Message from Provost Dalton to Faculty: Instruction during UA’s First Two Weeks of Spring 2021

Dear Colleagues,

I hope that you are healthy and had the opportunity to relax over the holidays. Our first day of Spring 2021 classes will begin Jan. 13. The health and safety of our faculty, staff and students remain our top priority as we continue our teaching, research and service missions at UA.

This week, we cheered the Crimson Tide to another national championship, but also witnessed the gathering of a large crowd in downtown Tuscaloosa. Recognizing the concerns raised by the pandemic and this event, we intend to conduct our first two weeks of classes (Jan. 13 to Jan. 22) using a flexible approach to allow faculty/instructors and students to voluntarily choose remote instruction if needed. Key elements include the following:

  • This is a temporary approach as we monitor ongoing conditions. For classes offered between Jan. 13 and 22, faculty/instructors may change the mode of instruction for the courses that they are offering.
  • This is intended as a flexible approach. Faculty/instructors who are scheduled to teach face-to-face are permitted to change to interactive audio/visual (e.g., Zoom) if they choose. Those who do so should provide additional opportunities for students who may need assistance during this time.
  • This is voluntary. Some faculty/instructors may choose to continue to teach face-to-face during these two weeks.  It is however important for faculty/instructors to note that students should also be granted the flexibility to participate in class via interactive A/V during these two weeks if at all possible, and we encourage faculty to offer that option (e.g., simultaneous interactive A/V session or recorded A/V).
  • Provide immediate notice if you choose this option.  Faculty/instructors who choose to temporarily change the mode of instruction must reach out to all students registered for their course via e-mail, Blackboard, etc. as soon as possible to inform them about your plans for the first two weeks of classes.

On Monday, Jan. 25, all courses will return to the mode of instruction as originally described during registration, unless changes in the mode of instruction are approved by the dean and Office of Academic Affairs.

  • Staff in all divisions will continue with the flexible, staggered approach as currently allowed by their supervisors. Deans may wish to expand those opportunities for academic staff as may be necessary during these two weeks.

Thank you for all you do to support our students and University, and thank you for your continued flexibility during this time.  Roll Tide!

Jim