March 27, 2020—It has been quite a week. Thank you for your extraordinary patience as we work as a community to address this fast-moving and complex public health crisis. I understand this has been a difficult period as each of us tries our best to manage our obligations to our students, as well as our care for others, technology challenges and responding to this rapidly changing situation. Know that your efforts are appreciated by myself, the entire university leadership team and most importantly by our students. I share this message from a student about Dr. Huettenmueller in Mathematics, as just one example, “I could not let her hard work go unnoticed … It shows me that my efforts are reciprocated and that I am not alone.”
I know none of this is easy. I am asking for your continued flexibility.
- Please be flexible and sensible when it comes to grading. Our students are facing additional obstacles to completing their education this semester. We are considering allowing students to opt-in for pass/no pass and when a plan is finalized I will share it with you.
- If you have any students that have not yet returned to class, please let an advisor know so they can reach out and check in with the student to see if there is anything we can do to support them.
- If you have a student experiencing financial need, you can encourage them to submit an application for emergency funding through Start Green, Stay Green.
- With the National Guard being activated, we may have some of our students called to duty. The Dean of Students Office is ready to assist our students and support our faculty. If a student lets you know they are being called to duty, please contact the Dean of Students Office and they will handle coordination.
- The Writing Center is supporting our students this semester. Some of our faculty will be issuing written final exams. If it is acceptable for the student to work with the Writing Center in the preparation of their final exam, please let your students know. The Writing Center will not accept draft exams unless the student can share an email from the faculty member indicating this is acceptable.
- In order to protect your intellectual property, I encourage you to consider adding the following statement in your syllabus: “Class recordings are reserved for use only by students in this class for educational purposes. The recordings should not be shared outside the class in any form. Failing to follow this restriction is a violation of the UNT Code of Student Conduct and could lead to disciplinary action.”
- As a Coursera partner we are now able to offer any content available online in Coursera to our students for free. Please see http://teachanywhere.unt.edu/coursera for details.
I know some of you may be experiencing your own struggles during this difficult time. Our Employee Assistance Program provides access to virtual counseling sessions at no-cost.
I’ll close by sharing an example of how our students are creating impacts in the world around us. Every night at 9 p.m., Alisa Coffey, UNT D.M.A. student and Principal Harpist for the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, is part of a Facebook series called “Bedtime with Bach,” which posts music as a way to bring comfort. Her work with the Arkansas Symphony is highlighted by the The Washington Post and CNN.
I am incredibly privileged to be part of the UNT community. Every day of this health crisis I have been inspired by the caring our faculty and staff are showing to each other as we continue to deliver on our mission. Thank you!