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COVID 19 Response

In order to assure that students are able to successfully complete their spring term courses, while also reducing the risk of contagion from the Coronavirus, most current semester instruction will be delivered fully online, starting March 23, 2020, for the remainder of the semester. Here we have provided information to help faculty transition their courses online. Visit the University’s Coronavirus Information site for additional information.

FAQs for FacultyGuide for Faculty in Transitioning to Online Teaching (PDF)A Checklist for Moving Courses OnlineCoronavirus Teaching SupportUndergraduate PASS/FAIL Policy Guide for Faculty and Academic Advisors, Spring 2020

Letters from the Provost

March 23, 2020 - Pass/Fail Grading

Dear Students,

Welcome back to class. As we begin the rest of this term remotely, we want you to know that undergraduates will have the option to choose between receiving traditional letter grades or taking classes as PASS/FAIL this semester, with the exception of a very few courses in accredited programs. You will have until Monday, May 4, 2020 to make your choice.

We heard your concerns, and at your request, we have initiated a flexible policy that will give you the maximum opportunity for success. Other information that you need to know about about this change:

  • More details about tools and processes that we are creating to help you make those choices will be released soon.
  • In most cases, PASS will require a minimum of a D grade.
  • There is no rush to make this decision now: The deadline is Monday, May 4, 2020, and you may decide and/or change your mind based on your progress up until that date.
  • We are encouraging faculty members to update grades in courses in a timely manner so that students understand how they are doing and then can make informed decisions.
  • You should know that letter grades will carry the same points used to calculating your GPA as always.  These can be found on the Grades web page.  FAIL grades will carry 0.00 points toward calculating your GPA.
  • As always, a PASS grade has no impact on your GPA.

You will also find that many faculty members have revised their syllabi and grading rubrics, understanding that this semester is not a typical one for anyone.

When deciding whether to take each of your classes PASS/FAIL or to receive a traditional letter grade, you should discuss your academic progress with your academic advisor. Be sure to do that in a timely manner and do not wait until the last minute.

We hope that these changes will help you successfully complete this semester and alleviate some of the uncertainty brought on by this unprecedented moment in our history. As more updates become available we will share them with you. Check our coronavirus website frequently for news and updates.


Willard Gingerich, PhD
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

March 12, 2020 - Online Teaching Resources

To All Teaching Faculty,

As you know from President Cole’s message on Tuesday, March 10, and my Academic Continuity Guide published on the same day, all current semester instruction must move to fully online delivery mode, wherever possible. Effective Monday, March 23, the majority of instruction will take place online for the rest of the semester, while existing online classes will follow their original schedule.  Hybrid courses will, of course, easily transition to fully online delivery.

You can also find new FAQs for faculty on our Coronavirus Information site.

In order to support faculty with this online transition, Instructional Technology & Design Services (ITDS) and the Office for Faculty Advancement (OFA), have prepared a series of live, online, synchronous training workshops and web-based resources, which are listed below.

1: Online, Synchronous Training Workshops

  • Teaching Online for Academic Continuity
  • Canvas Web Conferencing
  • Using Panopto for Teaching Online
  • Introduction to Canvas
  • Leading Effective Discussions, Teamwork and Collaboration in Canvas
  • Designing Assignments, Quizzes & Tests in Canvas
  • Creating Your Back-Up Teaching Plan

2: Web-based Resources:

3: Web Conferencing Tools: Canvas Conferences and Zoom

We encourage faculty to use the Conferences feature in Canvas for video conferencing within your course. It is a tool that creates a virtual classroom space where synchronous (real-time) online lectures, office hours, and breakout sessions can take place. If you have a Zoom Pro License, please feel free to utilize Zoom for your course’s web meetings. The University is currently looking to extend our license to an enterprise license and hope to have this in place in the next few weeks. All members of the community have a complimentary basic license that allows you to connect for up to 40 minutes at a time with no limit on reconnections.

Meanwhile, please reach out to your students, and make sure they’re informed and understand this change and how the course will be conducted online.

An FAQ for students is found at

You can also reach out to the IT Service Desk at 973-655-7971 or email for support.

Finally, in light of the immediate focus on preparing all faculty to teach online for the rest of this term, I am suspending the requirement that faculty teaching online complete the ITDS Empowering Online Teaching and Learning Program (EOTL) and cancelling the spring offering of that course.  We will revisit the timing of this requirement over the summer.

Willard Gingerich, PhD
Provost & Vice President for Academic Affairs

973-655-7647 fax