Provost's Update - March 13, 2020

Effective Operations

Institutional Priority #4

Institutional Effectiveness

First, thank you to everyone for your calm approach and collegial support of each other the past couple of days! As you can expect, we hit some bumps in the road today with webinars and building access, but we’re learning, adapting, and getting things addressed as best as possible. I truly appreciate the constructive feedback and suggestions. This public health emergency is highly fluid and I so appreciate everyone’s hard work and support.

Today’s update contains information about:

  • Summer/Fall Registration
  • Clinicals/Labs/Research Labs, Instructional Studios, etc.
  • PEGN Courses
  • Building Hours and Access
  • Employee Time Reporting
  • Preparing to Work Remotely
  • Mail Delivery
  • Faculty/Lecturer Evaluations
  • Alternative Instructional Delivery (with details about new Google Meet Q&A Sessions!)
  • Travel
  • Final Comments

The Provost’s Office plans to send periodic updates around issues and details focused on Academic and Student Affairs.  I apologize if there is some overlap with President Smith’s notes to campus, but we want to assure people receive information as quickly as possible so it is useful.  For your reference, we will post all prior Provost email updates to our Provost's Wednesday Briefing webpage.


For the time being, Fast Track registration for new and transfer students will be transitioned to alternative formats including online, group interaction settings, phone consultations, and so on.  UACDC and other Advising offices will be in touch next week with more specifics about their operations.

The start of Summer and Fall priority and regular registration will be delayed until Monday, March 23.  During the delay week, college and departmental advisors should consider communicating with their majors and minors to provide guidance around advising.  University Advising will consider additional outreach to students as well.  Consider alternative means of advising such as posting materials to your college or department website, phone-in or video conferencing, or using the Google Suite of tools.


Classroom Labs, Instructional Studios and similar hands-on instructional activities:

I want to reinforce that all of the measures we are currently taking are designed to address an ongoing public health emergency. We must be guided first and foremost by the need to slow the spread of COVID-19.  For classroom labs, studios, and similar instructional activities, instructors should work with their department head or school director and dean as needed to determine how course content will be modified and research and creative continuity preserved. We ask that you reach out to enrolled students in smaller, experiential courses with specific information and updates about any section you lead, even if it is to inform them that you are investigating options and that further information will follow.

We suggest instructors consider whether content might be:

  • Delivered to the students via alternative methods (online, remote learning, etc.);
  • Modified to complete via watching a faculty member demonstrate by short video;
  • Modified to allow students to analyze the data the experiment would have generated;
  • Waived, or adapted in some other manner; or,
  • Delayed until in-person classes resume.
Clinicals, Practicums, Field Placements and other similar instructional activities:

These external activities may continue as scheduled (in conjunction with placement sites) if it is determined to be appropriate.  The instructor of record or the placement director for these activities should be the first contact for students dealing with closures, suspension of clinicals/practicums, and other changes to their appointments.  The instructor of record should also make the Department Head or School Director, and the Dean’s Office aware of any changes. The situation is fluid so please continue to monitor and communicate changes and concerns.

Universities facing similar situations to ours are focusing on whether in-person meetings during the next two weeks may be completed remotely, via phone calls or by other alternative methods. Instructors should inform students and department heads/school directors of how they plan to proceed in providing content or arrange leadership remotely or in very small group settings.

Research Labs, Professional Studios and Creative Activities:

Faculty should treat the coming weeks in similar ways to how they treat scheduled extended breaks.  If they must come in, they should notify DPS and use their swipe-access to enter the building.  They should be taking minimum steps to maintain continuity.  If an activity can be delayed, it should be delayed. First and foremost, student presence cannot be mandated.  Faculty should not be holding meetings in-person unless unavoidable – meet remotely.  Work with your department head or school director around protocols and practices.  Exceptions should be very minimal but may be requested via Deans to the Provost.

Peer universities are requesting that instructors consider the minimum activity needed to sustain the research or creative activity during the next two weeks.  Instructors should make their Department Head or School Director, and the Dean’s Office aware of particular cases that require special solutions.  We are considering allowing studio access but cannot grant that to students without further study.  We will update early in the coming week.

For grants that are ending, most granting agencies allow no-cost extensions.  The federal emergency declaration will support the need for these extensions as well.  The major funding agencies now have “FAQ” pages for common questions in these unique circumstances.  EMU’s ORDA office can also be contacted via email to help with questions.  Again, continuity is important but the current health emergency dictates a need for minimal social interaction.


We are in the process of reviewing every student currently enrolled in a PEGN course for the remainder of the semester in order to determine the best approach to deal with their issues of participation and attendance.  Beginning next week, we will work with Advising and Records and Registration to explore options for dealing with missed weekend PEGN courses, such as waiving requirements, teaching in a non-activity-based format, or other means for these students to complete or continue their participation.  More information will follow as available.


Hourly employees who enter hours should record Thursday, March 12 and Friday, March 13 as “University Shut Down.”  


If you do elect come to campus, for brief periods of time, expect to find buildings (except those referenced specifically as open) to be locked.  You will need to use *Card Swipe Access to enter buildings.  Please check email and the EMU website before coming to campus, as public health guidelines continue to evolve very quickly. Please notify DPS of your presence on campus, and  observe social distancing techniques we’ve discussed in other places.

*Use your Eagle Card (employee I.D. card) for card readers near designated doors of the building where your office is located to gain access.  More information is contained in today’s update from President Smith.


As discussed in the President’s message yesterday, all EMU employees who have not worked out other arrangements with their supervisor are expected to work remotely as of Monday, March 16. Accordingly, EMU employees need to prepare to work remotely. A step-by-step guide has been developed to assist employees in this effort: Preparing to work remotely.  Supervisors, if you have not already done so, please communicate with employees to confirm expectations and plans.

Today’s and yesterday’s time should be recorded as summarized in today’s President’s update (University Shut Down).

University email is the official form of communication for all EMU employees – so all EMU employees are expected to monitor it for updates.

All personnel should continue to communicate with their department and monitor email for updates.


Today’s communication from President Smith provides more information about operations including specifics around mail delivery, but some modified system for on-campus mail delivery will be in place.


In lieu of hard copy letters delivered via campus mail, Faculty who have completed full evaluations for reappointment or tenure will receive formal notification letters with the Provost’s recommendation via their official address on Monday, March 16.  Hardcopies will NOT be delivered to campus offices at this time.

Full-time Lecturers who are eligible for reappointment or who are scheduled for a full evaluation next academic year will receive formal notification letters via email to their official address on or before April 1. Hardcopies will NOT be delivered to campus offices at this time.

The Part-Time Lecturer deadline for the submission of evaluation materials (Monday, March 16) is not impacted.  These materials (classroom observation by the department head, student evaluations [scanned or made available in the department office], course materials, and CV) can be submitted electronically via email or through Google Docs.  Anyone experiencing difficulty with submitting materials should contact their department head or school director for assistance.


All University in-person course meetings are suspended through March 31st.  Student attendance on campus may not be mandated without the consultation of your Department Head and the express approval of a College Dean or the Provost.  Please communicate with students regularly so that they are aware of the requirements for each course section. In addition to the communication tools available in Canvas, you can also easily email students through the “Faculty” tab in  This includes undergraduate and graduate students.

We have now created course shells in Canvas for all winter course sections.  If you did not already have course shells for each course section you teach, they have been created for your use and you should have received an email from the Center for E-Learning detailing next steps for accessing them.  Students have also received this announcement.  The mobile app has not updated yet but will in the near future.

You do not have to use Canvas for your course, and please know that we realize that this shift to remote teaching is unexpected, unplanned, and for many uncomfortable.  Please try to seek solutions that fit you best and be reassured that we do not expect all course content to be fully online or in the best form possible day one.  We are adapting – as best we can – to a public health emergency.

Instructors may elect (based on pedagogical preference, disciplinary limitations or other reasons) to modify course assignments and delivery without using Canvas.  This may be done in a variety of ways, including the sharing of materials/assignments via email, video chats, group interactions online via Skype, or other means.  If instructors elect to move outside of the canvas course shell environment they are expected to use University systems whenever possible, require no additional expense to students, respect FERPA, HIPAA, ADA and other regulatory guidelines around student data privacy while operating remotely.

Information about protecting student privacy during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is available from the U.S. Department of Education here.

The Division of Information Technology has additional information about other online resources available here.  These include an enhanced Google Suite of options such as Google Hangouts Meet, Hangouts Chat, and Google Drive that support document sharing, chats, and video conferencing.  We hope to launch additional video conferencing options shortly and will share details promptly.  This page also contains links to Google’s online training materials for the suite.

Canvas Training Opportunities

We have special training sessions called Teaching Continuity Quick Start for instructors who have never used Canvas.  All classes are held online.  Upcoming sessions include:

  • Canvas Quick Start
  • Moving Your Course Online
  • Gradebook and Grading
  • Webinar Tools & Adobe Connect

Click here to view the training session schedule and to register online. (Look for updates soon on additional training titles and dates.)

Instructor Support

  • For Canvas tech questions call the Canvas Help Desk Instructor Line at 833.277.2150.  They are available 24/7.
  • For instructional design support the best way to reach us is by email. Our staff monitors [email protected] Monday through Friday 9am – 5pm, and Saturdays until noon.

NEW: We will host several live “Q&A” Google Meet sessions for instructors looking to ask question of colleagues and to hear tips, tricks, and techniques for moving their course online, working with content, and so on.  During these sessions, you’ll be able to pose questions directly to one of our experienced online instructors.  Watch for an email with more information about these sessions from the Office of the Provost later today.

Q&A Google Meet Session Schedule:

1) Online Content Q&A @ Sat Mar 14, 2020 2-3:30 p.m. with Ann Blakeslee and Michael Tew

Join Hangouts Meet

Meeting ID

Phone Numbers

(‪US)‪+1 484-841-8319

PIN: ‪140 121 607#

2) Online Content Q&A @ Sunday, March 15, 2020 11:00am – 12:30pm with Ann Blakeslee and Michael Tew

Join Hangouts Meet

Meeting ID

Phone Numbers

(‪US)‪+1 567-275-2779

PIN: ‪714 898 664#

3) Online Content Q&A @ Monday, March 16, 2020  9:30 – 11:00am with Ann Blakeslee, Doris Fields, and Michael Tew

Join Hangouts Meet

Meeting ID

Phone Numbers

(‪US)‪+1 929-324-2809

PIN: ‪124 265 890#

4) Online Content Q&A @ Monday, March 16 11:00am – 12:30pm with Ann Blakeslee, Doris Fields, and Michael Tew

Join Hangouts Meet

Meeting ID

Phone Numbers

(‪US)‪+1 530-994-2181

PIN: ‪704 044 849#

There are also several external resources that provide many good tips on how to teach remotely:

Where Students Go for Help

  • They’re in your Canvas course but are having tech problems: The student should call the Canvas 24/7 Help Desk at 844.326.6322.
  • They’re in Canvas but can’t see your course: The student should submit a support request at
  • They can’t even log it to Canvas: The student should call the EMU IT help desk at 734.487.2120.
Library Support

For questions regarding library resources in Canvas course shells, contact Online Learning Librarian Bill Marino at [email protected] or 734.487.2514.  Thank you, Bill, for your help in supporting this need.

Student Support

If any student needs accommodations to participate fully in the alternative delivery of their course, instructors should immediately refer the student to the Disability Resource Center and they will work to make arrangements between you and the student successful.


  • All University-related travel to international destinations is now suspended. This is an update from our previous announcement that we were only suspending travel to countries with Level 3 and 4 level advisories.  You should not undertake travel without an approved exception at this time.
  • All non-essential University travel to domestic locations is also suspended.
  • Any request for “essential” travel approval will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by the Office of the Provost.  Supervisors should review all currently approved future travel plans for compliance with this guidance and modify accordingly.
  • To request an exception, print, complete, sign, and scan the Essential Travel Request Form [PDF]to the Office of the Provost. Exception requests must have an explanation for how the travel is essential to University business continuity or central job functions, and how social distancing strategies will be observed. 
  • We continue to strongly recommend and encourage caution about your personal travel choices, especially for international travel.  The public health situation worldwide is highly fluid as is government policy around travel restrictions.   


We continue to monitor and evaluate guidance provided from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Washtenaw County Health Department and other local, state and federal agencies along with the World Health Organization (WHO) and many other professional organizations.  I want to thank faculty, staff and administrators who have provided (and continue to provide) advice, templates and other feedback as we move through this process.  The process of modifying courses, taking courses online and working remotely is by no means final or without unanswered questions still today.  Each of us is trying to improve at every turn.  We will provide ongoing updates to the campus on a variety of issues and answer questions as expeditiously as we can.  Please continue to direct student questions and concerns that you cannot address to the Dean of Students and other questions to the Provost’s Office.  Your patience, proactive, creative problem-solving and student focused thinking is greatly appreciated!

Please continue to observe public health advice around social distancing, regular hand washing and self-monitoring, and other issues.  Should you, any member of your staff, or any students you interact with experience Coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms (cough, fever greater than 100.4, shortness of breath), please contact your health professional immediately by phone for guidance and notify the Dean of Students as soon as possible thereafter.

Our most current, up to date information, and past campus updates are available at the Eastern Michigan University Health Services website, or at

View prior Provost updates: Provost's Wednesday Briefing webpage.

Our next update will address:

  • General Education LBC (Learning Beyond the Classroom) Credit
  • Accreditation Visits
  • Studio Access
  • Faculty and Lecturer Searches
  • Alternate Registration Schedule
  • Alternate Resources for Students without Computers
  • Travel and APA Courses (e.g., Harry Potter)
  • Commencement