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Faculty Course Guide and FAQs

Faculty Colleagues, 

As we prepare for the 2020-21 academic year, we wanted to share some resources that have been developed by the COVID-19 Resilience and Recovery Working Group on Teaching and Learning. 

  • Faculty Course Guide - Fall 2020
  • Syllabus Statements
  • Faculty FAQs

These resources can be useful as you begin to finalize your courses, regardless of the modality.

In terms of FAQs, we encourage faculty to refer to the Prepared SCU website for the latest updates and communications regarding COVID-19. We will continue to highlight FAQs specific to faculty, and these will be updated on this page throughout the quarter. Thank you in advance for your hard work and patience.


Faculty Course Guide - Fall 2020

The following Faculty Course Guide for Fall 2020 was developed by the COVID-19 Resilience and Recovery Working Group on Teaching and Learning. This guide provides a clear set of expectations for the delivery of all courses.

Course Administration Expectations

  1. Publish your Camino courses with the full syllabus including learning outcomes, assignments, due dates, schedule for synchronous sessions, and attendance policy, at a minimum.
  2. Follow established course start and end dates.
  3. Contact students at least one week before the course begins. Find out students’ time zones and inform them about course format (i.e. “Our first Zoom session is Monday at 2 PM” or “Click on Modules and begin navigating our Week 0 Module”).
  4. Hold weekly office hours that are accessible to all students.
  5. Record all face to face and online synchronous class sessions and provide asynchronous alternatives to students who cannot participate in synchronous class sessions.
  6. Follow University Guidelines for contact hours.
  7. Include Provost-recommended syllabus statements.
  8. Ask students for mid-quarter feedback.
  9. Conduct final exams during finals week.

For details and resources on these expectations, see below.


Course Administration Expectations --Details & Resources

Publish all Camino courses with the full syllabus including learning outcomes, assignments, due dates, schedule for synchronous sessions, and attendance policy, at a minimum.

Register for Camino training here

Here is a guide describing how to use the syllabus tab in Camino

Contact students at least one week before the course begins. Find out which students are remote learners and establish what time zone they are in. Inform students of course format and when they will start the course.

If your Camino course is published, you can contact students using the Announcements feature. If you would like to contact students before your course is published, you can access their email addresses from your course rosters in eCampus (see this guide for accessing your course rosters). Here is a survey you can use to collect basic information from your students.

Hold weekly office hours that are accessible to all students.

Host individual or group office hours using Zoom. To ensure that students living in multiple time zones are able to attend office hours, you may need to schedule office hours at two different times and/or offer individual meeting times. Consider holding office hours in the evening if you have students in Asia, or in the early morning if you have students in Europe.

Get support for using Zoom

Here are a few ways to facilitate office hours:

  • Use Zoom with a waiting room enabled for individual appointments
  • Invite students to sign up for specific time slots via Google Docs and faculty can send them a Zoom link
  • Use the Scheduler tool through Camino
  • Use the Appointment Slots tool through Google Calendar
Record all synchronous class sessions and provide asynchronous alternatives to students who cannot participate in synchronous class sessions.  Schedule zoom sessions within Camino using Zoom Pro and choose “record to the cloud”-- the recording will automatically be uploaded to Panopto and appear in the Class Recordings folder in Camino. For information regarding recording sessions in classrooms, contact Media Services at 408-554-4915 or

Follow University Guidelines for contact hours. 
Chapter 8 (Academic Program Policies and Regulation) in the University Bulletin states that “one unit of credit represents approximately three hours of work per week per term by the student, including time engaged in class and time commitment to class preparation, studying, and assigned projects.” When outlining class expectations in the syllabus, consider giving students a rough estimate of the amount of time they will spend engaged in synchronous instruction and asynchronous instruction, as well as time spent completing assignments, quizzes, and projects to ensure that your course expectations fall within these parameters. Students have reported that work often takes longer in an online environment, including reviewing pre-recorded videos. 
Ask students for mid-quarter feedback. Faculty should provide students with an opportunity to provide anonymous feedback on how the course is going at the mid-quarter point.
Final exams will be conducted remotely during finals week. Final exams will be conducted remotely during their scheduled time. The guidelines from The University Bulletin (p. 576) for final examinations apply: “A final examination, if given in a course, must be given on the date and time scheduled by the Office of the Registrar. If the final examination is a take-home examination, it may not be due before the scheduled final examination time or any later than the last day of the examination period. Similarly, other end-of-quarter assignments (papers, projects, for example) may not be due any later than the last day of the examination period. Exceptions to this policy require the approval of the department chair and the relevant academic dean.”

Additional resources for online teaching are available from the Faculty Collaborative for Teaching Innovation, here and Academic Technology, here. And this Online Teaching Toolkit from our institutional partner, ACUE, provides a range of material on designing effective and engaging online courses. 



Each year the Provost’s Office provides suggested text for how you might communicate through your syllabi important University policies that pertain to students in every class. These syllabus statements, which are recommended but not required, are provided below. Thank you for your efforts on behalf of our students. 

Syllabus Statements Document #1

Syllabus Statements Document #1 provides sample syllabus statements on Academic Integrity; Discrimination, Harassment and Sexual Misconduct (Title IX); Accomodations for Pregnant and Parenting Students; and resources available from the Office of Accessible Education. 

In light of COVID-19, I have added statements that pertain specifically to the online teaching environment, including a statement on the Use of Classroom Recordings that was developed by the Faculty Affairs Committee and endorsed by the Academic Affairs Committee (policy document here); a Copyright Statement; and a list of resources for Technological Support. 

Syllabus Statements Document #2 

For your convenience, Syllabus Statements Document #2 provides a second set of syllabus statements in support of diversity, equity and inclusion, and student wellness. The second document attached below includes a Respect for Diversity statement; a statement on Gender Inclusive Language; an Ohlone Land Acknowledgment; and a list of Wellness / mental health resources. For more on developing an inclusive syllabus see

Again, these statements are recommended, but not required. Now that we are all online and in Camino, note that many faculty find it useful to create a module or set of slides clearly identified in Camino, making them easy to find for students and handy for your reference. 

Religious Holidays Attendance Policy 

Finally, a note here on attendance policy and religious holidays: Faculty are encouraged to include information about their attendance policies in the syllabus. As noted in Chapter 8 of the Undergraduate Bulletin, attendance policy is left to the discretion of the instructor, subject to accommodations required by law and by University policy. Among those situations requiring accommodation (e.g. absence without penalty and the opportunity to make up missed work or exams) is participation in significant religious holidays. A list of religious holidays can be found on the Office of Diversity and Inclusion website,



We are working on updating the FAQs to reflect the current situation for Fall 2020. Please check back for additional categories and responses.

1. What is the start date of the term? When will classes begin and end? 

The FALL QUARTER start and end dates have not changed: the quarter will run September 21 - December 4 with the final exam period December 7 - December 11. 

The full academc calendar can be found here

2. What happens with the Winter Quarter?

The Winter Quarter dates have not changed. Winter Quarter will begin on January 4, 2021 and conclude on March 12, with the final exam period from March 15 - March 19.

October 22, 2020

Dear Colleagues,

In these unprecedented times, as we each face obstacles in our work and personal lives that are difficult to predict, my team and I have been working with the Faculty Affairs Committee and the deans to identify concrete actions we can take to provide some support and relief. We are grateful for the initiative of several faculty members over the summer for their specific requests for support, namely Sharmila Lodhia and Sonja Mackenzie for identifying caregiver concerns, and Naomi Andrews, Kathy Aoki, Dan Ostrov and Mike Whalen for anticipating issues bearing on rank, tenure and promotion. All of these efforts reflect commitments to justice, equity and compassion that are hallmarks of our community. 

We would like to share with you the actions we are taking in response.


  • $15K contribution to the Staff and Faculty Emergency Assistance Fund for caregiver support

I have authorized a $15K contribution to the Staff & Faculty Emergency Assistance Fund for the support of caregivers (faculty and staff caring for children, or for a parent, grandparent, grandchild, sibling, spouse or domestic partner). This fund will operate under the same terms as the general assistance fund, providing relief to help SCU employees recover from “reasonable and necessary” expenses directly attributable to the coronavirus pandemic, with the added provision that the expenses be related to caregiving. 

  • $15K in CARES Act monies to fund student assistants for faculty teaching and/or research support

We are moving $15K in CARES Act monies to a new COVID Student Assistant Program (CSAP). This program will provide academic-year faculty** who face COVID impacts from caregiving responsibilities with assistance in their scholarly or teaching work, and will provide student assistants with work and a meaningful learning experience alongside a faculty member. The program is modeled on the Faculty-Student Research Assistant Program, but will not require a mentoring component and can be used to support teaching and/or research. For more details of the program see the CSAP page on the Provost’s website. 

  • Existing Wellness Benefits

Existing wellness benefits programs provide assistance for various kinds of caregiving:

  • Avenidas - This program provides SCU employees with elder care consultations, referrals, support.
  • Back-Up Care Advantage Program - This program provides access to a database of nannies and sitters for evening and weekend care (via, as well as elder care resources. It also offers 10 annual days of back-up child and adult/elder care at subsidized rates.


  • Course Coverage & Scheduling Plan 

We are encouraging deans to develop course coverage plans, to assist departments in the event that faculty need to take a family or medical leave.

We are also encouraging deans and department chairs to adjust their academic year plans wherever possible to allow academic year adjunct faculty and lecturers who teach seven or more sections to repeat courses to minimize the number of course preparations.

  • Research Grant Allocation

We are encouraging deans and department chairs to distribute any research funds disproportionately to junior faculty and to others facing disproportionate burdens on available research time due to caregiving responsibilities.

  • Service Burden

We support the Faculty Affairs Committee (FAC) recommendation to encourage departments to reapportion service responsibilities, temporarily requiring less service of those with caregiving burdens with no negative effects on evaluation of their service contribution or collegiality. We ask that departments put any such agreement in writing, copying the dean, so that the faculty member has some record for their future evaluation and promotion portfolio. We also support the FAC recommendation encouraging deans to reduce the workload of department chairs wherever possible for the duration of the pandemic. 



  • Pandemic rider to scholarship evaluation standards. We support the recommendation of FAC to ask departments to create a rider to scholarship standards explaining the impact of the pandemic on scholarship in their discipline and/or subdisciplines, with special attention to site-specific research requiring access to labs, fieldwork, studios, performance venues, museums or other exhibit spaces, physical archives, and travel. These riders would be reviewed and approved at the levels of the dean and the Provost; the Provost’s Office would include them in a repository of scholarship standards for inclusion in all future tenure and promotion cases that cover pandemic quarters. 

We do not support the FAC recommendation to allow individual faculty members to alter the evaluation weightings allocated to teaching, scholarship and service. The Faculty Handbook sets general boundaries for the weight of these criteria in evaluation: for tenure stream, that “teaching and scholarly or artistic work are the most important” (FH 3.4.2); for lecturers and adjunct faculty, that they are hired “primarily for teaching” (FH; 3.4A.1.1); for research professors, that they are hired “primarily to engage in research” (FH The deans and the Provost believe that it is important to maintain consistent expectations among the faculty and a minimum of expectations across schools. We would prefer to recommend generosity in the evaluation of the criteria in the years impacted by current circumstances.

  • Wider framework for teaching evaluation. This month, the Faculty Development program will develop additional resources for evaluating teaching performance on the basis of multiple measures, working with FAC. This effort, long advocated by lecturer groups on campus, will bring us into line with best practices at other universities. The faculty of the college, school or division have the authority to develop, adopt and publish their respective clarifications of the teaching criterion (FH 3.4.2), and we will ask that they do this in light of these additional resources. We understand “the faculty” to include all faculty in the college, school or division who will be evaluated by this criterion and who are counted as members of the Faculty Senate (FH 2.10); we therefore encourage departments to include all academic-year faculty in this work. The deans and the Provost will oversee and approve the department statement to assure the ongoing use of the adapted framework for faculty evaluation, as recommended by FAC. The guideline will include recommendations for how faculty might evaluate colleagues’ teaching for the terms that we are online, encouraging generosity in the evaluation given the tremendous innovation required in the development and delivery of online courses and added obstacles that caregivers face. 
  • Extend the “opt-in” options for student evaluation to Summer 2020. A few faculty taught part of their academic year 2019-20 load during the summer 2020 term, particularly faculty members teaching graduate courses in the Leavey School of Business and the School of Education and Counseling Psychology. Since for some this was their first term teaching online courses, we are extending the option to these faculty to decide on their own whether to include student evaluations in reappointment, tenure or promotion portfolios. As with Winter and Spring 2020, department chairs, colleagues, deans and evaluation committees will be instructed not to review these materials unless the faculty member chooses to include them in their materials.
  • Postpone various deadlines. To reduce the service burdens on faculty members, department chairs and deans’ offices, we:
      1. Postponed the Faculty Activities Report (FAR) deadline from October 1 to October 15 
      2. Advised the deans of the latitude the Faculty Handbook gives them to adjust the multi-year cycle for associate professors, full professors, and lecturers in or beyond their sixth year (FH 3.3)
      3. Postponed the full implementation of Faculty180 for FARs from this year until 2021-22
      4. Postponed the revision of scholarship standards that all departments were to do this year until 2021-22.
  • Remind Rank, Tenure and Promotion Committees of COVID-19 accommodations in the next years. In coming years, the orientation sessions for rank, tenure and promotion committees and deans, whether hosted by the President and Provost or Faculty Development, will include reminders of the COVID riders developed by departments, the expanded framework for teaching evaluation, and the opt-in allowance for including SETs in evaluation materials (Winter, Spring and Summer 2020 terms), and encourage compassion and consideration of COVID circumstances, particularly for caregivers.  



  • COVID-19 Caregiving Concerns Task Force. We propose that the UCC develop a small task force to research evolving best practices and inform FAC and the Provost in real time about possible changes to our accommodations (draft task force charge).
  • Chair training. Faculty Development has begun to integrate discussion of COVID-19 impacts in the Chairs Leadership Forum, beginning with a discussion of evaluation in light of COVID at the October 12 forum. The impact of Covid on departments will continue to be addressed in the Forum and in the deans’ work with chairs and program faculty. 

We continue to consider other suggestions, including an extension of the tenure clock for assistant professors hired in 2020, and extended flexibility for the use of student evaluation of teaching (SETs) in faculty evaluation. We would like to consult further with the Faculty Affairs Committee, the FAC Subcommittee on Lecturers and Adjuncts, and the deans and department chairs, before making decisions on these issues. Meanwhile, we hope that the actions we have taken will provide both tangible relief to caregivers and assurance to all faculty of our support for the tremendous efforts you are all undertaking in this unprecedented time. 


This section will be updated once the Fall quarter begins. Final exams are scheduled from December 7 - December 11, 2020.


Is there a one-stop shop for all teaching and technology information?


  • We continue to receive many questions from faculty about teaching and technology. The Faculty Collaborative for Teaching Innovation (aka Instructional Technology, Faculty Development and the Office of Assessment) has answers for you. Check out responses to teaching and technology questions and find other helpful resources here.
  • For questions specific to using/troubleshooting teaching in the Camino learning management system, please contact

What if I don’t have access to technology and/or internet to run online/virtual classes?

  • Please contact Media Services ( or 408 554-4520) to explore options to borrow equipment, including laptops, webcams, and document cameras. 
  • Many internet providers are offering free or enhanced internet options for households with students and/or low-income households. A list of current offers is available here and here.

Who should I contact if I need tech and training support?

  • You can connect with the Instructional Technology team at or 408-551-3572.  For Zoom training contact Media Services at or 408-554-4520
  • This new Camino course specifically for faculty, Keep Calm and Carry On: Adapting Instruction for Times of Disruption, provides instruction for working remotely, using basic Camino features, communicating with students, sharing content, and creating assignments.  There are how-to guides for publishing your Camino course, creating Camino assignments, sending announcements, posting discussion questions or your slides, using Zoom for office hours or review sessions, creating VoiceThread presentations, finding existing resources, and other ways to continue instruction. Academic Technology is also be offering workshops and consultation via Zoom.

Will courses be synchronous or asynchronous? 

  • While synchronous interaction with students can be great for creating a sense of community, conducting class sessions synchronously poses a number of potential problems for students. First, videoconferencing using a platform such as Zoom is bandwidth-intensive, which means that it requires a strong internet connection. If students are using their phones (which for many students is their primary device) or do not have a stable internet connection, they may have trouble joining the session. Additionally, if your own internet connection is not always stable, it could cause your audio and/or video to freeze while you are teaching. Second, since synchronous courses require everyone to join a session at the same time, this could pose problems for students who are now living in different time zones or who now have additional responsibilities at home (caring for children/family members, etc.). There are many asynchronous tools you can use to conduct instruction. You can find information related to asynchronous teaching tools on the Camino course, Keep Calm and Carry On:  Adapting Instruction for Times of Disruption, and this article provides some great suggestions as well.

How do I do office hours? 

Zoom is a great platform to leverage for office hours. This SCU guide explains how to use the Zoom for Camino integration, and this webpage provides some suggestions for conducting office hours via Zoom.

My course/discipline cannot possibly be offered online. What do I do? 

  • Online learning has been taking place for over thirty years, and many universities offer entire degree programs online. While it can feel overwhelming to reimagine face-to-face classes for an online setting, it is definitely possible in all disciplines, and a wide variety of discipline-specific resources exist to support online teaching. To find these discipline-specific resources, you might first consider consulting with colleagues at SCU, within your professional organizations, and on social media. Twitter has become an especially rich space for remote teaching resources, and you may find ideas and crowd-sourced documents from colleagues and organizations within your discipline. To get you started, the Faculty Collaborative has identified many discipline-specific resources (which they will continue to update)--you can access those resources here.

For classes that are taught only one day a week, there may be two sections of a class, but due to the day, they end up with eight versus nine class meetings. In this case, can instructors schedule an additional class session?

  • If you are offering asynchronous instruction, you can offer the same amount of content and require the same work in multiple sections of the same class. However, for classes that are meeting synchronously, all required class sessions must take place within your assigned class time, as not doing so creates schedule conflicts for students. Faculty are encouraged to deliver their content asynchronously, where possible. 

Are we taking things out, or moving ten weeks into nine (with the idea that things might not be covered in as much depth)? 

  • Faculty maintain the discretion to decide about the breadth and depth of coverage in their courses. If certain material must be covered, e.g. in a prerequisite class or for accreditation purposes, then it should be included; otherwise, there may be opportunities to streamline, scale back, or exercise creativity. The Collaborative for Teaching Innovation’s website offers useful guidance on planning an online course that may help as you think about new approaches to your course content and delivery.

I have concerns about mandatory course video recordings given sensitive subjects that may come up in lecture or discussion. 

  • Please refer to Nancy Cutler's email from from September 3, 2020, that video recordings can be edited or even deleted (with chair/dean permission); you could even include the bulleted list she provided with its links to tutorials for these video tasks.

How will we handle a faculty member getting sick through the quarter, or face some other extenuating circumstances, and can't proceed with teaching the class

  • While it is impossible to predict particular circumstances that might affect normal class schedules — whether related to illness, weather, or other factors — there are a number of steps, ranging from extremely simple to more complex, that faculty can take to prepare themselves and their students for possible interruptions. 
  • Waiting for an emergency to happen before adopting the necessary tools and strategies can make a stressful and/or chaotic emergency even worse. This checklist is meant to address issues that may arise in the event of university closure or widespread or prolonged absences. You may also want to consider how these suggestions could be adapted for single absences (such as one student’s prolonged absence due to illness or your absence for a conference or due to illness).

How do I submit a topic to be featured in the “Resource of the Day” emails?

  • If you have ideas for topics you'd like to see featured in the upcoming emails, submit them here. All of the prior Resource of the Day posts, as well as additional resources, can be found here.


1. For information on international programs and travel, see the International Travel COVID-19 FAQs

2. For information on international students and scholars, see the Immigration Considerations Related to Coronavirus (COVID-19) FAQs

1. For information on Study Abroad, see the Undergraduate Study Abroad COVID-19 FAQs.

Information about Commencement will be made available in late Fall 2020.