Provost's Update - April 10, 2020

Effective Operations

Institutional Priority #4

Institutional Effectiveness

Provost's Email to the Division of Academic and Student Affairs April 10, 2020

Good afternoon, everyone:

As we approach the long weekend, I hope that everyone is safe and looking forward to time on things and people important to you.  We can all appreciate the time to recover a bit and recharge in preparation for the final weeks of the Winter 2020 semester.  This time is stressful for so many reasons- people we care about suffering with or impacted by this terrible virus, friends or family at risk, all of the change in our daily lives.  Taking part of the weekend and spending it on refueling yourself is a well considered choice. 

Today’s email update contains information about:

  • Comments and Thanks
  • Exam Proctoring
  • Review of Class, Exam Schedule
  • Using Zoom and Other Online Forms of Communication
  • Call for Study Abroad and US Travel Proposals
  • Waivers to Academic and Admissions Policies and Procedures
  • Degree Conferrals for April: Problem Resolution Date Extended
  • Updated Guidance on Scheduling of Summer Courses
  • Instructions for Posting Student Employment Opportunities
  • Closing Remarks

Gratitude and Comments

I want to take the opportunity here to extend my thanks to Bill Jones and the Center for E-Learning Team for all they have done to support our efforts over the past few weeks.  From getting all instructors canvas shells, to teaching so many of us Adobe Connect or Zoom, or offering workshops, loading content, and figuring out opt-in evaluations, they have just worked tirelessly to help us all do our best.  Please join me in offering our collective appreciation and thanks!

Exam Proctoring - Respondus Monitor Webcam Proctoring for Quiz/Exams in Canvas

The university provides a webcam proctoring tool--Respondus Monitor--for use by instructors in Canvas.  It assists in monitoring or video-records students while they are taking an exam as a deterrent to cheating.  It is limited in that students must have a webcam to take an exam that is set to require Monitor.  If you're interested in using Monitor we recommend these steps:

  1. Read more about Respondus Monitor on our Center for E-Learning website.
  2. Attend Canvas Quiz/Exams and Respondus Monitor training online. (Register: Mon (4/13) 2PM, Thu (4/16) 11AM)
  3. Create a practice quiz for students to use Monitor a few days before a graded exam.  In the training we'll show you how to copy a Monitor practice quiz into your course.
  4. Assess the impact to students on your course and how you might respond to a student without the appropriate technology.

Successfully deploying Monitor takes preparation for both instructors and students.  We encourage you to take advantage of these resources now if you would like to utilize this tool in your course.

Review of Class, Exam Schedule

As a reminder to all, the last day of winter semester classes is Monday, April 20, and finals are scheduled from Tuesday, April 21 to Monday, April 27. The exam schedule is available here. We encourage instructors who recently moved their courses online to follow the exam schedule as posted, or to arrange an alternate exam online delivery plan and/or method. Please communicate any such arrangements to the students in your courses, as some may be expecting to follow the posted exam schedule - particularly if the course was only recently moved online as a result of the current COVID-19 situation.

The complete Winter 2020 Calendar is here. Note that Winter Semester closes on Monday, April 27, and the deadline for final grade submission is 11:00pm on Wednesday, April 29.

Using Zoom and Other Online Forms of Communication

Just a reminder that instructors should exercise the same data protection standards during Zoom sessions as they would in-person in the classroom (e.g. not sharing or discussing a student's grades in a way it could be overheard, etc.).  If you plan to record your Zoom session, make sure the recording is shared within your course’s Canvas shell so that only registered students in the course can access it. These precautions are true for other tools, as well, including Hangouts Meet, Webex, etc.

Read more about Zoom’s FERPA compliance; HIPAA compliance, and privacy policies. Using the proprietary version EMU acquired provides more security and protective functions than the public licensed version.  More general information about data security is also available in EMU’s Sensitive Data Guide.

Call for Study Abroad and US Travel Proposals

COVID19 has sadly interrupted travel and Study Abroad offerings tremendously this Winter semester.  But we still feel strongly that these types of programs benefit students greatly and we need to plan for what happens going forward in our post COVID epidemic world.  So if you are interested in leading or teaching a Study Abroad or US Travel program, we are now accepting proposals until May 1, 2020 for faculty-led programs to be held during the 2021 calendar year. Proposals must include an estimated budget based on a detailed daily itinerary and course information. Previously approved programs should also be re-submitted each year for planning purposes. If you need assistance with planning or conceptualizing your program, contact:

Study Abroad: Kristen Krug-Shaffer [email protected], Doris Fields [email protected], or visit the Study Abroad website.

US Travel: April Marshall, [email protected] or Doris Fields [email protected]

 

Applications are being accepted through the University’s Curriculog system.  If you require assistance navigating the Curriculog system, please contact Evan Finley at [email protected] or 734.487.8954.

Degree Conferrals for April: Problem Resolution Date Extended

A reminder that we currently have set May 15 as the problem resolution date for April graduation candidates to get all paperwork in and be conferred for April. This includes grade submissions for previous incomplete, grade changes or other course related actions.  Students will have until June 15 after this submission date to resolve any outstanding issues and still receive an April degree conferral date.

Updated Guidance on Scheduling of Summer Courses

Owing to their method of content delivery and instruction, all Independent Study, Dissertation, Comprehensive Exam, and Thesis course sections should be scheduled as ‘in person’ courses.  This also assures that students engaged on individualized instruction are not charged the online fee.  The Office of the Registrar has moved forward with changing any previously scheduled courses in these categories.   But please make sure when scheduling any additional courses falling into the above defined categories you code them as “in person.”

Additional COVID related Waivers to Academic and Admissions Policies and Procedures

After considering input received at the April 8 meeting of the Faculty Senate, we will implement waivers to following academic policies and procedures:

  1. For Winter semester 2020 courses only we will accept successful Pass-Fail credit in transfer from other accredited academic institutions.  As is the case with EMU pass-fail credit, receiving credit may not automatically meet all program specific requirements for applying credit or meeting pre-requisites.  Students should consult with program advisors to be sure on this issue.
  2. We will further modify pass-fail deadlines and practices to allow students to see assigned letter grades in advance of deciding how they will be reported on their transcript.
  3. EMU will make a notation on student transcripts that Winter semester grades were affected by the COVID19 epidemic and resulting disruption of academic activities and coursework.
  4. We will extend the timeline to submit work for Incomplete grades that were originally due by the end of the Winter semester 2020 until end of the Fall semester 2020.  We will also provide one additional semester to complete Incomplete grades assigned during Winter semester 2020 for one additional semester beyond the typical one calendar year to complete. Please recall that we have already eased limitations on the assignment of ‘I” grades.

A formal memo will be issued to students early next week (copied to all Academic and Student Affairs personnel) with additional guidance on these policy changes and to review again the need for care in adopting pass-fail grading, along with a refresher about procedures and best practices around electing pass fail.  In the meantime, please continue to encourage students to consult their advisors prior to making any decisions on withdrawing from courses or electing the pass/fail grading scheme.

I also discussed with Faculty Senate the following changes to our Admissions Policies:

  1. Because of the cancellation of scheduled SAT and ACT dates nationwide as well as Governor Whitmer’s decision to close K-12 schools in Michigan through June, EMU will allow test optional admissions for undergraduate students for Summer 2020 and 2020-21 academic year.
  2. Because a significant number of international TOEFL sites have been closed for many weeks, the university will accept TOEFL online or DuoLingo online test scores in lieu of regular TOEFL for admission to the institution for Summer and Fall 2020 admissions only. We will work with the World Languages Department to develop an appropriate adjusted crosswalk of students’ scores across the tests.  Students admitted with alternative test scores would be required to take a placement test upon arrival and a plan put in place to address any areas of concern.
  3. Because a significant number of international secondary schools and universities have been closed, making official transcripts difficult to maintain, we would allow the use of unofficial transcripts for admissions and tabulation purposes for Summer and Fall 2020 admissions only. Students would have one semester upon matriculation at EMU to produce official transcripts in order to continue registration and enrollment.
  4.  As a pilot program for Summer 2020, allow guest students to attend the University without first obtaining a signed affidavit from home institution certifying they support the guest students’ status and verifying good academic standing status. This would allow students who cannot return immediately or cannot easily obtain transcripts or other needed documents from their home institutions to attend EMU in the summer semester.

Instructions for Posting Student Employment Opportunities

On campus jobs have been showed to enhance student engagement and resulting retention and graduation rates.  It is crucial now to hire student workers effectively and to the highest degree possible.  The University Advising & Career Development Center uses a system called Handshake to post on-campus/off-campus job opportunities. Once in this system, you can create a new posting or reactivate a former posting. If you don't already have an account with Handshake, click here to get started (and be sure to use your emich address and login credentials).

Once you've created an account, here are the quick steps to posting a position.

  • Click Jobs from menu on left
  • For a new position/posting click 'Create New Job' and fill out fields. Be sure to click 'SAVE' as last step!
  • To repost a former posting, click arrow next to 'Divisions' from top menu and select Department Name (type in 'Find more...' box)
    •  Click 'Expired”
    • Select position you want to repost and review posting criteria
    • Click 'Save'

Should you have any questions or difficulties, please reach out to Mary Chambers (UACDC Employer Relations Specialist) at [email protected].

Final Comments

Again this week, important policy change and guidance was issued to us on a daily basis for federal, state and local governmental agencies.  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.  We do our best to keep you informed but if you have questions or concerns, please share them at the emails address links below.

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