COVID-19: Faculty FAQs

Following are questions asked by A&S faculty in a survey conducted at the end of March 2020, with answers provided by the A&S Dean’s Office.

General

How long do we expect this to last?

The UA System and University are closely monitoring the situation. We cannot speculate about the length of limited business operations or remote classes at this time.

How can we help distressed and/or displaced students?

The best way to help students is to check in with students you know personally to see how they are doing, and refer them to resources as needed. You may also support or refer students to the Tide Together Student Support Fund administered by the Division of Student Life. This is the quickest and most effective way of ensuring that students have the financial resources they need during this time.

To assist with helping College of Arts and Sciences graduate students specifically, contact Dr. Utz McKnight, chair of gender and race studies, who is overseeing the College’s Food and Economic Security Group. Email Utz at utz.mcknight@ua.edu.

Teaching

Can we eliminate SOIs this semester?

No, we will still administer SOIs. Students deserve the opportunity to comment on course quality and content. They may highlight exceptional efforts.

Do students have the option to have a letter grade or to take courses pass/fail?

Yes, both undergraduate and graduate students may choose on a course-by-course basis to take a letter grade or to take the course pass/fail. More information will be posted on the Registrar’s website as it becomes available.

Is the University committed to maintaining face-to-face sections of courses?

To maintain the safety of our faculty and students, we are unable to have face-to-face courses at this time. We understand that this isn’t ideal. We will resume face-to-face instruction as soon as we are able to do so in accordance with University and CDC guidelines.

Is there a way to email graded assignments in bulk back to students using Blackboard?

There is not a way to email the assignments through Blackboard in bulk. However, you can have students submit assignments to Blackboard, and then you can grade each assignment in Blackboard and instruct the students to look for feedback on their assignments in their accounts.

Tenure/Career

Can the FAR deadline be extended?

The College is being flexible given our current circumstances; however, all faculty should consult with your chair to confirm a date for your FAR submission.

How will tenure clocks be affected by the current disruptions? Can there be an extension to account for disruptions in research?

The University is offering an optional one-year extension to all probationary faculty, subject to some conditions. For more information, read the University’s tenure clock extension policy (PDF)

Please note that faculty wishing to take this extension must notify their chair in writing by June 1. Chairs will route these requests to Associate Dean Tricia McElroy. Confirmation of extensions will come from the Provost’s office in July.

The College of Arts and Sciences recognizes the disruption and stress caused by the current pandemic. The COVID-19 extension will be viewed no differently than any other approved extension.