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COVID-19: Message to Faculty - Reasonable Teaching & Learning Expectations in Imperfect Times

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University of Denver

Planning for Coronavirus (COVID-19)

News  •

Dear colleagues,

I want to acknowledge the amount of stress the DU community is experiencing in light of COVID-19 outbreaks. I appreciate the patience, flexibility, and grace of our faculty, students, and staff as we continue to solve problems collaboratively and provide excellence in education.

Many faculty have requested a formal extension of spring break or grading deadlines. I understand the many pressures that are pushing faculty to request extra time. Be flexible in your planning and kind to yourselves and your students as we all adapt. I ask that you do your best and model flexibility by communicating any necessary delays clearly to students. While we aim to meet our deadlines, we can afford faculty grace under these unusual circumstances. Feel comfortable submitting grades up to a week late. Some students will be negatively affected if we go beyond that timeline.

As we move our classes online, be sure to communicate clearly with students about how you will ramp up courses to full steam. We’ll all need to make the adjustment to online teaching one step at a time, that includes our students. Prioritize what students really need to know for the first few days. In recognition that you are especially impacted by the transition to online platforms, I want to share some tips from our colleagues in the Office of Teaching and Learning (OTL). Don't hold yourself to a standard of perfection on the first day. Our classes may be imperfect, but we can still demonstrate the depth of our DU brand by reaching out to our students, personally if possible, and asking how they are doing, adjusting and feeling. Remember that this shift in modality may not align with their learning preferences which will require adjustment.

I am impressed by the ways in which members of our academic community are stepping up to support one another and share their expertise. Please continue to extend your support to each other within and across departments, units, and the university. Meet each other with kindness. Faculty- to-faculty support allows a sharing of on-the-ground creativity and camaraderie alongside technical support. Our strengths at DU include the depths of our roots as a community supporting each other. We will get through this together, and we may just come out more connected and better prepared for the future.   

Thank you for all you are doing. 


Corinne Lengsfeld

Interim Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor