Updates from Academic Affairs - March 17, 2020

sent on behalf of Dr. Mark Ginn, Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education

Greetings Faculty and Staff,

We in Academic Affairs thank you for the incredible work you have done over the last week as we have asked you to move your classes to an online delivery method as we finish the Spring 2020 semester.  The stories we have heard of faculty working to provide a quality academic experience for our students and working to help their less technologically savvy colleagues to adapt to this delivery method are truly inspiring.  We wish to take this opportunity to thank you for your work, both the work you have already done, and the work that we know you will continue to do, and to give you some updates on issues we have heard about as we move ahead in these turbulent times.

First, a few calendar changes, all adjusted by a week to take into account the extra spring break week for students:  

  • Last day to drop a full semester course or withdraw from the university – March 30.  
  • Early registration period begins for currently enrolled students – April 8. Updated registration information can be found at registrar.appstate.edu.
  • Last day to drop a second half-semester class and use a career drop or drop the pass-fail option on a second half-semester course - April 14

Please refer to the entire academic calendar for further updates and other important deadlines.

Second, while responsibility for determining course content remains primarily within your purview as faculty members, Academic Affairs strongly recommends that you consider the following suggestions as you transition online. Please keep in mind that your students’ lives have been thrown into as much or more turmoil than yours. As you design your course for the remainder of the semester, please try to keep in mind the learning objectives you have for your course but to give your students some flexibility in achieving those objectives.  

  • We encourage you to give your students asynchronous activities to complete your course as much as possible. Many students have moved and others may have lost their employment or had major schedule changes.  
  • If you feel that you need synchronous meetings for your courses, these should occur during the time that your course is scheduled to meet and you should make accommodations for students who may miss these meetings.  
  • Obviously, some adjustments in your course syllabus will be necessary. The Office of General Counsel has advised that syllabi likely create contractual relationships between the student and the professor. Thus, should you change your syllabus please do so in a way that minimizes any hardship that students may experience.
  • In order to be consistent with the Faculty Handbook (Section, we ask that you communicate to your students how you will be available to them.  Going forward, office hours will be in an electronic, not a face to face format.  You should indicate if you will be available electronically at the times listed on the syllabus, at new times, or by electronic appointment.
  • In the announcement that we were extending spring break and moving online, we said that students would receive more information by March 18 (tomorrow).  Please reach out to your classes by that time and let them know how your course will operate going forward. Many students are very anxious right now and there is a lot of misinformation floating around. Giving them some good information will help them structure their lives going forward.
  • If you have students who either have been struggling, or appear to begin to struggle as we move online please let us know.  You can do this through MidTerm Grade Reports that have recently gone out, EIT referrals (referralseit@appstate.edu), or through an Attendance Performance Alert through the Office of Student Success.  We have many resources available for students.  The Counseling Center is still open with virtual appointments, University Tutorial Services and the University Writing Center are still open with online services, and Peer Academic Coaching is available for students struggling to adapt to online learning. More information on these resources will go out later this week in a Keep Learning resource that will be shared with faculty and students.

In closing, I want to thank all of you for your work in these unprecedented times.  We encourage you to reach out to your students and let them know we are here for them and that together we will get through these challenging times. I also urge you to take care of yourselves and your families and to know together we will get through this.

Thanks for all you do,


Mark Ginn, Ph.D.
Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education and
Professor of Mathematics
Academic Affairs
Appalachian State University
Boone, NC 28608


Published: Mar 19, 2020 8:58am