Information for faculty and researchers

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Faculty information

1. Academic calendar

All classes will begin on Monday, Aug. 17—one week earlier than originally planned—and on-campus instruction will conclude on Nov. 20—the Friday before Thanksgiving. There will be one additional day of online-only instruction on Monday, Nov. 23, and a reading day on Tuesday, Nov. 24. Final exams will be conducted exclusively online and will take place from Nov. 30 to Dec. 4.

The revised academic calendar enables students to travel home for the Thanksgiving holiday and not return to campus again until the spring semester, thereby limiting the frequency of travel and potential for virus transmission and spread. The most updated Fall 2020 calendar is now available here.

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. Faculty requesting COVID-19-related teaching accommodations/modifications must complete and submit the form available here by Sunday, Oct. 4, at 11:59 p.m. Faculty and graduate teaching assistants who submitted an accommodation/modification request in the fall semester, and who would like to request an accommodation/modification for the spring semester, must submit a new request.

Faculty with questions should contact the Office of Faculty Affairs at facultyaffairs.cg@miami.edu. Graduate teaching assistants with questions should contact the Graduate School at graduateschool@miami.edu.

3. Faculty Club

The Faculty Club will remain closed for service during the Fall 2020 Semester. The space, however, will be available for faculty and staff members to use for private dining during lunchtime. Faculty and staff members can bring in food purchased on campus or off campus. Doors will be closed but unlocked and accessible Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Requirements: 

  • Masks or facial coverings are required to access the dining area, unless sitting at a table eating.
  • All tables are physically distanced as per University, city. and county guidelines: six feet apart, three feet distance between diners when sitting across from each other, and four persons maximum to each table.
  • Faculty and staff members may choose to sit together at their own discretion.
  • Maximum capacity in the dining area should not exceed 50.
  • Waste receptacles have been placed in the club to ensure proper disposal of used PPE.
  • A hand sanitizer is also available for use when handwashing is not an immediate option.
  • Sanitation wipes will be available to clean tables.
  • The University reserves the right to adjust and/or limit access to the Faculty Club at any time during the semester in response to changing needs, guidelines, and government mandates.

For more information or to provide feedback, email  diningservices@miami.edu 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 https://www.library.miami.edu/about/faculty.html. 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 Fall semester

1. Teaching modalities

While most classes will occur in person, to allow for proper physical distancing and to meet the specific needs of faculty members whose preexisting health conditions may limit their on-campus activities, some classes may be offered in remote or hybrid—a mix of online and in-person—formats.

All classes will be offered in both synchronous/asynchronous modalities, initially to ensure that students who become ill do not have to attend class. This is now the most basic version of our online commitment to students.

Faculty members should consider assigning one student each day to be the emissary/advocate for the online students and be responsible for relaying questions or providing awareness of their questions to the instructor. In very large classrooms, we are currently exploring the option of undergraduate work-study student advocates to serve in this role (e.g., Watsco Arena, Shalala Ballroom, etc. We expect to have an answer on this by 8/14/2020 and will need a few days to find students for the various classrooms if feasible.

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: Students, faculty, and staff who are on campus are required to use a daily symptom checker and respond appropriately to the guidance it provides. When using the daily symptom checker, a student must receive a green “Good to Go” message before attending class. If a student receives a Red “PLEASE STAY HOME” message after completing the daily symptom tracker then they are required to stay home and must notify their instructor.  The daily symptom checker takes no more than two minutes to complete and is available online or via the UMiami mobile app (available for download from Google Play (Android) or the App Store (iPhone/iOS)). “Students are required to use the Daily Symptom Checker and be cleared to attend class each day. Students may be asked to show the green “Good to Go” notice. You may be required to produce your notice at any time while on campus. Students who fail to comply or to produce “Good to Go” notice will be asked to leave the classroom.”  You could also think about positive rewards for those who produce the app on multiple days, for example.

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: https://download.respondus.com/lockdown/download.php?ID=527636896 Students can also review instructions in the Student Quick Start Guide: https://web.respondus.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/RLDB-Quick-Start-Guide-Bb-Student.pdf

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. 

5. Assigned student seating

We recommend that faculty use assigned seating for the semester. The seat students take on the first day of class can be their assigned seat for the remainder of the semester to enable the most effective COVID-19 contact tracing, should it be required.

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 https://dli.dcie.miami.edu/events/index.html.

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 classroomsupport@miami.edu.

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 and will be revised to account for new knowledge about COVID-19 and/or strategies to further reduce disease risk. The current SOP is designed for use in faculty/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/scholarship. We have also created a slide deck that covers the key principles of the SOP and can be easily used by faculty to instruct their team members about the expectations for this phase of ramp-up.

The slide deck can be accessed here.

Faculty should continue to follow the Research SOP, which is based on our robust, evidence-based strategy to reduce disease transmissibility, devised by UHealth clinical leadership and public health experts, and relies on five Ts—testing, tracing, tele-vigilance, tracking, and teamwork—to minimize new exposure and spread of infection.

The SOP is organized around four key principles:  low population density in our buildings and on our campuses, physical distancing, personal safety, and environmental hygiene.

These principles reflect known, evidence-based approaches for reducing the risk of COVID-19 infection. Together with increased access to testing for University employees with COVID-19 symptoms and ongoing contact tracing, these principles, if adhered to completely and consistently, can keep us as safe and healthy as possible during this uncertain time. However, please note, ramping-up of research and scholarly activity is always reversible. Even with full University-wide compliance to SOP guidelines, we must be prepared to return to a lower level of work at any point, given the evolving nature of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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. https://www.ora.miami.edu/about-ora/contact-us/who-is-my-ora-contact-person/index.html

4. Research continuation guidance

All research, scholarly, and creative activities must follow the requirements outlined in the communication sent to faculty by the vice provost for research and available on the University’s COVID-19 site. All faculty members planning to resume their research, scholarly, and creative activities on their respective campuses 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

As the incidence of COVID-19 continues to decline across South Florida and the University, the Human Subject Research Office is ramping up most previously suspended activities related to human subject research and scholarship. The new guidelines enable this important work to resume and rely on evidence-based practices to reduce unnecessary risk and exposure and place 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 significant changes to the informed consent process, data collection, and/or overall design—will require IRB approval. If you have any questions, you should contact your research dean or Vice Provost for Research and Scholarship Erin Kobetz at ekobetz@med.miami.edu.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs) about research

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Latest messages for faculty and researchers

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