Teaching remotely and end-of-the-semester deadlines

Thursday, April 9, 2020

FROM:           S. Jack Hu, Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost                                           
                     Rahul Shrivastav, Vice President for Instruction
 
TO:                Faculty and Graduate Teaching Assistants
 
RE:                Teaching remotely and end-of-the-semester deadlines
 
Dear Colleagues,
 
Thank you for your tremendous effort in moving our wide range of instructional activities online. We would like to echo President Morehead’s note of gratitude for your tireless efforts to ensure that our students continue to learn and grow despite the massive disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
 
While we are in the second week of remote instruction, we also realize that we are only a few weeks away from the end of this semester.  We wanted to highlight a few pointers, policies, and deadlines to ensure that we can close this semester as effectively as possible. 
 
Focus on the Essentials: Many faculty are balancing how to complete their course despite a significant loss of class time. We encourage you to concentrate on the essential learning outcomes for your class, even if this means that you will have to let some things go. 
 
Stay Flexible: Flexibility in your teaching and assessment will remain critical throughout the semester. Please continue to stay in touch with your students as the rest of the semester unfolds and make sure they understand what your expectations are. While most faculty will need to adjust their exams and grading policies, we encourage you to create sufficient opportunities for students to demonstrate their mastery of the course content.  We will continue to use the letter grading system (A-F) as originally planned for your classes.
 
Spring semester 2020 will end on April 28th as originally planned, followed by Reading Day on April 29thAs is always the case, no tests or quizzes may be administered on the final instructional day of a course, unless the course has not been assigned a final examination time slot by the University. Labs may administer tests or quizzes on the final instructional day. Student presentations to the class in a seminar or graduate course shall not be considered a test or a quiz. Similarly, no mandatory assignments should be scheduled for completion during Reading Day. You may, however, schedule optional study reviews for your students on Reading Day.

Final exams begin on April 30th and end on May 6th; the final exam schedule remains as originally scheduled (posted here). We recommend that you avoid a synchronous final exam unless it is absolutely necessary, since our students have scattered to the far corners of the state and the world. You will find some great ideas on rethinking your final exam here. Your disciplinary colleagues at other institutions probably also have ideas for your field that may be posted on the website for your professional organizations. 
 
Submit your course grades by noon on Monday May 11th: We urge you to meet this deadline as failure to do so often has negative consequences for a student’s financial aid. Timely submission of grades will help ensure that we do not create another uncertainty for students. 
 
Again, we appreciate your tremendous efforts in teaching and dedication to our students. Please stay safe and healthy.