Faculty & Academic Staff Briefing #39

Dear Faculty and Academic Staff:

This brief includes:

  • Communication Update from the VPAA 
  • Responses to Faculty Questions to Help with Course Planning
  • Staggered Fall Course Start and End Times
  • ACTION REQUIRED BY 7/24: Faculty, Remember To Share Your Course “Blurb”
  • Testing Center Update
  • Flex-Hybrid Faculty Panel Webinar 
  • CLT Announcement


In an effort to reinforce and increase communication between now and the opening of the semester, we offer the following resources and strategies: 

  • This weekly Academic Briefing will continue to provide as much new information as possible, emphasizing answers to the questions we hear from you to be most pertinent to teaching and learning.
  • The View remains the place to find finalized information regarding the College reopening plan. 
  • The expanded Academic Leadership Team has been converted to the Academic Reopening Leadership Team, and Faculty Senate President, Patti Aldredge, started attending the group this week. This group is focused on re-opening and is expected to disband soon after.
  • Leslie Averill will continue to meet with Faculty Senate Leaders twice a week at a minimum to seek their input and to keep them informed within this rapidly changing environment.
  • Starting next week, academic leaders will be hosting drop-in “coffee hours” to hear your questions and share information about our ongoing planning efforts.  You will receive an invitation to join us soon.


Classrooms: Tape and X’s on the floor will indicate appropriate distancing  and will make it  easier for faculty to see the “teaching zone”. These markings will also allow  the room to be reset after cleaning. You should plan based on a classroom capacity no more than 40% of normal. If you want to know the specific estimated capacity for a room you plan to teach in, ask your Dean or Operations Manager. 

Face Coverings: A mask or other face covering will be required for everyone in the classroom. Masks will not be required when you are alone in a space, like your office. The usual process for student accommodation remains the same and also applies to students who may need accommodations related to wearing masks.

Library: The library will be open this Fall. Furniture will be reorganized to accommodate appropriate social distancing, and building capacity will be adjusted based upon State guidelines. The Library will not be able to accommodate class sessions that are not scheduled in MIC classrooms. Access to study rooms will be available on a limited basis. Information literacy instruction, special collections instruction, and reference consultations will be conducted virtually. Physical materials will circulate and contact-less pickup will be available. All physical materials will go through a quarantine period before being recirculated. 

Rental House: The Champlain Rental House is planning to be in operation, following strict CDC health and safety guidelines for equipment check out, use, and return. 

SMART Space: Currently the SMART Space is planning to offer its regular services, including Academic Coaching, Peer Tutoring Centers, mindfulness activities, and academic workshops as well as one-on-one appointments which will be available on campus and virtually in the fall.

Health Pledge: Students will all be expected to agree to a Health Pledge that will list all of the behaviors community members are expected to follow. The work of developing this health pledge is underway. Champlain will be using the State of Vermont Mandatory Guidance for College and University Campus Learning as the baseline for all safety and health guidelines. 


In the Fall Update #6 (sent Wednesday), we announced our intended plan to stagger course schedules in order to reduce the density of student, faculty and staff movement between classes.  Based on what we know today, this is a necessity.  We are also learning daily from faculty about their updated plans to teach virtually and student’s intentions to learn virtually, which could also decrease our building/hallway density.  We will hold off on making the schedule time update until we have more concrete information on the number of students who are planning to learn virtually and the number of faculty who intend to teach fully virtually.  For now, please note that this is a possibility and we hope to have more information to you in the next few weeks.  Thank you for your patience and understanding.


As of yesterday, students are able to “see” a preliminary fall course schedule in Student Planning, including whether a faculty member intends to teach in the classroom or virtually.  In order to provide students with a more descriptive sense of what they will experience in your classes, we are asking all faculty to submit a few sentences about your preliminary class plan.  On August 3 we will send students a customized message with the “blurb” for each course where they are registered.  This message to students will reiterate that these plans are subject to change.  Please fill out this form by the end of day today, Friday, July 24, with a few sentences of what students can expect in your class(es).


In preparation for the 2020-2021 academic year in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Office of Accessibility is temporarily suspending use of the Testing Center and requesting that faculty proctor their own exams for students who have relevant accommodations. Faculty may use electronic-based testing through Canvas or other platforms where proctoring is not needed, or they may proctor exams in their office or in the classroom, depending on the student’s needs and written accommodation. Erin Ferrara is available to work with individual faculty members to discuss strategies for meeting individual student needs.


On Monday, July 13, we held a webinar for students and families to learn more about Flex-Hybrid course design.  Barbara Colombo, Murat Gungor, Don Haggerty, and JoAnn Patel were panelists in the session which was moderated by Gary Scudder. For anyone interested in viewing the recording, it is available here.


On your course homepage in Canvas you will now find two buttons in yellow. These buttons are only viewable by faculty. The first links directly to “CLT Resources for Faculty”. The second, titled “Import Course Template” will allow you to import a more robust weekly template into your Canvas course. If you haven’t used weekly modules in Canvas in the past, and you are just starting to build out your course, importing this template is highly recommended and will give you a great starting point to build your course.  If you already have weekly modules, then you can preview the template and use it for inspiration, but you shouldn’t copy it to avoid duplicate weekly modules. The CLT has an article with more information about the template and how it can be used.

The CLT website also now features a brand-new blog series by Betsy Allen-Pennebaker on building flex-hybrid class communities (a frequent request in Design Check-Ins) and improved navigation. Check it out!


Course Planning:
CLT: Fall Flex Hybrid Ramp-Up Guide 
Flex-Hybrid Design Team Meeting Sign-up 
CLT Team Meeting Sign-up
Faculty Canvas Mentor List
The “BLURB form

Campus Reopening:
State of Vermont Mandatory Guidance for College and University Campus Learning  
The View: Updates on the Coronavirus
The View: Academic Updates
Faculty Daily Briefing Email Archive

Student Resources:
Access to Coaching and Tutoring Support