The end of the spring semester is upon us, and what a long, strange trip it has been. Together, the UHD community showed what is possible when faced with unexpected challenges. Yes, our work will continue into the summer, as we teach summer classes, recruit and register students, and prepare for a fall semester in a post-COVID world. Still, we hope that each of you finds time to rest, rejuvenate, and enjoy all that a Houston summer offers. We also encourage you to check in regularly via your UHD email; we will make every effort to provide biweekly updates on any/all issues related to fall planning, resource allocations, and campus operations and access.
The updates below provide guidance on return to campus options as well as travel, student funding support, and grading for spring and summer. Please note that all previous updates and communications are archived on the Keep On Teaching at UHD webpage under the Notifications/Updates tab.
Faculty (and student worker) Return to Campus: Throughout the month of May, faculty may continue to access their offices on an as-needed basis, but faculty should limit those campus interactions to only those visits deemed absolutely necessary. During May, faculty should continue to check in at the Police Department in the OMB to register their presence with police and security personnel. Starting May 20th, faculty with research labs may reengage with those labs, but, except for specifically identified student workers who are employed by the university during the summer, students should not engage in person with research labs prior to August 1st.
After June 1st, and through the remainder of the summer, faculty, at their discretion, may engage with the campus in order to conduct their work and prepare for summer and fall teaching, and to pursue their research and service activities. However, all of the rules pertaining to health and wellbeing apply as stipulated in ESO guidelines and elsewhere in official communications from UHD and UHS, including guidelines related to the use of PPE, social distancing, and congregating in numbers. Please note that these guidelines stipulate that all faculty, staff, and students returning to campus must complete mandatory safety training – more information is forth coming.
Except for a limited number of essential student workers who are employed for on-campus work during the summer, students are not expected to be on campus prior to August 1st. All teaching and student support services will be delivered remotely during the summer. Those few essential student workers who are required to come to campus during the summer will be expected to observe all necessary health and wellness precautions as well as complete mandatory training.
Travel Restrictions: UHD travel restrictions will be extended through the end of July as described here: https://www.uhd.edu/administration/emergency-management/coronavirus/Pages/default.aspx. For anyone who needs to travel for professional purposes starting August 1st, those requests can be reviewed (and potentially approved) by unit managers. Unit managers should carefully scrutinize the requests to make sure that it is essential/significant professional travel. Non-essential and/or optional travel requests should not be approved at this time, both for health considerations and for budgetary considerations. Any travel approved for the fall should come with the understanding that travel restrictions may have to be extended beyond August 1st, depending on the circumstances (related to either ongoing COVID disruptions or to increased budgetary restraints).
Use of CARES act and Gator Emergency Funds: Aid from both CARES Act Federal Funding and the Gator Emergency Fund is being distributed to students. We want to thank our financial aid team and student affairs team for their ongoing commitment to the timely review of student aid applications and the distribution of these aid funds to our students in need. Here is information for students about these resources: https://www.uhd.edu/financial/emergency-funds/Pages/default.aspx.
Survey Data from Students: The UHD survey of students that was distributed as a substitution for the IDEA survey closed on May 12. Survey results will be made available in aggregate forms as soon as the data can be analyzed.
Grading and S/U Implementation: Faculty must post all final course grades in BB today (May 13) by 5:00 p.m. for students to review. Students must contact faculty to request the S/U option—without a specific request from a student, faculty must enter the letter grade earned when the registrar’s grading period opens on May 19 at 8:00 a.m. Faculty must complete grade entry by noon on May 23. If you get requests for students to use the S/U option, please maintain a record of these requests for one year.
Instructions for faculty and students on the S/U timeline and steps from the Registrar can be found here: https://www.uhd.edu/registrar/Pages/interim-grading-option.aspx . We also have an FAQ on grading for faculty here: https://www.uhd.edu/keeponteachinguhd/Pages/Grading.aspx
May and Summer S/U Option: The S/U grading option for students has been extended to the May mini-mester and all summer sessions. The key elements will remain the same:
1) Faculty will establish letter-grade systems as usual for their courses, stated clearly on syllabi (please do not establish a unique or distinct “S/U” option)
2) Faculty will post letter grades in BB for students to review—but the window here for students will be notably shorter than in spring. [Students must opt in by the deadline published—if they do not request an S/U, faculty must enter the letter grade.]
3) Faculty will enter the official grades for the registrar after the student opt-in period.
Revised calendar dates for each session will be released shortly—please watch for this information and ensure that grades are posted as required for each session that you are teaching. Ideally, you can include in your syllabus these deadlines for students for the S/U process.
We wish the entire UHD community a wonderful summer!All information from these update messages will also be available on the Provost’s Office website: Keep on Teaching