UChicago Emeriti October & November Update

November 04, 2020

The following message was sent to emeriti faculty and friends on November 4, 2020:

Dear UChicago Emeriti and Friends,

With the start of Autumn Quarter, more teaching, learning, and research activities continue to resume. Given the blend of in-person, hybrid, and remote instruction this quarter, the new academic year has offered faculty and students many opportunities to think outside the classroom: Jessica Stockholder, the Raymond W. and Martha Hilpert Gruner Distinguished Service Professor of Visual Arts, is using campus settings for her students to explore landscape painting in “Painting Matters: En Plein Air” while other faculty members, led by Ada Palmer, Associate Professor of History and the College, are incorporating an online role-playing game that will engage students in building a virtual world called ExoTerra as part of their courses. The University has also set up a small number of heated tents at the Logan Center, Quadrangle Club, and other campus locations. The tents provide limited, alternate instructional spaces, outdoor seating for student study space, and locations for approved extracurricular activities.

The fall also offers a chance to recognize milestones and new beginnings. The University Library is marking the 50th anniversary of the Regenstein Library, which opened its doors on October 31, 1970, with a series of events all year. Also on a literary front, this fall, the University of Chicago Press published the first three books in its new literary criticism series, “Thinking Literature”: Andrea Gadberry’s Cartesian Poetics: The Art of Thinking, Dora Zhang’s Strange Likeness: Description and the Modernist Novel, and Craig Dworkin’s Radium of the Word: A Poetics of Materiality. And, fortunately for those of us who miss perusing the Seminary Co-op’s Front Table, the Co-op announced a new Front Table subscription service at https://www.semcoop.com/subscriptions; we’re looking forward to the UChicago Faculty Front Table version!

Though not a milestone, we are no less excited to include more details about opportunities to visit campus museums to view their collections or conduct research, updates on resources and benefits, as well as an opportunity for members of the emeriti community to attend a special webinar focused on remote research resources offered in partnership with the University Library. For complete information about returning to campus, facilities resources, and the campus response to COVID-19, please consult UChicago Forward.

Campus Museum Access

Smart Museum of Art

The Smart Museum is welcoming visitors back to their galleries: new exhibitions Take Care and Claudia Wieser: Generations are open to the general public by timed reservation, Thursday-Sunday, 11am-4pm. For details and visit guidelines, please see their Autumn Quarter information. Instructors will also be able to arrange visits for their UChicago courses this quarter, coordinated through the Feitler Center for Academic Inquiry; individual student researchers and small student groups will also be able to arrange visits to conduct their work. Additional opportunities to experience the Smart and its collections remain available at the Smart at Home, the museum’s portal to their virtual programming and resources.

The Oriental Institute

Discovery is back at the Oriental Institute, as they welcome visitors to the galleries again on Tuesdays, Thursday, and Saturdays, from 11:00am – 3:00pm; entry is by advanced reservation only and capacity is limited. To learn more about what to expect when visiting the OI, the protocols the museum is following, and to make your reservation, please see their visitor information page. The OI will continue to host events remotely online, whether that means a virtual tour of Luxor as part of their “Armchair Travelers Tours” or a lecture about Meroitic Language, Script, and Texts from Ancient Nubia. Recordings of these and other past events can be enjoyed on the OI’s YouTube channel (along with their over 43,000 subscribers!).

The Renaissance Society

The Renaissance Society also resumed limited gallery visits on September 12th with the opening of their latest exhibit Nine Lives. The gallery will be open for viewing Saturdays and Sundays, 12-6pm. Visits are by appointment only, and guests can register in advance for a one hour time slot. For complete information and to reserve time for a visit, please see The Renaissance Society’s visit guidelines information.

University of Chicago Library

“Reconnecting with the University of Chicago Library” Webinar

Get the latest updates on using the University of Chicago Library for your research and teaching. In this special webinar for the emeriti community, librarian Rebecca Starkey will provide an overview of how the Library has adapted its services in this new environment. Explore the Library’s extensive digital collections and discover some valuable tips and tools to support your remote research experience. Learn how services such as Scan & Deliver, Interlibrary Loan, and Paging & Pickup can help you obtain the materials that you need. Finally, find out how the Library is providing access to its on-site services in new ways to protect the health and well-being of both patrons and staff.

There are two chances to learn more and attend the webinar; to reserve a spot and receive the Zoom session information, please select the appropriate registration link below:

  • Monday, November 16, 11:00 AM (Central Time)  Register
  • Thursday, November 19, 4:00 PM (Central Time)  Register

Additionally, many on-site services at the University Library have resumed, though the stacks and faculty studies remain closed for the time being. For more information on the Library’s services, please refer to their Autumn Quarter updates.

Benefits and Open Enrollment 2021

Change to Pharmacy Provider for 2021

The University heard your concerns with regards to Express Scripts. As a result, University retirees will transition to the CVS contract used by our active employees. Non-Medicare eligible retirees will be covered by CVS Caremark® and Medicare-eligible Retirees will be covered by SilverScript®. CVS contracts with SilverScript to administer the Medicare Part D program.

Because the Express Scripts (ESI) coverage ends on 12/31/20, the automatic refills will be suspended. Notices are currently going out from ESI letting participants know about this change. ESI will be sending Mail Order pharmacy prescription information to CVS/SilverScript in order to transfer the prescriptions so that you will not need to.

Please visit https://caremarkrxplaninfo.com/TheUniversityofChicago for more information on CVS. You can also attend one of the CVS Information Sessions on November 4 (today), 9, and 13 at noon. See the Open Enrollment website for Zoom meeting details and to review the list of frequently asked questions that the Benefits Office has prepared.

Open Enrollment for Retiree Medical Plan

A printed copy of the Open Enrollment information was mailed to the address that the Benefits Office has on file for you on October 20th. Due in large part to the savings we achieved by consolidating the Pharmacy under one contract, the University was able to decrease the Medicare-eligible premiums (-14.6% for the Medicare Advantage and -7.6% for Medicare Supplement) and hold the Non-Medicare increase to 1%.

If you have not received a copy of this information, please contact the Benefits Office at (855) 822-8901 or email benefits@uchicago.edu. You can also review the Open Enrollment information online at https://humanresources.uchicago.edu/benefits/retireemedicalplanopenenrollment.shtml.

Flu Vaccine Clinic at UChicago Medicine

UChicago Medicine offers flu shots for existing patients at several convenient locations on the South Side, in the south suburbs, and on campus. Please consult the information about the Flu Vaccine Clinic locations and hours, including curbside options, provided by the hospital.

UChicago Medicine has implemented a number of new policies aimed at protecting patient healthy and safety at this time; to learn more about virtual patient care, curbside phlebotomy, COVID-19 testing, and other services, please refer to the information the hospital has prepared regarding Patient Care During COVID-19.

Recent and Upcoming Events

Upcoming Harper Lecture: Election 2020 Debrief

The Alumni Association’s next online Harper Lecture on November 5 (tomorrow) at 6:30-8:00 pm (Central Time) will feature a post-election conversation with Social Sciences Division faculty members Elisabeth Clemens, the William Rainey Harper Distinguished Service Professor of Sociology and the College; Jane Dailey, Associate Professor, Department of History and the College; Marco Garrido, Assistant Professor Department of Sociology and the College; and John Mark Hansen, the Charles L. Hutchinson Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Political Science and the College and Deputy Dean of the Social Sciences Division. The conversation will be moderated by William Howell, the Sydney Stein Professor in American Politics, Department of Political Science and the Harris School of Public Policy.

Members of the emeriti community are invited to register for the online webinar event at no cost. Please reserve your spot here; when filling out the form, please select “other” and specify “emeriti faculty member” in the appropriate field.

For information about upcoming events from all around campus, please continue to visit UChicago Virtual Events. Check the site regularly for updates and event announcements, to register for Zoom webinars, tune in to music performances, and attend lectures remotely. Many recent events, including Humanities Day, have been recorded and are available to enjoy online; please see the UChicago Emeriti Faculty website for more details and information.


Melina Hale, Phil Venticinque, and Cassandra Martynow

Melina Hale

Vice Provost


Phil Venticinque

Assistant Provost


Cassandra Martynow

Associate Director