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January 31 Resuming In-person Instruction

Friday, January 21, 2022

Dear Faculty and Academic Staff:
As President Stanley and senior leadership just shared in an email to the university community, we are concluding our three-week period of remote instruction. On Monday, January 31, as anticipated at the outset of the semester, educators are expected to deliver courses in the modality published in our course catalog. Likewise, students are expected to attend in the same modality. The professional and health colleges may have different transition dates based on clinical rotations and other academic calendar matters. Please consult with your unit’s leadership for guidance as we work together during this spring semester.
Moving forward, we will inevitably encounter situations that require special care. I encourage educators with particularly challenging circumstances to discuss them with their chairs and deans to determine the most equitable solution to short-term circumstantial needs. Full consideration should be given to educators who face difficulties, balanced against delivering the promises we made to our students when their course modalities were originally determined.
I encourage everyone to be as flexible as possible with one another and with students to enable our continued safety and success. Given the ongoing pandemic, plus the fact that February is traditionally the height of flu season, some students and educators will be impacted by illness. We must help students find ways to continue making academic progress despite situations that may necessitate their absence from classes.
Academic Governance has offered some concrete actions we will take to support students. These actions include increasing the window of time for a student to choose the Credit/No Credit option for eligible classes, initiating discussions that could increase the number of classes eligible for the C/NC option, and adopting a course repeat policy that allows students the ability to retake any class regardless of the grade they earned the first time. Mark Largent, Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education and Dean of Undergraduate Studies, recently sent a message about these changes to faculty, academic staff, and undergraduate students.
Together we have learned a great deal about continuity of education and ways to bridge institutional and personal needs. The first three weeks of the semester allowed for both and as we move ever forward, we will continue to work toward a model of operational consistency that understands context. Our Keep Teaching website continues to provide best practices for teaching in-person, hybrid, remote, and online courses; please reference it in support of your work this semester.
Thank you for providing a strong start to the educational pursuits of the student body of Michigan State University as together we move through the coming weeks. 
My best,
Teresa K. Woodruff, Ph.D. (she/her/hers)
Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs
MSU Foundation Professor