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A Significant Milestone for Fall

Dear colleagues,

We’ve passed the first milestone for fall semester 2020: the 14th day after the start of classes. This milestone has more institutional significance than academic. It’s the day that we take the enrollment census. We are expecting good news on enrollment and on our retention rate. That good news is due, in no small part, to your efforts.

This first milestone also presents me with the opportunity to thank you for all your efforts, both seen and unseen. Those efforts have made it possible for us to continue our mission during a time when so much has been disrupted. There are many people who are truly grateful for your efforts.

While it’s good to have this first milestone behind us, the road through fall semester stretches out before us still. As you travel down that road, I appeal to you to continue efforts on behalf of your students. I also ask that you keep the following points in mind:

  • Be responsive. Establish communication expectations with your classes. If a student contacts you, do all that you can to respond within 48 hours. Our students need your guidance during these times. Please don’t leave them hanging.
  • Be considerate. Keep in mind that any change to your modality affects each of your students’ class schedules. Do not change modalities if the change will create time conflicts for your students. Do not schedule synchronous meetings outside of your normal meeting time.
  • Be trusting. Our policy is to excuse all absences related to COVID-19. Do not require documentation. Because of the volume of students isolating or quarantining, the Office of the Dean of Students can no longer send individual instructors absence notifications.
  • Be flexible. Find creative ways to help students catch up with work missed because of absences related to COVID-19.

All of you have done so much to prepare for this semester in order to provide the best learning environment possible under current circumstances. By attending to the points outlined above, you will build on the work that you have already done to further ensure student success.

Thank you, again, for the hard work that has gone into making fall semester 2020 possible.

John Zomchick
Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor