Provost's Update - April 30, 2020

Effective Operations

Institutional Priority #4

Institutional Effectiveness

Provost’s Email to the Division of Academic and Student Affairs, April 30, 2020

Winter 2020 is now officially in the books!  I want to take just a moment to recognize everyone’s hard work and commitment to successfully closing out a semester that held so much disruption, uncertainty and stress.  You all gave such tremendous support to students, colleagues and community at a time when things were challenging for each of you as well.  It is a real testament to our values and commitments that we completed a pivot of such magnitude with calm determination and generosity.  Thank you to each of you.

We celebrated the end of the semester with the incredible news that the GameAbove alumni and friends group will make gifts to our 2020 April graduates and Fall 2020 incoming students.  Their generous gift will launch graduates in their future paths and welcome new students with just a little more financial security.  Please take some time to read all the details about the GameAbove gift here, and join me in thanking them for caring about our community to the same degree we do!

As we quickly turn our attention to the upcoming Summer semester and decisions around Fall, there is of course a new and updated to do list but it never hurts to take a momentary deep breath and appreciate what’s been accomplished by so many. We continue to closely monitor and communicate with state and local officials about beginning the transition back to in-person operations.  That process will take place gradually over the next few months and will not likely be fully implemented until later in the summer.  We will plan around several different scenarios for our return and fall courses but please know that our guiding principle will be the health and safety of our community.  Once again, I appreciate everyone’s patience, flexibility, hard work and support for EMU.  I am so very proud to work with you all!

Moving forward, I call your attention to the following information in today’s update:

  • Lecturer Distinguished Teaching Awards
  • 2020 Virtual Graduate Research Conference
  • College of Arts and Sciences Outstanding Contributions to Interdisciplinarity Award
  • Rec/IM Hosts Virtual Recognition Celebration
  • Summer Support from the Faculty Development Center and Center for E-Learning
  • Winter 2020 Grade Submission
  • Summer Enrollment Task Force
  • Library Research and Technology Help for Students
  • Final Comments

Lecturer Distinguished Teaching Awards

Although we were unable to celebrate in person, we would like to recognize this year’s winners of the Lecturer's Distinguished Full- and Part-Time Teaching Awards.  These are the highest institutional recognition that lecturers may receive for their teaching contributions and accomplishments.  Congratulations to our Full-Time Lecturers Dr. Brian Coffey and Dr. Kimberley Barker and Part-Time Lecturers Bryan Alfaro, Monica Desana, Emily Levickas, and Dr. Judith Shazer on this important recognition.  Read more about these amazing Full Time and Part Time lecturers and all they do.  Thanks to each of these individuals for their continued commitment to the students of Eastern Michigan University!

2020 Virtual Graduate Research Conference now available!

The Graduate Research Conference (GRC) Team is excited to bring the 2020 GRC to life and to share the scholarly and creative projects of our graduate students!  In the Virtual GRC, you will find a video of the Virtual 3 Minute Thesis Competition, abstract contest winners, poster presentations, and oral presentations. Through the Virtual GRC, students have access to all submitted presentations and can view them at their own availability. This also allows students to be able to listen to presentations they may have otherwise missed during concurrent sessions. Presenters now have a way to showcase their work for more than just the day of the GRC event, as the Virtual GRC will be available 24/7 at the above link.

Thank you to all of you who served as advisors to our students research and presentation. We ask that you forward this link to your faculty and students.

College of Arts and Sciences Outstanding Contributions to Interdisciplinarity Award

Last year the CAS Dean's office announced the creation of a new annual award to recognize Outstanding Contributions to Interdisciplinarity.  This year’s recipient is Professor Marty Shichtman, Department of English Language and Literature and Director of Jewish Studies. The sub-committee's recommendation highlights the reasoning for their selection:

"Dr. Shichtman has for many years championed interdisciplinarity through team teaching and the creation of the Center for Jewish Studies.  His tireless efforts led to the creation of the Center in 2013, and it is now well established and highly recognized on campus.  The nominators pointed out how 'virtually everything the Center does has interdisciplinarity at its core.' From cross-disciplinary travel courses, to a lecture series, to the creation of the Jewish Studies minor, the center represents points of interest that appeal to many across campus and throughout the community.  In other words, the interdisciplinary reach of Dr. Shichtman's efforts are vast.

We are also impressed with Dr. Shichtman's dedication to social justice, especially at this point in our collective history.  As the nominators point out, 'Marty’s deep knowledge of Jewish history, his compassion and empathy, and the range of perspectives represented in his Center, has made him an ideal campus leader in these challenging times.'   We could not agree more and, without reservation, highly recommend Dr. Shichtman for this award."

Please join us in congratulating Professor Shichtman on this well-deserved recognition!

Rec/IM Hosts Virtual Recognition Celebration

Every semester, the Rec/IM celebrates the amazing work of their student staff with varying recognition awards. This year, due to COVID-19, they had to think outside the box regarding their winter celebration. Thanks to one of their amazing Graduate Assistants,  they were able to celebrate the winners of those awards in a virtual Zoom celebration. For all of the award winners and graduating staff that were present, they had a professional staff member or graduate assistant say something on their behalf. 

Congratulations to this semester's award winners:

  • Positive Points Award - Rebecca Smith, Cassidy Meyer and Jarrod Stober
  • Rookie of the Year Award - Madison Ruiz
  • I Got G.A.M.E Award - Dylan Kearney
  • Brandon Rapp Award - Jarrod Stober
  • Englander Award - Rebecca Smith & Reginald Craig Jr.

We wish the best to all of the graduates going onto new adventures receiving virtual certificates of Service: Colin Haggerty, Tony Sofia, Paul Sommerville, Michael Mayes, Jarrod Stober, Allaynia Tripp, Aubrey Mikovits, Cameron Herron, Kyle Brooks, Maggie Nagle, Keith Doepker, Danielle Thomas, Dylan Kearney, and Sierra Bartsch.

Summer Support from the Faculty Development Center and Center for E-Learning

A Message from Peggy Liggit, Director, Faculty Development Center:

Summer I semester is right around the corner and here are four things to help you with your syllabus and getting ready for summer teaching:

  1. Download the Syllabus Tips handout [PDF] with highlights in yellow on how to support students remotely. 
  2. Go to the University Writing Center Syllabus Text for Summer 2020.
  3. Visit the FDC virtual office hours from 9:00-10:00 am Monday-Friday where Bill Marino, online librarian, will serve as co-host. We can discuss your ideas, questions, and any concerns about your summer syllabus or how to teach and support students remotely. To access our Office Hours, join us in a Hangouts Meet
  4.  Additional resources for teaching remotely found on the Faculty Development Center's website. 

Other resources to support your teaching from the Center for E-Learning:

  • For training and support for Canvas - Center for E-Learning website.
  • For Canvas tech questions call the Canvas 24/7 Help Desk Instructor Line at (833) 277-2150.
  • For questions regarding library resources in Canvas course shells, contact Online Learning Librarian Bill Marino at [email protected] or 734.487.2514.  
  • 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.

Online Courses: Information About Synchronous Meetings

Prior to Winter 2020, ‘online’ courses were primarily offered asynchronously.  Accordingly, the format did not have scheduled class meeting times attached automatically at Banner entry.  Students enrolled in courses designated as ‘online’ will assume an asynchronous format if not informed in advance.  If you plan to schedule occasional synchronous meetings in your summer class, students need to know meeting times before the start of the semester so that they may plan schedules and avoid conflicts.  If you need to add these then submit the meeting schedule to your department head/school director.  They will work with you to notify currently enrolled students and request that the Registrar office update in Banner.  Update instructions for Banner that were shared with departments are available for download.

Regular, routine and ongoing synchronous meetings should be scheduled in Banner before registration for a course opens and require consultation with department heads, school directors, and deans.

Winter 2020 Grade Submission 

Registrar Chris Shell extends her thanks to everyone for helping us achieve our highest on-time grade submission percentage ever! Less than 1 percent of grades for Winter are still open following yesterday’s deadline.  Great work!

Summer Enrollment Task Force

Many aspects of our higher educational system and the structure of offerings at EMU within that system remain in a tremendous state of flux.  We need to continue bringing our analytic talents and critical skills to the task of deciding what we bring forward from this disruption and our pilot program this summer to our programs in the future.  The momentum and pride we feel about our community right now ought to fuel us in the coming months as we tackle these questions and challenges.

As you saw in the updated Summer Course Proposal FAQ email sent Monday, April 27, this summer semester is just a beginning point for more discussion and analysis of the role of summer in our academic programs in the future.  The Summer Enrollment Task Force consisting of faculty and administrators engaged in careful study and analysis during the winter semester around the possibilities for enhancing summer enrollment.

The Summer Enrollment Task Force produced several documents as a result of their work: an original report, a COVID response recommendation rider, and a wait list example (referenced in the COVID document).  These reports were used in formulating and thinking about summer enrollment, and we share them again here for your review:

Library Research and Technology Help for Students

The EMU Library offers support for students in finding, evaluating, and using information sources for research papers and projects.  While the library building is currently closed to the EMU community, the library offers many services and resources online. 

For up-to-date information about library services during the COVID-19 crisis, please see

Final Comments

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. Our most current, up to date information, and past campus updates are available at the Eastern Michigan University Health Services COVID-19 website. 


We encourage all of you to continue observing public health advice around social distancing. Should you, any member of your staff, or any students with whom you interact 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.