Dear Habib University Community,
Welcome back! I hope that you’re safe and healthy, Inshallah.
There’s guarded optimism in the air regarding the raging Coronavirus pandemic. However, to put things in a sobering perspective, I sent the first Monday message 147 days ago on March 23rd. At that time, there were 350,000 confirmed cases of Coronavirus infection IN THE WORLD, with 17,000 fatalities. In 147 days, total confirmed cases have grown to 21,845,000 with about 775,000 deaths. This amounts to about 150,000 new cases and more than 5,000 people dying every single day since March 23rd. We are thankful to a combination of factors and good fortune for not being hit as severely as many other parts of the world. Our thoughts and sympathies go out especially to the people in the US, South America and India where this pandemic continues to wreak havoc.
We in Pakistan are no way are out of the woods either. However, many societies have shown that sensible behavioral adjustments and hygiene are keys to keeping the growth of Covid-19 in check. I urge our community to set an example of similar thoughtful and responsible behavior.
Reflections & Acknowledgments:
Please join me in congratulating Chris Taylor and his team who with great help from Shahnoor Sultan and IT teams, analyzed, shortlisted, procured and operationalized an entirely new ecosystem of a technology-based intellectual fabric. This ecosystem allows great flexibility to support and facilitate a whole spectrum of fully virtual to being fully on campus learning. The combination of Canvas/Panopto/Zoom provides a cutting-edge technology interface and makes Habib University comparable to any good institution in the world.
I am sure there’s a steep learning curve to get familiarized with the full scope of possibilities of these platforms, but there’s good reason to feel excited about the creative potential of these new forms of pedagogies.
Special thanks to faculty members operating in unfavorable time zones. We are looking forward to faculty being physically back on campus by mid-September.
A big welcome, salaam and adaab to our freshmen class! I hope you’ve been inspired by the wonderful orientation leaders, who have shown remarkable comradery and dedication in welcoming all of you to Habib University. Obviously, these are less than ideal circumstances to commence your academic journey, but you’ll see that even in these trying times, Habib University is unique in its sincere support and focus on students’ well-being.
Best wishes and a big thank you to rising sophomores, juniors and seniors. You’ve shown exemplary adaptability in adjusting adequately to this once in a century upheaval.
Enhancements in the LMS and technology tools won’t be without glitches and inconsistencies. These challenges will require patience, diligence and a spirit of mutual support. This is an opportunity for many students to showcase their intuitive tech-savviness, by helping and guiding the ones who may be struggling with these new tools. Moreover, OAP, RO and the technology team will be regular trouble shooters for you.
All courses of the Fall semester expect a high level of student engagement. I urge all of you to ensure your sincere and diligent effort by demonstrating good work ethic. This is a great opportunity to expand your imagination beyond the regular in-class assessments and grades, and look at more diverse way of demonstrating your commitment to learning.
My congratulations and gratitude to all of our teams. Following are some special mentions:
• Well done Recruitment and Admission teams for enrolling a wonderful Class of 2024 during these most difficult circumstances.
• Congratulations to Marcom for creating fantastic productions for both the Commencement and the Welcoming Ceremony for the new class.
• IT team deserves a special mention in ensuring this extreme transition in very tight timelines.
• Administration and Facilities teams deserve our gratitude to ensure a Covid19-compliant campus.
In closing, I want to quote a simple and elegant couplet of Maulana Rumi which captures the varying notes of the inevitable symphony of life. This symphony will always combine exasperations and joys together. This shair is also a good tafseer of the 5th & 6th ayats of the 94th Surah of the Quran.
تو گُل و من خار کہ پیوستہ ایم
بے گُل و بے خار نباشد چمن
Welcome back to our shared “chaman”.
With warm wishes and duas,
Wasif A. Rizvi