Westminster courses will continue instruction via remote delivery through the end of May Term (June 5).
Credits, Advising, and Graduation
This semester is certainly very challenging for us all. There are a few changes that have been made after consultation with our faculty leaders and Faculty Senate that impact students and faculty.
For students, the following changes and reminders about important dates was sent out:
The due date for undergraduate students to elect to take a class under a credit/no credit (CR/NC) grade scheme was extended to Friday, April 10. Download the election form.
Additionally, the two course maximum for the CR/NC grading option has been lifted and students may seek approval from faculty advisors to count courses passed in this way to fulfill major or minor requirements.
The last day to withdraw from a class with a W is Friday, April 10. After that day, students withdrawing receive a WF which counts as an F grade in GPA calculations.
Graduation applications are due April 1 for those intending to graduate at the end of the Fall 2020 semester.
To allow additional time for remote advising meetings, registration for Summer and Fall classes has been moved to start at 7:30am on Monday, April 6, according to the following schedule:
- April 6 – Graduate Students and Seniors
- April 7 – Juniors
- April 8 – Sophomores
- April 9 – Freshmen
All forms required in the Registrar’s office can be sent as an attachment to email to firstname.lastname@example.org. In lieu of signatures clear indications of support can also be sent via a Westminster email account. As you’re working with students, if you need students added or removed from your advisee list in Self-Service, send a request to the Registrar’s office.
We recognize that many faculty will be teaching in new modalities that have been unexpectedly thrust upon them, and we will be providing great flexibility with respect to student evaluations of teaching. Faculty under review for promotion already have the choice of which evaluations to include in their promotion materials. That flexibility will be extended for contract renewal as well. Faculty can elect to include or not include evaluation materials for any or all classes that are taught during Spring/May 2020 in their contract review materials. The choice of which evaluations to include or exclude don’t need to be made until faculty are preparing their materials for their next contract review.
Please reach out Debbie Tahmassebi, Christie Fox, or Michael Santarosa if you have any questions or if we can provide further assistance in some way.
Message From the Provost
I understand how difficult this will be for all of our students and faculty. We are a campus built on predominantly face-to-face classes and strong connections between our students and faculty and we will all be moving into unfamiliar and uncomfortable spaces. I hope that we can work together, be generous and kind with each other, and do our best. This is a time for patience and flexibility, including relaxed assignment deadlines and such for students who may have limited access to technology and internet services.
I anticipate questions to arise that we haven’t yet thought about how to address. Please send those to your dean and me, and we will work through them and share back questions and answer via a faculty FAQ site, since I imagine several people may have the same and/or similar questions. Stay tuned for an invitation to join a group site.
Hikmet Loe and Rodney Glore have put together a new Canvas site called Faculty Teaching Resources, that you all will shortly be invited to join. On the site, you will find links to many resources in IS, links to Canvas assistance, information on teaching online, as well as other topics. Please send any questions and/or suggestions you have about the site, as well as additional resources you would like to share with your colleagues, directly to the IS Help Desk as the best means for Hikmet and Rodney to gather and respond.
Resources for Faculty
Information Services (IS) recommends you consider the resources listed below, keeping in mind that should local and/or national Internet usage peak due to similar approaches taken in other organizations, traffic may slow or even halt at times. For this reason, it’s best to plan to allow for flexible, asynchronous response on assignments, and the development of low bandwidth uses as much as possible (limit or avoid audio and avoid video completely).
All systems listed will require internet connectivity (cell phone
service included) and may require internet speeds at least 40MB up and
down. IS would also recommend regularly updating your computer (OS and
browser) as well as rebooting frequently. Last, please be aware that
phishing scams are appearing in many inboxes with content related to
preparation for a COVID-19 outbreak.
Canvas: Westminster’s learning management system, all academic courses are pre-loaded and we would encourage faculty to start populating the courses with course material.
Microsoft Teams: Collaboration space available to all employees and students, it is a great location to conduct meetings remotely and collaborate on projects. Teams also allows video conferencing, which would be a good way to interact with the community and/or students if face to face contact is needed. IS has prepared a quick-tips guide for use of Teams – simply contact the Help Desk to have one sent to you. You can access Teams through Office Online.
Westminster Anywhere: A virtual desktop tool that allows users to have access to most academic applications that are on a Westminster computer. This resource is extremely useful when the user is needing to use administrative tools (Colleague, Nolij, etc.). Students might also use it for academic software that is needed for class.
OneDrive: Cloud file storage that all available to employees. Allowing the user to access any file from anywhere, similar to the H: drive except if you have internet access you can get to your files.
Faculty and Staff Resources Webpage: Westminster webpage with links to many different faculty/staff resources that might be helpful at this time.
Online Instructing Best Practices: Westminster’s Professional and Continuing Education department has information on best practices on organization/time management, technology, communication, and learning that you may find useful during this time.
For more information about resources or for assistance in getting course materials or documents moved, please submit an IS request ticket under the general question form. The IS support team will contact you to set up a meeting time.