Message from the Provost, April 4, 2020

From: “Nina Mikhalevsky (nmik)” <>
Date: Saturday, April 4, 2020 at 7:11 AM
To: “Nina Mikhalevsky (nmik)” <>
Subject: Message from the Provost

Dear Colleagues,

There has been quite a surge of activity and change over the past two weeks and I want to be sure that all of you are aware of some updates and key changes.

While these weeks have been increasingly stressful with COVID developments, you all continue to provide a positive learning environment though your efforts and care for your students, and it is important to acknowledge the very difficult work you are doing, and doing well.

I also want to make special mention of the incredible staff who continue to support both the faculty and students in our remote instructional and work environments. Just as faculty had to pivot and transition to on-line instruction with short notice, so did the staff across campus—in the Library, Teaching Center, Digital Learning Support, Registrar’s Office, ODR, Academic Services, Career Center—as well as the Tally Center, Student Accounts, Admissions, and all other offices across the university. While we may be working remotely, we are all still dedicated to ensuring that all of our students stay connected with us and with each other, and that they complete the semester as successfully as possible.

On numerous occasions during these two weeks, we have also demonstrated that we are and remain dedicated to supporting and caring about each other. This has truly made our community stronger.

Given all the communications you have received recently, I have tried to collect some key updates on changes or issues, and links to additional information below.

Grading for Spring 2020: as you know, we have changed our grading policies for Spring 2020. Earlier today, all faculty received a detailed memo from Tim O’Donnell explaining the new grading scale. Students will be getting this information on Monday. If you have any questions, please contact Tim O’Donnell.

Final Exams and Final Projects: for all courses this semester, faculty are encouraged to be flexible and creative in meeting the needs of students; if a final exam or final project is no longer the best option for your students and your course, then you may certainly develop appropriate alternatives.

Course Evaluations: we will not be conducting the usual course evaluations for Spring 2020. The Office of Institutional Analysis and Effectiveness will be administering a feedback form to all students with open ended questions; results will not be used for evaluative purposes and individual course results will be made available only to the faculty member. Debra Schleef will compile overall results so that we can better understand student perspectives in the aggregate. Details about the form and the process will be forthcoming from Debra Schleef.

Concerns about Students: student mental health concerns can continue to be reported via the UMW Reporting Form. Disengaged students and/or students who are not communicating with you (after you have attempted to reach out) should be addressed by emailing with the student’s name, Banner ID, course title, and a brief description of your concern. Academic Services continues to monitor this account and will provide another follow-up.

Commencement Ceremony and Graduation: we have postponed the Commencement Ceremony until this Fall, 2020, tentatively to October. Students scheduled to graduate in May and receive their degrees will have those degrees officially awarded on May 15 (which is our usual date); diplomas are mailed approximately 6-8 weeks later, directly to the student from the company that produces them.

Key dates: there are several key dates to remember.

  • Priority registration – April 9-10, 2020
  • Fall 2020 registration – April 13-16, 2020
  • Individual course withdrawals – April 24, 2020
  • Full university withdrawal – April 24, 2020
  • Declaration to switch to the new Gen Ed – April 24, 2020
  • Change of grading scale (i.e. to or from CRT/P-19/NCRT) – April 24, 2020

Forms and signatures: as previously announced by Academic Services and the Office of the Registrar, we have suspended the requirement that signed paper forms be submitted in Lee Hall. Email submissions from a student’s UMW email will be considered valid signed requests and SHOULD include a CC to the instructor/advisor. Furthermore, we will utilize an honor system for submissions, with the understanding that when a student submits such a form requiring an instructor/advisor signature that such consent has been obtained from the instructor/advisor prior to the submission of the form.

Tenure clock for probationary faculty: all tenure track, probationary faculty will be given the option to extend their tenure clock by one year, due to the disruptions cause by COVID-19. Each will be individually notified, in writing, by the Provost.

General Faculty Meeting: General Faculty Meeting scheduled for April 22 at 4:00 pm will take place online; details to follow.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me. This is a marathon, so slow down, breathe, hang in there, and take care of yourselves and those around you.  I hope you all have a peaceful weekend.


Nina Mikhalevsky

University of Mary Washington
Fredericksburg, VA 22401