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Faculty Information

We have made some changes in spring operations compared to fall semester based on directives from the USG, feedback from the faculty survey, feedback from the student survey and additional resources that have become available. We will continue to monitor the pandemic and immediately alert faculty if there are any changes in guidance from the USG between now and the start of spring term.

We continue to practice and promote preventative measures that are necessary to keep our faculty, staff, and students safe and healthy on campus.  There are various avenues of support for faculty available. 

Classrooms may look different and the way that instruction is delivered may be different, but we support our faculty members and know that COVID-19 does not change your dedication to the success of our students.

COVID-19 Training

We have developed specific trainings for supervisors, employees and students to complete. This training is required for all members of the UNG community.

The training includes proper sanitation, hygiene and social distancing practices. When employees and students complete the training, they will be asked to acknowledge the completion of the training and to commit to adhering to all safety protocols.

Academic Instruction Information

The goal is to keep as much face-to-face, high-quality educational experience while ensuring social distances. The following guidance applies to all academic units:

  • Where appropriate, UNG will leverage technology to support both teaching and learning.
  • UNG's planning and assessment processes will adjust, as necessary, to ensure it can continue to monitor the impact of changes made during this time on operational effectiveness and student learning.
  • Academic instruction will follow the guidelines under Workplace and Health Safety and Preventative Practices sections in the UNG Return to Campus Fall 2020 plan.
  • Faculty are encouraged to follow UNG guidelines, but may not be more restrictive than what has been put into place. 

Effective July 15, 2020, the use of face coverings is required by students, faculty, staff, and visitors in UNG buildings and facilities where six feet of social distancing may not be possible. Face covering use will be in addition to and is not a substitute for social distancing. Face coverings are not required in one's own residence hall room or suite, when alone in an enclosed office or study room, or in campus outdoor settings where social distancing requirements are met.

D2L Access for Students Prior to Start of Term

Students will have access to their courses in D2L beginning Friday, Jan. 8 before classes begin on Monday, Jan. 11. Faculty should have syllabi for all classes and rotation schedules for hybrid classes posted in D2L by that time so that students will know which day to attend class the first week.

Hybrid Classes

Hybrid classes will begin meeting in person with rotations the first week of classes.

All H1, hybrid 1 courses, are expected to meet 50% face to face or a minimum of once per week. Classes that have a MWF schedule are expected to divide into a maximum of 3 cohorts with each meeting once per week. Classes that have a TR schedule or MW schedule are expected to divide into 2 cohorts each meeting once per week. Courses which are scheduled one day per week are expected to divide into 2 cohorts each meeting on alternate weeks to achieve 50% face to face instruction. H3 courses should also strive to meet the 50% face to face instruction guideline from the BOR.

Office Hours

Faculty teaching hybrid courses are encouraged to offer a mix of online and face-to-face office hours, or the possibility of appointments for in person office hours. Faculty-directed options for and directions on how to access office hours should be posted in the syllabus.

Attendance Policy for Students

For spring semester, we will return to our traditional attendance policy.  The following has been communicated to students and posted on the website:

  • The University of North Georgia expects students to attend all regularly-scheduled classes for instruction and examination. In hybrid courses, students are expected to participate fully in both the online portion and the face-to-face portion of the course. These two components of the course complement each other; one is not a substitute for the other.
  • When a student is compelled for any reason to be absent from class, the student should immediately convey the reason for the absence directly to the instructor. The student is responsible for all material presented in class and for all announcements and assignments.
  • Instructors may request documentation to verify the extenuating circumstances. For illness or self-isolation related to COVID-19, the Deans of Students will notify the faculty.

Early Alert

When faculty have a concern about a student, they can submit an early alert, but please be aware that it takes some time to follow up on each one.

Faculty Withdrawal of Students

Students who stop attending class may be administratively withdrawn (with or without academic penalty); a grade of W may be assigned when students fail to attend 10% of any class meetings prior to the midpoint of the term; a grade of WF will be assigned when students stop attending after the midpoint.

Students should not be administratively removed from a course for poor performance only. For online courses, DETI recommends that attendance should be monitored by submission of items that signal participation rather than relying solely on log-in reports.

Synchronous Online Activities

Faculty may include synchronous online activities for hybrid and totally online courses for spring 2021; however, they should be sensitive to possible time conflicts for students with other classes since there is no regularly scheduled time slot for such activities.

Possible approaches might include making online synchronous activities optional, scheduling more than one session to choose from, and/or polling students to define an agreed upon time. While Zoom classes and other such activities are encouraged where possible, they may not replace the 50% face to face requirement for hybrid courses.

Final Exam Format and Exam Guidelines in General

The format of the final exam for spring 2021 is left to the discretion of the faculty. We have a final exam schedule in place for in-person exams if the need for social distancing has diminished by May and it is possible to bring in the entire class. Faculty may opt to offer exams online instead, work with department chairs to schedule an alternate space for the final exam that can accommodate the entire class with social distancing, use a different format for the final assessment that does not require all students to be physically present, or test the class by cohort beginning the final week of class, which would necessitate constraining the testing session to the class period.

Whatever method is selected, the information should be clearly communicated to the students and included in the syllabus. Please be sensitive to the accumulated cost to students across their schedule throughout the semester when proctoring is required. Respondus is the only proctoring software that does not have a fee associated with it. In hybrid courses, if you plan to require virtual proctoring, add a note to your syllabus that indicates there may be fees associated with that. Students may be eligible for limited additional funding if the cost of testing is a barrier for them. Please refer these students to financial aid.

Use Calendar Feature in D2L

One of the most consistent pieces of feedback we received from students was about the challenges in keeping track of deadlines, when assignments were due, and when to go to class. There was no consistency across courses in how and where instructors communicated this information.

Please ensure that all assignment due dates are included on the D2L calendar for your course and try to minimize changes to the calendar. Encourage your students to use the Brightspace Pulse app, which can be configured to send push reminders for due dates.

Outdoor Spaces with Wifi

We are working on better signage to identify outdoor areas where wifi is accessible. The locations are indicated on campus maps on the IT Connectivity Resources page. We are also exploring identifying outdoor teaching spaces for use spring semester and possible reservation system.

Technology in the Classroom

We have invested in Voice Lift technology for classrooms and in equipping approximately 100 classrooms with Zoom classroom soft conferencing technology. We anticipate that installation will be completed by the beginning of spring semester. Once installation is complete, we will communicate that information and the locations of this technology on each campus.

Research

Undergraduate research may take place, with strict social distancing enforced. Students required to share laboratory space will use a facility scheduling scheme developed by each department. While it is hoped that all students wanting to participate in undergraduate research will be able to do so, social distancing will likely result in reduced research time for most students. 

Learn more about research spaces in Appendix D of the Employee Return-to-Campus Plan.

Revised Spring 2021 Calendar

  • Jan. 11 - Classes begin
  • Jan. 18 - MLK, Jr. holiday
  • March 9 - Instructional Break
  • April 1-2 -  Spring holiday
  • April 30 - Classes end
  • May 3-7 - Final Exams

Full Spring 2021 Academic Calendar

Past Faculty/Staff Town Halls

Did you miss a town hall?

View past faculty/staff virtual town hall meetings (login required)

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Please note that some of the images and videos on our site may have been taken before social distancing, face coverings and restricted gatherings were required.

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