Dear USF Students, Faculty, and Staff,
I want to acknowledge and thank students, faculty, and staff for all you have done to support the university’s move to remote learning. This sudden and dramatic shift in our approach to teaching and learning has not been easy, yet I am heartened and continually inspired by the stories of the many ways in which our community is building community, fostering connection, and furthering our unique approach to Jesuit education in this new environment. In addition to transforming the classroom experience, a new faculty webinar series kicked off last week, with hundreds joining to hear USF experts discuss the COVID-19 pandemic as it relates to both marginalized communities and global security.
Following are important updates and reminders on several matters related to academic affairs at USF this semester and beyond.
As announced previously, students will have the ability to choose a letter grade or a Pass (P) grade for most classes they are taking this semester. Please review the full policy carefully. More details regarding exceptions, considerations, and the implementation process will be posted in the next few weeks.
We were incredibly disappointed to have to postpone May commencement ceremonies. Personally, it is a celebration I look forward to each year as we honor hundreds of newly minted USF alumni who will go off to change the world from here. A committee has been formed and is meeting to determine how and when we can best celebrate our spring graduates. We hope to have more information by mid-April.
The university has decided to move the first half of the summer 2020 session to a remote learning format. Courses that are scheduled to begin before June 29 will be held remotely, with no face-to-face meetings. We will continue to monitor the situation and communicate a decision regarding the second half of the summer session by May 1. For students already enrolled in summer session courses, this is an opportunity to continue learning remotely and stay on track with your degree program. Summer classes will give some structure to your summer and allow you to stay connected to the USF community. For students who have not yet enrolled in summer session courses, please watch for additional communications coming soon. Faculty teaching summer courses will receive information regarding online course design and instruction in the coming weeks.
The university is working with students to refund prorated housing and dining fees for those no longer living on campus. There have been questions about refunds or discounts to tuition for this semester. As the university stated in a communication earlier this month, because the academic calendar is proceeding — albeit in a new way — and students will receive academic credits for completed courses, the university will not be issuing refunds for tuition charges. In addition to courses moving online and faculty engaging with students in new ways, students are able to access the comprehensive student services that are central to a USF education. I thank our committed and tireless staff in CASA, CAPS, ISSS, and many other offices who are ensuring that our students have the support they need in this challenging time.
Finally, I am deeply appreciative of the ways in which every member of our community is supporting one another and caring for our common mission. From donating supplies to local hospitals to supporting our Fromm students who need assistance, we are finding moments of hope in the midst of this storm. That is the USF way. Thank you for your partnership.
Tyrone H. Cannon
Interim Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs