Aug. 19, 2021: Information for Instructors

Dear UB Faculty and Instructors:

We are excited for the upcoming academic year and look forward to welcoming our students back to campus. As our university prepares for a return to in-person instruction for the fall semester, we are writing to share important information to help you plan for the academic year ahead. The university will continue to respond to the evolving health and safety guidance from local and state officials. For updates on UB’s COVID-19 planning and response, please continue to check UB’s COVID-19 website.

Course Planning

  • All instructors are strongly encouraged to post course syllabuses in UB Learns as early as possible before the first day of class. This will allow students to review the mode(s) of instruction and course requirements to ensure they can comply or allow them time to modify their course schedule if they cannot comply. Information and instructions on using UB Learns are available to all faculty. Please note: To ensure students can access the syllabus early, you need to check the student access date for each UB Learns course in the UB Learns Class Setup tool (UBIT name and password required) and edit it to start before the first day of classes.
  • To ensure continuity of student learning, it is a best practice to include an additional instructor on your UB Learns course (e.g., department chair, program director, etc.) in the event of an emergency during the semester which prevents you from teaching.
  • The UB Teach Anywhere website is designed to help you navigate all of the resources available to design and enhance your classes.
  • The fall class schedule will continue to accommodate 20 minutes between classes to assist in decreasing wait times outside of classrooms and ensure students have ample time to get to their next class.

Accommodating Students

  • As a course instructor, you play a critical role in allowing students to adhere to UB’s comprehensive public health guidelines, which help protect the health and safety of all of us at UB. We recommend continued flexibility with respect to student circumstances and course attendance policies, along with clearly communicating opportunities and expectations around alternative assignments or makeup work. 
  • Class absences due to COVID-19 isolation or quarantine are considered excusable per the university’s class attendance policies. Also, per SUNY policy, after FDA approval of the vaccine, students requesting a vaccine exemption will not be allowed on campus while the request is being reviewed. Students should inform their instructors of their specific situation. Please use all means at your disposal to allow students to make up work and engage in class activities while in isolation or seeking an exemption, depending on the circumstances relevant to your course. 
  • Students who express that they are unable to complete course requirements because of medical conditions (e.g., they are immunocompromised) can be referred to Accessibility Resources for assistance with accommodations. 
  • Information regarding guidance related to communicating with students about COVID-19 and classroom protocols can be found on the COVID-19 UB Planning and Response website.

Syllabus & Academic Resources

  • Every course syllabus must clearly inform students of the mode(s) of instruction for the course. Instructors are cautioned to ensure that the mode(s) of instruction adheres to the instruction mode, campus and location listed in HUB and to the definition in the glossary on the Office of the Registrar website.
  • Instructors are encouraged to include information on student resources in the syllabus. The Academic Resources and Updates for Students webpage has FAQs dedicated to the fall schedule and will provide academic updates and resources throughout the fall semester for undergraduate and graduate students. The Student Success Gateway website is a starting point for undergraduate students to locate information about advisors, resources and success strategies. Additionally, free tutoring is available to all undergraduate students through numerous campus offices, and the Center for Excellence in Writing offers writing consultation appointments for undergraduate, graduate and professional students, as well as dissertation support.

What to Expect in the Classroom

  • Planned classroom technology upgrades are continuing. Instructors should consider returning to campus before the start of the term and visiting their classroom(s) to familiarize themselves with the technical equipment.
  • The University at Buffalo is committed to protecting the health and safety of the UB community while remaining focused on our academic, research and community service mission. The Health and Safety Guidelines have been updated for the fall semester and include changes to the masking and physical distancing guidelines, among other changes. Instructors should familiarize themselves with these guidelines and stay informed as updates occur throughout the semester.
  • Students are expected to comply with COVID-19 public health behavior expectations on campus. Please review the Student Compliance Policy for COVID-19 Public Health Behavior Expectations. This policy outlines the steps to take if a student is not complying with public health directives.

Thank you for your hard work and dedication to make the fall 2021 semester a success.

Sincerely,

Graham Hammill
Vice Provost for Academic Affairs
Dean of the Graduate School

Ann Bisantz
Dean of Undergraduate Education