Provost Campus Update
Provost Campus Update: In early January, UC Office of the President announced that all UC campuses should plan for a return to mostly in-person instruction in fall 2021. Interim Provost Tom Smith shared a campus update shortly thereafter confirming that UCR’s Instructional Continuity committee would begin planning on a return in fall.
Survey on Fall Return
Survey Students & Faculty about Fall Return: In early February, the Provost’s Office released a survey on fall Instruction to faculty and students. The survey asked about preferences for teaching/learning in-person or remote, student housing, and other attitudes about a return to campus, such as concerns about health risks, financial difficulties, and confidence in health and safety protocols. The survey findings were compiled into dashboards and shared with deans, department chairs, and other campus leaders.
Chancellor's Working Groups
Making Decisions about Fall: In late February, Chancellor Wilcox shared updated guiding principles and announced five work groups to help plan the campus’s return to more in-person instruction and operations in the fall.
Fall Instruction Plan
Message to Campus & Guidance to Deans & Chairs: At the beginning of March, the details of the fall instruction plan were shared in a campus-wide announcement. Department chairs and program directors received additional guidance, including program-specific remote targets to help UCR hit its goal of 75%-80% in-person classes.
FAQs & Provost Q&A
FAQs Posted to Website & Provost Office Hours Q&A: In March, the Instructional Continuity Workgroup posted FAQ’s about fall instruction to their webpage on the campusreturn.ucr.edu website. In the same month, Interim Provost Tom Smith held office hours focused on fall instruction and distributed a Q&A response to attendees which was subsequently added to the Provost Blog.
Department Decisions & Registrar Scheduling: Throughout the months of March and April, departments and programs made decisions about fall course delivery modes. The Registrar’s Office created the fall schedule which surpassed the in-person goal, landing at approximately 81% in-person classes for fall.
Instructional Continuity Workgroup Campus Briefing (YouTube): On April 30th, the Instructional Continuity Workgroup hosted and live-streamed an Instructional Continuity Return to Campus Briefing. The campus briefing addressed how UCR arrived at its fall instruction plan, some FAQs, updates from the Instructional Continuity subcommittees, and the work ahead for the Instructional Continuity Workgroup.
(June & July 2021)
XCITE & ITS Model Spaces
ITS & XCITE RISE Room Model Spaces & Roadshow: Over spring quarter, ITS and XCITE leadership visited and met with several academic departments to address questions and concerns and opportunities for support related to fall instruction.
ITS and XCITE also hosted open houses for their three model spaces for the RISE Rooms (Rooms for Increased Student Engagement). The open houses, which also include a department space equipped with suggested technology, give faculty members an opportunity to interact with and understand the new classroom equipment and technology.
(June – August 2021)
Updates to Departments
Updates to Departments: Over the summer months, departments can expect to receive updates about classroom technology updates.
(Coming July 2021)
Instructional Plan for Winter
Announcement about Winter Quarter Instructional Plan: An announcement about Winter Quarter instruction plans is expected in July.
(Coming Aug – Sep 2021)
Guidance to Fall Instructors
Guidance for Fall Instructors: Before the start of the fall quarter, department chairs, program directors, and instructors of record will receive an update from the Provost’s Office with guidance for fall instruction and helpful resources.
(Coming September 2021)
Remote Learning on Campus
- Space for On-Campus Remote Learning: In early September, we will post a list of spaces on campus that can be used for remote learning and additional resources to assist students in their transition back to campus, possibly in a hybrid learning environment.
Fall Instruction Plan FAQ
How many classes will be in-person and how many remote in fall 2021?
We are aiming for 75-80% of classes to be taught in-person.
Who will decide which classes are in-person and which are remote?
Chairs and directors will work with their faculty to determine a mix of 75-80% in-person courses and 20-25% remote courses for each department or program. Guidance has been shared with chairs and directors to help inform these discussions.
Will there be remote options for in-person instruction? Is it possible a class will simultaneously be offered in-person and online?
Remote options are not required for in-person instruction in fall, but they are strongly encouraged to extend access to more students when circumstances warrant. The decision to offer a remote option will be made by each instructor, in consultation with their chair or program director. The university is investing up to $2 million to upgrade general assignment classroom technologies to support “dual mode” instruction, which is one type of remote option.
Will students be compelled to take in-person classes?
Students enrolled in in-person classes will be expected to attend in-person unless the course offers a remote option.
Are there any circumstances in which UCR reverts to remote-only instruction for fall 2021?
Given the positive trend for vaccination rates, a decrease in infections, and an easing of COVID-19 restrictions and guidance from public health officials, it is unlikely UCR will have to revert to remote-only instruction. However, if conditions do not improve as expected, classes initially scheduled for in-person instruction may be shifted to remote.
Are there any circumstances in which remote classes will be switched to in-person?
Classes scheduled for remote instruction in fall will not be shifted to in-person. Doing so could create untenable situations for students who have already registered and established living arrangements away from campus, anticipating remote classes.
Which classes are likely to be remote?
Large, lecture-size classes with 285 students or more will be remote-only. Some smaller classes also will be remote due to space limitations or if programs choose to teach them remotely. The instructional delivery mode for each course will be published in the schedule of classes before fall quarter registration begins.
How will you decide classroom density?
For classes with enrollments above 80 students, the maximum allowable density will be 50% of room capacity. For classes with enrollments between 35 and 80 students, the maximum allowable density will be 67% of room capacity. For classes with enrollments below 35 students, normal density (full room capacity) will be allowed. These limits will be adjusted as needed to be consistent with revised state and county public health guidance.
How will UCR protect the health and safety of those on campus in fall 2021?
Personal and institutional health and safety standards for on-campus activities including instruction will be developed by the COVID Management committee to be consistent with applicable public health guidelines. This likely will include universal and correct use of masks, physically distanced seating in at least some classrooms, and regular testing of anyone participating in on-campus activities who has not been vaccinated. All in-person instruction activities, and anyone participating in these activities, will be required to strictly adhere to these standards.
The university will post signage and work to educate everyone though a positive messaging campaign, calling on everyone to help protect our community from having to return to remote operations. Non-compliance and other concerning incidents may be reported to EH&S for follow up. Non-compliance by students will be considered a violation of the UCR Standards of Conduct and subject to the conduct process. There were similar concerns going into our ramp up and partial-return activities this past year, but everyone has been responsible and compliant with campus rules.
Will testing and/or vaccinations be required for faculty and students to return to campus in fall 2021?
Testing guidance is evolving quickly. The CDC recently said that fully vaccinated individuals don’t need asymptomatic testing, but the state and county have not yet updated their guidelines. We will continue to watch this closely and update campus practices to be consistent with state and county rules. The campus will maintain an appropriate level of testing based on county guidelines. It is likely that anyone who is not vaccinated will require regular asymptomatic testing.
A student vaccine mandate is being discussed at the UC Office of the President. After the vaccines receive full (rather than just emergency use) authorization, a student vaccine requirement looks probable – assuming widespread availability of the vaccine. A requirement for employees is less certain but also possible. We expect a decision will be communicated directly from OP to the campuses, as well as publicly through a press release.