Message to Alumni from Professor Mike Curtis, Executive Dean
Technology has been a great help in rising to these challenges. Despite the logistical problems of providing education online to approximately 1000 undergraduate and post-graduate students – with many of us using this technology for the first time, despite the inability to hold research seminars face to face, we are still managing. Podcasts and online video lectures and demonstrations have been rapidly put together. Tutorials and seminars have moved online, and we have plans to increase our haptic offering to make up for clinical time lost. And it’s working.
Staff and students have also rallied to aid the response to the pandemic. PhD students have volunteered to assist with testing patients for COVID-19, and undergraduate student groups have volunteered for other NHS supportive initiatives. Researchers and clinicians are working together to develop safer Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for frontline workers. And our partner Hospital Trusts called on our clinical staff to help with their Acute Dental Clinics as General Dental Practices closed and demand increased, or they have been redeployed to provide any assistance they can in the hospitals. The manner in which our staff and students have risen to help with this crisis makes me very proud to lead our faculty.
As the head of the faculty I’ve been particularly interested in the wellbeing of staff and students whilst in this self-isolation situation. Social contact via our online software has shown to be vital for managing our wellbeing. Students and staff have developed WhatsApp groups, they’ve set up ‘virtual cup of tea’ breaks where they video call each other and have a chat over a cuppa, and they’ve even held online video conferencing pub quiz nights. As well as all these innovative approaches, we are simply encouraging everyone to eat well, stay hydrated, connect with people, decide on their daily routine and try to keep active. I do hope you are also all keeping well during these uncertain times.
At the time of writing we are into the third month of lockdown. We are approaching steeper challenges that require a more strategic approach to our situation. The only thing we can be certain of is that we are facing more uncertain times, but I am fully confident in the sheer determination of our colleagues to keep finding solutions to the many hurdles that may come our way. At some point in the future we will look back on this time and talk about how we came through it, together and stronger. In the meantime you can stay up to date with all of the news coming from the faculty here, and all alumni news here.
Professor Mike Curtis
Faculty of Dentistry, Oral & Craniofacial Sciences
King’s College London