Faculty and Field Information
Cornell COVID-19: Information for Faculty and Fields
- CTI Resources for Remote Teaching and Class Administration
- CTI Webinars for Teaching Online
- Student Disability Services
- The Research Office
- The Library
Graduate School COVID-19 Information
- Graduate School COVID-19 Updates
- FAQ (COVID – 19)
- Health Information
- Mentoring Remotely During Disruption
- Remote Working, Teaching, and Learning
- Resources (COVID-19)
Campus Reactivation Accommodations and Options for Graduate Students – 6/11/20
Dear DGS and GFA Colleagues:
As Cornell gears up for broader reactivation of on-campus research and scholarly activity, there may be concerns raised by graduate students regarding returning from remote activity. The chart below outlines the processes to follow regarding how to address various scenarios for graduate students related to COVID-19 concerns vis-à-vis academic progress and engagement, including coursework, dissertation and thesis research, and assistantship responsibilities.
The processes in the chart will be used to discuss and determine appropriate accommodations (for personal health conditions, via Student Disability Services), or other options (via the campus offices described in the chart). A guiding principle is to strive to foster graduate students’ abilities to complete their degrees.
In summary, graduate student personal health concerns (including quarantine required by Tompkins County Health Department) should be addressed through Student Disability Services, whether related to coursework, dissertation/thesis research, or assistantship responsibilities. Graduate student general concerns (not personal health) about returning to campus in the midst of a global pandemic, including concern for vulnerable individuals in the household, will be handled either by (for coursework and dissertation/thesis research) discussion with faculty advisor, then faculty DGS, then Jan Allen/Graduate School, or (for assistantship duties), discussion with supervisor, then faculty DGS, then department chair, then college/school deans office, then Jan Allen/Graduate School.
Possible Accommodations (disability/health-related) or Options for Graduate Students May Include the Following, as Appropriate for the Situation (this is not an exhaustive list):
- Remote/online learning, teaching, and/or research opportunities.
- Revised responsibilities (e.g., revised learning assignments; pivoted research – e.g., change from lab-based research to computation-based research; revised assistantship duties with same funding source).
- Revised funding source (e.g., change from TA to RA/GRA; change to different TA with different teaching responsibilities).
- Additional PPE – personal protective equipment – provided by the university/department/PI (e.g., N95 masks, protective gowns).
- Being on campus in different shifts during de-densified time periods.
- Rescheduling on-campus duty times to enable getting to campus in a way that avoids public transportation (or uses public transportation, depending on what the barrier is).
- Issuing parking space close to location of academic activity if required to be on campus at non-standard times.
- Taking leave of absence (health leave, personal leave) from academic program.
Funding Accommodations for Graduate Students - 4/13/20
Dear DGS and GFAs,
The Graduate School is announcing several funding accommodations to support students who have had their funding plans disrupted by COVID-19.
Emergency summer fellowships – The Graduate School has created a fund to provide emergency $3000 summer fellowships to students who lost planned summer funding due to the public health emergency. These special fellowships are available only to students who have no other form of funding, are in good academic standing, and are within the period of guaranteed funding. Students must be nominated by their DGS using the attached form, indicating how the summer was planned to be funded prior to the COVID-19 disruption. Funding is limited, so fields should actively explore additional funding options. Nominations are due by May 1st.
Fellowship extensions – Graduate School fellowships, including Sage, SUNY, and Dean’s Excellence, may be delayed into the 13th and 14th semesters, via request to the Graduate School by the DGS, specifying how the student’s academic progress was delayed by the COVID-19 disruption. Normally fellowships must be used by the 12th semester of study.
Sage summer fellowships – Students who have not yet passed their A exam will be awarded their 2020 Sage summer fellowship as long as they complete their academic activity report and have plans to make degree progress over the summer. Students and special committees are expected to make necessary adjustments to research plans and summer goals.
Advanced use of Sage dissertation writing fellowships – Students are normally ineligible to draw on their Sage dissertation writing fellowship prior to the successful completion of their A exam. However, students who must delay their A exam due to COVID-19 may request use of their fall 2020 Sage dissertation writing fellowship as long as the A exam scheduling form is submitted to the Graduate School prior to August 15, and is scheduled to occur before December 18, 2020.
Graduate student funding at Cornell is a shared commitment between fields, departments, faculty advisors, and the Graduate School. Finding solutions for students in need during this exceptional time will also require collaboration. The Graduate School offers as much flexibility as we can within our finite budgeted resources. I urge fields and departments to continue exploring all funding options for students who are encountering hardships this spring and summer. Please don’t hesitate to contact me directly with any questions.
Associate Dean for Administration
Extension of Spring Assistantship Period, Stipend Supplement - 4/8/20
Dear DGSs, GFAs, and Grad Awarders,
As you know, Cornell’s spring 2020 academic calendar has been adjusted to accommodate the COVID-19 disruptions. The revised schedule now extends regular instruction through May 12, with the exam period ending on May 23. Many graduate Teaching Assistants (TAs) provided support for course instructors during the weeks between March 13 and April 6 when classes were paused and content was moved to an online delivery format and will now be asked to extend their service later into May as well. To account for the extra time commitment the Provost and academic Deans have approved extending the spring appointment period for all graduate assistants by 5 days, with a corresponding increase in stipend.
You may recall that appointment period dates in Policy 1.3 (pp. 10-11) were planned to be adjusted in Fall ’20 anyway, so this shift of 5 days represents an acceleration of that planned change. The appointment dates are:
|Spring 2020||1/1 - 5/15||1/1 - 5/20|
|Summer 2020||5/16 - 8/15||5/21 - 8/20|
|Fall 2020||8/16 - 12/31||8/21 - 1/5|
|Spring 2021 and Beyond||N/A||1/6 - 5/20|
The change moves the appointment period into closer alignment with the regular academic calendar. Although this consideration is most acute for TAs, the shift will apply to all assistantships (TA, GRA, RA, GA) in order to keep the appointments consistent and to recognize that students frequently move between appointment types.
The Workday support team has confirmed that a systematic adjustment can be made to all spring appointments so units will not need to manually change appointment dates. This is scheduled to occur on April 22. The additional stipend compensation for this spring appointment period will be $456.33 for students receiving the base of $13,609/semester. The cost for this increase will be applied to the current funding source, or can be shifted to another account in the funding unit by manually adjusting the costing allocation in Workday. Units that have already processed summer appointments will need to adjust the start date to May 21.
A communication will be sent to graduate assistants by Friday, April 10 to explain this change. Questions about the policy can be directed to me (email@example.com). Questions about modifying appointments in Workday can be sent to the HR/Payroll helpdesk: firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for your patience and flexibility as we worked through this issue.
Associate Dean for Administration
S/U for Graduate/Professional Courses - 4/6/20
Dear DGS and GFA Colleagues:
You may have received directly or seen the April 5 message from the Provost and Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education that was apparently sent to all students, including graduate/professional students. The message addressed changes in the course grading policy for Spring 2020.
Details for graduate/professional degree programs are below. Please share this information as appropriate with your graduate faculty and directors of professional degree programs (if any) related to your fields. We’ll post a note about this for graduate/professional students in our Announcements this evening.
For graduate/professional degree programs and courses:
Instructors for courses taken by graduate/professional students may offer an S/U grading option unless not permitted by internal degree program requirements or external restrictions imposed by relevant accreditation or oversight bodies. Essentially, graduate/professional students should inquire with (1) their graduate program to make sure there are no prohibitions from the degree program level to taking S/U, and then (2) ask their instructor if it is okay to choose the S/U grade option. Graduate degree programs may want to be proactive on this, and communicate to your graduate students whether your degree program(s) will permit S/U grade options for students’ records.
Logistically, when a faculty member enters a grade in PeopleSoft’s Faculty Center Grade Roster, they select the letter grade value or S/U. Letter grades are still tracked in the faculty member’s grade book, not PeopleSoft. Faculty have the option, if the degree program allows it, of assigning S/U grades to graduate/professional students in their courses.
(The following dates apply to all Ithaca-campus programs except for the few, like DVM, operating on separate calendars. Cornell Tech students and faculty should follow the Cornell Tech calendar and deadlines.) If the degree program allows S/U grading towards its requirements, students have until May 12, the last day of instruction, to drop a course without a W or change the grading basis of a course to S/U. This applies to any full Spring 2020 semester course, including courses that did not previously offer an S/U grading option, as well as 7-week courses offered in the second half of the semester. Between May 12 and May 23, the last day of the semester, students can still drop any of their courses with a W and petition to change the grading basis to S/U.
Thank you for your flexibility in these challenging times,
Barbara A. Knuth
Dean of the Graduate School
Professional Degree Campus Access Clarification - 3/14/20
Dear DGSs and GFAs with Professional Degree Programs:
I am writing with an important clarification regarding the end date for professional degree students to have access to campus facilities, particularly for those who have materials on campus that they need to take with them as they leave campus, to be able to complete their studies working remotely (e.g., independent or group project materials, capstone project items, project-related lab data or materials, etc.).
President Pollack’s 3/13 message to the community said that professional students must leave campus no later than March 29 (unless they have an on-campus housing exemption, in which case they can still access only housing). My message to the Graduate School community on 3/13 reiterated this information, indicating that professional degree students must not come to campus after March 29 until further notice, unless they have an exception to stay in on-campus housing.
However, the Provost’s message to faculty on 3/13/20 evening, “Additional Guidance for Faculty,” said “professional degree students … will not have access to campus facilities beginning Monday, March 16, to put in place the required social distancing” and mentioned a specific exclusion that “M.Eng. students who are finishing small group projects in laboratories must discontinue these projects by March 27.”
These different messages are causing consternation among some professional degree faculty, and among students who are aware of this mixed messaging (although they did not receive directly the faculty message about March 16, the information has reached some students). This is leading to concerns about large groups of students needing to access facilities all at the same time on Sunday 3/15 or Monday morning 3/16, which is not consistent with the goals of social distancing. And it is producing a great deal of anxiety, not surprisingly.
Thus, the Provost has now clarified that each professional degree program may make, and communicate, whatever arrangements will work for your students, as long as all professional degree students leave campus by March 29. Keep in mind that time is of the essence, as travel conditions and restrictions are changing daily. Ideally, you will make arrangements for students to pick up their materials in ways that allow appropriate social distancing (6’ between people) and have them able to leave campus as soon as realistic, and definitely by March 29.
Please communicate this with your professional degree students and faculty, and make and communicate plans for your program with them.
Thanks for your efforts. Apologies for any confusion. Please let me know if you have any questions.
Barbara A. Knuth
Dean of the Graduate School
Connecting with International Students
- Guidance for Faculty: Getting & Staying Connected with International Students – This page contains suggestions for staying connected with students who have returned to their home countries.
- Access to online platforms for international students in China:
- Students in mainland China cannot access: Google products (including Cornell student email accounts), Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Box/DropBox, Skype, LINE, Kakao Talk, Instagram, Whats App, or FlipGrid
- Students in mainland China can access: Zoom, Canvas, Schoology, OneDrive, Office Online, iCloud, Wechat
Mentoring During Disruption – COVID-19 has created an environment where faculty need to mentor students remotely, under disruptive circumstances. This page contains suggestions on how to approach this.
Cornell Store Faculty Resources for Online Instruction – Information on course materials for faculty and students, including access to digital textbooks, custom course packets, and resources from course materials providers.