Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update
March 17, 2020
Dear Faculty Colleagues,
As you know, President Freeman today announced the university will extend non-face-to-face instruction through the end of the semester. We know this will have a profound effect on delivery of your courses. During this time, first and foremost, I assure you that your personal health and well-being—and the well-being of all members of our NIU community—are our top priorities.
At the same time, our community is committed to preserving our academic mission, and will continue to do everything in our power to support you in those endeavors. Toward that end, our Keep Teaching website will remain a key resource for all faculty in our implementation of non-face-to-face instruction. You can find information there on scheduled virtual workshops and faculty assistance.
Nearly 30 virtual workshops for faculty have been held or scheduled for this week, with more slated for coming weeks. Additionally, on the Keep Teaching website, you can sign up for virtual individual-support consultations.
Other important information:
- A parallel Keep Learning website is being developed exclusively to help students adapt to non-face-to-face learning. You can direct students to this site for resources on remote learning.
- While it is possible that exceptions may be considered at a later date for a very few internship, clinical, practicum and laboratory programs, for the time being, all courses will be taught using NIU’s remote learning platforms – tools that faculty are already working to implement.
- Faculty may continue to conduct research with their graduate students on-site and in laboratories if remote work is not possible and if social distancing and good hygiene can be maintained.
- All faculty should communicate directly with their students in the coming days about their classes.
- As you work to support our students, we ask that you strive to be flexible to their needs, acknowledging that their lives outside the university also have experienced significant disruptions.
- Students who require access to specialized equipment or software to complete final projects, theses or other coursework will be permitted access to that equipment on campus on a limited basis that maintains all safety protocols.
- We recognize you are also working to keep up with your own scholarship, artistry and engagement. We want to support your professional success, so please discuss any specific needs with your chair.
- The Libraries is providing content and services to support your needs in the areas of remote teaching, engagement and individual scholarship and artistry. As much as possible, faculty are urged to choose e-books, online articles and streaming media. For current information on the array of library services, visit https://libguides.niu.edu/continuity. A list of librarians by subject can be found at dedicated subject librarian.
- Faculty with technology needs should route concerns through their department chairs, who will work with the Division of Information Technology to address those needs.
- We are working with shared governance and others to examine academic policies that might need to be relaxed this semester. We will keep you informed.
- We continue to work closely with public health officials and follow their protocols as required. We will keep you informed of developments in a timely manner.
Finally, I must underscore the fact that your effort on behalf of our important mission has been nothing short of extraordinary. It’s a true testament to the Huskie spirit. With kindness, generosity and patience—toward our students and each other—we will succeed.
Executive Vice President and Provost
Office of Executive Vice President and Provost
originally posted March 17, 2020 in NIU Updates