SUBJECT: About recent events and some v. important announcements

Dear Colleagues:

This has been a tough past few days for all of us, and much tougher for some of us than others. I want to echo the Chancellor’s message of last week and apologize to the community for the events that have led to so much pain, frustration and grief. Mistakes were made which will never be allowed to happen again. Those mistakes, however, have since attracted numerous beyond hurtful, beyond unspeakable, Instagram posts.  We have contacted Instagram repeatedly about the posts, as well as asking advice of the university’s general counsel, but only Instagram can remove them. We must demonstrate our detestation for such displays, as we find ways to heal and to do better as we move forward in the wake of this distressing episode. I welcome people’s thoughts and comments at any time; our response must be a collectively informed and inspired effort.

In aid of pressing forward together, this message contains several timely and important pieces of information: 

- Instructional Faculty Guidelines for Student or Faculty (Personal) COVID Cases
- Fall 2020: Extension of Selective Drop Deadline
- Important Information about Engaged Learning Activities for Fall 2020
- Democratic Engagement ‘Tool Kit’ for Faculty

Instructional Faculty Guidelines for Student or Faculty (Personal) COVID Cases

During 2020 you may yourself experience, or encounter a student with any of the following:

- Feeling ill with COVID-19 symptoms
- Testing positive for COVID-19
- Having close contact or living with someone recently diagnosed with COVID-19

If so, please follow the guidelines on how to proceed. 

A university COVID data dashboard was shared with campus last week. This site tracks COVID cases and the number of health screens being completed each week at academic buildings. Other information can be found on this dashboard including our campus communication policy related to COVID cases and criteria that will determine if we need to pivot to fully-remote learning at any point during this semester.  

Fall 2020: Extension of Selective Drop Deadline 

The Office of the Provost, in consultation with the deans, has decided to extend the selective drop deadline for students from Thursday, November 5, 2020 to Monday, December 14, 2020 (the last day of class). Students who have an active academic integrity case, however, will not be permitted to drop their course unless their case has been overturned by the college’s Academic Integrity Board. Beginning September 16, the dropped class will remain on the student’s transcript, indicated by a grade of ‘W’. This measure is intended to provide students with greater flexibility as they navigate a complicated term in light of the ongoing COVID pandemic. The Academic Calendar and Important Dates website has been updated to reflect these changes.

Important Information about Engaged Learning Activities for Fall 2020

(These include: internships, co-ops, student teaching, community-based learning and research, community engagement efforts and other co-curricular activities, clinical placements, etc.

We have encouraged all students to focus on activities that can be conducted remotely. However, in May we put into place guidance under which University-related, off-campus engaged learning activities for individual students could be permissible in person if the student meets specific conditions, and we are continuing these guidelines through the Fall 2020 semester. All engaged learning activities can continue to be supported and/or receive credit if they are offered in remote format (no in-person contact). Any student planning to undertake engaged learning activities in person must follow the process outlined in the guidelines. Although these guidelines apply to UM-related engaged learning, we highly encourage all students who are considering any type of in-person experience - even those not for credit - to follow these guidelines as well.     

Democratic Engagement ‘Tool Kit’ for Faculty 

Did you know that University of Michigan-Dearborn has been included in Washington Monthly’s 2020 Best Colleges for Student Voting Honor Roll? To continue the legacy of outstanding UM-Dearborn student participation in voting, we want to generate the largest student voter turnout possible for the 2020 election. Faculty can help in this effort by being willing to engage your students regarding the voting process. This can be as simple as notifying students about important election deadlines or increasing civic engagement in classrooms by encouraging students to draw connections between voting and themes discussed in class. The Office of Student Life, the Mardigian Library and other entities offer a rich variety of resources to help you here, including: options for ‘electoral engagement and remote learningtools for supporting civic engagementvoter information slides; an ‘Informed Voting’ guide, other general information and resources. Thanks to Julie Colbath in Student Life, User Services staff and student assistants in the Mardigian Library for work on this vital initiative.

In other ways, I am pleased to report that the start of our Fall term — including on-campus classes, screening protocols and library utilization — appears to be going smoothly.  Please remember to keep an eye and sing out about issues with which my Office can help and to report (via M-Success or to about any student difficulties you may see, so assistance can be offered.  We also remind faculty of the availability of on-campus work space, reservable at this scheduling page.

Finally, I know there is great curiosity about our Winter 2021 Academic Calendar and we promise an update this Thursday (September 17th) afternoon, following the Regents Meeting.

With thanks for all you do, not least in these difficult times,

Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

Office of the Provost

1080 - Administration Building
4901 Evergreen Road
Dearborn, MI 48128
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Phone: 313-593-5030