Fall 2020 Information for Faculty

Information about the Fall 2020 semester for faculty

Campus health requirements and procedures

Everyone on campus must follow all university health requirements.

Hybrid courses for Fall 2020

Hybrid course delivery combines traditional face-to-face instructional activities with some online learning activities and can capture the best features of both delivery models when well-planned and well-executed. It also allows faculty to divide students into smaller groups for face-to-face learning to gain greater physical distancing in the classroom. Additionally, while we are planning to be on campus until Thanksgiving, should we be unable to continue face-to-face instruction earlier in the semester, the hybrid model prepares both faculty and students to transition to online learning. Hybrid also allows faculty to provide continuity of instruction if the faculty member gets ill and students continuity of learning if someone should be ill for several days or must quarantine due to exposure to COVID-19.

Hybrid Instruction Support

The Delphi Center will provide online instruction for faculty who wish to learn more about hybrid course planning and pedagogy. All faculty members teaching this fall have been added to a Blackboard organization named “Pivot to Fall 2020” that houses self-paced resources regarding the design and delivery of hybrid and online courses. To find your organization, log into Blackboard, click on Organizations from the side menu and search for Pivot to Fall. If you need to be added to the organization, contact Aimee Greene.

More information is available about synchronous sessions and individual support. Registration for the synchronous sessions is available.

Delphi is working with faculty this summer to pilot two new proctoring software products and will have recommendations after the pilots are complete for tools best suited to securing the academic integrity of our courses. It is also suggested that faculty consider course design techniques that reinforce the pedagogical goals of the course and also discourage cheating — such as giving more frequent but shorter, lower stakes exams, designing all open-book exams and/or designing assessments that require analysis or synthesis rather than recall.

Course options and unit planning

Decisions about course options (whether a course is hybrid or online-only) must be entered clearly in the schedule of courses to allow students the opportunity to switch courses.

Units with undergraduate programs may offer no more than 50% of its portfolio of fall courses as totally online courses. Online courses will be designated on the schedule of classes as either one of the following:

HY – Hybrid (25-75% of course taught face-to-face with remaining taught online). For example, for a course requiring 44 contact hours, the minimum for face-to-face interactions translates to 11 contact hours. Hybrid courses should account for at least 50% of a unit’s courses

RT – Remote (100% instruction with synchronous sessions available at the time and days designated in the schedule; faculty are encouraged to record all sessions for possible asynchronous participation) 

DE – Distance Ed (100% digital instruction with no designated meeting times except possibly for exams)

SACSCOC suggests that for every contact hour, students should be expected to spend two additional hours outside of class learning the material, working on projects or assessments.

Faculty members who want to teach an online-only course instead of a hybrid course are encouraged to record and post synchronous sessions for students to access asynchronously as some students may be in different time zones or have work obligations. Students also may have unreliable or intermittent internet access. Therefore, faculty should not penalize students who miss synchronous sessions. Faculty are also encouraged to provide required assignments online and record class discussions to post so those unable to attend may make up the work.

Faculty is allowed to determine how to best deliver labs (using home kits, Labster and other simulation software, frontloading in-person work to the start of the semester), clinical experiences required for licensure, performance opportunities for theatre and music students, and other face-to-face experiences.

Chairs and deans must strive for a balanced portfolio of classes within programs to achieve the following:

  • Face-to-face experiences are prioritized in first-year courses
  • Students have an adequate range of hybrid and online courses at all levels so no student will be impeded from making progress toward graduation
  • Other curricular concerns are considered

Units are expected to offer no more than 50% of their courses as online (DE and RT) , but the university recognizes the need to be ready to adapt if we have another work-from-home order at some point during the semester.

Units should consider dropping some low-enrollment electives from their calendar of courses and shifting faculty to offer more sections of required courses and courses for first-year and second-year students (including Cardinal Core options). Special consideration also should be given, when possible, to courses necessary for students planning to finish their degree requirements in the fall.

Professional programs may seek variances from these guidelines due to accrediting requirements, the need to accommodate pedagogical or clinical approaches specific to particular disciplines, and so on.

Modification to fall teaching schedules

Faculty may request modification to fall teaching schedules by providing the requested modification and reason for the request to the faculty member’s department chair and/or dean. The request should be made in writing and will be considered against departmental/programmatic and unit needs.

Modifications to fall teaching schedules may include but are not limited to:

  • Teaching already scheduled courses online (may be asked to take training from Delphi).
  • Accepting an alternate teaching assignment that allows for online instruction (may be asked to take training from Delphi).
  • Buying out teaching assignment with grant funding where available and permissible.
  • Reducing faculty contract to .80 FTE with reasonable reduction in teaching assignment.

If a mutually agreeable modification cannot be reached with the faculty member and department chair and dean, the faculty member may choose to take an unpaid leave of absence for the fall semester in accordance with Redbook Section 4.3.6.

If a faculty member requests a modification due to an underlying health condition or the need to care for someone with an underlying health condition and is unable to reach an acceptable agreement with the department chair, the faculty member should complete the COVID-19 modification request form and submit it to the vice provost for faculty affairs who will consult with the university ADA coordinator, human resources and university counsel.

Academic calendar updates

Aug. 17 – On-time start (for undergraduate students and most graduate students; professional students should check with their programs for start dates)

Sept. 3-4 – will be online instruction days (not vacation days) in order to accommodate possible traffic and parking issues for faculty, staff and students due to rescheduled Kentucky Derby plans.

Oct. 5-6 – Fall Break will continue as scheduled.

Nov. 25 – Face-to-face instruction concludes. Students will have remote access to advising, necessary student services such as the Writing Center and REACH, and faculty from Thanksgiving to the end of finals. 

Nov. 30-Dec. 1 – The final two days of classes will be conducted online. 

Final assessments and exams will be conducted online.

Health requirements and procedures for classroom instruction

Everyone on campus must follow all university health requirements.

Masks or face coverings are required of all faculty, staff and students in classrooms and public spaces. Exceptions to required masking may be granted for health reasons. Contact Campus Health for more information.

Physical distancing must be practiced by staying at least 6 feet apart. Faculty who are positioned at least six feet from students may choose to wear a plastic face shield while lecturing, but they must maintain physical distance at all times.

Scheduling and facilities staff are working with the academic units to determine appropriate density levels in all classrooms. Once all courses are identified as online or hybrid, classrooms originally scheduled for face-to-face instruction that are now to be online will be available for reassigning to achieve optimum classroom density. Large spaces on campus not typically used for instruction are being identified in order to be repurposed for fall courses.

The student code has been updated to require students to abide by public health policies, and signs are being posted on classrooms and building entrances reminding students they must wear a mask or face covering. Faculty may need to remind students they are required to wear a face covering in class or may be asked to leave; a statement to that effect may be included in syllabi. If a student refuses to wear a mask in your class, follow these response guidelines for mask compliance.

Attendance policies

Faculty should reconsider their attendance policies for the fall semester and NOT require doctors’ notes for absences of less than two weeks. (If a student is hospitalized, that student will have paperwork from the hospital, or if they are quarantined, they will have documentation).

Students are being urged not to overwhelm our campus health system by asking for notes for short-term absences. You can certainly communicate that students perform better when they attend class, but it makes no sense to require doctors’ notes or otherwise penalize a student who may be ill or quarantining because it’s the right thing for them to do to prevent the spread of illness. Of course, faculty must determine how to handle absences that result in missed exams.


Researcher resources

For research re-opening plans, resources, and FAQs, visit the Research and Innovation webpage.