For the latest UVA university-wide updates on the evolving COVID-19 (Coronavirus) information:
Arts & Sciences-specific updates related to the COVID-19 situation will be posted chronologically below. Please check here for A&S updates.
MAY 11, 2020: MESSAGE TO CHAIRS & DIRECTORS FROM RACHEL MOST AND JOHN CARFAGNO REGARDING VIRTUAL FINAL EXERCISES GUIDANCE - UPDATED
Dear Chairs and Directors,
Following up on our previous guidance email on virtual Final Exercises (see thread below), we would like to offer a few updates for the A&S community.
As you likely saw from the University’s announcement last week, more details were announced in terms of the schedule, the sequencing, and more.
Two key points from that announcement:
- The formal name for this pan-University event is now: The Virtual Celebration and Degree Conferral for the UVA Class of 2020
- The schedule has been moved up by one hour. The central UVA program now begins at 1:00 PM on Saturday, May 16, the start time is no longer 2:00 PM
Updated University Plans and Timing
The goal articulated by the University planning committee is to create a virtual environment that mimics the flow of Finals weekend. Therefore, ideally, students and families will begin with the University celebration and degree conferral and then progress to their school’s celebration(s).
Monday, May 11 – The main, central University website launches for the Virtual Celebration and Degree Conferral for the UVA Class of 2020. It will contain graduation-related content, but not the featured video or links to school sites at this time.
Friday, May 15 – School websites go live
Friday, May 15 – Links on University website go live for school sites.
Saturday, May 16 at 1:00 PM – Special video celebration goes live on multiple platforms, including University website. Video archived and immediately available for viewing afterward.
An Update on the A&S Website
The Arts & Sciences virtual celebration content will go live on Friday, May 15 at as.virginia.edu. However, the pre-recorded video of Ian Baucom’s speech will not go live until Saturday since it is closely tied to the May 16 event. Similarly, A&S departments may want to refrain from posting department-level awards, etc. before May 16 if there is some sense of unveiling you want to create, or if any of the information is confidential until May 16. If handling that timing is difficult at the department level, you may want to go ahead and post all of your content on Friday, May 15.
Requests for Information
A request and a reminder:
Request: From the as.virginia.edu homepage on Friday, May 15, we will link to all the department site homepages so students and families can easily navigate their way to the department level as appropriate. If your Virtual Celebration content isn’t easily accessed from your department’s homepage, please email us the appropriate link so we can direct people exactly where you want to lead them. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your link, ideally by Wednesday, May 14 to give us time to make the updates.
Reminder: Please send your honors/distinctions/awards list to Zach Wheat, (email@example.com ) as soon as possible, ideally by the morning of Wednesday, May 13. Feel free to contact Zach with any questions about listing awards on the main as.virginia.edu website. You may also be listing your department’s awards on your own sites, which is great and encouraged.
Updated Guidance for Departments
In our previous guidance email, we noted that some departments are interested in conducting Zoom-based virtual ceremonies. Unless your department has a depth of experience live-streaming events on the web, please note that conducting a live-stream (e.g. using Zoom to connect to Facebook Live) may not be a simple task if you are not familiar with this functionality. If you are pursuing a live/synchronous event, we HIGHLY recommend conducting at least one (if not multiple) testing exercises on this in advance. Again, technical support for live streaming by ITS or A&S is extremely limited.
Video Production Assistance
If you have a pre-recorded video that requires post-production help or a server for hosting, one of the options we shared in our previous guidance email is using the College Foundation’s two-person video team. While they do not have the capacity to help many departments, they can assist some on a first-come, first-served basis as long as the department provides the raw video clips. Please reach out to Evan Kutsko at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like this type of assistance.
They offer the following guidance in working with them:
VIDEO FORMATTING: .MOV or .MP4 files of the highest possible resolution are preferred. However, given the challenges of the current moment and the limitations of Zoom recording, lesser quality files are still fully usable.
SHARING FILES: As Foundation employees, they do not have access to UVA Box. If you could use any other file sharing platform (Google Drive/Dropbox/OneDrive/etc.) to upload and share any video clips or other necessary materials, that would help streamline the process.
ZOOM RECORDINGS: If you are to record your ceremony or any other video clips using Zoom, we recommend having any speaker who participates in the call make their own local recording. This limits the effect of poor/unstable internet connections on the quality of the recording(s) and provides a helpful backup in the event of any other technical issues. While it may seem redundant, please appropriately label and share as many copies of your recording as necessary.
VIDEO WEB HOSTING: In addition, if you need a server on which to place your video, please email Lana Boyle in A&S Communications email@example.com and she can handle that for you.
Still Need Help?
As we stated in our last email, we realize the Virtual Celebration may feel overwhelming. The main advice remains the same—keep it simple. A simple and well-executed idea or two would be better than trying to implement a series of complicated ones. An approach to virtual Final Exercises that is right for one department may not be for another.
Again, if you would like support from any of the contacts listed above or below, please reach out as soon as possible.
Director of Communications
Associate Dean for Undergraduate Academic Programs
Professor of Archaeology
MAY 6, 2020: MESSAGE FROM THE DEAN REGARDING TRAVEL POLICY
We continue to assess and identify measures to manage the financial impact of COVID on Arts and Sciences.
As such, we are taking an immediate action to freeze additional FY20 expenditures on the Dean’s Office’s allocation to departments for faculty travel. This annual allocation to the department is calculated based on $1,500 for non-endowed chair holding tenured and tenure track faculty and $750 for general faculty on multi-year contracts.
The department managers will be briefed on this action later today and will receive additional details on the implementation of this action.
Thank you for your continued effort and leadership.
Buckner W. Clay Dean of Arts and Sciences
University of Virginia
MAY 1, 2020: MESSAGE TO CHAIRS & DIRECTORS FROM RACHEL MOST AND JOHN CARFAGNO REGARDING VIRTUAL FINAL EXERCISES GUIDANCE
Dear Chairs and Directors,
As you know from President Ryan’s announcement, the University will conduct Final Exercises virtually on May 16, and then, ideally, in person on the Lawn the weekend of October 9-11, 2020.
Since President Ryan’s announcement, plans around the University community for the virtual Final Exercises have been taking shape—and will continue to do so. We write to share the latest information and guidance we have from a central, University standpoint as well as an A&S standpoint.
The details below have been arranged in the following categories:
- University Plans and Timing (and how that may affect your plans)
- A&S Plans to Date
- Request for Student Award Information
- Guidance for Departments (including department ceremonies, if applicable)
1-University Plans and Timing
Saturday, May 16: The centerpiece of the central University online ceremony will begin at 2:00 pm and end at approximately 2:35 pm.
President Ryan will have about 5 minutes of remarks, there will be special guests, the Good Old Song will be performed, and more. Announcements are expected to be coming from the University with details soon.
The President’s remarks, etc. will be recorded in advance to limit the chance of live technical difficulties.
The deans from all 12 schools have been asked to pre-record their formal conferral of degree remarks for the students for their respective schools.
Each school has been asked to have its own virtual Final Exercises website to serve as a hub for their respective information/resources/etc.
Each school has been asked not to hold or post competing ceremonies (e.g. at the department level) in the 2:00 pm to 2:35 pm window. Ideally, schools/departments would post at 2:45 pm or later on May 16. (The idea is that the main UVA ceremony would start first, then cascade from there to schools/depts, and this timing is said to help students and families across time zones)
2-A&S Plans to Date
A&S Communications will turn the as.virginia.edu homepage into a 100% A&S Final Exercises-dedicated space for May 16, including:
- Video of Dean Baucom: formal conferral of degrees (pre-recorded)
- Video of Dean Baucom: general remarks celebrating A&S graduates (pre-recorded)
- Listing of A&S student awards by academic department (see Request below)
- News stories about distinguished A&S graduates (from UVA Today and other sources)
3-Request for Student Award Information
Given our situation this year, more than ever before, we wish to ensure that our students are recognized as best we can.
To this end, A&S Communications will create a central, web-based display on the main Arts & Sciences website (as.virginia.edu) which will list our students who have earned departmental academic awards, distinctions, and honors. The idea is to include any student award that would be mentioned in your typical department graduation ceremony and program.
We recognize that this is a busy and stressful time, but ask that you provide this information via a simple document. If you have such a document already prepared, Please forward it along in whatever format it is in. If you need to create the document, please use this format for each of your awards:
- Official Name of Award or Honor
- -Student Name 1
- -Student Name 2
Please send your honors/distinctions/awards list to Zach Wheat, (firstname.lastname@example.org ), ideally by Thursday, May 7. Feel free to contact Zach with any questions as well.
Of course, departments may want to post their own award winners to their own respective department websites. Lana Boyle (email@example.com) can assist you with that if needed.
4-Guidance for Departments (including Department Ceremonies)
Given the feedback we’ve had thus far from inside the College, three types of department-based celebratory ideas for the Class of 2020 seem to have momentum:
- Online Department Ceremonies
- A Pre-Prepared Video for Graduates
- Showcasing Graduates on Department Websites (photos, short posts, award info, student work, etc.)
Online Department Ceremonies
A common thought is that students really want to “see” their peers and their professors, and an online, Zoom-style ceremony is a way to do that
If a department chooses to do an online ceremony, it does not have to be live and on May 16, it can be recorded earlier and posted on May 16 to your website, ideally at or after 2:45pm
Depending on the total size of the online audience you anticipate for a department ceremony (e.g. students, parents, faculty), your number of participants may exceed your standard Zoom license, and you may want to run a Zoom Webinar.
If you are interested in purchasing one of the limited Zoom Webinar licenses temporarily for this purpose from ITS, please contact them at Itfirstname.lastname@example.org
Or, you can use other online tools in concert with or in place of Zoom to avoid being bound by a large number of participants:
- Zoom Meeting with YouTube Live connector (free – unlimited viewers / no YouTube account needed for viewers)
- Zoom Meeting with Facebook Livestream connector (free – unlimited viewers / no FB account needed for viewers)
- Zoom Webinars of varying capacities – for purchase/usage fee
- Zoom Webinars to YouTube Live (the connector is free; the Webinar license is not)
- Zoom Webinars to Facebook Livestream (the connector is free; the Webinar license is not)
- Microsoft Teams Webinar (FREE - up to 10,000 viewers; works with the UVA Academic Microsoft license which we all have for email)
If you choose one of these online ceremony avenues listed above, we strongly encourage you to do at least one test run to make sure the technology works the way you expect it to
Again, ITS supports these platforms and provides the main technical assistance for those, so they should be contacted for these purposes first. They may understandably be flooded with requests, therefore, you may also contact A&S resources for guidance on these, and we’ll do the best we can to point you in the right direction:
Pre-Prepared Video(s) for Graduates
Some departments have already recorded short videos of faculty, students, etc. to post out to their graduates for virtual Final Exercises and are ready to go.
Other departments are interested in doing this, but are not sure how to…
record the video (camera, lighting, etc., or how to best use a platform like Zoom to record the video)
stitch together individual, pre-recorded videos into one finished video piece for online posting
For assistance on how to do the “post-production” work to stitch together individual videos:
The College Foundation has a two-person video team, mainly dedicated to fundraising. While they do not have the capacity to help many departments, they can assist some on a first-come, first-served basis as long as the department provides the raw video clips. Please reach out to Evan Kutsko at email@example.com if you would like this type of assistance no later than Thursday, May 7.
You may want to reach out to your graduate or undergraduate students who will likely have enough light editing video experience to put finishing touches on a video (in iMovie, Adobe Premier, etc.)
There is an online service that other UVA schools are also using for this purpose called Tribute which is designed for people with little to no video editing skills. (https://www.tribute.co ) Keep in mind there are fees associated with this, pricing starts in the $25 to $99 range.
Showcasing Graduates on Department Websites
If you plan on posting Final Exercises-specific content to your department website and are having technical difficulties, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and A&S Communications will triage providing web help.
Some ideas for content to post on your sites include:
- Department-specific list of student awards
- Please consider highlighting, as you would during your normal in-person ceremony, the work of your Distinguished Majors
- Congratulatory video(s) from professors
- Posting pictures and/or short notes (ideally 300-character social media post style messages) submitted by students
You can email graduates in advance asking them for pictures/notes you can post to your departmental websites. Students can submit those to you via email, etc. [Note: you will likely want to state on your email asking for submissions a cautionary word about offensive content, and that submitting grants consent to use the photo, etc.)
Having listed all of this information and ideas, we realize this may feel overwhelming. We haven’t had to do anything like this before for Final Exercises—this is uncharted ground for most of us.
In the spirit of one of Dean Baucom’s COVID-related messages to A&S, the main advice here is to keep it simple. A simple and well-executed idea would be better than trying to implement a series of complicated ones. An approach to virtual Final Exercises that is right for one department may not be for another.
Again, if you would like support from any of the contacts listed above, please reach out as soon as possible.
Updates will be sent to this message as new information comes in centrally from the University and other sources.
Questions? Clarifications? Please let us know.
Director of Communications
Associate Dean for Undergraduate Academic Programs
Professor of Archaeology
APRIL 30, 2020: MESSAGE OF THANKS FROM THE DEAN TO ALL A&S FACULTY AND STAFF
At the end of our faculty meeting earlier this week I wanted to offer a word of thanks. Many of you were able to participate but for many that time did not work. I’m writing now to repeat those thanks.
Spring classes ended on Tuesday. They did not end six weeks ago when the call came to shift our entire teaching enterprise online with a week’s notice. Classes ended on Tuesday, after you took on and delivered, in fast time, one of the most astonishing shifts in the history of global higher education.
What you have done is extraordinary. I cannot say it enough. Thank you.
But why did classes end yesterday and not six weeks ago? And what difference did that make? It cannot just be because, when the call came to shift our teaching online in March, we all had access to Zoom. There was something deeper at work.
I got a sense of that deeper thing last week, calling to thank the members of our learning design team who made our leap to remote teaching possible. Some of you know their names (Gail, Yitna, Hope, Jason, Jessica, Keith, Judy). Most of our twelve thousand students never will. But because of what they did in partnership with you, giving up their weekends, working exhausting hours, thousands on thousands of students—one by one by one—had the chance to continue their education, to move toward completion of their degrees, to realize the dream that sent them to this place. I wanted to thank them for that.
And that is what I want to thank all of you for now.
Because in the midst of everything unfolding in your lives, in the midst of caring for your families, in the midst of working remotely, in the midst of living in quarantine, you kept the education of those students alive.
Why? I think part of it is because for so many of us, when we were students, there was a faculty member who did that for us. A professor or teacher who didn’t give up on us, who changed our lives, who left us with a fierce determination to do the same thing for our students.
I think there is something else. We know we represent something larger than ourselves. We represent the idea that knowledge is a public good. We hold the conviction that knowledge, publicly circulating, changes lives. We hold the hard-fought historical truth that society cannot be healthy without the free pursuit of ideas, and that democracy cannot live without a commitment to that public exchange of knowledge.
We know, every time the Zoom app goes live, no matter how wearying it is, that there is something larger, and potentially amazing at stake.
Behind that conviction there is a line that Dick Brodhead, in his inaugural words as President of Duke, cited from Rabbi Tarfon’s comments in the Pirkei Avot: we will not complete the work, but neither are we free to desist from it.
Those words have long, for me, defined the work each of us takes on in the long and unfinished business of the university and its historic contribution to the promise of democracy.
We will not complete the work, but neither are we free to desist from it.
It’s hard to remember that sometimes. Part of what has been difficult over these weeks has been remembering and believing that in our Zoom rooms we are part of a larger project, part of an urgent idea, part of a historical force.
Sitting in this room where I am writing this note to you, I find the idea of myself as dean more than a bit absurd. There is no beauty of the campus, no gathering together with you to talk and think and debate. There is the weirdness of Zoom and the room and the screen.
But as we link in, day after day, to all those Zoom classes, and meetings, and chats, and check-ins, the fundamental truth remains.
We are part of something bigger. We do embody a truth. Not just that knowledge matters as a general idea but that poetry matters, and philosophy matters, and computational biology matters. That it’s worth dedicating your life to sociology, and African American history, and condensed matter physics.
We are unusual people to dedicate our lives to that proposition. But it is true. We are the advocates of one of the few remaining and urgent public goods in democratic life.
You have refused to give up on that conviction. I want to thank you for that. Not just on behalf of our students but for the hope of democratic life together that is better and stronger and living for what you have done.
Buckner W. Clay Dean of Arts and Sciences
University of Virginia
APRIL 14, 2020: MESSAGE FROM THE DEAN TO ALL A&S FACULTY AND STAFF REGARDING ORGANIZATIONAL FINANCES
I am writing with a brief follow-up to the recent message from the President and Provost. Like them, I have been moved by the ways you have responded to these extraordinarily demanding last few weeks as you have shifted your teaching and your work—and practically every other aspect of your professional and personal lives—to a virtual environment and done everything you can to help protect public health and safety. You have my boundless gratitude and admiration.
As you know, we are facing a very challenging period. We must now take steps to ensure the integrity of our academic mission while addressing current and future financial demands.
Very difficult decisions lie ahead. As we make them, I want to affirm my commitment to the principles which the President and Provost have identified as guides. We will focus on our core missions of maintaining excellent teaching and research as a public institution offering the public good of knowledge. We will strive to protect the most vulnerable as we rededicate ourselves to that public good. And we will be innovative as we commit ourselves to securing the long future of that good.
Among other things that will mean, for a time, seeking to concentrate the majority of our resources on the teaching, research, and support of current faculty, students, and staff. It will mean that we will prioritize, as much as is financially possible, the needs of those most exposed to the disruptions of the moment (including, but by no means only, a particularly vulnerable cohort of graduate students facing a broken job market and deep challenges to the completion of their graduate research). And it will mean that some of the things we have been accustomed to doing we will need to do differently, or no longer, as we shape new avenues to the future.
That future will come. And to borrow one of President Ryan’s phrases, we will shape it. We will need to do so collectively and compassionately, while also remaining mindful of the sacrifices it will take. But if we act together, we will emerge from this crisis with our values and mission sustained and our commitment to the public good strengthened.
Members of our finance team and my colleagues in the Dean’s office have been working to model a range of financial scenarios and budget options for the period ahead. Over the coming days, the Associate Deans and I will be meeting with the members of the A&S Faculty Steering Committee, Budget and Development Committee, and with the Department Chairs and Program Directors to share that analysis and collectively discuss our next steps. Two weeks from today (on April 28) we will hold another virtual faculty meeting to follow up. In addition, we will schedule a forum specifically for A&S staff in the first week of May. As we take on this common work please share your counsel—on what is the core, on the needs of the most vulnerable, on ways to innovate. You possess a wealth of knowledge and judgment. I welcome all the insight you can provide.
With my thanks in advance,
Buckner W. Clay Dean of Arts and Sciences
University of Virginia
APRIL 13, 2020: MESSAGE TO A&S FACULTY FROM RACHEL MOST REGARDING FALL ADVISING, SUPPORTING STUDENTS, AND CONTACTING DEANS
I write with some important reminders about contacting Association Deans, supporting students and fall advising (this email is also attached as pdf file).
Concern About a Student
If you are concerned about a student who has not been submitting work or attending class, please contact their Association Dean. There are several ways to find out the name of a student’s Association Dean:
- Check the “General Info” tab in SIS. Scroll down a bit and look for Student Groups. Not everyone has this access so if you do not see the name of the Association Dean listed, keep reading.
- If you are an advisor (non-major, major or graduate student), you can find the name of the student’s Dean in our eAdvising system. Click on search and enter the student’s last name.
- You can ask the staff in your department to look up in the information.
- You can call the Monroe Hall staff at 434-924-3351 to find the information.
- If you cannot find the name of a student’s Association Dean (or if it is easier for this semester) email the student’s full legal name and your concern to email@example.com. Your message will be forwarded to the correct Association Dean.
- You can email Rachel Most (firstname.lastname@example.org) for assistance.
Please do contact us if you need help with a student. We are also working closely with the Office of the Dean of Students and the Counseling Center (CAPS).
Information will be coming soon from UREG to students on how they can select a grade for a class (the default for all classes will be CR/NC). I know that students have questions about what to do; here are some good resources.
- http://college.as.virginia.edu/COVID19help (scroll down to pre-health advising)
- Undergraduate Program Directors: implications for majors and minors
- Students can contact their Association Dean in Monroe Hall (see above)
- You can share the following language: Because graduate and professional schools are updating policies as the pandemic progresses, students should research their top schools of interest for website updates regarding policies on accepting CR/NC due to COVID-19.
Dean of the Day
We are still doing Dean of the Day/Walk-in (now zoom in) advising; you can refer students to http://college.as.virginia.edu/DOD for information.
We are now in the second week of course advising for fall. If you have not yet contacted your advisees, please do so today or tomorrow. Students will begin enrolling in classes on Monday, April 20. They can find their appointment time in SIS under the Enrollments tab.
COVID-19 Resources for Students
I continue to add information to the COVID-19 resource page. Feel free to share this link with students: http://college.as.virginia.edu/COVID19help.
Please send Declaration of Major Forms directly to Judy Updike, College Registrar. All other forms may be emailed by you or by students to email@example.com. Some require your signature.
Reminder to Maintain Class Times
Thank you to those that have continued to maintain their class meeting times. However, my office is still receiving complaints from students unable to attend class because meeting times have been changed or days have been added. Please see the reminders below regarding the importance of not lecturing longer than you class meeting time, not adding days for the class to meet, and not scheduling time outside of class.
Rachel Most, Associate Dean
APRIL 9, 2020: MESSAGE FROM THE DEAN TO A&S FACULTY REGARDING GENERAL FACULTY GUIDANCE
As you have seen from the recent email message sent by Provost Magill, important updated policies have been issued regarding the promotion and tenure process for Tenure-Track faculty in light of the COVID-19 pandemic
I am writing now to provide additional guidance regarding Academic and General Faculty in Arts & Sciences.
More specifically, I am announcing the following:
All Arts & Sciences Academic General Faculty Members (AGFM) currently in the first year of their initial three-year contract, or AGFM currently in the first year of their second three-year contract, who require review for reappointment, will be given a one-year contract extension to account for the disruption in their teaching and research in Spring 2020. Further, Spring 2020 teaching and research will not be part of any future renewal reviews.
A word of explanation: one of our key principles as we address the challenges of this moment is to attend to the most vulnerable. To that end, like the tenure-track faculty who have not yet been reviewed for promotion, the general faculty teaching and conducting research who have yet to undergo renewal review are most at professional risk due to pandemic related disruptions. Because work done in spring 2020 has been severely compromised, or even lost, this group of faculty will require additional time to carry out the research and teaching necessary for a fair and full renewal review. (AGFM Faculty in the second and third years of their three-year contracts have already been reviewed).
Finally, while we must account for those who have not been reviewed for renewal—that is my principal aim in announcing this interim moment contract revision—I also understand that the current crisis might have affected other General Faculty in ways not imagined through this announcement. Should you have concerns or questions please discuss with your Chair who will in turn consult the relevant divisional Associate Dean.
Dean, Arts & Sciences
University of Virginia
APRIL 6, 2020: MESSAGE TO A&S FACULTY AND DEPARTMENT MANAGERS FROM JUDY GIERING REGARDING IMPORTANT ZOOM SOFTWARE UPDATES
I hope teaching is going well for you. For those of you using Zoom, I am writing to suggest that you complete all updates to Zoom when you are prompted.
Most recently, Zoom released an update to the default screen sharing settings for Education accounts, in an effort to increase security and privacy for meetings. This update changed the default sharing setting to “Host Only,” giving hosts the sole permission to share content within their meetings by default. This means that if an unknown individual does access your Zoom session, s/he would not be able to take control of the screen sharing as well.
You can still easily enable screensharing. Select the arrow next to Share Screen and click Advanced Sharing Options. Under Who Can Share? choose All Participants. You may want to change this setting back to Host Only if you as the host are lecturing or sharing your screen. For more information here is the ITS security page which contains screenshots on how to change the settings during a meeting:
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions about this.
APRIL 3, 2020: MESSAGE TO A&S FACULTY FROM RACHEL MOST REGARDING GRADING AND GRADING DEADLINES
I have received several inquiries about the deadlines for DMP theses, posting of final grades and degree conferral. I am writing to let you know that, as of this time, there are no planned changes for any of these deadlines. Final grades must be posted by May 12 at 5 PM.
Information on grading options for this semester will be sent by UREG soon. The deadline for students to make a decision remains April 28 and students will make the change in SIS. You may not ask students to select their grading option before this deadline. The Provost set the deadline; ours cannot be earlier.
Rachel Most, Associate Dean
MARCH 30, 2020: MESSAGE TO A&S FACULTY FROM RACHEL MOST REGARDING MANDATORY SESSIONS OUTSIDE OF REGULARLY SCHEDULED CLASS MEETING TIME
I hope this message finds you well. I have received a few complaints from students and faculty that some professors are scheduling midterms outside of their own course blocks. This has forced students to choose between completing that assignment and attending a synchronous class.
There is a policy that prevents this, see below, so I write to ask that you please adhere to your regular midterm and final exam schedule. Thank you.
Rachel Most, Associate Dean
MARCH 30, 2020: MESSAGE TO A&S CHAIRS FROM THE ASSOCIATE DEANS REGARDING KEY DEADLINES
As we strive to help simplify work, please see below for the revised dates for documents due to the Dean’s Office.
Friday, May 22, 2020
- A CV for each faculty member
- A peer-based evaluation of each faculty member’s performance (including salaried lecturers). Please include a description of the peer evaluation process in your department that includes a determination of how each faculty member’s teaching, research, and service was weighted.
- Self-evaluation of your performance as chair or director
Tuesday, June 30, 2020
- 5th yr. Review Memos: the memos of conversation summarizing the advice given to advanced associate professors in your department after the 5th-year associate reviews, as part of the peer evaluation process this spring.
- Annual department report covering the major accomplishments and issues in your department.
- Report on the number of days of paid consulting while on salary (including overloads paid through the School of Continuing and Professional Studies or other units of the University) and for whom the consulting was done. Please certify in your report that no faculty member who reports to you has exceeded the limits on consulting. If there are instances where one or more faculty members have exceeded this allowable limit, you should supplement your submission with the name(s) of the faculty member(s), a full description of consulting activities undertaken, and a list of the steps you have taken to prevent a recurrence of the excess consulting. If you need a copy of the policy on consulting, it is available on the Provost’s Policy website.
With many thanks,
Alison, Christian, and Dave
MARCH 27, 2020: MESSAGE TO A&S CHAIRS FROM THE ASSOCIATE DEANS
As you know, while many students will opt for the credit/no credit option, grading will still need to be completed. We know that many of you have questions about exams. After careful discussion, the College has decided not to move forward with remote proctoring software.
We understand exams are fundamental to some courses, but we are asking instructors to be flexible with themselves and with their students. Although there are no easy answers, we do have some suggestions.
- Simplicity. Consider simplifying your assessment to accommodate current circumstances.
- Consider making your exam a take-home test that assesses student learning, assuming students have access to notes and lectures.
- Consider several smaller, but more frequent quizzes in place of one large exam. If you need assistance learning how to use the Collab test & quizzes tool, both UVA Collab and A&S Learning Design & Technology can assist you.
- A&S has recently begun piloting a tool called Gradescope, which is being used by several of our STEM departments. This tool uses artificial intelligence to grade student work, particularly with problem-solving. Anyone interested in using this tool can contact Gail Hunger at email@example.com.
- Cheating. While student cheating is always a concern, even in the face-to-face classroom, please remind students that their commitment to the Honor Code is no different now than it always is.
More generally, anyone who would like to discuss student assessment and/or exams specifically can contact the Learning Design & Technology team to schedule a consultation with an instructional designer. https://learningdesign.as.virginia.edu/
Would you please share this information with your faculty?
Dave, Alison, and Christian
MARCH 24, 2020: MESSAGE FROM THE DEAN TO ARTS & SCIENCES FACULTY
I’ve been thinking of you over the past days as the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic continues, and as our lives become ever more complex and disrupted.
I remember a few distinct moments when I was a child, listening to the radio or watching TV with my family, when news came home to touch our lives. Yesterday was a new-media day uncannily like that, as Wendy and I, our older children now back living with us, and our restless school-age boys pulled up kitchen stools to watch Governor Northam announce the suspension of schooling for the academic year and other changes to our increasingly socially-distanced lives. As we listened to that update many of you were hearing it too, in homes just as hastily re-organized and equally or more deeply stressed. If you were like us, the announcement was right; necessary in what we need to sacrifice to care for each other; expected; and still unsettling.
I’m writing you now for three basic reasons: first, because I want to acknowledge how unsettled we are all feeling; second, because I wish to share with you some steps we are taking to winnow some work-stress out of our collective lives; third, to pass on a few informational updates.
On being unsettled: any wisdom I have is the wisdom many of you have shared with me. Bear with one another. Model flexibility for each other, for our students, and our families. Care for your physical health. Recognize that for some time to come none of us will be unaffected; now is not the time to strive for the unattainable--our perfect best. As a colleague reminded me over the weekend: we need to give each other some grace and cut ourselves some slack. I wholeheartedly agree.
(As we face continued stress and anxiety, please also take advantage of any of the resources the University has which are available to you: a particularly helpful one in this regard is the Faculty and Employee Assistance Program (FEAP): https://uvafeap.com).
On trying to winnow some stress out of our lives: as I mentioned at the faculty meeting on Friday, as this moment gets more stressful and complex—particularly as you are taking on an extraordinary shift to remote teaching, facing unprecedented challenges to your research plans, restructuring your home lives, and, in many cases, amplifying your care-giving responsibilities—we want to help simplify work wherever possible.
With that in mind, until further notice, we are postponing any departmental self-studies for external reviews; postponing chair/department reports to the Dean’s office, and postponing reports on Arts, Humanities, and Social Science awards or reports on awards from the Vice Provost for Research.
In addition, I am asking chairs to suspend the work of all non-essential committees (and fully trusting their judgement in making those calls). We will do the same with Dean’s Office appointed committees (committee chairs, please contact me or one of the Associate Deans for any guidance). We will be asking for departmental hiring plans but will also extend the regular deadline for those by a month (until May 15). We will continue to identify other areas where we can simplify and welcome your suggestions. Please pass those on to your Chairs so that they can share them with me and the Associate Deans.
Equally important, we recognize that the disruptions to our lives have to be taken into account not just by streamlining work but in University policy—particularly for those whose professional future is most vulnerable. As I mentioned in Friday’s faculty meeting, the principle of attending to the most vulnerable guided our actions on defaulting to a credit/non-credit grading system for our students for the remainder of the semester. It should guide our response to the needs of staff and faculty as well.
Accordingly, Provost Magill is working actively with all the Deans to enact revised interim policies on promotion and tenure, third-year reviews, and general faculty reviews (while also addressing how to reconsider course evaluations for this semester). I anticipate that we will hear more from her on these matters soon. At the same time, I will work with the Associate Deans and Chairs to ensure that we are fully attentive to the disruptions everyone is experiencing in our peer review process.
On the informational updates: other than the items I’ve listed above I’d like to remind all of us of the broad range of regularly updated information on:
I would also like to draw your attention to a key resource that Rachel Most and the Association Deans have created to assist students. If you receive questions from your students that you’re unsure how to answer, this is a terrific place to refer them:
Finally, for now, a continued word of thanks. What you have done individually and collectively over the past two weeks is extraordinary, and I am profoundly grateful. Our students, whose education is continuing because of what you are doing, are poised to thrive under your care. The communities in which we live, and of which we are all a part, are better off because of what you are doing to put our shared health and well-being at the forefront of our concerns. Thank you
Dean of Arts & Sciences
MARCH 20, 2020: MESSAGE TO A&S FACULTY AND GRADUATE STUDENTS FROM ED BARNABY
Dear A&S Faculty and Graduate Students,
As you will have seen in the memo from the Provost which was recently distributed, the Graduate School will align with the general practice being adopted across the University and shift all Spring 2020 courses currently graded on the standard “A” through “F” scale to a “Credit” or ”No Credit” basis in recognition of the extraordinary circumstances that have disrupted the second half of the semester.
Please note the following:
- The lowest satisfactory grade for obtaining credit in a graduate-level course (i.e., 5000 and above) is B-. This semester, when a student receives a grade of B- or better in a given course, the grade of “Credit” will be recorded on the transcript and that course can be counted towards the graded credit requirement for the student’s degree program. When a student receives a grade of C+ or below in a given course, the grade of “No Credit” will be recorded on the transcript and that course will not fulfill requirements for the student’s degree. This applies to undergraduate students who are enrolled in graduate-level courses. The University intends to publish an explanatory note on transcripts explaining this use of the “Credit”/“No Credit” basis for the Spring 2020 semester.
- Faculty will continue to assess the academic performance of students in their courses for the remainder of the semester according to the established standards for the course and calculate a final grade for each student according to the standard “A” through “F” scale. This grade will serve as the basis of awarding “Credit” or “No Credit” to each student in the course as outlined above. This grade will also be shared with the student and the student’s DGS at the conclusion of the semester along with any other qualitative feedback that is typically provided in order to ensure that students continue to receive substantive mentoring regarding their academic progress and standing.
- Students who want a standard lettered grade recorded on their transcripts for one or more of their courses will be able to select that grading scale on a per course basis through the final day of classes. UREG is currently developing the interface that will allow students to make this selection and will communicate the details of that process during the coming weeks.
- Grades of “Credit” and “No Credit” do not factor in the calculation of a student’s GPA. Students who need to increase their cumulative GPA through their performance in courses this semester in order to restore their academic standing or graduate may need to request a standard lettered grade in one or more of their courses in order to achieve that goal and should discuss this situation with their DGS.
- Courses that are presently graded on a “Satisfactory” or “Unsatisfactory” basis will remain graded on that scale
Faculty should discuss questions or concerns in this regard with their chairs. Graduate students should discuss questions or concerns in this regard with their instructors, academic advisor and DGS as appropriate.
Senior Assistant Dean for Graduate Programs
MARCH 19, 2020: A MESSAGE TO A&S CHAIRS FROM THE ASSOCIATE DEANS
Please share the following message with all individuals who teach in your department.
--Alison, Christian, Dave
As part of the university’s response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), our highest priority and expectation is that everyone will maintain a commitment to the health and safety of all. This requires that everyone make careful and informed decisions about when and for what reasons they will spend time on grounds. Based on the questions that have arisen in the last 24 hours, let me clarify the following expectations:
Faculty and TA offices may not be used for research activities.
Teaching and course preparation are the only activities that may occur in faculty/TA offices after Friday, March 20 and these activities may only occur if your situation meets one of the following criteria:
- You have no internet at home.
- Your bandwidth is insufficient to teach your class. Please see guidance below on how to conduct a bandwidth assessment. You may also request equipment/support to improve access to stable internet.
- You lack the necessary computer equipment to teach your class. Prior to making this determination, please note that you may take your office computer equipment home. You may also request additional equipment by contacting your LSP.
- Your virtual teaching plan depends upon the use of lab equipment, materials, or data only accessible on grounds.
- Support needs: Your virtual teaching plan depends upon the in personcollaboration and support of staff or other technical expertise. This will be the case in only rare circumstances.
It is our expectation that everyone will honor the ongoing commitment to each other’s safety and the specific university guidance to minimize or eliminate, as much as possible, your time on grounds.
If the above criteria do not apply to you, you are expected to teach synchronously or asynchronously off grounds. Between now and tomorrow, we ask that you make arrangements to pick up the materials you will need to complete your teaching and research off grounds.
This moment has asked a great deal of you, our students, and our community. Thank you for your continued dedication.
--Alison Levine, Christian McMillen, Dave Hill
ASSESSING YOUR BANDWIDTH
SELF TEST your internet connection bandwidth – Download and upload speeds of 1.5 - 3 Mbps are preferable for a Zoom meeting/classroom experience
If your results are lower than 1.5 Mbps, for improved performance, consider the following options:
- Consider options for another off grounds location
- Use your cellular phone as a hotspot if your data plan supports this. Note: Some Internet/cable providers are announcing changes to Internet access, including the ability to access WiFi hotspots for free. Additionally, some providers are willing to increase personal Internet packages for educators and students, at no-cost or low-cost options.
- If you need to request a mobile hotspot, please contact your departmental LSP or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Based on the available equipment, we will assess requests as they come in and work to reply within 24-72 hours.
If you have technical questions or concerns, please contact the ITS Help Desk or your departmental LSP.
MARCH 17, 2020: MESSAGE FROM THE DEAN TO ARTS & SCIENCES FACULTY AND STAFF REGARDING SHIFT TO MODIFIED OPERATIONS
Dear Arts & Sciences Faculty and Staff,
As you have seen from the University-wide email President Ryan sent moments ago, UVA is further modifying operations in our collective efforts to respond to the health and safety concerns raised by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) situation.
For our Arts & Sciences community, this means we have to make thoughtful adjustments to our plans to be ready for virtual teaching and ongoing research as well as other key operating decisions.
I will be working over the coming days in concert with the associate deans, who in turn will be working with their chairs and department managers to identify individuals who need to continue to continue to report to work on-Grounds over the coming time.
As President Ryan has indicated, we need to be ready by the end of the day Friday to have a full plan, going forward, on who will be working remotely and who will be working on Grounds.
In the interim, for tomorrow, Wednesday, March 18 and for Thursday, March 19:
- If you have already been working remotely please continue to do so.
- If you have continued working on-Grounds over the past week you may come in if your chair/supervisor approves. Please check with them in the morning.
After Friday, for most of us, working remotely will be the new normal for the foreseeable future, but again, please keep an eye on your email for status updates from me or your chair/immediate supervisor on whether we are asking you to continue working on-Grounds from next week onward.
The associate deans will be contacting Chairs first thing in the morning to ask for their help and guidance in partnership with Department Managers to build that longer-term plan.
For all faculty teaching this spring and in the midst of transitioning your courses to an online format: as the President’s message indicates, if your plan for the online version of your class requires you to teach on-Grounds you should absolutely plan on continuing to do so. We will likely ask you to switch your non-teaching time to off-Grounds. But if you need to conduct your on-line teaching, prepare/record/conduct/etc. any on-line aspects of your class on Grounds, that is an essential activity and you should pursue it on site where we can best support you. Again, please be in contact with your Chairs to ensure that they are aware of those needs.
I know that these updates are coming after regular business hours and that many of you will have left essential materials in your offices or workplaces. You are welcome to come in between now and Friday morning to pick up what you need, though in the spirit of the President’s announcement I would ask that you make that pick-up time brief.
I know that these rapidly changing circumstances also seriously affect our ability to pursue many other aspects of our normal work, including departmental service and committee work. I’ve consulted with the Steering Committee and our Associate Deans about this, and I can assure you I do not expect that work can continue as normal, and no-one will be penalized in their annual peer-evaluation, performance review process, third-year reviews or promotion and tenure reviews.
Our situation has changed, and I’m committed to ensuring that we are just and fair to you as we focus on a smaller number of essential things. I will follow up soon to share a fuller sense of what I would recommend we set aside over the weeks ahead as we recommit to those essential matters and to our mutual care for our common well-being. I would also greatly welcome your suggestions. Please continue to raise any questions, concerns, or creative ideas you have with your chairs and supervisors so that they can pass those on to me and our team in the Dean’s Office.
I am deeply grateful for your dedication and your patience in these challenging times.
With thanks and appreciation,
Buckner W. Clay Dean of Arts and Sciences
University of Virginia
MARCH 14, 2020: MESSAGE FROM THE DEAN TO ARTS & SCIENCES GRADUATE AND UNDERGRADIUATE STUDENTS
As you have seen from the University announcements this week, UVA is suspending classes from Monday, March 16 through Wednesday, March 18 in order to prepare for the University’s transition to virtual teaching as we respond to the health and safety concerns raised by the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
Caring for our students—your health and safety—is our number one priority. With that in mind, we needed to act to help mitigate this situation for the University community, the local Charlottesville area, the Commonwealth of Virginia, and beyond. We are equally resolved to ensuring that your education will continue and that your courses will be completed even in these challenging times. I and all our faculty share that deep commitment to you and to ensuring that the transition is as smooth as possible. I’m writing now to provide you with some important updates on our planning and to ask for your assistance as we prepare for classes to resume online on Thursday.
Over the coming days, please:
Regularly monitor your UVA email
Check the University’s coronavirus website for updates: https://www.virginia.edu/coronavirus
Login to the online resources for all of your classes (e.g. Collab, Blackboard, Canvas) for updates from your faculty
For graduate students who are enrolled in courses, your professors will be updating assignments, schedules, grading information and more in order to deliver their course content virtually. You should expect to hear from your professors by early next week (if you haven’t already) with an overview of how their courses will be conducted online. Graduate students who are appointed as TAs will also be participating in this migration to online content from an instructor standpoint, and you will receive separate communication in that regard.
Zoom video and audio conferencing will be the primary platform our faculty will be using for live (synchronous) and/or recorded (asynchronous) lectures. To help you be successful using Zoom for learning, we recommend the following resources:
Tips for attending Zoom-based classes virtually:
Test your ability to join a Zoom meeting:
The University will have online resources ready for you first thing Monday morning, March 16th, to help you with your transition to online learning. These resources will include:
Self-service technical support to help you be prepared for this transition.
The ability to contact someone if you run into difficulties.
Strategies to create an environment at home that will be helpful for online learning.
For making this transition, you will need to make sure you have access to a computer and an internet connection. If obtaining this access imposes a financial hardship for you, the website will have information about a technology support fund that is available.
The schedule for fall 2020 course selection will continue as planned, but all student advising appointments will be held via phone, Skype, Zoom, or Facetime. You should hear from your faculty advisor next week about how they plan to meet with you.
Thank you for your thoughtfulness, resilience, and care for one another during these challenging times. President Ryan has called on us to bring our intelligence, compassion, and kindness together as we see this moment through. We are committed to answering that call as we dedicate our energy, imagination, and resolve to advancing your education and your well-being.
With my best wishes,
Buckner W. Clay Dean of Arts and Sciences
University of Virginia
MARCH 12, 2020: MESSAGE TO GRADUATE STUDENTS FROM DINKO POCANIC AND ED BARNABY
Dear Arts & Sciences Graduate Student,
I write to follow up on President Ryan’s recent message (https://news.virginia.edu/content/universitymoves- all-courses-online-urges-students-return-home#march-11 ) regarding the steps that the University is taking to protect the health of our community and slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus in Virginia and the nation, while also ensuring the continuity of the University’s teaching and research mission.
As master’s and doctoral degree candidates, your stake in the University’s decisions entails a unique combination of concerns that might otherwise be experienced separately by undergraduate students, faculty members and staff. The dean’s office recognizes your complex relationship to this evolving situation and is committed to supporting your well-being as students, just as we will continue to rely on your intelligence and creativity as instructors and researchers in order to sustain the University through this challenging time.
The call in President Ryan’s message for students to return home includes the fact – particularly relevant to graduate students – that your home may well, in fact, be Charlottesville. Please understand that all graduate students are not being instructed to leave Charlottesville and return to, for example, their family’s hometown. While the University is asking that those of you who can make alternate housing arrangements do so, many of you have ongoing academic and personal commitments that depend on your continued presence here. (Further guidance on this matter for students living in On-Grounds housing is available here: https://vpsa.virginia.edu/communications/2020/message-faculty-graduate-and-professionalstudents-living-grounds-exception. Guidance for those living in Range Housing is available here: https://vpsa.virginia.edu/communications/2020/message-undergraduate-students-living-grounds-housingor-graduate-students
Along with all other students at the University, you will be affected by the decision to offer courses online for the remainder of the semester. You will receive further guidance in this regard from your individual instructors during the coming week.
Your training as graduate students, however, often extends far beyond taking classes – you are also preparing for comprehensive examinations, formulating and pursuing long-term research agendas, and defending theses and dissertations. The Graduate School will work with your faculty to enable these activities to proceed with as little disruption as possible. At this time, students whose research takes place in the University’s labs will have continued access to those facilities in consultation with their faculty advisors. For those among you whose academic progress is subject to travel constraints, the inaccessibility of research subjects or sites, and the widespread cancellation of professional activities, please be in touch with your faculty advisors to revise your academic goals for the coming months to identify and prioritize work that can be done now. Please also begin to think through with your advisors any long-term effects that such resequencing may have on your academic goals.
Many of you are leading discussion and lab sections, teaching your own courses, and serving as graders. If you are appointed as a graduate instructor, please seek guidance from your faculty mentor or department chair regarding the pedagogical and technological resources that the dean’s office is making available to faculty to assist you in moving courses to an online format. The letter we have sent to faculty outlining the resources available is attached. If you are a teaching assistant, please consult with the primary instructor of your course about similar planning efforts regarding lectures and discussion sections and how this will be communicated to students in the course. Graders should also consult with their faculty supervisors, as the timing and format of assignments may shift in light of the move to online delivery.
Graduate students with appointments as research assistants should be in touch with their faculty supervisors to learn of any change to the activities of their research group. At this time labs remain open, and faculty PIs are working with the University’s Office of the Vice President for Research to ensure the continuity of research. The VPR’s Office has drafted advice on how to plan for research continuity in the lab sciences: https://research.virginia.edu/ResearchContinuity. Further advice on research continuity in the social sciences, arts, and humanities will be forthcoming shortly.
If you hold an hourly wage administrative appointment, please consult with your supervisor regarding the continued operations of your office. Supervisors will determine whether any tasks may be completed remotely. It is also possible that some appointments will need to be scaled back due to the curtailment of activity on Grounds for the remainder of the semester.
There will be many other details to address in the coming weeks while we all work through these significant adjustments together. As always, please confer with your advisor, director of graduate studies and departmental staff regarding questions or concerns that you may have. They will have the latest information available from the dean’s office or can obtain further information most efficiently from the dean’s office on your behalf.
My colleagues and I care deeply about the well-being and continued success of all of our graduate students. Please know that we are working actively with University leadership and your departments to address the disruptions that you are facing and to ensure that we are doing everything possible to support you during this complex time.
Dinko and Ed
MARCH 11, 2020: MESSAGE TO A&S CHAIRS FROM THE ASSOCIATE DEANS
Dear Arts and Sciences chairs,
As you have seen from the University-wide email earlier today, UVA is suspending classes from Monday, March 16 through Wednesday, March 18 to prepare for the University’s transition to a virtual teaching environment due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) situation.
We want to assure you that colleagues across the University, and more specifically, the College of Arts & Sciences, have been working to help ensure the transition is as smooth as possible for all students and faculty. In light of this extraordinary global health situation, we ask for your patience as we work to keep the UVA academic enterprise up to the high standards that you expect.
We write to follow up on the messages you recently received from President Ryan. Our goal is to work with you on readiness for taking all undergraduate and graduate courses online by next Thursday. Here’s what we would like to ask of each chair:
If possible, please be available for a video call or meeting with your AD in the next couple of days. Please look over the information below.
Guidelines for moving all courses to virtual instruction: https://teachingcontinuity.virginia.edu/
By Thursday, March 19, all instructors should prepare a memo for their undergraduate and graduate students with clear instructions for how the remainder of the semester will be organized. This memo should address the ways in which their plan conforms to the following general guidelines.
Instructors should plan to make a decision whether to hold their classes synchronously and/or asynchronously. Zoom is the tool the University is recommending and supporting; see https://teachingcontinuity.virginia.edu/ for details. The synchronous/asynchronous decision is up to the instructor; once made, it should be clearly communicated to students in the initial memo when and how to connect.
If the course is held synchronously, instructors should inform students that the class sessions will be recorded. The audio and/or video files should be posted in the course Collab site, along with any visual material used during the session.
Assessing participation: if you choose the asynchronous option, but routinely hold discussions during lecture and evaluate students on the quality of participation, please consider alternatives such as the “Forums” feature on Collab.
Instructors should finish out their class as normally as possible given evolving circumstances. Please keep in mind:
Instructors should assume that 100% of their course material needs to be completed. Assignments and activities that cannot be completed given the new circumstances should be replaced with alternate assignments.
When developing alternate assignments, please consider the following:
- Alternate assignments should, to the extent possible, assess the same learning outcomes/goals as the previously planned activity.
- Student disability/accessibility issues may be affected differently if assignment delivery/submission media are changed.
- Completed assignments from the first half of the semester should not be reweighted.
Teaching assistants should plan to hold their discussion sections synchronously via Zoom at the regularly scheduled time unless they work out an alternate plan with the instructor of record (such as taking advantage of the “Forum” feature in Collab).
If the discussion sections are held synchronously, instructors should inform students that the class sessions will be recorded. The audio and/or video files should be posted in the course Collab site, along with any visual material used during the session.
Please be in clear communication with students about the plans for scheduling and assessment of discussion sections.
For the following types of classes, the ADs will be in touch with chairs to discuss plans. Solutions must not include in-person instruction/tutorials.
- studio classes
- performance classes
- language classes
- community engagement classes
- College Fellows engagements
- Other classes involving experiential learning
Should you have any questions, please contact your divisional Associate Dean.
John, Dave, Keisha, Alison, and Christian
MARCH 11, 2020: MESSAGE FROM THE DEAN TO ARTS & SCIENCES FACULTY AND STAFF FOLLOWING UVA’S ANNOUNCEMENT OF VIRTUAL COURSE DELIVERY
As you have seen from the University-wide email President Ryan sent earlier today, UVA is suspending classes from Monday, March 16 through Wednesday, March 18 in order to prepare for the University’s transition to virtual teaching as we respond to the health and safety concerns raised by the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19 ).
While I understand this may be challenging to implement quickly, with your help I am confident virtual classes can begin for students on Thursday, March 19. To that end, we wish to assist you with all the guidance and support we can to make the transition to virtual teaching as seamless as possible.
The most effective solution to deliver your course virtually is Zoom (also referred to as Online Meetings in Collab), and we recommend that you conduct your virtual teaching sessions from either your office (preferred) or your classroom on Grounds. This ensures reliable broadband internet access and allows for readily accessible technical support. Zoom will support both lectures and seminar-style teaching.
To be ready for virtual teaching by March 19, I am writing to ask that within the next 24 hours you:
Create a Collab site for your course (if you have not already done so)
Ensure you can access Zoom, take a moment to become familiar with its basic functionality, and give it a test run
Setting up Zoom in your Collab course site
General information on Zoom
Review UVA’s new Teaching Continuity website
For technical assistance on Collab or Zoom, you may contact email@example.com.
The A&S Learning Design & Technology team led by Judy Giering can also assist you with these tools as well as other solutions you may want to explore. A&S faculty can follow this link to book a 30-minute A&S Teaching Continuity Support session with a specialist on Judy’s team at New Cabell Hall, Gilmer Hall, or virtually through Zoom.
Information about A&S Teaching Continuity Support sessions and more is posted on their website:https://learningdesign.as.virginia.edu/. You can also contact them at any time at firstname.lastname@example.org. I have asked Judy to request that members of her team be available to support faculty over the coming weekend (in addition to regular business days) and she will be doing everything she can to provide that added support.
As we take these steps to prepare, I recognize there are classes which will be more complex to move to a virtual environment (e.g. visual and performing arts, languages, labs). I’ve asked our Associate Deans (Alison Levine, Christian McMillen, Keisha John, and Dave Hill) to be working with Department Chairs and Faculty in these areas to collectively consider and design alternatives that will allow you to meet your pedagogical goals and address the needs of our students. While we are moving all classes (including these) away from an in-person format we want to work as imaginatively and creatively together as possible.
We will continue to follow up with you actively over the coming days and weeks and want to hear any questions or suggestions you have. We’ll also be following up with our students (undergraduate and graduate) to provide them with more information and to respond to their questions. If you hear from your students, as I imagine you will, please re-assure them of our unwavering commitment to support them and of our resolve to ensure that their education will continue and their courses be completed even in these challenging times.
Let me close with a personal note. It’s an extraordinary honor to be your colleague and to serve as your Dean. These coming weeks will demand a lot of us. You have my deepest gratitude and ceaseless admiration that I can ask for this help—that we can ask this of each other—knowing, as President Ryan put it, that we have the imagination, compassion, and commitment to our shared vocation as scholars and teachers to see this moment through.
With my sincerest thanks,
Buckner W. Clay Dean of Arts & Sciences
University of Virginia
Faculty Support for Virtual Teaching
If you have technical questions or concerns, please contact the ITS Help Desk or your departmental LSP.
Priority phone support will be given via 924-HELP for faculty and students who are in an online class or attempting to connect to one that is starting soon. If you are in an online class or trying to join one, please use 434-924-HELP.