Ohio University

Provost Sayrs shares fall planning updates

Published: July 17, 2020 Author: From Staff Reports

This message was shared with the University community on July 17, 2020

Dear Colleagues: 

As we all watch the progression of COVID-19 in our counties and across the state, nation, and world, we are left with more questions than answers about what will come in the next few weeks. I appreciate the extensive preparation that each of you is doing to be ready to provide the best possible experience for our students, be it online, in hybrid modalities, or in person. I am confident in our ability to help students feel connected to one another and to Ohio University, whether it is in a lab, a studio, a classroom, or an online discussion group. We continue to work toward a hybrid approach to on-campus learning, and we also continue to prepare for other contingencies in case the disease progresses in ways that require us to further decrease density on our campuses. 

We recognize the disproportionate impact the pandemic has had on minoritized populations and know that remote learning can contribute to these impacts. I want to draw particular attention to the inclusive pedagogy options included below and to the keep including website for additional resources. 
This message includes the following academic area updates:

  • New online and remote teaching workshops starting next week, including options with stipends for completion
  • Study Abroad/Study Away cancellations 
  • Update on requests for alternative teaching arrangements
  • International student support 
  • Budget study group update 

New online and remote teaching workshops starting next week 

Colleges and campuses have now submitted their updated course modalities and teaching assignments to the Registrar’s office for the fall. Whether your course modality has changed, you’ve planned to teach online all along, or are planning to teach in person but want to be prepared to shift to remote teaching if conditions warrant, the following workshops are available: 


  • On Wednesday, July 22, the Office of Instructional Innovation (OII) will begin offering “Remote Teaching Fundamentals,” a 1.5-hour synchronous workshop, multiple times per week via Teams. The workshop will cover the basics of online teaching and important design considerations (engagement, inclusivity, and student wellness resources).  Faculty who attend the workshop and complete a consultation with an Instructional Designer will receive a $100 stipend. To register, visit the following URL beginning on July 20 and click Fall Remote Teaching workshops: https://www.ohio.edu/keep-teaching/resources-and-support/workshops
  • Beginning August 3, OII, the Office of Information Technology (OIT), and University Libraries will offer a series of self-paced faculty workshops titled “Instructional Strategies for Remote and Online Teaching @OHIO, Part I and Part II.” These immersive workshops contain multiple modules covering best practices in course design, inclusive pedagogy, and technology for remote and online teaching. They are intended to support faculty to develop engaging online course materials, whether for a fully online or hybrid course, or to be prepared should an in-person course need to transition to online if conditions warrant. Faculty will receive a stipend of $500 for the completion of Part I and $500 for the completion of Part II of the workshop series. For more information, visit the following URL beginning on August 3 and click Fall Remote Teaching workshops: https://www.ohio.edu/keep-teaching/resources-and-support/workshops.    
  • In addition, OII, OIT, and University Libraries will continue to offer weekly workshops and daily support consultations for faculty. We encourage faculty to attend upcoming live virtual lunch and learn sessions, many of which focus on inclusive pedagogy, and view the pre-recorded workshops at https://www.ohio.edu/keep-teaching/resources-and-support/workshops. If you would like to meet with an Instructional Designer, Librarian, or OIT staff for just-in-time support or to book a consultation, visit the following site: https://www.ohio.edu/keep-teaching/resources-and-support/consultations.   

If you would like to schedule a workshop for your college/department, or for additional questions or support information, contact OII: oii@ohio.edu.

Study Abroad/Study Away cancellations 

Based on recommendations from the Office of Global Opportunities and travel guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. Department of State, all fall and winter break study abroad/study away programs, both international and domestic, have been cancelled. This includes those students with plans to study abroad through third-party providers. In addition, in-bound exchange programs to Ohio University are cancelled for fall 2020. 

Update on requests for alternative teaching arrangements 
We received more than 500 requests from instructors for alternative teaching arrangements through the online process announced at the end of June. Requests were directed to the Office of University Accessibility or to the appropriate chair/director to incorporate into teaching modalities and assignments for the fall. Chairs and directors have submitted the revised course information to the Registrar so that fall course offerings can be updated by August 3. If your circumstances change, if you are a new instructor, or if you have other requests, please work directly with the Office of University Accessibility or your chair/director as appropriate.  

International student support 

As many of you know, on July 6, ICE issued new guidance for international students, which would have, among other things, barred international students with a fully online schedule from remaining in the United States. On July 14, 2020, the Department of Homeland Security fully rescinded this guidance. The agency's March 13, 2020 guidance, which gives international students more options due to the pandemic, remains in force. There are still some unresolved questions, however, and we will continue to monitor this. 

While this is good news, some of our international students continue to struggle with basic needs this summer due to the pandemic. If you know a student who needs additional support, please direct them to the International Student Emergency Relief Fund.

Budget study group update 

Thank you to all who submitted thoughtful self-nominations to participate in this summer’s budget study group, which started meeting this week with broad representation from all senates and colleges. We received more than 110 self-nominations, and while we expanded the study group from 20 to about 35 to include more people, we were not able to include everyone who was interested this summer. Given the robust response, we will learn from this summer’s study group and plan for more opportunities this fall. We also will share materials from the study group broadly throughout the summer. 

Please continue to monitor the Ohio Public Health Advisory System for your county and take appropriate precautions to keep yourself and our communities safer. Thank you for your dedication to our students and your care for one another.  


Elizabeth Sayrs
Executive Vice President and Provost