Provost COVID-19 Update to the Faculty - March 16
A few reminders and requests as we plan for a revised semester structure:
Top priority: You are the front line for our students and serve as their primary path to educational success in this confusing and disconcerting process; they are looking to you for reassurance, information, and guidance. Please activate your BB shells and establish frequent and consistent communication strategies with your students, starting today. In your communication with students, please include an explanation that any deadlines for this week will be revised/extended because we cancelled all instructional activities. The Office of the Provost, Deans, and Chairs are here to back you up. We know that students will have many questions you can’t answer—we are setting up as many resources as we can and will share them with you and students directly, but if you get questions, please send them to your chairs so that we can continue to build resources and messaging. Attached please find a copy of the message that we sent to students last week.
Info for you and students:
- Student online resources: Encourage students to take an online preparedness Student Self-Assessment; IT is also preparing a one-stop key resource page for students—we will share when it becomes available.
- Coronavirus questions: If you have students concerned about the coronavirus, direct them to our coronavirus page at UHD Coronavirus page
- Student computer access: If students do not have computers/internet at home, we will have computer labs open on campus—S800 and N401, plus the Academic Support Center labs (though tutoring will be online)—more details as we have them.
- Drops and withdrawals: The official date for withdrawal will move to April 7 (currently March 26). More information will be shared as it is available.
- Use of incompletes: We understand that you may want to consider an incomplete for some of your students. You should determine whether an incomplete is appropriate for the situation, and we understand that, in this particular context, the rationale and timeline for an incomplete may be more flexible. As per policy, be sure to communicate any plans for incompletes with your department chair.
- Syllabus changes: As you review/revise your course, please remember that major syllabus content changes (assignment types/weights/deadlines, attendance policies, testing, participation, content) need to be communicated to students in writing, a new syllabus posted and a copy sent to dept. office
- Synchronous teaching: If you decide to use a synchronous model, you must use the same days/times as originally scheduled FTF, though you can choose to use only part of those days/times.
- Telecommuting: Faculty do NOT need to complete the telecommuting forms to work remotely.
- Travel: Faculty must report all international travel that has taken place in since January 1, 2020. The state is also now prohibiting all non-essential domestic travel.
- Service expectations: The Rank and Tenure timeline is still in place. Faculty should carry out key policy functions unless otherwise informed (e.g., department review committees for annual evaluations, 2nd and 4th year reviews—deadline by the end of April, lecturer evaluations if not already completed, etc.). Committees may choose to handle these responsibilities via Zoom (a university-supported tool), but all protocols for confidentiality should be observed, and written communications of content should be limited to (near) final versions.
We plan to send a regular update via email, but all information from any of these messages will also be available on the Provost’s Office website: Keep on Teaching
The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) is the second-largest university in Houston and has served the educational needs of the nation’s fourth-largest city since 1974. As one of four distinct public universities in the University of Houston System, UHD is a comprehensive, four-year university led by President Loren J. Blanchard. Annually, UHD educates approximately 14,000 students, boasts more than 66,000 alumni, and offers 45 bachelor’s degrees, 12 master’s degrees, and 19 online programs within four colleges: Marilyn Davies College of Business, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, College of Public Service, and College of Sciences and Technology. UHD has one of the lowest tuition rates in Texas.
U.S. News and World Report ranked UHD among the nation’s Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Applied Administration and Best Online Master’s Programs in Criminal Justice, as well as a Top Performer in Social Mobility. The Wall Street Journal/College Pulse ranked UHD one of the best colleges in the U.S. for its 2024 rankings, with notable distinctions: No. 1 for diversity (tied) and No. 3 for student experience. The University is designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, a Minority-Serving Institution, and a Military Friendly School. For more information on the University of Houston-Downtown, visit uhd.edu.