SUBJECT: Important Return to Campus Faculty Information
Dear Faculty Colleagues:
The summer months are quickly winding down and I know all of you are preparing for the upcoming academic year. Following the Chancellor’s message earlier in the week, which contains a trove of information on the return to campus meant to keep us all safe, I wanted to provide updates on important information and policies that impact your return to campus, teaching, and research activities. Although both messages are fairly long, I encourage you to please read them both very carefully so as to better prepare for next week and to help our students with their questions.
New Return to Campus Faculty Webpage
I’m excited to report that the Office of the Provost has launched a new webpage which will serve as a central location where information and links can be found to help facilitate your return to campus along with providing important and helpful information around teaching and research. All the information and links in this email along with upcoming Provost Office communications will be included on the newly developed webpage.
The University has adopted a vaccination requirement for all students, faculty, and staff. For details on the policy, please click on the link above.
Please do encourage your students to get a vaccination as they risk being subject to daily COVID testing through September 17 and then being disenrolled from their in-person courses. I know this might be a challenging conversation, but this could also be a great educational opportunity for us to help our students understand the importance of keeping our classrooms, campus, and community as safe as we possibly can!
Effective August 11, 2021, the University is requiring all students, faculty, and staff to wear a face covering indoors. For details on the policy, please click on the link above.
Classroom and Laboratory Space Cleaning
Every active classroom building has hand sanitizer stations at its entrance and on each floor. High-touch surfaces are cleaned daily in accordance with current CDC guidelines. Disinfectant and paper towels are available in all classrooms and laboratories. Faculty and students will be responsible for cleaning high-touch surfaces before and after each class and laboratory session. Classrooms and labs will be equipped with cleaning supplies for your convenience.
The Registrar’s Office is working on some final changes to the Fall 2021 course schedule which has resulted in a delay in publishing the Fall Final Exams Schedule. The expectation is that the schedule will be pushed in the next few days.
Please be aware that some of the international students in your classes may have had to deal with many issues to get here this academic year. Many countries had limited flights and visa appointments available. In the event an international student reaches out asking for understanding or accommodation due to flight cancellations or other challenges getting here, please try to be understanding and accommodating.
Faculty Opt-In Process
For Fall 2021, based on the challenges of managing the start of the term under the vaccine mandate, we will not be providing the option for faculty to "opt-in" to limiting students from adding courses during the full drop/add period. This policy has been recently under review with the elimination of UM-Dearborn Connect, and we are working to develop a new technological avenue to support this current policy as administered. Data shows that on average about 12% of faculty use this option per semester so we recognize that we are balancing this percentage against students overall who may need the full drop/add timeframe this semester with schedule changes likely occurring more than usual. We will take the Fall semester to revisit this policy, best practices, and develop a new path forward.
Conflicts Between the Academic and Religious Calendars
As you all know, UM-Dearborn is a diverse community with many of us observing and celebrating a variety of different faiths and religions. As a result, I want to remind faculty of our campus policy on Conflicts Between the Academic and Religious Calendars. The policy reads: “every reasonable effort should be made to help students avoid negative academic consequences when their religious obligations conflict with academic requirements.” Students are required to provide faculty with notice of the dates of religious holiday(s) (click here for a listing of religious holidays during the 2021-2022 Academic Year) for which they will be absent by no later than the drop/add deadline which is Wednesday, September 15 for the Fall 2021 semester. Faculty shall provide students with an opportunity to make up any missed work (e.g., assignments or examinations), without penalty.
Teaching with Face Coverings
Please visit the Hub for Teaching and Learning Resources blog post on Masking in the Classroom. A limited supply of clear panel face masks are available for faculty at each Dean’s Office. For other kinds of specialized masks, please use this request form.
Reminder: Academic Video Captioning Assistance
As a reminder, the Office of Digital Education is offering a closed-captioning assistance service pilot available now until the end of the Winter 2022 semester. Student assistants will work to correct machine-generated captions, hopefully attaining 95%+ accuracy. The corrected captions should generally be sufficient for students who like to use captioning to aid in their understanding of the content, but do not require captions under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Disability and Accessibility Services will continue to pay for professionally-generated 99%+ accuracy captioning for courses in which an ADA-eligible student is registered. If you are interested in having any of your MiVideo or Mediasite content captioned utilizing this new service, please fill out the Captioning Correction Request form (make a separate submission for each video) to initiate the process.
Academic integrity is a concern in all environments, including face-to-face courses. Students are less likely to cheat when they are engaged in the process of their own learning through authentic assessments in which students “do” the subject matter. You could also consider providing an honor code as part of an assessment. Search the Canvas Commons for “Dearborn Academic Integrity” for two modules that you can import into your own courses; the shorter module can be used as an honor pledge for a Canvas assignment. Furthermore, you can set up a meeting with a Hub Instructional Designer to talk through ways to design a course to avoid cheating.
Wolverine Welcome Day
This year we are incredibly excited to bring back a signature campus event for our new students. Wolverine Welcome Day (formerly known as Go Blue Orientation Day and Convocation) will be held on campus August 31st. Students joining our community in Fall 2021 can participate in educational workshops as well as a convocation ceremony. Later in the day, we will hold the Go Blue Bash -- a campus-wide organization and department fair. For the Go Blue Bash, we’ve invited all students who have joined our community since the start of the pandemic as we know they have not had the opportunity to connect fully to our wonderful campus community. Convocation as part of Wolverine Welcome Day will begin at 2:00 pm on the South CASL Lawn. All are encouraged to attend, and, at the end of the ceremony, to join in welcoming the new students. To date, nearly 700 students have registered to participate! Faculty are an important part of the collegiate experience, it would be a pleasure to have you at the forefront to welcome our beloved Wolverines to campus. Please consider volunteering on this day! Sign up now!
Please take care and reach out to me, your dean, or department chair if you have questions.
Interim Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs