Spring Instruction Faculty Update
01/10/2022, 08:30:02 AM
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Paula Myrick ShortSenior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost

Dear Faculty Member:

I greatly appreciate your dedication as we prepare for the start of classes on January 18 and work to limit the impact of the Omicron variant. Given the current public health conditions and as addressed in President Khator’s Jan. 7 communication, we are modifying instructional operations in the short term to respond to these new challenges. Just as we did for the fall 2021 semester, UH will implement a soft opening of classes for the first two weeks of the spring semester (Jan. 18-30).

Faculty instructors will be given the flexibility to address classroom density concerns that may exist. In providing this flexibility, the following conditions must be met:

  1. Any course delivery modifications implemented by the instructor should help reduce density in the classroom;
  2. all students currently enrolled in a face-to-face or hybrid class must have at least one in-person experience per class each week; and
  3. class materials covered during in-person experiences must be easily available to those students who are not present in the face-to-face classroom.

Faculty members have discretion in how to conduct the first two weeks of classes, as long as any modifications you choose to implement satisfy the parameters listed above. For example:

  • Faculty who are comfortable with the existing density level in their assigned classrooms may proceed with typical face-to-face delivery during the class days and times currently listed on the class schedule.
  • Faculty instructors who have concerns regarding density levels in their assigned classrooms may choose to reduce the density. To achieve this, faculty may consider assigning students to face-to-face attendance days alphabetically based on the last name or based on student preference, if practical.
  • Faculty instructors choosing to reduce density by alternating student face-to-face and virtual attendance days have the flexibility to provide the virtual class experience either synchronously through livestreaming of their face-to-face class, or asynchronously by providing online access to recorded face-to-face lectures and/or providing class materials in some other digital format.

Please communicate with your students prior to the first day of class regarding your approach to instructional delivery for the first two weeks of the semester. To facilitate the smooth delivery of virtual course materials, faculty instructors are encouraged to provide materials through Blackboard or Microsoft Teams. Course shells for both formats can be requested by logging in to AccessUH and clicking on the “Course Request System” icon. We also have many other resources available to faculty instructors to assist you with virtual instruction and the use of online instructional tools that can be accessed through either the Power-On website or the FED website.

Please review the syllabus document, which has been created to assist you with communicating current policies, resources and expectations to our students. This document includes required language for inclusion in all syllabi along with recommended language for faculty consideration concerning the encouragement of vaccinations and face coverings. An FAQ for faculty instructors is available on the Office of the Provost website.

The University will continue to monitor local conditions and track positive cases within the campus community. At this time, we expect classes to return to their original formats on Jan. 31. Please refer to the UH COVID-19 website for the latest developments.

Warm regards,

Paula Myrick Short
Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, UH System
Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost, UH
Distinguished Professor of Education

provost@uh.edu | 832.842.0550

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