Students and their Japanese Counterparts Find Ways to Mark Historic Friendship

Remembering a tragic death and a fateful journey in 1870 Rutgers is known as a diverse place. But not everyone knows that the university’s inclusive, globally-engaged culture was developing as early as the 1860s, when Rutgers became one of the first American colleges to enroll Japanese nationals. And few today know the tragic tale of how the first of those students—a brilliant samurai named Kusakabe Taro—died from tuberculosis weeks before his graduation in 1870 and was buried in New Brunswick...

In Small Class Setting, a Major Literary Figure Focuses on Students’ Stories

A powerful presence undiminished by remote instruction From the very first class, it was clear this would be no ordinary creative writing workshop.  As students took turns introducing themselves, the teacher kept asking follow-up questions, digging for details about their lives. She'd store those details away, bringing them up in later discussions about their work. The teacher was Joyce Carol Oates, the renowned author, who served as Visiting Distinguished Professor in the Department of English...

Rutgers Senior with Rural Roots Addresses Problems on a Global Scale

Student's path of discovery leads to geography   Arden Benner was a first-year student at Rutgers with definite ideas about which subjects she wanted to study. She just wasn’t sure there was a major that could encompass them all. Benner, now a School of Arts and Sciences senior in the Class of 2020, grew up on a family farm in rural Juniata County, Pennsylvania. Her father is a butcher and her mother is a registered nurse and a population health specialist. By the time she arrived at Rutgers,...
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