I want to provide additional details regarding how graduate students in your programs may be affected by Wednesday night’s announcement that the University of Kansas will be extending Spring Break, with courses resuming online March 23.
Supervisors should work closely with graduate student employees on a case-by-case basis to determine how individual GTA, GRA, GA, and student hourly employees should continue their work functions next week (March 16-20). Guidance to student employees should include clear expectations for maintaining on-campus duties or assigning remote work as most appropriate for each individual situation.
As instructors, GTAs will be involved in the shift of all courses to online instruction as of March 23. We recommend that supervisors work closely with their GTAs and give clear guidance, as soon as possible, about the plan for online instruction and the responsibilities of GTAs. Ensuring that your GTAs have the tools and access needed to conduct their expected duties is essential. As your plans develop, please communicate early and regularly with GTAs and, as soon as possible, translate into writing any guidance or instructions you would normally offer verbally. Although additional tasks may be required to move instruction online, GTA work should still be limited to an average of no more than 20 hours per week during the semester (for students appointed at 0.5 FTE). Please encourage GTAs to avail themselves of KU's resources to support online learning. The best place to start is at remote.ku.edu.
Students and other workers should stay home if they experience any symptoms including fever, cough, or difficulty breathing. We also encourage limiting physical contact with others, such as hand-shaking (substitute elbow bumps or bows) and sharing of food. Finally, the most effective prevention measure is frequent, thorough hand-washing. The World Health Organization has produced this poster detailing the most effective manner in which to wash your hands.
Campus remains open, and therefore graduate students can continue to use their office spaces, work in research laboratories, and access the libraries. We recommend that departments and supervisors work with graduate students to allow them to continue their research either on or off campus. We recommend the following basic principles:
Master's and Doctoral Exams
- Shared Spaces: We strongly encourage all researchers to think carefully about what work must be conducted on-site in a shared space and what tasks can be completed as effectively from a more isolated office or home. Individuals working in shared spaces are encouraged to disinfect work surfaces regularly. Supervisors are encouraged to allow, without prejudice, for remote work whenever possible.
- Communications: Establish clear modes of communication with research group members. Also crosscheck your contacts lists to ensure no one who ought to be included is left out of your communications.
- Plan: Department chairs and research supervisors should discuss approaches now in the event that some personnel are unable to come to work. Such advanced planning will make future decisions straightforward and minimize disruption to research activities.
- Remote Access: All students, post-docs, staff, and faculty involved in research projects should ensure they have access to the information and tools they need to carry out work remotely. This might include, for example, access to literature, access to existing datasets and research-related files (while maintaining security over any data accessed remotely), and access to meeting software (such as Zoom).
We recognize that remote work will necessarily change our approach to master’s and doctoral exams. Existing rules requiring in-person attendance at milestone exams are being temporarily suspended. Any or all students and/or committee members may participate using mediated means (video-conferencing) through May 14, 2020. Students and committee members are encouraged to use their discretion in evaluating whether some or all individuals should participate remotely. In cases where the student prefers for all committee members to be physically present, the student’s preference shall be honored. However, this preference may require rescheduling and therefore delay progress to degree.
All participants in an exam involving remote participation must be fully aware of what is transpiring and fully able to participate in all components of the discussion with the student and each other. Any material presented during the examination, orally or in writing, shall be seen and heard by all members. Oral examinations that do not meet these participation requirements are not valid. A student’s milestone outcome will not be influenced by any proceedings that take place without full engagement of all participants. If a committee member has not arrived, the exam may not begin; if a committee member leaves, the exam may not proceed.
Prospective Students and Campus Visits
As circumstances surrounding COVID-19 evolve, university officials are monitoring the spread of the disease and taking steps to keep our community healthy. Programs must follow the same guidelines for domestic and international travel, which means that university-sponsored visits of graduate students are not allowed. Departments are encouraged to host virtual events so that students can receive pertinent information in a timely manner. Graduate Admissions is working with Enrollment Management to provide a webinar resource through Slate software; the webinar, which would be accessible by prospective students, could serve as a virtual event. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org
if you are interested in using this tool.
Prospective students who reach out to our office will be encouraged to contact their program of interest for information about virtual options.
Please continue to visit coronavirus.ku.edu
for additional details about campus plans.
Council of Graduate Schools' April 15th Resolution
The Council of Graduate Schools has received several inquiries regarding the implications of COVID-19 on the April 15th
Resolution. They have posted an updated statement on their website
The University of Kansas has discontinued all university-sponsored, business-related travel and attendance at meetings, conferences, etc., effective immediately. Graduate students previously planning to travel outside of Kansas and Missouri for academic reasons should make every effort to rearrange travel plans and pursue refunds, change-fee waivers, and other cost-saving measures when possible.
The application portal for the Graduate Scholarly Presentation Travel Fund will remain open, but no new funding will be approved for travel that takes place between 12 March 2020 and 10 May 2020. Applications from students experiencing hardships due to these travel restrictions will be considered (e.g., non-refundable costs already incurred).
The COVID-19 outbreak is a source of anxiety for many. If your graduate students are experiencing heightened levels of stress or anxiety, please help direct them to the counseling services available through KU Counseling and Psychological Services
The Office of Graduate Studies will do our utmost to assist you in providing guidance to your graduate students as this unique situation evolves. Please reach out with any questions to email@example.com
Jennifer A. Roberts, PhD
she / her / hers
Department of Geology
Vice Provost for Graduate Studies
Director and Managing Trustee
Self Graduate Fellowship
Please check information about rapid remote teaching at remote.ku.edu, under the tab “Teaching.” It includes many helpful suggestions, from first steps to class discussions to modifying assessments.
During the week of 16 March, CTE is offering four Zoom workshops available to help faculty and instructional staff switch their courses to an online format. GTAs are encouraged to take advantage of any resources that interest them. Each workshop is limited to 32 participants; however, the CTE will record the workshops and make them available by the next business day. Please use the links listed below to register. In addition, the CTE is setting up additional online workshops and other resources. Please check remote.ku.edu and the CTE website regularly for more information.
- Tuesday 17 March, 10-11 a.m.
Lessons from an Online Teaching Conversion
- Tuesday 17 March, 12-1 p.m.
Strategies for Effective Online Group Work
- Wednesday 18 March, 10-11 a.m.
Modifying Class Activities for Rapid Remote Teaching
- Thursday 19 March, 12-1 p.m.
Modifying Assignments and Assessments for Rapid Remote Teaching
Dea Greenhoot and Doug Ward are holding office hours from 2-4 p.m. each day this week, to provide one-on-one assistance to faculty and instructional staff. Please contact Judy Eddy at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a session.
The Vice Provost's Office provides services to all graduate students and graduate programs at KU, including support for professional development, academic affairs, scholarships, fellowships, and awards.
The Office of Graduate Admissions guides applicants to information on graduate programs at KU, processes applications for admissions to graduate programs, and assists graduate programs in creating and managing new student enrollment.
The Office of Graduate Military Programs assists military service members in obtaining advanced civilian educational degrees and acts as the liaison between KU and the United States Armed Offices.
The Madison & Lila Self Graduate Fellowship identifies, recruits, and provides funding and development opportunities for exceptional Ph.D. students in business, economics, engineering, mathematics, and biological, biomedical, pharmaceutical, and physical sciences