Provost's update for faculty

Welcome to the fall 2020 semester! This brief update serves as a quick guide to important activities, dates, initiatives, and contacts that will help you navigate this semester at VCU. For up-to-date information on key initiatives and opportunities as well as a directory of contacts, visit provost.vcu.edu. For information related to the university’s response to COVID-19, visit OneVCU: Responsible Together.

New for fall 2020

  • A permanent pass/fail grade option policy begins in fall 2020
  • The university will be closed and no classes will be held on Election Day (Nov. 3).

New and updated resources

Before classes begin on Aug. 17

The last day for students to add a course is August 24; the last drop a course is Aug. 31. We ask that faculty provide students enrolled in their courses as much information as possible ahead of time so that the students have ample time to work with their advisors and make prudent course enrollment decisions. If you haven’t already, please consider taking these steps this week:

Post your syllabi

Email your students

  • Introduce yourself, provide your contact information and office hours (virtual or in person)
  • Share your syllabus, course modality and clarity on the first class meeting (where and when)
  • Emphasize that fall 2020 health and safety requirements are for all of us:
    • Wearing face coverings and physical distancing are required for in person sessions (students and instructors)
    • Faculty have completed the Return to Campus training and will complete a daily health check
    • Students are required to have completed the Return to Campus training for students and must monitor their daily health
    • Any Monroe Park Campus student needing an accomodation to the face covering requirement should contact the Student Accessibility and Education Office. MCV Campus students should contact the Division for Academic Success.
    • Students who cannot, or are unwilling to, comply with the social distancing and face covering requirements should contact their advisor.
  • Reiterate that, because you and the university care about their success, you will let students know if they are not meeting the academic expectations of the course early in the semester by issuing a Progress Report email with suggestions for ways to improve performance.
  • Note that students have options for additional support and information such as:

Provide timely feedback for undergraduate students in September and October

Our students have varying needs. While some students may thrive in a hybrid or online course, others may find those modalities more challenging. To provide ample opportunities for students to improve their grades or, if needed, take advantage of the pass/fail grading option, timely feedback is essential.

VCU provides two methods to help faculty set and reinforce high academic expectations in their undergraduate classes by providing timely feedback to students regarding their academic performance: progress reports and midterm grades.

  • Progress reports are due between Sept.1 and Sept. 21
  • Midterm grades are due between Sept. 22 and Oct. 23

If you have any questions, please contact navigate@vcu.edu.

Stay informed