Ohio University

OHIO President Nellis and Provost Sayrs: A message for faculty and staff on this historic day

Published: March 23, 2020 Author: Staff reports

On what is an historic day in the 216-year history of Ohio University, President M. Duane Nellis recorded this message of thanks and support to the students, faculty, staff and alumni who have come together during an unprecedented time to continue to teach, to learn, and to serve our communities and each other.

“Just a few weeks ago, we were all very busy with our work and studies. We could not have imagined the challenges that we would be facing right now. In this time of crisis, it has been inspiring to see how our University Community has worked together.”

Important Information for Faculty From Ohio University's Executive Vice President and Provost

Supporting Faculty as we Transition to Remote Learning

Dear Faculty colleagues, 

As spring semester resumes today, I want to thank you for the incredible work that you have put in over the past two weeks to prepare to welcome our students back to our community of learning, changed though it may be. I have witnessed faculty share pedagogy articles with each other, join national communities of teachers and scholars who are working together to move online, participate in remote workshops, mentor each other formally and informally, and most importantly, reach out to their students. I’ve even seen a word cloud that an instructor helped their students build online as a vehicle to discuss how students were navigating their lives among the many disruptions that they are experiencing. I know many of you have some trepidation about moving to remote teaching so quickly. Some of your students are also experiencing these same emotions and are looking to you for guidance. Your connection with them, through their courses, may be one of the few predictable things in their lives right now (and as a reminder, we are asking all faculty to contact the students in their classes today).

As academics, I know that we always strive for the best teaching, the best scholarship, the best research, the best service to our communities that we can imagine. But I want to emphasize that right now, it doesn’t matter if your teaching this week isn’t perfect, or how bad your handwriting is on the electronic whiteboard that you may still be learning to use, or how many times your pet shows up in your teaching videos. What students will remember most is how you connect with them and how you support them as members of our academic community in this time of transition. They will remember how much you show you care about their learning.

As you can imagine, we’ve received a large volume of questions from students, faculty, and staff over the last two weeks. We’ve tried to capture some of the most common concerns in Frequently Asked Questions, organized by audience or topic. You will find FAQs at https://www.ohio.edu/coronavirus, and they are updated frequently. I also want to share some important updates that may have been lost in the deluge of information over the past week.

  • For full-semester courses, the deadline to withdraw from a course has been extended from March 27 to April 24 (day before the last day of classes). Courses with alternative schedules will have the last withdrawal date the day before the last day of classes. 
  • Advising has been moved from March 23 to March 30. The beginning of registration has also been shifted a week later and will start Monday, April 6 and follow the regular priority orders. 
  • An ad hoc policy group, including representatives of Faculty Senate and UCC, is exploring expanded pass/fail options for this semester. We expect more information this week. 
  • Faculty Senate has been working with the Provost’s office on a broader promotion and tenure clock extension. We expect more information early this week.
  • All academic support services (e.g., tutoring, supplemental instruction, student accessibility services) that students typically have access to on their campus are available remotely.  
  • Remote teaching support and resources are available at Ohio University’s Keep Teaching website. Your college’s dedicated Remote Teaching Coordinator can provide practical resources and support during the transition to remote teaching. Faculty Senate has organized volunteer faculty teaching mentors to support your work (https://www.ohio.edu/faculty-senate). 

I especially want to thank members of Faculty Senate, including Chair Robin Muhammad, who have been working tirelessly to quickly to address significant issues as they emerge, even as they work to move their own courses online. 

I am awed by all I have seen faculty take on in these past two weeks, even as we all manage our own concerns around the health and safety of our families, friends, and communities. I am grateful that you will be the ones providing our students with that small bit of continuity in the midst of such turbulence. I know that our students are in good hands with you. Please take care of yourselves and each other.  

With gratitude, 

Elizabeth Sayrs 

Executive Vice President and Provost