Message from Provost Papini to Faculty March 13th, 2020

Amended March 14th, 2020

The following information is provided to clarify some of the questions related to the announcements that have gone out regarding extended spring break and other concerns. The attached document addresses some questions frequently asked by faculty.

  • The week of March 16-20 will be observed as an extended spring break for students.
  • Faculty will use this time to convert on-campus courses to courses that will be taught remotely using technologies that faculty determine will work appropriately for course instruction and ensure high quality instructional strategies are used.
  • Faculty should communicate with their students via email and Blackboard.
  • For on-campus classes, faculty should communicate with their students via email and Blackboard any changes that result in project deadlines that will be moved or other assignments and assessments being changed as a result of using remote teaching options or the extended spring break.
  • All classes should be meeting regularly via remote teaching strategies the week of March 23.
  • Chairs of units that deliver these types of courses should continue consultations with their faculty early next week and forward to Vickie Cook and myself their recommendations and plans for completing these course requirements remotely.
  • ITS is making arrangements for a campus-wide Zoom license for web conferencing.  It should be available by Friday 3/13 or Monday 3/16.  All faculty will be able to access and utilize the campus-wide Zoom license.  Information from ITS will be forthcoming.
  • If faculty choose to use Zoom for synchronous teaching. The synchronous activity must be provided during the regularly scheduled class time that has been published for students.
  • Faculty who are not using synchronous technologies should be available online to meet with students through Zoom or other methods during the regularly scheduled class time that has been published for students.
  • COLRS will hold Zoom Online Sessions M-F beginning on Friday March 13 to assist faculty with any questions that may arise related to teaching remotely. Individual sessions may be scheduled with COLRS staff at any time.
  • ITS will host posted trainings for various technologies that may be used in remote teaching.  Watch for announcements.
  • Teaching Remotely at UIS website is available to faculty and includes a list of faculty who are willing to assist colleagues in each college, as well as multiple resources and how to begin.
  • Punitive responses should not be made to students who make the decision to self-quarantine or choose not to attend advising or lab sessions.  Please be flexible with your students by providing alternative remote teaching strategies to assist these students in completing their coursework.
  • Remote teaching strategies will be employed for the remainder of the spring 2020 semester.



Frequently Asked Questions by Faculty


  1. What about instruction in online courses, eight week courses, etc. during the week of extended spring break?

All teaching, whether currently fully online, blended, or in-person will resume on 3/23/2020.  This means that there is to be no instruction delivered in any format between today and 3/23/2020.  This extra week is to be used to migrate in-person courses to the ‘remote’/alternative format.  The extra week of Spring Break applies even if you are currently fully online.

  1. What is the purpose of the extended week of spring break?

Please use this extra week of Spring Break to compress your curriculum coverage into the remaining 7-weeks remaining in the semester.  In other words, please use this additional week to take the materials you had originally planned to cover over the remaining 8 weeks and shoe-horn them into the remaining 7 weeks (7 weeks because students are on an extra week of Spring Break because of the COVIT-19 event).  Please note that courses must end with the same number of contact hours and the same material coverage as originally planned.  Please don’t offer students ‘Incompletes’ as these may cause some students to drop below their requisite no. of credits; impact their financial aid, etc.  When in doubt, please contact the dean’s office prior to any decisions.

  1. Will the semester be extended a week as a result of the extension of spring break?

No.  The semester will end on its currently scheduled end date.

  1. Who makes the decisions about what remote teaching entails?

The faculty member makes these decisions.  For faculty who are moving from an in-person on-ground delivery to now ‘remote’ delivery, you have two options: (a) You may use Zoom (we will, in all likelihood, have a campus license for Zoom by Monday, 3/16/2020) to synchronously hold class with your students during what were, until last week, regularly scheduled class times.  Alternatively, (b) you may move your course to be completely asynchronous and still use Zoom to communicate with your students, etc., but do not have to meet them synchronously during regularly scheduled class times.  For either alternative, please consider using Zoom to hold virtual office hours during your regularly scheduled on-ground office hours.

Please note that (3) above does not preclude you from using both synchronous and asynchronous modes of curriculum delivery and contact with your students.

  1. Where will faculty be expected to work from?

Faculty may work from either home or their office here at UIS, or both.

  1. What should we do about meetings, searches, and advising?
  • Meetings may be held either using Zoom or face-to-face on campus (consult OMA).  The meeting format will be determined by the chair of the committee.
  • Faculty searches, currently underway or scheduled, should continue.
  • One-on-One meetings with students may be conducted in-person in your office or remotely using Zoom.  Zoom preferred.
  1. What is non-essential domestic travel?

Definition of essential official travel: If not engaging in such travel would have a dire and deleterious effect on the institution.  If your official travel does not rise to this high bar then it is considered ‘nonessential’ and should not be undertaken until further notice.

Faculty who have had conferences cancelled or have been unable to attend conferences at which they have had work accepted for dissemination should include that peer reviewed work as part of their official record with appropriate documentation.

  1. Will commencement take place at the end of the semester?

No decision has been made regarding commencement.

  1. What about graduate assistants during the week that spring break has been extended?

Graduate Assistants will be paid next week whether or not they return to work.  They are welcome to return to campus and work but are not required to.  Either way they will be paid.

  1. What about classes with laboratories, studios, or individual lessons?

There are about 90 classes that fall into this category.  Instructors of these classes are encouraged to contact COLRS for assistance in establishing appropriate alternatives.  Some of these courses may, of necessity, be offered face-to-face.

  1. What about students on GPSI and other internships?

GPSI and other internship work will depend on the employer.

  1. Who should I send inquiries to if I have questions about instruction or teaching?

Inquiries should be directed to your Dean.