UPDATED: This message, originally sent via email on Aug. 15, 2023, contains updated links (noted in red).

— Gen AI and Teaching & Learning is available here.

— Student-relevant syllabus information is here.

Dear VCU faculty,

Welcome to the fall 2023 semester!

I am writing to share and reiterate information as you start a new semester. Below are the top 8 points that faculty need to know before classes begin:

1. Faculty are expected to teach their course(s) in the modality originally scheduled.

2. The course syllabus should be posted in advance.

3. Academic policies, guidelines, and regulations.

  • Registration is required for student attendance: After the add/drop period (Aug. 22 – 28, 2023), students may not attend classes in which they are not registered. All faculty are strongly encouraged to take attendance immediately after Aug. 28 to ensure only enrolled students are attending class. Please note that VCU does not have a first day attendance policy.
  • Absence policy: VCU’s regular attendance policy, as listed in the VCU Bulletin, applies for all students. The temporary academic regulation pertaining to student absences due to COVID put in place last academic year is no longer in effect.
  • Pass/fail grade option: VCU has a published pass/fail grade option for undergraduate students. Students must familiarize themselves with the current grade option, including limits and deadlines.
    • For the fall 2023 semester, students will have until Oct. 27 to request the pass/fail option for eligible courses. Please note: Fall miniterm, September miniterm, and October minimester classes all have different deadlines for choosing the pass/fail option.

4. Academic calendar and windows for scheduled student feedback.

  • Academic calendar: Consult the academic calendar for important deadlines, events and planned closings.
  • Timely feedback & Student Success: VCU provides two methods to help faculty set and reinforce high academic expectations in their undergraduate classes by providing timely feedback to students regarding their academic performance: progress reports (Aug. 29 and Sept. 18) and midterm grades (Sept. 26 – Oct. 20).
  • Final exams: All final exams for the semester will be scheduled according to the university’s final exam schedule. Students enrolled in courses with an in-person component (i.e., not fully online) will be expected to be on campus for final exams if required by their instructor. For off-campus classes and classes that are not listed on the above final exam schedule, students should contact their instructor.

5. VCU’s health and safety protocols.

  • COVID-19: Masking is optional on both Monroe Park and MCV campuses. 
  • COVID Vaccinations: are no longer a requirement for students at VCU.  Student Health strongly recommends that students and faculty are vaccinated and boosted.  Free vaccinations are available to students through the Student Health Web Portal.  Faculty cannot ask students about their vaccination status.
  • Read the current Health Advisories for information related to the university’s ongoing response and recommendations to Influenza, Mpox, and COVID-19.

6. Stay informed.

7. Gen AI and Teaching & Learning.

  • A draft tool focused on Gen AI and Teaching & Learning is available here. This draft tool will be open for faculty discussion at a session (virtual only) scheduled for Tuesday, September 26, 3:00- 4:15 pm.
  • Considering that the AI world is constantly changing, we are creating an advisory council of faculty who are familiar with AI and who stay abreast of new developments so that we can update this tool with addendums.
  • Additionally, sharing ideas is critical to supporting faculty. In order to enable sharing, we will create a repository so that faculty can upload details of successful strategies. Instructions for uploading and how to use someone’s material or ideas (acknowledging and citing) will be included. Expect details soon.

8. A listing of fall 2023 professional development initiatives for faculty is available here.

As always, we encourage you to remain empathetic and flexible with your students. Best wishes for a vibrant and engaging fall semester.

Mangala Subramaniam
Senior vice provost for faculty affairs

Categories Faculty Affairs