Coronavirus follow up from chancellor and provost

March 11, 2020

We are canceling classes Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, and we will begin delivering classes remotely starting on Monday and for the rest of the semester.

Dear Faculty and Staff Colleagues -

I wanted to write to follow up on the message sent earlier today.

First, I am really enjoying my time on the Dearborn campus (no, truly!)  I continue to look forward to meeting more of you and learning more about what Dearborn can do together. But first, however, we have to face our current - and unprecedented challenge - coronavirus. 

Just to recap the story so far: we are canceling classes Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, and we will begin delivering classes remotely starting on Monday and for the rest of the semester.  We are canceling events with more than 100 participants; suspending all international university travel; and discouraging domestic university travel.

Let me clarify a few additional points (with the proviso of more no doubt to follow!):

1)    First, the campus is not closing; the majority of university operations will continue as of now (and we will continue to monitor the situation carefully).  Staff are expected to report to work on campus for the time being (unless there are mitigating circumstances); advisors will be offering both on-site and remote consultations, for example.  Faculty should also plan to be present as needed in order to move this important transition time along.

2)    While in-class instruction is cancelled for Thursday, Friday and Saturday, if you are already teaching via remote delivery, please proceed to teach and notify your students that you will do so.  Remember: the goal is to minimize contact, not to minimize teaching.  Please carry on as best you can.

3)    For those faculty who will not be teaching Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, please use the time freed up by cancelled classes to continue (or start) preparatory work for adjusting to teaching remotely.  Consider how to revise your syllabi, learn or re-learn about online teaching technologies, sort out logistical or technical issues.  Resources have been shared and your first point of contact is the Hub for Teaching and Learning Resources; please reach out to Carla Vecchiola at 313-583-6550, or cvecchio@umich.edu.  Support resources will be available both on campus and remotely.

4)    Your classes and student interactions may end looking different than you had planned: that’s fine.  Let’s just concentrate on getting our students the essential learning and the fundamental experiences you want them to take away, as well as the support they will need at this difficult time.  Bottom line: you and your students should still feel like you have been able to meet your shared core learning goals, and upheld our sense of community.

5)    We are looking into the important question of student internet access, and of how to support students who have not taken courses remotely before.  We have a unique student population (which is a Good Thing), but that means we have to think broadly and creatively about our response. 

6)    FAQs on the situation are available on our website, and will be continually updated. There will also be an update on library services, internships and co-ops, and faculty and staff searches, as well as additional information from the Office of Research (if people have immediate questions on research, please feel free to contact Yi Lu Murphey (yilu@umich.edu). 

Things are moving fast, and we are all a little twitchy.  But deep breaths; let’s keep our sense of humor and perspective - and let’s all try to be kind to each other over the next few days.  Everyone is working very, very hard — and we thank you for that.

With best wishes, and we’ll get there!

Sue 
(on behalf of the Chancellor and myself)

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