What faculty can expect this fall

Thursday July 30, 2020

From Anupma Prakash, provost and executive vice chancellor

Dear faculty and instructors,

Though the leaves haven’t quite started changing colors, we all know that Fall is approaching fast. Most faculty will be back on contract on August 9. A big thank you to all who took advantage of the course adaptation funding provided by the Chancellor this summer and worked alone or in workshop settings to adapt your courses for improved distance delivery. There is still an opportunity for you to apply for this support using the Course Adaptation and Improvement Form #1. We will sunset this program on Wednesday, August 5, 2020.

I also want to draw your attention to the recent COVID communication from Chancellor White which outlines how UAF is operating in a phased plan (PDF), and what that means for our operations.

We provided faculty the choice of teaching modality. Many of you worked through your department chairs and deans and submitted details to the registrar’s office so that your course modality was changed to the one you preferred. I request that once you have made a choice, to not make additional changes. Any change that you make at this stage disrupts the plans that students have made, makes it difficult to advise students, and poses a disproportionate risk to some groups of students such as our military and veterans, athletes, off-campus, international, and first-generation students.

Beginning our Fall semester in phase B means those who have elected to offer your course in-person or hybrid modalities MUST fill out and submit this simple Fall 2020 course exception google form (Form #2). Your attestation then clears you to continue offering your course in-person or in hybrid mode within our phase B guidelines. I appreciate your filling in this form as soon as possible and no later than Tuesday, August 11th.

Form #2 also allows you to request a face shield for your safety in the classroom setting. If you have requested a shield, you will be able to pick it up at the facilities customer service center on weekdays from 8/12-8/21 from 8am-4:30pm. This desk is located at 803 Alumni Drive. Please note that if your preferred face covering runs out, you may receive an alternate type.

We will operate with all our normal academic policies this fall with a few minor adaptations and recommendations:

  • Academic Calendar: The semester start and end dates will remain unchanged. 
  • First week of class: Please be flexible during the first week of class, particularly if you are scheduled to meet in-person. Some students will be delayed by testing and quarantine requirements, and students’ schedules may be changing as course offerings adjust. Please try to avoid high-stakes assignments and assessments during this period, and do not withdraw students who cannot attend during the first week of class. 
  • Add/Drop and Fee payment date: The Add/Drop date and deadline for a 100% tuition refund is September 4. For extenuating circumstances, there is an appeals process (PDF) for students who need to drop or request a refund after this date.
  • Credit/No Credit/Deferred/Incomplete grades: We are following our regular academic policies for CR/NC and the use of Deferred and Incomplete grades.
  • International students, military and veterans, student athletes: International students, student athletes and students receiving VA funding may be negatively impacted by withdrawing from a course or by electing a credit/no credit grade. Students in any of these groups should not make any changes to their academic schedule without checking on how it will impact their eligibility and funding.
  • For military and veteran students, the VA has stated that classes that were originally “in person” and then converted to “online” will be counted as “in person”. This list of converted classes is located on the Military and Veteran Services website and is being updated weekly (or more) with classes that are continuing to be converted. This list does not have all Face to Face classes, only classes that have been converted to online.
  • Continuing and new international students are required to take at least one course/3 credits in person and these credits must go towards the student's degree program. Other credits can be via distance or hybrid. Undergraduate students are required to take a total of 12 credits and graduate students are required to take a total of 9 credits. Research and thesis credits are considered “in person.” Regulations and guidance for international students have changed this summer and may change going forward. 
  • Proctored exams: There will be limited in-person proctoring available through Exam Services, and proctoring may not be available to students outside of Fairbanks. Please review the alternatives below before contacting Faith Fleagle (fafleagle@alaska.edu), Exam Services Manager, to see if your course qualifies. More information can be found here. Third party proctoring may be available but has associated costs and access issues. In general, I encourage you to consider other options, including:
  • Expanded formative/educative assessments
  • Take-home exams
  • Timed online exams through Blackboard
  • Online student presentations
  • Final projects
  • Group work and presentations

This semester too, I request faculty to be very accommodating with students, especially exercising flexibility with deadlines for submitting assignments and exams. Some students may struggle with technology, Internet access and personal needs that they may not be comfortable in voicing.

Should you have any related questions or concerns, you can contact your Dean or me at aprakash@alasa.edu.