Faculty Obligations and Responsibilities for Health Sciences Faculty 2020-21

Published August 3, 2020

To:              Health Sciences Deans, Departments Chairs, Faculty

From:         A. Scott Weber
                  Provost and Executive Vice President
                  for Academic Affairs

                  Michael E. Cain
                  Vice President for Health Sciences and
                  Dean, Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences 

Date:          August 3, 2020

As we prepare for the fall semester and continue to adapt to the uncertainties and challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, UB is committed to delivering the very best educational and research programs possible while protecting the health and safety of the university community. When we return this fall in a modified, in-person capacity, faculty, staff and students who are on campus have a shared responsibility to follow UB’s Health and Safety Guidelines on face coverings, physical distancing, handwashing, health screening and monitoring to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Regardless of whether our students are taking remote, in-person, hybrid, and HyFlex courses, we are all responsible for ensuring that our undergraduate, graduate, and professional students receive the highest quality education. To that end, it is important to reiterate specific teaching obligations and responsibilities of our faculty:

  • The Policies of the State University of New York Board of Trustees define the academic year obligation as “an annual obligation of service for the academic year, not to exceed 10 months.” The University at Buffalo’s 2020 - 2021 academic year obligation for faculty will commence on August 24, 2020 and will conclude on May 22, 2021. During that period, faculty members are expected to be available for service, consistent with their departmental assignments, program responsibilities, and the university calendar.
  • Within the health sciences, many of our faculty have 12-month appointments, to which the language in the preceding paragraph does not apply. Faculty with 12-month appointments are expected to be available for service for the full 12 months of each calendar year.
  • UB’s Faculty Teaching Responsibilities Policy states, “Final examinations shall be offered as officially scheduled, not during the final week of classes.” The university’s final examination week for the Fall 2020 semester is as follows: December 14-21, 2020. For the Spring 2021 semester it is May 10-15, 2021.
  • As part of faculty teaching responsibility for 10-month and 12-month faculty, UB’s Teaching Assessment and Improvement Policy states, “Professorial faculty from each department should directly monitor and supervise all teaching by graduate teaching assistants. Moreover, each department should have in place a mandatory teaching-effectiveness program for its teaching assistants.”
  • Finally, UB’s Faculty Responsibility Policy states, “Faculty members are required annually to submit a report describing in detail their professional activities and accomplishments, for review by the chair and the dean. Based on this report and in consultation with the faculty member, the chair should ascertain that the performance of the faculty member is consistent with departmental guidelines and with the current needs of the unit.”

Thank you for your efforts on behalf of all UB students, and for your continued flexibility and understanding as we continue to adapt to the evolving COVID-19 situation.