Instructional Updates

9/29/2021: Fall 2021 Progress Reports

NOTE: On September 29, 2021, this message was sent to all instructors teaching Fall 2021 courses,

Dear Colleagues,

Thanks for your participation in our first Enrollment Census Campaign. Over 20,000 reports on student engagement were submitted, and as a result we reached out to over 130 students who were not participating in two or more courses.

This semester’s Progress Report campaign will run from September 29-November 2. Some quick notes:

  • Check out our new report reasons! In order to reinforce positive behavior, we’ve added the following new reasons for you to use:
    • Exceptional course performance
    • Exceptional discussion participation (in-person/online)
    • Improved course performance
  • Please submit as soon as possible: If you have actionable information about a student now, please submit it now; the sooner the better.
  • Please discuss progress reports with your students: We still need to do more to help students understand the purpose of Progress Reports. Please post the below language in your Canvas site and/or share via email.

Instructors will be receiving an email soon with their course specific link. Thank you for your help with this important initiative.

Take care,

Johannes


Suitable for Posting on Canvas

UWM uses Navigate, a powerful tool dedicated to student success. There are numerous benefits to you as a student to engage with the platform and mobile application, including learning about academic resources, setting up study groups in your courses, making appointments with your academic advisor, getting reminders on important dates, and much more.

In addition, Navigate allows instructors to send Progress Reports to students throughout the term, allowing for updates on your academic progress in a course in addition to your grade. Certain reports may encourage academic advisors or other support staff to provide outreach to you as well. You can log into the platform here:  https://uwmilwaukee.campus.eab.com/ or by finding the Navigate link under the Current Students tab on the UWM home page. More information on how you can use Navigate and the app, including tutorials, can be found on UWM’s Navigate website.

Instructions for Students

To view the progress reports submitted by your instructors,

  1. Log in to Navigate using the Current Students drop down from the UWM homepage.
  2. Select “Reports” under Student Home.
  3. Select “View Report” under the Details column of the Progress Reports area.


How Progress Reports Work

Explaining. Please post the above message to Canvas and also talk to your students about what Progress Reports are and what they do. Let them know when they might expect them from you, and how they can access and read them. (Instructions for students are included above.)

Submitting. Instructors can submit a progress report or alert for a student at any time by selecting Navigate on the Faculty/Staff tab of the UWM homepage (a tutorial is available here). To participate in the campaign, please follow the link in the invitation email you received. When writing the reports, please provide a level of detail that will be helpful to students, advisors, success coaches, and the Student Success Center.

Routing. New progress report reasons that reinforce positive course performance are received by students directly. When someone submits a progress report on a student that is struggling academically, that student and their advisor both receive a notification from Navigate. When logged in to Navigate, the student and the advisor will both see the “Reason” you selected (e.g., “Missing Work”) and any explanation you provided. In addition, if you chose to refer the student to a resource, that office will reach out to the student. This chart shows how such progress reports are routed:

Progress Report Routing chart

Instructors and others may also submit an “Alert,” which leads the assigned office to create a case and reach out to the student:

Alert Routing Chart

Reaching Out. The advisors in your school or college will be contacting many of the students who receive Progress Reports that suggest they may be in danger of poor academic performance; how that is defined may vary by school or college.

Reaching out to students can be a significant challenge. Advisors will often try to call students, only to find they don’t answer and/or don’t have voicemail turned on. Or they will email and get no response. As of this past year, they can also employ text messaging. Many will make multiple attempts to reach students, but they won’t always be successful. This is why the Student Success Center will now work on building other avenues to reaching out (e.g., resident advisors and peer mentors).

But it’s also critical that instructors continue, when possible, to reach out to students as well. Progress reports are just one additional tool to aid student success and prompt conversations with students, and when they work they can work very well. But the course instructors are still the most critical partner in helping students succeed.

Johannes Britz
Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

 

Past Provost messages regarding Instruction [From present day back to Fall 2020 ]:

9/7/2021: Undergraduate Enrollment Census

9/7/2021: Undergraduate Enrollment Census

NOTE: On September 7, 2021, this message was sent to all instructors teaching Fall 2021 courses,

Colleagues,

Every semester we have undergraduate students who simply do not show up for multiple courses; these students are at significant risk of failing out of the institution with a lot of debt. If we can figure out who they are, we can help them, or drop them early enough so that they can receive a refund.

The Enrollment Census Campaign can help us find these students, and we’ll run it from September 9-15. On September 9th you will receive an email with a link for the course(s) you teach this term. At the point that makes the most sense for your course, click the link and you’ll be taken to a current class roster; there you will indicate which students are active in your course and can add any additional information you may have. To save time, you can quickly select those that have never participated, and select the “Mark remaining as active” box at the end of the class roster.

We will then use your submissions to identify students who are not participating in multiple courses, and then we will ask school/college/unit advising offices to reach out to those students.

Thanks in advance for your caring commitment to our students, and best of luck in yet another challenging semester.

Take care,

Johannes

Johannes Britz
Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

9/1/2021: Instructors: Supplemental messaging to students about Fall semester and our response to COVID-19

9/1/2021: Instructors: Supplemental messaging to students about Fall semester and our response to COVID-19

NOTE: On September 1, 2021, this message was sent to all instructors teaching Fall 2021 courses, as well as Deans and Associate Deans

Dear Instructors,

We are excited to start the semester and to have students and staff back on our UW–Milwaukee campuses. We are asking your help in supplemental messaging to students about the return to campus and our response to COVID-19.

First, please review with students UWM’s classroom safety expectations and your attendance policies. Next, take time to acknowledge the challenges and adversity of the past 18 months–students have been through a lot. Social connections are paramount in persevering through traumatic events, and building a community, even a small one in the classroom, is incredibly important. Even just a brief introduction acknowledging those challenges, letting students connect with one another, discussing resources and encouraging self-care, can go a long way. Along with the links below, please feel free to share this link to the Dean of Students Office for additional student resources: https://uwm.edu/deanofstudents/campus-cares/.

Finally, please share this important information about getting COVID-19 vaccinations, testing and exemptions from COVID-19 testing, and the various incentives for those who are vaccinated. This simple link is a good one to share with students as it provides links to many Covid-related resources: https://uwm.edu/coronavirus/students/.

Please spend five minutes at the start of your class to announce the following information and allow students to get on their phones and upload their proof of vaccination information. You can also post this information to your Canvas course page or include it on your syllabus.

GET VACCINATED, SUBMIT PROOF, BECOME ELIGIBLE TO WIN
(https://uwm.edu/coronavirus/students/)

Submit proof of full COVID-19 Vaccination to UWM’s Testing Exemption/Vaccine Reporting Form

Students who submit proof of full vaccination are eligible for incentives, including:

The sooner students get vaccinated and submit proof, the better. UWM Incentives have multiple drawings in September, and the State of Wisconsin will give you $100 if you get your first vaccination shot before September 6, 2021, and fill out their registration form. Here are the details for UW’s 70 for 70 Program.

GET EXEMPTED FROM WEEKLY COVID-19 TESTING
(https://uwm.edu/coronavirus/students/)

Students who are not fully vaccinated are required to test weekly for COVID-19. Schedule your COVID-19 test at www.doineedacovid19test.com. If you test off campus, submit your test results to UWM’s Testing Exemption/Vaccine Reporting Form. Once you are fully vaccinated, submit your proof of vaccination to be exempted from weekly testing.

CAMPUS VACCINE CLINICS

Students can still get vaccinated on the Kenwood campus through a partnership with the Milwaukee Health Department. There are clinics on September 1, 2, 7, 8, 10, 14, 20 and 22 at various locations on campus: COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic – UWM COVID-19 Information. Students can also get vaccinated at the Norris Health Center on Thursdays by appointment.

The Waukesha and Washington County campuses will have vaccine clinics the week of September 6. Specific details will be communicated once details are confirmed.

Students can also get vaccinated at local pharmacies, including nearby CVS and Walgreens for those on the Kenwood campus. Students can find local pharmacies offering COVID vaccines at vaccines.gov.

 

Thank you for promoting vaccination reporting and incentive programs to your students. Together, we can make our community safer.

Take care,

Johannes

Johannes Britz
Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

8/26/2021: Fall 2021 Information Session on August 31

8/26/2021: Fall 2021 Information Session on August 31

Dear Faculty, Instructional Staff, and Academic Support Staff,

We recently sent out the Instructor and Academic Support Staff FAQs to provide answers to lots of questions we’ve heard from you during the past few weeks. We heard at the Chairs’ Retreat earlier this week that there are many more questions and details you’d like addressed.

On Tuesday, August 31, from 8:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m., we will hold an Information Session for instructors, advisors, and academic support staff. Of course, other staff are welcome to join as well. We will discuss the Instructor and Academic Support Staff FAQs, questions related to that document, and other questions regarding the fall semester. The session will be held in Teams.

Fall 2021 Information Session

Date: Tuesday, August 31, 2021
Time: 8:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
Location: Teams: https://teams.microsoft.com/l/meetup-join/19%3ameeting_ZTM5YWJmZGUtNmRhYS00MTRmLWFjMzktOTBiNjVjNzBlNTUx%40thread.v2/0?context=%7b%22Tid%22%3a%220bca7ac3-fcb6-4efd-89eb-6de97603cf21%22%2c%22Oid%22%3a%227fef8b81-ad6a-4b5a-b3e3-bed645bd0908%22%2c%22IsBroadcastMeeting%22%3atrue%7d&btype=a&role=a

Joining me in this interactive Teams Live meeting will be Robin Van Harpen, Scott Gronert, Julie Bonner, Brian Switala, Stephen Schmid, and Tim Danielson. All these individuals are extensively involved in planning and preparations for the fall semester. The same Teams link above can be used for viewing the meeting at a later time if you are unable to watch it live.

We hope to see you next week for the Information Session.

Take care,
Johannes

Johannes Britz
Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

8/23/2021: Revisions to Change in Instructional Modality Guidelines

8/23/2021: Revisions to Change in Instructional Modality Guidelines

NOTE: This message was sent to Deans, Associate Deans & Department Chairs on August 23, 2021.

Colleagues,

Here’s another update to share as we start the fall semester. In addition to the email I sent last week with its several attachments, please see the attached and revised Guidelines for Considering a Change in Instructional Modality.

Responding to feedback, we’ve revised the Guidelines to clarify a dean’s authority to approve changes in modality for courses that are currently fully in-person (P) and switching to the mostly in-person Hybrid 1 format (H1: mostly in-person with 20-50% delivered online). These types of changes in modality (P to H1) do not require Review Team and Provost approvals. Courses changing from mostly or all in-person (H1 and P) to mostly or all online (H2, H3 and WW) continue to require Review Team and Provost approvals.

We do require that deans, associate deans, or department chairs notify my office (at schmids@uwm.edu) of the change so that we can facilitate the PAWS update with the Registrar’s Office.

We also ask that instructors of these courses immediately notify both the enrolled students of the change in modality and ARC to prepare for changes to accommodation plans.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Take care,

Johannes

Johannes Britz
Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

8/19/2021: Important Follow-up Message for the Fall Semester

8/19/2021: Important Follow-up Message for the Fall Semester

NOTE: On August 19, 2021, this message was sent to all instructors teaching Fall 2021 courses.

Colleagues,

I hope you’re enjoying the latter part of summer and that you and yours are safe and healthy. I’m reaching out to let you know what our students are thinking about the fall and provide some details you can consider as you plan ahead to your fall courses.

WHAT STUDENTS ARE TELLING US

In her June remarks to the Board of Regents, incoming President of the Student Association Mia Heredia said that she had strongly considered dropping out of UWM during the pandemic, and that the kindness and flexibility of her instructors helped make her ongoing success possible. She emphasized that she hoped that kindness and flexibility will continue this fall, “as if the pandemic never ended.” Sadly, with the emergence of the Delta variant her remarks seem prescient, but even back in June there were signs from our students that they wanted to maintain some of what we put in place.

In talking more generally with students, looking at survey data, and digging into fall enrollments, two key themes are emerging: 1) Students saw and appreciated the efforts instructors made to accommodate them during the pandemic, 2) Students want continued flexibility and accommodation. Much has changed since we surveyed students in March, but much also remains the same, and I invite you to read representative student comments here.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN IN PRACTICAL TERMS?

I know that teaching during the pandemic was an enormous lift for all of you and that some of what you did may not be sustainable; for example, many instructors may not be able to build flexible attendance (i.e., “hyflex”) into their course offerings.

Whatever flexibility you can continue will be greatly appreciated by our students, and in addition, students can benefit from some consistency across courses. To be specific,

  • Standardize course presentation. Last fall and spring, students frequently complained to advisors about how different their courses were; it was difficult to, for example, navigate five courses when each course had a different layout and structure. Below I’ve included a list of best practices for preparing Canvas sites, a list that’s been endorsed by the Academic Policy Committee and by the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning. Please consider whether these practices would help your students. Here are links to three additional resources you may find useful:
  • Capture lectures. In the survey and elsewhere, students very consistently indicated that they hoped we would continue the practice of capturing lectures and posting them to Canvas. Lecture capture won’t work for every course, and we don’t want it to become a replacement for attendance, but we have invested in additional lecture capture technology in many of our classrooms and will be providing directions for our instructors.

More information, including an overview and information on classroom installations, is available here: https://kb.uwm.edu/84226. We are also preparing lecture capture training sessions; here are links to the sessions, and sessions will also be recorded for those who cannot attend at any of these times.

https://lubar.mediasite.com/mediasite/Catalog/Full/c8d1e39241274c58a615cf506c70317721

  • Engage the rest of campus. Our students were touched by the kindness and flexibility of their instructors, and we are making additional investments and efforts to help students stay on track, manage their finances, and preserve their mental health (see, for example, this great Chronicle piece about the efforts in our Dean of Students office: https://www.chronicle.com/article/a-trauma-informed-return-to-campus?cid2=gen_login_refresh&cid=gen_sign_in). Instructors are the face of our institution for most students and are our best means of intervening.

To that end, the campus healing and community-building work group, led by Student Affairs, Academic Affairs, and Global Inclusion and Engagement, has developed a Trauma-Informed Teaching Toolkit. Please read and reflect on the materials in the Toolkit, incorporate them into your teaching practices, and refer students to the appropriate support resources, which are covered in the Toolkit.

I certainly appreciate all you’ve done to get us through some very difficult times, and I am so thankful to have such great and caring instructors to help our students navigate college in unprecedented times. Thank you for considering these recommendations, and I hope you find some time to rest and relax before classes begin in September.

Take care,

Johannes

—————-

Best Practices for Preparing Canvas Sites

UWM instructors have diverse needs and approaches when it comes to using Canvas (our current Learning Management System). However, a reasonable level of consistency across all courses can have a significant, positive effect on student success. When used effectively, Canvas provides a quick and easy pathway for students to find all relevant course materials, such as readings, assignments, and instructor feedback. To this end, instructors teaching face-to-face, online, and blended/hybrid courses should incorporate the following strategies into their course sites.

Use CETL’s Course Template
Instructors should consider using CETL’s Course Template. The Canvas Course Template was designed to help instructors efficiently and effectively set up their courses and to promote a consistent student experience among courses in Canvas. More information here: https://uwm.edu/cetl/canvas-course-template/.
Publish Course Site Prior to the Course Start Date
Instructors should publish the course site prior to the course start date so students can orient themselves to the course materials and course sites. Three days prior is recommended.
Organize Materials Chronologically 
Course materials in the LMS should be organized chronologically so that students can quickly navigate to a given week or module to find what they need at that moment in the course.
Use Student-Friendly Naming Conventions
For all documents, assignments, and other course components, instructors should use consistent and concise naming conventions that help students easily identify the materials and resources they need to be successful. Consider these examples:
  • Change “HONORS-250-Smith-Spring-22-Syllabus.docx” to “Course Syllabus” or “Syllabus.”
  • Instead of saying “Week 8 Video” provide the title of the video.
  • Include a description such as “Creating a Game in Tabletopia” rather than just listing the full URL (https://help.tabletopia.com/knowledge-base/how-to-create-a-game/).
Use Due Dates
For all assignments with specific deadlines, instructors should assign due dates directly in the LMS so that students can easily track upcoming assignments in the course. When possible, deadlines should be consistent from week to week.
Use the Gradebook
Instructors should provide timely and accurate grades to students using the gradebook in the LMS so that students can determine where they stand at any point in the course.
Interact with Every Student at Least Weekly

Regular and substantive interaction between students and instructors is a hallmark of good teaching and a federal requirement for online courses. While welcoming students and building classroom community are important, interactions must contribute to students’ progress toward course learning objectives: https://uwm.edu/cetl/online-learning-regulatory-policy-considerations/.

Johannes Britz
Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

8/17/2021: Fall 2021 Semester Preparations

8/17/2021: Fall 2021 Semester Preparations

Dear Colleagues,

As we prepare for the start of the Fall 2021 semester, we know there are many questions arising among our instructors and academic support staff about navigating the semester with Covid. Attached you will find an Instructor FAQ that provides answers to many questions we’ve been fielding this month. Also, please find attached the suggested Covid Course Syllabus statements, both short and long versions depending on instructor preference.

The FAQs are particularly relevant to our instructors teaching in-person classes. However, we think all instructors and academic support staff will benefit, since many of you may hear questions from students or colleagues. We’ve tried to keep the document brief while providing detailed information, instructions, and important links for you and your students.

Please spend time with this document. We hope the information and recommended actions will help you and your students prepare for the semester. We understand that your class or circumstance may have unique considerations not addressed in this document. Should that be the case, please contact your Dean or Adam Jussel in the Dean of Students Office.

Please forward these documents to your instructors and academic support staff.

As always, I’m grateful for everyone’s commitment and flexibility in preparing for this new academic year. And, I know that your compassion, caring, and flexibility with our students will demonstrate the values of the UWM Panther community.

Take care,

Johannes

Johannes Britz
Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

ATTACHMENTS:

NOTE: This message was sent to Deans, Associate Deans & Department Chairs on August 17, 2021

3/1/2021: Checking in on Progress Reports and Incomplete Grades

3/1/2021: Checking in on Progress Reports and Incomplete Grades

Colleagues,

I’m writing to check in on a couple of things I’m hearing from advisors about progress reports and incompletes:

Progress Reports
Thank you to all who have already submitted progress reports! This semester’s campaign runs until March 19. Please remember that students do see the language that you submit, so write your messages with them as the primary audience (e.g., “Johannes, I noticed that…”).

Incompletes
I’m hearing from advisors that our students received a high number of incompletes last semester. This is not surprising, of course, given the pandemic, and a clear sign that our instructors are trying to find ways to help students succeed.

The concern expressed to me is that many students do not seem to have a handle on what they need to do about incompletes, and by when. If you granted any incompletes last semester, please reach out to those students and ensure that they have

  • An understanding of the policy, in particular that they know that an ungraded incomplete (“I”) will lapse to an “F” if a grade is not entered by the end of the Spring term.
  • Clear expectations and deadlines.

As a reminder, you can find the text of the policy here (under “incompletes”):
https://catalog.uwm.edu/policies/undergraduate-policies/.

Take care,
Johannes

Johannes Britz
Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

2/26/2021: Additional Guidance - Courses Changing Instructional Modality

2/26/2021: Additional Guidance – Courses Changing Instructional Modality

Colleagues,

I hope you are all well. I’m writing to provide some additional guidance developed by the Monitoring Core Team regarding courses changing instructional modality. The attached supplement to the Changes in Modality document (also attached) focuses on concerns arising from courses changing modality from synchronous online to asynchronous. In particular, the supplement asks instructors to provide advanced notice to students and support services prior to implementing any changes. Adequate notice will help our staff to accommodate students in your courses.

The supplement does not replace the expectation that instructors wanting to change modality of their courses should submit their requests to Stephen Schmid, schmids@uwm.edu, for MCT review.

Thank you for reviewing these documents and sharing them with your colleagues.

Take care,
Johannes

Johannes Britz
Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

2/17/2021: Spring 2021 Progress Reports

2/17/2021: Spring 2021 Progress Reports

Colleagues,

This semester’s Progress Report campaign will run from February 17- March 19. Some quick notes:

  • As soon as possible: If you have actionable information about a student now, please submit it now; the sooner the better.
  • More student-centered language: At long last we can get rid of the “at risk” language. Details below.
  • Explain the purpose: We still need to do more to help students understand the purpose of Progress Reports. Please post the below language in your Canvas site and/or share via email.

Instructors will be receiving an email soon with their course specific link. Thank you for your help with this important initiative.

Take care,

Johannes


Suitable for Posting on Canvas

UWM uses Navigate, a powerful tool dedicated to student success. There are numerous benefits to you as a student to engage with the platform and mobile application, including learning about academic resources, setting up study groups in your courses, making appointments with your academic advisor, getting reminders on important dates, and much more.

In addition, Navigate allows instructors to send Progress Reports to students throughout the term, allowing for updates on your academic progress in a course in addition to your grade. Certain reports may encourage academic advisors or other support staff to provide outreach to you as well. You can log into the platform here: https://uwmilwaukee.campus.eab.com/ or by finding the Navigate link under the Current Students tab on the UWM home page. More information on how you can use Navigate and the app, including tutorials, can be found on UWM’s Navigate website.

 

Instructions for Students

To view the progress reports submitted by your instructors,

  1. Log in to Navigate using the Current Students drop down from the UWM homepage.
  2. Select “Reports” under Student Home.
  3. Select “View Report” under the Details column of the Progress Reports area.

New and Improved Progress Report Language

We have edited the Progress Report emails based on feedback from instructors and students, and in doing so we have streamlined and improved communication. This allows for a more compassionate message to be received by students while also including the course, instructor, alert reason, grades, absences detail (if identified by instructor), and date and time of the submission. This email will no longer appear like it is coming from an instructor, but rather a Student Success Center email address.

 

Old email to student

SUBJECT: You were evaluated as at risk.

EMAIL HEADER: You have been marked at risk.

TEXT: You have received this email because of a professor evaluation in one of the classes you are enrolled in this term.

 

New email to student

SUBJECT: Your professor shared feedback on a course.

EMAIL HEADER: Your instructor is concerned about your progress, and we want to help you succeed!

TEXT: You have received this email because a professor evaluating one of the classes you are enrolled in this term indicated that you could benefit from additional support. It’s common that students experience issues inside and outside of class that affect their ability to be successful.  Read on to learn more about resources available to you!

 

How Progress Reports Work

Explaining. Please post the above message to Canvas and also talk to your students about what Progress Reports are and what they do. Let them know when they might expect them from you, and how they can access and read them. (Instructions for students are included above.)

Submitting. Instructors can submit a progress report or alert for a student at any time by selecting Navigate on the Faculty/Staff tab of the UWM homepage (a tutorial is available here). To participate in the campaign, please follow the link in the invitation email you received. When writing the reports, please provide a level of detail that will be helpful to students, advisors, success coaches, and the Student Success Center.

Routing. When someone submits a progress report on a student that is struggling academically, that student and their advisor both receive a notification from Navigate. When logged in to Navigate, the student and the advisor will both see the “Reason” you selected (e.g., “Missing Work”) and any explanation you provided. In addition, if you chose to refer the student to a resource, that office will reach out to the student. This chart shows how Progress Reports are routed:

Chart of Progress Report Routing

Instructors and others may also submit an “Alert,” which leads the assigned office to create a case and reach out to the student:

Chart of Alert Reason routing

Reaching Out. The advisors in your school or college will be contacting many of the students who receive Progress Reports that suggest they may be in danger of poor academic performance; how that is defined may vary by school or college.

Reaching out to students can be a significant challenge. Advisors will often try to call students, only to find they don’t answer and/or don’t have voicemail turned on. Or they will email and get no response. As of this past year, they can also employ text messaging. Many will make multiple attempts to reach students, but they won’t always be successful. This is why the Student Success Center will now work on building other avenues to reaching out (e.g., resident advisors and peer mentors).

But it’s also critical that instructors continue, when possible, to reach out to students as well. Progress reports are just one additional tool to aid student success and prompt conversations with students, and when they work they can work very well. But the course instructors are still the most critical partner in helping students succeed.

 

Johannes Britz
Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

1/25/2021: 2021 Spring Semester Information: Tenure Clock Extension Requests and Updated Instructor FAQ

1/25/2021: 2021 Spring Semester Information: Tenure Clock Extension Requests and Updated Instructor FAQ

Tenure-Clock Extension Requests: Probationary faculty are able to extend their probationary period (i.e. tenure clock extension) due to factors related to the novel coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19). Tenure-track faculty who have their mandatory tenure review scheduled after January 1, 2021, are eligible to submit a request. Requests must be submitted prior to May 23, 2021. This memo details the process and deadlines for submitting requests.

Instructor FAQ: The Instructor FAQ was recently updated for Spring 2021 semester. In addition to the linked document, instructors and staff should visit the UWM COVID-19 FAQ website for additional information and current updates.

1/20/2021: Guidelines for Changes in Instructional Modality

1/20/2021: Guidelines for Changes in Instructional Modality

Dear Deans, Associate Deans, and Department Chairs,

As we prepare for the start of the spring semester, I want to communicate expectations for the semester regarding desired changes in course modality of in-person courses.

As you know from last semester, some of our students and staff tested positive for COVID-19. UWM decided early on that it would transparently inform instructors and classmates when students in their classes reported a positive COVID-19 diagnosis. To the extent we have student consent through testing or self-reporting, we will continue this practice.

In addition to the Dean of Students Office notifications, we have developed tools for tracking known positive COVID-19 cases of students enrolled in in-person classes (P, H1, H2, and H3) and students living in the residence halls. Updated daily, these tools allow us to identify possible clusters of infections in a timely fashion. In most cases, these clusters will likely have causes outside of the classroom environment. Nonetheless, we recognized the desire last semester to have a clearer picture of where cases were occurring on our campuses. On a weekly basis, we plan to share with deans deidentified case counts for particular courses within respective schools/colleges. These reports are supplemental to the notifications coming from the Dean of Students Office.

Combined, our existing safety protocols and de-densification practices, increased frequency of testing of students and staff regularly visiting campuses, and tracking, tracing and notifications make UWM campuses safe environments to pursue our educational mission.

Part of our educational mission is to provide students with the courses they need and want, including in-person courses. Learning from last semester, we are providing more detailed guidelines regarding any changes of delivery mode for Spring 2021 courses. The attached document provides details on the process instructors and academic unit leads should follow in requesting a change in modality. As the guidelines make clear, changes in modality should be a collaborative conversation between instructors, department chairs, associate deans and deans with the intent of meeting students’ needs.

Please let me know if you have any questions. And, thank you for your and your colleagues’ continued efforts during this challenging year.

Take care,

Johannes

Johannes Britz
Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

1/11/2021: Start of Semester Memo for Spring 2021

1/11/2021: Start of Semester Memo for Spring 2021

The Start of Semester Memo for Spring 2021 is available online. The memorandum contains useful policy-related information for instructors on the following topics:

  • Course Syllabus Policy
  • Course Reserves
  • Accommodations for Students with Disabilities
  • Religious Observances
  • Policy on Teaching Evaluation Procedures
  • FERPA Reminder
  • Grading and Grade Records
  • Posting of Student Grades
  • Drop /Withdrawal/Repeat Policies
  • Progress Reports
  • Helping Students Cope with Stress
  • Title IX/Sexual Violence
  • The Campus Assessment, Response and Education (CARE) Team and Student Support Team (SST)
  • The S.A.F.E. Campaign
  • Students Called to Military Service
  • Schedule of Final Exams
  • Smoke-Free Campus
12/18/2020: Clarity on Options for Students

12/18/2020: Clarity on Options for Students

Colleagues,

Yesterday we sent a message to Deans and Associate Deans regarding student options for this term, and it raised a number of additional questions about process and fairness. I’m hoping to provide some clarity.

Students may, as always, file an appeal through their advisor to get a late withdrawal from a course. They may expect more leniency than in a more normal semester, but the appeal should not rely solely on poor academic performance (i.e., “I didn’t do well and don’t want the course on my transcript”) or on the difficulty of online coursework. A valid reason would include specific extenuating circumstances that made success impossible. A change to C/NC may also be considered by an advisor at their discretion, but would not typically be granted at this point in the term.

In all cases, the best path to determining the way forward is a conversation between a student and an advisor. Thanks for all of your hard work as we near the end of the term.

Take care,

Johannes

Johannes Britz
Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

12/17/2020: Additional Options Available for Students

12/17/2020: Additional Options Available for Students

Colleagues,

I greatly appreciate the flexibility and kindness you and your instructors have shown students during another unprecedented semester; I know a lot of instructors are taking on the extra work of providing options beyond the normal alternate assignments, extending deadlines, and providing extra credit opportunities. As we near the end of the term, I just want to remind you of some of the additional options we have available to students who are struggling.

Incomplete. Instructors can choose to grant an incomplete to students who have almost but not quite finished their work during the term. This should be used with caution, as it does create additional work for instructors, and students who take on too many incompletes can get themselves further behind.

Late withdrawal. Students can work with advisors to file an appeal for a late withdrawal, which would allow them to remove the course from their record. This option is likely best for students who have stopped participating, and it would require dean’s-level approval.

Credit/No Credit. We did not move to a credit/no credit option for the full campus this fall, but students may, as was always the case, work with their advisor to submit an appeal to change their grade to credit/no credit. Normally at this point in the term the answer would be no, but deans may wish their advising staff to allow more flexibility this term. This option might be best for students who have been participating consistently, but at a level less than their normal capability. It would also be important to determine that they do not need the graded credit to advance their degree progress.

Thanks for all you do, and I wish you a great end of the term.

Take care,

Johannes

Johannes Britz
Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

11/17/2020: Post-Thanksgiving Requirements (Fall 2020)

11/17/2020: Post-Thanksgiving Requirements (Fall 2020)

Dear Colleagues,

UW System’s post-Thanksgiving requirements are complex, and we have been determining as an institution how we’ll operate after the break. As we prepare to shift to fully online after Thanksgiving, we have already started receiving requests for exceptions to allow courses to continue in-person instruction or activities. This email reiterates some points of a previous communication and provides additional information and details.

As mentioned in the Friday, November 13 communication, students who engage in on-campus course activities after Thanksgiving will be required to have additional COVID testing, consistent with President Thompson’s order regarding “congregate activities.” Please recognize that these testing requirements will apply to all students who engage in face-to-face instructional activities after Thanksgiving. Please note that President Thompson’s requirements entail that in-person classes will not be held the week of November 30, 2020, because the required twice-tested requirement cannot be met until December 7.

The Monitoring Core Team (MCT) (led by Kim Litwack and Stephen Schmid) will field all requests to continue instructional activities after Thanksgiving. Recognize that if your request is granted, all students in the course must go through the testing regime and cannot participate in activities until December 7. We ask that Deans or Associate Deans submit all requests after vetting within the academic unit. Please send to Stephen (schmids@uwm.edu) the following information for each requested exception:

  1. Course number.
  2. Number of students in course/activity.
  3. Rationale for continuing in-person activities.
  4. Explanation of what accommodations will be in place for students who cannot/will not return to campus for the remaining in-person activities.

After review by MCT and me, MCT will communicate with the person submitting the request. Requests should be sent as soon as possible with a deadline of Wednesday evening, 11/18/20, 5:00 p.m.

In addition to the process above, we want to answer some questions that have arisen.

1. As communicated, campus facilities and residence halls will remain open. Instructors and staff can still access classrooms, offices, and other spaces. We recommend that those who can work at home do so. Most buildings will be open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. The Klotsche and Student Union will be open for their usual hours until Dec. 22; these usual hours are longer than the 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. timeframe to be used for other buildings on campus. The UWM Libraries will also be open after Thanksgiving. Hours will vary by campus location. Please see the Libraries’ website at https://uwm.edu/libraries/about/hours/.

2. Instructors can use their office, studio, classroom, or lab to teach remotely, if they wish.

3. If alone and not part of a group, students can study, practice, create, or work in studio spaces, labs, practice rooms, study areas, or other spaces that facilitate their studies and success in their coursework. If there are multiple students who will be engaging in such activities and they are part of the same course, then an exception should be requested as per the above. Instructors and deans should be able to produce a list of the names for students who will be utilizing the respective facilities.

4. Students engaged in these solo activities are not required to be tested twice before engaging in these solo activities.

For all activities on campus, UWM’s safety protocols remain in effect. The Emergency Operations Center will likely provide additional information this week about any additional non-academic changes to operations.

If there are other questions that need addressing, please do not hesitate to contact me or the MCT leads.

Thank you for your cooperation and understanding and take good care.

Johannes

Johannes Britz
Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

11/13/2020: Post-Thanksgiving Instruction (Fall 2020)

11/13/2020: Post-Thanksgiving Instruction (Fall 2020)

Dear all:

1. Beginning Monday, November 30, all courses with a face-to-face component on any of the three campuses will switch to a fully online format.

  1. This change includes labs and studios.
  2. This change includes all exams including finals.
  3. Internships, practica, and placements off campus are not affected by this change and may continue if allowed by the off-campus site.
  4. Course-related activities on campus needed for student licensure or related reasons may continue on campus after Thanksgiving. These are expected to be very few and we encourage units to get these activities done before Thanksgiving if at all practical.
  5. The Monitoring Core Team (MCT, led by Stephen Schmid and Kim Litwack) will be the starting point for approval of these post-Thanksgiving on-campus course activities. Please send requests to Stephen (schmids@uwm.edu) with the course, the rationale for continuing, and the number of students involved. Students who engage in on-campus course activities may be required to have additional COVID testing completed; more guidance will be coming on that early next week.

2. Instructors of courses with a face-to-face component are expected to contact their students by early next week to convey their plans for online instruction and exams after Thanksgiving.

3. Research activities including graduate students and staff may continue and will be guided by the safety principles and trigger points outlined in the Office of Research COVID-19 plan.

4. With the change to online instruction, faculty and instructional staff may work at home to the extent consistent with the changes. More guidance for deans, division heads, and supervisors, regarding all employees and onsite work, will be coming next week.

5. Residence Halls will remain open and students may continue living on campus. Students will not be offered refunds if they choose not to return to the residence halls.

6. The Emergency Operations Center (EOC) will be working next week to provide more details on how this change may affect other activities and non-academic operations, including those that serve students or prospective students. Bear in mind that these operations are in a different place than last Spring, with significant safety protocols in place and the campus already de-densified.

Take care,

Johannes

Johannes Britz
Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

10/21/2020: Fall 2020 Reminders for Instructors

10/21/2020: Fall 2020 Reminders for Instructors

Dear instructors,

First, thank you for your hard work as we navigate this academic year’s many changes. We appreciate all you are doing for our students. The Registrar’s Office wishes to share a few reminders as we head into the second half of the semester:

  • All course evaluations have moved online. If you are already doing online evaluations through the RO Testing Center, you may want to revise your current array of evaluations to limit the total number of questionnaires. Due to limited staffing during this time, processing evaluation results will take longer than usual. If you do not have online evaluations in place, you can develop your own approach for collecting evaluations, ensuring that security and student anonymity are preserved. You may also work with Lisa Fugina (lfugina@uwm.edu) in the Registrar’s Office to develop an online evaluation in Qualtrics, using current templates and predeveloped questions.
  • While some of you may have made arrangement to offer tests in-person, you should also be prepared to accommodate students who are unable to be physically present because of illness, isolation/quarantine, or other valid reasons. In such cases, instructors are strongly encouraged to offer online exams (Proctorio will be available if needed) or other arrangements at the discretion of the instructor.
  • Due to staff reductions and COVID-19 related guidelines on processing, the timeline for the Registrar’s Office to process Scantron forms will be in excess of two weeks. Given the need to provide timely feedback to students, it is strongly encouraged that instructors use other testing formats (such as blue books).
  • The final exam schedule is published online, and the current final exam policy still stands.
  • At the present time, the plan is to continue instruction in the current mode through the end of the fall semester. Classes taught face-to-face currently will continue in that mode until the end of the semester. UWM leadership monitors the larger COVID-19 situation daily, including positivity rates on campus, and would notify the campus community immediately if this decision were to change.

We appreciate your patience and understanding, and please feel free to reach out with any questions or concerns.

Take care,

Johannes

Johannes Britz
Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

8/28/2020: Instructor FAQ

8/28/2020: Instructor FAQ

Dear Colleagues,

As we prepare for the start of the semester, we know there are many questions arising among our instructors about what to expect and how to handle COVID-19 related events. You will find an Instructor FAQ posted online that provides answers to many questions we’ve been fielding this month.

The questions are particularly relevant to our instructors teaching in-person classes. However, we think all instructors and academic support staff will benefit, since many of you may hear questions from students or colleagues. We’ve tried to keep the document brief while providing detailed information, instructions, and important links for you and your students.

Please spend time with this document. We hope the information and recommended actions will help you and your students navigate these novel and unfamiliar times. We understand that your class or circumstance may have unique considerations not addressed in this document. Should that be the case, please contact your Dean or Adam Jussel, Dean of Students.

As always, I’m grateful for everyone’s commitment and flexibility in preparing for this new academic year. And, I know that your compassion, caring, and flexibility with our students will demonstrate the values of the UWM Panther community.

Take care,

Johannes

Johannes Britz
Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

8/20/2020: Key Updates for Fall Semester

8/20/2020: Key Updates for Fall Semester

Colleagues –

Here are some key updates for the fall semester:

Syllabus statement
The Crisis Management Team (CMT) has now approved the COVID statement for all syllabi. Please provide it to your students, at minimum, in the syllabus document.

Academic Testing
I would also like to take this opportunity to remind you that instructors need to be prepared to accommodate students who are unable to be physically present because of illness, self-isolation/quarantine, or other valid reasons. Instructors should also consider how they can best provide assessments should the campus need to transition to fully online instruction at some point in the semester.

To provide for large-group, proctored exams for hybrid and face-to-face courses, UWM will set up a testing center in the Wisconsin Room of the Union, which can allow up to 150 students to safely take exams at the same time; we may also be able to provide testing in other large lecture halls.

If you already have determined your exam schedule in the fall and would like to use the testing center, please send the following information, via email, to Cheryl Andres at candres@uwm.edu:

Subject/Course number/section (e.g. MATH 105-004):

Enrollment:

Instructor:

Exam dates and times:

Two key considerations:

  1. When making arrangements for students to take tests in-person, instructors should also be prepared to accommodate students who are unable to be physically present because of illness, self-isolation/quarantine, or other valid reasons. In such cases, instructors are strongly encouraged to offer online exams (Proctorio will be available if needed) or other arrangements at the discretion of the instructor.
  1. Due to staff reductions and COVID-19-related guidelines on processing, the timeline for the Registrar’s Office to process Scantron forms will be in excess of two weeks. Given the need to provide timely feedback to students, it is strongly encouraged that instructors use other testing formats (such as use of blue books).

Supplies
If you would like to use your classroom’s blackboard or whiteboard, for health and safety reasons we ask that instructors provide their own markers and chalk and keep them with their own materials. Materials left in classrooms will be disposed of during cleaning.

Take care,

Johannes

Johannes Britz
Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

7/23/2020: Details on Fall Instruction

7/23/2020: Details on Fall Instruction

Colleagues –

In our many communications this summer to current and admitted students, we discussed the significant challenges and successes of the spring semester, and emphasized that while it was likely that fall 2020 would not be a normal semester, we would be well prepared and ready to move quickly to adapt to new challenges.

As you know, we are now looking at a fall semester that is mostly online. As students are learning this, they have lots of questions and concerns, particularly as some of them had some less-than-ideal online experiences in the spring, whether at UWM, on another campus, or in their high school.

On Monday, students received an email from the Registrar’s Office asking them to look at their schedules, which have now been updated; you can see a copy of this email at the bottom of this message. Below, I also summarize the overall messaging students are receiving about the fall and provide critical guidelines on how instructors can best help students stay enrolled and succeed.

Take care,

Johannes

—-

WHAT WE’RE COMMUNICATING TO STUDENTS

Scheduling

  • Students will be receiving an update about the City of Milwaukee’s policies, letting them know that we have been approved to proceed with our fall plans without modifications.
  • Students will soon be provided with course modality details (e.g., “if your last name starts with B, you will be face to face on Mondays”); the Registrar’s Office has asked schedule planners to enter this information by Wednesday, July 22.
  • Advisors are working hard to help students understand their schedule and make plans to progress. They will be depending on instructors and department designees and websites to help students make important choices about what can be accomplished during this unusual semester.

Courses

  • Lecture capture will be available in face-to-face classrooms so that students can watch recordings of lectures, and students will be accommodated as much as possible to make their schedules manageable and to support them if they are no longer able to attend a face-to-face course.
  • All in-person instruction will end 15 minutes early, with the expectation that this time limitation will not reduce the overall content of the course.
  • All individual student meetings with faculty, teaching assistants, peer mentors, advisors, coaches, coordinators, and tutors will happen online. Instructors and student support offices and centers will post clear information about availability and scheduling.

GUIDELINES FOR DEPARTMENTS AND INSTRUCTORS

Communication

  • Identify a point person for your department/course array who can be contacted with any modality/accessibility/content/communication issues; this person will be the go-to person for questions from advisors. We will follow up with department chairs so that we can compile this information.
  • Use email and Canvas to reach out to students enrolled in your courses. Students are experiencing a lot of uncertainty about their courses and plans. Get them excited about what they will learn and provide them with course info. For courses that don’t yet have instructors, the Department Chair or Undergraduate Chair can conduct this outreach.
  • Reach out to students in your majors, minors and certificate programs. A supportive note about the fall from a favorite instructor or from a department chair can make a big difference.
  • Ensure your department web site is up to date. Students will rely more heavily than ever on our digital information. Feature career options, exciting updates in the field and news about faculty and alumni. Help students see that a degree is still the best way to plan their future.
  • Ensure the accuracy of your course listings and provide course information on Canvas as well as on PAWS.

Course Design

  • As I have suggested in the Friday meeting (July 17), it is critical that we use Canvas for all courses, in particular the Canvas gradebook. Online gradebooks are a baseline expectation for students coming out of modern high schools, and the use of Canvas is critical for the reporting work of the Persistence Action Team, which relies on Canvas for aggregate data that can identify patterns for students who are struggling in multiple courses.
  • Plan on working virtually for office hours (and other appointments). Post on Canvas and elsewhere (perhaps in your email signature) how students can make appointments.
  • Plan ahead for how you can best accommodate students who can no longer attend a F2F course. More explicit guidance on accommodations is forthcoming; in the meantime, consider how your course design might adapt to support students who need to stop out, or how it might adapt to move fully online, should that become necessary. Be sure your department designee can get into your Canvas site and send a note to students, post material or assist with grading if needed.
  • Plan backup teaching in the event that you are unable to teach or need to be with family.

July 20th note from the Registrar’s Office:

Schedule of classes updated

Dear students,

The UWM family is eagerly awaiting the start of the fall semester, even though it may look a little different than we thought it would. We know you want to know which of your classes will be online or hybrid (some face-to-face class time as well as online engagement). After careful planning, keeping both safety and top-notch educational experiences in mind, we have made the necessary adjustments to the schedule of classes. Please log into your PAWS account as soon as you can to see what your fall schedule looks like.

Your courses themselves have not changed. We have only made updates to the way in which you’ll experience them. For online components, please review your schedule carefully to see if the teaching will be synchronous (you have to be logged in to the course at a certain day and time) or asynchronous (no designated login time). Synchronous online courses will show a day/time on the schedule when you will meet online for class. Asynchronous online courses will not show a day/time on your schedule.

For face-to-face components, you will see classrooms assigned by the first week in August. Some face-to-face courses are splitting enrollment between two or more meeting days (for example: last names A-L meet on Tuesdays, last names M-Z meet on Thursdays). These details will be added to the course notes section on the Schedule of Classes in the beginning of August. To ensure adequate time for additional cleaning, as well as safe, socially distant entry and exit to and from classrooms, face-to-face classes will be dismissed 15 minutes prior to the published end time.

We are confident that we will provide you with an enriching experience whether your courses are online or hybrid. UWM is the best place in Wisconsin to be for this kind of creative thinking: We have 20 years of experience and leadership in online education, and our Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning has implemented an action plan to train our faculty to provide the best learning opportunities no matter the venue.

If you have questions about your schedule or would like to make changes, please contact your academic advisor (who can be found on the home page of your Student Center in PAWS).

Wishing you a great semester!

6/18/2020: Update on Fall Instruction

6/18/2020: Update on Fall Instruction

Dear colleagues,

This is a follow-up email on the Chancellor’s message yesterday regarding our fall planning with more detail on our planning for instruction. While the scenario plan for the fall incorporates face-to-face teaching, it will still be mainly online, given the social distancing constraints and limited classroom space. Here are some key points about the fall plans.

  1. Social distancing will place enormous constraints on the way that we use classrooms. Depending on the configuration, the capacity of classrooms will drop 3-10 fold. As a result, almost none of the current classroom assignments in the fall schedule would work for the fall.
  2. CDC and other guidance limits us to no more than 50 in a classroom independent of its size.
  3. These factors will push the instruction to be mostly online in the fall. All large classes >100 and most mid-sized (50-100) will be online (the exceptions being courses that wish to be face-to-face and adopt the hybrid approach below). Courses with less than 50 can potentially be face-to-face (see draft process outlined below).
  4. In a practical sense, instead of identifying courses to move online, we will start by assuming that everything will be online and then identify courses that units want to have face-to-face. These courses will be forwarded to a prioritization work group who will work with the registrar’s office to try to find a suitable classroom. We want to get this work done asap.
  5. We will encourage using hybrid teaching methods, especially a “flipped” classroom concept where classes are split in half and each half meets just once a week with the instructor for active or other face-to-face learning. The rest of the content is delivered online. Why are we advocating this approach? We have many classrooms that fit 15 students under social distancing constraints, but very few (a couple dozen at UWM) that can fit 20-30 (our most common class size). By splitting the classes, we more than triple the number of classrooms suitable for face-to-face instruction in our most common-sized courses.
  6. For courses taught in unit-held spaces like labs and studios, the units will have to develop plans for those classes, deciding to offer them online or creating a strategy that allows social distancing in those rooms. This will be very challenging to accomplish in a reasonable way for high-enrollment 100-level lab or studio courses, but more practical for smaller upper-division lab or studio courses. University Safety and Assurances can help on those plans. Note that instructors teaching face-to-face courses with hands-on components should strive to complete those activities by Thanksgiving break, in case we need to go online for the remainder of the semester.
  7. Information on designating courses to be face-to-face will be coming out soon. I’ll be asking the deans which courses units would like to have face-to-face, whether the course is in a general assignment or unit-held space, and whether the instructor is willing to adopt the flipped classroom hybrid approach described above (this will make it more likely that a classroom could be found for the course). Other courses would be delivered online and for those, the request would ask if they need to retain their scheduled time or would operate like our traditional online courses with no time assignment.
  8. We are developing the fee structure for the fall, but the plan as I know it will have the same cost to students for online or face-to-face courses.
  9. UWM cares about all of our faculty and staff, and their safety, and intends to make decisions with respect to staffing in the most supportive way possible, while also trying to accommodate needs of students to learn effectively. Program leads will have the opportunity to take into account the needs of faculty and staff, as well as students, in making instructional assignments.
  10. I have charged a Space Planning group, led by Scott Gronert, to implement the SPWG space recommendations. Diane Reddy will lead a subgroup focusing on space prioritization, following the criteria outlined in the report.

More detail on planning strategies is available at

In addition, we have launched a Fall 2020 Reopening website with updates, FAQs organized by topic and a feature to submit questions.

Take care,

Johannes

Johannes Britz
Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs