Provost's Update - April 19, 2020

Effective Operations

Institutional Priority #4

Institutional Effectiveness

Provost’s Update to the Division of Academic and Student Affairs 

As we near the end of the semester, I want to thank everyone for their incredible efforts in these unusual times. Final Exams are next week, and I know this time can be stressful but I hope it can also be an opportunity to reflect on what we can take forward as the result of all this disruption.  I have learned a great deal about the possibilities of technology, our capacity for change, the value we place on students, the moments when interpersonal connections would be preferable and when we can get more done with quiet focus and Zoom. Higher education is at its core an enterprise about pushing forward, the search for new ideas and solutions, differing viewpoints and examining data. I hope that once the intensity of the semester’s end quiets we all find time to bring that critical perspective to analyzing what we bring forward with us and changes we can embrace for the future. I’m sure we will navigate the next few days with our usual commitment and care. Please let us know if there is information you need or questions that need to be answered! Our email address is [email protected].  

Today’s email update contains information about:

  • Comments and Thanks
  • EMU Summer 2020
  • EMU Distinguished Faculty Awards
  • Full- and Part-time Lecturer Distinguished Teaching Awards
  • Two EMU Professors Named in Crain's 2020 Listing of Notable Women in Healthcare
  • 2020 Women of Excellence Award and Scholarship Recipients
  • GameAbove Faculty Professional Development and Innovation Awards - Winter 2020 
  • EMU E-Sports Program Snags its First Title
  • Closing Out the Winter Semester -- And Final Exam Alternatives
  • Preparing for Summer Semester (from the Faculty Development Center)
  • Update on Pass-Fail Grade Reporting Requirements
  • Help for Students with Technology Needs
  • Halle Library Offers Amnesty for Graduating Seniors
  • EMU Offers Refunds to Students Who Purchased Additional Print Quota
  • FDC Library of Examples for Teaching and Supporting EMU Students Remotely
  • Support Workshops for New Part-Time Lecturers
  • Final Comments

Comments and Thanks

Today’s Update focuses on three general areas- celebrating successes for the year, preparations to close the winter semester, and planning for future semesters.  I want to thank all our instructional staff for their hard work and especially recognize those folks recognized here for their distinguished achievements. The Ronald W. Collins awards are the highest institutional honors bestowed on faculty members so please take a moment to congratulate and celebrate this year’s winners.  And the Distinguished Teaching Awards are the highest recognition provided to Lecturers. In our next update, we will share more about our faculty winners of the Alumni Association Teaching Award and the Staff Gold Medallion Award Winners for Distinguished Service. I am thankful that we can still find time to recognize the truly wonderful service so many give to EMU each year.

In terms of planning for the future, our level of uncertainty is perhaps higher than most of us would find ideal.  The state budget picture is a daunting one to consider especially in terms of revenue forecasts and new unemployment claims.  This will no doubt impact our budget allocations from the state. Enrollment for fall also has uncertainties. And yet, there are possibilities.  In times of economic distress, public universities like ours serve a unique purpose owing to our ability to prepare people for the future, provide safe harbor for those whose industries are changing and who find themselves in need of new skills and credentials.  We need to dig deep and prepare to be the forward thinking, innovative and creative resource that our community will need us to be in the coming months.  

EMU Summer 2020

Consequently, I have agreed to fund an additional set of Summer 2020 course sections designed to attract new students to EMU and expand opportunities for existing students to jump start their education.  These new course sections will be designed to meet one of the following goals:

  • Assist and support the needs of adult learners who may have some college credit but no degree or may want to explore returning to college to advance themselves and their careers in the future.
  • Transfer easily across institutions in order to serve guest students who may not be able to currently attend their home institution.
  • Serve a potentially larger audience of our EMU regular student body (e.g. General Education courses, Gateway courses into colleges) and/or showcase unique aspects of EMU’s mission and related educational offerings to a wider number of students.
  • Meet the needs of entering first year students who may have had a truncated senior year of high school.

These new course sections will be funded by the Provost’s Office so will not draw departmental budget dollars away from courses already scheduled there.  They will be scheduled to start a bit later than traditional Summer A courses so they are more accessible to visiting students and they will be advertised, along with other EMU summer offerings, more heavily this year than in past years via traditional and social media efforts.  We will also pilot a streamlined guest student process that should more seamlessly allow guest students to attend summer courses. We want to showcase what’s possible at EMU for any student who wants to be a part of our community. As you know, we have dedicated federal stimulus dollars for students towards the EMU Cares grant program and we are exploring other opportunities to support students financially in these endeavors as well.  I want to thank this year’s Summer Enrollment Task Force for their dedicated work on a new formula that we will employ to evaluate enrollment levels in these new sections. Academic departments will receive more detailed information on how to propose course sections for inclusion in this group of courses in the coming week and a call for proposals will go to faculty members and department/school staff on Monday.  I look forward to seeing what faculty in our departments/schools propose in the coming days!  Thank you. 

EMU Distinguished Faculty Awards

This year Eastern Michigan University honors seven faculty members with Distinguished Faculty Awards in recognition of their exceptional efforts in teaching, research, creative activity and service to the University.  The distinguished faculty awards are named for Ronald W. Collins, who held the position of Eastern’s provost for 18 years. The Collins awards are the most prestigious honors Eastern presents to faculty. The University typically honors winners of these awards at a reception during Excellence Week.  This year’s winners will be recognized during the fall semester so they can share and celebrate this honor with colleagues and friends. Please join me in offering congratulations and appreciation to the following outstanding faculty members!

  • Teaching I: Jamie Ward, Associate Professor, Communications, Media and Theatre Arts
  • Teaching II: Jeffrey Bernstein, Professor, Political Science
  • Creative Activity: Howard Cass, Associate Professor, Music and Dance
  • Creative Activity: MeeAe Nam, Professor, Music and Dance
  • Research I: Carmen McCallum, Assistant Professor, Leadership and Counseling
  • Research II: Hedeel Evans, Professor, Chemistry
  • Service: Michael McVey, Professor, Teacher Education

You can read more information about our Distinguished Faculty Award winners by visiting:

Full- and Part-time Lecturer Distinguished Teaching Awards

The Division of Academic and Student Affairs at Eastern Michigan University is committed to providing encouragement and incentives in support of outstanding teaching achievements.  Towards this end, the Division annually honors full- and part-time lecturers who have distinguished themselves as outstanding teachers, via award processes specific to their bargaining units.

We are proud to congratulate the following Full- and Part-time Lecturers for their excellence in the classroom!

  • Full-Time Lecturer College of Arts & Sciences: Brian Coffey, History & Philosophy
  • Full-Time Lecturer College of Business: Kim Barker, Management
  • Part-Time Lecturer College of Arts & Sciences: Judith Shazer, Psychology
  • Part-Time Lecturer College of Arts & Sciences: Emily Levickas, Communication, Media, and Theatre Arts
  • Part-Time Lecturer College of Education: Monica Desana, Teacher Education
  • Part-Time Lecturer College of Health & Human Services, Bryan Alfaro, Nursing

Two EMU Professors Named in Crain's 2020 Listing of Notable Women in Healthcare

Two Eastern Michigan University professors from the College of Health and Human Services were featured in 2020’s Notable Women in Health Care  by Crain’s Detroit Business.  The list celebrates female leaders in the Michigan health care sector.  On March 16, Professor Tsu-Yin Wu and Assistant Professor Annemarie Kelly were recognized for excellence in health care research, mentoring, teaching, and service work within the State of Michigan.  The women were nominated for the Crain’s Award by their peers in the healthcare field. This year’s honorees included exceptional doctors, nurses, clinicians, health care teachers, executives, administrators, entrepreneurs, scientists, and more.

Professor Wu teaches in the School of Nursing and serves as the Director of the EMU Center for Health Disparities Innovation and Studies (CHDIS) and the Director of the School of Nursing PhD Program.

Professor Kelly teaches in the School of Health Sciences and serves as the Co-Director of the EMU Center for Special Needs Planning and Policy. Her research and service work advocate for new legal standards of care to assist and empower individuals with disabilities.

We are very proud of Professors Wu and Kelly for their tremendous efforts!  Be sure to click here to read more about this prestigious recognition.

2020 Women of Excellence Awards and Scholarship Recipients

Each year, the Women of Excellence Awards seek to recognize women and femme identified folx in the EMU community who live the mission statement of the Women's Resource Center: to encourage, support, and advocate for the personal, academic, and professional advancement of ALL women.  This year they are celebrating Five Women of Excellence Award recipients, two staff and three students. 

Congratulations to our 2020 Women’s Resource Center Women of Excellence Award Recipients!

Staff Awardees:

  • Caroline Sanders, Interim Director of Community Relations at Engage EMU
  • Elise Buggs Sturdivant, Director of Academic Success Partnerships.

Student Awardees:

  • Hannah Redigan, Masters in Clinical Mental Health graduate student in the Department of Counseling & Leadership.
  • Krystol Alpert, Masters in Clinical Mental Health graduate student in the Department of Counseling & Leadership. 
  • Rebecca Lee, Masters in Elementary Education graduate student in the College of Education

The Women of Excellence Scholarship is awarded to EMU students that have contributed to women's affairs on campus and demonstrate a financial need.  This year, in partnership with the Office of Financial Aid, we were able to award 14 scholarships to students that will support them in continuing their education.

Congratulations to our 2020 Women’s Resource Center Women of Excellence Scholarship Recipients!

  • Abigail Bick. Senior, Major: Mathematics, Minor: Dance
  • Ayla L Brooks. Senior, Major: Info Assurance & Cyber Defense, Minor: Animation & Gaming
  • Danisha Grier. Senior, Major: Women's and Gender Studies, Minor: Queer Studies 
  • Deyza Marshall. Junior, Major: Health Administration
  • Heidi Daugherty. Junior, Major: Elementary Education
  • Ismet Tabassum Khan. Senior, Major: Computer Science, Minor: Mathematics
  • Jalissa Long-Jolley. Junior, Major: Social Work
  • Kari Klavon. Senior, Honors College, Major: General Studies
  • Kimberly Dixson-Ferrell. Doctoral Candidate - Educational Studies
  • Kylah Le. Senior, Honors College, Major: General Studies
  • Lauren Smith. Junior, Major: Electronic Media-Film Studies, Minor: African American Studies
  • Maha Casey. Doctoral Candidate - Educational Studies
  • Michaela Foster. Senior, Major: Social Work
  • Zariah Montgomery. Senior, Major: Nursing

The Women’s Resource Center will share Women of Excellence Award and Scholarship Recipients profile highlights on Women’s Resource Center social media platforms each day until the end of April.

GameAbove Faculty Professional Development and Innovation Awards - Winter 2020

As a result of generous support from GameAbove alumni philanthropy group, the Provost’s Office is pleased to announce ten Faculty First projects have been awarded for Winter 2020.  The awards, totaling $50,112, facilitate faculty professional development activities in areas such as research, curriculum development, community service, and professional travel and training.  GameAbove is a diverse group of passionate Eastern Michigan Alumni who desire to give back to the University through support for campus initiatives focused on student support, research, entrepreneurship, and innovation.  To learn more about GameAbove, please see their website and contact information here.

We congratulate the following faculty for their Faculty First professional development projects:

  • Fathi Amsaad (School of Information Security & Applied Computing). “Strengthening Autonomous Vehicles Cybersecurity with Hardware-Based Biometrics”, $5,000
  • Karen Ann Craig and Ivan Rodriguez (Department of Accounting and Finance). “Active Learning in Finance Utilizing a Stock Ticker”, $7,726
  • Audrey Farrugia (Department of Special Education ). “The Starting Line: Beginning the Conversation About Autism Spectrum Disorders in Early Intervention”, $4,700
  • Aaron Liepman and Paul Price (Department of Biology) and Brittany Albaugh (Department of Chemistry). “An HPLC Autosampler to Enable Innovative Biology and Chemistry Research”, $9,125
  • Joel Schoenhals (Department of Music and Dance). “Bach and Chopin on the Arno 284”, $4,000
  • Jeff Schulz (School of Health Promotion and Human Performance). “Forest Bathing Training and Research”, $4,036
  • Tucker Staley (Department of Political Science). “Online Training for Nonprofit Professionals”, $3,825
  • John Staunton (Department of English Language and Literature). “On the Trail of Champlain’s ‘Parrot’—Developing Interdisciplinary Inquiry Modules for NEH Summer Seminar for Teachers”, 3,825
  • Sarah Walsh (School of Health Sciences). “ICPSR Workshop Registration: Longitudinal Data Analysis”, $1,800
  • Stephanie Wladkowski (School of Social Work). “Improving Service Delivery: Evaluation of a Protocol for Live Discharge From Hospice”, $6,075

EMU E-Sports Program Snags its First Title

On Friday, April 10, one of our players at the EMU Smash Club secured a tournament title for Eastern Michigan! Our congratulations go out to Connor "Zefer" Nelson for winning Concordia University's Collegiate Smash Challenge.

Other Notable EMU Players were:

  • Clayton Schick "Captain Capcom" Finished 7th
  • Austin Rosenau "Konflict" Finished 13th

This was a great showing of our gamers playing for Eastern Michigan University. We’re hopeful that this is just the beginning for the esports program and where it can take us.

You can view the winning moment here.

Closing Out the Winter Semester -- And Final Exam Alternatives

Over the last few weeks, I suspect many of you leaned on your colleagues, with online teaching experience, for ideas and strategies.  This is another opportunity to seek them out for insight on how best to assess student learning at the end of the semester. I encourage those of you who have taught online, to continue sharing your experience with your colleagues.  We are all doing our best dealing with this challenge together. Thanks so much for all you have done now and will do over the coming two weeks to bring Winter 2020 to a close.

I am again going to ask for your creative problem-solving and student-focused thinking as you determine how best to close out the semester in your courses.  

  • As you may have experienced in your courses already, many of our students do not have ideal or fully reliable access to the internet.  For this reason, we would like to discourage asking students to participate in a synchronous exam session. If this is the only available option, a meaningful alternative should strongly considered whenever possible for students who demonstrate a challenge with reliable access for the synchronous exam session. 
  • Synchronous exam sessions must occur during the course’s previously scheduled final exam time.
  • The final exam schedule will remain as originally constructed. (
  • There are options for administering a proctored exam (asynchronous).  See below for more information.  
  • Many in our community, especially students, are facing financial hardship due to COVID-19.  For this reason, we highly discourage any kind of assessment or proctoring that results in additional financial cost or responsibility on the part of our students.
  • It is completely acceptable to make final examinations optional this semester and replace the exam with another activity or virtual meeting.  See the resources below. 

Final Exam Alternatives

This semester may be an opportunity to explore and try alternative assessments such as inquiry projects, case studies, audio or video recordings, work samples, portfolios, virtual labs and simulations, reflective papers, guides, infographics, annotated bibliographies.  MERLOT is an online database that provides assignment descriptions, case study material, and more to design these alternative assessments. 

The key is to align these assessments with your course learning outcomes and provide rubrics to make expectations clear.  Create rubrics or marking schemes that outline your clear expectations and criteria. irubric is a free tool with thousands of templates that you can use and modify to create appropriate rubrics for your assignments.

Preparing for Summer Semester (from the Faculty Development Center)

From Peggy Liggit in the Faculty Development Center: Summer Semester is right around the corner and here are four things to help you with your syllabus and getting ready for summer teaching.

  • We have created a Syllabus Tips Google Doc with highlights in yellow on how to support students remotely.  The file is in Word so you can copy and paste information right into your syllabus or Canvas shell. 
  • Peggy Liggit is hosting Office Hours in the virtual Faculty Development Center from 9:00-10:00 am Monday-Friday.  Bill Marino, online librarian, is co-host. Through Google Meet, they can discuss your ideas, questions, and any concerns about your summer syllabus or how to teach and support students remotely.  To access the Office Hours, join Hangouts Meet 
  • Additional resources for teaching remotely found on the Faculty Development Center's website

Other resources to support your teaching:

Update on Pass-Fail Grade Reporting Requirements

We recently provided an update and further elaboration of the University’s Winter 2020 Pass-Fail Grade Reporting Options.  Please review the content carefully and note in particular the change to the date by which students must make a final election to have their grade reported in pass-fail format on their permanent transcript.  Students will be able to view their final letter grade before they are required to make this election. Please also note the material cautioning students to seek advice and information from programs for how this election impacts other program level requirements.

The full update, along with information for undergraduate and graduate students to request the pass/fail grading option, may be found here. 

Help for Students with Technology Needs

Hopefully by now students have been able to actively participate in their online courses and complete any necessary assignments remotely.  If, however, you are aware of any students who are still experiencing difficulties with accessing the necessary technology to complete their work, please encourage them to contact the Dean of Students for assistance.  In addition to helping connect the student to appropriate resources, the Dean of Students office can offer assistance in communicating with the department head and course instructor.

Halle Library Offers Amnesty for Graduating Seniors

In light of the campus restrictions surrounding the current COVID-19 crisis, Halle Library will be waiving the library fees, fines, and the cost of lost books for graduating students..  If you know of graduating student who have library fees, fines, lost books etc. please direct them to contact Amy Singer via email at [email protected] for more information.

EMU Offers Refunds to Students Who Purchased Additional Print Quota

Students who purchased additional print quota and who wish to request a refund (vs. having the money roll over to Fall) should be directed to complete the IT request form.

FDC Library of Examples for Teaching and Supporting EMU Students Remotely

The Faculty Development Center is creating a Library of Examples for Teaching and Supporting EMU Students Remotely.

We need your examples to help others see how to do a great job teaching and supporting students in a virtual environment.  Entries can be submitted by faculty, lecturers, staff, and administrators. All of you are supporting students; we can learn from each other what is working!

  • Entries can include short videos or voice-over powerpoints (3-5 min.), .pdf file of the example such as a syllabus, URL link to one of your webpages, an EMU press release, etc...
  • We've started uploading a few examples for you to get an idea of what is needed.  Check out the collection webpage

To submit an entry to this collection, please click here to access the FDC Library submission form.  (**IMPORTANT** -- By filling out this form, you are giving permission for your examples to be posted on the Faculty Development Center's website for a global audience.)

Support Workshops for New Part-Time Lecturers

Details: These clinics are particularly useful for any lecturers NEW to EMU for Summer I, 2020 teaching.

Topics we'll cover: Resources for instructors including CANVAS learning management system, syllabus tips and text, academic resources for students AND getting your questions answered.

Clinic Dates and Times: (as Zoom meetings)

  • Monday, April 20th, Wednesday, April 22nd, and Friday, April 24th, 12:00-1:30 PM
  • Tuesday, April 28th, Thursday, April 30th, Friday, and May 1st, 3:00-4:30 PM

Click here to access the Support Workshop registration form.

Final Comments

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 a 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.  Prior Provost updates may be found on the Provost's Wednesday Briefing webpage