COVID-19 Taskforce: Faculty/Staff FAQ

COVID-19 Taskforce: Faculty/Staff FAQ

April 24, 2020

Objective: Aggregate top weekly issues for Executive Committee review, guidance, and feedback, with the goal for the Taskforce to help gather and distribute critical updates to constituents. Questions collected through faculty and


  • The Provost  distributed guidelines for both academic and administrative full-time and part-time hiring during the hiring freeze.  Some decisions are being left to the individual school deans and institute directors, and some must be reviewed by central “hiring panels.” 
  • Some of the central crisis operations committees are beginning to consider “ramp-up” criteria and phasing.  Whereas, the university has not made a decision on a modality for the fall term, SPS is preparing to be able to deliver instruction in a variety of ways.
  • Do faculty/ADs need to resubmit course syllabi to show transition from in-person to online instruction? No
  • Registration for fall opens Monday, April 20th, and since Academic Directors and advisors will need to field these questions anyway can there be a communication from SPS saying courses may be subject to change to be remote for fall? Yes


  • Will there be more training on Zoom, especially for adjuncts who have not taught over Zoom before and are apprehensive? Yes,

    Training and Faculty Development Offerings:

Technology Training:

  • Canvas Training
  • Zoom Training
  • Panopto Training
  • Zoom Practice Sessions

Pedagogical Workshops:

  • Designing Effective Learning Experiences for an Online Environment
  • Moving Assessments into the Online Space
  • Supporting Group Projects Online

Individual Pedagogical Consultations:

  • Meet with an Online Curriculum and Instruction or Faculty Assessment and Development team member to obtain individual guidance related to course design and delivery.

Faculty, teaching assistants, and staff can register for all offerings via the

Calendly registration page. Dates and times for individual pedagogical

consultations will be listed soon.

  • Spring courses were considered “remote,” not “online”; what is the designation for summer courses? SPS already has many programs that are already fully online. Additionally, programs that are not online usually have many online options within their curriculum. Therefore, SPS is uniquely positioned to deliver instruction online.

    The Online Curriculum and Instruction Team spends a minimum of one semester when developing a fully online course. As we prepare for the summer 2020 term, we are transitioning our development and training away from a focus on tech tools to a pedagogical centered focus. As previously mentioned, SPS already had  a robust set of online offerings prior to COVID-19.
  • Summer courses are designated as online. If we are still remote for fall, the courses will also be designated as online? Whereas, the university has not made a decision on a modality for the fall term, SPS is preparing to be able to deliver instruction in a variety of ways to meet the instructional needs of our students.


  • Addressing individual student performance, will assignments get letter grades and comments? Recommendation letters address student achievement? (for spring, summer, fall?) Spring 2020 is pass/fail. Students will receive letter grades for summer. Faculty were instructed to provide feedback and grades for the spring semester; however, a P/F will go on the transcript. 

Spring grades will be registered as pass/fail; however, faculty have been instructed to grade student assignments and provide substantive feedback. Classes taught in the summer will receive letter grades.

  • What are the policies under pandemic conditions on late assignments, incompletes? More leniency? What about attendance, especially synchronous sessions? 

Students are expected to participate in their classes and complete all required work. If a student experiences an issue due to COVID-19, they should notify their instructor. Faculty have been notified to be flexible during this challenging period of time and make appropriate accommodations where necessary.

  • There are some fall admits who are requesting to take courses during the summer online? What is the policy on that?
    Students wishing to start taking courses during the summer prior to their scheduled fall acceptance, need to work with the Academic Director to see if it is possible, or advisable.
  • Since we do not know if fall semester will be in person or online, what happens to prospective students in terms of housing? How should committed students make arrangements for housing? Will there be refunds if they commit to on campus housing and then we go remote?

A decision on University housing has not been made by central administration. Information will be communicated as soon as the decision is made.

  • Due to delays in completing courses will students be able to complete degrees in more than the current three year limit?

Yes, we can assist students in completing their degree. However, international students will need to ensure that their visa allows for extended stay in country. If students cannot extend their visa, we will work with students to complete their degree remotely.