25 Mar2020

COVID-19: Coronavirus Updates

During this period of time, TMU and CHSS remain open, though we have adopted social distancing practices and other means of regulating admission to campus, including use of thermal scanners. For all of our classes, seminars and lectures, we have gone online. We also recommend that student-faculty meetings be conducted online. We fully understand how inconvenient and disruptive this is, but we must all learn how to navigate this pandemic, for the health and well-being of everyone.

Thus far Taiwan’s preventative measures have been effective, but continued vigilance is essential. Ordinarily our College is among the most internationalized colleges in Taiwan, as evidenced by the composition of our faculty and students, by the number of our courses that are taught in English, and by the number of our international research collaborations. But, temporarily, we will have no visitors from overseas, nor will our faculty or students be traveling overseas for conferences, workshops, collaborations, etc.

Our advice to all faculty members, students, staff and friends of TMU is to follow the counsel of the Center for Disease Control https://www.cdc.gov.tw/En. Remember to wash your hands carefully and avoid crowds, both inside and outside. Fortunately Taiwan’s springtime affords two months of pleasant weather, and Taipei is surrounded by mountains with plenty of hiking trails. This unfortunate epidemic does, at least, present us with a good opportunity to spend time outside, exercising and enjoying nature. The College of Humanities and Social Sciences Building rests at the foot of Elephant Mountain, in a location at the start of a trail that can you can follow for many kilometers, a length sufficient to consume more than a day of refreshing activity. 

But also remember that this is an academic institution. Intellectual history is filled with examples of scholars and scientists who devoted periods of isolation, whether due to epidemics or imprisonment, to the accomplishment of their greatest works. Isolation or, as we now say, “social distancing,” affords a unique opportunity for quiet, serious, in-depth reflection, careful calculation and sustained writing.  Newton wrote: “Truth is the offspring of silence and meditation. I keep the subject constantly before me and wait ’til the first dawnings open slowly, by little and little, into a full and clear light.”  May this be a period wherein we all can elevate our capacity for reflection and disciplined work, work that opens into full and clear light.

Stay safe and healthy.