Information for faculty and researchers

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Faculty information

1. Academic calendar

Spring 2021 classes will begin on Monday, Jan. 25, and conclude on Friday, April 30. Final exams will take place May 5-12.

The most updated Spring 2021 calendar is now available here.

Top 10 reminders for University employees this year.

2. Faculty accommodation requests

As in the fall semester, we recognize that some faculty and graduate teaching assistants may seek special COVID-19-related teaching accommodations and/or modifications for the spring semester based on their—or that of family members under their care—CDC-recognized, high-risk factors. The deadline to request COVID-19-related teaching accommodations/modifications was on Sunday, Oct. 4, at 11:59 p.m. Faculty and graduate teaching assistants who submitted an accommodation/modification request in the fall semester and would like to continue with those accommodations/modifications for the spring semester needed to have submitted a new request by the deadline.

Faculty members with questions should contact the Office of Faculty Affairs at Graduate teaching assistants with questions should contact the Graduate School at

3. Faculty Club

The Faculty Club will remain closed during the Fall 2020 semester. Information about the Spring 2021 semester will be available soon. For more information or to provide feedback, email or call 305-284-3584.

4. Intellectual property

Faculty work hard to create their courses, and this semester is certainly no exception.  The University affirms its commitment that your coursework is yours by reiterating the longstanding university statements on this.  Specifically, pursuant to the University’s Policy on Inventions, Intellectual Property, and Technology Transfer, “courseware” includes: course syllabi, assignments, assessments, and/or other materials that are first created and made available to students as part of the educational curriculum at the University. Courseware is owned by the faculty member, unless otherwise agreed to beforehand in a written contract between the University and the faculty member. This policy and position has not changed due to recent circumstances, and this policy and definitions apply in the same manner to courses delivered in virtual environments, whether in a synchronous or asynchronous format. Due to the unique nature of the asynchronous format, however, materials developed for such instruction will not be used for faculty reviews. Review of materials hosted on Blackboard, or any other classroom management software, will be governed by the University’s Policy on the Use of Computing Facilities, which requires notice to the affected individual in the unlikely event of a review. 

5. Facilities actions update

Our facilities and operations teams are working to maintain a healthy environment for our University community. View the latest facilities actions update.

6. Library services

Information regarding library services for faculty members is available at Online resources for faculty members are available through University of Miami Libraries 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Books and materials can be requested for pick up at Richter Library and other libraries. Limited in-person access to selected libraries began on Aug. 10, 2020.

Teaching in the Spring semester

1. Teaching modalities

In order to ensure continuity in teaching and learning, spring courses will be taught in three instructional modalities:

  • In-person and on-campus
  • Online in both synchronous (live) and asynchronous (recorded) formats
  • The current version of hybrid and/or blended instruction will be used on a limited basis as we develop and train faculty members in alternative modes of instruction for the spring. We are assessing alternative modalities that have a combination of in-person and online course meetings. The specifics of hybrid and/or blended formats will be determined by the academic departments and the individual instructors of these courses.

DCIE and Academic Technologies have created a series of workshops to help the faculty explore the flipped learning model and best practices in online education. The new series of workshops will run from Dec. 1 to Dec. 18 and then again from Jan. 5 to Jan. 22.

For regular faculty members who complete six or more of these workshops, we will provide a letter as recognition of your commitment to developing your teaching expertise. The letter can be submitted for use in future promotion and tenure reviews. In addition, faculty members who complete six or more workshops will receive a high definition webcam, microphone, or document camera to facilitate successful delivery of flipped learning and online techniques.

Please see the full workshop schedule and register through

The form for students to request remote learning will be available from Dec. 7 to Dec. 22. For more information on remote learning, visit

2. Required course syllabi updated language

The following instructions should be included in course syllabi and reviewed with students.

Camera while remote: There is an expectation/requirement that students will have their camera on if they are attending a session remotely. That is, the expectation/requirement is for online students to engage visually with instructors by enabling their video and applies to students who are in a hybrid out-of-classroom day, are taking the course online, or are in quarantine and remote. Faculty may require students’ video participation by noting this in the course syllabus. “Students who are attending a class session synchronously are required to have their video enabled.”

Face coverings: Face coverings are mandatory at all times while in public spaces on our campuses (whether indoors or outdoors). Failure to follow this requirement will result in disciplinary action for students, faculty, and staff. This is a matter of public health in which the entire community must act in concert to help one another. The CDC does not recommend use of face shields for normal everyday activities or as a substitute for cloth face coverings; for special circumstances they can be used by those with conditions that prevent other forms of face covering. Appropriate masks tightly cover the entire nose and mouth.  Faculty should include explicit policies requiring face coverings and appropriate physical distancing while in the classroom, laboratory, or studio in their course syllabi. Reinforcing this requirement and the right of a faculty member to restrict a student from participating in person should be clearly stated in the syllabus. “Face coverings are mandatory at all times (with the exception of when drinking water) while in on-campus class sessions. Failure to follow this requirement is grounds for disciplinary action and may lead to removal from the course.”

Recordings: Course syllabi should include language prohibiting class recordings. Below is sample language that also must appear in a syllabus. We are expecting that all courses will be captured for asynchronous access.

Students are expressly prohibited from recording any part of this course. Meetings of this course might be recorded by the University. Any recordings will be available to students registered for this class as they are intended to supplement the classroom experience. Students are expected to follow appropriate University policies and maintain the security of passwords used to access recorded lectures. Recordings may not be reproduced, shared with those not in the class, or uploaded to other online environments. If the instructor or a University of Miami office plans any other uses for the recordings, beyond this class, students identifiable in the recordings will be notified to request consent prior to such use.

Class attendance policy: Because students who register for hybrid or in-person instruction must be in class, the following class attendance policy language must be included in course syllabi and reviewed with students:  

Unless you are approved to take this course under the Remote Learning Option, physical attendance in the classroom is required as scheduled. You are expected to participate with your video enabled during your non-classroom days. If at some point in the semester you cannot physically attend class sessions due to COVID-19 illness, isolation or quarantine, you must contact the instructor for permission to temporarily attend the course online. Unexcused absences from the classroom may affect your grade or lead to failing the course. (Please also include your normal attendance/participation language, language on excused and unexcused absences, etc.)

Synchronous course language:“If you are approved to take this course under the Remote Learning Option, attendance in the virtual class is required as scheduled unless this creates undue hardship due to differences in your residential time-zone and that of Miami Florida. If you are a Remote Learning Option student, you may not under any circumstances physically attend the class on campus. If you cannot attend the virtual class due to illness or other reason, you must contact the instructor. Unexcused absences from the classroom may affect your grade or lead to failing the course.  The Attendance Policy for this course are noted…..”

Asynchronous course language: “If you are approved to take this course under the Remote Learning Option, you must keep up with the virtual class as scheduled. You may not under any circumstances physically attend the class on campus. If you cannot keep up with the virtual class due to illness or other reason, you must contact the instructor. Failure to keep up with the virtual class as scheduled may affect your grade or lead to failing the course.”

Assigned student seating:  Students should remain in their assigned seats for the semester to enable the most effective COVID-19 contact tracing, should it be required. All students will be assigned a seat unless your school/college elected to assign seats for students themselves. There will be a link in Blackboard to the assigned schedule. “Your BlackBoard or Canelink assigned seat is your seat for the semester.” -or- “The seat you select on the first day of class must be from among those identified as meeting the physical distance requirements for COVID-19; this seat will be your assigned seat for the remainder of the semester.  This will enable the most effective COVID-19 contact tracing, should it be required.”

Daily symptom checker: As of May 26, 2021, use of the daily symptom checker is no longer required for University of Miami students, faculty, and staff to enter University buildings. Non-University of Miami students and volunteers must still complete the daily symptom checker which takes no more than two minutes to complete and is available online (click here), and UHealth patients must still be screened before entering any hospital or clinic facility.

Intellectual property: We recommend that faculty note in their syllabi that “Professor X is the copyright owner of the courseware; individual recordings of the materials on Blackboard and/or of the virtual sessions are not allowed; and that such materials cannot be shared outside the physical or virtual classroom environment.”

Online exams with Respondus LockDown Browser in Blackboard:  It is important to clearly state on the syllabus how students will be assessed. If you plan to give online exams using the Respondus LockDown Browser available in Blackboard, students must install the Respondus Lockdown Browser software on their personal computer before taking the exam. The webcam feature (Respondus Monitor) will record the student during the online exam so each student’s personal computer must have a webcam, microphone and a broadband connection. Students can download and install the LockDown Browser with this link: Students can also review instructions in the Student Quick Start Guide:

3. Face covering or mask

Face coverings are mandatory at all times in public spaces on our campuses (whether indoors or outdoors). Failure to follow this requirement will result in disciplinary action for students, faculty, and staff. This is a matter of public health in which the entire community must act in concert to help one another. The CDC does not recommend use of face shields for normal everyday activities or as a substitute for cloth face coverings.

If unable to wear a face covering or mask while teaching the following is recommended:

  • Wear a face covering or mask to and from the class (unless there is a medical condition such as trouble breathing).
  • Clean and disinfect podium area (wipe down podium, microphone, keyboard/mouse, etc.) immediately upon entering the class.
  • Wear a face shield while teaching.
  • Stay in an identified area during the lecture that is at least six feet from students—refrain from walking among students or back and forth in front of the class.

4. Cleaning and disinfecting

Individuals will have access to hand-sanitizing stations across our campuses, along with face shields for faculty members. There also will be plexiglass barriers, other forms of personal protective equipment (PPE), and increased sanitization of facilities and common areas, including classrooms. 

Additional cleaning and disinfecting protocols will be implemented throughout all facilities during the day, and there will be more thorough cleanings at night. Disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizers will be installed in all classrooms and students are encouraged to clean their desks and seats at the beginning and end of each class. 

Disinfection of all classrooms will be done nightly with EPA registered fogging systems. 

Faculty are responsible for:

  • Cleaning and disinfecting podium area (wipe down podium, microphone, keyboard/mouse, etc.) immediately upon entering the class.
  • Staying within an identified area during the lecture that is at least six feet from students—and refrain from walking among students or back and forth in front of the class.

Teaching Resources

1. New technologies

We have purchased more than 1,600 lapel microphones, 530 web conference cameras (webcams), and 245 conference microphones. Currently, audio-visual staff are installing webcams in teaching spaces. Each faculty member will be provided with their own personal lapel microphone, along with face shields as noted in prior communications.

2. Preparing to teach hybrid and remote courses

The Office of Academic Technologies has created a guide for faculty, “Preparing to Teach a Hybrid Course.” This guide provides recommendations for creating and delivering a hybrid course in accordance with physical-distancing requirements. Sample topics covered in the guide include how to divide students into groups, engaging students in hybrid formats, sharing handwritten content with Zoom participants, and exams. The guide also provides suggestions on how to structure the beginning, middle, and end of each class session.

3. Copyright guidance

As we move to teaching online during this extraordinary time, all instructional personnel must consider copyright issues raised by making certain materials available digitally. Please review the general copyright guidance from the Office of the Provost. 

4. Additional guides

The Division of Continuing and International Education (DCIE) and the Office of Academic Technologies are working on two additional guides: one for faculty members who are teaching fully remote courses and the other addresses the flipped learning method. 

For more information please see links below:

5. Online course development workshops

Online Course Development Workshops are available to faculty. There are 10, one-hour Zoom sessions that provide essential information about teaching online, remote, and hybrid courses. Topics include using tools in Blackboard, engaging remote students, using polls and breakout rooms in videoconferencing, accommodating students with disabilities, and using narrative techniques such as case studies and student-generated media. To see the schedule and register for a workshop go to

6. Online course delivery checklist

Online Course Delivery Checklist covers the Three Ps of Preparation—plan, prepare, and present—as well as nine crucial etiquette guidelines to follow for a successful remote and/or online session.

Course grid and reduced campus density committee

1. Course grid and reduced campus density committee

We currently have a number of strategic committees (Communications, Community Health & Well-Being, Course Grid and Reduced Campus Density, Testing & Tracing, Events/Activities, PPE Supply Chain Distribution, and Research) comprised of your colleagues from all three campuses, who are working diligently to develop and implement plans and policies that will facilitate our transition to the fall.

Providing in-person instruction in a manner that conforms to CDC physical distancing guidelines is crucial to all of our students and faculty. The Course Grid and Reduce Campus Density Committee has worked to reduce the density of students within every teaching space. The committee has focused on two critical areas—room inventory and course grid offerings—to provide the greatest face-to-face (F2F) and hybrid instruction our students and their families expect.

2. Room inventory

The committee surveyed all academic spaces and other spaces not traditionally used for instruction on the Coral Gables and Marine campuses to ensure CDC guidelines could be met at each. Spaces were converted to instructional area (Watsco Center; Shalala Activity Center ballroom; Fieldhouse; Hurricane 100 room; Newman Alumni multipurpose room; Lakeside Village Expo Hall, Auditorium, Pavilion, and multipurpose room; Kislak Center; Toppel Career Center loft; Founder’s Hall; Casa Bacardi), and three large air-conditioned tents will be installed on the Coral Gables Campus as additional classroom space.

3. Course grid assessment

To ensure remote instruction courses are distributed across both course levels (4xx, 3xx, 2xx, 1xx) and schools and disciplines, the committee collaborated with deans, department chairs, and faculty members to identify courses that could be transitioned to remote learning, hybrid, and face-to-face modalities. As new spaces were identified, courses were converted from remote to F2F or hybrid modalities. At this time, the committee has assigned rooms to 98 percent of all courses where schools requested a larger space. The Office of Faculty Affairs is currently reviewing faculty members’ accommodations and course assignment modification requests in consultation with deans, chairs, and faculty to identify the best course delivery.

4. Adjusting classroom spaces

University Facilities has been adjusting classroom spaces to ensure physical distancing. Facilities will remove excess furniture, label fixed furniture, and affix floor labels to maintain appropriate furniture layout. In some classrooms, student safety shields will be installed.

Schedule an appointment to access your currently assigned general-purpose classroom space

The Office of Classroom Management (OCM) has arranged for you to be assigned a technology support staff member, who will serve as both your virtual trainer and a virtual student to help you become familiar with your classroom and its technology. You will be able to test camera(s) for optimal position in teaching a hybrid course. The form to schedule an appointment is available here. If you have any questions, please call OCM Classroom Support at 305-284-3263 or email

5. De-densified classrooms

A total of approximately 200 classrooms, 90 labs, and 70 additional spaces utilized for scheduled instruction were set up for use in the fall. (Approximately 20 existing spaces have been identified and converted to temporary classrooms and are included in the previous totals.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs) from faculty

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Research continuity

1. Research Standard Operating Procedure (SOP)

The SOP is a living document for research that does not involve human subjects.  When we obtain new knowledge or strategies about COVID-19 to further reduce disease risk, we will revise it. The current SOP is designed for use in faculty and unit planning and provides easy-to-implement guidelines for the first phase of ramp-up. The SOP can be accessed here. Using the online smart form, each faculty member can tailor the SOP to match the needs of their own program of research and scholarship. We have also created a slide deck that covers the key principles of the SOP and can be easily used by faculty members to instruct their team members about the expectations for this phase of ramp-up.

2. Undergraduate research and scholarly activity

Starting in the Fall 2020 semester, the Research SOP has been updated to allow undergraduate students to participate in ongoing research and scholarly activities, a vital component of their experience while at the U. In order to maximize student involvement while maintaining public health and safety, the following requirements must be strictly applied and adhered to:

  • Laboratory, creative studio and/or research workspace have an existing, approved SOP and all team members;
  • Participating students have successfully completed the “We are One U” online training module;
  • Participating student undergo formal training on the SOP tenets;
  • Student involvement does not infringe upon the SOP’s population density and/or physical distancing requirements;
  • SOP must be updated to include the engaged student(s) and resubmitted to the faculty member’s Research Dean;
  • Student(s), faculty, and other team members must wear face coverings consistently and correctly;
  • Student(s), faculty, and other team members must comply with University testing, tracing, and tracking policies.
Faculty are encouraged to consider delaying the start of any undergraduate research experience until after the Labor Day break to ensure that our transition back to campus has been successfully executed. Additionally, faculty should give priority to students interested in these opportunities based on seniority and/or course requirements.

3. ORA readiness for research continuity regarding COVID-1

The Office of Research Administration (ORA) is proactively addressing how to best serve your needs for contract and grant administration. At the highest level, we want to maintain our activities. Based upon current University direction and agency updates, ORA is open for business and will continue to be while practicing social distancing and using our current technology to serve your pre- and post-award needs. We will also be sending out updates from sponsoring agencies as received and be available for questions. If you would like to contact someone about a specific issue, please connect to the following link for the individual best suited to know your proposal and/or award.

4. Research continuation guidance

All research, scholarly, and creative activities must follow the requirements outlined in the communications sent to faculty by the vice provost for research, which also is available on the University’s COVID-19 site. All faculty members planning to resume their research, scholarly, and creative activities that do not involve human subjects may do so following submission, review, and approval of a standard operating procedure document by designated leadership in their schools/colleges.

5. Guidelines for ramping up human-subject research

When restarting human subject research activities, investigators and research staff must follow the guideline “Ramping up Human Subjects Research.” It enables this important work to resume while relying on evidence-based practices to reduce unnecessary risk and exposure. The guideline places special emphasis on vigilance and strict adherence to avoid a resurgence of infection. Researchers, who have not already done so, should adjust existing SOPs and amend IRB protocols to accommodate these changes to study implementation. Please note: Any changes to the protocol, informed consent process, data collection, and/or overall design—requires IRB approval before implementation. If you have any questions or need additional information, contact your research dean or Erin Kobetz, vice provost for Research and Scholarship, at

Frequently asked questions (FAQs) about research

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Latest messages for faculty and researchers