Academic Continuity Planning

In April of 2019, the University Senate passed the “Policy on Academic Continuity and Emergency Grades: Academic Continuity During a Significant Disruption to Academic Activities.” This policy provides “a framework to guide planning and decision-making in the event that a significant disruption to campus operations impedes academic activity.” The goal is to continue academic activities as much as possible while maintaining academic integrity, transparency, and fairness for students. Mitigating the effects of a significant academic disruption is critical to prevent grave academic and financial consequences for graduating students, international students, and students receiving financial aid. The policy on Academic Continuity is managed by the Office of the Provost in coordination with the Office of Safety and Risk Services, the Academic Council and the University Senate. Academic continuity plans related to this policy are only activated if a state of emergency is declared by the university President in accordance with university emergency procedures. While the specifics of the conditions may vary, a campus state of emergency may include one or more of the following general scenarios:

  1. Loss of teaching and learning facilities including loss of public infrastructure or access to our facilities. Classes may need to be held at alternative locations or online.
  2. Significant reduction in faculty, staff and student attendance related to illness, natural disasters, or other events.
  3. Need to provide instruction without face-to-face contact (e.g. pandemic).

Each of these contexts will require different approaches so flexibility will be needed in planning. 

In some cases, events might disrupt academic continuity which do not result in a declaration of a state of emergency by the President. For instance, an unexpected short-term weather event or critical service outage might disrupt all or some academic activities. These may not rise to the level of a significant disruption and thus would not necessitate a declaration of a state of emergency. In addition, an unexpected event will require immediate action. In these cases, the Office of the Provost will observe the principles outlined in the Academic Continuity Policy in its efforts to continue academic activities, and will work with the Academic Council, the University Senate or other relevant committees as much as practicable. The Office of the Provost will take the lead on providing support and guidance to campus constituents to continue academic activities. 


Senate approved policy on academic continuity

Incident Management Team Overview and Org Chart