July 13 Faculty and Staff Memo

Includes information about Undergraduate Studies as they plan for a very unique Fall 2020 Semester.

Dear all,

Good evening. I am writing to all faculty and staff to communicate very broadly some of the key conversations ongoing in Undergraduate Studies; these also might be useful follow-up items from questions asked in this morning’s information session.

First of all I would like to thank all of the Chairs, full and part-time faculty, Associate Deans, and Academic Affairs staff who are working long hours to plan for a very unique fall 2020.

I’m writing to update you on several matters. Not all of this information will concern everyone, but I am sending this missive in the interests of transparency and getting you the information as quickly as possible.

Item 1: Hybrid Courses, recommended minimum meetings

On Tuesday, in our Provost Council meeting, we discussed a recommendation to guide faculty planning undergraduate hybrid courses that would align with the newly released SEVP rules for our students who hold F1 visas to be able to legally enter and reside in the USA while making progress toward their degrees at MICA.

We strongly recommend that hybrid classes include a minimum of three in-person engagements, or designated meetings. These meetings should be required, and clearly visible on the syllabus for the course, and the meetings should involve active engagement with the course learning outcomes (as opposed to meeting in-person to distribute a quiz or an exam). Faculty should record attendance for the in-person engagements and also at virtualized meetings.

Our rationale is that we need to provide compelling evidence for SEVP that our international students need to be on campus to achieve the course learning outcomes in hybrid courses.  Please keep in mind that this is not a requirement to conduct three, five-hour, face to face meetings.  Faculty can interpret the three in-person engagements as a recommended minimum to maintain curricular flexibility and adhere to health and safety protocols in their various areas. 

Also this recommendation means that if you have an international student (F1 visa holder) who wants to take a hybrid course, and is currently living outside of the USA, uncertain of their travel plans, they CANNOT take a hybrid course. They are restricted to online coursework. To repeat, international students who are not in the USA must enroll in only online coursework. Similarly, if you have an international student (F1 visa holder) currently living outside of the USA, who wants to take five online courses, they need to COMPLETE these courses before they travel to the USA. The new regulations forbid F1 VISA holders from taking an exclusively online curriculum; our F1 visa holders will be in compliance as long as they are taking a mix of hybrid and online coursework, and that MICA can provide evidence that there are justifiable reasons for them to be on campus. Due to the complexities involved with the new SEVP guidance, we are encouraging all F-1 students to check in with the Office of International Education before finalizing their fall course schedules.

Item 2: Online Courses

Any faculty member approved to teach a class fully online will not have an assigned classroom.  Online courses cannot have any required in-person meetings; optional meetings that occur outdoors or approved conference rooms are acceptable. Online classes assume that all work can be completed remotely thus assigned resources like studios and/or shop access will not be possible for online courses.

Item 3: Course planning for faculty and students who want flexibility: ONLINE and HYBRID options

Many undergraduate Department Chairs are attempting to design flexible options for students. Undergraduate studio faculty may wish to help returning students by offering a choice of ONLINE or HYBRID for Fall 2020. This decision is strictly voluntary for faculty.  Generally, this option is being offered to faculty hoping to enable international students stranded overseas to access their courses. It is possible, if the faculty wishes to have this flexibility, that the chair and faculty can work with Enrollment Services to set up two sections of the SAME course, an ONLINE option, and a HYBRID option scheduled at the same day and time. Our Budget and Contracts Manager recommends that such cross listed courses should split the workload (1.5 credits each), so that the faculty member's pay remains consistent for three credits for the dual course that offers an ONLINE and a HYBRID option within the same cross-listed section. Different syllabi will need to be distributed to maintain compliance with SEVP regulations, and provide clarity to all students about course requirements and expectations.

Item 2: Student Info-Sessions

We are in the process of scheduling three or four “information sessions” for our various student groups to get this information out; these will happen next week. We know many faculty and staff are fielding lots of questions from returning students.

Confirmed July 15th: Returning MICA students (12-1pm on July 15, 2020, will be recorded for international audience access and for those unable to attend)

Confirmed July 13th: First Year MICA students (FYE Academic Advising Zoom session Monday, July 13, 2020, 11-12:30pm)

In planning for July 16th: First Year International students: First Year International (FYI) is a brand new program click here to learn more.

Item 3: Payments for Visiting Artists, Designers, and Scholars

UGS is working on a recommended payment scale for all virtual visitors to campus to establish equity across the roles of visiting artists and critics local to the MICA community.  Our part time faculty leadership requested that we establish a database of individuals who are interested in additional engagements this fall. If you are interested in being considered for a lecture or a visiting critic virtual assignment in AY20 please fill out this survey.

Item 4: Syllabus Guidelines Updates for the MICA Community

We are working to get these items out earlier; likely mid-July to help faculty planning. UGS is requesting that all faculty teaching undergraduate courses submit generally finalized syllabi by August 15th at the latest; if you have them earlier that would help us in answering student questions about classes and possibly help student retention. The rationale is that students are clamoring for information about course format and structure. If students can preview syllabi, they can see how the instruction will be facilitated and the learning outcomes met.

Thank you all for your hard work in this complex time. Stay tuned for further information.

All my best,

Tiffany Holmes
Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies