Campus Announcements

Friday, July 31, 2020 10:18 a.m. - A message from the Safe Return to Campus Planning Committee

Dear Miami Community,

This week you received an email announcing that classes would begin, as planned, on August 17, but would begin remotely and not on-campus. This decision to start remotely had a differential impact on people within our community. Thank you to those of you who shared that impact with our committee.

We are grappling with the same uncertainty and changing landscape as you are. It isn’t normal, it isn’t comfortable, and it isn’t ending anytime soon. We encourage you to keep reaching out and talking to people in your community; these are not easy conversations to have, but they are worth it. Please keep reaching out to us, too, and know that as a University, we are listening and hoping for your collaboration as we navigate this together. 

As we continue to look forward to the start of fall semester, the Safe Return to Campus Planning and Coordinating Committee is providing input and feedback as parts of our plan continue to evolve. We want to share with you four different areas where you can expect more change and information in the coming weeks:

  1. Testing and Contact Tracing
  2. Symptom Tracking and Absence Reporting
  3. COVID and Health Education
  4. Mental Health

Testing and Contact Tracing

We are coordinating with Tri-Health to build a sustained and systematic approach to testing on campus. We are also coordinating with the Butler County Health District on a reporting procedure and contact tracing efforts. And, in an effort to reduce the spread of this virus within our community, it will be important for all of us to participate in their efforts to trace that spread among your contacts. 

These partnerships are key elements of our plan to return to campus and details will be communicated as soon as possible. At this time we are not requiring a negative test upon arrival, but it will be important for all of us on campus to do daily symptom checks and be tested by a health care provider or at the university health center if symptoms are present.

Symptom Tracking and Absence Reporting

We are currently investigating systems that support individuals in assessing and tracking their personal health as it relates to COVID-19 symptoms. Additionally, a way to notify the institution of possible exposure related absences is under development for all faculty, staff, and students. 

COVID and Health Education

Along with testing, we are working on ways to educate members of our community about how campus life will be different while COVID is present and what we can all do to stay healthy together. The Healthy Together Pledge to the Community is one way that we hope to clearly convey the responsibilities of each of us-students, faculty, and staff alike. We are also providing advice and feedback on the creation of educational modules on topics such as how to check symptoms and the reasons we cover our faces and physically distance when around others.

Mental Health

Many of you have asked about how we will care for the Mental Health of students this semester. You’re right to wonder and express concern; COVID-19 has changed the ways in which mental health services can be provided, what services are needed, and also the demand for these services. We have been actively thinking and planning for ways in which we can support our community in the coming semester.  These plans are evolving to meet the changing needs, and are summarized here and you can find more information on the Student Counseling Services website.

We are all facing hard decisions about when and how to come back to campus. As you have questions about how to make your personal decision for fall semester, please check the FAQ page or contact the temporary phone bank at 513-529-9000. If you have ideas or concerns about the university plans to return, you can still submit them via our website. 

Love and Honor,
Co-chairs, Dana Cox and Gwen Fears


Monday, July 27, 2020 - Phased-In Return to Campus Plans

Due to the changing dynamics of the COVID-19 virus in Ohio and throughout the United States, Miami University is now offering a variety of options to Oxford students for a phased-in approach to the start of the fall semester.

Classes begin as scheduled Aug 17 for all students but will begin with all undergraduate classes on the Oxford campus being held online/remotely until at least Sept. 21. Undergraduate classes on Miami’s Regional campuses will also begin remotely on Aug 17.

“As a university, we must continue to be flexible and adaptable with the health and safety of our community as our first priority,” wrote President Greg Crawford in a letter to Oxford students.

“When we began planning last spring, we had hoped that the COVID-19 pandemic would be in significant decline before classes were scheduled to begin. Instead, cases are rising in many states,” he wrote. “With over 40% of our Oxford students coming from outside Ohio, we’ve been monitoring the situation closely.”

Miami is working with Butler county public health officials and following the guidance and directives of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Ohio Department of Health, and Governor Mike DeWine.

"Governor DeWine and his team have been wonderful partners through these turbulent times. I want to thank Governor DeWine for his leadership and continued support of higher education," said Crawford.

“We have heard from students and their families, faculty, and staff who are excited to return to campus and from those who have concerns about returning. This means offering our students several options for the fall semester,” Crawford wrote.

Following the recommended best practices for opening universities, Miami will sequence the return to campus in multiple phases.

“This will give us the opportunity to review lessons learned at each interval and adapt accordingly,” Crawford added.

“In the end, we hope, this will provide the best opportunity for a successful return to the Oxford campus later this fall,” Crawford said.

He added, "We expect students planning to live off-campus in Oxford will begin returning in advance of the August 17 start of classes. We encourage them to consider residing at home if circumstances permit or if they have significant health or family concerns."

Move-in for Oxford undergraduate students living in the residence halls will begin Sept. 14 in a phased-in manner.

Graduate students will begin on-campus classes on August 17, and research activities will continue as planned.

Students who elect to return this fall will be required to sign a health and safety pledge.

Students will also have the option to construct a fully remote semester, and newly admitted and transfer students to the Oxford campus may elect to postpone their enrollment for a semester or for a year.

Oxford undergraduate students and their families will choose from one of three options described in the letter to Oxford students.

More information about Miami University’s Healthy Together Plan for return-to-campus this fall can be found online.


Tuesday, July 7, 2020 4:49 p.m. - President Crawford Announces Healthy Together Plan

Dear Miami community,

I wish to introduce to you today the Miami University Healthy Together Plan. The Healthy Together Plan consists of information, policies, and guidelines focused on our collective health as a community and fulfilling our mission of delivering high-quality educational experiences this fall semester in the COVID-19 era. 

We expect COVID-19 will be with us for the foreseeable future and are planning accordingly. Although no one can guarantee a campus that is free of the virus, we are making several important changes to help reduce the risks. The risk of exposure and possible infection is real and present in any community environment where large numbers of people are regularly interacting, including college campuses. In order to minimize the risk of exposure and infection, we all must remember that the health of each of us depends on the health of all of us.

Our ability to return and share the Miami Experience this fall depends to a great extent on how committed we are to respect and care for one another and the communities of Oxford, Hamilton, Middletown, West Chester, and Luxembourg. Miamians, all of us together, must support and care for each other in these times when our nation and the world are striving to find ways to combat COVID-19.

The Healthy Together Plan rests upon what we know today. We will continue to monitor the situation every day and adjust and iterate the plan as required. It is flexible enough to respond to the quickly changing landscape. The plan was created with our own expertise on our campuses, TriHealth as our partner in student health, the Butler County Health District our partner in public health, the City of Oxford, our collaborations through the Inter-University Council (all 14 public institutions in higher education in Ohio), and the Ohio Department of Health. We will continue to collaborate. We are relying on the guidance and directives of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Governor Mike DeWine, and the Ohio Department of Health as we make these important decisions. All of Ohio’s public universities are working together to develop safety guidelines for the return to our campuses.

The Healthy Together Plan is the product of countless hours of work from faculty, staff, students, external partners, and state health organizations. I am grateful to them and to the members of the Safe Return to Campus Planning and Coordinating Committee who gathered your input, heard your concerns, and incorporated your ideas. Thank you to co-chairs Dr. Dana Cox and Dr. Gwen Fears for your leadership. 

Many of you have asked about plans for the September Commencement celebration for the class of 2020, Homecoming, Family Weekend, and fall athletics. We will have updates on these larger events no later than July 17.

I want to thank the many employees who have been working on our campuses these last few months. We recognize and admire your dedication. In August, our campuses will be as beautiful and welcoming as they have ever been, but the ways we work, learn, and socialize on them will be very different.

Nevertheless, in this new “normal” of responding to the impact of COVID-19, I am confident that:

  • Our faculty are developing high-quality creative course offerings using a wide variety of delivery methods that will deliver the renowned personal top-tier education that is Miami’s mission.
  • Our health team is establishing detailed protocols and is ready to respond to the health needs of our Miami community, in close collaboration with our city and health partners.
  • Our staff is ready to execute the return-to-campus plans with the care that makes Miami our beautiful home.
  • Our cities and communities where we live, learn, and work are our partners, and we all want to maintain healthy communities for all of us.
  • Our plan is flexible. As the situation changes, so will our plan. It is iterative and adaptive to changes in this dynamic environment.

Please visit the Healthy Together website for detailed information. For significant or major changes in the plan, we will immediately message the community. Success will take all of us together.

With admiration and gratitude for all that you have done for Miami during these trying times,

In Love and Honor,

Greg Crawford
President


Wednesday, June 17, 2020 10:48 a.m. - From the Safe Return to Campus Planning and Coordinating Committee

Dear Miami Community,

We are so grateful to all of you for providing us with your comments, ideas, questions and concerns. We are continually reviewing the feedback submitted via our website and we hope it continues. This feedback has been instrumental in helping our committee prioritize and focus attention on areas that you feel are urgent and important. We are also grateful to those of you who have reached out to committee members and provided your voice. Know that you are represented in each of our meetings and that you have been heard.

One of the themes that we have identified is a desire for information about how we will engage with one another in the classroom and online. There are also many concerns about personal safety and worries about whether everyone will adhere to expectations of social distancing and face coverings. We recognize that these are important issues, and we will communicate more with you soon.

This past week we engaged in several focused and targeted discussions in an effort to closely examine and learn more about some key topics. An example of one of these targeted discussions was around the information released to students outlining plans for moving into the residence halls on campus. (You can read this announcement under the announcements tab, "To Students and Families.") The SR2C provided thoughtful feedback and suggestions on how that plan was to be communicated and further developed over the summer. This plan has a ripple effect on multiple areas of campus, and it was important for our committee to understand that impact from many perspectives.

We are also working with the Office of University Communications and Marketing (UCM) on a more strategic communication plan. We will continue to use the questions you are submitting to inform the continued development of our website to better communicate important information and decisions as they are made.

There are many decisions to be made in the coming weeks. Your priorities are our priorities. Please continue to offer your creative ideas, alert us to new priorities, and ask questions. As new information is available, we will communicate it as quickly and effectively as possible.

Love and Honor,

Co-chairs: Dana Cox and Gwen Fears


Wednesday, June 10, 2020 8:47 a.m. - From the Safe Return to Campus Planning and Coordinating Committee

Dear Miami Community,

The Safe Return to Campus Planning and Coordinating Committee had a productive and busy week. As you are aware, the committee’s website launched last week, just in time for the announcement about the fall academic calendar.

As that announcement made its way around our community, we were pleased that many of you found the button for the feedback form on that page and jotted us a note about your concerns, ideas, and continued questions. You will now find a link to the revised academic calendar as well.

We read every message that comes across. This week, we noticed common themes of concern emerge like personal health, academic flexibility, and the status of public events.

From the feedback we are receiving from the website as well as individuals and groups of people, we are constructing a list of Frequently Asked Questions. These are helpful to us as we consider what communications are of high interest and urgency. As we are able to answer them, you will be able to find those updates on this website.

Another concern that was expressed was the lack of graduate student representation on our committee. It was always our intention and we are pleased to announce that Brenda Tyrrell has agreed to join us.

We have also launched a scientific review team tasked with 1) monitoring current research on mainstream mitigation strategies such as hand washing and physical distancing; and 2) constructing detailed reviews of literature on emerging topics, such as drinking fountain usage.

With the academic calendar set, we are looking forward to hearing more of your ideas and communicating regular updates to you.

Love and Honor,

Co-chairs: Dana Cox and Gwen Fears


Friday, June 5, 2020 1:08 p.m. - Plans to Return to Campus From the President

Dear Miami Community,

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted us all and has created great uncertainty, and all of us are asking what the fall will look like. Today I write to update you on our planning and preparations.

We expect that COVID-19 will be with us for the foreseeable future and are planning accordingly. This fall, we plan to welcome our returning students and incoming first-year students to our campuses, our residence halls and to our classrooms. Our dedicated faculty are developing a full range of flexible and engaging curriculum delivery options to ensure the best possible experience for our students.

While our primary emphasis will always be on in-person, personal interaction, we must be creative and adaptable to meet public health measures such as face-coverings and physical distancing requirements. We will selectively employ high quality, evidence-based hybrid approaches where needed, particularly to accommodate students who may need to self-isolate, and those whose health conditions prevent a return to the classroom. In some cases, we may need to have courses online due to social distancing and space limitations. Regardless of the method of delivery, we are committed to providing a Miami-quality education, continuing our relationship-driven, liberal arts foundation, experiential-rich education, founded on character and intellect.

After reviewing our academic calendar and considering scenarios to provide the highest probability of a full and healthy semester on campus, we determined that eliminating travel back and forth to campus at Thanksgiving is the best option for the safety and health of our students and their families, and for our faculty and staff. Therefore, we are planning to begin the fall semester one week early on Monday, August 17, 2020 and to complete all classes before Thanksgiving break, eliminating the need for students to return to complete the semester. Following Thanksgiving, all final examinations will be completed remotely. On campus accommodations will be made for those students in the residence halls who cannot depart. Information on December Commencement will be provided at a later date.

As health and safety are always paramount, we continue to work with local public health officials and follow the guidance and directives of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Governor Mike DeWine, and the Ohio Department of Health to safeguard the health of students, faculty, staff and visitors to our campuses. We are also working closely with all of Ohio’s public universities to develop safety guidelines to facilitate the return to our campuses. Among other actions, we are planning to implement physical distancing requirements, daily health self-assessments, the use of face coverings, enhanced cleaning, partitions where appropriate, and take-out dining options. We will provide appropriate education and training on these and other actions we will be implementing.

We are also working with TriHealth, our local hospital and healthcare provider, to develop a plan for testing and have set up a system to isolate and/or quarantine residential students who may be exposed to the virus so they can continue their studies in place while protecting our students, faculty, and staff.

We have already begun a phased return to research and we will soon begin to provide more information for a phased return for other work areas as well. Coordinating our efforts is the Safe Return to Campus Planning and Coordinating Committee, co-chaired by the Chair of the Senate Executive Committee, Dana Cox, and by Gwen Fears, Assistant Vice President of Student Life. The committee is a highly accomplished and experienced team of faculty, staff and students from across our campuses, along with internal and external advisors. The committee will coordinate communication and actions among units on our campuses, and is charged to:

  1. Gather and share ideas and concerns from our community about the return of our campuses.
  2. Develop an ongoing environmental scan on other universities’ actions and national trends.
  3. Review guidance and health practices from government and agency experts for the return to face-to-face instruction, student life and activities.
  4. Provide guidance and serve as a sounding board for many ideas that are proposed around scheduling, events, logistics, equipment, testing and other issues.
  5. Investigate, track and record lessons learned from the crisis.

The committee co-chairs will provide us with weekly updates, the first of which was sent earlier this week. I encourage you to review their updates and visit the committee's web resource to stay up-to-date on our plans to return in the fall.

Miami is a caring, supportive community, and I thank you again for your support, your understanding, your patience, and especially your collaborative spirit, as we plan for the return to our campuses in the fall. We will continue to keep you updated as more becomes certain.

In Love and Honor,

Gregory P. Crawford
President


Wednesday, June 3, 2020 8:10 a.m. - From the Safe Return to Campus Planning and Coordinating Committee

Dear Miami Community,

The Safe Return to Campus (SR2C) Planning and Coordinating Committee is a broadly representative committee charged with advising the president and the President’s Executive Cabinet. Great care has been taken to assemble a diverse group. This group includes representatives from a variety of stakeholder groups—faculty, staff, students, and the Oxford community—and is assisted by both external and internal advisers on public health and safety.

Specifically, the SR2C is doing the following:

  • Coordinating efforts across all of Miami’s planning committees
  • Listening to members of our community for ideas and challenges
  • Researching what is going on elsewhere in higher education and public health
  • Reviewing and providing feedback on evolving plans with guidance from national health organizations as well as from key external advisers representing Oxford, the Inter-University Council of Ohio, the Ohio Department of Health, and local health providers
  • Collecting and disseminating proposals from around campus and providing feedback
  • Learning about Miami’s response to COVID-19 in order to understand and amplify what is working and change direction on what is not

Our committee is using a framework provided by the Inter-University Council of Ohio as a guiding document. This set of guidelines addresses the specifics of the safety of institutions of higher education. As we accomplish our goals, these guidelines will be an important way to focus our attention in the right place, and that we are taking a comprehensive view of safety on campus.

We expect that COVID-19 will be with us for the foreseeable future and are planning accordingly. We continue to work with local public health officials and follow the guidance and directives of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Governor Mike DeWine, and the Ohio Department of Health to safeguard the health of students, faculty, staff and visitors to our campuses. We have further strengthened our relationship with our health-care partner, TriHealth.

Each week, the SR2C will update you on pertinent topics and information to keep you informed of the many discussions taking place on campus. Numerous committees are working to plan for our return to campus.

In order for us to best communicate with the Miami Community, we developed a new web resource that will both collect and disseminate information about our return. Use this website as your source destination for updated information about Miami’s plans. We encourage you to provide us with feedback and to ask us questions through a form available on the website. The committee plans regular, weekly updates every Tuesday to the community beginning next week.

As Miami moves forward in the planning process, there is a lot that we do not yet know, and many decisions have not yet been made. As these important discussions continue, we want your feedback and perspective to be included. It is up to all of us in the Miami community to work together toward our return to campus.

Love and Honor,

Co-chairs: Dana Cox and Gwen Fears


Thursday, May 21, 2020 5:52 p.m. - From the President

Dear Miami Community,

I hope you and your loved ones are safe and healthy. We wanted to provide another video update to celebrate the incredible Class of 2020, honor our faculty and staff, provide a budget update, address the establishment of the Safe Return to Campus Planning and Coordinating Committee, and to share some of the inspirational stories of fellow Miamians.

A Message to the Miami Community

I thank you all for living our core values and supporting each other during these challenging times.

In Love and Honor,

Gregory P. Crawford
President


Friday, May 15, 2020 4:46 p.m. - From the President

Dear Miami Community,

This spring has shown how Miamians come together to live our values of Love and Honor, and to support one another. I am humbled to be President of this great university which has instilled such values in so many alumni, students, faculty and staff—thank you.

As we enter the summer session, we are planning to resume in-person instruction on all campuses in the fall. We continue to work with local public health officials and follow the guidance and directives of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Governor Mike DeWine, and the Ohio Department of Health to safeguard the health of students, faculty, staff and visitors to our campuses.

Miami has built strong relationships with local health officials, hospitals, government leaders, and first responders. We are collaborating with our Student Health Services experts, and we have further strengthened our relationship with our health-care partner, TriHealth, one of the top integrated health systems in Greater Cincinnati. TriHealth operates both McCullough-Hyde Memorial Hospital, as well as our full-service Student Health Center in Oxford. These relationships help us in addressing the spread of the virus and preparing our campuses for the safe return of students, faculty and staff in the fall. We also continue to work closely with the Ohio’s Inter-University Council (IUC), comprised of Ohio’s 14 public universities.

The health and safety of the Miami community is paramount, and while on campus in-person instruction is the plan for the fall, we will be prepared for various scenarios, as government direction and restrictions to protect the health and safety of our campuses must guide our decisions.

As we return to our campuses, we anticipate various safeguards and strategies: physical distancing, changes to dining facilities and how we serve food, frequent cleaning of facilities, and other actions to promote health and safety. To coordinate these planning efforts for a safe return in the fall, I have appointed a Safe Return to Campus Planning and Coordinating Committee. The Committee will be co-chaired by the Chair of the Senate Executive Committee, Dana Cox, and by Gwen Fears, Assistant Vice President for Student Life - Assessment, Planning, and Transition. They will be joined by an accomplished team of faculty, staff and students from across our campuses and will be advised by internal and external experts.

Thank you for your support and adaptability. We will continue to keep you updated as we plan for the fall.

Love and Honor,

Gregory P. Crawford
President


Thursday, May 7, 2020 1:10 p.m. - From the President

Dear Miami Community,

It is our plan and intention to return to campus in the fall. While our students are eager to start their Miami journey, or to return to visit old friends, interact with faculty, engage in research, and engage in all the experiences of our campuses, we must plan and put safety first. The planning will be coordinated by the Safe Return to Campus Planning and Coordinating Committee. The Committee will be co-chaired by the Chair of the Senate Executive Committee, Dana Cox, and by Gwen Fears, Assistant Vice President for Student Life - Assessment, Planning, and Transition. In addition, Ohio’s Inter-University Council (IUC), comprised of Ohio’s 14 public universities, has formed a committee for the safe return to Ohio’s campuses, Assistant Vice President for Health and Wellness, Steve Large, is representing Miami University.

While the stay at home order remains in effect, Ohio is reopening in stages this month. At Miami we will also begin to bring back employees to our campuses in stages. Until directed otherwise, all employees should continue their current arrangement, essential or remote, your supervisor will contact you when it is time to change the arrangement. The Crisis Management Team will be sending out additional guidance.

I invite all of you to view our virtual Commencement Experience on May 16 & 17. Created by an incredible team of alumni, staff, faculty, and Miami students, we are transforming our traditional May celebrations into a dynamic, immersive event designed to honor our graduates, showcase the Miami Experience, and be enjoyed by family, friends, and alumni from anywhere across the world. Please visit our Commencement website, and watch for this week’s Miami Matters to learn more.

I want to share how so many Miamians have generously supported our students during this time of crisis. Our Emergency Needs Funds for students has now surpassed $550,000 in contributions! Thank you so much to everyone who is working to support our students. Your efforts and gifts are greatly appreciated.

Love and Honor,

Gregory P. Crawford
President


Thursday, April 30, 2020 3:29 p.m. - From the President

Dear Miami Community,

The novel coronavirus- COVID-19- has changed our world, our country and our University in just a matter of months. We have learned about the vital importance of public health and social distancing in our organization, and have worked together to flatten the curve. We have learned to teach and work remotely and to “hangout” on Google and meet on WebEx. We are experiencing the largest social and economic upheaval in most of our lifetimes, and we are physically separated from friends and loved ones. In the face of all of this change and adversity, we have much to be proud of. We have found new talents and strengths to appreciate in ourselves and others; and developed a firm resolve to get through this together.

Monday, Governor DeWine announced the plan to reopen Ohio. The reopening will occur in stages and as a Miami employee you should continue your current work arrangement, essential or remote, until otherwise notified. Your supervisor will contact you when the arrangement is to be changed. We encourage you to stay informed regarding Ohio’s reopening. The Governor’s press conferences are available on ohiochannel.org live at 2 p.m. daily and recorded for later viewing, also please visit coronavirus.ohio.gov, which is updated each day.

To coordinate our own efforts, I have begun forming a reopening campus coordinating committee comprised of faculty, staff and students from across Miami University. The committee will oversee and coordinate the many efforts going on to safely reopen our campuses and to welcome our new and returning students this fall. We look forward to learning of their progress, and for us all to be together again soon.

Although more may be unknown than known at this point, one thing is clear. As Miamians, our efforts are focused on supporting our students - and on May 16 and 17 we will celebrate the commencement of the Class of 2020. We will do this remotely from all areas of the globe, to learn more please visit our commencement website. In September we have invited the Class of 2020 back to campus to celebrate together in person, with family, friends, and favorite faculty and staff, on September 12 and 13.

I am grateful for the support so many are sending to us from a distance. Donations to support our students have been tremendous with over $250,000 contributed to the Emergency Needs Fund to date. I am humbled as I witness the Miami Community’s compassion and support for others and for our students. This is who we are. This is what we do. We are Miamians, and together we will persevere.

Love and Honor,

Gregory P. Crawford
President


Tuesday, April 28, 2020 4:31 p.m. - From the President

Dear Miami Community,

I hope you and your loved ones are safe and healthy. We wanted to provide you with an update on where we stand and what we have done. Rather than a letter, I wanted to speak to you of what we are doing for our students, our faculty, advancing Miami during a time of change, and living our core values. I encourage you to watch this video update.

President Crawford's message to the Miami Community

I thank you all for the ways you have exemplified Miami - the ways you have lived our core values in these unprecedented times.

In Love and Honor

Gregory P. Crawford,
President


Friday, April 24, 2020 9:02 a.m. - From the Provost

Dear Miami Community,

With the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff always our top priority, we, like many universities, have decided to offer all summer classes online/remotely. During this time, we will be actively engaging the campus community to plan for safely returning to campus for fall.

Summer’s online classes will follow the typical, posted summer session schedule(s) — May 19, 2020–August 8, 2020. We will also return to our typical grading practices and deadlines. For example, students will have the ability to select credit/no credit grading but only during the early part of the session.

I want to thank the entire Miami community again for adapting to this quick shift in the way we learn and teach and for continuing Miami’s educational mission during this pandemic crisis.

In the meantime, we all look forward to a full campus come fall.

Stay safe and stay well.

Love and Honor,
Jason Osborne


Saturday, April 18, 2020 2:19 p.m. - From the President

Dear Miami Community,

I am profoundly grateful for your ability to adapt and persevere in the midst of the great challenges all of us have been experiencing — both in our own lives and throughout the world. I can never thank you enough for sustaining Miami’s educational mission and upholding our shared values while so much around us is being disrupted.

It’s hard to believe that our spring semester started only three months ago, with thoughts already turning to the graduation celebration in May. Those days are a dim memory now as we learn, teach, and work remotely.

As our government and public health leaders prepare us for the next steps, all of us must continue to adapt and persevere. No one knows what reopening the local, national, and the world economy will mean at this point. People are understandably nervous about venturing back into the workplace and the world. What will be the new normal, and how will we find our footing in it?

On a more personal level, what will that mean to our Miami community? When will we return to campus, and what changes can we expect?

We will be addressing those vital questions as we imagine what might happen in the coming months. In any case, we will continue to follow the best advice and guidance provided by Ohio Governor Mike DeWine ’69, Dr. Amy Acton, and the Ohio Department of Health.

We know it’s hard for each of you to plan the future when you don’t know what May 1 will bring, the present extent of Ohio’s stay-at-home order. We will update you as soon as we know when and how we can all safely return to our campuses, keeping in mind that students and faculty will continue remote classes through the summer term.

We still expect everyone will return to our campuses this fall, and to welcome a diverse and talented first-year class for face-to-face instruction. We are all eager to see both old friends and new faces, and our passion to educate them is elevated. And as always, nothing is more important in our decision-making than the health and well-being of every single person in our community.

What we do know is the coronavirus is having an economic impact on all, including our students and their families. We have begun distributing $27M in refunds for room, board and other fees directly to our students. Our overriding commitment is to our students, and in these challenging times, I will be taking a voluntary 25% salary reduction, and other senior leaders will be taking a voluntary 10% reduction, with the savings directed to support our students.

Many of us remember wondering how we could possibly advance during the financial crisis of 2008. Yet we did, and we will again. It wasn’t easy then, and it won’t be easy now. We will do what we always do, tap the best of who we are as Miamians. Some days that might mean you lean on others for courage; other days we look to you for strength. I recently came across this quote from our own Rita Dove ’73:

“Courage has nothing to do with our determination to be great. It has to do with what we decide in that moment when we are called upon to be more.”

You are not alone. We are not alone. Call on each other for strength and help and courage. Together we will persevere. We are One Miami.

Love and Honor,

Gregory P. Crawford
President


Wednesday, April 15, 2020 4:56 p.m. - From the President

Dear Miami Community,

I have never been more honored and humbled to be Miami’s president. The way all of you are responding to meet the challenge of this health crisis is a true act of Love and Honor—thank you for everything that you are doing, your compassion for others, patience and understanding.

Even while separated, Miami continues to live our core values of student-centered education and service, from a distance. Renate and I are delighted to join the many members of the Miami faculty and staff who are calling our students to listen to them, share the many ways we can help, and thank them for their incredible flexibility to make the rapid shift to remote instruction. We enjoy hearing their optimism, hope, and inspirational stories during these unprecedented times.

This week, Provost Jason Osborne and Senior Vice President for Finance and Business Services David Creamer provided a financial update to University Senate. I thank them and the more than 600 engaged Miami community members who joined the meeting through WebEx. These are uncertain times; we are working with University Senate, campus leadership, faculty and staff, receiving feedback from our students, and are highly engaged with Ohio’s other public universities, as we plan for the future.

We are grateful to our students and faculty for their rapid shift to remote instruction. Thank you to our staff as well who have shifted to remote delivery of student services. The Center for Career Exploration and Success continues to offer 1:1 on-demand career advising appointments and mock interviews, and has scheduled virtual career fairs. They also provide online resources, such as VMOCK, for students to upload their resume and receive a score on impact, presentation, and (career) competencies. The Miller Center for Student Disability Services is working with our students who need adjustments to existing accommodations to succeed in this new environment, providing first-time support to others and offering strategies to all their students to adapt to new technologies and needs. They have also developed a Remote Learning Accessibility Toolkit that includes accessibility resources and tips for students, faculty, and anyone who is planning to hold a university-sponsored special event remotely. The Rinella Learning Center has moved to electronic delivery of tutoring and supplemental instruction (SI) and has seen an increase in the use of SI since the start of remote learning.

Dr. Acton from the Ohio Department of Health tells us we have reached the top of the curve. Thank you for all you have done to stay at home and practice social distancing – you have made a difference; you have saved lives and together through our collective efforts, we are keeping others healthy, too. Now, however, is not the time to let our guard down, but the time to double down on safety to prevent a resurgence. We are Miami. We help, support, and care deeply about our fellow Miamians and our communities. We are in this together.

Love and Honor!

Greg


Friday, April 3, 2020 12:53 p.m. - From the President

Dear Miami Community,

As we head into April and spring semester's busiest weeks, I can't thank you enough for the creative ways you have overcome numerous obstacles so that you could successfully learn, teach, and work remotely. During this time of great uncertainty, we must be isolated and away from family, friends, and colleagues while we continue with working and learning. Although we are separated by distance, Miami carries on through your commitment and dedication. I am grateful for how you have continued to embrace our mission and stay true to our core values during these times apart.

I especially want to thank our workers who must come to campus every day to perform essential services and operations. I am also hearing many inspiring stories about brave Miamians on the front lines of this pandemic, serving others at tremendous personal risk. We thank those Miamians in health-care professions for their heroic and lifesaving work.

If you are part of the larger group that has been asked to stay home and work remotely, that can be frustrating. No doubt you want to go out and help. However, while we wait for this coronavirus to peak, the best action we can take is to stay home.

To quote Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, a 1969 Miami graduate: "We do have it within our ability to fight back. When you stop moving, it stops moving. It can't reach someone else. Each one of us must do all we can to limit our exposure. We must stop enabling this enemy."

Even within these limitations, the Miami Community is continuing to reach out.

The Miami Regionals' development team came up with a wonderful idea. They're working with their small-business partners, Raymond's Pizza and the Donut Shop, to send food and notes of appreciation to our courageous nurses, doctors, and other staff at our local hospitals. Of course, our vendors are following CDC guidelines during these deliveries.

In the midst of all that is going on, remember to take care of yourself. Enjoy spring's beauty—at a safe distance from others. Laugh a little. Exercise is good, too. Miami's Red Brick Run (and walk) is going virtual for its 41st year. You can pick any day from April 25–30 to run or walk your 5k (3.1 miles) and then upload your results. For details, go to Miami Recreation's Special Events website. I hope you can join us for this activity.

Although our spring classes are being taught remotely, we are together in Love and Honor. We are absolutely planning to be back together on campus this fall. We are One Miami, and we will fight COVID-19 together.

Stay Strong. Stay Safe. Stay Well.

In Love and Honor,

Gregory P. Crawford
President


Wednesday, April 1, 2020 3:17 p.m. - From University Communications

Dear Miami Community,

Today there was an irresponsible and cruel April Fools’ Day joke launched on social media which misrepresented important Ohio public health information, and falsely stated that Miami would not resume in person classes in the fall.

For correct information from the Governor and the Ohio Director of Health, please visit coronavirus.ohio.gov. For accurate information regarding Miami, please consult this website.

Let us assure you, Miami absolutely plans to hold classes on campus in the Fall and looks forward to welcoming a diverse and talented first year class. We are working with all of the Ohio public universities and are all planning to resume face-to-face classes on campus in the Fall.

University Communications


Monday, March 30, 2020 11:46 a.m. - From the President

Dear Miami Community,

As we begin a new week with all of us doing our part to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, I wanted to provide you with some important updates. Leaders from across the campus have been working to address commencement, pro-rated refunds for room and board, summer orientation, and credit/no credit courses.

We were all extremely disappointed with the need to cancel the commencement ceremony planned for May. Commencement is a cherished occasion for our graduates to celebrate with family, friends, faculty and staff, to have their name called, walk across the stage and to receive their diploma. Renate and I consider ourselves to be part of the Class of 2020 as well, we began at Miami when they began, during that summer four years ago. We want this to be a special celebration, and as promised we have explored creative ways to honor our graduates and to celebrate.

We envision two components to the commencement ceremonies for the class of 2020. On May 16, the actual commencement date, we are preparing a virtual recognition of our graduates, to mark the official conferment of degrees. In the fall, we are planning a weekend dedicated to celebrating and recognizing our graduates and their achievements.

The weekend of September 11, 12, and 13 will include all divisional recognition ceremonies, where the graduates will gather with their friends, families and loved ones, to have their names called and to cross the stage. Rather than a traditional main ceremony, the weekend will also include a community-wide event, to provide an opportunity for all graduates, their friends, families, faculty and staff to celebrate together. It will be a unique and special occasion at the Miami football game, with all in-game activities focused upon our graduates, and it will also include, at game’s end, the Class of 2020, gathering on the field in their academic regalia to form the beveled “M”. The Class of 2020 will forever be a very special class; as first year students severe weather canceled their forming of the “M”, and we wanted to honor them and mark their commencement with this opportunity to finally form the beloved “M” as a class. We hope all of the graduate from the Class of 2020 can join us for this special ceremony.

Earlier we promised that students who departed campus would receive appropriate refunds for room and board. We have evaluated those and other fees, and will be announcing the refund policy this week. We thank you for your patience as we complete the review and prepare the necessary guidance to facilitate these refunds.

For our students, we recognize that these unprecedented times have impacted your studies. Early this week, Provost Osborne and the Office of the Registrar will provide additional information about how you will be provided with enhanced flexibility for course grade options for this spring semester, including credit/no credit.

Summer orientation programs for new first-year and transfer students will be offered remotely this year. Beginning in May, new students and families will engage remotely with orientation content and with staff, faculty, and student leaders. New Miamians will receive additional instructions about orientation, as well as regular communication and support from Orientation and Transition Programs throughout the summer. New students will also experience a full schedule of Welcome Weekend programs upon arrival to campus in the fall.

We are the Miami Community and we respond with care and compassion to support others. I thank all of you for your patience, flexibility and understanding as we continue to educate and support our students through these challenging times. Miami’s future is a bright one, and we will get through this together.

Love and Honor,

Gregory P. Crawford
President


Friday, March 27, 2020 1:58 p.m. - From the President

Dear Miami Community,

During these trying times where we are all doing our part to stop the spread of the coronavirus by learning and working remotely, I thought we could all use some inspiration. I’m hearing uplifting stories of Miamians pulling together to help others during this unprecedented time and thought you’d enjoy them, too. Here are just a few of many. I hope to share more with you in the near future.

Cathy Bishop-Clark, Dean of Miami Regionals, says that when Mercy Health – Fairfield Hospital reached out for any spare personal protection equipment (PPE), the Hamilton and Middletown campuses jumped right in, collecting gloves, goggles, gowns, face shields, and surgical masks.

As he was heading out to deliver the equipment, Perry Richardson, our Regional Senior Director of Media and Community Relations, reported in. "Wow! My car is completely jam-packed with PPE, thanks to the generosity of our science faculty and staff on both campuses. I could barely squeeze a volleyball in my car right now."

The president and CEO of Mercy Health was very appreciative of Miami Regionals’ quick response.

Rick Page, Assistant Chair of Chemistry and Biochemistry, headed up an equally successful effort, leading a departmental donation to local hospitals of 125,000 gloves and over 750 goggles.

On the remote teaching front, we are continuing to receive notes from students and innovations from faculty on new and exciting ways to teach and learn from a distance.

Especially enjoyable is an assignment one of Will Brown’s students turned in. During his class about Louis XIV and the culture of his court at Versailles, Will, a Visiting Assistant Professor of History, offered bonus points to anyone who would demonstrate Baroque social dance steps from the Louis XIV era on TikTok or Instagram. One student really went for it, as you can see here: https://vm.tiktok.com/pcKQ2F/. Great job!

Please continue to send in your stories to president@miamioh.edu. Hearing from you helps all of us feel inspired and connected.

On the student front, many of you have asked about credit/no credit grading. We are reviewing our policy to revise the deadline and restrictions to allow students to select this option, if desired. Details will be coming soon.

As for staying connected, we are planning a special message to the Miami Community on commencement day, May 16, to congratulate the Class of 2020. We are also exploring creative ways to bring the Class of 2020 back to campus in the fall. We still want to call their names and invite them to walk across the stage to recognize their accomplishments.Thanks for understanding our need to rethink commencement.

It is important as we work remotely that we all continue our professional development. Please visit Miami’s HR website to see all of the resources available to faculty and staff. In particular, Skillport, Hoonuit, and Universal Call are wonderful online learning resources.

It’s hard for all of us to be apart from each other physically, but it’s crucial that we limit our contact and practice physical distancing to stop the spread of this virus and save lives. Health and safety must be our top priority. For frequent updates about the coronavirus and how it’s affecting our Miami Community, please continue to visit this website.

Thanks to everyone who is sharing the many ways we can stay connected. We are Miamians, we help and support each other, and we will get through this together. Our future is one of hope.

Be well and healthy, and always,

Love and Honor,

Gregory P. Crawford
President


Wednesday, March 25, 2020 2:33 p.m. - From the President

Dear Miami Community,

A member of the Miami Community has informed us that they tested positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19). The individual was last on campus on March 19, and is now self-isolating at their home outside of Ohio. Our hearts and thoughts go out to them and their loved ones.

We are working with the Butler County Health Department to identify anyone with whom they were in close personal contact. Those individuals will be contacted and given direction.

Ensuring the anonymity of the individual who has tested positive for COVID-19 is important. If you are aware of their identity, please respect their privacy. Please abide by all laws related to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and personal health information (HIPAA), and expectations for the responsible use of social media. Miami is committed to doing all that we can to support this person and our broader community through what is a stressful and challenging time.

We will continue to follow the guidance and advice of the Ohio Department of Health and to work closely with the Butler County Health Department. We will also communicate with the Miami Community as we learn more. This website is updated frequently to keep you informed.

If you have a fever or symptoms of respiratory illness, such as a cough or shortness of breath, you should call your healthcare provider or the Miami Health Center at 513-529-3000. It is important that you call first for guidance, and do not visit a healthcare facility before calling. If you are feeling ill, we encourage you to stay in your home. Please continue to practice social distancing.

We understand that there are many questions and concerns as we navigate this extraordinary moment in our history. We continue to work closely with partners at the city and state to manage these challenges and will continue to share information as we are able.

Love and Honor,

Gregory P. Crawford
President


Friday, March 20, 2020 1:08 p.m. - From the President

Watch the video

Dear Miami Community,

As we navigate the changing COVID-19 landscape, the health and safety of our students, faculty, staff and local communities is our top priority. I am heartened by the way the Miami community has stepped up to take on this challenge. The past two weeks have been like none other in most of our lives. I wish to thank our incredible faculty and staff who have quickly adapted to deliver instruction and student support services remotely, and to especially thank our students for their flexibility, understanding, and their commitment to complete this semester from a distance.

Just last Monday, we all learned of Ohio’s first positive test for the coronavirus. In the following days we shifted to remote operations - first course instruction and then administrative as well. At first through April 12, and now through the end of the semester. We are continuing to evaluate the still rapidly developing impact of the coronavirus, and based upon the input of public health professionals and modeling from public health officials, I have determined that we can no longer plan to hold a commencement ceremony in Oxford on May 16.

We treasure commencement, and the opportunity to celebrate the success of our graduates with their families, friends and loved ones. While the ceremony in May is canceled, we are exploring other, creative options to bring together our graduates and their families at a later date. In the coming weeks we hope to provide you with our plans for the Class of 2020.

We know this is extremely disappointing; it was not an easy decision to make, and it is one we would have preferred to have been otherwise, but we must put safety first. Most importantly, it should not take away the pride you feel in your accomplishments, or the connections you have made here at Miami. The Class of 2020 has had a positive, lasting impact on Miami, and we will all celebrate your time here, even if it is ending differently than any of us expected. This is not the end of your Miami story, but the beginning of your journey as Miami alumni, and we look forward to seeing all of you back here many times over the coming years.

We will continue to keep you informed of new developments and new actions as they are taken. Please continue to visit this site, MiamiOH.edu/coronavirus for more information, as we are updating the site frequently to keep you up-to-date.

I am inspired as I watch our students, faculty, staff, community members and alumni respond to this health emergency with compassion, love and honor. This is who we are, we are Miamians and as our Governor and fellow Miamian assures us “We will get through this.” Together.

Love and Honor

Gregory P. Crawford
President


Wednesday, March 18, 2020 - From the President

Dear Miami Community,

The health and safety of our students, faculty, staff and local communities remain our greatest priority. We have learned of a positive test for the coronavirus in the Oxford area. We have confirmed it is not a Miami student or employee. We knew that positive cases would soon reach our area, and we should not be surprised. Our thoughts and hearts go out to them, their loved ones and family. We must be diligent and continue to focus on what we can do as community members. We must adhere to social distancing, and those practices recommended to reduce transmission of the virus:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; dry hands with a clean towel or air dry hands.
  • Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer when soap and water are unavailable.
  • Cover your mouth with a tissue or sleeve when sneezing or coughing.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • Clean “high-touch” surfaces daily. These include counters, tabletops, doorknobs, light switches, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, desks, and tablets.

We are urging all students, if they are able, to depart Oxford as soon as possible, there is no academic reason to stay; our faculty and staff have implemented remote learning and student support. Our residence halls will be closing on Saturday, March 21. Only students who have received permission may remain in the residence halls after that date. If you believe you cannot go home, you may seek an exception by completing the exception form.

If you have a fever or symptoms of respiratory illness, such as a cough or shortness of breath, you should call your healthcare provider or the Miami Health Center at 513-529-3000. It is important that you call first for guidance, and do not visit a healthcare facility before calling. If you are feeling ill, we encourage you to stay in your home.

As we have taken steps to reduce the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), Miamians have responded to the challenge to swiftly shift to remote operations, for instruction, staff work, and course attendance, I am grateful to all of you for rising to this challenge as our Governor has stated, these actions will slow transmission of the coronavirus and will save lives.

We will continue to keep you informed of new developments and new actions as they are taken. Please review this website for more information; we are making updates daily. I am inspired and heartened as I watch our students, faculty, staff, community members and alumni respond to this health emergency with compassion, love and honor. This is who we are, we are Miamians and as our Governor and fellow Miamian assures us “We will get through this.” Together.

Love and Honor,

Gregory P. Crawford


Tuesday, March 17, 2020 - From the President


Monday, March 16, 2020 9:11 a.m.

Due to Governor DeWine’s order closing restaurants, which applies to university dining halls, students should expect “to go” meal options in the dining halls starting today. Familiarize yourself with the modified hours of operation on the Dining website.

March 16, 2020 - From the President

Dear Miami Community,

The health and safety of our community is our highest priority, and we want to keep you informed during this rapidly evolving health emergency. While we continue to have no positive cases at Miami, yesterday we learned that a member of the Cleveland State University community tested positive for the coronavirus. Our hearts and thoughts go out to our colleagues and students at Cleveland State. We should all expect more positive test results each day as testing and exposure increase. As Ohio Governor Mike DeWine has said, “None of this should surprise us. It’s not unexpected.”

The guidance of the Governor and the Ohio Department of Health is for all Ohio businesses to identify as many employees as possible to work from home. I will be meeting today with university leaders, and by the end of the day we will send to all employees a plan to allow most personnel to work remotely, beginning as early as the third shift today, at 10:00 p.m. Also, until further notice all university-sponsored domestic travel is canceled, including in-state travel, whether by air or automobile. For students, who remain in Oxford, a subsequent message from the Dean of Students will be forthcoming.

We understand that many of you may wonder if you have the virus. If you have a fever or symptoms of respiratory illness, such as a cough or shortness of breath, you should call your healthcare provider or the Miami Health Center at 513-529-3000. It is important that you call first for guidance, and do not visit a healthcare facility before calling. If you are feeling ill, we encourage you to stay in your home. We continue to evaluate this rapidly changing situation and will keep you informed as to what it means to our community. Watch for additional updates which will be forthcoming today. We thank you for continuing to apply social distancing and the other practices recommended for preventing transmission.

We are Miami, we support each other, and we treat each other with compassion, care, and understanding. As always, our number one priority is the health, safety and well-being of our students, faculty, staff, and the Miami community. As Governor DeWine has assured us all, “We will get through this.” Together.

Love and Honor,

Gregory P. Crawford

President


Friday, March 13, 2020 - From the President

March 13, 2020 5:14 p.m. - From the AVP for Health and Wellness

Dear Miami Community,

This afternoon we learned about the first coronavirus cases in Southwest Ohio. UC Health announced that four family members who were treated at their West Chester Hospital have tested positive, and they are now quarantined at their home. To the best of our knowledge, they are not members of the Miami Community. Still, our hearts and thoughts go out to them and their families, and we wish them a quick recovery.

We should all expect more positive test results in the coming days as testing and exposure increase. As Ohio Governor Mike DeWine said at this afternoon’s press conference, "None of this should surprise us. It's not unexpected."

Thank you for continuing to apply social distancing and the other practices that the Centers for Disease Control recommend for preventing transmission. We continue to evaluate this rapidly changing situation and will keep you informed as to what it means to our community.

We thank our students for adapting to complete their semester through remote learning. We understand that not all students can leave their on-campus residence, and we will support them through the semester. For those who can depart, we thank them for returning home to finish the semester. Student Life has provided information to students on this process.

As we go through this pandemic, something none of us has experienced before, we are depending on each other for strength and comfort. We will experience difficult days ahead, but, as the Governor said, "We will get through this." Together.

Love and Honor,

Steve Large
Assistant Vice President for Health and Wellness

March 13, 2020 1:27 p.m. - From the President

Dear Miami Community,

The health and safety of our community remains our highest priority. The uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus is a challenge for us all, and we will work to provide certainty wherever possible. We appreciate your patience and support.

We have been closely evaluating the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and following the advice of the Governor and the Ohio Department of Health. The situation is rapidly evolving, and although there have been no confirmed cases of the coronavirus at Miami University, every action we take is to protect the health and safety of our University community. Based on the daily reports from the Governor and Ohio’s Director of Health, who stated yesterday that the coronavirus peak is estimated for late April or early May, we do not believe a return to our campuses for face-to-face instruction by April 13 is possible.

Therefore, we have decided to complete the remainder of the semester through remote instruction. We are announcing this decision today, so that faculty will have the maximum amount of time possible to fully prepare to deliver the semester’s remaining course material remotely, and so that students and parents can plan accordingly as students depart campus. For those students who leave by March 27, 2020, and do not return, there will be an appropriate refund of room and board, details will follow next week.

We understand that departing for the entire semester is not possible for all students, and special arrangements will be made for them to remain on campus.

Housing guidance for students and parents, along with additional information for faculty, and staff will be forthcoming before the end of the day.

Many of you have asked about May Commencement. The ceremony is scheduled for May 15, over two months away. We will continue to evaluate the situation and when we have sufficient information, we will make a decision, which we will quickly share with all of you.

We realize this is unprecedented, and we appreciate the efforts all have taken to quickly shift our method of curriculum delivery and respond to the many challenges created. This is a quickly evolving situation, and we will continue to provide important information and significant decisions as they are made. Please visit this website to stay informed.

We are the Miami community, and we will work through this together. Thank you for your patience, understanding, and support.

Love and Honor

Gregory P. Crawford
President


Thursday, March 12, 2020 7:09 p.m. - From the Provost

Colleagues,

Topics for today:

  1. Study abroad cancelled, students recalled
  2. Support for remote teaching
  3. Support for students with disabilities
  4. Submitting information about IT issues

We made it through Thursday! I know that for many of you, this is your first experience with remote delivery of instruction and we are all learning a lot along the way. The last several days have us all on a steep learning curve but I know that we can and will get through this together as a community. If I could wish one thing for each of us, it is that we try and find the humor in these trying situations and celebrate any and all victories.

Here are some updates about what is happening around campus:

Study abroad cancelled, students recalled

Late last night, we made the decision to recall our students from their overseas studies. Prior to President Trump’s address to the nation last night, bringing them back to campus was the last option we wished to pursue. With the heightened risks around European travel and new CDC regulations, we had to prioritize getting our students home safely and quickly. We regret having to interrupt their time abroad and be assured that we will work with the impacted students to ensure their semester can be completed successfully.

Support for Remote Teaching:

ELearning Miami, eCampus Regionals, Center for Teaching Excellence and other units have been working feverishly to provide resources for faculty and students in this time of remote delivery of instruction. The Continuity of Education website is being frequently enhanced, and a survey is being sent to all faculty to gain insights on additional forms of support that are needed.

Please only university supported software and tools, as that allows us to be more effective with supporting you. Also, those official packages are better suited to meeting the accessibility needs of our students.

Tutoring and Writing Center Consultations:

The Howe Center for Writing Excellence has posted some resources on our website about teaching writing online, and it is now offering fully online writing center consultations so that your students can get the support they need.

The Rinella Learning Assistance Center is still offering subject area tutoring in person. Remote tutoring opportunities will be available beginning next Tuesday.

Support for Students with Disabilities:

The Miller Center for Student Disability Services is proactively contacting faculty who have students with visual and hearing disabilities to provide support. If you encounter a barrier relating to accessibility and accommodations for students with disabilities, you are encouraged to complete the Barrier Form.

IT Issues:

We know that some faculty experienced challenges relating to holding classes via Webex yesterday. IT Services has been working with Cisco to troubleshoot these problems so that the system will work well in the future.  Faculty are encouraged to complete Help Desk Tickets when they experience difficulties so that IT can track salient and systemic problems and address them expeditiously. The Help Desk contact information is 529-7900, or you can communicate by chat via MiamiOH.edu/ITChat. IT Services will be issuing a survey to gather additional input so that they can continuously work to improve our technology systems.

Love and Honor,

Jason Osborne
Provost

March 12, 2020 5:48 p.m. - From the President

Dear Miami Community,

Even though Miami University remains open and has no confirmed cases of the coronavirus, we appreciate that our community will be significantly impacted by Governor DeWine’s announcement this afternoon that Ohio K-12 schools will begin an extended three-week spring break starting Monday.

Miami’s crisis management team is meeting now and into this evening to discuss what steps we need to take as a caring and concerned community to provide the best assistance possible for our faculty, staff, and students with children attending these schools.

As I talk with many of you, I am heartened by the way everyone is responding to the new challenges we face daily because of the coronavirus. Thank you for coming together so quickly to figure out how best to move our educational mission forward through remote learning. I am energized by your enthusiasm to find solutions. This is the very definition of education.

In the same fashion, we can handle this next challenge, recognizing that we must, as the governor said, take steps as a society to save lives.

We will be providing more details tomorrow on how we can go forward together. Thank you for your help and patience as we work through this quickly evolving situation.

Love and Honor,

Gregory P. Crawford
President


Wednesday, March 11, 2020 3:53 p.m. - From the Provost

Colleagues,

There is a lot of information to share so here is a quick summary of today's update:

Quick Summary:

  1. Miami is RISING to the challenge. Celebrate and share early wins!
  2. Good individual decisions will determine the course of the COVID-19 outbreak;
  3. Essential domestic and international travel only;
  4. FERPA still counts! Make sure materials in Canvas do not expose confidential information;
  5. Classes are still in session; the university is still open. Continue holding office hours and doing everything you need to do, but use Canvas and WebEx where possible;
  6. Labs should be transitioned to remote delivery where possible. They cannot be mandatory for students to attend in person;
  7. Internships and similar placements;
  8. Please direct questions of your immediate supervisor. Avoid emailing the president directly;
  9. Good news.

Miami is RISING to this challenge!

Yesterday we had a series of meetings with many members of the Miami University community, and I was heartened and impressed with the level of commitment and collaboration that we are already seeing around campus. I have heard of faculty working together to help each other, of departments we thought would be facing substantial challenges working to overcome them, and of our support centers making heroic efforts to quickly ramp up support. I am not surprised, but it is gratifying to see the depth of commitment we as a university have to continuing our high level of performance regardless of circumstance. As a reminder, there is a Continuity of Education website where you can find all the resources we currently have available.

We need to make good decisions to slow the spread of COVID-19

I want to pause and review how we have arrived at this moment, facing this particular set of ever-evolving challenges. First, let us acknowledge that none of us expected to be in this position even a week ago. We are faced with an unprecedented and unwelcome but nevertheless grave public health situation. Our public health partners, our health system friends, and our state officials have been frequently communicating recommendations based on the best information we all have at any given moment.

We are making the best decisions we can at any given moment. Many decisions we have to make are disappointing or disruptive, but our public health officials have said that limiting social contact is critical to slowing or stopping this virus. If we can drastically limit transmission for a period of a few weeks, we may be able to stop the threat and get back to business as usual. Every unnecessary gathering, whether at the university or socially, risks transmission of the virus to new hosts which then extends the time we need to be taking these drastic actions. We must eliminate any non-essential gatherings or events immediately. We can reschedule them after the crisis has passed, hold them remotely, or cancel them.

Essential Domestic and International Travel (President Crawford's 3.11 statement)

Following Governor DeWine’s recommendations- the University is announcing the following new travel restrictions and reporting requirements:

University Sponsored or Supported Travel

  • All University sponsored or supported international travel for students, faculty and staff is suspended for the balance of the spring semester.
  • All University sponsored or supported domestic travel is limited to essential travel and must be approved by the divisional vice-president.

Personal Travel

  • All Miami faculty, staff and students are urged to closely evaluate the risks of all personal travel (domestic, international or cruise ship) and to change or cancel personal travel plans as appropriate.
  • Those employees and students who do decide to travel internationally are required to report their travel to the University, before departure, at the following email address travel@miamioh.edu.

Academic Affairs must curtail all but the most essential travel, either domestically or internationally. By essential, I mean where significant harm will come to our enterprise or to an individual by delaying or cancelling the travel. If someone is inconvenienced, or if a research project is delayed by a few weeks, that does not rise to the level of essential. Anything deemed non-essential should be rescheduled, moved to remote delivery like WebEx, or cancelled. Any travel must be approved by the Provost or another vice president in the reporting chain.

FERPA still needs to be honored

As we work to provide remote instruction for our students, please remember that the University rules and policies must be adhered to in all circumstances, including those governing the privacy of student education records. The federal Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act, commonly referred to as FERPA, requires that we maintain the privacy of all education records, which are broadly defined to include any information we maintain about our students. This includes course schedules, grade reports, bursar’s bill, student financial aid, academic information and disciplinary records.

Posting grades by name, social security number or Banner ID# using any medium or method in which students can view the grades of other students is a FERPA violation. In an online environment, you can be FERPA compliant by posting grades by using the Canvas gradebook. An overview of using the Canvas Gradebook is a great place to start

Continue doing everything you routinely do- just try to do it remotely

We remain open and classes are in session. However, in the hope of serving the public health needs of the moment, we have attempted to move as much to remote delivery as quickly as possible. You still need to hold office hours, but consider holding them with WebEx, phone call, email/chat options, etc. Our students need you as much or more than before!

Guidance for labs and similar sections

I apologize for generating confusion around labs, studios, etc. We have told students that we are taking our operations to remote delivery.  Some will opt to leave Oxford. Thus, we cannot mandate that students attend face-to-face labs, studios, etc. We need to quickly transition to remote delivery of these experiences as best we can, or provide alternative pathways to mastery of course objectives, as quickly as possible. We appreciate your efforts and collegial collaboration in sharing with each other what is possible and what works. Keep up the sharing!

Internships, clinical placements, etc.

Governor DeWine has indicated today that we need to be very protective of facilities like assisted living and nursing homes. It is highly likely that these internships and placements will be discontinued and it is probably time now to prepare for this eventuality. Other internships are subject to decisions based on the organizations and companies hosting these experiences. Companies may become more strict about having people gathering in person.

Please do not email the President directly!

I know our President is accessible and works tirelessly to remain engaged with the university community. That does not mean he is best equipped to respond to questions about specific situations. Please ask your direct supervisor if you have questions; they will take questions up the reporting chain until a definitive answer is received. Students, please start with your instructors, advisors, etc. Faculty, please start with your department chair,etc.  They are best equipped to make good decisions based on the particular realities of the local conditions.

GOOD NEWS

We have seen the best come out of our impressive faculty and staff during these past few days. I have heard that our Chemistry department is already to go with remote delivery. Our English department has been working collaboratively to help each other with their particular challenges. Nursing has been keeping me informed of how they are serving their students in their unique situation. Some of us visited the call center last night to provide guidance and thank them for working endless hours often fielding questions for very angry members of our community. There are hundreds of individual stories of Miamians showing leadership and doing good things. Please keep doing the right thing, and helping each other serve our mission in this challenging time.

Love and Honor,
Jason Osborne

March 11, 2020 2:10 p.m.

Miami has set up a call center at 513-529-9000 that is staffed from 8 am to 6 pm (EST) today, and 8-5 tomorrow.


Tuesday, March 10, 2020 4:13 p.m. - From the President

Dear Miami Community,

Miami University currently has no confirmed cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19). However, in light of the Governor’s announcement today and the advice of the Ohio Department of Health to limit large gatherings, the University is taking a number of immediate actions to protect the health and safety of our community, which is our first priority. We recognize these measures may cause disruption to many but the risk of not acting outweighs the disruption.

One of the most effective measures to prevent the spread of the virus is to avoid large group interactions. Beginning tomorrow, March 11, 2020, Miami University’s U.S. campuses are suspending all face-to-face instruction in lectures, discussion sections, seminars and other similar classroom settings. Courses will be delivered by remote instruction through at least April 12, 2020. We are evaluating laboratory, studio and performance classes and the University will provide more specific guidance later this week.  Residence halls, dining halls and all campus services will remain open. 

Students may choose to return to their permanent place of residence or stay on campus, where appropriate social distancing and enhanced preventative public health and hygiene measures will be actively encouraged. We urge all students to make the choice that is best for them.

Additional proactive steps include the suspension of non-essential large gatherings, including University-related social gatherings. All non-essential events planned for greater than 150 attendees are being canceled or postponed.

All University sponsored or supported international travel to a CDC Level 3 country (Italy, Iran, South Korea, and China) is being suspended for faculty, staff and students. University sponsored domestic travel will be limited to essential travel and must be approved by the divisional vice-president. 

All members of the Miami community are encouraged to avoid travel to any CDC level 2 (Japan) or 3 country and to closely evaluate the risks of all personal travel (domestic, international, or cruise ship) and to change or cancel personal travel plans as appropriate.

Those employees and students who do decide to personally travel to a CDC level 2 or 3 country are required to report their travel to the University at the following email address travel@miamioh.edu.  They will be required to be screened by University Health Services upon return. 

In addition to remote instruction, we are also reviewing opportunities for staff to work remotely and will provide more information soon. 

We will continue to work closely with public health officials to monitor and evaluate the spread of the COVID-19 virus. This is a quickly evolving situation and we must all be ready to act to safeguard the health of the Miami community. The University will be continuously assessing the situation over the coming days and weeks.  

We will keep everyone informed through this website.  If you have any questions please call the University’s call center at 513-529-9000 between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. today or 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. tomorrow.

Love and Honor,
Gregory P. Crawford
President

March 10, 2020 8:27 a.m.

OSU is suspending in person classes until at least March 30. For now, all Miami classes continue as scheduled.  Working closely with health officials to safeguard our community.  No outstanding tests or positive cases at Miami.  We are continuously evaluating, and will keep you informed.  

For any general questions or concerns, we have set up a call center at 513-529-9000 that is staffed from 8 am to 5 pm (EST). 


Monday, March 9, 2020
Governor DeWine Signs Emergency Order Regarding Coronavirus Response

March 9, 2020 5:09 p.m. - From the President

Dear Miami Community,

Today the Governor of the State of Ohio declared a state of emergency, as we learned that Ohio had its first three confirmed cases of the coronavirus, all in Cuyahoga County. We want to assure you that leaders across the University have been and are, working closely with Tri-Health, the Butler County Health Department, the Ohio Department of Health, and other state offices and officials, to safeguard the health of the Miami Community and, if necessary, to respond, should the virus reach our campuses or the local area.

We live in an interconnected, global world. The opportunities and advantages achieved through enhanced trade, travel, and access were not possible just a few decades ago. Unfortunately, with these increased interconnections contagions can spread quickly from nation to nation, as COVID-19 is doing today. This is a serious concern, but our global interconnectivity also means that health officials from across the globe can communicate, work, and plan together to address the coronavirus.

In the long term, we can anticipate vaccines and other means to combat this virus, in the short term, we must all practice the behaviors which limit the spread of influenza and the coronavirus. Each of us must also stay informed and review our activities and travel plans to weigh the risks versus the benefits, and to adjust or cancel as necessary. Please visit this site for Miami information and to link to local, national, and global health websites. For now, classes will continue as scheduled, as the Crisis Management Team continuously monitors the coronavirus. The Crisis Management Team is meeting regularly, and will keep the website updated and the Miami Community informed.

Love and Honor,
Gregory P. Crawford
President


Wednesday, March 4 10:54 a.m.

Protecting the health and safety of all members of the Miami University community is our highest priority. On rare occasions, an event such as a chemical spill, tornado, fire or health emergency will challenge the day-to-day operations of the University. Miami, like most colleges and universities, plans for these unlikely events. The University works first to avoid and then to mitigate the effects of any potential crisis.

The recent worldwide COVID-19 outbreak presents an opportunity to share with the campus community how Miami’s response system works.

In January, when two Miami students were being tested for the virus, the University’s Institutional Response Team (IRT) responded. The IRT is responsible for responding to student-centered emergencies and crises and includes members from Student Life and other offices across campus; bringing a multi-disciplinary approach to student crises. In January and early February, the IRT communicated frequently with the Butler County and Ohio departments of health. With their support, Miami University

  • Coordinated our response and resources.
  • Communicated regularly via website, a special call center, email and social media to keep the campus community, parents, state officials and media informed.
  • Responded to questions.
  • Ensured the impacted students received daily support and care.

Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that the global spread of COVID-19 makes it almost certain the United States will experience an outbreak. Miami University is closely monitoring COVID-19 developments, nationally and internationally, in conjunction with Tri-Health, the Butler County and Ohio departments of health and the CDC.

The University’s Crisis Management Team (CMT) comes together when there is a potential for a crisis that could impact the on-going operations of the University. Containing the spread of a contagious disease presents challenges and will require the University to take proactive measures to protect the health and safety of all members of our community while working to maintain University operations and responsibilities.

In the coming days and weeks, the CMT will be meeting and planning for the unlikely event of a local outbreak of COVID-19. The CMT includes the Provost, the Senior Vice President for Finance and Business Services, several members of the President’s cabinet, and leaders of operational units across campus.

CMT’s efforts will focus on the health and safety of our community and meeting our educational responsibilities. Being prepared will require the efforts of many people in our community. Please help if asked. Even if you don’t have a specific role to play, we ask you to support those whose families, colleagues and friends may be impacted by the spread of the virus.

For now, updated travel restrictions have been announced and the university will update them as appropriate.

If you have questions or suggestions, please send them to cmt@MiamiOH.edu. If you have questions about academic travel abroad, call Global Initiatives at 513-529-8600.


Saturday, February 29, 2020 9 a.m. - From the President
Travel Update

China, South Korea, and Italy are now listed at Level 3 (Reconsider Travel) by the Department of State and Level 3 (Avoid Non-Essential Travel) by the Centers for Disease Control due to presence of the coronavirus COVID-19. Miami is restricting all travel to these countries.

Miami has already cancelled all of its programs in China for the foreseeable future, and urges students currently in South Korea and Italy to return to the USA as soon as possible to complete their studies. Miami is ready to support you in this transition.

The COVID-19 situation is rapidly evolving. We encourage members of the Miami community to strongly consider deferring non-essential international travel during spring break. Miami will make decisions about its summer study abroad programs in affected areas in the near future on a case-by-case basis.

Travelers, please be sure you do the following:

  • Monitor travel advisories daily, including potential restrictions on border crossings.
  • Countries you visit may decide to implement travel restrictions with very little notice, impacting your ability to return to campus.
  • Airlines may cancel/limit flights in or out of a country or region.
  • Additional quarantine measures may be applied by the U.S. and other countries. International SOS has compiled a comprehensive list of these restrictions.
  • Re-entry to the U.S. could be restricted. Butler County’s Health District may impose a 14-day self-isolation requirement.

Contact Global Initiatives for assistance at educationabroad@MiamiOH.edu.


Monday, February 3, 2020 1:26 p.m. - From the Institutional Response Team

Dear Campus Community:

As we announced last evening, the two samples that were sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to be tested for the Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) were negative. We also learned that the CDC and the U.S. Department of State (DOS) significantly updated their guidance on travel and guidelines for monitoring the health of those who have recently entered the U.S. from China.

While there are currently no confirmed or suspected cases of the virus in Ohio, for the safety of our University community, we are implementing additional guidelines consistent with yesterday’s federal public health recommendations.  

Self-quarantine for travelers returning to the U.S. after Feb. 2

In accordance with new federal guidance, any Miami University student, faculty, or staff member who returns to the U.S. from China after Sunday, February 2, at 5 p.m. EST will not be permitted to come to campus to work, attend class, or participate in any campus or community activity for 14 days after leaving mainland China. 

  • The reason for more strict restrictions is because the increase in coronavirus cases in China in recent days has increased the infection risk for more recent travelers.
  • Students, faculty, or staff who need assistance with these restrictions can contact irt@miamioh.edu.
  • The University will work with anyone impacted by the restrictions to identify the appropriate accommodations for completing academic work or attendance for employment.
Self-monitoring for other travelers
  • For individuals who returned from China before Sunday, February 2, at 5 p.m. EST, public health officials ask that you self-monitor your health for 14 days after traveling from China for fever and respiratory symptoms but recommend no other changes in activities at this time.
  • If you are self-monitoring, we ask that you please fill out this travel reporting form.
  • If you are experiencing symptoms and have traveled to the impacted area, please first call Student Health Services at 513-529-3000 to receive guidance on next steps.

Travel restrictions

  • As announced last week, University-sponsored travel to China remains prohibited for all students, faculty, and staff members.
  • The CDC and the DOS have listed China at their highest level of travel alerts, and all U.S. airlines have announced temporary cancellation of service to and from China.
  • The U.S. federal government has also placed new restrictions on some non-U.S. citizens/permanent residents coming to the U.S. who have recently been in China. Non-U.S. nationals, other than immediate family of U.S. citizens and permanent residents, with prior travel to China in the past 14 days will be denied entry to the U.S.

While we want to take all precautions to advance the safety of our community, please remember that unless you have recently returned from China, there is no need to change any routine activities or behaviors related to the coronavirus. The best way to prevent the spread of any type of infection — including the flu, which is much more prevalent in the U.S. — is to practice routine hygiene etiquette: 

  • Washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • It is especially important to wash your hands:
    • Before, during, and after you prepare food.
    • Before you eat and after you use the bathroom.
    • After handling cash.

    • More frequently when someone in your house is sick.
    • Before/after smoking/vaping.
    • Before/after using public computers.
  • Using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with your arm.
  • Frequent cleaning of doorknobs, light switches, and other commonly touched areas with disinfectant wipes.
  • Avoiding contact with people who are ill.
  • Stay home from work or school if you are ill.

While we will continue to stay in close contact with the Ohio Department of Health and the Butler County Health District, this is the last daily update IRT plans to send out. We will, however, send updates if University, local, and federal guidelines change or other circumstances warrant. The call center closed at noon today; if you have any further questions, please email irt@miamioh.edu. The safety and well-being of our students, faculty, and staff, as always, are our top priority.

For additional information about coronavirus, including symptoms, treatment, or a list of University precautions and requirements, please visit the university’s coronavirus webpage.

Thank you,

Institutional Response Team
Miami University


Sunday, February 2, 2020 7:14 p.m. - From the President

Dear Campus Community,

Today we received notification from the Ohio Department of Health that the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) test samples sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) were negative. We are so glad to hear that these students are on the road to recovery. I am also particularly grateful to the Ohio Department of Health and the Butler County Health District, as well as Governor DeWine’s office, for their leadership and guidance this past week. Their support was remarkable. I am thankful that Miami leadership and our Student Health Services/TriHealth personnel were prepared to take the right, proactive actions.

Even with this news, our student health providers ask that we all continue to be proactive in monitoring our health as we are still in peak flu season. As a reminder, the CDC and the Ohio Department of Health tell us the most effective means of prevention of illnesses such as the flu include:

  • Washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • It is especially important to wash your hands:
    • Before, during, and after you prepare food.
    • Before you eat and after you use the bathroom.
    • After handling cash.
    • More frequently when someone in your house is sick.
    • Before/after smoking/vaping.
    • Before/after using public computers.
  • Using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with your arm.
  • Frequent cleaning of doorknobs, light switches, and other commonly touched areas with disinfectant wipes.
  • Avoiding contact with people who are ill.
  • Stay home from work or school if you are ill.

Miami’s call center (513-529-9000) will reopen for the day tomorrow morning at 8 a.m. Please continue to visit the Miami coronavirus information website for any further updates. Again, thank you to all for your diligence this past week and in the days to come. We have experienced a tremendous outpouring of support from our community for the affected students. It has been inspiring to witness Love & Honor in action.

Gregory P. Crawford
President

February 2, 2020 7 p.m. - Press Conference

The Ohio Department of Health, Miami University, Butler County General Health, Middletown Health Department and the Hamilton City Health Department will announce the latest information on the possible 2019-novel coronavirus cases.

Watch live on YouTube


Saturday, February 1, 2020 5:05 p.m. - From the Institutional Response Team

Miami’s Institutional Response Team (IRT) and public health officials, including the Butler County Health District and the Ohio Department of Health, continue to await the results of two samples sent earlier this week to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). No additional suspected cases of the coronavirus have emerged from Miami University, Butler County, or the State of Ohio.

On Friday, United States Health and Human Services Secretary Alex M. Azar II declared a public health emergency for the United States. With this announcement, the CDC is releasing additional guidelines for individuals traveling from China to the U.S., beginning tomorrow, February 2.

We continue to work closely with the Butler County Health District to identify members of our campus community who may be affected by these new guidelines and to contact individuals who have traveled to China over the past two weeks to assess their travel history and health status.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continues to advise that, for the general American public, who are unlikely to be exposed to this virus, the immediate health risk from the coronavirus is considered low. “The goal of the ongoing U.S. public health response is to prevent sustained spread of 2o19-nCoV in this country,” the CDC has said.

As soon as we receive the test results, we will quickly relay that information to the community and the public via a joint press conference with the Ohio Department of Health and Butler County Health District. Please continue to visit Miami’s coronavirus information website for the latest information, as we continually update the frequently asked questions section of the site.

Institutional Response Team
Miami University


Friday, January 31, 2020 4:47 p.m. - From the Institutional Response Team

Miami’s Institutional Response Team (IRT) and public health officials, including the Butler County Health District and the Ohio Department of Health, continue to await the results of two samples sent earlier this week to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). No additional suspected cases have emerged from Miami University, Butler County, or the State of Ohio.

We know many people are anxiously awaiting the results of the tests. The Ohio Department of Health sent the test samples to the CDC on Tuesday, January 28. The samples were received by the CDC the next morning and placed in the queue for testing. We know it takes 48 hours for the lab to grow the cultures necessary for testing, and that we are among a number of pending requests, as testing can presently only be performed by the CDC’s public health lab. While we had hoped to receive the results by today, the Butler County Health Commissioner indicated to us that given the late hour this is now unlikely.

When the tests are complete, the CDC will deliver the results first to the Ohio Department of Health and the Butler County Health District, who will contact the students who have been isolated since Monday. Following the students’ notification, Miami University, the Butler County Health District, and the Ohio Department of Health will promptly hold a joint news conference to share the results.

In the meantime, Miami continues to take proactive measures to prevent the spread of illness, and asks our community to take the same precautions to prevent getting the cold or flu. Please continue to visit Miami’s coronavirus information website for the latest information.

Institutional Response Team
Miami University


Thursday, January 30, 2020 4:43 p.m. - From the Institutional Response Team

Members of Miami’s Institutional Response Team (IRT) continue conversations and meetings with public health officials, including members of the Butler County Health District and the Ohio Department of Health. As stated in yesterday’s campus health update, no new suspected cases have emerged from Miami University, Butler County, or the State of Ohio that require testing by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Additionally, we are still awaiting the test results of the two samples sent to the CDC earlier this week.

As you've likely heard, the first human-to-human transmission in the United States was confirmed today in Illinois. Human-to-human transmission is not a new development and was confirmed shortly after the identification of the Novel Coronavirus. Similar to those previous transmissions, the case in Illinois involved intimate human contact, according to ODH.

Additionally, the World Health Organization announced today that it is classifying the Novel Coronavirus a global health emergency. This new classification will help to free up global resources to further help contain the spread of the virus and treat those impacted. This change doesn't alter any of the current guidance regarding prevention measures. ODH noted that the CDC guidelines remain in place - They do not recommend preventatively isolating individuals who have traveled to China. Additionally, the guidelines involving preventative hygiene measures remain unchanged. Miami continues to follow these protocols.

IRT echoes President Crawford’s message from earlier in the week: “At Miami, we treat each other with compassion, care, and understanding. As always, our number one priority is the safety and well-being of our students, faculty, staff, and campus community.”

Please continue visiting Miami’s website for the latest information on this situation. Miami is continually updating the frequently asked questions section of the site.

Institutional Response Team
Miami University
Campus Call Center: 513-529-9000


Wednesday, January 29, 2020 3:57 p.m. - From the Institutional Response Team

Miami University’s Institutional Response Team (IRT) and student health officials have been working alongside medical experts and Butler County Health officials using the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines for screening individuals who have flu-like symptoms. No new cases have emerged from Miami University or Butler County that require testing by the CDC.

As we continue to await the test results of the two samples sent earlier this week, we have taken many proactive measures to prevent the spread of illness across campus, including the following steps:

  • Deployed additional hand-sanitizing stations at all food and beverage locations, Armstrong Student Center, dining commons, Starbucks, The Marcum hotel, all markets, Brick & Ivy, 1809, and Campus Services Center
  • Contacted all students (graduate and undergraduate) who have traveled to affected areas
  • Canceled University-funded travel to China (faculty exceptions may be granted by the Provost’s Office)
  • Reviewed cleaning protocols with Department of Health standards and increased cleaning of common areas, door knobs, light switches, and other high-touch areas
  • Butler County Health District confirmed CDC guidelines for screenings with Miami’s Student Health Professionals
  • On-going education is being provided regarding preventative health practices

Miami’s IRT, composed of senior staff members from across the University, was activated earlier this week and has been working continuously with officials from the Butler County Health District and the Ohio Department of Health. As part of the team’s work, they are processing plans for possible next steps after the test results come in. IRT will be providing daily updates to the Miami community via email, social media, and the University website.

Miami has updated its information website with additional frequently asked questions. The website also houses all communications that are being sent out from the University, as well as the livestream from yesterday’s press conference with health officials. The community is encouraged to visit this site regularly for updates. In addition, the call center (513-529-9000) will remain open this week during regular business hours.

Institutional Response Team
Miami University
Call Center for General Questions: 513-529-9000


Tuesday, January 28, 2020 4:43 p.m. - From the President

Dear Miami Community,

I am following up on our announcement this morning about two off-campus, Oxford students being tested for the coronavirus. Currently, these students are being monitored by public health and Miami University officials and are being isolated as a precaution. The Ohio Department of Health has indicated there are no confirmed cases in the State of Ohio at this time. Please be assured that Miami University is closely collaborating with the Butler County Health District and the Ohio Department of Health to treat these students and to take all appropriate precautions to protect the health and safety of the entire Miami Community. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates the risk in the United States is low.

Miami is following the advice of public health officials in Butler County and the State of Ohio. At this point in time, we plan to maintain our regular academic class schedule. This mirrors the protocol that is being followed at other universities, including Baylor University, Wesleyan University, Tennessee Tech University, and Texas A&M University, who also isolated students while coronavirus tests were being conducted.

The Butler County Health District offers this advice:

“Unless you have recently traveled from China or have been around someone ill with this new virus, your risk of getting sick is low. If you have traveled from China and are experiencing signs and symptoms, contact your doctor BEFORE going to work or attending class. Miami students, who meet this criteria and are experiencing signs or symptoms, should contact Student Health Services at 513-529-3000 for further instructions.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Ohio Department of Health tell us the most effective means of protection are the same as those precautions that prevent other illnesses such as the flu:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • It is especially important to wash your hands:
    • Before, during, and after you prepare food.
    • Before you eat and after you use the bathroom.
    • After handling cash.
    • More frequently when someone in your house is sick.
    • Before/after smoking/vaping.
    • Before/after using public computers.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Frequently clean your doorknobs, light switches, and other commonly touched areas with disinfectant wipes.
  • Avoid contact with sick people.

For any general questions or concerns, we have set up a call center at 513-529-9000 that is staffed from 8 am to 5 pm (EST) this week. We also have developed [this] webpage to keep you updated with the latest information. I’d like to thank Governor DeWine, the Ohio Department of Health, and the Butler County Health District for their advice, guidance, and support. Soon, we will be posting the video of the press conference held this afternoon with Miami and representatives from these organizations. The conference provided important information that addresses many questions.

At Miami, we treat each other with compassion, care, and understanding. As always, our number one priority is the safety and well-being of our students, faculty, staff, and campus community.

With Love and Honor,

Gregory P. Crawford
President

January 28, 2020 2:45 p.m. Press Conference

January 28, 2020 10:17 a.m. - From the VP for Student Life

On Monday morning, one student at Miami University presented at Student Health Services with very mild symptoms, and with their recent travel, met the criteria and are being tested for possible infection with the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV). Health providers quickly recognized that the presenting patient met the criteria for 2019-Coronavirus testing; results should be back from the CDC in the coming days. This student and his traveling companion are isolated in their off-campus residence while awaiting the test results. Miami and healthcare professionals continue to communicate and collaborate daily with the Butler County Health District and the Ohio Department of Health and are following their recommendations and protocols. We will share information with the community as it becomes available.

We are assisting and supporting these Miami students who are awaiting test results. We continue to work closely with local and state healthcare professionals and the Butler County Health District and Ohio Department of Health. If you are experiencing symptoms and have traveled to the impacted area, please first call Student Health Services at 513-529-3000 to receive guidance on next steps. Miami has set up a call center to address any general questions or concerns at 513-529-9000.

  • Meanwhile, we are still in flu season, and these precautions are recommended for both the flu and Coronavirus:
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • It is especially important to wash your hands:
    • Before, during, and after you prepare food.
    • Before you eat and after you use the bathroom.
    • After handling cash.
    • More frequently when someone in your house is sick.
    • Before/after smoking/vaping.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Clean your doorknobs/light switches and areas commonly touched with disinfectant wipes frequently.
  • Avoid contact with sick people.

Miami Health Services and Student Life professionals acted quickly with appropriate protocol, and we will continue to follow the best practices currently known. We have proactive partners in local and state healthcare. We will post updated information on myMiami as it becomes available. Please check announcements there regularly.

Jayne Brownell
Vice President, Student Life

Terri Buzzell
Director, Student Health Service

What You Need to Know

  • There are NO confirmed cases of novel coronavirus in Butler County currently.
  • Unless you have recently traveled from China or have been around someone ill with this new virus, your risk of getting sick is low. If you have traveled from China and are, experiencing signs and symptoms contact Student Health Services at 513-529-3000 BEFORE going to work or attending class.
  • This is an evolving situation; this website is the best source of up-to-the-minute information.
  • If needed, updates specific to Butler County will be posted on the Butler County Health District website.
  • While CDC considers this a serious public health concern, based on current location, the immediate health risk to the general American public is considered low at this time.

What is the novel (new) coronavirus?

Human coronaviruses are common throughout the world. Seven different known coronaviruses can infect people and make them sick. Some were identified many years ago and some more recently.

What are the signs and symptoms of the coronavirus?

Symptoms are similar to other respiratory viruses. If you have these symptoms it does not necessarily mean you have this new virus! Unless you have recently traveled to Wuhan, China or have been around someone ill with this new virus, your risk of getting sick is near zero.

Symptoms include:

  • Fever (may not always be present)
  • Coughing
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

Other early symptoms to look for include:

  • Chills
  • Body aches
  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Runny nose

If there is an infection of the 2019 novel coronavirus on campus, will the university isolate the individual?

In the event of a Miami student testing positive for the 2019 Novel Coronavirus, the patient would receive appropriate medical attention and would be under monitoring of public health officials. We would work with any roommates or suitemates concerned about close contact to determine their needs.

What can I do?

Again, if you have not traveled to China or have not been in contact with a person known or suspected to have the illness, there is no reason to be concerned at this time. Review the CDC travel alerts for coronavirus for more information. 

If you have traveled recently to Wuhan, China, had close contact with someone who has been confirmed with, or is being evaluated for the coronavirus, you should:

  • Monitor your health for 14 days, from the day you first traveled or had close contact with someone ill with this new coronavirus. Watch for signs and symptoms listed above.
  • Call Miami Health Services, your doctor, urgent care, or hospital BEFORE going. They will give you instructions.
    • Miami Health Services: 513-529-3000
    • McCullough-Hyde Memorial Hospital: 513-523-2111
  • If you have symptoms, stay away from other people until you receive instructions.

How can I protect myself from the coronavirus and other viruses?

  • Review the CDC's guidance for preventing spread of coronavirus.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds frequently.
  • If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid contact with sick people and stay home if you are sick.

Is Miami University Cancelling Classes?

In following the advice of the Butler County Health District and the Ohio Department of Health, we have isolated the two students who have met the criteria for being tested for the coronavirus. At this time, we plan to maintain our regular academic class schedule. This mirrors the protocol that is being followed at other universities, including Baylor University, Wesleyan University, Tennessee Tech University, and Texas A&M University, who also isolated students while coronavirus tests were being conducted.

Will sorority and fraternity recruitment be cancelled or postponed?

At this time, all sorority and fraternity recruitment activities will continue as planned. We are continuing to evaluate and monitor the situation, working in accordance with the Butler County Health District recommendations.

In addition to hand sanitizers at entrances, the Cliff Alexander Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life has ordered an extra 3,000 personal bottles of hand sanitizer for all people going through recruitment. All Greek students and potential new members were also emailed last night (Tuesday) by the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life with guidance.

Where are the students being isolated?

The students are being isolated in their residence off-campus.

Have we contacted all students who have traveled throughout China over break?

Miami has been in contact with students who traveled to China over the break and provided instructions from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) asking them to seek treatment if they are exhibiting symptoms and have traveled to the affected areas. We are monitoring and in communication with students on both the Oxford and Regional campuses who have not returned due to a variety of travel restrictions.

What preparations are being made should the student test positive?

Miami University has activated the Institutional Response Team (IRT), comprised of senior staff from across the University. IRT has been working continuously with officials from the Butler County Health District and the Ohio Department of Health. As part of this work, plans are in place for next steps after the test results have been returned. IRT will be providing daily updates to the Miami community via email, social media and the University website.

What is the difference between quarantine and isolation? Are these students quarantined or isolated?

While these two terms are often used interchangeably, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, isolation and quarantine are public health practices used to stop or limit the spread of disease.

Isolation is used to separate ill persons who have a communicable disease from those who are healthy. Isolation restricts the movement of ill persons to help stop the spread of certain diseases. For example, hospitals use isolation for patients with infectious tuberculosis.

Quarantine is used to separate and restrict the movement of well persons who may have been exposed to a communicable disease to see if they become ill. These people may have been exposed to a disease and do not know it, or they may have the disease but do not show symptoms. Quarantine can also help limit the spread of communicable disease.

Isolation and quarantine are used to protect the public by preventing exposure to infected persons or to persons who may be infected.

The two students who met the criteria for coronavirus testing are being isolated in their off-campus residence.

Is anyone checking on the isolated students? How are these students receiving food?

Miami University’s Office of the Dean of Students is in regular contact with the two students. Miami’s dining services staff have organized delivery of food to the students. They are remaining in their off-campus location and are not exiting their residence.

Why weren’t students who traveled to China screened before being allowed back on campus?

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services have recently increased the number of airports screening travelers to 20.

County and state health officials have said screening of individuals who are well is not recommended at this time. Miami has contacted students who traveled to China recently and encouraged any student who is experiencing flu-like symptoms and recently travelled to affected areas to contact the University’s Student Health Center, 513-529-3000.

How can I know if I might have been in contact with an affected patient?

The Butler County Health District will determine who should be notified based on the ill party’s contacts.

What disinfection measures are effective?

Coronaviruses, including the 2019 Novel Coronavirus, are transmitted through respiratory droplets from an infected person (e.g. cough, sneezing, close contact). Standard Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-approved cleaning products and disinfectants are effective in cleaning surfaces.

The university already had been using these EPA-approved products and has increased touch-point cleaning in addition to common areas to include door knobs, light switches, etc.

What should I do to prevent the spread of infection?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Ohio Department of Health tell us the most effective means of protection are the same as those precautions that prevent other illnesses such as the flu:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • It is especially important to wash your hands:
    • Before, during, and after you prepare food.
    • Before you eat and after you use the bathroom.
    • After handling cash.
    • More frequently when someone in your house is sick.
    • Before/after smoking/vaping.
    • Before/after using public computers.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Frequently clean your doorknobs, light switches, and other commonly touched areas with disinfectant wipes.
  • Avoid contact with sick people.

If someone who has recently traveled to Wuhan is on campus, should they be isolated or held in quarantine?

Any recent traveler from Wuhan or other affected area who has symptoms (fever and respiratory symptoms such as sore throat, cough, or difficulty breathing) should contact Student Health (513-529-3000) and make arrangements to be seen by a medical provider right away.

Quarantine is not currently recommended for those who do not meet the public health criteria for the coronavirus. Students who are ill with flu and/or cold-like symptoms should continue medically recommended practices, including monitoring their temperature and practicing good hygiene. Individuals who may have had an exposure or are arriving from affected areas are not required to be quarantined.

If there is an infection of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus on campus, will the university isolate the individual?

In the event of a Miami student testing positive for the 2019 Novel Coronavirus, the patient would remain isolated, receive appropriate medical attention, and continue being monitored by public health officials.

I am worried about friends and family in impacted areas. What can I do to help?

It's hard knowing people you care about are in the middle of a potentially scary situation far away. We know that this has been a difficult time for many members of our community. Please know we are here for you and encourage you to reach out for support. Students who want to meet with a counselor can call 513-529-4634.

Students can also help their families back home by letting them know they are taking good care of themselves. The best advice for not getting sick is to practice frequent handwashing and staying out of close contact with people who might be sick.

At Miami, our Code of Love and Honor states that we demonstrate Love and Honor “by supporting and caring for [our] fellow Miamians." This means that we treat our fellow Miamians with care and compassion, even when (or especially when) we are anxious or afraid. We urge all members of our community to treat one another with compassion rather than suspicion.

Does the flu shot prevent the 2019 Novel Coronavirus?

No, the flu shot is formulated to match influenza viruses expected to be circulating in the United States during the 2019-2020 flu season. The influenza virus is a different genetic makeup from the coronavirus. The coronavirus has many genetic variants, including the “common cold” that generally does not present serious adverse health risks.

Does wearing a face mask help me if I am NOT sick?

Wearing face masks routinely is not recommended for people who are well. Handwashing and avoiding touching your face are the most effective method of illness prevention.

What should I do if I have a fever or have the symptoms of the flu? Do I need to be isolated?

Individuals who have had recent travel within the last 14 days from affected regions and are experiencing symptoms or who have been in close contact with those who are ill and recently traveled to affected regions are advised to make an appointment to see a medical provider. Students can call Student Health Service, 513-529-3000. Faculty and staff should contact their regular health care provider. For other illnesses, stay at home to avoid spreading illness to others until you have been without a fever for 24 hours.

What proactive measures has Miami taken?

Miami University has taken numerous steps to prevent the spread of illness across the campus, including steps such as these:

  • Deployed additional hand-sanitizing stations at all food and beverage locations, Armstrong Student Center, dining commons, Starbucks, The Marcum hotel, all markets, Brick & Ivy, 1809, and Campus Services Center
  • Contacted all students (graduate and undergraduate) who have traveled to affected areas
  • Canceled University-funded travel to China (faculty exceptions may be granted by the Provost’s Office)
  • Reviewed cleaning protocols with Department of Health standards and increased cleaning of common areas, door knobs, light switches, and other high-touch areas
  • Butler County Health District confirmed CDC guidelines for screenings with Miami’s Student Health Professionals
  • On-going education being provided regarding preventative health practices
  • Increased touch point cleaning in addition to common areas to include door knobs, light switches, etc.

What does a global health emergency mean?

The World Health Organization declared on Thursday that the new coronavirus outbreak is a global health emergency, acknowledging that the disease now represents a risk beyond China, where it emerged last month.

The declaration — officially called a Public Health Emergency of International Concern — serves notice to all United Nations member states that the world’s top health advisory body rates the situation as serious.

Countries can then decide whether to close their borders, cancel flights, screen people arriving at airports or take other measures.

The decision came as cases have begun to appear in people who had not traveled to China during the outbreak.

Why did you not quarantine Wuhan students in light of the decision to ground the plane in California?

Miami continues following protocol established by the CDC and has confirmed with the Ohio Department of Health that guidelines remain in place-they do not recommend preventatively isolating individuals who have traveled to China.

Will Miami revise its withdrawal policy?

Miami University officials are extending the full refund withdrawal date to February 10, 2020. Questions regarding withdrawal from the university should be directed to the One Stop office.

What is IRT?

Miami’s Institutional Response Team (IRT), composed of senior staff members from across the University, was activated earlier this week and has been working continuously with officials from the Butler County Health District and the Ohio Department of Health. As part of the team’s work, they are processing plans for possible next steps after the test results come in. IRT will be providing daily updates to the Miami community via email, social media, and the University website.


Miami Hotline and Other Numbers

The Miami University Health Services Information hotline number is 513-529-3003. This line is updated with the most current information as it is made available.

If you need to make an appointment with Miami University Health Services, please call 513-529-3000.

The Butler County General Health District phone number is 513-863-1770; the after-hours, emergency-only number is 877-774-4636.

Additional Resources

Butler County General Health District

301 S. Third Street
Hamilton, OH

513-863-1770 
513-863-4372 (fax)

www.butlercountyohio.org/health 

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Monday, July 27, 2020 - Phased-In Return to Campus Plans

Due to the changing dynamics of the COVID-19 virus in Ohio and throughout the United States, Miami University is now offering a variety of options to Oxford students for a phased-in approach to the start of the fall semester.

Classes begin as scheduled Aug 17 for all students but will begin with all undergraduate classes on the Oxford campus being held online/remotely until at least Sept. 21. Undergraduate classes on Miami’s Regional campuses will also begin remotely on Aug 17.

“As a university, we must continue to be flexible and adaptable with the health and safety of our community as our first priority,” wrote President Greg Crawford in a letter to Oxford students.

“When we began planning last spring, we had hoped that the COVID-19 pandemic would be in significant decline before classes were scheduled to begin. Instead, cases are rising in many states,” he wrote. “With over 40% of our Oxford students coming from outside Ohio, we’ve been monitoring the situation closely.”

Miami is working with Butler county public health officials and following the guidance and directives of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Ohio Department of Health, and Governor Mike DeWine.

"Governor DeWine and his team have been wonderful partners through these turbulent times. I want to thank Governor DeWine for his leadership and continued support of higher education," said Crawford.

“We have heard from students and their families, faculty, and staff who are excited to return to campus and from those who have concerns about returning. This means offering our students several options for the fall semester,” Crawford wrote.

Following the recommended best practices for opening universities, Miami will sequence the return to campus in multiple phases.

“This will give us the opportunity to review lessons learned at each interval and adapt accordingly,” Crawford added.

“In the end, we hope, this will provide the best opportunity for a successful return to the Oxford campus later this fall,” Crawford said.

He added, "We expect students planning to live off-campus in Oxford will begin returning in advance of the August 17 start of classes. We encourage them to consider residing at home if circumstances permit or if they have significant health or family concerns."

Move-in for Oxford undergraduate students living in the residence halls will begin Sept. 14 in a phased-in manner.

Graduate students will begin on-campus classes on August 17, and research activities will continue as planned.

Students who elect to return this fall will be required to sign a health and safety pledge.

Students will also have the option to construct a fully remote semester, and newly admitted and transfer students to the Oxford campus may elect to postpone their enrollment for a semester or for a year.

Oxford undergraduate students and their families will choose from one of three options described in the letter to Oxford students.

More information about Miami University’s Healthy Together Plan for return-to-campus this fall can be found online.


Tuesday, July 7, 2020 4:49 p.m. - President Crawford Announces Healthy Together Plan

Dear Miami community,

I wish to introduce to you today the Miami University Healthy Together Plan. The Healthy Together Plan consists of information, policies, and guidelines focused on our collective health as a community and fulfilling our mission of delivering high-quality educational experiences this fall semester in the COVID-19 era. 

We expect COVID-19 will be with us for the foreseeable future and are planning accordingly. Although no one can guarantee a campus that is free of the virus, we are making several important changes to help reduce the risks. The risk of exposure and possible infection is real and present in any community environment where large numbers of people are regularly interacting, including college campuses. In order to minimize the risk of exposure and infection, we all must remember that the health of each of us depends on the health of all of us.

Our ability to return and share the Miami Experience this fall depends to a great extent on how committed we are to respect and care for one another and the communities of Oxford, Hamilton, Middletown, West Chester, and Luxembourg. Miamians, all of us together, must support and care for each other in these times when our nation and the world are striving to find ways to combat COVID-19.

The Healthy Together Plan rests upon what we know today. We will continue to monitor the situation every day and adjust and iterate the plan as required. It is flexible enough to respond to the quickly changing landscape. The plan was created with our own expertise on our campuses, TriHealth as our partner in student health, the Butler County Health District our partner in public health, the City of Oxford, our collaborations through the Inter-University Council (all 14 public institutions in higher education in Ohio), and the Ohio Department of Health. We will continue to collaborate. We are relying on the guidance and directives of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Governor Mike DeWine, and the Ohio Department of Health as we make these important decisions. All of Ohio’s public universities are working together to develop safety guidelines for the return to our campuses.

The Healthy Together Plan is the product of countless hours of work from faculty, staff, students, external partners, and state health organizations. I am grateful to them and to the members of the Safe Return to Campus Planning and Coordinating Committee who gathered your input, heard your concerns, and incorporated your ideas. Thank you to co-chairs Dr. Dana Cox and Dr. Gwen Fears for your leadership. 

Many of you have asked about plans for the September Commencement celebration for the class of 2020, Homecoming, Family Weekend, and fall athletics. We will have updates on these larger events no later than July 17.

I want to thank the many employees who have been working on our campuses these last few months. We recognize and admire your dedication. In August, our campuses will be as beautiful and welcoming as they have ever been, but the ways we work, learn, and socialize on them will be very different.

Nevertheless, in this new “normal” of responding to the impact of COVID-19, I am confident that:

  • Our faculty are developing high-quality creative course offerings using a wide variety of delivery methods that will deliver the renowned personal top-tier education that is Miami’s mission.
  • Our health team is establishing detailed protocols and is ready to respond to the health needs of our Miami community, in close collaboration with our city and health partners.
  • Our staff is ready to execute the return-to-campus plans with the care that makes Miami our beautiful home.
  • Our cities and communities where we live, learn, and work are our partners, and we all want to maintain healthy communities for all of us.
  • Our plan is flexible. As the situation changes, so will our plan. It is iterative and adaptive to changes in this dynamic environment.

Please visit the Healthy Together website for detailed information. For significant or major changes in the plan, we will immediately message the community. Success will take all of us together.

With admiration and gratitude for all that you have done for Miami during these trying times,

In Love and Honor,

Greg Crawford
President


Friday, June 12, 2020 - From the Office of Residence Life

Dear Residential Students,

Miami Move-In is quickly approaching. In fact the timeline for moving into residence halls, Heritage Commons Apartments, and Hawks Landing has been moved up to the week of August 10 because classes will now begin on August 17 (see the revised academic calendar for more details). We are excited to welcome over 8,000 new and returning students to our residence halls and apartments.

To help maintain physical distancing, we will have a staggered move-in schedule. You will be assigned a specific move-in day and time. New students will be assigned a day and time between August 10 and August 14, and returning students will be assigned to a day and time between August 12 and August 16.

Your assigned move-in day and time will be emailed to you with your housing assignment letter, which you should receive no later than July 15. The assignment letter will include instructions for students who are unable to arrive on their assigned date.

Pre-Move-In Days for the weekend of August 8th and 9th will be available for students who would like to sign-up to drop off belongings and set up their room prior to their official move-in day. Students who participate in Pre-Move-In Days will have their card access temporarily turned on in order to complete the move, and will not be charged an additional fee. More details about this option will be included in your housing assignment letter. Residence hall community meetings for new students will begin at 6:00 PM on August 14.

Information regarding pre-semester activities (Miami Bound, Marching Band, ROTC, Scholar Leader, etc.) will be coming from the leaders of those programs soon. In most cases, the timeline for those experiences will also be moved back one week to fit with the new academic calendar.

Everyone will be expected to wear face coverings and follow our Miami Move-in Guidelines on move-in day:

  • Be prepared to move in as quickly and efficiently as possible. The number of students will be limited in each time block to help maintain physical distancing and will allow others to move in more safely.
  • Please limit the number of people you bring with you to only those you need to help you move your belongings into the halls.
  • Pay attention to your physical proximity to others. Be vigilant about maintaining a six-foot radius between individuals outside of your moving party.
  • Bring your own face coverings and gloves.
  • While rooms will be clean, you will want to bring along wipes and sanitizer since there will be limited supplies on hand.
  • Dining halls will be open for carry-out dining.

New students will receive their ID cards upon arriving at their residence hall provided you have uploaded your picture in advance. We will be providing more details about the logistics of move-in day later in the summer. Thank you for your patience and flexibility as we work together for a smooth move-in process.

Sincerely,

Office of Residence Life
Campus Services


Wednesday, May 27, 2020, 1:41 p.m. - From the President

Dear Miami Students,

With so many unknowns in our world right now, please allow me to share some definitive certainties with you.

One being that Miami’s campus is as beautiful as ever this spring. The redbuds that encircle the Hub in the heart of our academic quad are in full bloom, and you can’t help but smile at the profusion of jaunty red tulips. I wonder if Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Robert Frost was strolling Slant Walk in springtime when he declared ours “the most beautiful campus that ever there was.”

A second certainty is that even more beautiful and vital to Miami than our trees and flowers are our people. As Renate and I walk past Armstrong Student Center these days, we long to see students gathered at tables, comparing class notes and debating politics. The real distinctiveness of this place is its people — our students, faculty, and staff living out Love and Honor through their studies, teaching, scholarship, work, and outreach.

We miss you and all the wonderful energy you bring to Oxford.

On April 27th, Ohio Governor and Miami alumnus Mike DeWine, Class of 1969, announced the plan to reopen the State of Ohio. We are excited to be returning to on-campus classes this fall and are planning diligently for that to happen. The health and safety of our students has always been a top priority, but our efforts embrace a new emphasis this year.

We will follow the experts.

We continue to work closely with public health officials and Governor DeWine, who has been recognized nationally and internationally for taking early action to mitigate the pandemic’s impact in Ohio. By following the advice of health experts, we are able to promptly address issues as they arise.

We have a strong health-care network right here.

Collaborating with our Student Health Services experts, we have strengthened our relationship with our health-care partner, TriHealth, one of the top integrated health systems in Greater Cincinnati. TriHealth operates both McCullough-Hyde Memorial Hospital, located just a few blocks from campus, as well as our full-service Student Health Center, giving our students access to TriHealth’s medical specialists.

We are preparing the campus for your arrival.

Following CDC guidelines and utilizing hospital-grade products approved by the EPA, we are sanitizing the residence and dining halls as well as every classroom building. We have also increased the cleaning frequency of all high-touch, heavily used areas on campus and are providing hand sanitizer and other disinfectants in various locations across campus.

We are outfitting our housing, dining, and maintenance staff with face masks and other appropriate personal protective equipment. We are also currently limiting on-campus personnel to those who must be on campus to do their job and will return additional personnel to campus incrementally.

Test, trace, isolate.

We are working with TriHealth, our local hospital and healthcare provider, to develop a plan for testing and have set up a system to quarantine students who may be exposed to the virus so they can continue their studies in place while protecting our students, faculty, and staff.

These are just some of the steps we are taking to protect our students, faculty, and staff as we prepare to return for the fall.

Many of you may know that I end all of my correspondence with the words Love and Honor. This phrase comes from our beloved Fight Song and is used as a greeting among Miamians around the world. It represents Miami’s values, detailed in our official code. One of the lines in the code states: “I demonstrate Love and Honor by supporting and caring for my fellow Miamians.”

This will always be our pledge to each of you. That is a certainty.

In Love and Honor,

Gregory P. Crawford
President


Tuesday, May 26, 2020 - From the Dean of Students

Good afternoon,

I hope you have had a good week and are enjoying a healthy and safe summer break. The health and safety of our students, faculty, staff and community are always our top priority. I write to inform you that recently five students, living off campus, tested positive for COVID-19.

The Butler County General Health District is currently investigating and contacting anyone believed to have been in close contact with an infected individual. Those who attended an off-campus student gathering on or after May 8 should monitor themselves for fever or other COVID-19 symptoms for 14 days from their last day in Oxford.

We encourage you to continue safeguarding yourself against COVID-19 by wearing a mask, practicing social distancing, using good hand hygiene, staying home if you are sick and not leaving your home unless necessary. Leading health officials continue to learn more about COVID-19 every day. It is important to follow all guidance and orders issued by the Ohio Department of Health, CDC and your local health department. Anyone who develops COVID-19 symptoms should call their health care provider or contact their local hospital.

Very Sincerely,

Kimberly A. Moore, Ed.D.
Associate Vice President and Dean of Students


Friday, April 17, 2020 - From the Dean of Students

Dear off-campus students,

As the spring semester begins to wind down over the next month, you might be making plans for how to move out of your off-campus residence in Oxford and/or safely retrieve your belongings. We hope the following information will help you take care of business while supporting the community health of your peers and the many families who live in Oxford.

If you are still in Oxford, or will be returning in the next month to move out of your off-campus residence:

  • You should quarantine for 14 days if you are traveling from another state.
  • As you plan your own move-out, please take these steps to comply with public health orders and reduce your risk:
    • Coordinate move out with housemates to allow for social distancing (6’ apart); keep groups under 10 individuals.
    • Practice good hygiene—cover coughs, wash hands frequently, and don’t touch your face.
    • Wear a cloth face mask.
    • Don’t let others who are sick help you move.
    • Bring your own cleaning supplies. Clean frequently touched surfaces; specifically, clean the inside of the moving truck cab with EPA-approved disinfectant cleaners. Pay special attention to the door handle, steering wheel, seat, and knobs.
  • Please see the City of Oxford’s move out tips. Notify the City of Oxford to turn off utilities and/or if you have excessive trash that needs to be removed. Trash must be in receptacles and follow Rumpke guidelines.

While ShareFest Oxford is not happening this year, consider donating nonperishable food to Talawanda Oxford Pantry & Social Services (TOPSS) and household items in good condition to Goodwill in Oxford.

If you aren't able to return to Oxford by the end of your lease:

You may choose to hire a third party vendor such as Campus Solutions to arrange packing, storing, or shipping your belongings. There is a cost for this service; if you are interested, please work directly with Campus Solutions for estimates and arranging service. The company is offering a $50 discount to Miami students.

Health District Order's Enforcement:

The Oxford Police Department is actively monitoring our community for gatherings over 10 individuals. They will issue citations for flagrant or repeat violations. Court dates for these violations may be held after graduation.

While you may be tempted to come back to Oxford for social reasons, now is the time to demonstrate your love and care for your friends and classmates by keeping your distance.

Please do your part for the Oxford community you love: practice social distancing, follow Ohio public health orders, and make healthy decisions.

Very Sincerely,

Kimberly A. Moore, Ed.D.
Associate Vice President and Dean of Students


Thursday, April 16, 2020 - From the Office of Residence Life

Dear Student,

According to our records, you still have belongings in your room/apartment on campus. We are working on a plan for you to retrieve your belongings once the stay-at-home order in Ohio is lifted. We appreciate your patience as we work to make the move-out process as safe and expedient as possible. The process will conform to state and county guidance, and will include flexibility, when possible, for you and those who will be helping you move out.

Shortly after the Ohio stay-at-home order is lifted, you will receive an email inviting you to sign up for a date and time block to move out. To ensure continued social distancing, we will limit the number of students moving out per day. You will receive a confirmation email once you sign up for a time.

Questions and answers regarding move-out:

What if I have special circumstances regarding moving out?
There will be an option on the form to present these special circumstances.

What if my travel arrangements require me to stay overnight to safely complete move-out?
You will be permitted to stay one night in the residence hall, if necessary. You should indicate that in the special circumstances section of the form.

Can I ask another student to move my belongings out of my room?
Yes. If you can make arrangements with another student (e.g. someone who lives in your hometown) to gather your belongings, you should indicate your plans in the special circumstances section of the form. Secure access to your room will be coordinated by the ORL staff.

More details will be provided once the Ohio stay-at-home order is lifted. If you have other questions about our plans for this process, please send them to residencelife@miamioh.edu.

Thank you,

Office of Residence Life
Campus Services


Wednesday, April 08, 2020 - From the Office of Residence Life

Dear Miami students,

According to our records, you still have belongings in your residence hall room. We know this has been a stressful time, so thank you for your patience as we continue to identify ways for you to complete your move-out process from the residence halls.

Students or family members may not return to campus while Ohio is under a stay-at-home order. The order is set to expire on May 1, but it could be extended. Once Governor DeWine lifts the order, we will communicate with you again to share the process for returning to campus to collect your belongings.

While you may not return to campus at this time, we understand that many of you are anxious to complete this process, so we have created an option to arrange for the packing, moving, shipping or storing of your items. You may work with third party approved vendor Campus Solutions to arrange for service. Campus Solutions is the only approved vendor for these services at this time. To prevent the spread of COVID-19 and reduce the risk to our campus community, Miami has designated a single local company to provide these services. Campus Solutions has agreed to Miami’s health and safety standards (i.e. wearing gloves during the entire service performance, taking and monitoring employee temperatures before coming on campus, and cleaning all equipment before and after each job) and will only operate in vacant buildings.

Campus Solutions is operating as an essential business under the transportation and logistics exception to the Ohio stay-at-home order. Campus Solutions is ready to receive orders effective immediately; Miami will work with them to allow access to rooms for students who contract for this service beginning in late April or early May. The timeline is subject to change based on new orders or guidance from the Ohio Department of Health. The University does not receive compensation in any form from Campus Solutions.

Students contract directly with Campus Solutions. There is a cost for this service; if you are interested please work directly with Campus Solutions for estimates and arranging service. The company is offering a $50 discount to Miami students.

We know this has been a challenging and uncertain time. Please know the health and safety of our community continues to be our top priority, and we hope that you and your families are safe and well.

Sincerely,

Office of Residence Life
Campus Services

Tuesday, April 07, 2020 - From the Dean of Students

Hello Miami students,

Spring has arrived in Oxford! For those of you who are staying in Oxford for the rest of the semester, please do what you can to help keep yourselves and our community healthy and well.

As you may know, Governor DeWine has extended his “stay at home” order through May 1. I know it’s tempting to be outside and gather with friends on these warm, sunny days, but social distancing is very important in preventing the spread of COVID-19. You can spend time with the residents of your own house or apartment; however you should not be congregating in groups that include other people at this time, even outdoors. In fact, you may be charged criminally and/or charged under the Code of Student Conduct for violating the State of Ohio’s stay at home orders. We are in unprecedented times, requiring each of us to make good decisions for the benefit of all.

As a reminder, good hygiene practices will also increase the likelihood of staying healthy, especially as you go to places where you will interact with other people. When you are out taking care of essential business, be sure to practice good handwashing techniques, avoid touching your face, and maintain at least 6 feet between yourself and other people. In addition, the CDC recently revised their recommendations about masks; they now recommend wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies). Finally, take the time to plan ahead so that you can go to the store as infrequently as possible.

It is your responsibility to stay current on the requirements and guidelines put in place for the State of Ohio during this rapidly changing crisis. The Governor holds a press conference each day at 2pm, available live @TheOhioChannel on Facebook; they also post daily summaries as a good way to stay current.

For all students, whether in Oxford or in your homes around the country and world, I hope you and your loved ones are staying healthy and well. We miss you, wish you well, and look forward to seeing you back in town once this health crisis has passed.

Be well,
Jayne Brownell
Vice President for Student Life


Friday, March 27, 2020 - From the Office of Residence Life

Dear Student,

According to our records, you currently have belongings in your room on campus. Governor Mike DeWine has issued a Stay-at-Home order for Ohio. This order means that travel is permitted only for essential purposes including going to and from work, getting medical care, and shopping for food and groceries. In line with the Stay-at-Home order, Miami University is not permitting students or parents to return to Oxford to gather their belongings at this time. Once the state order is lifted, we will communicate the process for signing up to retrieve your belongings.

While you are away, our Physical Facilities Department will be performing routine maintenance over the course of the next few weeks to ensure that your building remains in good working order. They will also be removing trash and emptying refrigerators to discard food that is expired or spoiled. This will help us control for bad odors and pests.

Thank you for your patience as we continue to navigate these uncharted waters.

Office of Residence Life
Campus Services


Wednesday, March 18, 2020 - From the Dean of Students

Dear Miami students,

We recognize the new challenges you may be facing as you are transitioning to remote learning for the rest of the semester. Please know the Division of Student Life is here to support you both academically and emotionally.

Some students, faculty, and parents have asked for advice and ideas on how to set up a remote learning environment for success. We have attached a remote learning guide from the Rinella Learning Center. This guide can also be found on Rinella’s new Remote Learning website.

Additional virtual resources that may be helpful:

  • The Rinella Learning Center is now providing remote tutoring appointments and supplemental instruction. Remote tutoring can be accessed through Canvas.
  • Howe Writing Center appointments are now online.
  • Remote services and resources from the University Libraries are available.
  • The H.O.P.E. line is available 24/7 for students to call for immediate support, crisis intervention, and stabilization from a licensed mental health counselor. 855-249-5649.

While remote coursework may be inherently more independent than meeting face-to-face, we urge you to stay in touch with your instructors and communicate how things are going. When you have questions about course content, connectivity issues or concerns about your progress, start with your instructors. They likely won’t know about these issues until you tell them. They, like you, may be navigating a remote classroom environment for the first time.

We know this isn’t an ideal situation - none of us expected, even a week ago, that this is where we would be today. Things may change again tomorrow, but in uncertain times, this is what I know - we are committed to listen and respond as new needs arise. We ask that all members of our community continue to be flexible, and do their best at staying committed to learning. During this challenging time, make sure you are taking care of yourself and others, and know that Student Life is here to support you in whatever way we can.

Very sincerely,

Kimberly A. Moore, Ed.D.
Associate Vice President and Dean of Students


Thursday, March 12, 2020 5:09 p.m. - From the Dean of Students

Hello Miami students,

We regret that a false impression has been created that Miami University has students under investigation for the coronavirus. We are striving to keep everyone informed and would have quickly relayed such information, as we did in January, if this were indeed the case.

Miami has no students with the coronavirus, and no students awaiting test results. Like students from other universities in the state, students from Miami attended a large conference, where an attendee, who is not from Miami, later tested positive for the coronavirus. Out of an abundance of caution, the Butler County Department of Health, and other health departments across the state, requested the attendees stay home. None of them are under investigation, none are displaying symptoms of the coronavirus, and none are being tested for the coronavirus. Because Miami has gone to remote learning, some of these students have already returned home.

Very sincerely,

Kimberly Moore, Ed.D.
Associate Vice President and Dean of Students
Division of Student Life

March 12, 2020 12:38 p.m. - From the President

Dear Miami Parents and Families,

Your students are always our top concern here at Miami, both their educational advancement and their well-being. We know how difficult it is right now to be away from them as the coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to impact all of our lives in so many unexpected ways. Thank you for your trust in us.

We have had no confirmed cases of the virus on any of our campuses. On Monday, Governor DeWine reported Ohio's first confirmed coronavirus cases, and the actions we have taken this week — limiting large gatherings and moving all of our face-to-face classes to remote instruction —are on the advice of the Ohio Department of Health and through an abundance of caution. Our deepest hope is that in taking these steps, we will keep everyone on our campuses safe from the virus and facilitate students in returning home.

Making this change in the way we teach is a learning experience for all of us, students, faculty and staff. I appreciate that our entire community is coming together quickly to figure out how best to move our educational mission forward during these times. As I hear faculty talk about the ways they are continuing their classwork, through online group projects and webinars, for example, I am heartened by their willingness to take on this challenge and find solutions.

As we all work together in our state and nation to minimize the spread of the coronavirus, our remote learning is in place so your student can be home with you and still participate in their classes without missing an assignment or a quiz. For those who have not returned home, our staff members have been extra attentive to keeping the residence and dining halls sanitized, and we are encouraging practices to reduce the risk of transmission. We will continue to deliver courses remotely through at least April 12, 2020, and are continuously evaluating whether we will extend beyond that date. Should your student return home, we encourage them to minimize their travel and not return to campus until the resumption of face-to-face instruction. So please remind them, when they depart, to take with them the essential items they may need through the end of the semester.

If the Miami student in your family has specific questions regarding one of their remote classes, encourage them to contact their faculty member teaching that class. If after doing so, they still have questions or concerns, please advise them to reach out to the chair of that department for additional guidance.

This is not how any of us envisioned the year 2020 would evolve. Yet, it brings out the strength in our communities and ourselves. If you have questions as to what is happening on our campuses, please visit this website; we are updating it frequently to keep everyone informed.

I appreciate your help and patience as we work through this quickly evolving situation together.

In Love and Honor,

Gregory P. Crawford 
President

March 12, 2020 10:02 a.m. - From the Dean of Students

Good morning,

In light of Tuesday’s announcement by President Crawford that we are suspending face-to-face instruction, we want to provide you with some tools, advice, and resources on how to be successful in your remote-instruction classes.  

The first thing to remember is that classes are still happening and you will continue to experience academic demands similar to face-to-face courses. Remote instruction is not a free pass or an early spring break. You are still expected to actively participate in your courses, and will continue to be graded on your performance. Your professors should be providing guidance on what is expected and how information will be delivered. It is vital that you check your email regularly for guidance and updates.

Tips for Remote Learning

Some of you may be new to remote learning, and below are tips to help you navigate this new territory.  

  • First, make sure to check your Canvas sites regularly. Review all parts of the site to ensure you are fully aware of course expectations.
  • Maintain a regular schedule. Set aside time to engage with course material daily and keep a normal sleep schedule. Significant changes to sleep schedules negatively impact acquisition of new knowledge and ability to recall learned information.
  • Maintain communication with faculty and peers in class. There are multiple ways to connect with instructors and classmates. If you are confused or concerned, ask questions and get clarification.

Rinella Learning Specialists are available to meet with you to help you prepare for upcoming exams and to develop strategies for learning through the new remote format. Set up an appointment with a learning specialist by calling 513-529-8741.

Technology Access

If you are concerned about your access to technology resources for remote instruction, please know that all University Libraries are currently operating under a normal schedule and have computers available for student use.

The Student Success Center also has laptops available through their F5 Laptop Program (for undergrads). 

Academic Support

We are working on remote delivery of academic support services through Rinella Learning Center. Howe Writing Center appointments are now online. Faculty will continue holding office hours, though those may happen via WebEx, phone call, email or chat.

Please know the Division of Student Life is here to support you through this transition to remote instruction.

Very sincerely,

Kimberly Moore, Ed.D.
Associate Vice President and Dean of Students
Division of Student Life 


Wednesday, March 11, 2020 7:25 p.m. - From the Dean of Students

Dear Miami Students,

We recognize you are experiencing a significant and unexpected disruption to your routine. It is our goal to support you and help you stay safe, healthy, and engaged. As you know, campus remains open with modifications to maintain the health of students. This includes large gatherings. Activities and events with more than 150 participants will be and should be canceled. Please note that this number is subject to change at any time. Please check the websites and social media of event organizers to verify event status. 

Support

Transitioning from a structured routine to a more self-driven schedule requiring more time management can be stressful. You are not alone in this stress. It’s normal to feel a bit uncertain or overwhelmed with the new expectations that come with remote delivery of courses and changes to co-curricular opportunities. 

All services (individual counseling, group counseling, workshops) are being held as normal at the Student Counseling Service. The H.O.P.E. Line is also available 24/7 for students to call for immediate support, crisis intervention, and stabilization (855-249-5649). 

Social Activities

Please make good choices about your free time and time spent socializing. Specifically:

  • Avoid events and venues with large numbers of people where illness can spread easily.
  • Avoid excessive alcohol consumption. It can impair the body’s ability to defend against infection.
  • Do not host large gatherings; limit the number of guests at smaller gatherings.
  • Implement personal protective measures (e.g., stay home when sick, handwashing, clean frequently touched surfaces daily).
  • Avoid close contact, including handshakes and hugging.

Be Kind and Help Each Other

Please continue treating each other with care and compassion.

  • Remember our Good Samaritan policy, and call for help when you have a friend in need.
  • Practice your bystander intervention education: direct, distract, or delegate if you see a situation that you feel could lead to harm.
  • Interact with others in a civil way, even if they express/embrace a divergent point of view; engaging across difference is a source of personal growth.
  • Respect others for who they are; our diversity is a strength and should be welcomed and honored.

We share these tips because we care about you and we want you to be happy, healthy, and successful. You have enormous potential to do great things—at Miami and beyond—and the world needs you right now.

Best, 

Dean Kimberly Moore

March 11, 2020 9:53 a.m. - From the President
New Travel Restrictions & Reporting Requirements

Dear Miami Students, Faculty and Staff,

Following Governor DeWine’s recommendations at his news conference yesterday - https://ohiochannel.org/collections/governor-mike-dewine- the University is announcing the following new travel restrictions and reporting requirements:

University Sponsored or Supported Travel

All University sponsored or supported international travel for students, faculty and staff is suspended for the balance of the spring semester. 

All University sponsored or supported domestic travel is limited to essential travel and must be approved by the divisional vice-president. 

Personal Travel

All Miami faculty, staff and students are urged to closely evaluate the risks of all personal travel (domestic, international or cruise ship) and to change or cancel personal travel plans as appropriate.

Those employees and students who do decide to travel internationally are required to report their travel to the University, before departure, at the following email address travel@miamioh.edu.  When reporting your personal travel please provide the following information:

  • Name
  • Travel Dates
  • Countries and Cities
  • Cities of U.S. departure and entry

The guidelines associated with travel to high-risk countries and the process for subsequent reentry into the United States may change rapidly and without notice. It is possible that you may be required to self-monitor your health upon your return. This can be as simple as monitoring and reporting temperatures twice a day for 14 days or being quarantined or isolated. In addition to any health monitoring or quarantine, employees and staff who travel internationally may be required to be screened by University Health Services upon return. 

Please watch for updates and changes in the need to report personal travel as circumstances may change over the coming weeks or while you are traveling abroad. This information and all other COVID-19 updates can be found on this website.

Thank you for your patience as we work together to navigate these unprecedented events and for your cooperation in taking the steps necessary to protect the health and safety of our Miami community.

Love and Honor,
Gregory P. Crawford
President


Tuesday, March 3, 2020 4:30 p.m.  -  From the VP for Student Life

Dear Miami Students,

Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that the global spread of the new coronavirus (COVID-19) makes it almost certain the United States will experience an outbreak. Miami University is closely monitoring COVID-19 developments nationally and internationally in conjunction with Tri-Health, the Butler County and Ohio departments of health and the CDC.

Protecting the health and safety of Miami students is our highest priority. On rare occasions, a crisis event (such as a chemical spill, tornado, fire or health emergency) will threaten the day-to-day operations of the University. Miami, like most colleges and universities, plans for these unlikely events. The University works first to avoid and then to lessen the effects of these kinds of events.

Containing the spread of a contagious disease presents challenges and will require the University to take proactive measures to protect the health and safety of all members of our community while working to maintain University operations and responsibilities.

In the coming days and weeks, leaders across the University will be meeting and planning for the unlikely event of a local outbreak of COVID-19. Our efforts will focus on the health and safety of our community and our educational responsibilities.

Please remember the best prevention for coronavirus, the flu, or the common cold is to practice good personal hygiene:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. It is especially important to wash your hands:
    • Before, during, and after you prepare food.
    • Before you eat and after you use the bathroom.
    • After handling cash.
    • More frequently when someone in your house is sick.
    • Before/after smoking/vaping.
    • Before/after using public computers.
  • Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with your arm.
  • Frequently clean doorknobs, light switches, and other commonly touched areas with disinfectant wipes.
  • Avoid contact with people who are ill.
  • Stay home from work or school if you are ill.

With the approach of spring break you should be aware that the CDC recommends cancelling all non-essential travel to China, Italy, Iran and South Korea due to significant COVID-19 outbreaks in those countries. The CDC is also recommending that travelers reconsider cruise ship voyage into or within Asia.

The guidelines associated with travel to high-risk countries and the process for subsequent reentry into the United States may change rapidly and without notice. If you travel abroad, it is possible that you may be required to self-monitor your health upon your return. This can be as simple as monitoring and reporting temperatures twice a day for 14 days; however, higher-risk individuals may be quarantined or isolated. It is important to consider the benefits vs. the risks of travelling abroad.

We will continue to post updates, FAQs, and resources on this website as needed. If you have additional questions or suggestions, please send them to cmt@miamioh.edu. For study abroad questions, call Global Initiatives at 513-529-8600.

Dr. Jayne Brownell
Vice President for Student Life

Monday, July 27, 2020, 4:19 p.m. - From the President

Dear Miami Employees,

We are working to welcome our students this fall with as robust an on-campus educational experience as is possible during this pandemic. We are consulting with Butler County public health officials and following the guidance and directives of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Ohio Department of Health. When we began planning last spring, we had hoped that the COVID-19 pandemic would be in significant decline before classes were scheduled to begin.

Instead, cases are rising in many states, and with over 40% of our Oxford students coming from outside Ohio, we’ve been monitoring the situation closely, listening to the concerns and hopes of our students, faculty, and staff, and gaining information from experts directly engaged in this work. We have heard from students and their families, faculty, and staff who are excited to return to campus and from those who have concerns about returning. This means offering our students several options for the fall semester.

As a University, we must continue to be adaptable, with the health and safety of our community as our first priority. Following recommended best practices for opening universities, we will sequence the return to campus in multiple phases. This will give us the opportunity to review lessons learned at each interval and adapt accordingly. In the end, we hope, this will provide the best opportunity for a successful return to our campuses later this fall.  

Oxford and Regional Campus classes will begin as scheduled on August 17, 2020, but we will begin with all undergraduate classes held online/remotely until September 21.

We expect students planning to live off-campus in Oxford will begin returning in advance of the August 17 start of classes. We encourage them to consider residing at home if circumstances permit or if they have significant health or family concerns.

General residence hall move-in will begin the week of September 14.

Graduate students will begin on-campus classes on August 17, and research activities will continue as planned.

Students who elect to return this fall will be required to sign a health and safety pledge.

Students will also have the option to construct a fully remote semester, and newly admitted and transfer students to the Oxford campus may elect to postpone their enrollment for a semester or for a year.

We know that some of our students will be disappointed and some will be relieved. The decision to offer these options for the Fall 2020 semester was made with the wellbeing of our students, faculty, staff, and our local community as our foremost responsibility. As we continue to evaluate this evolving situation, Miami University remains committed to providing our students with a full and enriching fall semester despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

You will be learning more from leadership within your division.  We are deeply grateful for your understanding and patience as we keep working to provide our students with the best educational experience possible.

Love and Honor,
Greg Crawford


Tuesday, July 21, 2020, 4:52 p.m. - From the Crisis Management Team

Dear Miami faculty and staff,

When we announced a general return to work for the week of July 26, we did not envision the current COVID19 levels. We’ve been monitoring the situation closely, listening to the concerns and hopes of our students, faculty and staff, and consulting with experts. We are delaying the general return to work until the week of August 9. Your supervisor will let you know if you need to return to campus before then and employees now working on campus should continue to do so, unless directed otherwise by their supervisor.

Crisis Management Team


Friday, July 17, 2020, 5:17 p.m. - From the Provost

July 17, 2020

Colleagues,

For a Friday bit of "good news", we can celebrate yet another important way that our Myaamia Center is helping share information about the Miami Tribe with students throughout Ohio:

Starting this fall, the two Myaamia culture and imagery lessons will become part of the K-12 Ohio as America curriculum. The Ohio as America resource, provided by the Ohio History Connection, was used by more than 20,000 students in 91 school districts last year. Private and parochial schools, as well as home-school educators, also use it, said Carla Mello, department manager of school and teacher support for the Columbus-based Ohio History Connection.

“Our partnership with the Myaamia Center and Miami University has been a vital step into creating educational content that provides the perspectives of communities and cultures that have been historically marginalized by traditional textbooks and resources,” Mello said.

I personally would like to see more courses offered as part of our Global Miami Plan that accomplishes the same goal with our Miami University students. Congratulations to our valued partners within the Myaamia Center.

We have other good news - Jaime Hunt will be joining Miami University as our Vice President for University Communications and Marketing. I have been very impressed with Jamie and I know she will be a transformative leader for Miami. I am sure Academic Affairs will give her a warm Miami welcome as she transitions to her new role.

Some other news you may be interested in:

  1. COVID-19 updates
  2. Fall Semester Updates
  3. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Updates

Some quick updates on COVID-19:

  • Some athletic conferences are announcing dramatic changes for fall sports with some playing only within their conference to limit travel and risk of exposure, while others are acknowledging the tremendous challenge of playing sports while a highly contagious virus with potentially lethal consequences freely circulates. We have not yet announced any changes nor has our MAC conference, but as more conferences make decisions, it will almost certainly impact us and we update everyone as we have more information share. In this same article, there are some announcements from colleges now realizing that the COVID-19 infection rate will quickly outstrip their ability to care for students, faculty, and staff, and are rolling back plans to open on campus for fall. So far, they are primarily in areas facing a spike in cases, or where they draw significant numbers of students from “hot spots.” Some extremely prominent universities, like Harvard, Georgetown, and USC have already announced their fall will be almost fully online. Now, Emory has joined them, and understandably so given what Atlanta and Georgia is facing. Rest assured that our Return to Campus teams are watching all of these trends very carefully.
  • Please keep our colleagues around the country in your thoughts as they and their institutions continue to wrestle with the profound impact COVID-19 is having on them, their institutions, and the budgets. Our colleagues at Akron are the latest to make headlines, but as we have discussed in recent messages to our campus, institutions around the country are facing similar issues.
  • Fall is going to look different with everyone wearing masks… 
    • While there continues to be positive news in the development of vaccines and treatment research, it is very unfortunate that many people throughout the US and in our communities continue to resist the one thing that can make a meaningful difference and can save lives:  social distancing and mask-wearing. Many countries have returned to much more normal conditions while also limiting infection rates. We have chosen to return to normal without controlling our infection rate such as FloridaArizonaOrange County (CA) School BoardWilson County TN school board, and we should probably also look at Ohio, which still does not mandate face masks statewide, or actively discourages attempts at controlling it, e.g. our federal governmentGeorgiaIllinois, etc. I grieve for all the needlessly lost lives and for those permanently impacted by the effects of this disease.
    • The Miami Student reports that the Oxford City Council unanimously voted Tuesday to mandate face coverings in public. The ordinance was labeled as an emergency, which puts the mandate in effect as soon as possible. The decision occurred during a virtual special city council meeting and requires masks in any public space in the City of Oxford. Violators are subject to a $100 fine, which will be enforced by the Oxford Police Department (OPD). Businesses will not be allowed to enter into transactions with anyone without a mask, and those who refuse to wear a mask could be charged. Employees who interact with the public must also wear a face mask. “Our plan is to only enforce this for the most egregious offenders,” Doug Elliott, the city manager said. Elliott said if a business refuses to post signage mandating a mask or if customers refuse to wear a mask, he asks that the OPD is called to enforce the mandate. Customers who refuse to wear a mask may be charged with criminal trespassing. “We’re going to do our very best to educate the public in how important this is,” Elliott said.
    • Scientists are beginning to understand the complex immune responses we mount and maintain for viruses, including COVID-19.

Fall Semester Updates:

  • MUDEC is expected to welcome around 60 students, domestic and international for fall 2020. Juan Carlos and Elena Alberron are the Oxford-based faculty who will be there for 2020-21. Cheryl Young will also be spending fall semester there working with our new Executive Director Raymond Manes, and Jim Shiveley will be there for a few weeks to continue his work on curriculum. The European Union, while not opening to all US travelers, determined that study abroad students and faculty from outside the EU is essential, and we were also granted essential status from the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.
  • The Liberal Education Committee has been working for the past year to develop bold new directions for our Global Miami PlanYou can see what they are considering and provide input here.
  • Our incoming dean of the College of Engineering and Computing, Beena Sukumaran, has confirmed her arrival from New Jersey and is busy unpacking and settling into her temporary home in Oxford. Our new Dean of the Farmer School of Business, Jenny Darroch, already on the the job for two weeks,  is currently in the process of moving across the country from her home in California to settle in Oxford. She shares, “When I made the decision to join the Farmer School of Business at Miami University, I knew that I was joining a community that placed the student experience, and ultimately student success, at the heart of every decision it makes. Without question, we are guided by these core values as we face decisions on how to safely return to campus in fall or how to adjust budgets to accommodate the economic uncertainty in front of us. What has impressed me the most is how faculty and staff have worked together for the common good at a time when uncertainty of this magnitude places considerable stress on individuals and the organization as a whole. I remain incredibly confident about our future. COVID-19 has forced us to question many core assumptions we hold about how we live our lives and so I do hope that changes for good what comes from the Covid-19 darkness. I am also extremely confident about the future of the Farmer School of Business. Our graduates go on to do great things – for example, many are partners in accounting firms, CEOs of large well-known companies, entrepreneurs of successful businesses that go public. Above all, our graduates demonstrate the virtues of a liberal arts education and are deeply engaged in the communities of which they are part of. As business leaders, our alumni pay attention to what they do to and for society. As I move into my third week on the job, I am proud of all the Farmer School has achieved so far and excited to help the School and Miami University write its next chapter in what has already been an impressive journey. “
  • We continue to plan on courses beginning on August 17th, with no fall break, a full week off for the Thanksgiving holiday, with reading days and finals after Thanksgiving. Week of Thanksgiving remains off so our students have time to move home. One change is that more students are requesting the option of being allowed to opt in to all remote or online classes for fall. We are going to support this for students who desire it. Students may choose to have an all remote or online semester by selecting a semester of all online and/or hybrid courses that can accommodate their needs. However, it will also be made clear that not all classes will be available online or can accommodate a fully remote semester-long experience. If you are teaching a hybrid course, and it would be possible for students to be fully remote in every class, that is fine. If your plans for the fall would not allow that, you are not expected to change anything you plan to do.
  • Because there is such confusion from parents and students about hybrid courses, we ask that faculty teaching hybrid courses send a brief statement to their students describing how they are planning for the fall semester, i.e., how will the class still be Miami quality even though it is hybrid.
  • Given the desires of some students to remain fully remote/online, if you are teaching a hybrid class that would NOT be appropriate for fully remote participation throughout the semester, it would be a good idea to include this information in the ADDITIONAL NOTES section of your course, e.g., ”Not appropriate for fully remote participation." Your departmental course scheduling experts can assist with this.
  • ZOOM is coming! Zoom is coming! We are pleased to announce that soon Miami will be adding an additional tool to our video conferencing toolbox. An enterprise version of Zoom will be available within the next couple of weeks to all current Miami faculty, staff, and students. Standard Users can host up to 300 attendees, at any given time, fifty users will be able to host up to 500, and two users will be able to host up to 1000. We will update the community when it is ready for active use. Changes are also on the horizon for Miami’s current video conferencing tools, Webex and Google Meet.   
  • We are seriously considering some large outdoor classrooms like Rice University is implementing.

Updates on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Efforts: 

We continue to discuss what our journey of allyship looks like, as individuals and as an institution. We recognize that we must start where we are, in the culture we live in, meeting the members of our community where they are. We cannot control the behaviors of those who seek to spread discord and hate or who act out of ignorance, but we can control how we react to these inevitable behaviors. We must have expectations that acknowledge that all of us are at different points on our journeys, and that changing culture is not easy, nor does it happen quickly. But it can happen, and we are committed to doing what we can to enable continual improvement and change at Miami. Progress is fragile and can quickly unravel, as many of us have discovered to our chagrin, watching decades of effort and apparent progress roll back in just a few years. I encourage members of our campus community to continue working toward change rather than abandoning and publicly rejecting these efforts if immediate results are not observed.

President Crawford has directed that a $1 million dollar Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion fund be set up, built on the foundation of a very generous gift from a donor to drive DE&I efforts. The leaders of the Presidential Task Force on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Dr. Anthony James and Vicka Bell-Robinson, and I will provide more information next week on how these funds will be used towards meaningful improvements in this important area. We also are working on other focused DE&I efforts:  

  1. Curriculum Subgroup of AAO DE&I Committeethis subgroup has been formed to focus on developing recommendations relating to the University's curriculum. Members include Pepper Stetler, Helane Androne, Carolyn Haynes, Madelyn Detloff, and Denise Taliaferro Baszile. Tentative recommendations under development include: (1) creating a means of providing ongoing faculty development and resources that support teaching and learning advancing DE&I outcomes and principles; (2) aligning the current Global Miami Plan and new liberal education plan with the DE&I requirement and outcomes being developed by the Ohio Department of Higher Education; (3) developing a departmental and interdepartmental grant opportunity for curricular revisions that promote DE&I outcomes and principles; (4) securing additional support (e.g., faculty fellows and transportation) to advance service-learning; (5) aligning the new One Year/One Theme Program (which will replace the Summer Reading Program beginning fall 2021) with DE&I goals and principles; and (6) ensuring that the new Honors College and Prodesse Scholars courses advance DE&I principles and goals. Please send suggestions to Carolyn Haynes, haynesca@miamioh.edu.
  2. A Faculty subgroup and Senate will be working together to ensure we are looking at ways we can continue to support faculty experiencing challenges due to COVID-19. As higher education experiences profound upheaval, colleges, and universities need to double down on their efforts to better support faculty and their professional development, write Andrew Rosen and Jaime Lester. Jennifer Green, our incoming Senate Executive Committee chair-elect and Clinical Professor of Psychology will be working with Dana Cox, our outgoing Chair of Senate Executive Committee and Special Assistant to the Provost for Faculty Affairs to look at policies, opportunities, promising practices, peer institutions, and scholarship in this area to propose concrete steps we can take. We know from the work of Adrianna Kezar and other scholars that the pandemic has impacted some faculty far more severely than others, and we want to ensure we can do what we can to ameliorate these effects. Further, we know that women faculty and faculty from minoritized groups tend to have significantly more negative student evaluationsfewer opportunities to move into administration, perform more invisible service, and often experience uneven promotion outcomes. We are discussing ways to address this, in addition to implementing more culturally responsive mentoring, leadership and professional development, and hiring and promotion practices.
  3. A Student-focused subgroup continues to work on initiatives that can improve outcomes and the campus environment for students with minoritized identities. Amongst the initiatives we are discussing includes an expanded, university-wide, culturally responsive professional advising team, and revisions to the Global Miami Plan that will emphasize courses that have a primary focus on racism, colonialism, subjugation of other cultures, privilege, and similar topics of particular relevance. I personally have been hoping we can also expand course offerings that emphasize not only our commitment to anti-racism, but also our important relationship with the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma, and the history of Native Americans and First Nations peoples.
  4. Graduate students face unique challenges and our Graduate School, with the leadership of our new Dean Michael Crowder, continues discussions in this area in an effort to prioritize actions that can make an impact on graduate education. While I served as Dean of the Graduate School at Clemson, we implemented several initiatives in this area, including culturally responsive professional development and mentoring for graduate students. I am hopeful that we can mount a campus-wide effort that can benefit faculty, staff, graduate students, and undergraduate students. We will update you on these discussions as they focus on near-term actions.
  5. The City of Oxford passed an ordinance banning chokeholds by police officers in the City of Oxford. The ordinance also required officers to take reasonable steps to intervene when they see other officers using unauthorized or excessive use of force. I celebrate this tangible signal to our community that our partners in the City of Oxford are working to support these efforts.

Strategic Initiatives:

  1. The Boldly Creative Strategic Academic Initiative is continuing to make progress. Project leaders from Round 1 have submitted annual reports and requests for support for the upcoming year, and the deans have completed their reviews of the reports. Letters to project leaders will be sent in the coming week. The academic deans are also now reviewing full proposals for Round 2 and 3 and will be announcing their decisions by the end of July. You can learn more via the Boldly Creative website which will be updated as new developments occur.
  2. The Academic Program Enhancement, Improvement, and Prioritization (APEIP) Project, led by Distinguished University Professor Stacey Lowery Bretz, is well underway. In consultation with the APEIP Steering Committee and the Office of the Provost, data managers in each academic division have created data workbooks for each academic department. Using these workbooks and their understanding of the programs, academic deans in consultation with department chairs are developing preliminary ratings and tentative objectives for improvement for each academic program within the departments. See below for a summary of the preliminary ratings across all divisions. Departments will use these ratings and objectives to craft their curricular action plans in the fall semester. Dr. Bretz has assembled a team of consultants which department chairs can use to assist with: interpreting data relating to their academic programs; generating possible ideas for curricular action plans; or communicating with faculty about the APEIP process. Please call on this team of experts to help your program use the extensive data we have available to improve your offerings or generate new ideas. 
Program Ratings Bachelor Co-Major UG Cert GR Cert Masters Doctoral Total

Continuous Improvement

88

10

10

9

37

8

163

Significant Difficulties

40

3

0

6

22

5

76

Teach Out Plan in Place

3

1

0

2

1

0

7

Not Admitting

0

0

0

1

2

2

5

Not Yet Rated

6

1

4

4

8

0

23

Total # Programs

137

15

14

22

70

15

274

 Finally, as we move into the weekend, those of you who have pets know that they can be a tremendous comfort during these trying times (or a headache during those video conference meetings). Our resident expert, Allen McConnell, Chair of the Psychology Department, recently shared his scholarship in this area. Be sure to check it out. Unfortunately, the Provost’s Special Assistant for Feline Affairs, Watson, is pretty useless except as a doorstop, but we both send you warm wishes for a good weekend!

Many Thanks,
Jason Osborne


Wednesday, July 7, 2020, 9:37 p.m. - From the Provost

Colleagues,

Today I'm sharing a number of updates on our return to campus. We continue to have multiple groups working on a safe return to campus, and will continue to share information, including course scheduling for fall, as it develops. The State of Ohio and Butler County has seen a surge recently, but the case numbers are coming back down. I hope we continue to reverse the recent trend of increasing numbers, and I hope we as a nation continue to look for ways to emulate countries that have constrained transmission while also returning to work and school. I hope each of you are taking care of yourselves and your families.

Topics relating to returning for fall:

  1. Face masks
  2. External speakers
  3. University funded travel
  4. Course planning
  5. HVAC in buildings
  6. New developments with international students
  7. More guidance is coming

Face mask update:

Today, the governor has announced that any county classified as RED will require everyone to wear face masks both indoors and outdoors.

  • The University plans to order a Miami-branded cloth face mask for each faculty, staff, and student. Once received, a distribution plan will be put into place. To review prior communicated policies:
  • Everyone will be required to wear masks indoors.
  • Service can be denied, and students can be removed from classes if they refuse to comply. Faculty, staff, and students who refuse to comply will receive consequences through existing disciplinary procedures.
  • People with accommodations can be exempted and provided a reasonable accommodation like a requirement to wear a face shield or engaging in the class remotely.
  • In the rare class or situation that does not allow students or faculty to wear masks during class, e.g., during a music or voice lesson, an exemption will be issued.

External Speakers

External speakers are to be engaged remotely via WebEx or similar technology. Unusual circumstances or exceptions will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

University Funded Travel

University funded travel will not be allowed except for a strategic need and with approval of a VP. Travel necessary for sponsored programs and paid for by sponsored programs will only be allowed where there are no other travel bans or prohibitions.

Provost Message to Students and Parents

A message from the Provost to students and families preparing them to understand how our courses are being planned:

As we look forward to welcoming our new and returning students back to campus this fall, in Academic Affairs we continue to plan for how we can deliver the nationally recognized Miami University education at the same high-quality level while also protecting the health and safety of our faculty, staff, students, and community. You’re likely to see updates to your schedule, so my goal today is to share with you what the academic experience may look like.

First, we have to acknowledge that life on all university campuses this fall will not look like it did last fall, or indeed any other fall previously. That doesn’t mean it will be of any lower quality, but that it will be different in order to limit the spread of COVID19. As you look ahead to this semester, it could be useful for you to think about your long-term educational goals, and decide how to best use your time during this coronavirus pandemic to move closer to those goals. It might be helpful to consider that a successful semester, even if it doesn’t look like ones in the past, is one that moves you closer to achieving your goals. The Miami experience is a deeply personal and connected learning experience and our faculty and staff are committed to helping you meet your learning goals. In fact, over the past few months, more than half of our faculty have engaged in professional development opportunities to hone their teaching skills in preparation for returning to campus.

Our first priority will always be the health and safety of our Miami community. No one can guarantee a campus that is free of persons who have the virus or are otherwise ill. Thus, we are making several important changes and incorporating public health guidance to allow for as safe an environment as possible. We value the personalized and on-campus educational experience where faculty and students can build relationships and experience engaged learning. Thus, we are planning to have robust educational engagement opportunities on campus as well as robust and high-quality experiences that will be offered through other means such as online and hybrid courses.

  • Face to Face: Some courses will be traditional, on-campus courses where students and faculty are present on campus in person together throughout the semester. These courses will be held in classrooms that are large enough to accommodate all students with appropriate physical distancing. However, some courses are too large to be accommodated in person with physical distancing or may be led by faculty who cannot physically be on campus for a variety of reasons. These will be handled via online or hybrid modalities.
  • Online courses are designed to be high-quality online experiences throughout the entire semester with no anticipated in-person experiences. These courses take a variety of forms, and may be synchronous (everyone is engaged online together at the same time) or asynchronous (students can engage in the class activities on their own schedule) or a combination of the two. These courses may have personalized face to face small-group labs, recitation sessions, and engaged learning opportunities.
  • Hybrid courses are a diverse group of face to face courses with varying levels of online engagement. Some modern pedagogical approaches such as “flipped classrooms” are hybrid, as are courses that need to have portions of the class rotate between being present in person and joining the class remotely due to space limitations and public health requirements.

Our faculty are busily engaging with pedagogical experts to master these methods, and these courses will support students who need to be remote temporarily due to a delay in arriving on campus, an illness, a period of isolation, or other disruption. Soon, students will be able to view their revised schedules—showing some new delivery modes as well as new locations for some of their face-to-face experiences. Students will also have increased flexibility this fall, to accommodate those students concerned about returning to campus. In a future communication, we will share how you can elect to study online for the entire semester if you choose, or you can choose to delay return to campus for a number of weeks, starting classes remotely.

We appreciate your patience and flexibility as we have worked to finalize these details. This will be a new experience for all of us, but one that also offers exciting new possibilities for learning. These changes will continue to reflect our intense focus on high-quality, personally engaged learning while reducing the risk of spread of the virus.

Fall Course Planning

You will recall that departments have been developing balanced course offerings. Now that parents and students have been informed of the process and provided a high-level overview of what the different course modalities mean, we can begin entering these changes into the system. Guidance from the Provost office to departments that was released yesterday:

The approved proposed Oxford course formats currently reflect the following distribution of individual sections (I expect online to rise slightly as we match courses with spaces moving forward):

  • 26% Online
  • 36% Hybrid
  • 38% Face-to-Face

Later today, your departmental schedulers will be receiving directions from the registrar on how to proceed with making the course changes in Banner. Unfortunately, the system that we had hoped to use to help optimize the course schedule does not work for this particular situation (with changing room capacities, etc.), so we are switching to Plan B. They will be asked first to move online courses to that format in Banner, thus opening up classrooms. In the second phase (later this week), they will identify the courses that are moving to hybrid and select open classrooms (within Banner) for courses that need larger spaces for F2F learning.

This distribution identified above will not yield enough larger classrooms to accommodate all of the requests. If additional sections want to move from far-to-face to hybrid or online, I will ask that the departments make that change (once it has been approved by the dept chair and dean’s office). If a larger room is still needed for a course, you can work with me later this week to look for an additional space that is not currently a registrar controlled classroom (we have a number of them identified and once we know the needs, we will work with you to accommodate as many as possible).

COVID-19 and HVAC in Buildings

COVID-19 and HVAC in buildings has been a concern as we know that better ventilation is another measure we can take to reduce airborne exposure, along with facemask wearing, hand washing, and social distancing. Cody Powell in the Physical Facilities Department provided this statement on how we are managing HVAC in buildings:

HVAC is a critical component to mitigating the spread of the virus inside our built environment. We are following the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) and general CDC recommendations. We have three separate initiatives which have been identified as important to address:

  • Filtration - Our air-handlers serving large sections of our buildings typically have MERV8 air filters installed. Recommendations are to install air filters with a much higher filtration capability - specifically MERV13 filters. We are in the process of changing all of these filters on campus now and will be complete prior to the students returning to campus.
  • Ventilation - Buildings are designed to "mix" the air. Essentially some portion of the air is returned, or reused and mixed with some quantity of fresh air. Most systems are now designed to reduce energy consumption by minimizing the amount of outdoor air and maximizing the amount of return or reused air. We measure air quality (e.g., CO2 monitors) to ensure occupant safety. In current conditions, we are forgoing the energy savings and maximizing the outdoor air (or fresh air) and minimizing the return air. We are able to do so with our digital building automation system. While each building has design limitations, we are definitely enhancing the amount of outdoor air in the spaces.
  • Operating Schedules - To achieve our energy and sustainability goals, we employ many different control strategies to optimize the operation of our heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) equipment. One example is that we "set-back" or limit the operation of the equipment when the buildings are less occupied. In current conditions, we will be returning the equipment to normal operation earlier in the morning and continuing to run the equipment later in the evening to ensure the building's air is changed-over with fresh air. In essence, we will be flushing the building's air much more regularly than we historically would.

While we are doing many things behind the scenes with how building HVAC is controlled, I think these are the largest and most important items to share. Please feel free to reach back out if you have any additional questions.

Message to International Students

In light of new guidance from the US Government around international students and online courses, this is the message provided to our international students:

You have probably heard the news that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) issued guidance yesterday afternoon regarding online study for fall semester. Notably, the guidance indicates that international students will not be permitted to take only online courses while remaining in the United States.

Miami University intends to offer a range of in-person, hybrid, remote, and online courses for fall semester. International students who are in the U.S. should be able to register for a sufficient number of in-person courses to be eligible to remain in the U.S.

For Miami University students who will remain outside the U.S. this fall, this new guidance does not change what we have been advising. While you will not be able to maintain your F-1 status while abroad, you are permitted and encouraged to take online courses that further your academic progress at Miami University. ISSS will assist you with obtaining a new I-20 to return to the U.S. in January 2021.

Miami University’s ISSS team will follow this new guidance and any related developments very closely and continue to provide updates. Miami University is working hard to ensure you have a safe and quality educational experience on campus this fall. We understand that these are stressful times, but we want to assure you that we are here to support you and that you are welcome and valued at Miami University.

More Guidance

More guidance will be coming from a variety of sources. We continue engaging shared governance in multiple ways to ensure we are doing the best we can for a successful fall semester. We are also conferring with health experts, other high-quality peer institutions, regulatory authorities, etc., and you will continue to receive updates from our AAO return to campus committee, your senators, and routine communications like this one.

Many Thanks,
Jason Osborne


Tuesday, June 30, 2020 10:02 a.m. - Return to Campus Notice

Good morning, 

We hope you are looking forward to returning to campus this fall. Students will begin moving back into the residence halls beginning on August 10 and classes will begin on August 17. 

We expect COVID-19 will be with us for the foreseeable future and are planning accordingly and of course while no one can guarantee a campus that is free of persons who have the virus or are otherwise ill, we are making several important changes to help lessen the risks. We want to share with you a number of the decisions we have made and some of the preparations we are making.

Returning to Campus to Work

  • Although some employees have already returned to campus to begin preparations for the fall semester, most employees will typically begin returning to work on campus the week of July 26, 2020. Divisional leaders assigned each employee to one of three categories:
    • Category 1: Employees for whom a substantial portion (or all) of their responsibilities need to be performed on-campus on a daily basis.
    • Category 2: Employees for whom a substantial portion (or all) of their responsibilities can be performed remotely on a daily basis if necessary.
    • Category 3: Employees for whom a significant portion of their responsibilities can be performed remotely but must come to campus on a regular, but less than daily, basis to perform critical tasks. 
  • Employees will soon begin to receive information from their supervisor regarding their expected return date, work assignment location, and any on-campus work schedule.
  • Employees who will be working on campus on a regular but less than daily basis will be assigned an on-campus work schedule. This schedule will help the University practice physical distancing in the workplace and hopefully lessen the number of people an employee comes into contact with. Employees are expected to adhere to their assigned work schedule. Assigned work schedules will not be changed and assigned on-campus work days may not be switched or swapped.

Campus

  • Campus and even your personal workspace will likely look different to you when you return to campus. Physical Facilities staff are working with Building Points of Contact and others around campus to erect appropriate signage and physical barriers.
  • All offices that provide direct services for students or faculty will be opening and functioning on campus. Some offices will be by appointment only – no drop-ins. 
  • Some spaces will be closed or their use will be limited (e.g. break rooms.)

Cleaning

  • Common spaces and other high-touch areas will be cleaned, sanitized, and disinfected by custodial staff on at least a daily basis. Physical Facilities will provide disinfectants and hand sanitizer for use by departments and work units. Employees are encouraged to use the supplied products throughout the workday to sanitize or disinfect their workspaces or commonly shared equipment ( e.g. copiers)
  • Each employee should remove as many non-essential high-touch items as possible from their work area such as magazines, common pens, etc.
  • DO NOT move furniture. Furniture Removal is being coordinated by Physical Facilities and storage space is limited. Tape will be available to cordon off furniture.

Meetings

  • You can expect to continue to hold many meetings on a virtual basis –even if everyone is on campus!
  • In-person meetings will be limited in size based on local, state and federal guidelines and should not exceed 50 percent of a room’s capacity, assuming individuals can still maintain 6 feet of separation for physical distancing requirements.
  • All meeting attendees must wear a face covering while sharing space in a common room.
  • During your time on-campus, you are encouraged to communicate with your colleagues and supervisors as needed by email, instant message (e.g. Google Chat, Slack etc.), telephone or other available technology rather than face-to-face. You can also use a range of available virtual collaboration tools (e.g. WebEx, Jabber, etc.).

Personal Conduct

Employees will be expected to follow the Guidelines for Distancing and Hygiene. This includes a daily health assessment and wearing a face covering when working outside a single person office.

More to Come

We will soon be launching a Return to Work website that will provide more information about your return to work. Please remember, the rules and our planning continue to evolve as new information becomes available. 

We look forward to welcoming you back to campus. If in the interim you have questions, please contact Human Resources at employment@MiamiOH.edu, 529-3131 or Academic Personnel Services at academicpersonnel@miamioh.edu.

Jason Osborne
Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs

David Creamer
Senior Vice President of Finance and Business Services


Monday, June 15, 2020 5:26 p.m. - From the Provost

Dear Colleagues,

Here are a few brief updates to start the week. We continue to work on return to campus, budget, and planning for the coming academic year in addition to thinking through actions we can take to make Miami a more inclusive, equitable, and diverse campus. Updates will continue throughout the summer.

To check out what is happening, see Safe Return to Campus Planning and Coordinating Committee

Topics for today:

  1. Some stories about how Miamians are responding to COVID-19
  2. Libraries re-starting some services via curbside pickup and electronic delivery
  3. Updates from our IT team
  4. Some results from a national survey of students about online learning
  5. Fall calendar now updated on academic calendar web site

1. Some good news Miamian stories

  • Here's the story of an amazing young Miami alumna who already is applying her talents to create solutions. Sara Al-Zubi '19 is at Harvard Medical School and is leading a team to battle global misinformation about the coronavirus outbreak. The team has translated simple coronavirus infographics into at least 12 languages, including Arabic and Turkish. Kudos to Sara and to all Miami alums who are making a difference.
  • Ingenuity comes in many forms, as Miamians are proving in the COVID-19 era. Researchers in our Mechanical & Manufacturing Engineering Department have designed a hands-free door opener to limit contact with surfaces and keep students, faculty and staff healthy. Keep those creative ideas coming, everybody!
  • Miamians have dealt with the upheavals of the COVID-19 pandemic in so many different ways. This story and video, produced by students in Assistant Professor Andy Rice's documentary film production class, shows students adapting and learning. This kind of perseverance and creativity will carry us forward to survive and thrive.
  • Teaching laboratory courses is among the most challenging transitions to online learning, and associate teaching professor Meredith Erb of the department of chemistry and biochemistry used video and online tools to benefit students in her organic chemistry lab sections. Erb and the team of teaching assistants recorded videos of the TAs performing the experiments, embedding key data (such as masses and melting points) in the videos and making the videos and accompanying experimental data available on the Canvas course site. More than 200 students in the various course sections could watch the experiments, analyze the data, draw conclusions and write lab reports remotely. “I definitely plan to continue making videos of these core techniques so students can participate in the labs and perform their own data analysis,” Erb said.

2. Libraries Curbside pickup
As promised, we've announced our new curbside pickup service on the Libraries website.

Beginning Tuesday, June 16, Miami students, faculty, and staff will be able to request and pick up materials from the Libraries' physical holdings on the Oxford campus through a new curbside service.

Students, faculty, or staff simply place a hold on the items they need, select "King Curbside" as the pickup location, and then receive an email when their items are ready for pickup. Once they're notified their items are ready, users drive up to King on Tuesday or Thursday between 1-5 p.m., park in the newly-designated spot in the King parking lot, and call 513-529-2433. Library staff then bring the items out and load them into the trunk.

Since the Hamilton and Middletown campus libraries and SWORD remain closed, this service is only available for materials at the Oxford campus libraries for now — King, Amos Music, Wertz Art & Architecture, & BEST.

For safety, staff processing holds and bringing out materials will wear masks, wash hands frequently, and stay at least six feet away from each other and library users — whom we also encourage to wear masks and remain at a distance. Staff are also following all other university guidance including daily temperature taking and self-monitoring for COVID-19 symptoms.

Document delivery - The Libraries are also running a document delivery service through which students, faculty, and staff can request digital copies of print works held in our collections — e.g., articles and selections from books. We've set up an online form for those requests.

Electronic reserves and streaming video reserves - Curbside pickup and document delivery work together to fulfill individual scholarship needs. To support instructors, the Libraries also provide access through streaming video reserves and electronic reserves. Through electronic reserves, we provide faculty and students access to textual works (e.g., books, journal and newspaper articles) we don't currently have available electronically via Canvas. These requests are also handled through an online form.

3. IT Updates

  • Banner 9 - We are going to kick off the the rest of the upgrade to Banner 9. Last year, we tackled what is called "INB", now Ellucian has the other half of our Banner tools available, and we will be upgrading "SSB", which is the self-service side of Banner. While a lot of the work will be with Brent and David Creamer's teams, I want you all to be aware that you'll hear about, and potentially be engaged at times as we work on the upgrade. We know there's a lot going on, and we'll be sensitive to that, but this is one where we don't want to be left hanging on to Banner 8.
  • Scantron end of life - We will be discontinuing scantron grading earlier than we had anticipated and will announce that we are not resuming it this fall. While we were on a slower path forward before the pandemic, we stopped processing scantrons as we all went home. Hybrid instruction means that scantrons, which require in person testing, involve handling lots of paper, moving them between buildings, and other manual interactions don't make sense going forward.

4. National Online Learning Survey
In the wake of COVID-19, higher education institutions faced a daunting new set of challenges stemming from the transition to online classes. To assist colleges and universities in making a successful transition across the spring, Hanover Research conducted a survey of more than 26,000 college and university stakeholders – including students, their parents, and faculty and staff - on their perceptions of and preparedness for online learning. The survey explored stakeholders’ prior experience with online courses, the impact of moving to an online environment, desired features for online classes, and concerns regarding COVID-19.

This report presents the aggregated results from the survey:

  • Despite prior experience with virtual courses, students feel less comfortable with online learning than faculty.
  • Parents and undergraduate students are the most likely to report a negative impact of transitioning to virtual classrooms, as well as being most concerned about the quality of online instruction. To address this, Hanover recommends Implementing best practices in online learning and clearly communicate these efforts to stakeholders to regain their confidence
  • Students feel less motivated and less engaged in online courses, and faculty want more guidance on how to engage students in a virtual environment. To address this, we can promote student-centered processes and foster student autonomy to boost their motivation and engagement levels.
  • Students and faculty consider access to devices as well as both recorded and live lectures to be most critical to online learning, yet institutional support for these key components nationally has not been very effective.
  • Provide loaner devices to students and staff who may require them as well as structured guidance to faculty on delivering and capturing online lectures
  • Besides academic performance, students are concerned about mental and emotional health. We need to ensure adequate student access to mental and emotional health resources, coordinate virtual gatherings or activities to ease the hardship inflicted by social isolation

5. Fall Academic Calendar
The fall academic calendar is updated on our academic calendar web page.

Many thanks,
Jason Osborne


Monday, June 8, 2020 2:22 p.m. - From the Provost

Dear Colleagues,

As we look forward to our first ever online Board of Trustees meeting on June 19th, we are finally able to begin sharing out more detailed information on how our incoming class is looking, which in turn, drives much of our budget modeling. I want to thank Brent Shock and Bethany Perkins for taking time out of their incredibly busy schedules to share how EMSS has been, and continues to, working to recruit and retain students, support student success, and give us another cohort of amazing students to work with. Currently our incoming class is shaping up to be our second highest ever (Fall 2019 was the largest), but, due to a variety of reasons, our net instructional revenue is likely to be lower than in previous years. More on that below.

Many of you are no doubt aware of the recent actions of one of our retired faculty members. President Crawford and I have joined many of you in strongly condemning hateful and bigoted behavior. There are a lot of nuances in this story, such as how are faculty, students, and staff held accountable for their actions, and how do we, as a public university, honor constitutionally-protected freedoms, like freedom of speech, even when we may disagree with the results of those freedoms. Our General Counsel has provided a brief overview of some of these thorny issues below.

What are we doing for diversity at Miami? We already have numerous, some high-profile, national and local initiatives which focus on inclusion that we cannot forget even as we search for new opportunities to create social justice. We as Miamians specifically espouse certain values of Love and Honor. We must speak clearly and take action against hate and bigotry. This afternoon during our University Senate meeting, we will discuss a resolution speaking to clear and decisive actions that align with the following areas we were already pursuing within Academic Affairs. These efforts include (but are not limited to):

  • Students: coordinating and expanding professional advising throughout the university to ensure we are effectively supporting all students effectively, with a particular focus on reducing achievement and graduation gaps, and that we are appropriately supporting student success for all Miamians; evaluating evidence-based initiatives that can broaden the diversity of graduate students preparing for professional or higher education careers;
  • Curriculum: ensuring offerings within the Global Miami Plan are leading effectively to the learning objectives envisioned as critical; focusing offerings to ensure students are engaging in important conversations; launching One Year One Theme this year that coordinates interdisciplinary discussions around a single theme throughout the year;
  • Faculty: expand evidence-based efforts to recruit, support, retain, and promote faculty with minoritized identities;
  • Research and Scholarship: investing strategically in scholarship or creative initiatives that seeks to directly improve social justice.

More information will be forthcoming on these initiatives soon.

Some other topics:

  1. Quick COVID-19 updates
  2. Fall 2020 Calendar announced
  3. Consultation with Fiscal Priorities Committee
  4. A brief primer on how Miami is constrained in taking actions against racist speech

1. Some quick facts on COVID-19

  • You can see trends in Butler County and Ohio. Right now it looks as though we are flat or slightly trending downward right now. We will see what the impact of “opening” the state and gatherings for protests might be. Fingers crossed that most of us are continuing distancing, hand washing, and wearing facial coverings.
  • We need to ensure we are not stigmatizing folks who test positive for COVID-19 once we return to campus. COVID-19 is not a moral failing, but a virus that can attack any of us.
  • Ohio statistics: The median age for those dying from COVID-19 in Ohio is 81. 53% of deaths have, tragically, come from those over 80. Only 9% of deaths in Ohio have come from those under 60 years of age. The statistics for Butler County seem to be mirroring these trends to date.
  • It remains unclear whether Vitamin D has a relationship to adverse outcomes in COVID-19.
  • Some research has suggested that blood types or Rh status might be related to better outcomes (esp. Type O; sadly I am AB+). These data, like Vitamin D, are very preliminary.
  • The most visible study questioning the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine was retracted.

2. Fall 2020 Calendar
Late last week we released information on our current plans for our Fall semester calendar. In coming to this decision, we received broad input from our community through several shared governance mechanisms. Our goal was to balance our desire for the safest semester possible while also trying to stay true to our exceptional Miami educational experience. Our strategy, like many universities, is to begin slightly earlier than planned (August 17th), eliminate fall break, ending classes prior to Thanksgiving, on Friday, November 20th. Students will have a full week for Thanksgiving break, and we will finish our semester remotely, with two study/reading days, and then five days of finals administered remotely. This plan eliminates two points during the semester where students traditionally leave campus and return: fall break and Thanksgiving break. We anticipate this will better protect our campus community as well as students’ families. We hope for a vaccine and return to more routine campus experience prior to the regularly scheduled winter and spring terms. Note that we will have further information about December commencement when it is available.

3. Consultation with Fiscal Priorities Committee
The Fiscal Priorities Committee (see attached) continues to serve as a shared governance resource for President Crawford, Dr. Creamer, me, and other members of the PEC as needed. The Fiscal Priorities and Budget Planning Committee represents the University Senate in the financial management of the University; in the process of setting fiscal priorities and budget planning. Dr. Creamer and the Committee have scheduled weekly meetings and the plan is to present a draft budget to the University’s Board of Trustees at its June 19, meeting. Here is a brief summary of what we have discussed or received feedback on:

  • David Creamer met with the University Senate’s Fiscal Priorities and Budget Planning Committee last Tuesday following the close of enrollment for the fall 2020 class and shared some initial budget planning information. I met with the Committee on Friday and discussed our values-based approach to reducing expenditures in light of our anticipated budget challenges for Fall 2020.
  • EMSS update: By the June 1, 2020 admission deadline, 4165 first-year students committed to enroll on the Oxford Campus for the Fall 2020 semester. This is the second largest class in the past 5 years. The Regional Campuses are open admissions and students apply throughout the summer. Despite strong enrollment, preliminary estimates indicate we will experience a reduction in revenue as compared to the last five years—both in terms of net instructional revenue (NIR) and State Share of Instruction (SSI). This reduction in revenue will persist for at least four years as this new class moves toward graduation, even if next year’s incoming class brings significantly increased NIR.
  • Our budget outlook is solidifying and by our meeting with the Board of Trustees, we will have more refined estimates as to the challenges we face. We continue to face nationwide challenges such as:
    • Declining high school graduates, more competition for students from struggling institutions, and more aggressive discounting as institutions try to attract students;
    • A dramatic economic slowdown, accompanied by high unemployment and unpredictable investment returns;
    • Reductions in state revenues that will likely lead to significant decreases in funding for higher education;
    • Increased financial for students and their families due to economic factors;
    • Significant refunds of fees to students and their families
  • We are entering FY21 (July 1, 2020—June 30, 2021) budget planning with an important advantage in that we have realized approximately $19 million dollars in budget savings as a result of advancing the planned 5-year budget cuts. By taking these accelerated actions last January, these budget savings will be available to help address the budget shortfall anticipated for FY 21.
  • The University received a little over $12 million dollars from the Federal CARES Act. As required by law, half is being used for direct grants to students to defray costs associated with COVID 19. The other half is being used to defray the costs incurred by the University in responding to the COVID crises. The State of Ohio reduced the University’s 4th quarter SSI payment by almost $3 million dollars and the University refunded over $27 million dollars in housing and meal and general fee charges.
  • We have heard concerns that Miami will need to take actions similar to those of other institutions around the country. Because of our strong fiscal management and our exceptionally strong efficiency rankings:
    • The University has no plans to reduce employee benefits. The University cannot, by law, change employer contribution rates to retirement plans (STRS, PERS or the Alternative Retirement Plan-ARP);
    • No continuing faculty lines have been cut; all needs identified by departments that cannot be met by continuing faculty are being met by visiting faculty;
    • Assuming a return to residential face to face instruction for the Fall Semester and thereafter, the University is NOT for involuntarily furloughs;
    • As mentioned previously, the University did offer members of the AFSCME bargaining unit the opportunity to take voluntary furloughs beginning June 13 and ending July 24. Over 160 AFSCME employees have already applied to take the voluntary furlough. Housing and dining employees are being given first preference because the University will not be hosting camps or conferences this summer due to the COVID19 virus. Although a voluntary furlough is a leave without pay, the University will be assisting furloughed employees in applying for unemployment benefits. In addition to Ohio unemployment benefits ( maximum of $455 per week) there is a federal unemployment supplement of $600 per week available. The University has also offered to pay all of the furloughed employees’ cost share (premium) for health care as well as dental and vision insurance.
  • We also talked about the values we in Academic Affairs are using to think through the various strategies we could employ to reduce expenditures in light of revenue declines. These include:
    • Protecting continuing faculty, academic programs, and our nationally-prominent student experience;
    • Investing in important future efforts;
    • Keeping promises to the greatest extent possible;
    • Serving continuing needs with continuing positions, and temporary needs with contingent positions; and
    • Expecting all units to manage budgets responsibly within resources.

We have a great group of leaders, and I am confident that we can navigate these current challenges and remain a top quality, impactful research university.

4. Public Employees and Freedom of Speech (from our General Counsel, Robin Parker, with my edits/clarifications underlined)
Public employees are protected from adverse employment action (e.g. termination, retaliation ) by their public employer for exercising their rights as citizens to free speech. This prohibition is grounded in the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Garcetti v. Ceballos, 547 U.S. 410 (2006). The Garcetti decision makes it clear that as long as the public employee is acting in their capacity as a private citizen, speaking on a matter of “public interest and concern” (as opposed to a matters of purely private concern), the employee’s right to speak prevails over the public employer’s interest in workplace order; efficiency, discipline, confidentiality and morale as long as the speech did not occur within and pursuant to the public employees actual job responsibilities. As a public university (meaning we are part of the government), Miami is obligated to follow the dictates of the Garcetti decision unlike private universities which are not bound by the First Amendment, which only constrains government action.

By contrast, when a government employee speaks pursuant to his or her job duties (excluding perhaps when a faculty member speaks in the scholarship or teaching context) the employee is not speaking as a citizen on a matter of public concern and the Constitution does not protect them from employer discipline. In such circumstances, the government (University) enjoys “wide latitude in managing their offices, without intrusive oversight by the judiciary in the name of the First Amendment." See Garcetti v. Ceballos, 547 U.S. 410 (2006).

Dr. Brooks was not acting pursuant to his duties as a public employee when he verbally attacked the protestors. He was off campus, not on work time and did not represent himself as speaking or acting as a professor at Miami University. The issues of racial injustice, police violence, and the murder of George Floyd and others are clearly matters of “public interest and concern.” Thus the University is left without legal recourse to take any adverse employment action against Dr. Brooks as a result of his Constitutionally protected hate speech. (Note: Brooks had retired previously and is not scheduled to teach after this current course is completed.)

Miami University is not the only university to find itself caught in this terrible conflict between its deeply held values of diversity and inclusion and its duty to afford its faculty, staff and students their Constitutional rights of free speech. For similar conflicts at other universities, see CNN's article on the University of North Carolina Wilmington and "On the First Amendment" (Indiana University).

Many thanks,
Jason


Wednesday, June 3, 2020 10:13 p.m. - From the Provost

Dear Colleagues:

I have written and rewritten this introduction several times today. I am at a loss to say anything that feels useful at this moment. I am beyond frustrated with what I see in our country. I am mystified at how people can treat other human beings with such disregard in so many different ways. None of my drafts felt right. Let me just say that I am with you, wherever you are, whatever is weighing on you. I continue to believe that we, as educators, can and do make a difference.

I continue to believe that a strong, values-focused university like Miami can have a profound positive impact on our students and our communities. We work for the future.

Feeling bad is not enough. Being knowledgeable is not enough. We must take action. Implicit bias, structural bias, history, culture, prejudice, discrimination, and ignorance are difficult to overcome, but we as a species have a long history of overcoming difficult challenges. One challenge right in front of us is the failure of higher education to realize the social justice goals we set for ourselves. Let us begin by getting our own house in order. In the days to come I will ask for help to identify evidence-based actions we can take to:

  • Ensure our curriculum and co-curricular activities fully engage our students in exploring the myriad social justice issues present in this and other cultures, as well as the pervasive and insidious effects of cultural and societal disparities;
  • Continue helping first-generation students and students with minoritized identities find post-secondary success at unprecedented levels and in new ways; and
  • Implement evidence-based strategies to ensure that we recruit, support, retain, promote, and empower a broadly diverse faculty that will continue strengthening our ability to fully deliver on our mission to serve the public good.

We can be the change we want to see in the world. Let's start.

Now, some selected topics for our mid-week update:

  1. Planning for safe(r) return to campus: what does science say?
  2. A message from our campus-wide Safe Return to Campus Planning and Coordinating Committee
  3. Brief overview of voluntary furlough offered to AFSCME workers
  4. Reminder of faculty development opportunities in preparation for fall

1. Emerging evidence about COVID-19 and safe(r) return to campus:
I have heard significant anxiety as we discuss fall term, and I want to assure you that we are doing everything we can to prepare for a successful return to campus for as many of our university members as possible. Of course, we acknowledge that nothing can guarantee zero risk of exposure to a freely-circulating virus, but I want to review our thinking at this point (which of course will evolve as evidence evolves):

De-densifying, hand washing, and face masks: Our Physical Facilities staff are providing us guidance regarding using a 50% occupancy rule of thumb for classrooms in addition to lower density options. This new(er) 50% occupancy guidance is based on recent recommendations from various scientific agencies.

Some have expressed concern over this guidance. Recall that the prior guidance—our ubiquitous six foot rule—was from the earliest days of the pandemic. Recent research has developed more nuance. Face masks, distance, and hand washing seem to be common elements of most evidence-based recommendations for reducing the probability of airborne transmission:

  • Staying 3 feet (1 meter) apart lowers the chances of coronavirus spread by 82% … according to the review that analyzed information from 44 studies across 16 countries and published June 1 in the journal The Lancet. With face masks, the chance of spread was … more than 80%, according to the report.
  • "Although distancing, face masks and eye protection were each highly protective, none made individuals totally impervious from [COVID-19] infection," lead author Dr. Derek Chu, a clinician scientist in the Department of Health Research Methods, Evidence and Impact, and the Department of Medicine at McMaster University in Ontario, said in a statement. For this reason "basic measures such as hand hygiene are also essential to curtail the current COVID-19 pandemic and future waves."

Fabric Face Masks: I have three different fabric face masks and have closely monitored the scientific findings around face masks to ensure I keep myself and my family as safe as possible.

  • It appears that fabric face masks can be surprisingly effective. “We found that very breathable fabrics are a good choice, like common t-shirt materials. They tend to have low droplet resistance, and their efficiency increases when used in a two-layer mask. The net breathability of the two layers is much higher than the medical masks, too. In fact, the breathability of cotton T-shirt fabrics remains higher than a medical mask, even with three layers. Homemade masks can be an effective tool for the public, together with testing and contact tracing, social distancing and other interventions to mitigate disease transmission.”
  • “Mixing two different fabrics can also lead to impressive results: The researchers used an aerosol mixing chamber to produce particles ranging from 10 nm to 6 μm in diameter. A fan blew the aerosol across various cloth samples at an airflow rate corresponding to a person’s respiration at rest, and the team measured the number and size of particles in air before and after passing through the fabric. One layer of a tightly woven cotton sheet combined with two layers of polyester-spandex chiffon—a sheer fabric often used in evening gowns—filtered out the most aerosol particles (80–99%, depending on particle size), with performance close to that of an N95 mask material. Substituting the chiffon with natural silk or flannel, or simply using a cotton quilt with cotton-polyester batting, produced similar results. The researchers point out that tightly woven fabrics, such as cotton, can act as a mechanical barrier to particles, whereas fabrics that hold a static charge, like certain types of chiffon and natural silk, serve as an electrostatic barrier.”

Faculty accommodations: Many departments will likely need to offer some courses online due to space constraints. Ideally, departments will match those needs with faculty who prefer to be off-campus. Where faculty preference cannot easily be navigated in creating a balanced portfolio of course offerings, we will need to engage our existing accommodations process.

  • For those faculty who believe they will not be able to return to campus to teach in the fall or will need additional assistance to return to campus due to a serious underlying health condition, the University will work with them to provide reasonable accommodations to enable them to continue working where possible. For those seeking an accommodation, see Accommodation and Accessibility to follow the process.
  • Those faculty for whom no reasonable accommodation is possible or who have a family member with a serious underlying health condition, should consult with Academic Personnel Services about leave options.

Personal responsibility and safety: As a university community deeply enmeshed with the communities around our campuses, all members of our community will need to agree to a social contract whereby we do certain things to take care of each other. We are working to establish a norm of doing what it takes to have the best possible safety and best odds of having a full semester of on-campus education and activities.

  • To this end, Student Life is planning to have a series of required trainings regarding safety, public health, mask wearing, etc.
  • As faculty and staff who routinely leave campus and interact with community members and families, we must commit to the same social contract that we expect our students to adhere to.
  • As faculty, you are empowered to set norms of behavior within your classroom. You have the right, some might say the responsibility, to set an expectation that everyone wears a mask, engages in social distancing as much as possible, washes hands, and monitors their personal health, joining the class remotely rather than in-person if illness is suspected.
  • We once again ask you to carefully consider attendance policies to support healthy behaviors and not punish students for doing the right thing by staying away from class when unwell. By communicating how you will support students who are remote or not in class, you will reduce anxiety and improve their educational outcomes as well as public health. I would also recommend that you commit to your students that if you are unwell, you will take measures to reduce exposure such as temporarily teaching remotely.

Testing, tracing, isolation: We continue to have discussions with our health system partner, Tri-Health, and with various other public health agencies. As you may be aware, some of our students spent the past few months working as tracers with Butler County, and we can have a significant tracing capacity available. The biggest question will be testing, which is an area that is rapidly evolving. Other environmental monitoring techniques, such as monitoring wastewater, are also evolving. We have a long time until classes resume for fall, and it is unclear what specific strategies we will utilize. We even have alumni leading companies who develop and deliver testing. You can be certain that we are prioritizing this as a key tool for improving the health and safety of our community and will update everyone as we know more.

2. A message from the Safe Return to Campus Planning and Coordinating Committee: Earlier today, Dana Cox and Gwen Fears, co-chairs of the Safe Return to Campus (SR2C) Planning and Coordinating Committee, shared a message with the community that highlights their charge (see the message "To the Miami Community," dated June 3). They also introduced a new web resource that will both collect and disseminate information about out return to camps, and a communication plan for sharing updates.

3. Voluntary Furlough for AFSCME workers: On Monday, the University offered members of the AFSCME bargaining unit the opportunity to take voluntary furloughs beginning June 13 and ending July 24. Over 160 AFSCME employees have already applied to take the voluntary furlough. Housing and dining employees will be given first preference because the University will not be hosting camps or conferences this summer due to the COVID19 virus and will not need as many AFSCME workers. Although a voluntary furlough is a leave without pay, the University will be assisting furloughed employees in applying for unemployment benefits. In addition to Ohio unemployment benefits ( maximum of $455 per week) there is a federal unemployment supplement of $600 per week available. The University has also offered to pay all of the furloughed employees’ cost share (e.g. premium) for health, dental and vision insurance. At this time, I am not aware of any other furlough plans for any other group.

4. Pedagogical and skill development support for faculty preparing for fall classes: All of us face an uncertain fall semester. As we learned this past spring, it is not possible to know what might be around the corner. In order to create the best learning environments for our students in this uncertain context, we all benefit from having more tools, strategies and supportive networks at our disposal. Toward this end, the Center for Teaching Excellence, the Howe Center for Writing Excellence, and eLearning Miami have partnered to create a summer series of innovative development opportunities that draw from best practices in teaching with technology.

Our current plan for summer development:
June: Self-Paced Basics of Online Course Design (available starting June 15)
July: 90-minute Synchronous “Deep Dive” Sessions on Preparing for Flexible Formats, Creating Engaging Course Material, and Creating & Facilitating Quality Interactions Online
July and Early August: 90-Minute Synchronous Workshops in Response to Instructor Needs and Requests

Thank you!
Ryan Baltrip, Director, Digital Learning Initiatives
Elizabeth Wardle, Director, Howe Center for Writing Excellence
Ellen Yezierski, Director, Center for Teaching Excellence

(Note that faculty on our regional campuses have excellent support from the eCampus and other groups, as well as the option of engaging with these opportunities.)

Many thanks,
Jason


Sunday, May 31, 2020 4:27 p.m. - From the Provost

Dear Miami Colleagues:

Miami University unequivocally condemns racism and injustice.

I celebrate the values that we as Miamians hold dear and I believe that our values celebrate the strength that comes from inclusion and diversity. I believe that we are at our best when we seek to live our values by lifting up those around us. I believe those of us with privilege should use that privilege to make the world better for those who live under the shadow of oppression and marginalization. Sherri and I have dedicated our lives to being allies and advocates for those who work for social justice and to promote peace and respect for others.

2020 has been a dark year for all of us. I grew up in the 1970s when I believe many of us were optimistic that our society had learned from past mistakes, and that we were driving toward a bright, optimistic, egalitarian future. I still believe that that future is possible, but we must work harder for it than we ever anticipated. As educators, mentors, coaches, and colleagues, we in higher education are helping to nurture those who will build the future. We have the power to create change through others and I can imagine no greater calling or gift. Thank you, each of you, for what you do for our future.

Course Evaluations from Spring 2020:

I regret we are in such a troubled moment but we have much to celebrate at Miami. I recently asked the Office of Institutional Research to share with me a high-level summary of how our course evaluations fared this spring, compared this time last year. Given the world-wide disruption we experienced, I think everyone understood last semester was uniquely challenging. It would have been no surprise to see course evaluations drop significantly despite the best efforts of our exceptional and dedicated faculty. Pivoting to solely remote-delivery courses in less than 24-hours is no simple task and I speculated that it would be difficult to deliver instruction at a level our students are accustomed to receiving. We at Miami, particularly for the Oxford campus, had not widely prioritized excellence in online education before. I am gratified to report that in true Miami form, the broad feedback from students was on par with, or exceeded that of the prior spring. In almost every department, in almost every college, on almost every campus, we showed that despite the massive disruption(s) we experienced, our faculty made us proud.

Course Evaluations bar chart
Read transcript

Congratulations to everyone and thank you, faculty, for all of your hard work and persistence. Thank you from the President, the PEC, and the Board of Trustees.

Unfortunately, as we are all aware, we are not done with the Coronavirus and this coming fall will bring its own challenges that we will have to rise to meet. If you are anticipating needing to modify your class for online or hybrid delivery, or you want to continue developing your strengths in teaching and pedagogy, we have a strong set of offerings from Oxford eLearning, our Center for Teaching Excellence, the Howe Center, and our Regionals eCampus to support you.

Be well, take care of yourself and those you care about. We will get through this.

With Love and Honor,
Jason


Thursday, May 28, 2020 7:52 p.m. - From the Provost

Colleagues,

As we move into summer, I hope all of you are taking a moment to recharge and attend to self-care. The last few months have been trying for most of us. I continue to be optimistic about the future while grieving the tragedy of the present. My goal here is to continue to provide updates as we move through summer and plan for a safe return to campus this fall.

Groups throughout the University are meeting regularly to plan for a safe return to campus. These include University Senate; the Council of Academic Deans who are continuing the work of the University and staying updated on developments and planning within each academic division; the campus-wide Safe Return to Campus committee co-chaired by Dana Cox and Gwen Fears; and the AAO Return to Campus committee that James Bielo and I are co-chairing. There are too many others to list; e.g., Return to Research, multiple student life committees, global and international affairs, IT, graduate and undergraduate students, each academic division, athletics, etc. Many thanks to all the leaders from across the university who are supporting shared governance by participating in these working groups. Your efforts greatly increase our chances to achieve our goal of a safe and engaging fall semester.

We are currently seeing positive indicators regarding enrollment for the fall. Our summer enrollment on Oxford campus is higher than last year, and our regional campus summer enrollment is significantly above last year. Our retention numbers and our graduate enrollments continue to be strong and our incoming class is shaping up well. Next week, on June 5th, University Senate is hosting a virtual Town Hall that will focus on the work of Enrollment Management and Student Success (EMSS). Brent Shock will join us to discuss all the myriad ways in which supported our students through the spring semester, continued working to recruit a strong class, and how they are preparing for an unpredictable fall semester.

Event: Town Hall Meeting - Enrollment Management
Event number (access code): 798 721 717
Audio conference: +1-415-655-0002 United States Toll
Join from a video system or application: Dial 798721717@miamioh.webex.com (You can also dial 173.243.2.68 and enter your meeting number.)

Also as a reminder, June 19th will be our online Board of Trustees meeting. At this meeting we will update Board members with what we know about the incoming class, our budget models, consult about the fall academic calendar, and discuss other topics related to our safe return to campus. All will be welcome to join the public sessions. Some of our guidance to the university community needs to wait until the trustees have provided guidance and approval, and so we may have more information to share with you on some matters after that meeting.

Finally, on a positive note, our alumni continue to make the world a better place:

As the entire world plans for an uncertain future in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, Miami alumni continue to lead the way in charting that future, showing the value of a Miami degree in creating solutions to society's largest challenges. Carrie Graham, who earned a master's degree at the Scripps Gerontology Center in 1995, wrote with the following update:

I have been working as a policy consultant to the California Department of Aging. Originally I was consulting on Governor Newsom’s Master Plan for Aging. But when COVID-19 hit California, we pivoted to full time COVID Response. I have been advising the state on policies around LTC facilities, analyzing and summarizing data on vulnerable groups of seniors in California, and moderating weekly “Caregiver Check in Calls” on topics ranging from caregiving for someone in your home, caring for someone in senior living during COVID, advanced care planning, and Grief and Loss during COVID-19. We hope to be pivoting back to the Master Plan for Aging very soon.

Updates:

  1. Guidance for faculty and staff released
  2. Guidance for return to research released
  3. Guidance for fall class planning released
  4. Resources for faculty contemplating future teaching options
  5. AAO return to campus agenda items
  6. Bulk ordering of PPE and other supplies for fall

1. Guidance for faculty and staff released
This week, Dr. Creamer and I released the guidance we have for both faculty and staff on returning to campus. These documents summarize what we know at the moment, and also include processes for requesting accommodations or leave if you are unable to perform your job duties and balance health concerns. (See May 27 announcement.)

2. Return to research guidance released
Jim Oris and Michael Crowder co-chaired this team, which rapidly worked through multiple sub-groups to adapt guidance from national organizations like the APLU to meet our specific needs. This research guidance is now available.

3. Guidance for fall course offerings released
Wednesday evening, deans and other academic leaders received guidance on how to begin planning for fall semester course offerings. We ask departments to prepare a proposal for delivering a portfolio of courses utilizing a range of delivery mechanisms this fall which meet our goals of providing an exceptional, healthy, on-campus experience for students, provides support and accommodation for students not able to be on campus, meets learning goals, follows public health guidance, and protects the health and well-being of faculty. We must ensure that students do not end up with a majority of their courses online, especially for our incoming students. We ask our deans to work across departments to balance these different needs while we work on communicating with parents and students about how we are making decisions to maximize the quality of their experience while also maximizing public health and safety of our community members. Your deans and department chairs will have more guidance.

4. Faculty support
This will continue throughout the summer. If you are anticipating needing to modify your class for online or hybrid delivery, or you want to continue developing your strengths in teaching and pedagogy, we have a strong set of offerings from Oxford eLearning, our Center for Teaching Excellence, the Howe Center, and our Regionals eCampus to support you.

5. Our AAO return to campus committee
This committee continues to energetically discuss various issues around fall semester. Below is an incomplete set of highlights that I am aware of. There are extensive discussions over a tremendous number of issues happening continually.

  • IT is working across campus to ensure our classrooms are appropriately equipped for what we anticipate;
  • Student Life is planning a campaign of communications to students around shared responsibility and social contracts to keep each other safe through routine public health measures we are all becoming familiar with;
  • The campus Safe Return to Campus committee has developed some feedback on various scenarios for the fall academic calendar and will engage the AAO committee for further deliberation;
  • The Return to Research Committee continues to move us forward in scholarship and creative work;
  • Our HR and Academic Personnel offices are working across campus to ensure we are taking appropriate measures to support those who need support of various kinds;
  • Our international and global engagement folks are providing extensive support to our international students and continue to plan for study abroad and study away for fall semester;
  • Athletics is working to allow student athletes to return to campus safely and in small numbers; and
  • Our facilities experts continue to refine their plans to enhance safety and cleaning.

6. Bulk ordering of supplies for return to campus
We are working to coordinate large purchases of supplies we expect to need for fall. Please communicate with your supervisor or dean to collect your anticipated needs. Your supervisor or dean will know which office to share this information with. Note that our understanding of COVID-19 continues to evolve daily. For example, recent reporting suggests that surface contamination may not be the most serious concern as we return to campus if everyone washes their hands and wears masks to avoid touching their face.

Many thanks,
Jason


Wednesday, May 27, 2020 4:22 p.m. - From the SVP for Finance and Business Services and the Provost

To the members of the Miami staff,

These are challenging times for faculty, staff and their families. Uncertainty about the fall is causing anxiety for many. As we begin to plan for a return to on-campus classes in the fall, the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff is our highest priority and at the forefront of our planning. President Gregory Crawford has appointed a broadly representative committee to make recommendations on the safe reopening of Miami University campuses and a return to on-campus classes in the fall.

While we certainly don’t have all the answers and the situation remains highly fluid, university leaders—including staff from the Department of Human Resources and Academic Personnel Services—are working hard to provide guidance and information for employees. We do want to share with you our current planning and will continue to provide information as we gain more certainty in the coming weeks and months.

Shortly, the divisions and offices will begin planning for individual employees to resume on-campus work for the fall semester. And while more is unknown than known at this point, our plans will likely include university requirements and guidelines for safety measures (including face coverings, temperature taking and social distancing) based upon the directives and guidance of public health authorities including the CDC, Ohio Department of Health and the Butler County Health District. Based on what we know now, these will likely include:

  • Taking daily symptom assessment, such as temperature.
  • Practicing social distancing.
  • Wearing a face covering while at work unless working alone in an enclosed workspace, unless exempted from doing so in accordance with the Ohio Department of Health regulations.
  • Engaging in regular handwashing and hand sanitizing.
  • Limiting use of some building and spaces (break rooms and meeting rooms).
  • Meeting remotely when possible.
  • Staggering work schedules.
  • Limiting “drop-ins” and requiring scheduling of appointments.
  • Disinfecting frequently personal workspaces (e.g., laptops and desks).
  • Restricting hosting of minors and other visitors on campus.
  • Closing non-essential spaces.
  • Limiting non-essential activities.
  • Placing barriers in some spaces to ensure social distancing (e.g. reception desks).

We will also provide appropriate education and training on these topics.

It is highly unlikely that all personnel will return to campus at the same time. Accordingly, each division/office is being asked to plan for the return of their employees by planning a phased-in approach by assigning each classified and unclassified staff member to one of the following groups based on their duties:

Category 1: Personnel for whom a substantial portion (or all) of their responsibilities need to be performed on campus on a daily basis.

Category 2: Personnel for whom a substantial portion (or all) of their responsibilities can be performed remotely on a daily basis if necessary.

Category 3: Personnel for whom a significant portion of their responsibilities can be performed remotely but must come to campus on a regular, but less than daily, basis to perform critical duties.

Those who must come to campus to perform critical duties may be able to perform their other responsibilities remotely. Thus, some employees may work on campus full time, while others will do so only on specified days (or portions thereof) as their duties permit and the needs of the university require.

Many employees have concerns about their own health, the health of family members that live with them and child care. This is what we know now.

  1. The university will provide employees with paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave for specific reasons related to COVID-19 under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA.) These provisions are currently in effect from April 1, 2020, through December 31, 2020. For a summary of benefits, see the poster issued by the US Department of Labor, Employee Rights (PDF).

    For more information, see Family First Coronavirus Response Act.

  2. For those employees who believe they will not be able to return to campus to work in the fall or will need additional assistance to return to campus due to a serious underlying health condition, the university will work with them to provide reasonable accommodations to enable them to continue working where possible. For those seeking an accommodation, see Accommodation and Accessibilty to follow the process.

  3. Those employees who have a family member with a serious underlying health condition, should consult with Human Resources or Academic Personnel Services to explore leave options.

  4. Privacy: We will follow all EEOC Guidelines regarding health inquiries. For more information, see Pandemic Preparedness in the Workplace and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

  5. Workspace modifications: We will be working with Physical Facilities and Environmental Health and Safety to plan for appropriate adjustments to workspaces to facilitate social distancing, including:
    • One-way entrance/exit.
    • One-way office hallways or aisles.
    • Plexiglas or other partitions to serve as sneeze guards/shields, if appropriate.
    • Use of tape or other floor markings to designate 6-foot distances.

David Creamer
Senior Vice President of Finance and Business Services

Jason Osborne
Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs

May 27, 2020 - From the Provost

Dear Colleagues,

These are challenging times for faculty, staff and their families. Uncertainty about the fall is causing anxiety for many. As we begin to plan for a return to on-campus classes in the fall, the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff is our highest priority and at the forefront of our planning.  President Gregory Crawford has appointed a broadly representative committee to make recommendations on the safe reopening of Miami University campuses and a return to on-campus classes in the fall.

While we certainly don’t have all the answers and the situation remains highly fluid, university leaders—including staff from Academic Personnel Services—are working hard to provide guidance and information for employees. We do want to share with you our current planning and will continue to provide information as we gain more certainty in the coming weeks and months.

Shortly, the academic departments and divisions will begin planning for face-to-face, hybrid and online classes for the fall semester. And while more is unknown than known at this point, our plans will likely include university requirements and guidelines for safety (including face coverings, temperature taking and social distancing) based upon the directives and guidance of public health authorities including the CDC, Ohio Department of Health and the Butler County Health District. Based on what we know now, these will likely include:

  • Taking daily symptom assessment, such as temperature.
  • Practicing social distancing.
  • Wearing a face covering while at work unless working alone in an enclosed workspace, unless exempted from doing so in accordance with the Ohio Department of Health regulations.
  • Engaging in regular handwashing and hand sanitizing.
  • Limiting use of some building and spaces (break rooms and meeting rooms).
  • Meeting remotely when possible.
  • Staggering work schedules.
  • Limiting “drop-ins” and requiring scheduling of appointments.
  • Disinfecting frequently personal workspaces (e.g., laptops and desks).
  • Restricting hosting of minors and other visitors on campus.
  • Closing non-essential spaces.
  • Limiting non-essential activities.
  • Placing barriers in some spaces to ensure social distancing (e.g. reception desks).

We will also provide appropriate education and training on these topics.

Many employees have concerns about their own health, the health of family members that live with them and child care. This is what we know now.

  1. This pandemic has required faculty to be extraordinarily flexible in their instructional delivery; moving first to online instruction in the middle of the spring semester and then to remain in that mode for summer courses. On-campus face-to-face instruction is a vital and essential part of Miami University’s success. We know the vast majority of students and faculty want to return to face-to-face instruction in the fall, but we are also asking faculty to be prepared to accommodate the need of some students to continue to learn remotely. Those faculty, who for pedagogical or other reasons, want to teach online in the fall, should consult with their department chair.

  2. The university will also provide employees with paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave for specific reasons related to COVID-19 under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA.) These provisions are currently in effect from April 1, 2020, through December 31, 2020. For a summary of benefits, see the poster issued by the US Department of Labor, Employee Rights (PDF).

    For more information, see Family First Coronavirus Response Act.

  3. Privacy: We will follow all EEOC Guidelines regarding health inquiries. For more information, see Pandemic Preparedness in the Workplace and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

  4. Workspace modifications: We will be working with Physical Facilities and Environmental Health and Safety to plan for appropriate adjustments to workspaces to facilitate social distancing, including:
    • One-way entrance/exit.
    • One-way office hallways or aisles.
    • Plexiglas or other partitions to serve as sneeze guards/shields, if appropriate.
    • Use of tape or other floor markings to designate 6-foot distances.

Jason Osborne
Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs


Thursday, May 21, 2020 2:04 p.m. - From the Provost

Colleagues,

As we head into the Memorial Day weekend, I hope all of you are able to spend some time relaxing. This will be a brief update.

First, let me share with you that University Senate will host a remote Town Hall meeting on Friday June 5th (3:30–5:00 pm) when Brent Shock, VP for Enrollment Management and Student Success (EMSS), and I will update the campus community on three large issues of interest:

  • How EMSS adapted to serving student needs and recruiting efforts this spring during the COVID-19 pandemic;
  • Where we are with the incoming freshman class, returning students, and graduate student enrollment,
  • How EMSS is working over the summer to limit summer “melt” and support students in preparation for an unpredictable and challenging fall semester.

We will share the meeting link and details as we get closer. As is now our custom in the age of WebEx, all are welcome to submit questions through senators by Noon, Friday, May 28. Please understand that late submissions will not be accepted due to the substantial volume and work required to coordinate responses and we ask that you keep questions limited to topics related to enrollment management and student success.

Next, there are a few COVID-19 stories our communications and marketing folks have been collecting:

  • Our International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) will be hosting a graduation celebration for international students tomorrow, Friday 5/22 at 9:00 AM. Register to attend or view the event to support and celebrate our international students and colleagues who make Miami such a special place.
  • Miami's orientation team already is working hard to facilitate seamless academic advising sessions for the Class of 2024. By communicating early and often with the incoming class, we will help them—and all of us—adapt to whatever challenges the fall semester will bring. Kudos to the team for their display of Love and Honor.
  • We all know that higher education faces perhaps our biggest test and transformation in a generation. Our own Megan Gerhardt has written about higher ed's "crucible moment." One thing I know: If we remain committed to the success of our students, we can emerge as a more nimble, more responsive and healthier university.
  • In Miami University’s Introduction to Disability Studies (DST 272) course, students are required to develop an action project to improve accessibility, and some students were able to help in a way they couldn’t have imagined. Honoring our commitment to diversity and inclusion, our students are making and donating accessible masks to help during the COVID-19 pandemic. Kudos to Professor Ashley Johnson and all her students for this important initiative.
  • Research and scholarship about the causes and effects of the COVID-19 pandemic undoubtedly will go on for years. Here at Miami, there already are several innovative studies around the issue. For example, Hillel Gray, an assistant teaching professor in the Department of Comparative Religion, initiated a special research initiative called Preaching Goes Viral, with students compiling and analyzing data to understand the religious responses to the pandemic. Even in an online environment, Miami scholars continue to break new ground.

Planning for Fall 2020 continues energetically. Dana Cox and Gwen Fears are co-chairing President Crawford’s university-wide Safe Return to Campus committee, and will be providing us updates on their progress. There are also other multiple focused return-to-campus committees working to plan as well. Jim Oris recently shared guidance for "Returning to Research" based on national guidance from our friends at APLU. This will certainly help us to resume our scholarly and artistic efforts both safely and soon. Each academic division is thinking through their specific challenges of returning for the fall, and our academic affairs committee is also meeting regularly. Make sure your senators and divisional leaders are updating you periodically on our discussions.

Finally, with our first successful virtual commencement behind us, a big thank you to Dawn Tsirelis who led the team implementing the ideas, to our Miami alumnus, Austin Mace and his team at Subvrsive, who powered the event with their creativity. If you were not one of the over 100,000 individuals who tuned in to see the event, you can still see artifacts from the event on the commencement web page. Many additional thanks to all our featured alumni and friends who contributed videos and comments to make these ceremonies even more special.

Many thanks,
Jason


Friday, May 15, 2020 4:05 p.m. - From the Provost

Colleagues,

This weekend we will host our unique commencement ceremonies. Information has been sent out to all faculty and staff and can, of course, be found on the Commencement website. All ceremonies will be recorded and also available for viewing from our website. I hope you will take a moment to celebrate the accomplishments of all our graduates. Each of you made this success possible. Each of you rose to the challenge of an overnight transition to remote delivery during a pandemic with grace, determination, and dedication to our mission. As we reflect on our collective journey, I hope each of you know how profoundly your work has been appreciated by students, parents, trustees, community partners, alumni, and of course, each one of us who has the privilege to serve in a leadership role.

Of course we all know that our COVID-19 journey is far from over. We must engage in summer classes, consider how to maintain scholarship, work to welcome new colleagues and students in August, and understand the evolving public health and economic impacts of this virus. We as a university will continue meeting in various groups throughout the summer to ensure we are as well-prepared as possible.

We must also turn our thoughts toward fall semester. I will need to ask you once more to go above and beyond to ensure that we continue to offer a first-rate education to our students, attend to our mission to serve the public good, and help Miami through this difficult time toward what will be a brighter future.

Until we have a vaccine or other effective treatment(s) for the virus, we must continue to follow public health guidance. This will likely continue to include wearing face masks, routine physical distancing, and enhanced attention to effective measures like hand washing. We will continue to provide guidance on these topics as they are available to us. Governor DeWine is expected to release updated and focused guidance for educational institutions and other types of organizations soon and these will guide our decision-making.

Meanwhile, offices across campus continue to work tirelessly to help us prepare for future scenarios:

  • HR and Academic Personnel Offices have been working to develop guidance and support for faculty and staff who are not able to return to campus safely;
  • The Physical Facilities team continues to work with us to develop guidance regarding room occupancy limits that adhere to health guidelines so that we can better plan for the future;
  • The Center for Teaching Excellence, in collaboration with the Howe Center for Writing Excellence and our e-Learning experts are in the final stages of developing a robust set of offerings that can assist you as you consider how best to conceptualize your classes for the fall;
  • IT leaders are helping to think through what we will need to teach effectively in the fall;
  • Student Life folks are beginning orientation and onboarding of our students; and
  • Our Enrollment Management & Student Success (EMSS) team continues to work more than 24/7 to recruit a strong and diverse incoming class.

We are also working to schedule another “Town Hall” with Brent Shock, VP for EMSS, for early in June so that he and his team can share with you where the incoming class is, all the strategies they implemented to recruit students to Miami during COVID-19, and how they will work over the summer to support students. More details for that will be shared very soon.

With deep gratitude and many thanks,
Jason


Thursday, May 14, 2020 5:02 p.m. - From the Crisis Management Team

Dear Miami Community,

As an essential business, Miami has remained open throughout the pandemic, with only essential personnel reporting to campus. However, some additional work does need to be done on campus, therefore, last week, in compliance with Ohio reopening guidelines, many of our employees in Physical Facilities and Campus Services began returning to campus to work.

For most other employees, unless your supervisor informs you otherwise, our plan is to continue to have faculty and staff who can work from home to continue to do so. We expect this arrangement to remain in place until June 30, at which point we will reevaluate and provide additional guidance. We will also continue to maintain 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. working hours throughout the summer.

Thank you to everyone for what you have done and are doing to continue to provide an exceptional educational experience for our students during these challenging times.

Crisis Management Team


Friday, May 8, 2020 1:32 p.m. - From the Crisis Management Team

Dear Miami Community,

As an essential business, Miami has remained open throughout the pandemic. Over the past several weeks only essential personnel have been asked to report to campus and we made the decision to offer the balance of the spring semester and summer classes remotely. So, for now our plan is to continue to have our faculty and staff who can work from home to continue to do so.

However, some work does need to be done on campus. Beginning this week, many of our employees in Physical Facilities and Campus Services will be returning to campus to work. These employees are having their temperatures taken (or are being required to self -assess), wearing face masks in certain areas and practicing social distancing as much as possible. Each employee received COVID - Return to Work Phase 1 Guidelines which contained safety and other information, and many employees received additional requirements based on their individual job responsibilities.

We, like you, want to know with certainty what the future holds and what our lives will look like in the fall. The President has appointed a highly talented and broadly representative committee to advise on the safe reopening of our campuses in the fall. Our plan for return will need to follow a consistent set of safety measures based upon the direction and advice of the CDC, Ohio Department of Health and the Butler County Health District. Additional information and details will be shared as plans are made.

On the Oxford campus you will soon be seeing more of our students as they return to retrieve their belongings, either from our residence halls or from their homes off campus.

Student Life has been working with those students who must return to their residence hall to schedule a specific time for their visit, to limit interactions and to promote physical distancing. For the students living off-campus, Student Life has provided them with guidance to help promote safety while they move out.

Thank you to everyone for what you have done and are doing to continue to provide an exceptional educational experience for our students during these challenging times.

Crisis Management Team


Thursday, May 7, 2020 6:08 p.m. - From the Provost

Colleagues,

Miami faculty have a reputation as master teachers and scholars. This reputation will continue to sustain us through tough times and help us thrive in better times. As we look toward the future, there are many unknowns. One thing we do know is that we will need to innovate to continue serving our mission. Until there is an effective vaccine, we expect to continue public health measures such as social distancing and wearing masks as much as possible. Some of our faculty, staff, or students may be unable to return safely to campus, or may need to self-isolate. We will be challenged like never before in thinking through how we teach, use our spaces, collaborate, continue our scholarship, participate in service and shared governance, and engage in self-care.

One size will not fit all courses or disciplines. I am empowering deans, chairs, and faculty members to make decisions within their departments for how they will meet the needs of their classes for fall. I believe it is likely we will need at least two different approaches to meet the complex needs we anticipate: (a) fully realized online courses, and (b) a hybrid approach that provides flexibility for the various permutations of remote/on campus presences possible. I would expect that our largest courses will need to be delivered online until social distancing mandates ease. In other courses, social distancing might be accomplished through having different subgroups of students rotating between in-person and online might work. For smaller courses, space might permit all students on campus to be present yet may need to be prepared to be hybrid to serve students not able to be on campus.

We are aware that some faculty and staff have concerns about being on campus during the fall before we have a vaccine. We are working on specific guidance around this to accommodate the large variety of needs. For faculty, if you anticipate needing to teach online, please speak with your department chair to develop a plan to prepare and teach your assigned courses effectively in an online format. For faculty unable to teach your assigned courses online, we will have further guidance for requesting a leave of absence.

We are going to provide support for the new learning environment we will all face in the fall. The CTE, ELearning and Howe Center for Writing Excellence will be sharing a plan for coordinated summer support soon. In the meanwhile, there are already many resources available to help you think about your courses.

Topics:

  1. Senate proclamation of gratitude to the campus and community
  2. Tech Fees
  3. Excellence in Academic Advising Award
  4. Appreciation for Support Services
  5. Summer Reading Program Update
  6. Undergraduates should not be returning to campus for research
  7. Return to campus student “town hall”

1. Proclamation of Senate
On May 4th, your senators voted to acknowledge with gratitude the sacrifice, dedication, and engagement of all our colleagues. Within that proclamation, we renewed our commitment to enhancing shared governance throughout the university. We encourage you to stay involved, updated, and engaged as we all work together to move forward in uncertain times.

2. Tech Fees call for proposals
As the semester winds down and the days seem to melt together during our remote work and instruction, it is never too early to look ahead to the fall and the next round of the Student Technology Fee Competitive Proposal Process (Tech Fee). The complete schedule for FY21 is available online, but we wanted to highlight a few items early. Committee members are looking for innovative or significant ideas that clearly benefit students. The guidelines define significance in two ways: impacting a large number of students or having a deep impact on a smaller number. Your project may directly relate to academics or may be part of the broader Miami experience, making students’ lives better or more productive. Both graduate- and undergraduate-focused proposals are encouraged. Proposals for the 2020-2021 academic year need to be submitted by midnight on Sunday, September 20. The link to the online application form will be available from the Tech Fee website on August 17. An open informational meeting and Q&A session will also be held the week of August 31. For more information, see Student Technology Fee or send questions to TechFee@MiamiOH.edu.

3. Excellence in Academic Advising Award
This year’s two recipients of the award for Excellence in Academic Advising - Miami’s highest advising honor:

  • Heeyoung Tai, Teaching Professor and Chief Departmental Advisor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
  • Greg Phillips, Associate Professor and Chief Departmental Advisor in the Department of Music

4. Appreciation for our Support Services Staff
Lots of what we do relies upon our support services. Last week, Miami’s IT Services, with support from e-learning, was instrumental in the successful online Undergraduate Research Forum April 29. Joyce Fernandes, director of undergraduate research, says the IT team recruited colleagues to sit in on training sessions, helped train moderators and students, and connected organizers with student disability services to address accessibility issues. The 26th annual event was the first online forum; 220 primary presenters and 162 co-presenters delivered their project outcomes. The online forum made it possible to invite accepted students from the incoming class and alumni to participate. Fernandes called the forum “a phenomenal experience in collaborations across the university and a testament to the talent and expertise on campus.” Thanks to all our great support teams that help us deliver our mission effectively!

5. Summer Reading Program update
For almost four decades, Miami University has featured a Summer Reading Program (SRP) for its incoming students. While this program has served us well for many years, the format has remained largely unchanged with the author giving a speech at Convocation along with small discussion groups with students prior to the beginning of the fall semester. Assessment has indicated that many students do not read the book, thus making the impact less than optimal. A task force has developed a proposal to significantly revise the Summer Reading Program. This group, which included members of the Summer Reading Program Committee and an associate provost, has developed a plan for a new program with the broader aim of advancing common learning experiences around a particular annual interdisciplinary and pioneering theme. The new program called "One Year/One Theme," will begin in fall 2021. As we work to prepare for this new program and also deal with the pressures of the COVID 19 pandemic, we have decided not to offer a summer reading program for fall 2020. More information on the new program which will begin in fall 2021 will be forthcoming during the upcoming academic year.

6. Undergraduates and research
We agree with and adhere to the principles of the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities’ Council on Research (APLU-CoR). One of APLU-CoR’s guiding principles is that undergraduates are students first and researchers second. All APLU schools, including Miami, have cancelled summer research programming for undergraduates. In our case, our three NSF Research Experiences for Undergraduate programs and the University Summer Scholars program have been cancelled. We have, however, encouraged research with undergraduates to continue if they can conduct it remotely. Undergraduates should not be on campus conducting research, scholarship, or creative activities until we return to campus for the fall semester.

7. Return to campus update
Join me and Dr. Jayne Brownell Friday afternoon for our “town hall on students,” where we will discuss how we have been serving students through the transition to remote instruction, and how we are preparing for returning to campus for Fall.

As part of the question submissions for the town hall, we received many questions about faculty and staff issues. While we will not be addressing issues specific to faculty and staff in the town hall, I will remind you that we have multiple committees working on safe return to campus- in research, academic personnel/HR, academic affairs, facilities, student life, and within each academic unit. James Bielo and I are planning to focus some of our upcoming return to campus committee meetings on these topics and we will continue to share updates as we have them.

Love and Honor,
Jason Osborne


Monday, May 4, 2020 5:46 p.m. - From the Provost

Colleagues,

Happy unofficial “Star Wars” day - “May the Fourth be with you….” First a reminder that our remote Town Hall-style meeting will be held on Friday, May 8, 2020 (3:30–5:00 pm), when Dr. Jayne Brownell (VP for Student Life) and I will give an overview of the key issues at the intersection of student life and academic affairs, how we are serving our students during COVID-19 currently, and how we are working collaboratively in planning for return to campus. As we did for the budget symposium, all are welcome to submit questions on these topics through their senators by Noon, tomorrow, Tuesday, May 5. Please understand that late submissions will not be accepted due to the substantial volume and work required to coordinate responses.

Here is a brief communication from the provost office to get your week started.

Topics:

  1. Student emergency fund update
  2. Budget corner- review of a basic principle
  3. Reporting Remote Meeting and/or Class Disruptions
  4. Some examples of how we have met the COVID-19 challenge

1. Student Emergency Fund
Our student emergency needs fund is closing in on $450,000.00 in donations. All this money will be distributed to students in need. This is a great example of how the Miami community supports its students. Thanks to our advancement team for leading this effort and to all who have given!

2. Budget Corner
Since many questions and concerns revolve around budget, I thought it would be good to keep talking about general budget issues and principles. A common question remains: Why can’t we “tap into reserve funds” to offset budget issues?

We don’t know how serious or how long the financial fallout from the pandemic will last. We have already refunded $27.2m in student room and board and other fees. Having these reserves on hand has allowed us to make refunds to students; and allows us to pay bills and employees between student billing cycles. Continuing to maintain reserves will prepare us for future developments such as reduced tuition revenue, a potential reduction in state support, another unplanned campus closure, a different type of natural disaster, etc.

Further, not all reserves are the same. Some reserves are designated, some reserves are restricted, and some reserves are unrestricted net assets. Miami’s reserves includes funds yet unspent but already designated for faculty professional development, other departmental needs like equipment maintenance or accreditation, unspent course fee monies, monie related to grants, unspent faculty start-up funds, money set aside for building projects, etc. If these funds are used for operating deficits, the purpose previously identified for the funds must be foregone, the recurring problem isn't fixed, and the University must spend more of these funds in each subsequent year until they are exhausted and the University is forced to make the cuts or not survive. As Dr. Creamer has cautioned on multiple occasions, both Wright State and Miami had about the same amount of unrestricted net assets back in 2010 -2011. Wright State chose the course of spending down these funds rather than immediately dealing with the budget crisis and Miami chose to create the strategic priorities committee. The results of these two different approaches to fiscal management are clear and will become moreseo as the two universities move into the next fiscal year.

3. Reporting Remote Meeting and/or Class Disruptions
As we head into the last two weeks of remote delivery, it is important to keep in mind that if you experience a remote meeting or classroom disruption to report it. To make a report, use the Community Standards Incident Reporting Form. All reports will be investigated and pursued through proper accountability channels. Disruptors can be found, and disruptive actions within Webex are traceable back to the student or disrupter. For more information about securing your classroom, see Webex Security Options.

4. More Stories of how Miamians met the COVID-19 Challenge

  • Entrepreneurship and CincyTech are collaborating to help find Miami students internships and jobs.
  • Mark Morris, associate clinical professor of political science, has helped the department support students and faculty with a weekly "Monday Message" that includes updates and informational videos. The email updates existed previously but engagement has increased significantly since Miami transitioned to online instruction. Morris, who has taught several online classes previously, also has served as a resource for faculty trying to optimize the offerings in Canvas for the first time. "They're learning what Canvas can do and the things to avoid," Morris said. "For example, 75 minute lectures online probably are not the way to go."
  • One of our students shares her experience this semester as we transitioned to remote delivery of instruction.
  • Western Program during remote delivery: Since Miami transitioned to online classes in March, Miami’s Western Program has continued to support students through online options including “Tea and Conversation” sessions, plus a video for seniors to fill the void of some of its senior traditions. The entire Western team of faculty and staff has collaborated to maintain contact with students. Coordinator and advisor Zack Hill said he has conducted about 100 academic advising sessions during the past month, often dealing with issues students might be having working from home or with family. “I love in-person appointments,” he said. “This has been much better than I expected it to be. Some students are more comfortable with this. They’re a little more relaxed.” After the announcement in March, Hill also helped develop a six-week sprint course in Biology and Society to replace sprint courses that could not be offered remotely.
  • CCA’s #thrivingartist series presents students adapting to our current COVID situation while completing their projects. Here is Cello Performance major and Arts Management co-major Nicole Holman, '21. She was scheduled to give her junior recital this weekend in Souers Recital Hall. Since that was no longer possible, she gave her performance in her cul-de-sac for her family and neighbors who watched from a safe social distance. The performance was live streamed on Facebook and is available on her YouTube page.
  • Congratulations to the art history students of ART420D- Art and Its Markets, whose hard work paid off yesterday when the Miami University Art Museum decided to acquire four of the prints they researched over the semester. The Museum staff found the acquisition proposals of students Faith Walker, Abby Solon, and Maria DeSantiago most convincing. Walker argued that John Sloan's “Art of Salesmanship" (1930) will help the Museum to represent the Ashcan School of American realism and that it also tells the story of the early 20th century passion for African art among modernist artists and collectors. Solon's presentation of Max Klinger's "Self-Portrait" (1918) was grounded in the fact that the Museum already owns a famous portfolio of the artist's symbolist prints, to which the addition of a self-portrait adds biographical context. Lastly, DeSantiago's pair of prints, “Entry to the German Jails” and “Release from the German Jails" (1915) by Theophile Steinlen, built on the Museum's past exhibitions of World War One prints, the frequent use of the Museum's German collection by faculty in History and Art History, and the potential of this print for the theme of "Migrations," the topic of the upcoming 2020-2021 John W. Altman Program in the Humanities. Pictures of the prints acquired are attached.

Love and Honor,
Jason Osborne


Thursday, April 30, 2020 6:11 p.m. - From the Provost

Colleagues,

Happy Thursday, everyone! I am going to attempt to reduce the frequency of communications to once or twice a week unless more is needed. Let’s see how this goes.

Let me start off with an announcement that as part of our “Return to Campus” planning, University Senate will be hosting a remote Town Hall-style meeting similar to the budget symposium Dr. Creamer and I presented a couple weeks ago. On Friday, May 8, 2020 (3:30–5:00 pm) Dr. Jayne Brownell (VP for Student Life) and I will give an overview of the key issues at the intersection of student life and academic affairs, how we are serving our students during COVID-19 currently, and how we are working collaboratively in planning for return to campus. As we did for the budget symposium, all are welcome to submit questions on these topics through their senators by Noon, Tuesday, May 5. Please understand that late submissions will not be accepted due to the substantial volume and work required to coordinate responses.

Updates:

  1. Highest ever national fellowship count
  2. Undergraduate Research Forum
  3. Speech Pathology and Audiology coming through for our students
  4. Institute for Food update
  5. Return to Campus committees

1. This Friday, we will celebrate a banner year for national fellowships
This is a year with much to celebrate as we had 29 current Miami students or recent alumni win national fellowships in 2019-20, which is the most ever fellowship recipients in a single academic year in Miami history. Thanks to each faculty member who mentored one of these students, nominated them, wrote a letter, or in any other way supported our students.

2. Undergraduate Research Forum
This was an impressive event AND they did all remotely. Some highlights! There were 329 student presentations, with more than 500 students participating. Over 25% were interdisciplinary, and this is all thanks to 154 faculty mentors and 73 graduate students who also mentored our budding scholars. You make Miami special.

Our students covered just about every topic I can think of, and represented every division. Congratulations to Joyce Fernandes and the team who put this all together, supported the technology, and most importantly, made this a special day for our students.

3. Speech Pathology and Audiology serving our students
In the midst of everything, we are helping our students continue progress toward professional licensure or certification. The Speech Pathology and Audiology department converted its clinical training program for graduate students from on-site delivery in the Miami Speech and Hearing Clinic to a new online clinical case simulation program. Small groups of students work through cases in a digital library and meet regularly with clinical faculty so they can continue to obtain hours towards licensure and certification. The clinic also is reaching out to outside clients and hopes to start tele-practice delivery later this spring.

4. Institute for Food
The farm has continued work on campus as an essential business throughout the current crisis. COVID-19 has drawn attention to the fragility of the global food supply chain and underscored the need to build resilience and capacity in local food systems. This has been the mission of the Institute for Food since its inception in 2016. Over the past eight weeks, three farm staff members with the help of a few remaining student volunteers enrolled in IES/ITL 231 Italian Food Cultures in Context have been practicing social distancing while sowing seeds, prepping beds, transplanting seedlings, and harvesting spring greens—all with the goal of learning about and promoting a healthy and sustainable local food system. The farm has supplied lettuce and spinach to Miami dining services for those students who have had to remain on campus. It has also donated 25 pounds of fresh produce per week to the Talawanda Oxford Pantry and Social Services (TOPSS) in support of their mission to counteract food insecurity in the region. In addition, farm staff and student volunteers have been gearing up for the start of the 2020 season CSA (Community Supported Agriculture program), which begins on May 21. More information about the Institute for Food and the local food system in Oxford is available at EducatingFromTheGroundUp.org. Those interested in signing up for the summer or fall CSA or donating a CSA share to TOPSS can contact IFMiami@MiamiOH.edu.

5. Academic Affairs Return to Campus
This committee(s) had their first meetings this week. Throughout the university, areas are engaging the campus community broadly to think through how to safely return to campus for the fall semester. Within academic affairs, there are two processes we are engaging to collect questions, ideas, and recommendations for how we each respond to the expected range of situations we need to be prepared for.

Each dean is working with all areas of their college to ensure every faculty and staff member has a clear vision for how to prepare for the fall. The deans will continue meeting together to share ideas and concerns across divisions and with the provost office.

At the same time, University Senate Executive Committee Chair-Elect James Bielo and I are gathering leaders from around campus to discuss coordinate communications across the broader academic affairs community. We will ensure senators, faculty, and staff are well-informed of developments and concerns within divisions and other areas of academic affairs (global and international, libraries, student success, undergraduate and graduate student concerns, research, etc.) and the broader university operational areas, e.g., student life, budget, facilities, IT, public health and safety, equity and inclusion, etc.

We are also engaging other universities and state systems to ensure we remain aware of the up-to-date actions and recommendations of how this will be happening around the country. All of this is to say that there is a broad engagement with shared governance, and each faculty, staff, and student has at least two different paths for getting information and sharing questions: through the department and division, or through senators. We will continue meeting throughout the summer until we are confident we are prepared for fall return to campus and will keep you updated as best we can between now and then.

This fall semester may be one of the most challenging we will ever plan for. This year, 2020, will be looked back upon as one of the most challenging and tragic in modern history. This will end at some point, however. This is not our new normal. We will have a vaccine, and we will have treatments that are effective. We will go back to socializing, gathering, working, and playing together. We can and will get through this time, together, as a community.

Thanks to each of you,

Jason Osborne


Saturday, April 25, 2020 4:23 p.m. - From the Provost

Colleagues,

As the semester winds toward finals week, we continue to monitor our incoming and returning classes, graduate student admissions, budget information, and events from around the nation as higher education continues to adjust to COVID-19. I am thankful for the expressions of support from many corners of campus, and for all the faculty and staff leaders who are moving us forward. Here are some updates from the Provost Office as we look forward to the coming week. I hope you all are able to enjoy the nice weather over the rest of the weekend.

Topics:

  1. Summer Courses Online
  2. Academic Affairs Return to Campus—shared governance working groups
  3. Tune in to our Undergraduate Research Forum
  4. Commencement information coming Monday
  5. Update from the Humanities Center

1. Summer courses
This past week we shared an announcement with the entire university community affirming what many of us have been discussing: that we will offer all summer courses fully online as we cannot predict when the various “stay-at-home” or limitations on gathering will be lifted.

2. Academic Affairs “Return to Campus” Working Group Update
University Senate Executive Committee Chair-Elect, Dr. Bielo and I have put out a call to all faculty and staff senators to join our AAO Return to Campus (R2C) working group. This will be our attempt at getting broad representation and diverse perspectives around the virtual table to discuss the many complexities of planning for a semester with so many unknowns. We will be updating the campus community regularly (hopefully weekly) as we move forward, and we will consider how to further engage the broader community in these discussions.

Each division will have their own more focused RtC committee, formed by their dean. I encourage everyone to work locally to surface the concerns, challenges, and opportunities unique to your discipline or context, to talk within departments and divisions. The provost office leadership and I will be meeting regularly with our deans to hear the outcomes of these discussions, and between these two groups, hope to successfully open campus safely when the time comes.

3. Undergraduate Research Forum
Our 26th Undergraduate Research Forum on Wednesday, April 29th, 2020, will be an online event, with over 300 student presenters expected to participate. Poster presentations and talks will be delivered using Webex. Additionally, an event website is available to preview research projects using keywords for discipline and major, and to peruse submitted abstracts, and “gallery walks” of PowerPoint images. Presenters and mentors are being encouraged to use Twitter to showcase their projects and engage with the university community. #MiamiOHUndergradResearch #MiamiOH_URForum2020

4. Celebrating the Miami University Class of 2020
The Miami University Virtual Commencement Experience, May 16 & 17, 2020 is in rapid development, and stakeholders from across our campuses are engaged. A total of 3,531 graduates with an additional 62 who planned to walk in May, as well as the entire Miami Community of faculty, staff, alumni, parents, family and friends, will be invited to this virtual celebration. It will be a blend of the main commencement ceremony with divisional elements, like timing, dean's speeches, and the sense of community for a one-of-a-kind, uniquely immersive, interactive, and unprecedented event - that will bring the "Miami Experience" not only to our graduates - but to the world. The Class of 2020 will receive a personal invitation on Monday announcing the virtual ceremonies, and you will receive more information on how to participate very soon. Stay tuned.

5. Humanities Center update
Humanities Center Director Dr. Tim Melley, invites you all to join him via Webex May 1, 2020 (10 am - 12pm) for a special 2019-2020 Geoffrion Undergraduate Fellows Symposium, “COVID Temporality.” Our six (6) extraordinarily accomplished Geoffrion Fellows will each give a 10 minute research talk on some aspect of the Altman Program theme, “Time and Temporality.” After a Q & A session, they will then engage in a roundtable discussion on how the response to COVID has affected their sense of time and how their year-long study of time and temporality has in turn affected their experience of the current crisis. The session will conclude with an unveiling of the group’s collaborative podcast series on “Time and Temporality.”

Love and Honor,
Jason Osborne


Friday, April 24, 2020 11:47 a.m. - From the Crisis Management Team

Dear Miami faculty and staff,

While the Ohio Stay at Home order is set to expire on May 1, all employees are to continue their current work arrangements, essential or remote, until further notice.

Crisis Management Team


Tuesday, April 21, 2020 6:41 p.m. - From the Provost

Colleagues,

We continue to be asked about life after July 1. I wish I had better answers, but at this point, the only thing we know is that we have asked each of our academic divisions to provide a robust portfolio of online classes for this summer. We cannot predict what July will look like, or how the return to campus will play out, but we hope for the best, and continue to plan for contingencies. Where we ARE clear though, is that Miami always takes care of our students. We may not know what the future looks like, but we will figure it all out together.

Topics:

  1. "Return to Campus" Committees
  2. Policy for Instructors re: Course Evaluations
  3. Spring 2020 Final Exams

1. "Return to Campus" Committees
At the request of the Governor, the IUC, and President Crawford, we are beginning to form "Return to Campus Committees" throughout the University. While this does not mean we are changing our plans to offer online courses throughout the summer it does mean that we are imagining what our return to campus will look like while still maintaining public health and safety.

Each area of the university will have a planning committee to discuss what a return to campus looks like specific to their division. For example, Jim Oris has already constituted a “Return to Research” committee, and Student Life will undoubtedly have multiple committees looking at all areas of student life and services. Within Academic Affairs, we need to constitute committees that will look at all issues around returning to campus from student, graduate student, faculty, staff, departmental, and college perspectives. We also need to think through what the implications are from a global engagement, international student, and online perspectives. We need to ask a lot of questions and find as many answers.

I have asked the incoming Chair of the University Senate Executive Committee, James Bielo, to co-chair an AAO “Return to Academics” committee and to help me think through all the various issues that this process raises. To provide broad input, we need to create and engage ad-hoc committees composed of various stakeholder groups who will help us both surface questions and topics that need to be addressed and to discuss and propose answers to questions we are already asking. Dr. Bielo and I will be looking for volunteers to help with these discussions very soon.

2. Course Evaluations Revisited
During yesterday's Senate, a broad range of concerns and questions around course evaluations specific to this semester were discussed. As a result of this discussion, I believe that students deserve to have a voice and to provide feedback on their experiences this semester, and that we must provide our instructors agency on how they use that information. There is also relevant institutional policy which states that where instructors engage in revised or novel pedagogies, they can choose to disallow reporting of their evaluations for purposes of annual review, promotion, etc. Based on policy and input from many individuals, we:

  • Will offer a brief window later this week so instructors can consider adding some optional questions to their course evaluations to potentially enhance the value of this feedback;
  • That course evaluations will continue as planned; and
  • Instructors will have the complete discretion to include or exclude any or all aspects of the Spring 2020 course evaluations from any or all future annual evaluations, promotion, and tenure review processes. Further, choosing not to report these results cannot be held against instructors as implying poor results. However, reporting beneficial outcomes or including in a narrative how an instructor used this feedback constructively to improve teaching practice in the future can be positively considered in future evaluations.

This is in addition to prior commitments we collectively have made, such as the commitment to remind external reviewers that COVID-19, and the overnight transition to remote delivery, can be taken into account as context for evaluating portfolios, and continuing to offer access to clock extensions where desired by instructors as previously discussed.

3. Spring 2020 Final Exams—Information for Faculty
These guidelines are provided in addition to what appears in the Miami University Policy Library.

  • “Final Exam” can refer to any type of culminating assessment, which could be a final exam, project, paper, or other product.
  • Faculty should communicate plans to their students for the final exams by April 30 at the latest—especially if plans have changed since the start of the semester.
  • A final exam can be either synchronous or asynchronous. Exams can be administered through Canvas and support is offered through eLearning (Oxford) and E-Campus (Regionals).
    • Synchronous final exams must be given following the 2020 spring semester final exam schedule. Remember that a synchronous final exam can be problematic for students who are in a significantly different time zone or who are dealing with problems relative to COVID-19. Please be understanding to students who may have problems with a scheduled synchronous final exam and be prepared to offer another option.
    • Asynchronous final exams provide students the opportunity to complete the exam within parameters specified by the instructor, at the time of their choosing, within a window you define windows should conclude at the end of the scheduled final exam day/time. Such windows should be large enough to accommodate situations in which students have other exams and/or students are residing where there are significant time differences. I personally used these options with my classes to allow students optimal ability to demonstrate mastery of material.
  • Reminder: No exams can be given the week before final exams.
  • There is no extension to the deadline when final grades must be submitted (noon on Tuesday, May 19).
  • If faculty would like to explore the pedagogical considerations associated with different options for culminating assessments, they should schedule a CTE consultation.

Love and Honor,
Jason Osborne


Friday, April 17, 2020 4:23 p.m. - From the Provost

Colleagues,

We have just a few bits of information to share with you today. I hope you are focusing on self care, that families are safe and healthy, and that we can finish our semester strong. All of us continue to be appreciative of the excellent work happening throughout campus to support our students and position us for a successful summer session.

Topics:

  1. Update on student refunds
  2. Summer classes will be online
  3. (Remote) happenings around campus
  4. Some higher education COVID19 developments

1. Student fee refunds

Dr. Creamer and I promised to update the campus community as we have factual information to share. We are refunding these fees directly to students and their families so they can use them during this economically challenging time. At this point we expect the total refunds to be $27,276,781.

2. Summer course offerings

With the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff always our top priority, Miami will offer a portfolio of online courses throughout the summer. We remain optimistic that we may resume select on-campus activities (such as reopening research labs) once health department officials indicate it is safe. We are working with each division to identify courses that can be offered as high quality, fully developed online experiences that will serve student needs. Training and resources are available to assist faculty in enhancing their online delivery courses on both the Oxford and Regional campuses. eLearning Miami (Oxford) and eCampus Regionals will be contacting faculty to provide further information.

Starting with the first summer session, we will return to typical grading practices. Credit/no credit will still be an option, but there will be the typical early semester deadline for electing this option.

3. Some (remote) happenings around campus

  • Our faculty and staff have completed over 11,000 calls to current and prospective students. The feedback we are getting from students is almost universally appreciative of all that our faculty and staff are doing to make a difference for our students. Thank you!
  • From the Howe Writing Center, a video about remote work and how to have a remote writing center consultation
  • EMSS, UCM, academic departments and divisions, programs, centers, offices, support services, faculty, staff and students have worked together to create our virtual visit website.
  • Our library is working on a remote computer lab to provide access to resources for students. Stay tuned!
  • Entrepreneurship is moving its pitch competition online: Miami University’s RedHawk Venture Pitch Competition has always been a LIVE, in-person event held in the Farmer School of Business over two rounds. But for the first time in our history, the RedHawk Venture Pitch Competition will be a fully digitally-immersive experience. The event will be early in May and there is an effort to live stream it for non-judges. The Entrepreneurship group (officially a new department for the coming year) continues to offer resources and support internally and to our community

4. Some news about higher education

Love and Honor,
Jason Osborne


Wednesday, April 15, 2020 5:32 p.m. - From the Provost

Colleagues,

As promised on Monday, Dr. Creamer and I are providing these documents that capture the information presented during our annual Budget Symposium.

Love and Honor,
Jason Osborne

Budget_Symposium_QA_04.13.2020_508.pdf

Budget Symposium_PPT_04.13.2020_508.pdf

Fiscal_Priorities_Chair_Remarks_04.13.2020_508.pdf


Friday, April 10, 2020 3:11 p.m. - From the Provost

Colleagues,

Many groups continue to reach out to current and incoming students. We have called thousands of students and have heard many tales of resilience and gratitude. Our students understand how challenging this situation has been, and how diligently we worked to do what we could given the circumstances. Most are eager to return to our beautiful campus and miss being able to interact personally with friends, classmates, staff, and faculty. Likewise, I know we all miss seeing our students, colleagues, and friends. Stay strong- what we are doing to keep everyone safe is making a difference.

Topics for today:

  1. Credit/No Credit for honors courses
  2. IUC provosts
  3. Promising trends from EMSS
  4. Boldly Creative #2
  5. Grant awards up about 10%

1. Credit/No Credit
Honor students now have the option to take Honors courses with the Credit/No Credit option during the current Spring Semester. The message has been shared with students and all details can be found here. Many thanks to all our great staff who made this happen!

2. IUC Provost discussion
The IUC (Ohio public) provosts have been in frequent contact discussing our situations and approaches to all the COVID-19 challenges. Some highlights from these conversations:

  • We are discussing how to begin opening campuses when Governor rescinds the "Stay at Home" executive order:
  • Most schools around the country are announcing online classes for at least part of the summer; Miami has announced we will deliver online courses through the summer to serve our students needs even if we are able to open campus after June
  • Most are scrutinizing hiring; many, like us, continue to hire or offer contracts as needs become evident
  • There are indications that international students want to attend Ohio schools but are concerned about obtaining a visa for the start of the semester
  • We are talking about working collectively with accreditation bodies to ensure we can appropriately respond to COVID-19 while supporting our students who are adjusting to requirements that reflect our current reality
  • HLC, our regional accreditation body,has indicated it will continue to work with institutions to support reasonable needs as COVID-19 continues.

3. Promising News from EMSS
We remain optimistic about our Class of 2024. Confirmations are above our three-year moving average even though students now have an extra month until the deadline. Our team continues working with families experiencing economic hardship due to COVID-19. We have received over 150 donations to our student emergency fund, and many other donors are providing more support for scholarships. We cannot allow the mis-representations in the media to become the narrative for Miami. We will thrive because of our very strong reputation, our dedicated staff and visionary faculty, our corporate partners, and our passionate and committed supporters around the globe.

4. Boldly Creative Round #2
Our deans met this week to review the final BC#2 proposals and each team will receive feedback soon. We thank each team for their excellent work on these visionary ideas. Those approved have the potential to create robust revenue streams or materially enhance our reputation and recruiting. Boldly Creative round #3 is still being evaluated and we expect by the end of the month to have invitations for full proposals. These investments will ensure we remain a destination for future students.

5. Sponsored programs awards up 10%
Over last year as we head toward one of our best years for external funds in a while. It is also likely that the coming year will have enhanced grant opportunities as part of a stimulus package. Join me in congratulating some of our recent awardees:

  • Carole Dabney Smith, associate professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, was awarded $433,500 by NIH. Her three-year project will examine a protein transport system that bacteria, such as the ones that cause tuberculosis and ulcers, rely on to infect humans.
  • Hailiang Dong, professor in the Department of Geology and Environmental Earth Science, was awarded nearly $312,000 by NSF. His three-year project, seeks to resolve a longstanding paradox between what is understood about how the nitrogen gas that is necessary for life on earth becomes bioavailable and contradictory evidence in the geologic record.
  • Sarah Woodruff, director of the Discovery Center for Evaluation, Research, and Professional Learning, and Cricket Meehan, director of the Center for School-Based Mental Health Programs, were awarded more than $313,500 by the Ohio Department of Education. They will examine efforts by Ohio school districts to implement student wellness and success initiatives and recommend best practices for future implementation of such programs.
  • Katie Johnson, professor in the Department of English, and Scott Kenworthy, associate professor in the Department of Comparative Religion, were awarded prestigious and highly competitive Summer Stipends by the National Endowment for the Humanities. Both faculty members will use their stipends to research and write books. Johnson's book is about interracial collaboration in theater in New York City in the 1920s and 1930s, while Kenworthy's is a biography of Patriarch Tikhon Bellavin, head of the Orthodox Church during the Russian Revolution.

Toward a brighter future: March was a tough month. As we count down toward finals, we know everyone is exhausted, not only from the stress of what we are dealing with at work, but because of worry over the health and safety of our loved ones and those who are suffering. Please continue to take care of yourself and your loved ones.

While we are often surrounded by negativity, fear, and anxiety, we are also surrounded by uncountable acts of kindness, generosity, and goodness. It is easy to succumb to negativity, but I urge you to consider how fortunate we are, even during these dark times. Whatever job you hold at Miami, your job is to help change the world, one student at a time. We create positive change and all work to leave the world better than we found it.

Spring is a time of renewal, rebirth, beauty, and growth. I hope each of you can focus on all the positive things in our lives during this time.

Love and Honor,
Jason Osborne


Wednesday, April 8, 2020 7:29 p.m. - From the Provost

Colleagues,

First, I want to thank you, Miami faculty, staff, graduate students, undergraduate students, alumni, community friends, and everyone, for your incredible efforts, support, and understanding over the past several weeks. I cannot thank you enough for your energy, teamwork, perseverance, and commitment to our distinctive mission and core values as a student-centered institution. I know that President Crawford, our Trustees and other leaders join me in celebrating the spirit of Love and Honor that has carried us through these challenging times. We have been in contact with hundreds of students to receive their feedback – they are so grateful for your time, generosity, support, and flexibility.

Thank you also for taking time to submit your questions. I am not answering the many budget-related questions at this time. Dr. Creamer and I will hold the annual budget symposium, Monday, April 13, via WebEx that everyone is invited to join—Meeting number (access code): 796 822 437.

At that time, we will share what we know about our budget situation, what we expect to happen in the future, and the values and priorities we consider as we are approaching the most unpredictable budget planning in our careers. Live Q&A tends not to work well with such a large audience, so we ask you to submit any questions that you have to your senators. They will be gathering and submitting them to Dr. Creamer and me by the end of this week so we can respond thoughtfully on Monday.

I have been trying to respond to individual questions but with our Budget Symposium looming large, let me make a few general responses your most common questions:

  • There are questions about whether we are responding to the COVID-19 budget implications in ways that are different from other universities. President Crawford, Dr. Creamer, other PEC leaders, and I have been discussing our situations with other Ohio universities through our Inter-University Council (IUC) as well as with colleagues around the nation.
  • We are working to ensure we spend our resources to optimally support our students and our mission, and we are asking all continuing faculty to equitably contribute to this goal. We are optimistic that our incoming class will be robust. We are taking action now, because now is when course schedules are being finalized for fall. With institutions across the country, including Miami, giving admitted students extra time to confirm attendance for fall, this delays our ability to determine exactly what courses we will need to offer and what instructional support we will need to support those offerings. Once we have determined our incoming and returning classes and our curricular needs, we will begin to make offers for supplemental faculty appointments for next year on an as-needed basis. This is similar to every year, when visiting appointments routinely begin during April and continue through the summer as needs evolve.
  • We are asking all faculty to teach in line with longstanding university-wide guidance around teaching responsibilities. We hope that during this year, all divisions can work with Senate and the Provost’s office to energize their shared governance to develop clearly stated norms on how they will equitably and transparently manage teaching responsibilities, curriculum, and budget effectively and efficiently going forward. This will help us insure each division will be empowered to deliver needed courses for students within budget.
  • There is concern about COVID-19 impacting promotion, annual review, tenure, and so on. I have not been aware of any discussion about changing any of these practices, except that we have committed to expanding opportunities for faculty to request additional time for their tenure or promotion clock, ensuring teaching evaluations and research productivity during this semester and the coming year is appropriately contextualized within these completely unique times.
  • We are thankful for our alumni, corporate partners, and everyone who contributed to our student emergency needs fund. 100% of these funds are being distributed to students in need, and donations continue to roll in.

Thank you for caring enough to ask questions, and for going to the lengths you have for our students. In times like these, some organizations will falter and fade; others who are strategic, plan prudently, and apply their creativity and ingenuity, and will emerge stronger than ever before. I am confident that this institution, with its creative, thoughtful, and compassionate faculty, committed and dedicated staff, and it's very talented and ambitious students, will come through these times as strong, or stronger, than before.

Love and Honor,
Jason Osborne


Monday, April 6, 2020 9:02 a.m. - From Human Resources

Our first commitment at Miami is to the health and safety of our students, staff, and faculty. In the midst of the current public health emergency, we are focused on providing you the resources and information you need to keep you and your family healthy. You can refer to this website for the latest updates. In response to recommendations from Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and Miami leadership, this communication provides updates concerning your benefit coverage and resources that may be helpful.

Miami employees (spouses and dependents) covered by the Miami health plan have several healthcare options including Anthem.com and related services and/or applications (i.e. Sydney – the Anthem app through Google Play for Apple and Android phones). These options can be found at Your Miami Benefits and the Coronavirus, showing how you can access healthcare when you need assistance.

The Benefits & Wellness department hopes that you are your family are doing well and we will share related healthcare and wellness information to assist you while working remotely. Contact the Benefits and Wellness department if you have questions through email at Benefits@Miamioh.edu or healthandwellbeing@miamioh.edu, or by phone at 513-529-3926.


Friday, April 3, 2020 4:33 p.m. - From the Crisis Management Team

Dear Miami faculty and staff,

With the extension of the Ohio Stay at Home order, all employees are to continue their current work arrangements until May 1, 2020.

Crisis Management Team


Monday, March 30, 2020 5:15 p.m. - From the Provost

Colleagues,

Mondays are typically “shared governance” days that find me meeting with either the Senate Executive Committee or Senate itself. I have been heartened by the progress we have made this year with some really large and important initiatives. Senate has been adaptable and has been a model for how to continue university business while living with COVID-19. In fact, our Board of Trustees will be looking at how the Senate has managed these meetings to learn lessons that might work for them also.

Unfortunately, economic and budgetary crises do not respect, nor respond to, shared governance. They happen, without our consent or input, and we must respond decisively to avoid even greater problems. Yet even in trying times, there are many ways that we can engage in shared governance to ensure we are best serving the needs of our students and mission. Faculty should be helping their units ensure essential courses are being efficiently offered, serving our students the best we can, and working within expected budgetary limitations. Although in times of plenty, it may not always have been clear as to how interconnected these things are, it is impossible to disentangle faculty teaching responsibilities, curricular offerings, and budgetary resources.

Shared governance should also be about creating equity, effective actions, and working toward strategic goals. In the near term, faculty can help divisions develop governance documents which clarify how we express our values, and in particular, the “teacher-scholar” model, in an equitable and financially sustainable manner. There is much work to be done in this area.

Topics:

  1. Leadership transitions at MUDEC
  2. Credit/no credit guidance available; students can opt-in starting Wednesday
  3. Update on commencement from President Crawford
  4. Reminder: Ask the Provost questions due Wednesday

1. Leadership transitions at MUDEC
After eleven years as Dean of MUDEC, Dr. Thierry Leterre will be transitioning back to his role as a faculty member after his current term ends June 30, 2020. We thank Dr. Leterre for his lengthy leadership and celebrate all his successes. Eleven years as a dean is a very long time, and I know each of you will join me in wishing him well as he takes a well-earned sabbatical.

Raymond Manes has graciously agreed to serve as interim Executive Director to ensure continuity of leadership. Please join me in thanking him for taking on this role and provide him support as he strives to continue building momentum for MUDEC. We expect to launch an international search for a permanent executive director in the future.

2. Credit/no credit guidance available today
Beginning at 12 pm EST on Wednesday, April 1, 2020 and through May 8, 2020:

  • Students will be able to select credit/no credit grading for any course which is approved by the University for credit/no credit grading. This will include most undergraduate courses and many graduate courses. Information will be shared on Wednesday, April 1 on how to determine whether a course has a credit/no credit option.
  • Credit/no credit and its limitations in other academic policies (including those related to academic probation and degree requirements) will be relaxed for courses taken in Spring 2020 to allow students to fully exercise the credit/no credit option.
  • The deadline for selecting the credit/no credit grade option will be Friday, May 8, allowing students plenty of time to review the FAQs that will be provided as well as consult with an academic advisor if they still have questions after reviewing the FAQs.

3. Updates on commencement from President Crawford
"We were all extremely disappointed with the need to cancel the commencement ceremony planned for May. Commencement is a cherished occasion for our graduates to celebrate with family, friends, faculty, and staff, to have their name called, walk across the stage, and to receive their diploma. Renate and I consider ourselves to be part of the Class of 2020 as well, we began at Miami when they began, during that summer four years ago. We want this to be a special celebration, and as promised we have explored creative ways to honor our graduates and to celebrate.

We envision two components to the commencement ceremonies for the class of 2020. On May 16, the actual commencement date, we are preparing a virtual recognition of our graduates, to mark the official conferment of degrees. In the fall, we are planning a weekend dedicated to celebrating and recognizing our graduates and their achievements."

4. Reminder to submit questions to the Provost
Remember you have until Wednesday at 5:00 to submit your question.

Love and Honor,
Jason Osborne


Saturday, March 28, 2020 12:36 p.m. - From the Provost

Colleagues,

It has been a tough couple of weeks, but COVID-19 cannot stop the sun from shining, the flowers from blooming, or my allergies from peaking. While we socially distance, the world continues on, and before we know it, finals will be here.

We are exploring ways to hold a virtual graduation ceremony when we would normally be gathering to celebrate degree completions. While it cannot replace a traditional ceremony, neither does it diminish the accomplishments of our students. If we can pull this off, they will certainly have the most unique graduation in our history. More on that as plans develop.

In the meantime, we look forward with hope for a full campus come August, and life will settle into a new normal. We must not lose sight of that hope while we head toward the worst of what COVID-19 will bring to the USA.

In that spirit, let’s end the week of spring break with nothing but good news, as there continue to be many things to celebrate.

  1. New dean of the College of Engineering and Computing
  2. New dean of Graduate School and Interim Vice President for Research & Innovation
  3. Goldwater Scholars
  4. Donations to Students in Need
  5. Send in your questions for the Provost

1. & 2. All of our dean searches held substantial challenges

While diversity and inclusion is a core value at Miami, dean searches for divisions like the Farmer School of Business and College of Engineering and Commuting can have difficulty attracting a large, diverse pool of applicants. Graduate School dean pools are also often highly unpredictable. Yet somehow, our consultants assembled large, diverse pools of prospects. The challenge, ironically, was for our search committees to narrow these pools down, separating the merely strong from the very strong and we were honored to bring to campus so many excellent candidates. As of yesterday, I was proud to announce the final two dean appointments They will join Dr. Jenny Darroch, our incoming dean of FSB as new members of our divisional leadership team:

  • Dr. Beena Sukumaran named next dean of CEC
  • Dr. Michael Crowder named next dean of the Graduate School & Interim VPRI

I know you will join President Crawford and me in welcoming our newest leaders.

3. Two students named Goldwater Scholars
The 2020 Goldwater Scholarships included two Miami students this year of the only 396 students selected nationwide:

  • Alexandra (Lexie) Adams chemical engineering, mentor: Prof. Andrew Jones (CPB)
  • Hope Kirby microbiology, mentor: Prof. Luis Actis (MBI)

This is the ninth year in a row for a Miami student to be named a Goldwater Scholar.

4. Donations to students in need
Our advancement effort has raised over $52,000.00 in just a few days; much coming from Miamians, demonstrating how we live our Code of Love and Honor. We are also thankful for a large gift to this fund from our friends at Worldpay. The fund is of course, still accepting donations and these monies will immediately go to supporting our students who have been impacted by COVID-19 by providing:

  • Food, toiletries, and funding for necessary medications.
  • Educational-related expenses as a result of moving to remote learning.
  • Funds to help compensate for loss of student employment.

To make a donation, see Emergency Needs Fund.

5. Ask the Provost
While this isn’t technically a “good news” item, I do think it’s a positive step in the right direction. It’s been a crazy few weeks and many of you are anxious, confused, or feel as though you haven’t gotten the information you need around everything that is happening.

If you have a question that you would like answered, submit your question by 5:00 Wednesday, April 1, and I will compile all the questions into categories and try to answer, or get the answers to as many as I can. Please keep the questions brief and to the point, and don’t submit anything you don’t want shared publicly.

Love and Honor,
Jason Osborne

March 28, 2020 12:20 p.m. - From the Crisis Managment Team

Dear Miami Community,

A Miami University unclassified employee who works in Campus Services has tested positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19). The individual was last on campus on March 20, and is now self-isolating at their home. Our hearts and thoughts go out to them and their loved ones. Unfortunately, as the coronavirus continues to spread we most certainly will learn of students and employees - on and off-campus - who become infected and ill.

Those individuals identified as having been in close personal contact will be contacted by Human Resources and provided with advice.

Ensuring the anonymity of the individual who has tested positive for COVID-19 is important. If you are aware of their identity, please respect their privacy. Please abide by all laws related to personal health information (HIPAA), and expectations for the responsible use of social media. Miami is committed to doing all that we can to support this person and our broader community through what is a stressful and challenging time.

We will continue to follow the guidance and advice of the Ohio Department of Health and to work closely with the Butler County Health Department. We will also communicate with the Miami Community as we learn more. Our website miamioh.edu/coronavirus is updated frequently to keep you informed.

If you have a fever or symptoms of respiratory illness, such as a cough or shortness of breath, you should call your healthcare provider or the Miami Health Center at 513-529-3000. It is important that you call first for guidance, and do not visit a healthcare facility before calling. If you are feeling ill, we encourage you to stay in your home. Please continue to practice social distancing.

Everyone is reminded to stay home and away from people, in accordance with the Ohio Department of Health’s order. Practice social distancing and, if you meet, spread out, but please use remote mechanisms and technology if at all possible at all times. Always follow these practices:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; dry hands with a clean towel or air-dry hands.
  • Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer when soap and water are unavailable.
  • Cover your mouth with a tissue or sleeve when sneezing or coughing.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Stay home when you are sick or if you have any symptoms.
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • Clean “high-touch” surfaces daily. These include counters, tabletops, doorknobs, light switches, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, desks, and tablets.
  • Stay home. Social Distancing. Spread out.

We understand that there are many questions and concerns as we navigate this extraordinary moment in our history. We continue to work closely with partners at the city and state to manage these challenges and will continue to share information as we are able.

Crisis Management Team


Thursday, March 26, 2020 4:37 p.m. - From the Provost

Colleagues,

I remain very optimistic that Miami will emerge strong from the financial challenge we are facing and that we will be open and thriving for fall 2020, with a strong freshman class, a bumper crop of graduate students, great new faculty colleagues, new leaders, and a bright future. Getting there, however, does mean that we will have to tighten our belts now. To that end, we are asking faculty to prioritize their teaching responsibilities, in particular, for the coming year.

I have heard that some faculty are displeased with this, and some are questioning whether we continue to be committed to being a research university. Let me reassure you that we remain committed to our mission as an elite R2 institution and we greatly value our scholarship, but at this moment, for the coming year, we must prioritize the teacher in "teacher-scholar". If we do this right and continue investing in important new programs, we will be on a sustainable, positive trajectory. We can't do this without you.

Topics for today:

  1. Maintaining privacy in COVID-19 times
  2. Donate to the Emergency Needs Fund
  3. Big Blue Button access ends 3/30
  4. Are we continuing with Boldly Creative while we face budget challenges?
  5. What the daily Provost staff daily check-in looks like

1. Privacy guidance from our General Counsel 
As the coronavirus continues to spread, we most certainly will learn of students and employees, both on and off-campus, who become infected and ill. As we move into this period where students and employees are testing positive for the coronavirus, it is important that we all recognize and respect the medical privacy of our faculty, staff and students. You may NOT disclose the identity of any student or employee who has tested positive for the virus. You may disclose the fact that a person in your division/department (if greater than 10 people) has tested positive, but you may not share any additional information without the employee’s or student’s written consent and authorization. The Centers for Disease Control in its guidance to employers states:

If an employee is confirmed to have COVID-19 infection, employers should inform fellow employees of their possible exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace but maintain confidentiality as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The fellow employees should then self-monitor for symptoms (i.e., fever, cough, or shortness of breath).

Failure to adhere to these standards could violate any number of federal privacy laws including but not limited to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and /or Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

If a student or employee under your supervision has tested positive or if you have questions, please contact the Office of General Counsel at 529-6734.

These are enormously challenging times but responding with respect, care, and compassion to those who become ill and their family members is the very foundation of our humanity. Please take care of yourselves and your families and stay well.

2. Donating to support Miami students in need
University Advancement has started a campaign to raise funds for students most in need during this COVID-19 time. You can donate to the effort here: https://www.givetomiamioh.org/s/916/16/interior-flah.aspx?sid=916&gid=1&pgid=17283. Please share the link with others who might be interested in contributing.

3. Big Blue Button will go away
On Monday, March 30, 2020, Canvas Conferences using BigBlueButton will no longer be available for video conferencing due to factors including accessibility, platform stability, and substantial budget implications. Existing BigBlueButton recordings will remain available for 14 days after the recording date. Cisco Webex is the University’s recommended and supported technical solution for video conferencing. We apologize for the inconvenience this will undoubtedly cause. As always, eLearning and CTE can help you utilize WebEx and/or Google for your video conferencing needs. Read details regarding changes affecting Canvas Conferences.

4. Boldly Creative in the time of COVID-19?
I have been asked how we can continue considering investing in Boldly Creative when we are asking all divisions to streamline expenditures. It’s a fair question. Let me say that Boldly Creative is, much like your retirement fund, an investment in our future. We can either spend it now, for an immediate and short-lived benefit, or we can invest it and reap long term benefits that will help us thrive in an ever-more-competitive higher education world. Boldly Creative is helping us position Miami as an ever-stronger Public Ivy.

5. Provost Meetings in the age of WebEx
Every morning we have a senior staff check-in meeting to get ahead of what is coming at us and to ensure we are on the same page in this fast-moving environment. I am grateful to each of these colleagues doing everything that they can to keep us aimed in the right direction. Do you have a picture of what your work looks like while we are dealing with COVID-19? Share it with us!

Provost in WebEx meeting with senior staff

Love and Honor,
Jason Osborne


Wednesday, March 25, 2020 5:18 p.m. - From the President

Dear Miami Community

The Governor has been informing us all of the increasing number of coronavirus cases, and the importance of social distancing and staying at home. To best safeguard the health of our students, faculty and staff, we have been working closely with the Butler County Health Department and the Ohio Department of Health, and we soon expect a wider spread of cases within Butler County.

It is important that we all take the actions necessary to contain the coronavirus, and prevent transmission. To support our students and vital campus services, essential staff are continuing to report, and it is important that they take their temperature before leaving home, and if they have a fever, cough or difficulty breathing to stay home. Essential food and building service workers will have their temperature taken upon arrival on campus and need not take it at home.

For all other employees, we strongly encourage you to stay home, if you do intend to come to campus- even for a quick stop, you are required to take your temperature first, and if you have a fever, cough or difficulty breathing you may not come to campus.

These are challenging times for us all, and it is important to work together and to think of others. Practicing social distancing, and remaining at home to the greatest extent possible, are our most effective tools in combating the coronavirus. Let’s work together to stop the spread – it will save lives.

Love and Honor,

Gregory P. Crawford,
President

Wednesday, March 25, 2020 12:07 p.m. - From the Provost

Good Afternoon,

As you know the State of Ohio issued a Stay at Home order that began Monday March 23, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. Higher education has been designated an essential business. Essential staff are expected to report as scheduled. All others remain in remote work status. Those working remotely are expected to maintain normal business hours. All classes are being delivered remotely. There are no on-campus classes. Faculty are strongly encouraged to teach from home if possible.

For those who are coming to campus for ANY reason it is important that you:

  • Take your temperature daily.
  • If you have a temperature that is 100.4 or higher, stay home.
  • If you have a cough or if they have difficulty breathing, stay home.

Please be vigilant and practice these and all other preventative measures in helping us to keep our community safe and healthy.

Love and Honor,
Jason Osborne,


Sunday, March 22, 2020 3:45 p.m. - From the President

Dear Miami Community,

Throughout this national health emergency, we have followed the guidance and direction of our Governor, and the Ohio Department of Health. Today a Stay at Home order has been directed as the Governor increases our State’s effort to combat the coronavirus, it goes into effect Monday evening at midnight. What does this mean for Miami? For essential employees you will continue to work and provide essential services to our campuses. Your supervisor will contact you if you are no longer to report. For the rest of us, we will continue to work remotely, stay in our homes, leaving only in accordance with the directive, which does allow for us to exercise, care for others, and to purchase groceries and medicine. It is well aligned with the guidance the Governor has been providing throughout.

These are unprecedented, trying times, and as our Governor has told us, this enemy invader, the coronavirus, can succeed only with our help – remaining in our homes and limiting contact will reduce and prevent transmission of the coronavirus, and will save lives.

I am so moved, and feel so privileged to be a Miamian as I watch the way in which our Miami community has responded to this health crisis. Faculty and students have been sharing clips from their remote instruction and assignments, and they are incredible. The creativity I have seen is inspiring and helps further cement in me the rock-solid belief that we will overcome this challenge, and will be an even stronger Miami going forward.

We are Miami, and as Governor DeWine has assured us all, “We will get through this.” Together.

Love and Honor,

Gregory P. Crawford
President


Thursday, March 19, 2020 5:19 p.m. - From the Provost

Colleagues,

Trying to follow my own recommendations to find some good in all that we are facing right now. So, on this first day of spring and in celebration of everyone who has struggled to adapt quickly to remote delivery of instruction, here is Michael Bruening singing his version of “I WIll Survive” for all teachers moving online unexpectedly. Enjoy! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CCe5PaeAeew

Topics:

  1. Course Registration dates moved back two weeks
  2. COVID-19 budget challenges

1. Fall 2020 Course Registration — New Starting Date

To address the unusual disruptions caused by the COVID-19 outbreak, Miami University (both Oxford and Regionals) is postponing the start date for Fall 2020 registration for all students.

The revised registration schedule for fall 2020 classes on ALL campuses will begin on April 22 (rather than the original April 8 start date), and it is listed below:

  • Early priority = 04/22 through 04/24
  • Regular priority = 04/23 through 04/24
  • Seniors = 04/28 through 04/29
  • Juniors = 04/30 through 05/01
  • Sophomores = 05/05 through 05/06
  • Freshmen = 05/07 through 05/08 (last day of Spring semester classes)
  • Open registration for all Oxford students = 05/18 through 05/25 (not during final exam week)

Regional campus registration times would also adjust per the same pattern.

A delayed start date will give students and their academic advisors more time to plan their fall academic schedules. It is important to note that due to the changing situation, course listings may be revised more significantly than in past semesters. As a result, students are urged to carefully review up-to-date course listings before they register for classes. Students will be notified of the change in registration dates and encouraged to review their new registration time tickets in BannerWeb.

2. Budget challenges likely

Most of you will have noticed that the COVID-19 crisis has drastically impacted the economy, the stock market, and of course many businesses and industries. It is increasingly clear that this will be a long-term situation with potentially grave economic consequences. Our university will not be immune to this unfortunate situation, which has seen us refund tens of millions of dollars to students for housing and meal plans as they moved out of on-campus housing. As you know, we had to recall many study-abroad and study away programs, which will also lead to substantial refunds and loss of revenue. Summer revenue is currently an unknown and most universities are seeing lower confirmations for fall term than expected.

It is in the greatest uncertainty that our current and future actions become ever more important and we all must be careful and strategic stewards of university resources at this time. Being more careful now gives us more opportunity to avoid drastic actions later. With this in mind, I am working with leaders within Academic Affairs and strategizing over how we as an institution can respond to the significant challenges while protecting our ability to serve our students and our mission. In the next few days we will provide more guidance to divisions on how to proceed.

There are things each department can do right now:

  • Spend only on essential items. Conserve resources to the greatest extent possible.
  • Consider expanding summer online course offerings to generate revenue. Do not assume students will be able to physically return to campus before August.
  • Examine planned course offerings for fall 2020 and spring 2021.
    • a. Decide what is essential to offer, e.g., required courses, and what does not need to be offered this fall. Non-essential courses should be deferred.
    • b. Defer courses offered occasionally until another semester.
    • c. Proactively cancel low-enrolled classes now and utilize faculty for essential courses.
    • d. Examine section sizes and where possible, expand sections to reduce the number of sections being offered.

To assist departments and divisions, we have an excellent team who have developed some extensive and detailed resources that can help inform these decisions. We will also soon begin high level meetings to review available data, provide relevant examples, and suggested actions that could help us address the financial concerns we expect to face.

Love and Honor,
Jason Osborne

March 19, 2020 8:21 a.m.

Dear Miami Staff,

Miami University will be switching to a new service provider for university-related printing effective March 31, 2020.

Miami’s printing portal will continue to be available at MiamiOH.edu/printing. This site hosts links to order printing – such as posters, flyers, brochures, business cards, letterhead and envelopes. Students and employees can also locate printers across campus via MUprint and learn more about Miami’s branding and logo standards.

Xerox will continue to accept print orders through March 31 with delivery through April 3. Any orders placed prior to March 31 that cannot be delivered by April 3 will be redirected to university communications and marketing for assistance.

What will change?

When selecting “Order Printing,” employees and students will be directed to log in (with unique ID and password) and then be routed to a new site run by Arnold Printing. This interface will appear different with some new options and categories.

Why the change?

Miami’s contract with its current provider, Xerox, expires March 31. The new service through Arnold Printing will offer a robust template system in a Web to Print environment while continuing to allow a file upload option for already designed projects.

When will it change?

The switch to the new portal will begin at the end of March. A 3-tier implementation phase for services is planned.

  • In Phase 1, service will remain much the same as it is now, with the ability to upload files and order printing.
  • Phase 2 will include stationery templates and potentially some other smaller items, such as postcards and posters.
  • Phase 3 will be a complete rollout including a full template system. The system is anticipated to be ready for training by Fall 2020.

How do I learn to use the new system?

For Phase 1, definitions and instructions to help navigate the new system will be provided. Also, live support will be provided through specified contact information. In Phases 2 and 3, training will be provided in labs on all campuses and support will continue to be available throughout the existence of the service.

For more information about this transition, please contact Barb Maccombs, director of client relations and operations in university communications and marketing, at 513-529-1382 or barb.maccombs@MiamiOH.edu.


Wednesday, March 18, 2020 4:20 p.m. - From the Provost and SVP for Finance and Business Services

Dear Miami Community,

Like you, we are feeling the need to reach out to family and friends, including all of you in our Miami Community. We hope your first day of working remotely went well, and we truly appreciate that you are facing unusual challenges and coming up with solid solutions. For example, a wooden kitchen chair was never meant to serve as an office chair for eight hours. Pillows help. If you are experiencing any difficulties or need additional resources, please don’t hesitate to contact your supervisor or Miami’s Human Resources Call Center at 513-529-3131.

It’s heartening to see all the ways that we’re looking out for each other as we go through this historic and unprecedented public health crisis. We’re hearing of people—strangers to each other only days ago—becoming friends as they brainstorm on how best to comfort our children away from their classmates and our elderly cut off from their families. Unfortunately, this pandemic will likely persist for some time. Being isolated at home can be lonely for all of us. Please stay in touch with your supervisor and co-workers. If you need assistance, the following websites may help:

We can and will get through this together—with intelligence, integrity, and kindness. Please take care of yourselves and your families.

If you have suggestions for improvement, a work-from-home tip, a happy thought, or something funny to make everyone smile, please send it to CMT@miamioh.edu, and we will share it if we can.

Stay well!

Love and Honor,

Dr. Jason Osborne, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs
Dr. David Creamer, Senior Vice President for Finance and Business Services

March 18, 2020 3:54 p.m. - From the Provost

Colleagues,

With one week of remote delivery of classes under our belt, the world keeps moving and we are trying very hard to stay one step ahead - or, more accurately, not more than one step behind. One of the many things that makes this such a deeply difficult time is because we do not always know what to expect. We all hope for a resolution to COVID-19, but of course none of us know when that will happen, what that will look like, or when we will be able to get back to business as usual.

Many good things continue to happen despite all this upheaval. One of those good things is the hiring of our next Dean of the Farmer School of Business, Dr. Jenny Darroch. The announcement is now public (see our announcement here: https://www.miamioh.edu/news/top-stories/2020/03/new-fsb-dean.html). I know the Miami community will welcome her and will see FSB continue to amplify the strengths and national reputation under her leadership.

Topics

  1. Warning for campus closure unlikely; prepare now
  2. Residence Halls Closing
  3. Why pass/fail grading (credit/no credit) is not something we are unilaterally doing as part of our COVID-19 response
  4. Personalized consultations with eLearning remote now

1. In the event of a campus closure
Faculty have requested that in the event of a travel ban or campus closure we provide sufficient warning for them to retrieve anything they might need from their offices. Please understand that if we are directed by the state or federal government to “shelter in place” or to close campus, we will likely have little notice. I strongly recommend that we all work now to retrieve anything you may need for the next several weeks from your office, lab, etc.

2. Dorm closure FYI
From Dean of Students, Kimberly Moore, “In light of the statewide emergency declaration, the residence halls will now be closing Saturday, March 21, at 5 p.m.” This continues to be a concerted effort to get students to leave Oxford and get safely to their family homes, where possible. They are of course, working with students who may not be able to return home.

3. Pass/Fail (credit/no credit) for all courses this semester
In light of the upheaval that COVID-19 has caused, we have had a number of students and parents request we make for all courses this semester Pass/Fail (credit/no credit). This type of change could be detrimental to the financial well-being, academic success, and prospective employment of many of our students and is, therefore, not a viable option.

As Federal regulations currently stand, this change would also negatively impact students utilizing veteran education benefits or federal financial aid. In the case of VA benefits, credit/no credit courses are not eligible for payment by VA benefits when a no credit grade is earned.

In the case of federal financial aid, students with credit/no credit courses who fail to earn credit could jeopardize federal aid eligibility. These potential losses would come at a time when many recipients can least afford to lose it.

There would also be negative GPA ramifications for students who may, at some point, seek admission to graduate or professional school or prospective employment where part of the admission or hiring process is an assessment of undergraduate academic performance as measured by GPA. Miami coursework that has not factored into a student’s GPA would be interpreted as being of D- or better quality which gives no insight into a student’s mastery of that knowledge.

4. eLearning is still delivering remote support
You can still sign up for a training session, talk with a consultant, and get individualized help through remote technology! Be sure to use these resources since we now are delivering instruction remotely for the remainder of the semester. https://www.miamioh.edu/digital-learning/

COVID-19 Updates and Resources

Remember that all resources related to COVID-19 are available on this website.

Love and Honor,
Jason Osborne

March 18, 2020 3:20 p.m. - From the Dean of Students

Miami Faculty and Staff,

In an effort to keep you informed, please see the below message that was just sent to all Oxford undergraduate and graduate students with resources to support their transition to remote learning. We encourage you to take a look and refer students as needed.

Kimberly A. Moore, Ed.D.
Associate Vice President and Dean of Students

_____________________________________

Dear Miami students,

We recognize the new challenges you may be facing as you are transitioning to remote learning for the rest of the semester. Please know the Division of Student Life is here to support you both academically and emotionally.

Some students, faculty, and parents have asked for advice and ideas on how to set up a remote learning environment for success. We have attached a remote learning guide from the Rinella Learning Center. This guide can also be found on Rinella’s new Remote Learning website.

Additional virtual resources that may be helpful:

  • The Rinella Learning Center is now providing remote tutoring appointments and supplemental instruction. Remote tutoring can be accessed through Canvas.
  • Howe Writing Center appointments are now online.
  • Remote services and resources from the University Libraries are available.
  • The H.O.P.E. line is available 24/7 for students to call for immediate support, crisis intervention, and stabilization from a licensed mental health counselor. 855-249-5649.

While remote coursework may be inherently more independent than meeting face-to-face, we urge you to stay in touch with your instructors and communicate how things are going. When you have questions about course content, connectivity issues or concerns about your progress, start with your instructors. They likely won’t know about these issues until you tell them. They, like you, may be navigating a remote classroom environment for the first time.

We know this isn’t an ideal situation - none of us expected, even a week ago, that this is where we would be today. Things may change again tomorrow, but in uncertain times, this is what I know - we are committed to listen and respond as new needs arise. We ask that all members of our community continue to be flexible, and do their best at staying committed to learning. During this challenging time, make sure you are taking care of yourself and others, and know that Student Life is here to support you in whatever way we can.

Very sincerely,

Kimberly A. Moore, Ed.D.
Associate Vice President and Dean of Students


Tuesday, March 17, 2020 10 a.m. - From the Provost

Colleagues,

A brief update for Tuesday morning: We appear to be at least partially successful in emptying campus of students. We anticipate around 1,800 students in the residence halls by the end of the day today, down from over 7,000 on campus. Of course, we can not control off-campus housing and hope that students have taken this opportunity to go home where possible.

You may be aware that Green Beer Day has been cancelled. Because of this, our prior request to hold a synchronous class Thursday is probably unnecessary, and could put students who are trying to travel home in a bind. Please accommodate any students who cannot attend synchronously and please allow flexibility with any graded activity. We do not want students staying on campus and risking their health or ours because of a class.

Essential Staff-Only Follow-Up

Yesterday, our memo regarding essential staff and remote work inadvertently caused some confusion. Remote work status primarily impacts staff, but it may also be important information for faculty. Faculty should be aware that there will not be many, if any, departmental staff on campus to assist them (e.g., no administrative assistants). Other changes are also in place. For example, academic and administrative buildings are accessible by card swipe only.

The University is still open for faculty to teach their remote classes from campus but if faculty can/will teach from home they can further reduce the chance of either contracting or sharing the virus through community spread. It is also possible the University could, at some point, be ordered to close the campus. If that were to occur, faculty would need to be able to teach their courses from home for the remainder of the spring semester.

We apologize for the confusion. We are grateful for all you are doing to deliver high quality instruction to our students under extraordinarily challenging circumstances.

COVID-19 Updates and Resources

Have a great Tuesday, we are proud of what we have accomplished in the past week! Remember that all resources related to COVID-19 are available on this website.

Love and Honor,
Jason Osborne

March 17, 2020 11:47 a.m. - From Payroll Services and Human Resources

Good Morning!

We appreciate your patience as we work through this extraordinary and challenging time.

With the transition to a remote work environment, Human Resources will automatically load 8 hours of regular pay for all classified staff working remotely. Classified employees working remotely do not need to record or "clock" specific punches in Kronos.

Supervisors will be required to approve time in Kronos per pay period as they normally do.

We will continue to provide updates through this listserv and share instructions and other guidance to supervisors.

For important information on remote work expectations and other resources for our employees, see Employee Resources.

Please send any questions regarding timekeeping to HRTime@miamioh.edu.

Thank you,
Payroll Services and Human Resources


Monday, March 16, 2020 9:13 p.m. - From the Provost

Colleagues,

It was less than a week ago that we transitioned to remote delivery of instruction. Like everyone else has experienced, this already feels like it's been a very, very, very long week. Even so, I have found the time to brag to all my colleagues at how impressive you all been in pulling together so quickly in the face of so much change. I will continue to thank everyone again and again for accepting this challenge to continue serving our students and our shared mission during this hopefully once-in-a-lifetime crisis. Please communicate with your students often and try to be flexible as we ask them to to be with during this difficult time.

Topics for today:

  1. No instructional activities in person allowed; limit non-essential in-person activities
  2. Hiring freeze
  3. Mid Term grades
  4. Pass/Fail
  5. Spring Break goals for faculty
    1. Take a breath and find time to think through the rest of the semester
    2. Update syllabus to reflect new reality and how you will meet learning objectives through remainder of semester
    3. Prepare for what-if scenarios like: "What if the US requires everyone to stay in-home for two weeks" like Italy and other countries have
    4. Think through final exams/papers/products
    5. Engage in self care
    6. Breathe
  6. Tools for extended remote work

No face-to-face instructional activities are allowed

Just to continue communicating around this directive, we are prohibiting any face-to-face instructional activities on campus or in any other venue. This includes holding classes in-person but at an off-campus location. All instructional activities must be held via remote technology. In other words, on-campus, in-person activities should be suspended with limited exceptions. Essential research activities that require lab access by faculty or graduate students completing research should contact Dr. Oris (orisjt@miamioh.edu) for an exemption.

Immediate hiring freeze

This morning, the President's Executive Committee agreed for the need to implement an immediate hiring freeze in light of the substantial budgetary implications from the COVID-19 outbreak. Specifically, there can be no further hires without the express permission of Dr. Creamer or me. This also applies to graduate assistantships so you are are asked to please halt in any new offers of assistantships. Any faculty, staff, or assistantship formal offers loaded into the system by 12 p.m. today (3/16/2020) may proceed. No new offers are allowed. More guidance on Academic Personnel hires will be discussed with the deans in our meeting later this week on possible exceptions. I ask that you please wait for that guidance before asking for exceptions or clarifications. We will move as quickly as we can.

Midterm grades

Please be sensitive to the fact that many students are experiencing significant upheaval right now as they are moving out of dorms and to their permanent residences. If at all possible, please give them flexibility with assignments.

As we know, University policy requires the submission of midterm grades for students meeting the midterm grade criteria, and we strongly encourage midterm grade feedback for all other students. With the move to remote instruction it will be more important than ever to ensure that our students receive meaningful feedback on their academic performance thus far in the semester, and midterm grades are a valuable performance indicator.

To facilitate midterm grade submission, the deadline is being extended from Friday, March 20, to 12 p.m., Friday, April 3. On Friday, March 20 we will make all submitted midterm grades viewable to students, and we will continue to keep the midterm grade submission application open for faculty to continue to submit until 12 p.m., Friday, April 3.

Questions regarding midterm grade submission can be directed to the Office of the University Registrar at registrar@MiamiOH.edu or 513/529-8703.

Pass/Fail

There have been petitions and requests from students and parents asking for a wholesale switch to pass/fail grading given the global crisis we are facing. I am officially communicating to you that this is NOT something we are currently contemplating. Faculty have the discretion to run their classes as they deem pedagogically appropriate. We have policies that guide us in this area, and there are federal and other implications for this sort of grading policy. What I would ask is that you attempt to over-communicate and reassure you students during this time as we continue to deal with this unfolding situation. Give your students grace, and ask them to give you some leniency also. We are all human, and everyone is doing their best.

Some Spring Break recommendations for faculty

Faculty should already communicating with their classes, holding remote classes, or assigning work. At this point, there should either be synchronous or asynchronous interactions at least as often as classes would have been held. If you would like support, now is the time to reach out to the Center for Teaching Excellence, eLearning, or eCampus experts.

Before the end of Spring Break, please update your syllabi to reflect your plan for the rest of the semester. While we often characterize a syllabus as a “contract” between a student and faculty member, in fact, syllabi can be modified particularly in exceptional circumstances such as what we are experiencing. Please be certain that revised syllabi are uploaded with clearly defined new expectations, assignments, how learning objectives will be met, and any other changes you need to make. Please share this with your department chair so they can be aware of what you have modified. We want to be in the best position to support you!

At some point, we will need to think about finals. As always, faculty have complete discretion to evaluate learning objectives as they see fit. Please consider how you can adapt your summative assessment to the remote delivery reality. Will you assign a paper, a project, a presentation, an asynchronous (“take-home”) test, or a synchronous test? How will you accomplish this via remote technology? How can we help you? (Please note that if you are holding a synchronous test, it must be during the standard finals time scheduled for your course.)

Engage in self-care. We are all stressed out and anxious. We have family and loved ones who we are worried about. Find time to exercise, relax, and to find moments of positivity in the midst of this chaos. Generations before us were able to find uplifting moments in the midst of unthinkable tragedy. We can rise to this moment.

Tools for remote work

IT services have provided a comprehensive list of software to make telecommuting a little bit easier.  Academic Personnel and Human Resources will also be putting together information to help us through some of the day-to-logistics of moving to remote work.

Love and Honor,
Jason Osborne

March 16, 2020 6:03 p.m. - From the President

Dear Miami Staff,

Today, I met with University leaders to finalize a plan to follow the guidance of the Governor and the Ohio Department of Health for all Ohio businesses to identify as many employees as possible to work from home. Starting tonight with the third shift which begins at 10:00 p.m., the remote work plan will go into effect. If you have been designated as essential staff you are expected to report to campus to work as scheduled. If you have not been informed that you are essential staff, you should plan to work from home until further notice. If you have any questions please contact your supervisor or Human Resources at 513-529-3131. All personnel designated as essential staff are expected to report.

We are grateful for your help and support in these challenging times. We will continue to communicate with staff through emails and on our www.miamioh.edu/coronavirus.

Love and Honor,

Gregory P. Crawford
President


Sunday, March 15, 2020 8:32 p.m. - From the Provost

Colleagues,

The President’s Executive Cabinet (PEC) and other leadership across the university have been working all weekend to plan for what for whatever unknowns may come our way in the next week. This includes helping students move out of residence halls and return to permanent residences, and contingency planning for our faculty and staff. It is difficult to believe that it was less than a week ago that we asked everyone to move to remote instruction. We as a community must continue to support and encourage each other, question everything we do in the light of current public health needs, and engage in patience and self care when anxiety and fear are understandable human responses. Eventually, this will pass and we will emerge from this crisis intact, but to get there, we must do the right thing by limiting interpersonal contact. We will emerge from this crisis intact. Looking forward, we will be different, but we will remain a vibrant, strong, and student-focused residential lberal arts university, a Public Ivy, with a bright future and the same core values as before. Thanks to everyone for making a difference.

Topics for this evening:

  • Do everything possible to help facilitate students working remotely
  • Make sure we are communicating with students about clinical placements, internships, licensure requirements—even when the future isn't entirely certain
  • Limit nonessential face-to-face meetings
  • Limit nonessential searches within Academic Affairs
  • Research facilities and university remain open

Help students go home or work remotely where possible:

We must do everything we can to allow students to leave campus quickly and to be safe in this fast-moving time.

  • No faculty may require students to remain on campus for any reason- labs, clinicals, studios, etc.
  • No faculty member can require students to assume an undue burden by purchasing equipment, licenses, supplies, etc. aside from those similar to what is routinely required for face-to-face sections.
  • Do your best to help students achieve the learning objectives of your courses without undue cost, technological burdens, etc.
Please help us in getting this message out to your students. We can not require students to potentially risk their health in this moment because of unreasonable expectations.

Reassure our students who are nervous about internships, clinicals, practica, and capstone projects

For all faculty and leaders who are engaged with supervision of internships, clinical practica, or other state licensure requirements, please communicate with your students, even though all the answers are not known at this time.

There will be significant anxiety, particularly for those students who are expecting to graduate and obtain licensure. Reassure them we are and will do all we can to work with licensure boards. Given the scope of this global public health and state administrative messaging—I do not anticipate that there will be irrational expectations on students who were affected by measures taken by the country, state and University. In fact, some of us have heard supportive comments from state agencies that rigid expectations will likely be relaxed this year where public health measures have interfered with a student’s ability to complete hours.

It is important that you let us know your concerns so that we can advocate with the appropriate state agency, but understand, most agencies may not have answers for a few weeks yet.

If there are independent study or capstone experiences students need to graduate, please work to allow students flexibility in achieving objectives remotely and without imposing unreasonable burdens.

Limit non-essential face to face meetings, provide alternative remote options for people to attend meetings

Ohio State Department of Health Director Amy Acton has told us throughout the week that COVID-19 has more than likely already spread within all of our communities already. As expected, we are seeing cases within Ohio increase dramatically. Although numbers remain small, the path of this virus is now predictable and the only way to limit spread is to limit human contact, both at work and outside of work. We must all make tough personal decisions in this moment for the greater public health so that serious complications due to this virus doesn’t overwhelm our health system capabilities. Toward that end, I would ask each one of you to immediately limit nonessential face-to-face or in-person meetings. Department meetings, research talks, lab meetings, etc. should be curtailed to essential only, allowing people to join through WebEx or other technology as needed.

Prioritize ongoing searches, with essential searches utilizing remote meeting technology

I also ask that all faculty, administrative, and staff searches should be evaluated and categorized as essential or non-essential. I am defining essential to mean critical to the ability of the university to continue operation. Those designated essential should utilize WebEx or other remote meeting technology as travel is likely the largest risk to personal and public health. Please delay or cancel non-essential searches.

The university is still open for business

As long as we can maintain campus operations, research facilities and all on campus services will remain operational and accessible, although it is likely that buildings will be locked and key card access will be required. If you come to campus, maintain social distancing and all other preventative measures. Our library facilities are operational, although we will limit walk-in services and access to non-Miami individuals in an effort to keep our staff healthy. Remember that we need to keep teaching, researching, and serving our public mission. Please continue doing all you need to do, but do it without unnecessary person to person contact where possible.

Love and Honor,
Jason Osborne


Friday, March 13, 2020 6:23 p.m. - From the Provost and SVP for Finance and Business Services

Dear Miami Community,

This has been a long and difficult week for many in our University community. The welfare of our faculty and staff remains our highest priority as we work to meet our responsibilities. This unprecedented COVID-19 outbreak presents new challenges for our employees and their families and we are committed to supporting you.

Parents of K-12-aged children in our University community are facing special challenges as they work to arrange child-care. We understand that many daycare centers are also starting to close.

As part of our COVID-19 support efforts, on Monday, the University will credit each employee with an additional five days of emergency leave. Emergency leave days may be used in the unfortunate event you or a family member become ill or you need to provide short-term child care because of the unexpected school closures.

Unclassified staff and faculty may use emergency leave days in half-day or whole day increments and should be reported as sick leave on your monthly leave report with a comment of "COVID19." Hourly paid staff may use emergency leave days in four- or eight-hour increments and should be reported as sick leave and must include the Kronos comment code "COVID19." Please follow your normal absence reporting procedures.

Employees without sufficient paid leave balances may use up to ten unearned sick leave days in case they or a family member become ill. These ten days will be repaid as sick leave days are earned.

Please remember, if you are ill -stay home. If you believe you have been exposed to the virus, follow your normal absence reporting procedures. You will be directed to the appropriate health care or board of health facility to determine whether you should be quarantined or are able to return to work.

We are deeply grateful for the efforts of our employees and your commitment to serving our students and community. We thank you for supporting those employees, families, colleagues, and friends who may be impacted by the virus.

For the most current information, refer to this website. If you have questions, please contact the Benefits Office at 513-529-3926.

Love and Honor,

Dr. Jason Osborne, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs

Dr. David Creamer, Senior Vice President for Finance and Business Services


Thursday, March 12, 2020 7:09 p.m. - From the Provost

Colleagues,

Topics for today:

  1. Study abroad cancelled, students recalled
  2. Support for remote teaching
  3. Support for students with disabilities
  4. Submitting information about IT issues

We made it through Thursday! I know that for many of you, this is your first experience with remote delivery of instruction and we are all learning a lot along the way. The last several days have us all on a steep learning curve but I know that we can and will get through this together as a community. If I could wish one thing for each of us, it is that we try and find the humor in these trying situations and celebrate any and all victories.

Here are some updates about what is happening around campus:

Study abroad cancelled, students recalled

Late last night, we made the decision to recall our students from their overseas studies. Prior to President Trump’s address to the nation last night, bringing them back to campus was the last option we wished to pursue. With the heightened risks around European travel and new CDC regulations, we had to prioritize getting our students home safely and quickly. We regret having to interrupt their time abroad and be assured that we will work with the impacted students to ensure their semester can be completed successfully.

Support for Remote Teaching:

ELearning Miami, eCampus Regionals, Center for Teaching Excellence and other units have been working feverishly to provide resources for faculty and students in this time of remote delivery of instruction. The Continuity of Education website is being frequently enhanced, and a survey is being sent to all faculty to gain insights on additional forms of support that are needed.

Please only university supported software and tools, as that allows us to be more effective with supporting you. Also, those official packages are better suited to meeting the accessibility needs of our students.

Tutoring and Writing Center Consultations:

The Howe Center for Writing Excellence has posted some resources on our website about teaching writing online, and it is now offering fully online writing center consultations so that your students can get the support they need.

The Rinella Learning Assistance Center is still offering subject area tutoring in person. Remote tutoring opportunities will be available beginning next Tuesday.

Support for Students with Disabilities:

The Miller Center for Student Disability Services is proactively contacting faculty who have students with visual and hearing disabilities to provide support. If you encounter a barrier relating to accessibility and accommodations for students with disabilities, you are encouraged to complete the Barrier Form.

IT Issues:

We know that some faculty experienced challenges relating to holding classes via Webex yesterday. IT Services has been working with Cisco to troubleshoot these problems so that the system will work well in the future.  Faculty are encouraged to complete Help Desk Tickets when they experience difficulties so that IT can track salient and systemic problems and address them expeditiously. The Help Desk contact information is 529-7900, or you can communicate by chat via MiamiOH.edu/ITChat. IT Services will be issuing a survey to gather additional input so that they can continuously work to improve our technology systems.

Love and Honor,

Jason Osborne
Provost


Wednesday, March 11, 2020 9:53 a.m. - From the President
New Travel Restrictions & Reporting Requirements

Dear Miami Students, Faculty and Staff,

Following Governor DeWine’s recommendations at his news conference yesterday - https://ohiochannel.org/collections/governor-mike-dewine- the University is announcing the following new travel restrictions and reporting requirements:

University Sponsored or Supported Travel

All University sponsored or supported international travel for students, faculty and staff is suspended for the balance of the spring semester. 

All University sponsored or supported domestic travel is limited to essential travel and must be approved by the divisional vice-president. 

Personal Travel

All Miami faculty, staff and students are urged to closely evaluate the risks of all personal travel (domestic, international or cruise ship) and to change or cancel personal travel plans as appropriate.

Those employees and students who do decide to travel internationally are required to report their travel to the University, before departure, at the following email address travel@miamioh.edu.  When reporting your personal travel please provide the following information:

  • Name
  • Travel Dates
  • Countries and Cities
  • Cities of U.S. departure and entry

The guidelines associated with travel to high-risk countries and the process for subsequent reentry into the United States may change rapidly and without notice. It is possible that you may be required to self-monitor your health upon your return. This can be as simple as monitoring and reporting temperatures twice a day for 14 days or being quarantined or isolated. In addition to any health monitoring or quarantine, employees and staff who travel internationally may be required to be screened by University Health Services upon return. 

Please watch for updates and changes in the need to report personal travel as circumstances may change over the coming weeks or while you are traveling abroad. This information and all other COVID-19 updates can be found on this website.

Thank you for your patience as we work together to navigate these unprecedented events and for your cooperation in taking the steps necessary to protect the health and safety of our Miami community.

Love and Honor,
Gregory P. Crawford
President


Tuesday, March 10, 2020 5:52 p.m. - From the Provost

Dear Colleagues,

As President Crawford outlined in his email today, we continue to face a rapidly changing and unprecedented environment. We are attempting to balance the need to protect public health and our need to serve our educational mission. As Governor DeWine said in his address this afternoon, the choices we make now will determine how well we can contain the spread of COVID-19.

I want to reiterate that we do not currently have any active cases on campus nor do we have any persons under investigation. There are no cases we are aware of in Butler County. We are not closing, cancelling classes, or quarantining campus. However, out of an abundance of caution, effective 8:00 AM Wednesday, March 11th, we are changing to remote delivery of instruction.

Yesterday, University Senate endorsed a resolution stating “... all instructional staff must ensure they are prepared to deliver their classes remotely through Canvas, by accomplishing the following steps:

  1. Ensuring each class section they are responsible for has a Canvas section that includes;
    1. the course syllabus;
    2. grades earned for each student on each assignment for the current semester;
    3. announcements to students enrolled in each section, including the attendance policy as amended by the Sense of the Senate Resolution;
    4. assignments, quizzes, and other types of activities for the balance of the semester.
  2. Providing students with the information to access the Canvas site for the course.”

All faculty must immediately focus on transitioning their classes to remote delivery of instruction. Note that we are not requiring each class section to become a fully realized online learning environment overnight. We do require that you have regular interactions with your students, to give assignments and assessments, to grade, and provide feedback. This can happen through Canvas in a variety of ways that can be as simple as sending and receiving emails.

As I noted in my message to the community on Monday, we are providing significant support to faculty in the form of peer mentors, drop in sessions, online step-by-step guides, etc. My sense from the discussion in the Senate yesterday, is that our faculty are highly competent and are ready to rise to this challenge. We are elite teacher-scholars and our students deserve nothing but the best we can offer. If you have a challenging course or lab section, consider what the learning outcomes would be for those labs or courses, and consider how students might achieve those goals without access to studios, labs, and/or facilities.

To be clear, we will deliver our curriculum remotely until spring break (March 23-27). At that point, we will need to sustain our social distancing strategy. We will continue remote delivery of curriculum for at least two weeks after spring break (March 30- April 10). We will be continuously evaluating this plan to return to face-to-face instruction after as this situation evolves. We hope that our actions now will enable us to resume normal operations and to finish the semester together.

As we prepared for this development, we in Academic Affairs have been meeting since Sunday to look at continuity planning:

Sunday, March 8:

  • The deans and other academic affairs leaders met to identify key goals and strategies to help our campus prepare for potential disruption of on-campus operations.

Monday, March 9:

  • divisional representatives met to be trained on how to pull data from canvas that will identify what sections or faculty might need support;
  • the President’s Executive Committee met to discuss preparedness throughout the entire campus operation;
  • University Senate discussed COVID-19 and institutional preparation.

Today, March 10:

  • held a meeting of academic affairs leaders to continue planning for all eventualities related to COVID-19;
  • asked all department chairs to identify faculty members who are already skilled in these areas, and who can quickly provide peer mentoring to their colleagues;
  • announce drop-in sessions where faculty can come receive individualized mentoring in these areas as needed;
  • preparing detailed online resources to support these goals;
  • identifying help-lines to call for support with Canvas;
  • hosted a discussion to discuss these and other strategies.
  • distribute a list of “Do’s and Don’ts” from our Center for Teaching Excellence that will help you identify some easy good practices to use with remote delivery of course content, and to avoid pitfalls;
  • begin hosting drop-in sessions for Canvas and remote delivery of course content;
  • IT services will hold a limited test of systems and work-from-home capability to begin identifying areas of concern.

On Wednesday, March 11, we will:

  • distribute a list of “Do’s and Don’ts” from our Center for Teaching Excellence that will help you identify some easy good practices to use with remote delivery of course content, and to avoid pitfalls;
  • begin hosting drop-in sessions for Canvas and remote delivery of course content;
  • IT services will hold a limited test of systems and work-from-home capability to begin identifying areas of concern.

By Friday, March 13, we will:

  • send department chairs a list of course sections do not appear to be prepared to the level needed; and
  • finalize a plan for advising and registration in the event in-person advising is not possible.

To reiterate President Crawford's message earlier this afternoon, we will continue to work closely with public health officials to monitor and evaluate the spread of the COVID-19 virus. This is a quickly evolving situation and we must all be ready to act to safeguard the health of the Miami community. The University will be continuously assessing the situation over the coming days and weeks.

We will keep everyone informed through this website. If you have any questions please call the University’s call center at 513-529-9000 between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. today or 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. tomorrow.

Love and Honor,
Jason Osborne


Monday, March 9, 2020 10:04 p.m. - From the Provost

Colleagues,

As you saw in the message from President Crawford this evening, we, as an institution of higher education, are faced with a significant challenge. The State of Ohio has now confirmed cases of the Novel Corona Virus (COVID-19) and Governor DeWine has declared a state of emergency to enable agencies to coordinate a response and to mobilize resources.

This is not a time to panic. It is time to show that we can respond to this moment in positive and constructive ways. Earlier this afternoon our University Senate passed two “Sense of the Senate” resolutions that clearly affirm our core institutional values. President Crawford and I endorse both of these resolutions.

The first resolution clearly states that we as a community care about the health and well-being of all of our members. We urge faculty, staff, and students to stay home when ill to avoid spreading any contagion. This resolution further affirms that it is not in line with our core values to penalize students for staying home from class if ill, and that we as teacher scholars commit to accommodate reasonable needs arising from illness. It is time for each faculty member to modify attendance policies to accommodate any student who is sick, allowing them to make academic progress without penalty for doing the right thing for our public health. 

The second resolution reinforces our commitment to being prepared to serve our students in the event our access to campus is limited or disrupted. This resolution states that, no later than March 20, “... all instructional staff must ensure they are prepared to deliver their classes remotely through Canvas, by accomplishing the following steps:

  1. Ensuring each class section they are responsible for has a Canvas section that includes;
  2. the course syllabus;
  3. grades earned for each student on each assignment for the current semester;
  4. announcements to students enrolled in each section, including the attendance policy as amended by the Sense of the Senate Resolution;
  5. assignments, quizzes, and other types of activities for the balance of the semester.
  6. Providing students with the information to access the Canvas site for the course.”

Guidance released by the US Department of Education indicates that these are the minimum requirements to accommodate students when classes are temporarily disrupted by events such as COVID-19. This is remote delivery of instruction and not a fully realized online class and we ask you to meet these minimum requirements. To help every faculty member accomplish this goal, we have taken the following steps:

Sunday, March 8:

  • The deans and other academic affairs leaders met to identify key goals and strategies to help our campus prepare for potential disruption of on-campus operations.

Today:

  • divisional representatives met to be trained on how to pull data from canvas that will identify what sections or faculty might need support;
  • the President’s Executive Committee met to discuss preparedness throughout the entire campus operation;
  • University Senate discussed COVID and institutional preparation.

Here is what we will do in the coming days:

On Tuesday, March 10, we will:

  • hold a meeting of academic affairs leaders to continue planning for all eventualities related to COVID-19;
  • ask all department chairs to identify faculty members who are already skilled in these areas, and who can quickly provide peer mentoring to their colleagues;
  • announce drop-in sessions where faculty can come receive individualized mentoring in these areas as needed;
  • prepare detailed online resources to support these goals;
  • identify help-lines to call for support with Canvas;
  • host a discussion immediately following Faculty Assembly (March 10, 4:45 pm - Shriver 104) to discuss these and other strategies.

On Wednesday, March 11, we will:

  • distribute a list of “Do’s and Don’ts” from our Center for Teaching Excellence that will help you identify some easy good practices to use with remote delivery of course content, and to avoid pitfalls;
  • begin hosting drop-in sessions for Canvas and remote delivery of course content;
  • IT services will hold a limited test of systems and work-from-home capability to begin identifying areas of concern.

By Friday, March 13, we will:

  • send department chairs a list of course sections do not appear to be prepared to the level needed; and
  • finalize a plan for advising and registration in the event in-person advising is not possible.

I hope that you will please join us tomorrow for Faculty Assembly beginning at 4:15 pm and stay for a brief update immediately following, when Butler County Health Commissioner Jenny Bailer will join us to discuss university preparations related to COVID-19 and we can begin to answer your questions and concerns. 

Love and Honor,
Jason Osborne


Wednesday, March 4, 2020 10:55 a.m. - From the Provost and SVP for Finance and Business Services
COVID-19 Travel Cancellations and Reporting

Dear Faculty and Staff,

Last Wednesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that the global spread of the new coronavirus (COVID-19) makes it almost certain the United States will experience an outbreak. Miami University is closely monitoring COVID-19 developments, nationally and internationally, in conjunction with Tri-Health, the Butler County and Ohio departments of health and the CDC.

Protecting the health and safety of all members of our community is our highest priority.

Containing the spread of a contagious disease presents real challenges. The CDC recommends cancelling all non-essential travel to China, Italy, Iran and South Korea due to significant COVID-19 outbreaks in those countries.

In response to the CDC recommendations, colleges and universities across the U.S. have begun cancelling study abroad and foreign travel. Miami is no exception.

University Travel Cancellations

Earlier this year the University canceled all University-sponsored travel to China for the balance of the semester. Following the recommendations of the CDC, the University is now also canceling all University-sponsored travel to South Korea, Italy, and Iran for the balance of the semester. We will continue to follow the recommendations of the CDC when deciding whether countries should be added to or removed from the travel cancellation list. Find the most up-to-date information on CDC Level 3 travel warnings.

Travel Reporting

The global outbreak is spreading rapidly and things are changing almost daily. We are asking all faculty and staff to report any planned academic travel to these countries (China, Italy, Iran and South Korea). To report any planned Spring Semester academic travel to China, Italy, Iran or South Korea (e.g. conferences, invited lectures, research trips), go to this page and sign in with your Miami unique ID and password.

A number of other countries, including the U.S. have also reported cases of COVID-19. The CDC is also recommending that travelers reconsider cruise ship voyages into or within Asia.

The guidelines associated with travel to high-risk countries and the process for subsequent reentry into the United States may change rapidly and without notice. It is possible that you may be required to self-monitor your health upon your return. This can be as simple as monitoring and reporting temperatures twice a day for 14 days; however, higher-risk individuals may be quarantined or isolated. It is important to consider the benefits vs. the risks of travelling abroad.

Please be alert for updates and changes in the need to report travel as circumstances may change over the coming weeks or while you are traveling abroad.

Prevention

The best prevention for coronavirus, the flu, or the common cold is to practice good personal hygiene:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. It is especially important to wash your hands:
    • Before, during, and after you prepare food.
    • Before you eat and after you use the bathroom.
    • After handling cash.
    • More frequently when someone in your house is sick.
    • Before/after smoking/vaping.
    • Before/after using public computers.
  • Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with your arm.
  • Frequently clean doorknobs, light switches, and other commonly touched areas with disinfectant wipes.
  • Avoid contact with people who are ill.
  • Stay home from work or school if you are ill.

Flu Shots

It is flu and respiratory disease season. The CDC recommends getting a flu vaccine if you have not already done so this season, taking everyday preventive actions to help stop the spread of germs, and taking flu antivirals if prescribed.

Thank you for doing all that you can to protect your health and the health of the Miami University community. We also thank you in advance for remembering to be kind: Some of our faculty, staff and students have family members, close colleagues and/or friends in places that are experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks and may need support.

Global Initiatives staff are available if you have questions or concerns about your international travel, at global@MiamiOH.edu or 513-529-8600. We will continue to post updates, FAQs, and resources on this website as needed.

If you have additional questions or suggestions, please send them to cmt@miamioh.edu.

For information on the role of the University's Institutional Response Team and its Crisis Management Team in response to this health emergency, please see the attached document.

Jason Osborne
Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs

David Creamer
Senior Vice President for Finance and Business Services


Wednesday, January 29, 2020 9:21 a.m. - From the Provost

Colleagues,

As President Crawford addressed in his message yesterday evening, we are working closely with the Butler County Health District and the Ohio Department of Health to ensure we are taking all reasonable actions to support students feeling unwell and to prevent spread of disease. We are also reaching out to every person at Miami who has traveled to China in the past two weeks. Right now, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are labeling the Novel Coronavirus as “low risk” and we are responding accordingly.

Our Code of Love and Honor states that we demonstrate Love and Honor “by supporting and caring for [our] fellow Miamians." This means that we treat our fellow Miamians with care and compassion, even when (or especially when) we are anxious or afraid. It is bad enough to be unwell under any circumstance. Imagine how frightening it must be to feel unwell while at college in a foreign country. Many of our students from China must also be very worried about their loved ones back home. I urge each of you to treat all members of our community with compassion rather than suspicion.

During this time, which happens to also be peak cold and influenza season, we urge faculty to provide as much accommodation as soon as possible for students who are unwell or who are wanting to avoid physically attending class. We encourage academic divisions and departments to help their faculty implement temporary accommodations such as:

  • Implementing less restrictive attendance policies;
  • Providing alternative assignments, readings, etc. to allow mastery of content delivered in class;
  • Using modern IT tools such as Canvas or WebEx to live stream classes, to provide students collaborative/groupwork opportunities remotely, or to provide asynchronous access to recorded material.

In addition to the information found on Miami’s website and the CDC’s website, Miami has set up a call center to address any general questions or concerns at 513-529-9000. If you are concerned that a student in your class is ill and should see a physician, encourage them to call Student Health Services (513-529-3000) prior to walking over, so the staff at the health center can be prepared to receive the student. Please share these points with colleagues, students, or parents who reach out to you directly.

As always, we thank you for your continued support of all of our students in their academic success.

Love and Honor,
Jason

To the Miami Community

Friday, July 31, 2020 10:18 a.m. - A message from the Safe Return to Campus Planning Committee

Dear Miami Community,

This week you received an email announcing that classes would begin, as planned, on August 17, but would begin remotely and not on-campus. This decision to start remotely had a differential impact on people within our community. Thank you to those of you who shared that impact with our committee.

We are grappling with the same uncertainty and changing landscape as you are. It isn’t normal, it isn’t comfortable, and it isn’t ending anytime soon. We encourage you to keep reaching out and talking to people in your community; these are not easy conversations to have, but they are worth it. Please keep reaching out to us, too, and know that as a University, we are listening and hoping for your collaboration as we navigate this together. 

As we continue to look forward to the start of fall semester, the Safe Return to Campus Planning and Coordinating Committee is providing input and feedback as parts of our plan continue to evolve. We want to share with you four different areas where you can expect more change and information in the coming weeks:

  1. Testing and Contact Tracing
  2. Symptom Tracking and Absence Reporting
  3. COVID and Health Education
  4. Mental Health

Testing and Contact Tracing

We are coordinating with Tri-Health to build a sustained and systematic approach to testing on campus. We are also coordinating with the Butler County Health District on a reporting procedure and contact tracing efforts. And, in an effort to reduce the spread of this virus within our community, it will be important for all of us to participate in their efforts to trace that spread among your contacts. 

These partnerships are key elements of our plan to return to campus and details will be communicated as soon as possible. At this time we are not requiring a negative test upon arrival, but it will be important for all of us on campus to do daily symptom checks and be tested by a health care provider or at the university health center if symptoms are present.

Symptom Tracking and Absence Reporting

We are currently investigating systems that support individuals in assessing and tracking their personal health as it relates to COVID-19 symptoms. Additionally, a way to notify the institution of possible exposure related absences is under development for all faculty, staff, and students. 

COVID and Health Education

Along with testing, we are working on ways to educate members of our community about how campus life will be different while COVID is present and what we can all do to stay healthy together. The Healthy Together Pledge to the Community is one way that we hope to clearly convey the responsibilities of each of us-students, faculty, and staff alike. We are also providing advice and feedback on the creation of educational modules on topics such as how to check symptoms and the reasons we cover our faces and physically distance when around others.

Mental Health

Many of you have asked about how we will care for the Mental Health of students this semester. You’re right to wonder and express concern; COVID-19 has changed the ways in which mental health services can be provided, what services are needed, and also the demand for these services. We have been actively thinking and planning for ways in which we can support our community in the coming semester.  These plans are evolving to meet the changing needs, and are summarized here and you can find more information on the Student Counseling Services website.

We are all facing hard decisions about when and how to come back to campus. As you have questions about how to make your personal decision for fall semester, please check the FAQ page or contact the temporary phone bank at 513-529-9000. If you have ideas or concerns about the university plans to return, you can still submit them via our website. 

Love and Honor,
Co-chairs, Dana Cox and Gwen Fears


Monday, July 27, 2020 - Phased-In Return to Campus Plans

Due to the changing dynamics of the COVID-19 virus in Ohio and throughout the United States, Miami University is now offering a variety of options to Oxford students for a phased-in approach to the start of the fall semester.

Classes begin as scheduled Aug 17 for all students but will begin with all undergraduate classes on the Oxford campus being held online/remotely until at least Sept. 21. Undergraduate classes on Miami’s Regional campuses will also begin remotely on Aug 17.

“As a university, we must continue to be flexible and adaptable with the health and safety of our community as our first priority,” wrote President Greg Crawford in a letter to Oxford students.

“When we began planning last spring, we had hoped that the COVID-19 pandemic would be in significant decline before classes were scheduled to begin. Instead, cases are rising in many states,” he wrote. “With over 40% of our Oxford students coming from outside Ohio, we’ve been monitoring the situation closely.”

Miami is working with Butler county public health officials and following the guidance and directives of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Ohio Department of Health, and Governor Mike DeWine.

"Governor DeWine and his team have been wonderful partners through these turbulent times. I want to thank Governor DeWine for his leadership and continued support of higher education," said Crawford.

“We have heard from students and their families, faculty, and staff who are excited to return to campus and from those who have concerns about returning. This means offering our students several options for the fall semester,” Crawford wrote.

Following the recommended best practices for opening universities, Miami will sequence the return to campus in multiple phases.

“This will give us the opportunity to review lessons learned at each interval and adapt accordingly,” Crawford added.

“In the end, we hope, this will provide the best opportunity for a successful return to the Oxford campus later this fall,” Crawford said.

He added, "We expect students planning to live off-campus in Oxford will begin returning in advance of the August 17 start of classes. We encourage them to consider residing at home if circumstances permit or if they have significant health or family concerns."

Move-in for Oxford undergraduate students living in the residence halls will begin Sept. 14 in a phased-in manner.

Graduate students will begin on-campus classes on August 17, and research activities will continue as planned.

Students who elect to return this fall will be required to sign a health and safety pledge.

Students will also have the option to construct a fully remote semester, and newly admitted and transfer students to the Oxford campus may elect to postpone their enrollment for a semester or for a year.

Oxford undergraduate students and their families will choose from one of three options described in the letter to Oxford students.

More information about Miami University’s Healthy Together Plan for return-to-campus this fall can be found online.


Tuesday, July 7, 2020 4:49 p.m. - President Crawford Announces Healthy Together Plan

Dear Miami community,

I wish to introduce to you today the Miami University Healthy Together Plan. The Healthy Together Plan consists of information, policies, and guidelines focused on our collective health as a community and fulfilling our mission of delivering high-quality educational experiences this fall semester in the COVID-19 era. 

We expect COVID-19 will be with us for the foreseeable future and are planning accordingly. Although no one can guarantee a campus that is free of the virus, we are making several important changes to help reduce the risks. The risk of exposure and possible infection is real and present in any community environment where large numbers of people are regularly interacting, including college campuses. In order to minimize the risk of exposure and infection, we all must remember that the health of each of us depends on the health of all of us.

Our ability to return and share the Miami Experience this fall depends to a great extent on how committed we are to respect and care for one another and the communities of Oxford, Hamilton, Middletown, West Chester, and Luxembourg. Miamians, all of us together, must support and care for each other in these times when our nation and the world are striving to find ways to combat COVID-19.

The Healthy Together Plan rests upon what we know today. We will continue to monitor the situation every day and adjust and iterate the plan as required. It is flexible enough to respond to the quickly changing landscape. The plan was created with our own expertise on our campuses, TriHealth as our partner in student health, the Butler County Health District our partner in public health, the City of Oxford, our collaborations through the Inter-University Council (all 14 public institutions in higher education in Ohio), and the Ohio Department of Health. We will continue to collaborate. We are relying on the guidance and directives of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Governor Mike DeWine, and the Ohio Department of Health as we make these important decisions. All of Ohio’s public universities are working together to develop safety guidelines for the return to our campuses.

The Healthy Together Plan is the product of countless hours of work from faculty, staff, students, external partners, and state health organizations. I am grateful to them and to the members of the Safe Return to Campus Planning and Coordinating Committee who gathered your input, heard your concerns, and incorporated your ideas. Thank you to co-chairs Dr. Dana Cox and Dr. Gwen Fears for your leadership. 

Many of you have asked about plans for the September Commencement celebration for the class of 2020, Homecoming, Family Weekend, and fall athletics. We will have updates on these larger events no later than July 17.

I want to thank the many employees who have been working on our campuses these last few months. We recognize and admire your dedication. In August, our campuses will be as beautiful and welcoming as they have ever been, but the ways we work, learn, and socialize on them will be very different.

Nevertheless, in this new “normal” of responding to the impact of COVID-19, I am confident that:

  • Our faculty are developing high-quality creative course offerings using a wide variety of delivery methods that will deliver the renowned personal top-tier education that is Miami’s mission.
  • Our health team is establishing detailed protocols and is ready to respond to the health needs of our Miami community, in close collaboration with our city and health partners.
  • Our staff is ready to execute the return-to-campus plans with the care that makes Miami our beautiful home.
  • Our cities and communities where we live, learn, and work are our partners, and we all want to maintain healthy communities for all of us.
  • Our plan is flexible. As the situation changes, so will our plan. It is iterative and adaptive to changes in this dynamic environment.

Please visit the Healthy Together website for detailed information. For significant or major changes in the plan, we will immediately message the community. Success will take all of us together.

With admiration and gratitude for all that you have done for Miami during these trying times,

In Love and Honor,

Greg Crawford
President


Wednesday, June 17, 2020 10:48 a.m. - From the Safe Return to Campus Planning and Coordinating Committee

Dear Miami Community,

We are so grateful to all of you for providing us with your comments, ideas, questions and concerns. We are continually reviewing the feedback submitted via our website and we hope it continues. This feedback has been instrumental in helping our committee prioritize and focus attention on areas that you feel are urgent and important. We are also grateful to those of you who have reached out to committee members and provided your voice. Know that you are represented in each of our meetings and that you have been heard.

One of the themes that we have identified is a desire for information about how we will engage with one another in the classroom and online. There are also many concerns about personal safety and worries about whether everyone will adhere to expectations of social distancing and face coverings. We recognize that these are important issues, and we will communicate more with you soon.

This past week we engaged in several focused and targeted discussions in an effort to closely examine and learn more about some key topics. An example of one of these targeted discussions was around the information released to students outlining plans for moving into the residence halls on campus. (You can read this announcement under the announcements tab, "To Students and Families.") The SR2C provided thoughtful feedback and suggestions on how that plan was to be communicated and further developed over the summer. This plan has a ripple effect on multiple areas of campus, and it was important for our committee to understand that impact from many perspectives.

We are also working with the Office of University Communications and Marketing (UCM) on a more strategic communication plan. We will continue to use the questions you are submitting to inform the continued development of our website to better communicate important information and decisions as they are made.

There are many decisions to be made in the coming weeks. Your priorities are our priorities. Please continue to offer your creative ideas, alert us to new priorities, and ask questions. As new information is available, we will communicate it as quickly and effectively as possible.

Love and Honor,

Co-chairs: Dana Cox and Gwen Fears


Wednesday, June 10, 2020 8:47 a.m. - From the Safe Return to Campus Planning and Coordinating Committee

Dear Miami Community,

The Safe Return to Campus Planning and Coordinating Committee had a productive and busy week. As you are aware, the committee’s website launched last week, just in time for the announcement about the fall academic calendar.

As that announcement made its way around our community, we were pleased that many of you found the button for the feedback form on that page and jotted us a note about your concerns, ideas, and continued questions. You will now find a link to the revised academic calendar as well.

We read every message that comes across. This week, we noticed common themes of concern emerge like personal health, academic flexibility, and the status of public events.

From the feedback we are receiving from the website as well as individuals and groups of people, we are constructing a list of Frequently Asked Questions. These are helpful to us as we consider what communications are of high interest and urgency. As we are able to answer them, you will be able to find those updates on this website.

Another concern that was expressed was the lack of graduate student representation on our committee. It was always our intention and we are pleased to announce that Brenda Tyrrell has agreed to join us.

We have also launched a scientific review team tasked with 1) monitoring current research on mainstream mitigation strategies such as hand washing and physical distancing; and 2) constructing detailed reviews of literature on emerging topics, such as drinking fountain usage.

With the academic calendar set, we are looking forward to hearing more of your ideas and communicating regular updates to you.

Love and Honor,

Co-chairs: Dana Cox and Gwen Fears


Friday, June 5, 2020 1:08 p.m. - Plans to Return to Campus From the President

Dear Miami Community,

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted us all and has created great uncertainty, and all of us are asking what the fall will look like. Today I write to update you on our planning and preparations.

We expect that COVID-19 will be with us for the foreseeable future and are planning accordingly. This fall, we plan to welcome our returning students and incoming first-year students to our campuses, our residence halls and to our classrooms. Our dedicated faculty are developing a full range of flexible and engaging curriculum delivery options to ensure the best possible experience for our students.

While our primary emphasis will always be on in-person, personal interaction, we must be creative and adaptable to meet public health measures such as face-coverings and physical distancing requirements. We will selectively employ high quality, evidence-based hybrid approaches where needed, particularly to accommodate students who may need to self-isolate, and those whose health conditions prevent a return to the classroom. In some cases, we may need to have courses online due to social distancing and space limitations. Regardless of the method of delivery, we are committed to providing a Miami-quality education, continuing our relationship-driven, liberal arts foundation, experiential-rich education, founded on character and intellect.

After reviewing our academic calendar and considering scenarios to provide the highest probability of a full and healthy semester on campus, we determined that eliminating travel back and forth to campus at Thanksgiving is the best option for the safety and health of our students and their families, and for our faculty and staff. Therefore, we are planning to begin the fall semester one week early on Monday, August 17, 2020 and to complete all classes before Thanksgiving break, eliminating the need for students to return to complete the semester. Following Thanksgiving, all final examinations will be completed remotely. On campus accommodations will be made for those students in the residence halls who cannot depart. Information on December Commencement will be provided at a later date.

As health and safety are always paramount, we continue to work with local public health officials and follow the guidance and directives of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Governor Mike DeWine, and the Ohio Department of Health to safeguard the health of students, faculty, staff and visitors to our campuses. We are also working closely with all of Ohio’s public universities to develop safety guidelines to facilitate the return to our campuses. Among other actions, we are planning to implement physical distancing requirements, daily health self-assessments, the use of face coverings, enhanced cleaning, partitions where appropriate, and take-out dining options. We will provide appropriate education and training on these and other actions we will be implementing.

We are also working with TriHealth, our local hospital and healthcare provider, to develop a plan for testing and have set up a system to isolate and/or quarantine residential students who may be exposed to the virus so they can continue their studies in place while protecting our students, faculty, and staff.

We have already begun a phased return to research and we will soon begin to provide more information for a phased return for other work areas as well. Coordinating our efforts is the Safe Return to Campus Planning and Coordinating Committee, co-chaired by the Chair of the Senate Executive Committee, Dana Cox, and by Gwen Fears, Assistant Vice President of Student Life. The committee is a highly accomplished and experienced team of faculty, staff and students from across our campuses, along with internal and external advisors. The committee will coordinate communication and actions among units on our campuses, and is charged to:

  1. Gather and share ideas and concerns from our community about the return of our campuses.
  2. Develop an ongoing environmental scan on other universities’ actions and national trends.
  3. Review guidance and health practices from government and agency experts for the return to face-to-face instruction, student life and activities.
  4. Provide guidance and serve as a sounding board for many ideas that are proposed around scheduling, events, logistics, equipment, testing and other issues.
  5. Investigate, track and record lessons learned from the crisis.

The committee co-chairs will provide us with weekly updates, the first of which was sent earlier this week. I encourage you to review their updates and visit the committee's web resource to stay up-to-date on our plans to return in the fall.

Miami is a caring, supportive community, and I thank you again for your support, your understanding, your patience, and especially your collaborative spirit, as we plan for the return to our campuses in the fall. We will continue to keep you updated as more becomes certain.

In Love and Honor,

Gregory P. Crawford
President


Wednesday, June 3, 2020 8:10 a.m. - From the Safe Return to Campus Planning and Coordinating Committee

Dear Miami Community,

The Safe Return to Campus (SR2C) Planning and Coordinating Committee is a broadly representative committee charged with advising the president and the President’s Executive Cabinet. Great care has been taken to assemble a diverse group. This group includes representatives from a variety of stakeholder groups—faculty, staff, students, and the Oxford community—and is assisted by both external and internal advisers on public health and safety.

Specifically, the SR2C is doing the following:

  • Coordinating efforts across all of Miami’s planning committees
  • Listening to members of our community for ideas and challenges
  • Researching what is going on elsewhere in higher education and public health
  • Reviewing and providing feedback on evolving plans with guidance from national health organizations as well as from key external advisers representing Oxford, the Inter-University Council of Ohio, the Ohio Department of Health, and local health providers
  • Collecting and disseminating proposals from around campus and providing feedback
  • Learning about Miami’s response to COVID-19 in order to understand and amplify what is working and change direction on what is not

Our committee is using a framework provided by the Inter-University Council of Ohio as a guiding document. This set of guidelines addresses the specifics of the safety of institutions of higher education. As we accomplish our goals, these guidelines will be an important way to focus our attention in the right place, and that we are taking a comprehensive view of safety on campus.

We expect that COVID-19 will be with us for the foreseeable future and are planning accordingly. We continue to work with local public health officials and follow the guidance and directives of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Governor Mike DeWine, and the Ohio Department of Health to safeguard the health of students, faculty, staff and visitors to our campuses. We have further strengthened our relationship with our health-care partner, TriHealth.

Each week, the SR2C will update you on pertinent topics and information to keep you informed of the many discussions taking place on campus. Numerous committees are working to plan for our return to campus.

In order for us to best communicate with the Miami Community, we developed a new web resource that will both collect and disseminate information about our return. Use this website as your source destination for updated information about Miami’s plans. We encourage you to provide us with feedback and to ask us questions through a form available on the website. The committee plans regular, weekly updates every Tuesday to the community beginning next week.

As Miami moves forward in the planning process, there is a lot that we do not yet know, and many decisions have not yet been made. As these important discussions continue, we want your feedback and perspective to be included. It is up to all of us in the Miami community to work together toward our return to campus.

Love and Honor,

Co-chairs: Dana Cox and Gwen Fears


Thursday, May 21, 2020 5:52 p.m. - From the President

Dear Miami Community,

I hope you and your loved ones are safe and healthy. We wanted to provide another video update to celebrate the incredible Class of 2020, honor our faculty and staff, provide a budget update, address the establishment of the Safe Return to Campus Planning and Coordinating Committee, and to share some of the inspirational stories of fellow Miamians.

A Message to the Miami Community

I thank you all for living our core values and supporting each other during these challenging times.

In Love and Honor,

Gregory P. Crawford
President


Friday, May 15, 2020 4:46 p.m. - From the President

Dear Miami Community,

This spring has shown how Miamians come together to live our values of Love and Honor, and to support one another. I am humbled to be President of this great university which has instilled such values in so many alumni, students, faculty and staff—thank you.

As we enter the summer session, we are planning to resume in-person instruction on all campuses in the fall. We continue to work with local public health officials and follow the guidance and directives of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Governor Mike DeWine, and the Ohio Department of Health to safeguard the health of students, faculty, staff and visitors to our campuses.

Miami has built strong relationships with local health officials, hospitals, government leaders, and first responders. We are collaborating with our Student Health Services experts, and we have further strengthened our relationship with our health-care partner, TriHealth, one of the top integrated health systems in Greater Cincinnati. TriHealth operates both McCullough-Hyde Memorial Hospital, as well as our full-service Student Health Center in Oxford. These relationships help us in addressing the spread of the virus and preparing our campuses for the safe return of students, faculty and staff in the fall. We also continue to work closely with the Ohio’s Inter-University Council (IUC), comprised of Ohio’s 14 public universities.

The health and safety of the Miami community is paramount, and while on campus in-person instruction is the plan for the fall, we will be prepared for various scenarios, as government direction and restrictions to protect the health and safety of our campuses must guide our decisions.

As we return to our campuses, we anticipate various safeguards and strategies: physical distancing, changes to dining facilities and how we serve food, frequent cleaning of facilities, and other actions to promote health and safety. To coordinate these planning efforts for a safe return in the fall, I have appointed a Safe Return to Campus Planning and Coordinating Committee. The Committee will be co-chaired by the Chair of the Senate Executive Committee, Dana Cox, and by Gwen Fears, Assistant Vice President for Student Life - Assessment, Planning, and Transition. They will be joined by an accomplished team of faculty, staff and students from across our campuses and will be advised by internal and external experts.

Thank you for your support and adaptability. We will continue to keep you updated as we plan for the fall.

Love and Honor,

Gregory P. Crawford
President


Thursday, May 7, 2020 1:10 p.m. - From the President

Dear Miami Community,

It is our plan and intention to return to campus in the fall. While our students are eager to start their Miami journey, or to return to visit old friends, interact with faculty, engage in research, and engage in all the experiences of our campuses, we must plan and put safety first. The planning will be coordinated by the Safe Return to Campus Planning and Coordinating Committee. The Committee will be co-chaired by the Chair of the Senate Executive Committee, Dana Cox, and by Gwen Fears, Assistant Vice President for Student Life - Assessment, Planning, and Transition. In addition, Ohio’s Inter-University Council (IUC), comprised of Ohio’s 14 public universities, has formed a committee for the safe return to Ohio’s campuses, Assistant Vice President for Health and Wellness, Steve Large, is representing Miami University.

While the stay at home order remains in effect, Ohio is reopening in stages this month. At Miami we will also begin to bring back employees to our campuses in stages. Until directed otherwise, all employees should continue their current arrangement, essential or remote, your supervisor will contact you when it is time to change the arrangement. The Crisis Management Team will be sending out additional guidance.

I invite all of you to view our virtual Commencement Experience on May 16 & 17. Created by an incredible team of alumni, staff, faculty, and Miami students, we are transforming our traditional May celebrations into a dynamic, immersive event designed to honor our graduates, showcase the Miami Experience, and be enjoyed by family, friends, and alumni from anywhere across the world. Please visit our Commencement website, and watch for this week’s Miami Matters to learn more.

I want to share how so many Miamians have generously supported our students during this time of crisis. Our Emergency Needs Funds for students has now surpassed $550,000 in contributions! Thank you so much to everyone who is working to support our students. Your efforts and gifts are greatly appreciated.

Love and Honor,

Gregory P. Crawford
President


Thursday, April 30, 2020 3:29 p.m. - From the President

Dear Miami Community,

The novel coronavirus- COVID-19- has changed our world, our country and our University in just a matter of months. We have learned about the vital importance of public health and social distancing in our organization, and have worked together to flatten the curve. We have learned to teach and work remotely and to “hangout” on Google and meet on WebEx. We are experiencing the largest social and economic upheaval in most of our lifetimes, and we are physically separated from friends and loved ones. In the face of all of this change and adversity, we have much to be proud of. We have found new talents and strengths to appreciate in ourselves and others; and developed a firm resolve to get through this together.

Monday, Governor DeWine announced the plan to reopen Ohio. The reopening will occur in stages and as a Miami employee you should continue your current work arrangement, essential or remote, until otherwise notified. Your supervisor will contact you when the arrangement is to be changed. We encourage you to stay informed regarding Ohio’s reopening. The Governor’s press conferences are available on ohiochannel.org live at 2 p.m. daily and recorded for later viewing, also please visit coronavirus.ohio.gov, which is updated each day.

To coordinate our own efforts, I have begun forming a reopening campus coordinating committee comprised of faculty, staff and students from across Miami University. The committee will oversee and coordinate the many efforts going on to safely reopen our campuses and to welcome our new and returning students this fall. We look forward to learning of their progress, and for us all to be together again soon.

Although more may be unknown than known at this point, one thing is clear. As Miamians, our efforts are focused on supporting our students - and on May 16 and 17 we will celebrate the commencement of the Class of 2020. We will do this remotely from all areas of the globe, to learn more please visit our commencement website. In September we have invited the Class of 2020 back to campus to celebrate together in person, with family, friends, and favorite faculty and staff, on September 12 and 13.

I am grateful for the support so many are sending to us from a distance. Donations to support our students have been tremendous with over $250,000 contributed to the Emergency Needs Fund to date. I am humbled as I witness the Miami Community’s compassion and support for others and for our students. This is who we are. This is what we do. We are Miamians, and together we will persevere.

Love and Honor,

Gregory P. Crawford
President


Tuesday, April 28, 2020 4:31 p.m. - From the President

Dear Miami Community,

I hope you and your loved ones are safe and healthy. We wanted to provide you with an update on where we stand and what we have done. Rather than a letter, I wanted to speak to you of what we are doing for our students, our faculty, advancing Miami during a time of change, and living our core values. I encourage you to watch this video update.

President Crawford's message to the Miami Community

I thank you all for the ways you have exemplified Miami - the ways you have lived our core values in these unprecedented times.

In Love and Honor

Gregory P. Crawford,
President


Friday, April 24, 2020 9:02 a.m. - From the Provost

Dear Miami Community,

With the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff always our top priority, we, like many universities, have decided to offer all summer classes online/remotely. During this time, we will be actively engaging the campus community to plan for safely returning to campus for fall.

Summer’s online classes will follow the typical, posted summer session schedule(s) — May 19, 2020–August 8, 2020. We will also return to our typical grading practices and deadlines. For example, students will have the ability to select credit/no credit grading but only during the early part of the session.

I want to thank the entire Miami community again for adapting to this quick shift in the way we learn and teach and for continuing Miami’s educational mission during this pandemic crisis.

In the meantime, we all look forward to a full campus come fall.

Stay safe and stay well.

Love and Honor,
Jason Osborne


Saturday, April 18, 2020 2:19 p.m. - From the President

Dear Miami Community,

I am profoundly grateful for your ability to adapt and persevere in the midst of the great challenges all of us have been experiencing — both in our own lives and throughout the world. I can never thank you enough for sustaining Miami’s educational mission and upholding our shared values while so much around us is being disrupted.

It’s hard to believe that our spring semester started only three months ago, with thoughts already turning to the graduation celebration in May. Those days are a dim memory now as we learn, teach, and work remotely.

As our government and public health leaders prepare us for the next steps, all of us must continue to adapt and persevere. No one knows what reopening the local, national, and the world economy will mean at this point. People are understandably nervous about venturing back into the workplace and the world. What will be the new normal, and how will we find our footing in it?

On a more personal level, what will that mean to our Miami community? When will we return to campus, and what changes can we expect?

We will be addressing those vital questions as we imagine what might happen in the coming months. In any case, we will continue to follow the best advice and guidance provided by Ohio Governor Mike DeWine ’69, Dr. Amy Acton, and the Ohio Department of Health.

We know it’s hard for each of you to plan the future when you don’t know what May 1 will bring, the present extent of Ohio’s stay-at-home order. We will update you as soon as we know when and how we can all safely return to our campuses, keeping in mind that students and faculty will continue remote classes through the summer term.

We still expect everyone will return to our campuses this fall, and to welcome a diverse and talented first-year class for face-to-face instruction. We are all eager to see both old friends and new faces, and our passion to educate them is elevated. And as always, nothing is more important in our decision-making than the health and well-being of every single person in our community.

What we do know is the coronavirus is having an economic impact on all, including our students and their families. We have begun distributing $27M in refunds for room, board and other fees directly to our students. Our overriding commitment is to our students, and in these challenging times, I will be taking a voluntary 25% salary reduction, and other senior leaders will be taking a voluntary 10% reduction, with the savings directed to support our students.

Many of us remember wondering how we could possibly advance during the financial crisis of 2008. Yet we did, and we will again. It wasn’t easy then, and it won’t be easy now. We will do what we always do, tap the best of who we are as Miamians. Some days that might mean you lean on others for courage; other days we look to you for strength. I recently came across this quote from our own Rita Dove ’73:

“Courage has nothing to do with our determination to be great. It has to do with what we decide in that moment when we are called upon to be more.”

You are not alone. We are not alone. Call on each other for strength and help and courage. Together we will persevere. We are One Miami.

Love and Honor,

Gregory P. Crawford
President


Wednesday, April 15, 2020 4:56 p.m. - From the President

Dear Miami Community,

I have never been more honored and humbled to be Miami’s president. The way all of you are responding to meet the challenge of this health crisis is a true act of Love and Honor—thank you for everything that you are doing, your compassion for others, patience and understanding.

Even while separated, Miami continues to live our core values of student-centered education and service, from a distance. Renate and I are delighted to join the many members of the Miami faculty and staff who are calling our students to listen to them, share the many ways we can help, and thank them for their incredible flexibility to make the rapid shift to remote instruction. We enjoy hearing their optimism, hope, and inspirational stories during these unprecedented times.

This week, Provost Jason Osborne and Senior Vice President for Finance and Business Services David Creamer provided a financial update to University Senate. I thank them and the more than 600 engaged Miami community members who joined the meeting through WebEx. These are uncertain times; we are working with University Senate, campus leadership, faculty and staff, receiving feedback from our students, and are highly engaged with Ohio’s other public universities, as we plan for the future.

We are grateful to our students and faculty for their rapid shift to remote instruction. Thank you to our staff as well who have shifted to remote delivery of student services. The Center for Career Exploration and Success continues to offer 1:1 on-demand career advising appointments and mock interviews, and has scheduled virtual career fairs. They also provide online resources, such as VMOCK, for students to upload their resume and receive a score on impact, presentation, and (career) competencies. The Miller Center for Student Disability Services is working with our students who need adjustments to existing accommodations to succeed in this new environment, providing first-time support to others and offering strategies to all their students to adapt to new technologies and needs. They have also developed a Remote Learning Accessibility Toolkit that includes accessibility resources and tips for students, faculty, and anyone who is planning to hold a university-sponsored special event remotely. The Rinella Learning Center has moved to electronic delivery of tutoring and supplemental instruction (SI) and has seen an increase in the use of SI since the start of remote learning.

Dr. Acton from the Ohio Department of Health tells us we have reached the top of the curve. Thank you for all you have done to stay at home and practice social distancing – you have made a difference; you have saved lives and together through our collective efforts, we are keeping others healthy, too. Now, however, is not the time to let our guard down, but the time to double down on safety to prevent a resurgence. We are Miami. We help, support, and care deeply about our fellow Miamians and our communities. We are in this together.

Love and Honor!

Greg


Friday, April 3, 2020 12:53 p.m. - From the President

Dear Miami Community,

As we head into April and spring semester's busiest weeks, I can't thank you enough for the creative ways you have overcome numerous obstacles so that you could successfully learn, teach, and work remotely. During this time of great uncertainty, we must be isolated and away from family, friends, and colleagues while we continue with working and learning. Although we are separated by distance, Miami carries on through your commitment and dedication. I am grateful for how you have continued to embrace our mission and stay true to our core values during these times apart.

I especially want to thank our workers who must come to campus every day to perform essential services and operations. I am also hearing many inspiring stories about brave Miamians on the front lines of this pandemic, serving others at tremendous personal risk. We thank those Miamians in health-care professions for their heroic and lifesaving work.

If you are part of the larger group that has been asked to stay home and work remotely, that can be frustrating. No doubt you want to go out and help. However, while we wait for this coronavirus to peak, the best action we can take is to stay home.

To quote Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, a 1969 Miami graduate: "We do have it within our ability to fight back. When you stop moving, it stops moving. It can't reach someone else. Each one of us must do all we can to limit our exposure. We must stop enabling this enemy."

Even within these limitations, the Miami Community is continuing to reach out.

The Miami Regionals' development team came up with a wonderful idea. They're working with their small-business partners, Raymond's Pizza and the Donut Shop, to send food and notes of appreciation to our courageous nurses, doctors, and other staff at our local hospitals. Of course, our vendors are following CDC guidelines during these deliveries.

In the midst of all that is going on, remember to take care of yourself. Enjoy spring's beauty—at a safe distance from others. Laugh a little. Exercise is good, too. Miami's Red Brick Run (and walk) is going virtual for its 41st year. You can pick any day from April 25–30 to run or walk your 5k (3.1 miles) and then upload your results. For details, go to Miami Recreation's Special Events website. I hope you can join us for this activity.

Although our spring classes are being taught remotely, we are together in Love and Honor. We are absolutely planning to be back together on campus this fall. We are One Miami, and we will fight COVID-19 together.

Stay Strong. Stay Safe. Stay Well.

In Love and Honor,

Gregory P. Crawford
President


Wednesday, April 1, 2020 3:17 p.m. - From University Communications

Dear Miami Community,

Today there was an irresponsible and cruel April Fools’ Day joke launched on social media which misrepresented important Ohio public health information, and falsely stated that Miami would not resume in person classes in the fall.

For correct information from the Governor and the Ohio Director of Health, please visit coronavirus.ohio.gov. For accurate information regarding Miami, please consult this website.

Let us assure you, Miami absolutely plans to hold classes on campus in the Fall and looks forward to welcoming a diverse and talented first year class. We are working with all of the Ohio public universities and are all planning to resume face-to-face classes on campus in the Fall.

University Communications


Monday, March 30, 2020 11:46 a.m. - From the President

Dear Miami Community,

As we begin a new week with all of us doing our part to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, I wanted to provide you with some important updates. Leaders from across the campus have been working to address commencement, pro-rated refunds for room and board, summer orientation, and credit/no credit courses.

We were all extremely disappointed with the need to cancel the commencement ceremony planned for May. Commencement is a cherished occasion for our graduates to celebrate with family, friends, faculty and staff, to have their name called, walk across the stage and to receive their diploma. Renate and I consider ourselves to be part of the Class of 2020 as well, we began at Miami when they began, during that summer four years ago. We want this to be a special celebration, and as promised we have explored creative ways to honor our graduates and to celebrate.

We envision two components to the commencement ceremonies for the class of 2020. On May 16, the actual commencement date, we are preparing a virtual recognition of our graduates, to mark the official conferment of degrees. In the fall, we are planning a weekend dedicated to celebrating and recognizing our graduates and their achievements.

The weekend of September 11, 12, and 13 will include all divisional recognition ceremonies, where the graduates will gather with their friends, families and loved ones, to have their names called and to cross the stage. Rather than a traditional main ceremony, the weekend will also include a community-wide event, to provide an opportunity for all graduates, their friends, families, faculty and staff to celebrate together. It will be a unique and special occasion at the Miami football game, with all in-game activities focused upon our graduates, and it will also include, at game’s end, the Class of 2020, gathering on the field in their academic regalia to form the beveled “M”. The Class of 2020 will forever be a very special class; as first year students severe weather canceled their forming of the “M”, and we wanted to honor them and mark their commencement with this opportunity to finally form the beloved “M” as a class. We hope all of the graduate from the Class of 2020 can join us for this special ceremony.

Earlier we promised that students who departed campus would receive appropriate refunds for room and board. We have evaluated those and other fees, and will be announcing the refund policy this week. We thank you for your patience as we complete the review and prepare the necessary guidance to facilitate these refunds.

For our students, we recognize that these unprecedented times have impacted your studies. Early this week, Provost Osborne and the Office of the Registrar will provide additional information about how you will be provided with enhanced flexibility for course grade options for this spring semester, including credit/no credit.

Summer orientation programs for new first-year and transfer students will be offered remotely this year. Beginning in May, new students and families will engage remotely with orientation content and with staff, faculty, and student leaders. New Miamians will receive additional instructions about orientation, as well as regular communication and support from Orientation and Transition Programs throughout the summer. New students will also experience a full schedule of Welcome Weekend programs upon arrival to campus in the fall.

We are the Miami Community and we respond with care and compassion to support others. I thank all of you for your patience, flexibility and understanding as we continue to educate and support our students through these challenging times. Miami’s future is a bright one, and we will get through this together.

Love and Honor,

Gregory P. Crawford
President


Friday, March 27, 2020 1:58 p.m. - From the President

Dear Miami Community,

During these trying times where we are all doing our part to stop the spread of the coronavirus by learning and working remotely, I thought we could all use some inspiration. I’m hearing uplifting stories of Miamians pulling together to help others during this unprecedented time and thought you’d enjoy them, too. Here are just a few of many. I hope to share more with you in the near future.

Cathy Bishop-Clark, Dean of Miami Regionals, says that when Mercy Health – Fairfield Hospital reached out for any spare personal protection equipment (PPE), the Hamilton and Middletown campuses jumped right in, collecting gloves, goggles, gowns, face shields, and surgical masks.

As he was heading out to deliver the equipment, Perry Richardson, our Regional Senior Director of Media and Community Relations, reported in. "Wow! My car is completely jam-packed with PPE, thanks to the generosity of our science faculty and staff on both campuses. I could barely squeeze a volleyball in my car right now."

The president and CEO of Mercy Health was very appreciative of Miami Regionals’ quick response.

Rick Page, Assistant Chair of Chemistry and Biochemistry, headed up an equally successful effort, leading a departmental donation to local hospitals of 125,000 gloves and over 750 goggles.

On the remote teaching front, we are continuing to receive notes from students and innovations from faculty on new and exciting ways to teach and learn from a distance.

Especially enjoyable is an assignment one of Will Brown’s students turned in. During his class about Louis XIV and the culture of his court at Versailles, Will, a Visiting Assistant Professor of History, offered bonus points to anyone who would demonstrate Baroque social dance steps from the Louis XIV era on TikTok or Instagram. One student really went for it, as you can see here: https://vm.tiktok.com/pcKQ2F/. Great job!

Please continue to send in your stories to president@miamioh.edu. Hearing from you helps all of us feel inspired and connected.

On the student front, many of you have asked about credit/no credit grading. We are reviewing our policy to revise the deadline and restrictions to allow students to select this option, if desired. Details will be coming soon.

As for staying connected, we are planning a special message to the Miami Community on commencement day, May 16, to congratulate the Class of 2020. We are also exploring creative ways to bring the Class of 2020 back to campus in the fall. We still want to call their names and invite them to walk across the stage to recognize their accomplishments.Thanks for understanding our need to rethink commencement.

It is important as we work remotely that we all continue our professional development. Please visit Miami’s HR website to see all of the resources available to faculty and staff. In particular, Skillport, Hoonuit, and Universal Call are wonderful online learning resources.

It’s hard for all of us to be apart from each other physically, but it’s crucial that we limit our contact and practice physical distancing to stop the spread of this virus and save lives. Health and safety must be our top priority. For frequent updates about the coronavirus and how it’s affecting our Miami Community, please continue to visit this website.

Thanks to everyone who is sharing the many ways we can stay connected. We are Miamians, we help and support each other, and we will get through this together. Our future is one of hope.

Be well and healthy, and always,

Love and Honor,

Gregory P. Crawford
President


Wednesday, March 25, 2020 2:33 p.m. - From the President

Dear Miami Community,

A member of the Miami Community has informed us that they tested positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19). The individual was last on campus on March 19, and is now self-isolating at their home outside of Ohio. Our hearts and thoughts go out to them and their loved ones.

We are working with the Butler County Health Department to identify anyone with whom they were in close personal contact. Those individuals will be contacted and given direction.

Ensuring the anonymity of the individual who has tested positive for COVID-19 is important. If you are aware of their identity, please respect their privacy. Please abide by all laws related to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and personal health information (HIPAA), and expectations for the responsible use of social media. Miami is committed to doing all that we can to support this person and our broader community through what is a stressful and challenging time.

We will continue to follow the guidance and advice of the Ohio Department of Health and to work closely with the Butler County Health Department. We will also communicate with the Miami Community as we learn more. This website is updated frequently to keep you informed.

If you have a fever or symptoms of respiratory illness, such as a cough or shortness of breath, you should call your healthcare provider or the Miami Health Center at 513-529-3000. It is important that you call first for guidance, and do not visit a healthcare facility before calling. If you are feeling ill, we encourage you to stay in your home. Please continue to practice social distancing.

We understand that there are many questions and concerns as we navigate this extraordinary moment in our history. We continue to work closely with partners at the city and state to manage these challenges and will continue to share information as we are able.

Love and Honor,

Gregory P. Crawford
President


Friday, March 20, 2020 1:08 p.m. - From the President

Watch the video

Dear Miami Community,

As we navigate the changing COVID-19 landscape, the health and safety of our students, faculty, staff and local communities is our top priority. I am heartened by the way the Miami community has stepped up to take on this challenge. The past two weeks have been like none other in most of our lives. I wish to thank our incredible faculty and staff who have quickly adapted to deliver instruction and student support services remotely, and to especially thank our students for their flexibility, understanding, and their commitment to complete this semester from a distance.

Just last Monday, we all learned of Ohio’s first positive test for the coronavirus. In the following days we shifted to remote operations - first course instruction and then administrative as well. At first through April 12, and now through the end of the semester. We are continuing to evaluate the still rapidly developing impact of the coronavirus, and based upon the input of public health professionals and modeling from public health officials, I have determined that we can no longer plan to hold a commencement ceremony in Oxford on May 16.

We treasure commencement, and the opportunity to celebrate the success of our graduates with their families, friends and loved ones. While the ceremony in May is canceled, we are exploring other, creative options to bring together our graduates and their families at a later date. In the coming weeks we hope to provide you with our plans for the Class of 2020.

We know this is extremely disappointing; it was not an easy decision to make, and it is one we would have preferred to have been otherwise, but we must put safety first. Most importantly, it should not take away the pride you feel in your accomplishments, or the connections you have made here at Miami. The Class of 2020 has had a positive, lasting impact on Miami, and we will all celebrate your time here, even if it is ending differently than any of us expected. This is not the end of your Miami story, but the beginning of your journey as Miami alumni, and we look forward to seeing all of you back here many times over the coming years.

We will continue to keep you informed of new developments and new actions as they are taken. Please continue to visit this site, MiamiOH.edu/coronavirus for more information, as we are updating the site frequently to keep you up-to-date.

I am inspired as I watch our students, faculty, staff, community members and alumni respond to this health emergency with compassion, love and honor. This is who we are, we are Miamians and as our Governor and fellow Miamian assures us “We will get through this.” Together.

Love and Honor

Gregory P. Crawford
President


Wednesday, March 18, 2020 - From the President

Dear Miami Community,

The health and safety of our students, faculty, staff and local communities remain our greatest priority. We have learned of a positive test for the coronavirus in the Oxford area. We have confirmed it is not a Miami student or employee. We knew that positive cases would soon reach our area, and we should not be surprised. Our thoughts and hearts go out to them, their loved ones and family. We must be diligent and continue to focus on what we can do as community members. We must adhere to social distancing, and those practices recommended to reduce transmission of the virus:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; dry hands with a clean towel or air dry hands.
  • Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer when soap and water are unavailable.
  • Cover your mouth with a tissue or sleeve when sneezing or coughing.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • Clean “high-touch” surfaces daily. These include counters, tabletops, doorknobs, light switches, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, desks, and tablets.

We are urging all students, if they are able, to depart Oxford as soon as possible, there is no academic reason to stay; our faculty and staff have implemented remote learning and student support. Our residence halls will be closing on Saturday, March 21. Only students who have received permission may remain in the residence halls after that date. If you believe you cannot go home, you may seek an exception by completing the exception form.

If you have a fever or symptoms of respiratory illness, such as a cough or shortness of breath, you should call your healthcare provider or the Miami Health Center at 513-529-3000. It is important that you call first for guidance, and do not visit a healthcare facility before calling. If you are feeling ill, we encourage you to stay in your home.

As we have taken steps to reduce the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), Miamians have responded to the challenge to swiftly shift to remote operations, for instruction, staff work, and course attendance, I am grateful to all of you for rising to this challenge as our Governor has stated, these actions will slow transmission of the coronavirus and will save lives.

We will continue to keep you informed of new developments and new actions as they are taken. Please review this website for more information; we are making updates daily. I am inspired and heartened as I watch our students, faculty, staff, community members and alumni respond to this health emergency with compassion, love and honor. This is who we are, we are Miamians and as our Governor and fellow Miamian assures us “We will get through this.” Together.

Love and Honor,

Gregory P. Crawford


Tuesday, March 17, 2020 - From the President


Monday, March 16, 2020 9:11 a.m.

Due to Governor DeWine’s order closing restaurants, which applies to university dining halls, students should expect “to go” meal options in the dining halls starting today. Familiarize yourself with the modified hours of operation on the Dining website.

March 16, 2020 - From the President

Dear Miami Community,

The health and safety of our community is our highest priority, and we want to keep you informed during this rapidly evolving health emergency. While we continue to have no positive cases at Miami, yesterday we learned that a member of the Cleveland State University community tested positive for the coronavirus. Our hearts and thoughts go out to our colleagues and students at Cleveland State. We should all expect more positive test results each day as testing and exposure increase. As Ohio Governor Mike DeWine has said, “None of this should surprise us. It’s not unexpected.”

The guidance of the Governor and the Ohio Department of Health is for all Ohio businesses to identify as many employees as possible to work from home. I will be meeting today with university leaders, and by the end of the day we will send to all employees a plan to allow most personnel to work remotely, beginning as early as the third shift today, at 10:00 p.m. Also, until further notice all university-sponsored domestic travel is canceled, including in-state travel, whether by air or automobile. For students, who remain in Oxford, a subsequent message from the Dean of Students will be forthcoming.

We understand that many of you may wonder if you have the virus. If you have a fever or symptoms of respiratory illness, such as a cough or shortness of breath, you should call your healthcare provider or the Miami Health Center at 513-529-3000. It is important that you call first for guidance, and do not visit a healthcare facility before calling. If you are feeling ill, we encourage you to stay in your home. We continue to evaluate this rapidly changing situation and will keep you informed as to what it means to our community. Watch for additional updates which will be forthcoming today. We thank you for continuing to apply social distancing and the other practices recommended for preventing transmission.

We are Miami, we support each other, and we treat each other with compassion, care, and understanding. As always, our number one priority is the health, safety and well-being of our students, faculty, staff, and the Miami community. As Governor DeWine has assured us all, “We will get through this.” Together.

Love and Honor,

Gregory P. Crawford

President


Friday, March 13, 2020 - From the President

March 13, 2020 5:14 p.m. - From the AVP for Health and Wellness

Dear Miami Community,

This afternoon we learned about the first coronavirus cases in Southwest Ohio. UC Health announced that four family members who were treated at their West Chester Hospital have tested positive, and they are now quarantined at their home. To the best of our knowledge, they are not members of the Miami Community. Still, our hearts and thoughts go out to them and their families, and we wish them a quick recovery.

We should all expect more positive test results in the coming days as testing and exposure increase. As Ohio Governor Mike DeWine said at this afternoon’s press conference, "None of this should surprise us. It's not unexpected."

Thank you for continuing to apply social distancing and the other practices that the Centers for Disease Control recommend for preventing transmission. We continue to evaluate this rapidly changing situation and will keep you informed as to what it means to our community.

We thank our students for adapting to complete their semester through remote learning. We understand that not all students can leave their on-campus residence, and we will support them through the semester. For those who can depart, we thank them for returning home to finish the semester. Student Life has provided information to students on this process.

As we go through this pandemic, something none of us has experienced before, we are depending on each other for strength and comfort. We will experience difficult days ahead, but, as the Governor said, "We will get through this." Together.

Love and Honor,

Steve Large
Assistant Vice President for Health and Wellness

March 13, 2020 1:27 p.m. - From the President

Dear Miami Community,

The health and safety of our community remains our highest priority. The uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus is a challenge for us all, and we will work to provide certainty wherever possible. We appreciate your patience and support.

We have been closely evaluating the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and following the advice of the Governor and the Ohio Department of Health. The situation is rapidly evolving, and although there have been no confirmed cases of the coronavirus at Miami University, every action we take is to protect the health and safety of our University community. Based on the daily reports from the Governor and Ohio’s Director of Health, who stated yesterday that the coronavirus peak is estimated for late April or early May, we do not believe a return to our campuses for face-to-face instruction by April 13 is possible.

Therefore, we have decided to complete the remainder of the semester through remote instruction. We are announcing this decision today, so that faculty will have the maximum amount of time possible to fully prepare to deliver the semester’s remaining course material remotely, and so that students and parents can plan accordingly as students depart campus. For those students who leave by March 27, 2020, and do not return, there will be an appropriate refund of room and board, details will follow next week.

We understand that departing for the entire semester is not possible for all students, and special arrangements will be made for them to remain on campus.

Housing guidance for students and parents, along with additional information for faculty, and staff will be forthcoming before the end of the day.

Many of you have asked about May Commencement. The ceremony is scheduled for May 15, over two months away. We will continue to evaluate the situation and when we have sufficient information, we will make a decision, which we will quickly share with all of you.

We realize this is unprecedented, and we appreciate the efforts all have taken to quickly shift our method of curriculum delivery and respond to the many challenges created. This is a quickly evolving situation, and we will continue to provide important information and significant decisions as they are made. Please visit this website to stay informed.

We are the Miami community, and we will work through this together. Thank you for your patience, understanding, and support.

Love and Honor

Gregory P. Crawford
President


Thursday, March 12, 2020 7:09 p.m. - From the Provost

Colleagues,

Topics for today:

  1. Study abroad cancelled, students recalled
  2. Support for remote teaching
  3. Support for students with disabilities
  4. Submitting information about IT issues

We made it through Thursday! I know that for many of you, this is your first experience with remote delivery of instruction and we are all learning a lot along the way. The last several days have us all on a steep learning curve but I know that we can and will get through this together as a community. If I could wish one thing for each of us, it is that we try and find the humor in these trying situations and celebrate any and all victories.

Here are some updates about what is happening around campus:

Study abroad cancelled, students recalled

Late last night, we made the decision to recall our students from their overseas studies. Prior to President Trump’s address to the nation last night, bringing them back to campus was the last option we wished to pursue. With the heightened risks around European travel and new CDC regulations, we had to prioritize getting our students home safely and quickly. We regret having to interrupt their time abroad and be assured that we will work with the impacted students to ensure their semester can be completed successfully.

Support for Remote Teaching:

ELearning Miami, eCampus Regionals, Center for Teaching Excellence and other units have been working feverishly to provide resources for faculty and students in this time of remote delivery of instruction. The Continuity of Education website is being frequently enhanced, and a survey is being sent to all faculty to gain insights on additional forms of support that are needed.

Please only university supported software and tools, as that allows us to be more effective with supporting you. Also, those official packages are better suited to meeting the accessibility needs of our students.

Tutoring and Writing Center Consultations:

The Howe Center for Writing Excellence has posted some resources on our website about teaching writing online, and it is now offering fully online writing center consultations so that your students can get the support they need.

The Rinella Learning Assistance Center is still offering subject area tutoring in person. Remote tutoring opportunities will be available beginning next Tuesday.

Support for Students with Disabilities:

The Miller Center for Student Disability Services is proactively contacting faculty who have students with visual and hearing disabilities to provide support. If you encounter a barrier relating to accessibility and accommodations for students with disabilities, you are encouraged to complete the Barrier Form.

IT Issues:

We know that some faculty experienced challenges relating to holding classes via Webex yesterday. IT Services has been working with Cisco to troubleshoot these problems so that the system will work well in the future.  Faculty are encouraged to complete Help Desk Tickets when they experience difficulties so that IT can track salient and systemic problems and address them expeditiously. The Help Desk contact information is 529-7900, or you can communicate by chat via MiamiOH.edu/ITChat. IT Services will be issuing a survey to gather additional input so that they can continuously work to improve our technology systems.

Love and Honor,

Jason Osborne
Provost

March 12, 2020 5:48 p.m. - From the President

Dear Miami Community,

Even though Miami University remains open and has no confirmed cases of the coronavirus, we appreciate that our community will be significantly impacted by Governor DeWine’s announcement this afternoon that Ohio K-12 schools will begin an extended three-week spring break starting Monday.

Miami’s crisis management team is meeting now and into this evening to discuss what steps we need to take as a caring and concerned community to provide the best assistance possible for our faculty, staff, and students with children attending these schools.

As I talk with many of you, I am heartened by the way everyone is responding to the new challenges we face daily because of the coronavirus. Thank you for coming together so quickly to figure out how best to move our educational mission forward through remote learning. I am energized by your enthusiasm to find solutions. This is the very definition of education.

In the same fashion, we can handle this next challenge, recognizing that we must, as the governor said, take steps as a society to save lives.

We will be providing more details tomorrow on how we can go forward together. Thank you for your help and patience as we work through this quickly evolving situation.

Love and Honor,

Gregory P. Crawford
President


Wednesday, March 11, 2020 3:53 p.m. - From the Provost

Colleagues,

There is a lot of information to share so here is a quick summary of today's update:

Quick Summary:

  1. Miami is RISING to the challenge. Celebrate and share early wins!
  2. Good individual decisions will determine the course of the COVID-19 outbreak;
  3. Essential domestic and international travel only;
  4. FERPA still counts! Make sure materials in Canvas do not expose confidential information;
  5. Classes are still in session; the university is still open. Continue holding office hours and doing everything you need to do, but use Canvas and WebEx where possible;
  6. Labs should be transitioned to remote delivery where possible. They cannot be mandatory for students to attend in person;
  7. Internships and similar placements;
  8. Please direct questions of your immediate supervisor. Avoid emailing the president directly;
  9. Good news.

Miami is RISING to this challenge!

Yesterday we had a series of meetings with many members of the Miami University community, and I was heartened and impressed with the level of commitment and collaboration that we are already seeing around campus. I have heard of faculty working together to help each other, of departments we thought would be facing substantial challenges working to overcome them, and of our support centers making heroic efforts to quickly ramp up support. I am not surprised, but it is gratifying to see the depth of commitment we as a university have to continuing our high level of performance regardless of circumstance. As a reminder, there is a Continuity of Education website where you can find all the resources we currently have available.

We need to make good decisions to slow the spread of COVID-19

I want to pause and review how we have arrived at this moment, facing this particular set of ever-evolving challenges. First, let us acknowledge that none of us expected to be in this position even a week ago. We are faced with an unprecedented and unwelcome but nevertheless grave public health situation. Our public health partners, our health system friends, and our state officials have been frequently communicating recommendations based on the best information we all have at any given moment.

We are making the best decisions we can at any given moment. Many decisions we have to make are disappointing or disruptive, but our public health officials have said that limiting social contact is critical to slowing or stopping this virus. If we can drastically limit transmission for a period of a few weeks, we may be able to stop the threat and get back to business as usual. Every unnecessary gathering, whether at the university or socially, risks transmission of the virus to new hosts which then extends the time we need to be taking these drastic actions. We must eliminate any non-essential gatherings or events immediately. We can reschedule them after the crisis has passed, hold them remotely, or cancel them.

Essential Domestic and International Travel (President Crawford's 3.11 statement)

Following Governor DeWine’s recommendations- the University is announcing the following new travel restrictions and reporting requirements:

University Sponsored or Supported Travel

  • All University sponsored or supported international travel for students, faculty and staff is suspended for the balance of the spring semester.
  • All University sponsored or supported domestic travel is limited to essential travel and must be approved by the divisional vice-president.

Personal Travel

  • All Miami faculty, staff and students are urged to closely evaluate the risks of all personal travel (domestic, international or cruise ship) and to change or cancel personal travel plans as appropriate.
  • Those employees and students who do decide to travel internationally are required to report their travel to the University, before departure, at the following email address travel@miamioh.edu.

Academic Affairs must curtail all but the most essential travel, either domestically or internationally. By essential, I mean where significant harm will come to our enterprise or to an individual by delaying or cancelling the travel. If someone is inconvenienced, or if a research project is delayed by a few weeks, that does not rise to the level of essential. Anything deemed non-essential should be rescheduled, moved to remote delivery like WebEx, or cancelled. Any travel must be approved by the Provost or another vice president in the reporting chain.

FERPA still needs to be honored

As we work to provide remote instruction for our students, please remember that the University rules and policies must be adhered to in all circumstances, including those governing the privacy of student education records. The federal Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act, commonly referred to as FERPA, requires that we maintain the privacy of all education records, which are broadly defined to include any information we maintain about our students. This includes course schedules, grade reports, bursar’s bill, student financial aid, academic information and disciplinary records.

Posting grades by name, social security number or Banner ID# using any medium or method in which students can view the grades of other students is a FERPA violation. In an online environment, you can be FERPA compliant by posting grades by using the Canvas gradebook. An overview of using the Canvas Gradebook is a great place to start

Continue doing everything you routinely do- just try to do it remotely

We remain open and classes are in session. However, in the hope of serving the public health needs of the moment, we have attempted to move as much to remote delivery as quickly as possible. You still need to hold office hours, but consider holding them with WebEx, phone call, email/chat options, etc. Our students need you as much or more than before!

Guidance for labs and similar sections

I apologize for generating confusion around labs, studios, etc. We have told students that we are taking our operations to remote delivery.  Some will opt to leave Oxford. Thus, we cannot mandate that students attend face-to-face labs, studios, etc. We need to quickly transition to remote delivery of these experiences as best we can, or provide alternative pathways to mastery of course objectives, as quickly as possible. We appreciate your efforts and collegial collaboration in sharing with each other what is possible and what works. Keep up the sharing!

Internships, clinical placements, etc.

Governor DeWine has indicated today that we need to be very protective of facilities like assisted living and nursing homes. It is highly likely that these internships and placements will be discontinued and it is probably time now to prepare for this eventuality. Other internships are subject to decisions based on the organizations and companies hosting these experiences. Companies may become more strict about having people gathering in person.

Please do not email the President directly!

I know our President is accessible and works tirelessly to remain engaged with the university community. That does not mean he is best equipped to respond to questions about specific situations. Please ask your direct supervisor if you have questions; they will take questions up the reporting chain until a definitive answer is received. Students, please start with your instructors, advisors, etc. Faculty, please start with your department chair,etc.  They are best equipped to make good decisions based on the particular realities of the local conditions.

GOOD NEWS

We have seen the best come out of our impressive faculty and staff during these past few days. I have heard that our Chemistry department is already to go with remote delivery. Our English department has been working collaboratively to help each other with their particular challenges. Nursing has been keeping me informed of how they are serving their students in their unique situation. Some of us visited the call center last night to provide guidance and thank them for working endless hours often fielding questions for very angry members of our community. There are hundreds of individual stories of Miamians showing leadership and doing good things. Please keep doing the right thing, and helping each other serve our mission in this challenging time.

Love and Honor,
Jason Osborne

March 11, 2020 2:10 p.m.

Miami has set up a call center at 513-529-9000 that is staffed from 8 am to 6 pm (EST) today, and 8-5 tomorrow.


Tuesday, March 10, 2020 4:13 p.m. - From the President

Dear Miami Community,

Miami University currently has no confirmed cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19). However, in light of the Governor’s announcement today and the advice of the Ohio Department of Health to limit large gatherings, the University is taking a number of immediate actions to protect the health and safety of our community, which is our first priority. We recognize these measures may cause disruption to many but the risk of not acting outweighs the disruption.

One of the most effective measures to prevent the spread of the virus is to avoid large group interactions. Beginning tomorrow, March 11, 2020, Miami University’s U.S. campuses are suspending all face-to-face instruction in lectures, discussion sections, seminars and other similar classroom settings. Courses will be delivered by remote instruction through at least April 12, 2020. We are evaluating laboratory, studio and performance classes and the University will provide more specific guidance later this week.  Residence halls, dining halls and all campus services will remain open. 

Students may choose to return to their permanent place of residence or stay on campus, where appropriate social distancing and enhanced preventative public health and hygiene measures will be actively encouraged. We urge all students to make the choice that is best for them.

Additional proactive steps include the suspension of non-essential large gatherings, including University-related social gatherings. All non-essential events planned for greater than 150 attendees are being canceled or postponed.

All University sponsored or supported international travel to a CDC Level 3 country (Italy, Iran, South Korea, and China) is being suspended for faculty, staff and students. University sponsored domestic travel will be limited to essential travel and must be approved by the divisional vice-president. 

All members of the Miami community are encouraged to avoid travel to any CDC level 2 (Japan) or 3 country and to closely evaluate the risks of all personal travel (domestic, international, or cruise ship) and to change or cancel personal travel plans as appropriate.

Those employees and students who do decide to personally travel to a CDC level 2 or 3 country are required to report their travel to the University at the following email address travel@miamioh.edu.  They will be required to be screened by University Health Services upon return. 

In addition to remote instruction, we are also reviewing opportunities for staff to work remotely and will provide more information soon. 

We will continue to work closely with public health officials to monitor and evaluate the spread of the COVID-19 virus. This is a quickly evolving situation and we must all be ready to act to safeguard the health of the Miami community. The University will be continuously assessing the situation over the coming days and weeks.  

We will keep everyone informed through this website.  If you have any questions please call the University’s call center at 513-529-9000 between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. today or 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. tomorrow.

Love and Honor,
Gregory P. Crawford
President

March 10, 2020 8:27 a.m.

OSU is suspending in person classes until at least March 30. For now, all Miami classes continue as scheduled.  Working closely with health officials to safeguard our community.  No outstanding tests or positive cases at Miami.  We are continuously evaluating, and will keep you informed.  

For any general questions or concerns, we have set up a call center at 513-529-9000 that is staffed from 8 am to 5 pm (EST). 


Monday, March 9, 2020
Governor DeWine Signs Emergency Order Regarding Coronavirus Response

March 9, 2020 5:09 p.m. - From the President

Dear Miami Community,

Today the Governor of the State of Ohio declared a state of emergency, as we learned that Ohio had its first three confirmed cases of the coronavirus, all in Cuyahoga County. We want to assure you that leaders across the University have been and are, working closely with Tri-Health, the Butler County Health Department, the Ohio Department of Health, and other state offices and officials, to safeguard the health of the Miami Community and, if necessary, to respond, should the virus reach our campuses or the local area.

We live in an interconnected, global world. The opportunities and advantages achieved through enhanced trade, travel, and access were not possible just a few decades ago. Unfortunately, with these increased interconnections contagions can spread quickly from nation to nation, as COVID-19 is doing today. This is a serious concern, but our global interconnectivity also means that health officials from across the globe can communicate, work, and plan together to address the coronavirus.

In the long term, we can anticipate vaccines and other means to combat this virus, in the short term, we must all practice the behaviors which limit the spread of influenza and the coronavirus. Each of us must also stay informed and review our activities and travel plans to weigh the risks versus the benefits, and to adjust or cancel as necessary. Please visit this site for Miami information and to link to local, national, and global health websites. For now, classes will continue as scheduled, as the Crisis Management Team continuously monitors the coronavirus. The Crisis Management Team is meeting regularly, and will keep the website updated and the Miami Community informed.

Love and Honor,
Gregory P. Crawford
President


Wednesday, March 4 10:54 a.m.

Protecting the health and safety of all members of the Miami University community is our highest priority. On rare occasions, an event such as a chemical spill, tornado, fire or health emergency will challenge the day-to-day operations of the University. Miami, like most colleges and universities, plans for these unlikely events. The University works first to avoid and then to mitigate the effects of any potential crisis.

The recent worldwide COVID-19 outbreak presents an opportunity to share with the campus community how Miami’s response system works.

In January, when two Miami students were being tested for the virus, the University’s Institutional Response Team (IRT) responded. The IRT is responsible for responding to student-centered emergencies and crises and includes members from Student Life and other offices across campus; bringing a multi-disciplinary approach to student crises. In January and early February, the IRT communicated frequently with the Butler County and Ohio departments of health. With their support, Miami University

  • Coordinated our response and resources.
  • Communicated regularly via website, a special call center, email and social media to keep the campus community, parents, state officials and media informed.
  • Responded to questions.
  • Ensured the impacted students received daily support and care.

Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that the global spread of COVID-19 makes it almost certain the United States will experience an outbreak. Miami University is closely monitoring COVID-19 developments, nationally and internationally, in conjunction with Tri-Health, the Butler County and Ohio departments of health and the CDC.

The University’s Crisis Management Team (CMT) comes together when there is a potential for a crisis that could impact the on-going operations of the University. Containing the spread of a contagious disease presents challenges and will require the University to take proactive measures to protect the health and safety of all members of our community while working to maintain University operations and responsibilities.

In the coming days and weeks, the CMT will be meeting and planning for the unlikely event of a local outbreak of COVID-19. The CMT includes the Provost, the Senior Vice President for Finance and Business Services, several members of the President’s cabinet, and leaders of operational units across campus.

CMT’s efforts will focus on the health and safety of our community and meeting our educational responsibilities. Being prepared will require the efforts of many people in our community. Please help if asked. Even if you don’t have a specific role to play, we ask you to support those whose families, colleagues and friends may be impacted by the spread of the virus.

For now, updated travel restrictions have been announced and the university will update them as appropriate.

If you have questions or suggestions, please send them to cmt@MiamiOH.edu. If you have questions about academic travel abroad, call Global Initiatives at 513-529-8600.


Saturday, February 29, 2020 9 a.m. - From the President
Travel Update

China, South Korea, and Italy are now listed at Level 3 (Reconsider Travel) by the Department of State and Level 3 (Avoid Non-Essential Travel) by the Centers for Disease Control due to presence of the coronavirus COVID-19. Miami is restricting all travel to these countries.

Miami has already cancelled all of its programs in China for the foreseeable future, and urges students currently in South Korea and Italy to return to the USA as soon as possible to complete their studies. Miami is ready to support you in this transition.

The COVID-19 situation is rapidly evolving. We encourage members of the Miami community to strongly consider deferring non-essential international travel during spring break. Miami will make decisions about its summer study abroad programs in affected areas in the near future on a case-by-case basis.

Travelers, please be sure you do the following:

  • Monitor travel advisories daily, including potential restrictions on border crossings.
  • Countries you visit may decide to implement travel restrictions with very little notice, impacting your ability to return to campus.
  • Airlines may cancel/limit flights in or out of a country or region.
  • Additional quarantine measures may be applied by the U.S. and other countries. International SOS has compiled a comprehensive list of these restrictions.
  • Re-entry to the U.S. could be restricted. Butler County’s Health District may impose a 14-day self-isolation requirement.

Contact Global Initiatives for assistance at educationabroad@MiamiOH.edu.


Monday, February 3, 2020 1:26 p.m. - From the Institutional Response Team

Dear Campus Community:

As we announced last evening, the two samples that were sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to be tested for the Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) were negative. We also learned that the CDC and the U.S. Department of State (DOS) significantly updated their guidance on travel and guidelines for monitoring the health of those who have recently entered the U.S. from China.

While there are currently no confirmed or suspected cases of the virus in Ohio, for the safety of our University community, we are implementing additional guidelines consistent with yesterday’s federal public health recommendations.  

Self-quarantine for travelers returning to the U.S. after Feb. 2

In accordance with new federal guidance, any Miami University student, faculty, or staff member who returns to the U.S. from China after Sunday, February 2, at 5 p.m. EST will not be permitted to come to campus to work, attend class, or participate in any campus or community activity for 14 days after leaving mainland China. 

  • The reason for more strict restrictions is because the increase in coronavirus cases in China in recent days has increased the infection risk for more recent travelers.
  • Students, faculty, or staff who need assistance with these restrictions can contact irt@miamioh.edu.
  • The University will work with anyone impacted by the restrictions to identify the appropriate accommodations for completing academic work or attendance for employment.
Self-monitoring for other travelers
  • For individuals who returned from China before Sunday, February 2, at 5 p.m. EST, public health officials ask that you self-monitor your health for 14 days after traveling from China for fever and respiratory symptoms but recommend no other changes in activities at this time.
  • If you are self-monitoring, we ask that you please fill out this travel reporting form.
  • If you are experiencing symptoms and have traveled to the impacted area, please first call Student Health Services at 513-529-3000 to receive guidance on next steps.

Travel restrictions

  • As announced last week, University-sponsored travel to China remains prohibited for all students, faculty, and staff members.
  • The CDC and the DOS have listed China at their highest level of travel alerts, and all U.S. airlines have announced temporary cancellation of service to and from China.
  • The U.S. federal government has also placed new restrictions on some non-U.S. citizens/permanent residents coming to the U.S. who have recently been in China. Non-U.S. nationals, other than immediate family of U.S. citizens and permanent residents, with prior travel to China in the past 14 days will be denied entry to the U.S.

While we want to take all precautions to advance the safety of our community, please remember that unless you have recently returned from China, there is no need to change any routine activities or behaviors related to the coronavirus. The best way to prevent the spread of any type of infection — including the flu, which is much more prevalent in the U.S. — is to practice routine hygiene etiquette: 

  • Washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • It is especially important to wash your hands:
    • Before, during, and after you prepare food.
    • Before you eat and after you use the bathroom.
    • After handling cash.

    • More frequently when someone in your house is sick.
    • Before/after smoking/vaping.
    • Before/after using public computers.
  • Using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with your arm.
  • Frequent cleaning of doorknobs, light switches, and other commonly touched areas with disinfectant wipes.
  • Avoiding contact with people who are ill.
  • Stay home from work or school if you are ill.

While we will continue to stay in close contact with the Ohio Department of Health and the Butler County Health District, this is the last daily update IRT plans to send out. We will, however, send updates if University, local, and federal guidelines change or other circumstances warrant. The call center closed at noon today; if you have any further questions, please email irt@miamioh.edu. The safety and well-being of our students, faculty, and staff, as always, are our top priority.

For additional information about coronavirus, including symptoms, treatment, or a list of University precautions and requirements, please visit the university’s coronavirus webpage.

Thank you,

Institutional Response Team
Miami University


Sunday, February 2, 2020 7:14 p.m. - From the President

Dear Campus Community,

Today we received notification from the Ohio Department of Health that the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) test samples sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) were negative. We are so glad to hear that these students are on the road to recovery. I am also particularly grateful to the Ohio Department of Health and the Butler County Health District, as well as Governor DeWine’s office, for their leadership and guidance this past week. Their support was remarkable. I am thankful that Miami leadership and our Student Health Services/TriHealth personnel were prepared to take the right, proactive actions.

Even with this news, our student health providers ask that we all continue to be proactive in monitoring our health as we are still in peak flu season. As a reminder, the CDC and the Ohio Department of Health tell us the most effective means of prevention of illnesses such as the flu include:

  • Washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • It is especially important to wash your hands:
    • Before, during, and after you prepare food.
    • Before you eat and after you use the bathroom.
    • After handling cash.
    • More frequently when someone in your house is sick.
    • Before/after smoking/vaping.
    • Before/after using public computers.
  • Using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with your arm.
  • Frequent cleaning of doorknobs, light switches, and other commonly touched areas with disinfectant wipes.
  • Avoiding contact with people who are ill.
  • Stay home from work or school if you are ill.

Miami’s call center (513-529-9000) will reopen for the day tomorrow morning at 8 a.m. Please continue to visit the Miami coronavirus information website for any further updates. Again, thank you to all for your diligence this past week and in the days to come. We have experienced a tremendous outpouring of support from our community for the affected students. It has been inspiring to witness Love & Honor in action.

Gregory P. Crawford
President

February 2, 2020 7 p.m. - Press Conference

The Ohio Department of Health, Miami University, Butler County General Health, Middletown Health Department and the Hamilton City Health Department will announce the latest information on the possible 2019-novel coronavirus cases.

Watch live on YouTube


Saturday, February 1, 2020 5:05 p.m. - From the Institutional Response Team

Miami’s Institutional Response Team (IRT) and public health officials, including the Butler County Health District and the Ohio Department of Health, continue to await the results of two samples sent earlier this week to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). No additional suspected cases of the coronavirus have emerged from Miami University, Butler County, or the State of Ohio.

On Friday, United States Health and Human Services Secretary Alex M. Azar II declared a public health emergency for the United States. With this announcement, the CDC is releasing additional guidelines for individuals traveling from China to the U.S., beginning tomorrow, February 2.

We continue to work closely with the Butler County Health District to identify members of our campus community who may be affected by these new guidelines and to contact individuals who have traveled to China over the past two weeks to assess their travel history and health status.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continues to advise that, for the general American public, who are unlikely to be exposed to this virus, the immediate health risk from the coronavirus is considered low. “The goal of the ongoing U.S. public health response is to prevent sustained spread of 2o19-nCoV in this country,” the CDC has said.

As soon as we receive the test results, we will quickly relay that information to the community and the public via a joint press conference with the Ohio Department of Health and Butler County Health District. Please continue to visit Miami’s coronavirus information website for the latest information, as we continually update the frequently asked questions section of the site.

Institutional Response Team
Miami University


Friday, January 31, 2020 4:47 p.m. - From the Institutional Response Team

Miami’s Institutional Response Team (IRT) and public health officials, including the Butler County Health District and the Ohio Department of Health, continue to await the results of two samples sent earlier this week to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). No additional suspected cases have emerged from Miami University, Butler County, or the State of Ohio.

We know many people are anxiously awaiting the results of the tests. The Ohio Department of Health sent the test samples to the CDC on Tuesday, January 28. The samples were received by the CDC the next morning and placed in the queue for testing. We know it takes 48 hours for the lab to grow the cultures necessary for testing, and that we are among a number of pending requests, as testing can presently only be performed by the CDC’s public health lab. While we had hoped to receive the results by today, the Butler County Health Commissioner indicated to us that given the late hour this is now unlikely.

When the tests are complete, the CDC will deliver the results first to the Ohio Department of Health and the Butler County Health District, who will contact the students who have been isolated since Monday. Following the students’ notification, Miami University, the Butler County Health District, and the Ohio Department of Health will promptly hold a joint news conference to share the results.

In the meantime, Miami continues to take proactive measures to prevent the spread of illness, and asks our community to take the same precautions to prevent getting the cold or flu. Please continue to visit Miami’s coronavirus information website for the latest information.

Institutional Response Team
Miami University


Thursday, January 30, 2020 4:43 p.m. - From the Institutional Response Team

Members of Miami’s Institutional Response Team (IRT) continue conversations and meetings with public health officials, including members of the Butler County Health District and the Ohio Department of Health. As stated in yesterday’s campus health update, no new suspected cases have emerged from Miami University, Butler County, or the State of Ohio that require testing by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Additionally, we are still awaiting the test results of the two samples sent to the CDC earlier this week.

As you've likely heard, the first human-to-human transmission in the United States was confirmed today in Illinois. Human-to-human transmission is not a new development and was confirmed shortly after the identification of the Novel Coronavirus. Similar to those previous transmissions, the case in Illinois involved intimate human contact, according to ODH.

Additionally, the World Health Organization announced today that it is classifying the Novel Coronavirus a global health emergency. This new classification will help to free up global resources to further help contain the spread of the virus and treat those impacted. This change doesn't alter any of the current guidance regarding prevention measures. ODH noted that the CDC guidelines remain in place - They do not recommend preventatively isolating individuals who have traveled to China. Additionally, the guidelines involving preventative hygiene measures remain unchanged. Miami continues to follow these protocols.

IRT echoes President Crawford’s message from earlier in the week: “At Miami, we treat each other with compassion, care, and understanding. As always, our number one priority is the safety and well-being of our students, faculty, staff, and campus community.”

Please continue visiting Miami’s website for the latest information on this situation. Miami is continually updating the frequently asked questions section of the site.

Institutional Response Team
Miami University
Campus Call Center: 513-529-9000


Wednesday, January 29, 2020 3:57 p.m. - From the Institutional Response Team

Miami University’s Institutional Response Team (IRT) and student health officials have been working alongside medical experts and Butler County Health officials using the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines for screening individuals who have flu-like symptoms. No new cases have emerged from Miami University or Butler County that require testing by the CDC.

As we continue to await the test results of the two samples sent earlier this week, we have taken many proactive measures to prevent the spread of illness across campus, including the following steps:

  • Deployed additional hand-sanitizing stations at all food and beverage locations, Armstrong Student Center, dining commons, Starbucks, The Marcum hotel, all markets, Brick & Ivy, 1809, and Campus Services Center
  • Contacted all students (graduate and undergraduate) who have traveled to affected areas
  • Canceled University-funded travel to China (faculty exceptions may be granted by the Provost’s Office)
  • Reviewed cleaning protocols with Department of Health standards and increased cleaning of common areas, door knobs, light switches, and other high-touch areas
  • Butler County Health District confirmed CDC guidelines for screenings with Miami’s Student Health Professionals
  • On-going education is being provided regarding preventative health practices

Miami’s IRT, composed of senior staff members from across the University, was activated earlier this week and has been working continuously with officials from the Butler County Health District and the Ohio Department of Health. As part of the team’s work, they are processing plans for possible next steps after the test results come in. IRT will be providing daily updates to the Miami community via email, social media, and the University website.

Miami has updated its information website with additional frequently asked questions. The website also houses all communications that are being sent out from the University, as well as the livestream from yesterday’s press conference with health officials. The community is encouraged to visit this site regularly for updates. In addition, the call center (513-529-9000) will remain open this week during regular business hours.

Institutional Response Team
Miami University
Call Center for General Questions: 513-529-9000


Tuesday, January 28, 2020 4:43 p.m. - From the President

Dear Miami Community,

I am following up on our announcement this morning about two off-campus, Oxford students being tested for the coronavirus. Currently, these students are being monitored by public health and Miami University officials and are being isolated as a precaution. The Ohio Department of Health has indicated there are no confirmed cases in the State of Ohio at this time. Please be assured that Miami University is closely collaborating with the Butler County Health District and the Ohio Department of Health to treat these students and to take all appropriate precautions to protect the health and safety of the entire Miami Community. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates the risk in the United States is low.

Miami is following the advice of public health officials in Butler County and the State of Ohio. At this point in time, we plan to maintain our regular academic class schedule. This mirrors the protocol that is being followed at other universities, including Baylor University, Wesleyan University, Tennessee Tech University, and Texas A&M University, who also isolated students while coronavirus tests were being conducted.

The Butler County Health District offers this advice:

“Unless you have recently traveled from China or have been around someone ill with this new virus, your risk of getting sick is low. If you have traveled from China and are experiencing signs and symptoms, contact your doctor BEFORE going to work or attending class. Miami students, who meet this criteria and are experiencing signs or symptoms, should contact Student Health Services at 513-529-3000 for further instructions.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Ohio Department of Health tell us the most effective means of protection are the same as those precautions that prevent other illnesses such as the flu:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • It is especially important to wash your hands:
    • Before, during, and after you prepare food.
    • Before you eat and after you use the bathroom.
    • After handling cash.
    • More frequently when someone in your house is sick.
    • Before/after smoking/vaping.
    • Before/after using public computers.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Frequently clean your doorknobs, light switches, and other commonly touched areas with disinfectant wipes.
  • Avoid contact with sick people.

For any general questions or concerns, we have set up a call center at 513-529-9000 that is staffed from 8 am to 5 pm (EST) this week. We also have developed [this] webpage to keep you updated with the latest information. I’d like to thank Governor DeWine, the Ohio Department of Health, and the Butler County Health District for their advice, guidance, and support. Soon, we will be posting the video of the press conference held this afternoon with Miami and representatives from these organizations. The conference provided important information that addresses many questions.

At Miami, we treat each other with compassion, care, and understanding. As always, our number one priority is the safety and well-being of our students, faculty, staff, and campus community.

With Love and Honor,

Gregory P. Crawford
President

January 28, 2020 2:45 p.m. Press Conference

January 28, 2020 10:17 a.m. - From the VP for Student Life

On Monday morning, one student at Miami University presented at Student Health Services with very mild symptoms, and with their recent travel, met the criteria and are being tested for possible infection with the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV). Health providers quickly recognized that the presenting patient met the criteria for 2019-Coronavirus testing; results should be back from the CDC in the coming days. This student and his traveling companion are isolated in their off-campus residence while awaiting the test results. Miami and healthcare professionals continue to communicate and collaborate daily with the Butler County Health District and the Ohio Department of Health and are following their recommendations and protocols. We will share information with the community as it becomes available.

We are assisting and supporting these Miami students who are awaiting test results. We continue to work closely with local and state healthcare professionals and the Butler County Health District and Ohio Department of Health. If you are experiencing symptoms and have traveled to the impacted area, please first call Student Health Services at 513-529-3000 to receive guidance on next steps. Miami has set up a call center to address any general questions or concerns at 513-529-9000.

  • Meanwhile, we are still in flu season, and these precautions are recommended for both the flu and Coronavirus:
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • It is especially important to wash your hands:
    • Before, during, and after you prepare food.
    • Before you eat and after you use the bathroom.
    • After handling cash.
    • More frequently when someone in your house is sick.
    • Before/after smoking/vaping.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Clean your doorknobs/light switches and areas commonly touched with disinfectant wipes frequently.
  • Avoid contact with sick people.

Miami Health Services and Student Life professionals acted quickly with appropriate protocol, and we will continue to follow the best practices currently known. We have proactive partners in local and state healthcare. We will post updated information on myMiami as it becomes available. Please check announcements there regularly.

Jayne Brownell
Vice President, Student Life

Terri Buzzell
Director, Student Health Service

What You Need to Know

  • There are NO confirmed cases of novel coronavirus in Butler County currently.
  • Unless you have recently traveled from China or have been around someone ill with this new virus, your risk of getting sick is low. If you have traveled from China and are, experiencing signs and symptoms contact Student Health Services at 513-529-3000 BEFORE going to work or attending class.
  • This is an evolving situation; this website is the best source of up-to-the-minute information.
  • If needed, updates specific to Butler County will be posted on the Butler County Health District website.
  • While CDC considers this a serious public health concern, based on current location, the immediate health risk to the general American public is considered low at this time.

What is the novel (new) coronavirus?

Human coronaviruses are common throughout the world. Seven different known coronaviruses can infect people and make them sick. Some were identified many years ago and some more recently.

What are the signs and symptoms of the coronavirus?

Symptoms are similar to other respiratory viruses. If you have these symptoms it does not necessarily mean you have this new virus! Unless you have recently traveled to Wuhan, China or have been around someone ill with this new virus, your risk of getting sick is near zero.

Symptoms include:

  • Fever (may not always be present)
  • Coughing
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

Other early symptoms to look for include:

  • Chills
  • Body aches
  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Runny nose

If there is an infection of the 2019 novel coronavirus on campus, will the university isolate the individual?

In the event of a Miami student testing positive for the 2019 Novel Coronavirus, the patient would receive appropriate medical attention and would be under monitoring of public health officials. We would work with any roommates or suitemates concerned about close contact to determine their needs.

What can I do?

Again, if you have not traveled to China or have not been in contact with a person known or suspected to have the illness, there is no reason to be concerned at this time. Review the CDC travel alerts for coronavirus for more information. 

If you have traveled recently to Wuhan, China, had close contact with someone who has been confirmed with, or is being evaluated for the coronavirus, you should:

  • Monitor your health for 14 days, from the day you first traveled or had close contact with someone ill with this new coronavirus. Watch for signs and symptoms listed above.
  • Call Miami Health Services, your doctor, urgent care, or hospital BEFORE going. They will give you instructions.
    • Miami Health Services: 513-529-3000
    • McCullough-Hyde Memorial Hospital: 513-523-2111
  • If you have symptoms, stay away from other people until you receive instructions.

How can I protect myself from the coronavirus and other viruses?

  • Review the CDC's guidance for preventing spread of coronavirus.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds frequently.
  • If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid contact with sick people and stay home if you are sick.

Is Miami University Cancelling Classes?

In following the advice of the Butler County Health District and the Ohio Department of Health, we have isolated the two students who have met the criteria for being tested for the coronavirus. At this time, we plan to maintain our regular academic class schedule. This mirrors the protocol that is being followed at other universities, including Baylor University, Wesleyan University, Tennessee Tech University, and Texas A&M University, who also isolated students while coronavirus tests were being conducted.

Will sorority and fraternity recruitment be cancelled or postponed?

At this time, all sorority and fraternity recruitment activities will continue as planned. We are continuing to evaluate and monitor the situation, working in accordance with the Butler County Health District recommendations.

In addition to hand sanitizers at entrances, the Cliff Alexander Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life has ordered an extra 3,000 personal bottles of hand sanitizer for all people going through recruitment. All Greek students and potential new members were also emailed last night (Tuesday) by the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life with guidance.

Where are the students being isolated?

The students are being isolated in their residence off-campus.

Have we contacted all students who have traveled throughout China over break?

Miami has been in contact with students who traveled to China over the break and provided instructions from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) asking them to seek treatment if they are exhibiting symptoms and have traveled to the affected areas. We are monitoring and in communication with students on both the Oxford and Regional campuses who have not returned due to a variety of travel restrictions.

What preparations are being made should the student test positive?

Miami University has activated the Institutional Response Team (IRT), comprised of senior staff from across the University. IRT has been working continuously with officials from the Butler County Health District and the Ohio Department of Health. As part of this work, plans are in place for next steps after the test results have been returned. IRT will be providing daily updates to the Miami community via email, social media and the University website.

What is the difference between quarantine and isolation? Are these students quarantined or isolated?

While these two terms are often used interchangeably, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, isolation and quarantine are public health practices used to stop or limit the spread of disease.

Isolation is used to separate ill persons who have a communicable disease from those who are healthy. Isolation restricts the movement of ill persons to help stop the spread of certain diseases. For example, hospitals use isolation for patients with infectious tuberculosis.

Quarantine is used to separate and restrict the movement of well persons who may have been exposed to a communicable disease to see if they become ill. These people may have been exposed to a disease and do not know it, or they may have the disease but do not show symptoms. Quarantine can also help limit the spread of communicable disease.

Isolation and quarantine are used to protect the public by preventing exposure to infected persons or to persons who may be infected.

The two students who met the criteria for coronavirus testing are being isolated in their off-campus residence.

Is anyone checking on the isolated students? How are these students receiving food?

Miami University’s Office of the Dean of Students is in regular contact with the two students. Miami’s dining services staff have organized delivery of food to the students. They are remaining in their off-campus location and are not exiting their residence.

Why weren’t students who traveled to China screened before being allowed back on campus?

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services have recently increased the number of airports screening travelers to 20.

County and state health officials have said screening of individuals who are well is not recommended at this time. Miami has contacted students who traveled to China recently and encouraged any student who is experiencing flu-like symptoms and recently travelled to affected areas to contact the University’s Student Health Center, 513-529-3000.

How can I know if I might have been in contact with an affected patient?

The Butler County Health District will determine who should be notified based on the ill party’s contacts.

What disinfection measures are effective?

Coronaviruses, including the 2019 Novel Coronavirus, are transmitted through respiratory droplets from an infected person (e.g. cough, sneezing, close contact). Standard Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-approved cleaning products and disinfectants are effective in cleaning surfaces.

The university already had been using these EPA-approved products and has increased touch-point cleaning in addition to common areas to include door knobs, light switches, etc.

What should I do to prevent the spread of infection?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Ohio Department of Health tell us the most effective means of protection are the same as those precautions that prevent other illnesses such as the flu:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • It is especially important to wash your hands:
    • Before, during, and after you prepare food.
    • Before you eat and after you use the bathroom.
    • After handling cash.
    • More frequently when someone in your house is sick.
    • Before/after smoking/vaping.
    • Before/after using public computers.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Frequently clean your doorknobs, light switches, and other commonly touched areas with disinfectant wipes.
  • Avoid contact with sick people.

If someone who has recently traveled to Wuhan is on campus, should they be isolated or held in quarantine?

Any recent traveler from Wuhan or other affected area who has symptoms (fever and respiratory symptoms such as sore throat, cough, or difficulty breathing) should contact Student Health (513-529-3000) and make arrangements to be seen by a medical provider right away.

Quarantine is not currently recommended for those who do not meet the public health criteria for the coronavirus. Students who are ill with flu and/or cold-like symptoms should continue medically recommended practices, including monitoring their temperature and practicing good hygiene. Individuals who may have had an exposure or are arriving from affected areas are not required to be quarantined.

If there is an infection of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus on campus, will the university isolate the individual?

In the event of a Miami student testing positive for the 2019 Novel Coronavirus, the patient would remain isolated, receive appropriate medical attention, and continue being monitored by public health officials.

I am worried about friends and family in impacted areas. What can I do to help?

It's hard knowing people you care about are in the middle of a potentially scary situation far away. We know that this has been a difficult time for many members of our community. Please know we are here for you and encourage you to reach out for support. Students who want to meet with a counselor can call 513-529-4634.

Students can also help their families back home by letting them know they are taking good care of themselves. The best advice for not getting sick is to practice frequent handwashing and staying out of close contact with people who might be sick.

At Miami, our Code of Love and Honor states that we demonstrate Love and Honor “by supporting and caring for [our] fellow Miamians." This means that we treat our fellow Miamians with care and compassion, even when (or especially when) we are anxious or afraid. We urge all members of our community to treat one another with compassion rather than suspicion.

Does the flu shot prevent the 2019 Novel Coronavirus?

No, the flu shot is formulated to match influenza viruses expected to be circulating in the United States during the 2019-2020 flu season. The influenza virus is a different genetic makeup from the coronavirus. The coronavirus has many genetic variants, including the “common cold” that generally does not present serious adverse health risks.

Does wearing a face mask help me if I am NOT sick?

Wearing face masks routinely is not recommended for people who are well. Handwashing and avoiding touching your face are the most effective method of illness prevention.

What should I do if I have a fever or have the symptoms of the flu? Do I need to be isolated?

Individuals who have had recent travel within the last 14 days from affected regions and are experiencing symptoms or who have been in close contact with those who are ill and recently traveled to affected regions are advised to make an appointment to see a medical provider. Students can call Student Health Service, 513-529-3000. Faculty and staff should contact their regular health care provider. For other illnesses, stay at home to avoid spreading illness to others until you have been without a fever for 24 hours.

What proactive measures has Miami taken?

Miami University has taken numerous steps to prevent the spread of illness across the campus, including steps such as these:

  • Deployed additional hand-sanitizing stations at all food and beverage locations, Armstrong Student Center, dining commons, Starbucks, The Marcum hotel, all markets, Brick & Ivy, 1809, and Campus Services Center
  • Contacted all students (graduate and undergraduate) who have traveled to affected areas
  • Canceled University-funded travel to China (faculty exceptions may be granted by the Provost’s Office)
  • Reviewed cleaning protocols with Department of Health standards and increased cleaning of common areas, door knobs, light switches, and other high-touch areas
  • Butler County Health District confirmed CDC guidelines for screenings with Miami’s Student Health Professionals
  • On-going education being provided regarding preventative health practices
  • Increased touch point cleaning in addition to common areas to include door knobs, light switches, etc.

What does a global health emergency mean?

The World Health Organization declared on Thursday that the new coronavirus outbreak is a global health emergency, acknowledging that the disease now represents a risk beyond China, where it emerged last month.

The declaration — officially called a Public Health Emergency of International Concern — serves notice to all United Nations member states that the world’s top health advisory body rates the situation as serious.

Countries can then decide whether to close their borders, cancel flights, screen people arriving at airports or take other measures.

The decision came as cases have begun to appear in people who had not traveled to China during the outbreak.

Why did you not quarantine Wuhan students in light of the decision to ground the plane in California?

Miami continues following protocol established by the CDC and has confirmed with the Ohio Department of Health that guidelines remain in place-they do not recommend preventatively isolating individuals who have traveled to China.

Will Miami revise its withdrawal policy?

Miami University officials are extending the full refund withdrawal date to February 10, 2020. Questions regarding withdrawal from the university should be directed to the One Stop office.

What is IRT?

Miami’s Institutional Response Team (IRT), composed of senior staff members from across the University, was activated earlier this week and has been working continuously with officials from the Butler County Health District and the Ohio Department of Health. As part of the team’s work, they are processing plans for possible next steps after the test results come in. IRT will be providing daily updates to the Miami community via email, social media, and the University website.


Miami Hotline and Other Numbers

The Miami University Health Services Information hotline number is 513-529-3003. This line is updated with the most current information as it is made available.

If you need to make an appointment with Miami University Health Services, please call 513-529-3000.

The Butler County General Health District phone number is 513-863-1770; the after-hours, emergency-only number is 877-774-4636.

Additional Resources

Butler County General Health District

301 S. Third Street
Hamilton, OH

513-863-1770 
513-863-4372 (fax)

www.butlercountyohio.org/health 

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To Students and Families

Monday, July 27, 2020 - Phased-In Return to Campus Plans

Due to the changing dynamics of the COVID-19 virus in Ohio and throughout the United States, Miami University is now offering a variety of options to Oxford students for a phased-in approach to the start of the fall semester.

Classes begin as scheduled Aug 17 for all students but will begin with all undergraduate classes on the Oxford campus being held online/remotely until at least Sept. 21. Undergraduate classes on Miami’s Regional campuses will also begin remotely on Aug 17.

“As a university, we must continue to be flexible and adaptable with the health and safety of our community as our first priority,” wrote President Greg Crawford in a letter to Oxford students.

“When we began planning last spring, we had hoped that the COVID-19 pandemic would be in significant decline before classes were scheduled to begin. Instead, cases are rising in many states,” he wrote. “With over 40% of our Oxford students coming from outside Ohio, we’ve been monitoring the situation closely.”

Miami is working with Butler county public health officials and following the guidance and directives of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Ohio Department of Health, and Governor Mike DeWine.

"Governor DeWine and his team have been wonderful partners through these turbulent times. I want to thank Governor DeWine for his leadership and continued support of higher education," said Crawford.

“We have heard from students and their families, faculty, and staff who are excited to return to campus and from those who have concerns about returning. This means offering our students several options for the fall semester,” Crawford wrote.

Following the recommended best practices for opening universities, Miami will sequence the return to campus in multiple phases.

“This will give us the opportunity to review lessons learned at each interval and adapt accordingly,” Crawford added.

“In the end, we hope, this will provide the best opportunity for a successful return to the Oxford campus later this fall,” Crawford said.

He added, "We expect students planning to live off-campus in Oxford will begin returning in advance of the August 17 start of classes. We encourage them to consider residing at home if circumstances permit or if they have significant health or family concerns."

Move-in for Oxford undergraduate students living in the residence halls will begin Sept. 14 in a phased-in manner.

Graduate students will begin on-campus classes on August 17, and research activities will continue as planned.

Students who elect to return this fall will be required to sign a health and safety pledge.

Students will also have the option to construct a fully remote semester, and newly admitted and transfer students to the Oxford campus may elect to postpone their enrollment for a semester or for a year.

Oxford undergraduate students and their families will choose from one of three options described in the letter to Oxford students.

More information about Miami University’s Healthy Together Plan for return-to-campus this fall can be found online.


Tuesday, July 7, 2020 4:49 p.m. - President Crawford Announces Healthy Together Plan

Dear Miami community,

I wish to introduce to you today the Miami University Healthy Together Plan. The Healthy Together Plan consists of information, policies, and guidelines focused on our collective health as a community and fulfilling our mission of delivering high-quality educational experiences this fall semester in the COVID-19 era. 

We expect COVID-19 will be with us for the foreseeable future and are planning accordingly. Although no one can guarantee a campus that is free of the virus, we are making several important changes to help reduce the risks. The risk of exposure and possible infection is real and present in any community environment where large numbers of people are regularly interacting, including college campuses. In order to minimize the risk of exposure and infection, we all must remember that the health of each of us depends on the health of all of us.

Our ability to return and share the Miami Experience this fall depends to a great extent on how committed we are to respect and care for one another and the communities of Oxford, Hamilton, Middletown, West Chester, and Luxembourg. Miamians, all of us together, must support and care for each other in these times when our nation and the world are striving to find ways to combat COVID-19.

The Healthy Together Plan rests upon what we know today. We will continue to monitor the situation every day and adjust and iterate the plan as required. It is flexible enough to respond to the quickly changing landscape. The plan was created with our own expertise on our campuses, TriHealth as our partner in student health, the Butler County Health District our partner in public health, the City of Oxford, our collaborations through the Inter-University Council (all 14 public institutions in higher education in Ohio), and the Ohio Department of Health. We will continue to collaborate. We are relying on the guidance and directives of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Governor Mike DeWine, and the Ohio Department of Health as we make these important decisions. All of Ohio’s public universities are working together to develop safety guidelines for the return to our campuses.

The Healthy Together Plan is the product of countless hours of work from faculty, staff, students, external partners, and state health organizations. I am grateful to them and to the members of the Safe Return to Campus Planning and Coordinating Committee who gathered your input, heard your concerns, and incorporated your ideas. Thank you to co-chairs Dr. Dana Cox and Dr. Gwen Fears for your leadership. 

Many of you have asked about plans for the September Commencement celebration for the class of 2020, Homecoming, Family Weekend, and fall athletics. We will have updates on these larger events no later than July 17.

I want to thank the many employees who have been working on our campuses these last few months. We recognize and admire your dedication. In August, our campuses will be as beautiful and welcoming as they have ever been, but the ways we work, learn, and socialize on them will be very different.

Nevertheless, in this new “normal” of responding to the impact of COVID-19, I am confident that:

  • Our faculty are developing high-quality creative course offerings using a wide variety of delivery methods that will deliver the renowned personal top-tier education that is Miami’s mission.
  • Our health team is establishing detailed protocols and is ready to respond to the health needs of our Miami community, in close collaboration with our city and health partners.
  • Our staff is ready to execute the return-to-campus plans with the care that makes Miami our beautiful home.
  • Our cities and communities where we live, learn, and work are our partners, and we all want to maintain healthy communities for all of us.
  • Our plan is flexible. As the situation changes, so will our plan. It is iterative and adaptive to changes in this dynamic environment.

Please visit the Healthy Together website for detailed information. For significant or major changes in the plan, we will immediately message the community. Success will take all of us together.

With admiration and gratitude for all that you have done for Miami during these trying times,

In Love and Honor,

Greg Crawford
President


Friday, June 12, 2020 - From the Office of Residence Life

Dear Residential Students,

Miami Move-In is quickly approaching. In fact the timeline for moving into residence halls, Heritage Commons Apartments, and Hawks Landing has been moved up to the week of August 10 because classes will now begin on August 17 (see the revised academic calendar for more details). We are excited to welcome over 8,000 new and returning students to our residence halls and apartments.

To help maintain physical distancing, we will have a staggered move-in schedule. You will be assigned a specific move-in day and time. New students will be assigned a day and time between August 10 and August 14, and returning students will be assigned to a day and time between August 12 and August 16.

Your assigned move-in day and time will be emailed to you with your housing assignment letter, which you should receive no later than July 15. The assignment letter will include instructions for students who are unable to arrive on their assigned date.

Pre-Move-In Days for the weekend of August 8th and 9th will be available for students who would like to sign-up to drop off belongings and set up their room prior to their official move-in day. Students who participate in Pre-Move-In Days will have their card access temporarily turned on in order to complete the move, and will not be charged an additional fee. More details about this option will be included in your housing assignment letter. Residence hall community meetings for new students will begin at 6:00 PM on August 14.

Information regarding pre-semester activities (Miami Bound, Marching Band, ROTC, Scholar Leader, etc.) will be coming from the leaders of those programs soon. In most cases, the timeline for those experiences will also be moved back one week to fit with the new academic calendar.

Everyone will be expected to wear face coverings and follow our Miami Move-in Guidelines on move-in day:

  • Be prepared to move in as quickly and efficiently as possible. The number of students will be limited in each time block to help maintain physical distancing and will allow others to move in more safely.
  • Please limit the number of people you bring with you to only those you need to help you move your belongings into the halls.
  • Pay attention to your physical proximity to others. Be vigilant about maintaining a six-foot radius between individuals outside of your moving party.
  • Bring your own face coverings and gloves.
  • While rooms will be clean, you will want to bring along wipes and sanitizer since there will be limited supplies on hand.
  • Dining halls will be open for carry-out dining.

New students will receive their ID cards upon arriving at their residence hall provided you have uploaded your picture in advance. We will be providing more details about the logistics of move-in day later in the summer. Thank you for your patience and flexibility as we work together for a smooth move-in process.

Sincerely,

Office of Residence Life
Campus Services


Wednesday, May 27, 2020, 1:41 p.m. - From the President

Dear Miami Students,

With so many unknowns in our world right now, please allow me to share some definitive certainties with you.

One being that Miami’s campus is as beautiful as ever this spring. The redbuds that encircle the Hub in the heart of our academic quad are in full bloom, and you can’t help but smile at the profusion of jaunty red tulips. I wonder if Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Robert Frost was strolling Slant Walk in springtime when he declared ours “the most beautiful campus that ever there was.”

A second certainty is that even more beautiful and vital to Miami than our trees and flowers are our people. As Renate and I walk past Armstrong Student Center these days, we long to see students gathered at tables, comparing class notes and debating politics. The real distinctiveness of this place is its people — our students, faculty, and staff living out Love and Honor through their studies, teaching, scholarship, work, and outreach.

We miss you and all the wonderful energy you bring to Oxford.

On April 27th, Ohio Governor and Miami alumnus Mike DeWine, Class of 1969, announced the plan to reopen the State of Ohio. We are excited to be returning to on-campus classes this fall and are planning diligently for that to happen. The health and safety of our students has always been a top priority, but our efforts embrace a new emphasis this year.

We will follow the experts.

We continue to work closely with public health officials and Governor DeWine, who has been recognized nationally and internationally for taking early action to mitigate the pandemic’s impact in Ohio. By following the advice of health experts, we are able to promptly address issues as they arise.

We have a strong health-care network right here.

Collaborating with our Student Health Services experts, we have strengthened our relationship with our health-care partner, TriHealth, one of the top integrated health systems in Greater Cincinnati. TriHealth operates both McCullough-Hyde Memorial Hospital, located just a few blocks from campus, as well as our full-service Student Health Center, giving our students access to TriHealth’s medical specialists.

We are preparing the campus for your arrival.

Following CDC guidelines and utilizing hospital-grade products approved by the EPA, we are sanitizing the residence and dining halls as well as every classroom building. We have also increased the cleaning frequency of all high-touch, heavily used areas on campus and are providing hand sanitizer and other disinfectants in various locations across campus.

We are outfitting our housing, dining, and maintenance staff with face masks and other appropriate personal protective equipment. We are also currently limiting on-campus personnel to those who must be on campus to do their job and will return additional personnel to campus incrementally.

Test, trace, isolate.

We are working with TriHealth, our local hospital and healthcare provider, to develop a plan for testing and have set up a system to quarantine students who may be exposed to the virus so they can continue their studies in place while protecting our students, faculty, and staff.

These are just some of the steps we are taking to protect our students, faculty, and staff as we prepare to return for the fall.

Many of you may know that I end all of my correspondence with the words Love and Honor. This phrase comes from our beloved Fight Song and is used as a greeting among Miamians around the world. It represents Miami’s values, detailed in our official code. One of the lines in the code states: “I demonstrate Love and Honor by supporting and caring for my fellow Miamians.”

This will always be our pledge to each of you. That is a certainty.

In Love and Honor,

Gregory P. Crawford
President


Tuesday, May 26, 2020 - From the Dean of Students

Good afternoon,

I hope you have had a good week and are enjoying a healthy and safe summer break. The health and safety of our students, faculty, staff and community are always our top priority. I write to inform you that recently five students, living off campus, tested positive for COVID-19.

The Butler County General Health District is currently investigating and contacting anyone believed to have been in close contact with an infected individual. Those who attended an off-campus student gathering on or after May 8 should monitor themselves for fever or other COVID-19 symptoms for 14 days from their last day in Oxford.

We encourage you to continue safeguarding yourself against COVID-19 by wearing a mask, practicing social distancing, using good hand hygiene, staying home if you are sick and not leaving your home unless necessary. Leading health officials continue to learn more about COVID-19 every day. It is important to follow all guidance and orders issued by the Ohio Department of Health, CDC and your local health department. Anyone who develops COVID-19 symptoms should call their health care provider or contact their local hospital.

Very Sincerely,

Kimberly A. Moore, Ed.D.
Associate Vice President and Dean of Students


Friday, April 17, 2020 - From the Dean of Students

Dear off-campus students,

As the spring semester begins to wind down over the next month, you might be making plans for how to move out of your off-campus residence in Oxford and/or safely retrieve your belongings. We hope the following information will help you take care of business while supporting the community health of your peers and the many families who live in Oxford.

If you are still in Oxford, or will be returning in the next month to move out of your off-campus residence:

  • You should quarantine for 14 days if you are traveling from another state.
  • As you plan your own move-out, please take these steps to comply with public health orders and reduce your risk:
    • Coordinate move out with housemates to allow for social distancing (6’ apart); keep groups under 10 individuals.
    • Practice good hygiene—cover coughs, wash hands frequently, and don’t touch your face.
    • Wear a cloth face mask.
    • Don’t let others who are sick help you move.
    • Bring your own cleaning supplies. Clean frequently touched surfaces; specifically, clean the inside of the moving truck cab with EPA-approved disinfectant cleaners. Pay special attention to the door handle, steering wheel, seat, and knobs.
  • Please see the City of Oxford’s move out tips. Notify the City of Oxford to turn off utilities and/or if you have excessive trash that needs to be removed. Trash must be in receptacles and follow Rumpke guidelines.

While ShareFest Oxford is not happening this year, consider donating nonperishable food to Talawanda Oxford Pantry & Social Services (TOPSS) and household items in good condition to Goodwill in Oxford.

If you aren't able to return to Oxford by the end of your lease:

You may choose to hire a third party vendor such as Campus Solutions to arrange packing, storing, or shipping your belongings. There is a cost for this service; if you are interested, please work directly with Campus Solutions for estimates and arranging service. The company is offering a $50 discount to Miami students.

Health District Order's Enforcement:

The Oxford Police Department is actively monitoring our community for gatherings over 10 individuals. They will issue citations for flagrant or repeat violations. Court dates for these violations may be held after graduation.

While you may be tempted to come back to Oxford for social reasons, now is the time to demonstrate your love and care for your friends and classmates by keeping your distance.

Please do your part for the Oxford community you love: practice social distancing, follow Ohio public health orders, and make healthy decisions.

Very Sincerely,

Kimberly A. Moore, Ed.D.
Associate Vice President and Dean of Students


Thursday, April 16, 2020 - From the Office of Residence Life

Dear Student,

According to our records, you still have belongings in your room/apartment on campus. We are working on a plan for you to retrieve your belongings once the stay-at-home order in Ohio is lifted. We appreciate your patience as we work to make the move-out process as safe and expedient as possible. The process will conform to state and county guidance, and will include flexibility, when possible, for you and those who will be helping you move out.

Shortly after the Ohio stay-at-home order is lifted, you will receive an email inviting you to sign up for a date and time block to move out. To ensure continued social distancing, we will limit the number of students moving out per day. You will receive a confirmation email once you sign up for a time.

Questions and answers regarding move-out:

What if I have special circumstances regarding moving out?
There will be an option on the form to present these special circumstances.

What if my travel arrangements require me to stay overnight to safely complete move-out?
You will be permitted to stay one night in the residence hall, if necessary. You should indicate that in the special circumstances section of the form.

Can I ask another student to move my belongings out of my room?
Yes. If you can make arrangements with another student (e.g. someone who lives in your hometown) to gather your belongings, you should indicate your plans in the special circumstances section of the form. Secure access to your room will be coordinated by the ORL staff.

More details will be provided once the Ohio stay-at-home order is lifted. If you have other questions about our plans for this process, please send them to residencelife@miamioh.edu.

Thank you,

Office of Residence Life
Campus Services


Wednesday, April 08, 2020 - From the Office of Residence Life

Dear Miami students,

According to our records, you still have belongings in your residence hall room. We know this has been a stressful time, so thank you for your patience as we continue to identify ways for you to complete your move-out process from the residence halls.

Students or family members may not return to campus while Ohio is under a stay-at-home order. The order is set to expire on May 1, but it could be extended. Once Governor DeWine lifts the order, we will communicate with you again to share the process for returning to campus to collect your belongings.

While you may not return to campus at this time, we understand that many of you are anxious to complete this process, so we have created an option to arrange for the packing, moving, shipping or storing of your items. You may work with third party approved vendor Campus Solutions to arrange for service. Campus Solutions is the only approved vendor for these services at this time. To prevent the spread of COVID-19 and reduce the risk to our campus community, Miami has designated a single local company to provide these services. Campus Solutions has agreed to Miami’s health and safety standards (i.e. wearing gloves during the entire service performance, taking and monitoring employee temperatures before coming on campus, and cleaning all equipment before and after each job) and will only operate in vacant buildings.

Campus Solutions is operating as an essential business under the transportation and logistics exception to the Ohio stay-at-home order. Campus Solutions is ready to receive orders effective immediately; Miami will work with them to allow access to rooms for students who contract for this service beginning in late April or early May. The timeline is subject to change based on new orders or guidance from the Ohio Department of Health. The University does not receive compensation in any form from Campus Solutions.

Students contract directly with Campus Solutions. There is a cost for this service; if you are interested please work directly with Campus Solutions for estimates and arranging service. The company is offering a $50 discount to Miami students.

We know this has been a challenging and uncertain time. Please know the health and safety of our community continues to be our top priority, and we hope that you and your families are safe and well.

Sincerely,

Office of Residence Life
Campus Services

Tuesday, April 07, 2020 - From the Dean of Students

Hello Miami students,

Spring has arrived in Oxford! For those of you who are staying in Oxford for the rest of the semester, please do what you can to help keep yourselves and our community healthy and well.

As you may know, Governor DeWine has extended his “stay at home” order through May 1. I know it’s tempting to be outside and gather with friends on these warm, sunny days, but social distancing is very important in preventing the spread of COVID-19. You can spend time with the residents of your own house or apartment; however you should not be congregating in groups that include other people at this time, even outdoors. In fact, you may be charged criminally and/or charged under the Code of Student Conduct for violating the State of Ohio’s stay at home orders. We are in unprecedented times, requiring each of us to make good decisions for the benefit of all.

As a reminder, good hygiene practices will also increase the likelihood of staying healthy, especially as you go to places where you will interact with other people. When you are out taking care of essential business, be sure to practice good handwashing techniques, avoid touching your face, and maintain at least 6 feet between yourself and other people. In addition, the CDC recently revised their recommendations about masks; they now recommend wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies). Finally, take the time to plan ahead so that you can go to the store as infrequently as possible.

It is your responsibility to stay current on the requirements and guidelines put in place for the State of Ohio during this rapidly changing crisis. The Governor holds a press conference each day at 2pm, available live @TheOhioChannel on Facebook; they also post daily summaries as a good way to stay current.

For all students, whether in Oxford or in your homes around the country and world, I hope you and your loved ones are staying healthy and well. We miss you, wish you well, and look forward to seeing you back in town once this health crisis has passed.

Be well,
Jayne Brownell
Vice President for Student Life


Friday, March 27, 2020 - From the Office of Residence Life

Dear Student,

According to our records, you currently have belongings in your room on campus. Governor Mike DeWine has issued a Stay-at-Home order for Ohio. This order means that travel is permitted only for essential purposes including going to and from work, getting medical care, and shopping for food and groceries. In line with the Stay-at-Home order, Miami University is not permitting students or parents to return to Oxford to gather their belongings at this time. Once the state order is lifted, we will communicate the process for signing up to retrieve your belongings.

While you are away, our Physical Facilities Department will be performing routine maintenance over the course of the next few weeks to ensure that your building remains in good working order. They will also be removing trash and emptying refrigerators to discard food that is expired or spoiled. This will help us control for bad odors and pests.

Thank you for your patience as we continue to navigate these uncharted waters.

Office of Residence Life
Campus Services


Wednesday, March 18, 2020 - From the Dean of Students

Dear Miami students,

We recognize the new challenges you may be facing as you are transitioning to remote learning for the rest of the semester. Please know the Division of Student Life is here to support you both academically and emotionally.

Some students, faculty, and parents have asked for advice and ideas on how to set up a remote learning environment for success. We have attached a remote learning guide from the Rinella Learning Center. This guide can also be found on Rinella’s new Remote Learning website.

Additional virtual resources that may be helpful:

  • The Rinella Learning Center is now providing remote tutoring appointments and supplemental instruction. Remote tutoring can be accessed through Canvas.
  • Howe Writing Center appointments are now online.
  • Remote services and resources from the University Libraries are available.
  • The H.O.P.E. line is available 24/7 for students to call for immediate support, crisis intervention, and stabilization from a licensed mental health counselor. 855-249-5649.

While remote coursework may be inherently more independent than meeting face-to-face, we urge you to stay in touch with your instructors and communicate how things are going. When you have questions about course content, connectivity issues or concerns about your progress, start with your instructors. They likely won’t know about these issues until you tell them. They, like you, may be navigating a remote classroom environment for the first time.

We know this isn’t an ideal situation - none of us expected, even a week ago, that this is where we would be today. Things may change again tomorrow, but in uncertain times, this is what I know - we are committed to listen and respond as new needs arise. We ask that all members of our community continue to be flexible, and do their best at staying committed to learning. During this challenging time, make sure you are taking care of yourself and others, and know that Student Life is here to support you in whatever way we can.

Very sincerely,

Kimberly A. Moore, Ed.D.
Associate Vice President and Dean of Students


Thursday, March 12, 2020 5:09 p.m. - From the Dean of Students

Hello Miami students,

We regret that a false impression has been created that Miami University has students under investigation for the coronavirus. We are striving to keep everyone informed and would have quickly relayed such information, as we did in January, if this were indeed the case.

Miami has no students with the coronavirus, and no students awaiting test results. Like students from other universities in the state, students from Miami attended a large conference, where an attendee, who is not from Miami, later tested positive for the coronavirus. Out of an abundance of caution, the Butler County Department of Health, and other health departments across the state, requested the attendees stay home. None of them are under investigation, none are displaying symptoms of the coronavirus, and none are being tested for the coronavirus. Because Miami has gone to remote learning, some of these students have already returned home.

Very sincerely,

Kimberly Moore, Ed.D.
Associate Vice President and Dean of Students
Division of Student Life

March 12, 2020 12:38 p.m. - From the President

Dear Miami Parents and Families,

Your students are always our top concern here at Miami, both their educational advancement and their well-being. We know how difficult it is right now to be away from them as the coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to impact all of our lives in so many unexpected ways. Thank you for your trust in us.

We have had no confirmed cases of the virus on any of our campuses. On Monday, Governor DeWine reported Ohio's first confirmed coronavirus cases, and the actions we have taken this week — limiting large gatherings and moving all of our face-to-face classes to remote instruction —are on the advice of the Ohio Department of Health and through an abundance of caution. Our deepest hope is that in taking these steps, we will keep everyone on our campuses safe from the virus and facilitate students in returning home.

Making this change in the way we teach is a learning experience for all of us, students, faculty and staff. I appreciate that our entire community is coming together quickly to figure out how best to move our educational mission forward during these times. As I hear faculty talk about the ways they are continuing their classwork, through online group projects and webinars, for example, I am heartened by their willingness to take on this challenge and find solutions.

As we all work together in our state and nation to minimize the spread of the coronavirus, our remote learning is in place so your student can be home with you and still participate in their classes without missing an assignment or a quiz. For those who have not returned home, our staff members have been extra attentive to keeping the residence and dining halls sanitized, and we are encouraging practices to reduce the risk of transmission. We will continue to deliver courses remotely through at least April 12, 2020, and are continuously evaluating whether we will extend beyond that date. Should your student return home, we encourage them to minimize their travel and not return to campus until the resumption of face-to-face instruction. So please remind them, when they depart, to take with them the essential items they may need through the end of the semester.

If the Miami student in your family has specific questions regarding one of their remote classes, encourage them to contact their faculty member teaching that class. If after doing so, they still have questions or concerns, please advise them to reach out to the chair of that department for additional guidance.

This is not how any of us envisioned the year 2020 would evolve. Yet, it brings out the strength in our communities and ourselves. If you have questions as to what is happening on our campuses, please visit this website; we are updating it frequently to keep everyone informed.

I appreciate your help and patience as we work through this quickly evolving situation together.

In Love and Honor,

Gregory P. Crawford 
President

March 12, 2020 10:02 a.m. - From the Dean of Students

Good morning,

In light of Tuesday’s announcement by President Crawford that we are suspending face-to-face instruction, we want to provide you with some tools, advice, and resources on how to be successful in your remote-instruction classes.  

The first thing to remember is that classes are still happening and you will continue to experience academic demands similar to face-to-face courses. Remote instruction is not a free pass or an early spring break. You are still expected to actively participate in your courses, and will continue to be graded on your performance. Your professors should be providing guidance on what is expected and how information will be delivered. It is vital that you check your email regularly for guidance and updates.

Tips for Remote Learning

Some of you may be new to remote learning, and below are tips to help you navigate this new territory.  

  • First, make sure to check your Canvas sites regularly. Review all parts of the site to ensure you are fully aware of course expectations.
  • Maintain a regular schedule. Set aside time to engage with course material daily and keep a normal sleep schedule. Significant changes to sleep schedules negatively impact acquisition of new knowledge and ability to recall learned information.
  • Maintain communication with faculty and peers in class. There are multiple ways to connect with instructors and classmates. If you are confused or concerned, ask questions and get clarification.

Rinella Learning Specialists are available to meet with you to help you prepare for upcoming exams and to develop strategies for learning through the new remote format. Set up an appointment with a learning specialist by calling 513-529-8741.

Technology Access

If you are concerned about your access to technology resources for remote instruction, please know that all University Libraries are currently operating under a normal schedule and have computers available for student use.

The Student Success Center also has laptops available through their F5 Laptop Program (for undergrads). 

Academic Support

We are working on remote delivery of academic support services through Rinella Learning Center. Howe Writing Center appointments are now online. Faculty will continue holding office hours, though those may happen via WebEx, phone call, email or chat.

Please know the Division of Student Life is here to support you through this transition to remote instruction.

Very sincerely,

Kimberly Moore, Ed.D.
Associate Vice President and Dean of Students
Division of Student Life 


Wednesday, March 11, 2020 7:25 p.m. - From the Dean of Students

Dear Miami Students,

We recognize you are experiencing a significant and unexpected disruption to your routine. It is our goal to support you and help you stay safe, healthy, and engaged. As you know, campus remains open with modifications to maintain the health of students. This includes large gatherings. Activities and events with more than 150 participants will be and should be canceled. Please note that this number is subject to change at any time. Please check the websites and social media of event organizers to verify event status. 

Support

Transitioning from a structured routine to a more self-driven schedule requiring more time management can be stressful. You are not alone in this stress. It’s normal to feel a bit uncertain or overwhelmed with the new expectations that come with remote delivery of courses and changes to co-curricular opportunities. 

All services (individual counseling, group counseling, workshops) are being held as normal at the Student Counseling Service. The H.O.P.E. Line is also available 24/7 for students to call for immediate support, crisis intervention, and stabilization (855-249-5649). 

Social Activities

Please make good choices about your free time and time spent socializing. Specifically:

  • Avoid events and venues with large numbers of people where illness can spread easily.
  • Avoid excessive alcohol consumption. It can impair the body’s ability to defend against infection.
  • Do not host large gatherings; limit the number of guests at smaller gatherings.
  • Implement personal protective measures (e.g., stay home when sick, handwashing, clean frequently touched surfaces daily).
  • Avoid close contact, including handshakes and hugging.

Be Kind and Help Each Other

Please continue treating each other with care and compassion.

  • Remember our Good Samaritan policy, and call for help when you have a friend in need.
  • Practice your bystander intervention education: direct, distract, or delegate if you see a situation that you feel could lead to harm.
  • Interact with others in a civil way, even if they express/embrace a divergent point of view; engaging across difference is a source of personal growth.
  • Respect others for who they are; our diversity is a strength and should be welcomed and honored.

We share these tips because we care about you and we want you to be happy, healthy, and successful. You have enormous potential to do great things—at Miami and beyond—and the world needs you right now.

Best, 

Dean Kimberly Moore

March 11, 2020 9:53 a.m. - From the President
New Travel Restrictions & Reporting Requirements

Dear Miami Students, Faculty and Staff,

Following Governor DeWine’s recommendations at his news conference yesterday - https://ohiochannel.org/collections/governor-mike-dewine- the University is announcing the following new travel restrictions and reporting requirements:

University Sponsored or Supported Travel

All University sponsored or supported international travel for students, faculty and staff is suspended for the balance of the spring semester. 

All University sponsored or supported domestic travel is limited to essential travel and must be approved by the divisional vice-president. 

Personal Travel

All Miami faculty, staff and students are urged to closely evaluate the risks of all personal travel (domestic, international or cruise ship) and to change or cancel personal travel plans as appropriate.

Those employees and students who do decide to travel internationally are required to report their travel to the University, before departure, at the following email address travel@miamioh.edu.  When reporting your personal travel please provide the following information:

  • Name
  • Travel Dates
  • Countries and Cities
  • Cities of U.S. departure and entry

The guidelines associated with travel to high-risk countries and the process for subsequent reentry into the United States may change rapidly and without notice. It is possible that you may be required to self-monitor your health upon your return. This can be as simple as monitoring and reporting temperatures twice a day for 14 days or being quarantined or isolated. In addition to any health monitoring or quarantine, employees and staff who travel internationally may be required to be screened by University Health Services upon return. 

Please watch for updates and changes in the need to report personal travel as circumstances may change over the coming weeks or while you are traveling abroad. This information and all other COVID-19 updates can be found on this website.

Thank you for your patience as we work together to navigate these unprecedented events and for your cooperation in taking the steps necessary to protect the health and safety of our Miami community.

Love and Honor,
Gregory P. Crawford
President


Tuesday, March 3, 2020 4:30 p.m.  -  From the VP for Student Life

Dear Miami Students,

Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that the global spread of the new coronavirus (COVID-19) makes it almost certain the United States will experience an outbreak. Miami University is closely monitoring COVID-19 developments nationally and internationally in conjunction with Tri-Health, the Butler County and Ohio departments of health and the CDC.

Protecting the health and safety of Miami students is our highest priority. On rare occasions, a crisis event (such as a chemical spill, tornado, fire or health emergency) will threaten the day-to-day operations of the University. Miami, like most colleges and universities, plans for these unlikely events. The University works first to avoid and then to lessen the effects of these kinds of events.

Containing the spread of a contagious disease presents challenges and will require the University to take proactive measures to protect the health and safety of all members of our community while working to maintain University operations and responsibilities.

In the coming days and weeks, leaders across the University will be meeting and planning for the unlikely event of a local outbreak of COVID-19. Our efforts will focus on the health and safety of our community and our educational responsibilities.

Please remember the best prevention for coronavirus, the flu, or the common cold is to practice good personal hygiene:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. It is especially important to wash your hands:
    • Before, during, and after you prepare food.
    • Before you eat and after you use the bathroom.
    • After handling cash.
    • More frequently when someone in your house is sick.
    • Before/after smoking/vaping.
    • Before/after using public computers.
  • Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with your arm.
  • Frequently clean doorknobs, light switches, and other commonly touched areas with disinfectant wipes.
  • Avoid contact with people who are ill.
  • Stay home from work or school if you are ill.

With the approach of spring break you should be aware that the CDC recommends cancelling all non-essential travel to China, Italy, Iran and South Korea due to significant COVID-19 outbreaks in those countries. The CDC is also recommending that travelers reconsider cruise ship voyage into or within Asia.

The guidelines associated with travel to high-risk countries and the process for subsequent reentry into the United States may change rapidly and without notice. If you travel abroad, it is possible that you may be required to self-monitor your health upon your return. This can be as simple as monitoring and reporting temperatures twice a day for 14 days; however, higher-risk individuals may be quarantined or isolated. It is important to consider the benefits vs. the risks of travelling abroad.

We will continue to post updates, FAQs, and resources on this website as needed. If you have additional questions or suggestions, please send them to cmt@miamioh.edu. For study abroad questions, call Global Initiatives at 513-529-8600.

Dr. Jayne Brownell
Vice President for Student Life

To Faculty and Staff

Monday, July 27, 2020, 4:19 p.m. - From the President

Dear Miami Employees,

We are working to welcome our students this fall with as robust an on-campus educational experience as is possible during this pandemic. We are consulting with Butler County public health officials and following the guidance and directives of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Ohio Department of Health. When we began planning last spring, we had hoped that the COVID-19 pandemic would be in significant decline before classes were scheduled to begin.

Instead, cases are rising in many states, and with over 40% of our Oxford students coming from outside Ohio, we’ve been monitoring the situation closely, listening to the concerns and hopes of our students, faculty, and staff, and gaining information from experts directly engaged in this work. We have heard from students and their families, faculty, and staff who are excited to return to campus and from those who have concerns about returning. This means offering our students several options for the fall semester.

As a University, we must continue to be adaptable, with the health and safety of our community as our first priority. Following recommended best practices for opening universities, we will sequence the return to campus in multiple phases. This will give us the opportunity to review lessons learned at each interval and adapt accordingly. In the end, we hope, this will provide the best opportunity for a successful return to our campuses later this fall.  

Oxford and Regional Campus classes will begin as scheduled on August 17, 2020, but we will begin with all undergraduate classes held online/remotely until September 21.

We expect students planning to live off-campus in Oxford will begin returning in advance of the August 17 start of classes. We encourage them to consider residing at home if circumstances permit or if they have significant health or family concerns.

General residence hall move-in will begin the week of September 14.

Graduate students will begin on-campus classes on August 17, and research activities will continue as planned.

Students who elect to return this fall will be required to sign a health and safety pledge.

Students will also have the option to construct a fully remote semester, and newly admitted and transfer students to the Oxford campus may elect to postpone their enrollment for a semester or for a year.

We know that some of our students will be disappointed and some will be relieved. The decision to offer these options for the Fall 2020 semester was made with the wellbeing of our students, faculty, staff, and our local community as our foremost responsibility. As we continue to evaluate this evolving situation, Miami University remains committed to providing our students with a full and enriching fall semester despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

You will be learning more from leadership within your division.  We are deeply grateful for your understanding and patience as we keep working to provide our students with the best educational experience possible.

Love and Honor,
Greg Crawford


Tuesday, July 21, 2020, 4:52 p.m. - From the Crisis Management Team

Dear Miami faculty and staff,

When we announced a general return to work for the week of July 26, we did not envision the current COVID19 levels. We’ve been monitoring the situation closely, listening to the concerns and hopes of our students, faculty and staff, and consulting with experts. We are delaying the general return to work until the week of August 9. Your supervisor will let you know if you need to return to campus before then and employees now working on campus should continue to do so, unless directed otherwise by their supervisor.

Crisis Management Team


Friday, July 17, 2020, 5:17 p.m. - From the Provost

July 17, 2020

Colleagues,

For a Friday bit of "good news", we can celebrate yet another important way that our Myaamia Center is helping share information about the Miami Tribe with students throughout Ohio:

Starting this fall, the two Myaamia culture and imagery lessons will become part of the K-12 Ohio as America curriculum. The Ohio as America resource, provided by the Ohio History Connection, was used by more than 20,000 students in 91 school districts last year. Private and parochial schools, as well as home-school educators, also use it, said Carla Mello, department manager of school and teacher support for the Columbus-based Ohio History Connection.

“Our partnership with the Myaamia Center and Miami University has been a vital step into creating educational content that provides the perspectives of communities and cultures that have been historically marginalized by traditional textbooks and resources,” Mello said.

I personally would like to see more courses offered as part of our Global Miami Plan that accomplishes the same goal with our Miami University students. Congratulations to our valued partners within the Myaamia Center.

We have other good news - Jaime Hunt will be joining Miami University as our Vice President for University Communications and Marketing. I have been very impressed with Jamie and I know she will be a transformative leader for Miami. I am sure Academic Affairs will give her a warm Miami welcome as she transitions to her new role.

Some other news you may be interested in:

  1. COVID-19 updates
  2. Fall Semester Updates
  3. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Updates

Some quick updates on COVID-19:

  • Some athletic conferences are announcing dramatic changes for fall sports with some playing only within their conference to limit travel and risk of exposure, while others are acknowledging the tremendous challenge of playing sports while a highly contagious virus with potentially lethal consequences freely circulates. We have not yet announced any changes nor has our MAC conference, but as more conferences make decisions, it will almost certainly impact us and we update everyone as we have more information share. In this same article, there are some announcements from colleges now realizing that the COVID-19 infection rate will quickly outstrip their ability to care for students, faculty, and staff, and are rolling back plans to open on campus for fall. So far, they are primarily in areas facing a spike in cases, or where they draw significant numbers of students from “hot spots.” Some extremely prominent universities, like Harvard, Georgetown, and USC have already announced their fall will be almost fully online. Now, Emory has joined them, and understandably so given what Atlanta and Georgia is facing. Rest assured that our Return to Campus teams are watching all of these trends very carefully.
  • Please keep our colleagues around the country in your thoughts as they and their institutions continue to wrestle with the profound impact COVID-19 is having on them, their institutions, and the budgets. Our colleagues at Akron are the latest to make headlines, but as we have discussed in recent messages to our campus, institutions around the country are facing similar issues.
  • Fall is going to look different with everyone wearing masks… 
    • While there continues to be positive news in the development of vaccines and treatment research, it is very unfortunate that many people throughout the US and in our communities continue to resist the one thing that can make a meaningful difference and can save lives:  social distancing and mask-wearing. Many countries have returned to much more normal conditions while also limiting infection rates. We have chosen to return to normal without controlling our infection rate such as FloridaArizonaOrange County (CA) School BoardWilson County TN school board, and we should probably also look at Ohio, which still does not mandate face masks statewide, or actively discourages attempts at controlling it, e.g. our federal governmentGeorgiaIllinois, etc. I grieve for all the needlessly lost lives and for those permanently impacted by the effects of this disease.
    • The Miami Student reports that the Oxford City Council unanimously voted Tuesday to mandate face coverings in public. The ordinance was labeled as an emergency, which puts the mandate in effect as soon as possible. The decision occurred during a virtual special city council meeting and requires masks in any public space in the City of Oxford. Violators are subject to a $100 fine, which will be enforced by the Oxford Police Department (OPD). Businesses will not be allowed to enter into transactions with anyone without a mask, and those who refuse to wear a mask could be charged. Employees who interact with the public must also wear a face mask. “Our plan is to only enforce this for the most egregious offenders,” Doug Elliott, the city manager said. Elliott said if a business refuses to post signage mandating a mask or if customers refuse to wear a mask, he asks that the OPD is called to enforce the mandate. Customers who refuse to wear a mask may be charged with criminal trespassing. “We’re going to do our very best to educate the public in how important this is,” Elliott said.
    • Scientists are beginning to understand the complex immune responses we mount and maintain for viruses, including COVID-19.

Fall Semester Updates:

  • MUDEC is expected to welcome around 60 students, domestic and international for fall 2020. Juan Carlos and Elena Alberron are the Oxford-based faculty who will be there for 2020-21. Cheryl Young will also be spending fall semester there working with our new Executive Director Raymond Manes, and Jim Shiveley will be there for a few weeks to continue his work on curriculum. The European Union, while not opening to all US travelers, determined that study abroad students and faculty from outside the EU is essential, and we were also granted essential status from the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.
  • The Liberal Education Committee has been working for the past year to develop bold new directions for our Global Miami PlanYou can see what they are considering and provide input here.
  • Our incoming dean of the College of Engineering and Computing, Beena Sukumaran, has confirmed her arrival from New Jersey and is busy unpacking and settling into her temporary home in Oxford. Our new Dean of the Farmer School of Business, Jenny Darroch, already on the the job for two weeks,  is currently in the process of moving across the country from her home in California to settle in Oxford. She shares, “When I made the decision to join the Farmer School of Business at Miami University, I knew that I was joining a community that placed the student experience, and ultimately student success, at the heart of every decision it makes. Without question, we are guided by these core values as we face decisions on how to safely return to campus in fall or how to adjust budgets to accommodate the economic uncertainty in front of us. What has impressed me the most is how faculty and staff have worked together for the common good at a time when uncertainty of this magnitude places considerable stress on individuals and the organization as a whole. I remain incredibly confident about our future. COVID-19 has forced us to question many core assumptions we hold about how we live our lives and so I do hope that changes for good what comes from the Covid-19 darkness. I am also extremely confident about the future of the Farmer School of Business. Our graduates go on to do great things – for example, many are partners in accounting firms, CEOs of large well-known companies, entrepreneurs of successful businesses that go public. Above all, our graduates demonstrate the virtues of a liberal arts education and are deeply engaged in the communities of which they are part of. As business leaders, our alumni pay attention to what they do to and for society. As I move into my third week on the job, I am proud of all the Farmer School has achieved so far and excited to help the School and Miami University write its next chapter in what has already been an impressive journey. “
  • We continue to plan on courses beginning on August 17th, with no fall break, a full week off for the Thanksgiving holiday, with reading days and finals after Thanksgiving. Week of Thanksgiving remains off so our students have time to move home. One change is that more students are requesting the option of being allowed to opt in to all remote or online classes for fall. We are going to support this for students who desire it. Students may choose to have an all remote or online semester by selecting a semester of all online and/or hybrid courses that can accommodate their needs. However, it will also be made clear that not all classes will be available online or can accommodate a fully remote semester-long experience. If you are teaching a hybrid course, and it would be possible for students to be fully remote in every class, that is fine. If your plans for the fall would not allow that, you are not expected to change anything you plan to do.
  • Because there is such confusion from parents and students about hybrid courses, we ask that faculty teaching hybrid courses send a brief statement to their students describing how they are planning for the fall semester, i.e., how will the class still be Miami quality even though it is hybrid.
  • Given the desires of some students to remain fully remote/online, if you are teaching a hybrid class that would NOT be appropriate for fully remote participation throughout the semester, it would be a good idea to include this information in the ADDITIONAL NOTES section of your course, e.g., ”Not appropriate for fully remote participation." Your departmental course scheduling experts can assist with this.
  • ZOOM is coming! Zoom is coming! We are pleased to announce that soon Miami will be adding an additional tool to our video conferencing toolbox. An enterprise version of Zoom will be available within the next couple of weeks to all current Miami faculty, staff, and students. Standard Users can host up to 300 attendees, at any given time, fifty users will be able to host up to 500, and two users will be able to host up to 1000. We will update the community when it is ready for active use. Changes are also on the horizon for Miami’s current video conferencing tools, Webex and Google Meet.   
  • We are seriously considering some large outdoor classrooms like Rice University is implementing.

Updates on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Efforts: 

We continue to discuss what our journey of allyship looks like, as individuals and as an institution. We recognize that we must start where we are, in the culture we live in, meeting the members of our community where they are. We cannot control the behaviors of those who seek to spread discord and hate or who act out of ignorance, but we can control how we react to these inevitable behaviors. We must have expectations that acknowledge that all of us are at different points on our journeys, and that changing culture is not easy, nor does it happen quickly. But it can happen, and we are committed to doing what we can to enable continual improvement and change at Miami. Progress is fragile and can quickly unravel, as many of us have discovered to our chagrin, watching decades of effort and apparent progress roll back in just a few years. I encourage members of our campus community to continue working toward change rather than abandoning and publicly rejecting these efforts if immediate results are not observed.

President Crawford has directed that a $1 million dollar Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion fund be set up, built on the foundation of a very generous gift from a donor to drive DE&I efforts. The leaders of the Presidential Task Force on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Dr. Anthony James and Vicka Bell-Robinson, and I will provide more information next week on how these funds will be used towards meaningful improvements in this important area. We also are working on other focused DE&I efforts:  

  1. Curriculum Subgroup of AAO DE&I Committeethis subgroup has been formed to focus on developing recommendations relating to the University's curriculum. Members include Pepper Stetler, Helane Androne, Carolyn Haynes, Madelyn Detloff, and Denise Taliaferro Baszile. Tentative recommendations under development include: (1) creating a means of providing ongoing faculty development and resources that support teaching and learning advancing DE&I outcomes and principles; (2) aligning the current Global Miami Plan and new liberal education plan with the DE&I requirement and outcomes being developed by the Ohio Department of Higher Education; (3) developing a departmental and interdepartmental grant opportunity for curricular revisions that promote DE&I outcomes and principles; (4) securing additional support (e.g., faculty fellows and transportation) to advance service-learning; (5) aligning the new One Year/One Theme Program (which will replace the Summer Reading Program beginning fall 2021) with DE&I goals and principles; and (6) ensuring that the new Honors College and Prodesse Scholars courses advance DE&I principles and goals. Please send suggestions to Carolyn Haynes, haynesca@miamioh.edu.
  2. A Faculty subgroup and Senate will be working together to ensure we are looking at ways we can continue to support faculty experiencing challenges due to COVID-19. As higher education experiences profound upheaval, colleges, and universities need to double down on their efforts to better support faculty and their professional development, write Andrew Rosen and Jaime Lester. Jennifer Green, our incoming Senate Executive Committee chair-elect and Clinical Professor of Psychology will be working with Dana Cox, our outgoing Chair of Senate Executive Committee and Special Assistant to the Provost for Faculty Affairs to look at policies, opportunities, promising practices, peer institutions, and scholarship in this area to propose concrete steps we can take. We know from the work of Adrianna Kezar and other scholars that the pandemic has impacted some faculty far more severely than others, and we want to ensure we can do what we can to ameliorate these effects. Further, we know that women faculty and faculty from minoritized groups tend to have significantly more negative student evaluationsfewer opportunities to move into administration, perform more invisible service, and often experience uneven promotion outcomes. We are discussing ways to address this, in addition to implementing more culturally responsive mentoring, leadership and professional development, and hiring and promotion practices.
  3. A Student-focused subgroup continues to work on initiatives that can improve outcomes and the campus environment for students with minoritized identities. Amongst the initiatives we are discussing includes an expanded, university-wide, culturally responsive professional advising team, and revisions to the Global Miami Plan that will emphasize courses that have a primary focus on racism, colonialism, subjugation of other cultures, privilege, and similar topics of particular relevance. I personally have been hoping we can also expand course offerings that emphasize not only our commitment to anti-racism, but also our important relationship with the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma, and the history of Native Americans and First Nations peoples.
  4. Graduate students face unique challenges and our Graduate School, with the leadership of our new Dean Michael Crowder, continues discussions in this area in an effort to prioritize actions that can make an impact on graduate education. While I served as Dean of the Graduate School at Clemson, we implemented several initiatives in this area, including culturally responsive professional development and mentoring for graduate students. I am hopeful that we can mount a campus-wide effort that can benefit faculty, staff, graduate students, and undergraduate students. We will update you on these discussions as they focus on near-term actions.
  5. The City of Oxford passed an ordinance banning chokeholds by police officers in the City of Oxford. The ordinance also required officers to take reasonable steps to intervene when they see other officers using unauthorized or excessive use of force. I celebrate this tangible signal to our community that our partners in the City of Oxford are working to support these efforts.

Strategic Initiatives:

  1. The Boldly Creative Strategic Academic Initiative is continuing to make progress. Project leaders from Round 1 have submitted annual reports and requests for support for the upcoming year, and the deans have completed their reviews of the reports. Letters to project leaders will be sent in the coming week. The academic deans are also now reviewing full proposals for Round 2 and 3 and will be announcing their decisions by the end of July. You can learn more via the Boldly Creative website which will be updated as new developments occur.
  2. The Academic Program Enhancement, Improvement, and Prioritization (APEIP) Project, led by Distinguished University Professor Stacey Lowery Bretz, is well underway. In consultation with the APEIP Steering Committee and the Office of the Provost, data managers in each academic division have created data workbooks for each academic department. Using these workbooks and their understanding of the programs, academic deans in consultation with department chairs are developing preliminary ratings and tentative objectives for improvement for each academic program within the departments. See below for a summary of the preliminary ratings across all divisions. Departments will use these ratings and objectives to craft their curricular action plans in the fall semester. Dr. Bretz has assembled a team of consultants which department chairs can use to assist with: interpreting data relating to their academic programs; generating possible ideas for curricular action plans; or communicating with faculty about the APEIP process. Please call on this team of experts to help your program use the extensive data we have available to improve your offerings or generate new ideas. 
Program Ratings Bachelor Co-Major UG Cert GR Cert Masters Doctoral Total

Continuous Improvement

88

10

10

9

37

8

163

Significant Difficulties

40

3

0

6

22

5

76

Teach Out Plan in Place

3

1

0

2

1

0

7

Not Admitting

0

0

0

1

2

2

5

Not Yet Rated

6

1

4

4

8

0

23

Total # Programs

137

15

14

22

70

15

274

 Finally, as we move into the weekend, those of you who have pets know that they can be a tremendous comfort during these trying times (or a headache during those video conference meetings). Our resident expert, Allen McConnell, Chair of the Psychology Department, recently shared his scholarship in this area. Be sure to check it out. Unfortunately, the Provost’s Special Assistant for Feline Affairs, Watson, is pretty useless except as a doorstop, but we both send you warm wishes for a good weekend!

Many Thanks,
Jason Osborne


Wednesday, July 7, 2020, 9:37 p.m. - From the Provost

Colleagues,

Today I'm sharing a number of updates on our return to campus. We continue to have multiple groups working on a safe return to campus, and will continue to share information, including course scheduling for fall, as it develops. The State of Ohio and Butler County has seen a surge recently, but the case numbers are coming back down. I hope we continue to reverse the recent trend of increasing numbers, and I hope we as a nation continue to look for ways to emulate countries that have constrained transmission while also returning to work and school. I hope each of you are taking care of yourselves and your families.

Topics relating to returning for fall:

  1. Face masks
  2. External speakers
  3. University funded travel
  4. Course planning
  5. HVAC in buildings
  6. New developments with international students
  7. More guidance is coming

Face mask update:

Today, the governor has announced that any county classified as RED will require everyone to wear face masks both indoors and outdoors.

  • The University plans to order a Miami-branded cloth face mask for each faculty, staff, and student. Once received, a distribution plan will be put into place. To review prior communicated policies:
  • Everyone will be required to wear masks indoors.
  • Service can be denied, and students can be removed from classes if they refuse to comply. Faculty, staff, and students who refuse to comply will receive consequences through existing disciplinary procedures.
  • People with accommodations can be exempted and provided a reasonable accommodation like a requirement to wear a face shield or engaging in the class remotely.
  • In the rare class or situation that does not allow students or faculty to wear masks during class, e.g., during a music or voice lesson, an exemption will be issued.

External Speakers

External speakers are to be engaged remotely via WebEx or similar technology. Unusual circumstances or exceptions will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

University Funded Travel

University funded travel will not be allowed except for a strategic need and with approval of a VP. Travel necessary for sponsored programs and paid for by sponsored programs will only be allowed where there are no other travel bans or prohibitions.

Provost Message to Students and Parents

A message from the Provost to students and families preparing them to understand how our courses are being planned:

As we look forward to welcoming our new and returning students back to campus this fall, in Academic Affairs we continue to plan for how we can deliver the nationally recognized Miami University education at the same high-quality level while also protecting the health and safety of our faculty, staff, students, and community. You’re likely to see updates to your schedule, so my goal today is to share with you what the academic experience may look like.

First, we have to acknowledge that life on all university campuses this fall will not look like it did last fall, or indeed any other fall previously. That doesn’t mean it will be of any lower quality, but that it will be different in order to limit the spread of COVID19. As you look ahead to this semester, it could be useful for you to think about your long-term educational goals, and decide how to best use your time during this coronavirus pandemic to move closer to those goals. It might be helpful to consider that a successful semester, even if it doesn’t look like ones in the past, is one that moves you closer to achieving your goals. The Miami experience is a deeply personal and connected learning experience and our faculty and staff are committed to helping you meet your learning goals. In fact, over the past few months, more than half of our faculty have engaged in professional development opportunities to hone their teaching skills in preparation for returning to campus.

Our first priority will always be the health and safety of our Miami community. No one can guarantee a campus that is free of persons who have the virus or are otherwise ill. Thus, we are making several important changes and incorporating public health guidance to allow for as safe an environment as possible. We value the personalized and on-campus educational experience where faculty and students can build relationships and experience engaged learning. Thus, we are planning to have robust educational engagement opportunities on campus as well as robust and high-quality experiences that will be offered through other means such as online and hybrid courses.

  • Face to Face: Some courses will be traditional, on-campus courses where students and faculty are present on campus in person together throughout the semester. These courses will be held in classrooms that are large enough to accommodate all students with appropriate physical distancing. However, some courses are too large to be accommodated in person with physical distancing or may be led by faculty who cannot physically be on campus for a variety of reasons. These will be handled via online or hybrid modalities.
  • Online courses are designed to be high-quality online experiences throughout the entire semester with no anticipated in-person experiences. These courses take a variety of forms, and may be synchronous (everyone is engaged online together at the same time) or asynchronous (students can engage in the class activities on their own schedule) or a combination of the two. These courses may have personalized face to face small-group labs, recitation sessions, and engaged learning opportunities.
  • Hybrid courses are a diverse group of face to face courses with varying levels of online engagement. Some modern pedagogical approaches such as “flipped classrooms” are hybrid, as are courses that need to have portions of the class rotate between being present in person and joining the class remotely due to space limitations and public health requirements.

Our faculty are busily engaging with pedagogical experts to master these methods, and these courses will support students who need to be remote temporarily due to a delay in arriving on campus, an illness, a period of isolation, or other disruption. Soon, students will be able to view their revised schedules—showing some new delivery modes as well as new locations for some of their face-to-face experiences. Students will also have increased flexibility this fall, to accommodate those students concerned about returning to campus. In a future communication, we will share how you can elect to study online for the entire semester if you choose, or you can choose to delay return to campus for a number of weeks, starting classes remotely.

We appreciate your patience and flexibility as we have worked to finalize these details. This will be a new experience for all of us, but one that also offers exciting new possibilities for learning. These changes will continue to reflect our intense focus on high-quality, personally engaged learning while reducing the risk of spread of the virus.

Fall Course Planning

You will recall that departments have been developing balanced course offerings. Now that parents and students have been informed of the process and provided a high-level overview of what the different course modalities mean, we can begin entering these changes into the system. Guidance from the Provost office to departments that was released yesterday:

The approved proposed Oxford course formats currently reflect the following distribution of individual sections (I expect online to rise slightly as we match courses with spaces moving forward):

  • 26% Online
  • 36% Hybrid
  • 38% Face-to-Face

Later today, your departmental schedulers will be receiving directions from the registrar on how to proceed with making the course changes in Banner. Unfortunately, the system that we had hoped to use to help optimize the course schedule does not work for this particular situation (with changing room capacities, etc.), so we are switching to Plan B. They will be asked first to move online courses to that format in Banner, thus opening up classrooms. In the second phase (later this week), they will identify the courses that are moving to hybrid and select open classrooms (within Banner) for courses that need larger spaces for F2F learning.

This distribution identified above will not yield enough larger classrooms to accommodate all of the requests. If additional sections want to move from far-to-face to hybrid or online, I will ask that the departments make that change (once it has been approved by the dept chair and dean’s office). If a larger room is still needed for a course, you can work with me later this week to look for an additional space that is not currently a registrar controlled classroom (we have a number of them identified and once we know the needs, we will work with you to accommodate as many as possible).

COVID-19 and HVAC in Buildings

COVID-19 and HVAC in buildings has been a concern as we know that better ventilation is another measure we can take to reduce airborne exposure, along with facemask wearing, hand washing, and social distancing. Cody Powell in the Physical Facilities Department provided this statement on how we are managing HVAC in buildings:

HVAC is a critical component to mitigating the spread of the virus inside our built environment. We are following the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) and general CDC recommendations. We have three separate initiatives which have been identified as important to address:

  • Filtration - Our air-handlers serving large sections of our buildings typically have MERV8 air filters installed. Recommendations are to install air filters with a much higher filtration capability - specifically MERV13 filters. We are in the process of changing all of these filters on campus now and will be complete prior to the students returning to campus.
  • Ventilation - Buildings are designed to "mix" the air. Essentially some portion of the air is returned, or reused and mixed with some quantity of fresh air. Most systems are now designed to reduce energy consumption by minimizing the amount of outdoor air and maximizing the amount of return or reused air. We measure air quality (e.g., CO2 monitors) to ensure occupant safety. In current conditions, we are forgoing the energy savings and maximizing the outdoor air (or fresh air) and minimizing the return air. We are able to do so with our digital building automation system. While each building has design limitations, we are definitely enhancing the amount of outdoor air in the spaces.
  • Operating Schedules - To achieve our energy and sustainability goals, we employ many different control strategies to optimize the operation of our heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) equipment. One example is that we "set-back" or limit the operation of the equipment when the buildings are less occupied. In current conditions, we will be returning the equipment to normal operation earlier in the morning and continuing to run the equipment later in the evening to ensure the building's air is changed-over with fresh air. In essence, we will be flushing the building's air much more regularly than we historically would.

While we are doing many things behind the scenes with how building HVAC is controlled, I think these are the largest and most important items to share. Please feel free to reach back out if you have any additional questions.

Message to International Students

In light of new guidance from the US Government around international students and online courses, this is the message provided to our international students:

You have probably heard the news that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) issued guidance yesterday afternoon regarding online study for fall semester. Notably, the guidance indicates that international students will not be permitted to take only online courses while remaining in the United States.

Miami University intends to offer a range of in-person, hybrid, remote, and online courses for fall semester. International students who are in the U.S. should be able to register for a sufficient number of in-person courses to be eligible to remain in the U.S.

For Miami University students who will remain outside the U.S. this fall, this new guidance does not change what we have been advising. While you will not be able to maintain your F-1 status while abroad, you are permitted and encouraged to take online courses that further your academic progress at Miami University. ISSS will assist you with obtaining a new I-20 to return to the U.S. in January 2021.

Miami University’s ISSS team will follow this new guidance and any related developments very closely and continue to provide updates. Miami University is working hard to ensure you have a safe and quality educational experience on campus this fall. We understand that these are stressful times, but we want to assure you that we are here to support you and that you are welcome and valued at Miami University.

More Guidance

More guidance will be coming from a variety of sources. We continue engaging shared governance in multiple ways to ensure we are doing the best we can for a successful fall semester. We are also conferring with health experts, other high-quality peer institutions, regulatory authorities, etc., and you will continue to receive updates from our AAO return to campus committee, your senators, and routine communications like this one.

Many Thanks,
Jason Osborne


Tuesday, June 30, 2020 10:02 a.m. - Return to Campus Notice

Good morning, 

We hope you are looking forward to returning to campus this fall. Students will begin moving back into the residence halls beginning on August 10 and classes will begin on August 17. 

We expect COVID-19 will be with us for the foreseeable future and are planning accordingly and of course while no one can guarantee a campus that is free of persons who have the virus or are otherwise ill, we are making several important changes to help lessen the risks. We want to share with you a number of the decisions we have made and some of the preparations we are making.

Returning to Campus to Work

  • Although some employees have already returned to campus to begin preparations for the fall semester, most employees will typically begin returning to work on campus the week of July 26, 2020. Divisional leaders assigned each employee to one of three categories:
    • Category 1: Employees for whom a substantial portion (or all) of their responsibilities need to be performed on-campus on a daily basis.
    • Category 2: Employees for whom a substantial portion (or all) of their responsibilities can be performed remotely on a daily basis if necessary.
    • Category 3: Employees for whom a significant portion of their responsibilities can be performed remotely but must come to campus on a regular, but less than daily, basis to perform critical tasks. 
  • Employees will soon begin to receive information from their supervisor regarding their expected return date, work assignment location, and any on-campus work schedule.
  • Employees who will be working on campus on a regular but less than daily basis will be assigned an on-campus work schedule. This schedule will help the University practice physical distancing in the workplace and hopefully lessen the number of people an employee comes into contact with. Employees are expected to adhere to their assigned work schedule. Assigned work schedules will not be changed and assigned on-campus work days may not be switched or swapped.

Campus

  • Campus and even your personal workspace will likely look different to you when you return to campus. Physical Facilities staff are working with Building Points of Contact and others around campus to erect appropriate signage and physical barriers.
  • All offices that provide direct services for students or faculty will be opening and functioning on campus. Some offices will be by appointment only – no drop-ins. 
  • Some spaces will be closed or their use will be limited (e.g. break rooms.)

Cleaning

  • Common spaces and other high-touch areas will be cleaned, sanitized, and disinfected by custodial staff on at least a daily basis. Physical Facilities will provide disinfectants and hand sanitizer for use by departments and work units. Employees are encouraged to use the supplied products throughout the workday to sanitize or disinfect their workspaces or commonly shared equipment ( e.g. copiers)
  • Each employee should remove as many non-essential high-touch items as possible from their work area such as magazines, common pens, etc.
  • DO NOT move furniture. Furniture Removal is being coordinated by Physical Facilities and storage space is limited. Tape will be available to cordon off furniture.

Meetings

  • You can expect to continue to hold many meetings on a virtual basis –even if everyone is on campus!
  • In-person meetings will be limited in size based on local, state and federal guidelines and should not exceed 50 percent of a room’s capacity, assuming individuals can still maintain 6 feet of separation for physical distancing requirements.
  • All meeting attendees must wear a face covering while sharing space in a common room.
  • During your time on-campus, you are encouraged to communicate with your colleagues and supervisors as needed by email, instant message (e.g. Google Chat, Slack etc.), telephone or other available technology rather than face-to-face. You can also use a range of available virtual collaboration tools (e.g. WebEx, Jabber, etc.).

Personal Conduct

Employees will be expected to follow the Guidelines for Distancing and Hygiene. This includes a daily health assessment and wearing a face covering when working outside a single person office.

More to Come

We will soon be launching a Return to Work website that will provide more information about your return to work. Please remember, the rules and our planning continue to evolve as new information becomes available. 

We look forward to welcoming you back to campus. If in the interim you have questions, please contact Human Resources at employment@MiamiOH.edu, 529-3131 or Academic Personnel Services at academicpersonnel@miamioh.edu.

Jason Osborne
Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs

David Creamer
Senior Vice President of Finance and Business Services


Monday, June 15, 2020 5:26 p.m. - From the Provost

Dear Colleagues,

Here are a few brief updates to start the week. We continue to work on return to campus, budget, and planning for the coming academic year in addition to thinking through actions we can take to make Miami a more inclusive, equitable, and diverse campus. Updates will continue throughout the summer.

To check out what is happening, see Safe Return to Campus Planning and Coordinating Committee

Topics for today:

  1. Some stories about how Miamians are responding to COVID-19
  2. Libraries re-starting some services via curbside pickup and electronic delivery
  3. Updates from our IT team
  4. Some results from a national survey of students about online learning
  5. Fall calendar now updated on academic calendar web site

1. Some good news Miamian stories

  • Here's the story of an amazing young Miami alumna who already is applying her talents to create solutions. Sara Al-Zubi '19 is at Harvard Medical School and is leading a team to battle global misinformation about the coronavirus outbreak. The team has translated simple coronavirus infographics into at least 12 languages, including Arabic and Turkish. Kudos to Sara and to all Miami alums who are making a difference.
  • Ingenuity comes in many forms, as Miamians are proving in the COVID-19 era. Researchers in our Mechanical & Manufacturing Engineering Department have designed a hands-free door opener to limit contact with surfaces and keep students, faculty and staff healthy. Keep those creative ideas coming, everybody!
  • Miamians have dealt with the upheavals of the COVID-19 pandemic in so many different ways. This story and video, produced by students in Assistant Professor Andy Rice's documentary film production class, shows students adapting and learning. This kind of perseverance and creativity will carry us forward to survive and thrive.
  • Teaching laboratory courses is among the most challenging transitions to online learning, and associate teaching professor Meredith Erb of the department of chemistry and biochemistry used video and online tools to benefit students in her organic chemistry lab sections. Erb and the team of teaching assistants recorded videos of the TAs performing the experiments, embedding key data (such as masses and melting points) in the videos and making the videos and accompanying experimental data available on the Canvas course site. More than 200 students in the various course sections could watch the experiments, analyze the data, draw conclusions and write lab reports remotely. “I definitely plan to continue making videos of these core techniques so students can participate in the labs and perform their own data analysis,” Erb said.

2. Libraries Curbside pickup
As promised, we've announced our new curbside pickup service on the Libraries website.

Beginning Tuesday, June 16, Miami students, faculty, and staff will be able to request and pick up materials from the Libraries' physical holdings on the Oxford campus through a new curbside service.

Students, faculty, or staff simply place a hold on the items they need, select "King Curbside" as the pickup location, and then receive an email when their items are ready for pickup. Once they're notified their items are ready, users drive up to King on Tuesday or Thursday between 1-5 p.m., park in the newly-designated spot in the King parking lot, and call 513-529-2433. Library staff then bring the items out and load them into the trunk.

Since the Hamilton and Middletown campus libraries and SWORD remain closed, this service is only available for materials at the Oxford campus libraries for now — King, Amos Music, Wertz Art & Architecture, & BEST.

For safety, staff processing holds and bringing out materials will wear masks, wash hands frequently, and stay at least six feet away from each other and library users — whom we also encourage to wear masks and remain at a distance. Staff are also following all other university guidance including daily temperature taking and self-monitoring for COVID-19 symptoms.

Document delivery - The Libraries are also running a document delivery service through which students, faculty, and staff can request digital copies of print works held in our collections — e.g., articles and selections from books. We've set up an online form for those requests.

Electronic reserves and streaming video reserves - Curbside pickup and document delivery work together to fulfill individual scholarship needs. To support instructors, the Libraries also provide access through streaming video reserves and electronic reserves. Through electronic reserves, we provide faculty and students access to textual works (e.g., books, journal and newspaper articles) we don't currently have available electronically via Canvas. These requests are also handled through an online form.

3. IT Updates

  • Banner 9 - We are going to kick off the the rest of the upgrade to Banner 9. Last year, we tackled what is called "INB", now Ellucian has the other half of our Banner tools available, and we will be upgrading "SSB", which is the self-service side of Banner. While a lot of the work will be with Brent and David Creamer's teams, I want you all to be aware that you'll hear about, and potentially be engaged at times as we work on the upgrade. We know there's a lot going on, and we'll be sensitive to that, but this is one where we don't want to be left hanging on to Banner 8.
  • Scantron end of life - We will be discontinuing scantron grading earlier than we had anticipated and will announce that we are not resuming it this fall. While we were on a slower path forward before the pandemic, we stopped processing scantrons as we all went home. Hybrid instruction means that scantrons, which require in person testing, involve handling lots of paper, moving them between buildings, and other manual interactions don't make sense going forward.

4. National Online Learning Survey
In the wake of COVID-19, higher education institutions faced a daunting new set of challenges stemming from the transition to online classes. To assist colleges and universities in making a successful transition across the spring, Hanover Research conducted a survey of more than 26,000 college and university stakeholders – including students, their parents, and faculty and staff - on their perceptions of and preparedness for online learning. The survey explored stakeholders’ prior experience with online courses, the impact of moving to an online environment, desired features for online classes, and concerns regarding COVID-19.

This report presents the aggregated results from the survey:

  • Despite prior experience with virtual courses, students feel less comfortable with online learning than faculty.
  • Parents and undergraduate students are the most likely to report a negative impact of transitioning to virtual classrooms, as well as being most concerned about the quality of online instruction. To address this, Hanover recommends Implementing best practices in online learning and clearly communicate these efforts to stakeholders to regain their confidence
  • Students feel less motivated and less engaged in online courses, and faculty want more guidance on how to engage students in a virtual environment. To address this, we can promote student-centered processes and foster student autonomy to boost their motivation and engagement levels.
  • Students and faculty consider access to devices as well as both recorded and live lectures to be most critical to online learning, yet institutional support for these key components nationally has not been very effective.
  • Provide loaner devices to students and staff who may require them as well as structured guidance to faculty on delivering and capturing online lectures
  • Besides academic performance, students are concerned about mental and emotional health. We need to ensure adequate student access to mental and emotional health resources, coordinate virtual gatherings or activities to ease the hardship inflicted by social isolation

5. Fall Academic Calendar
The fall academic calendar is updated on our academic calendar web page.

Many thanks,
Jason Osborne


Monday, June 8, 2020 2:22 p.m. - From the Provost

Dear Colleagues,

As we look forward to our first ever online Board of Trustees meeting on June 19th, we are finally able to begin sharing out more detailed information on how our incoming class is looking, which in turn, drives much of our budget modeling. I want to thank Brent Shock and Bethany Perkins for taking time out of their incredibly busy schedules to share how EMSS has been, and continues to, working to recruit and retain students, support student success, and give us another cohort of amazing students to work with. Currently our incoming class is shaping up to be our second highest ever (Fall 2019 was the largest), but, due to a variety of reasons, our net instructional revenue is likely to be lower than in previous years. More on that below.

Many of you are no doubt aware of the recent actions of one of our retired faculty members. President Crawford and I have joined many of you in strongly condemning hateful and bigoted behavior. There are a lot of nuances in this story, such as how are faculty, students, and staff held accountable for their actions, and how do we, as a public university, honor constitutionally-protected freedoms, like freedom of speech, even when we may disagree with the results of those freedoms. Our General Counsel has provided a brief overview of some of these thorny issues below.

What are we doing for diversity at Miami? We already have numerous, some high-profile, national and local initiatives which focus on inclusion that we cannot forget even as we search for new opportunities to create social justice. We as Miamians specifically espouse certain values of Love and Honor. We must speak clearly and take action against hate and bigotry. This afternoon during our University Senate meeting, we will discuss a resolution speaking to clear and decisive actions that align with the following areas we were already pursuing within Academic Affairs. These efforts include (but are not limited to):

  • Students: coordinating and expanding professional advising throughout the university to ensure we are effectively supporting all students effectively, with a particular focus on reducing achievement and graduation gaps, and that we are appropriately supporting student success for all Miamians; evaluating evidence-based initiatives that can broaden the diversity of graduate students preparing for professional or higher education careers;
  • Curriculum: ensuring offerings within the Global Miami Plan are leading effectively to the learning objectives envisioned as critical; focusing offerings to ensure students are engaging in important conversations; launching One Year One Theme this year that coordinates interdisciplinary discussions around a single theme throughout the year;
  • Faculty: expand evidence-based efforts to recruit, support, retain, and promote faculty with minoritized identities;
  • Research and Scholarship: investing strategically in scholarship or creative initiatives that seeks to directly improve social justice.

More information will be forthcoming on these initiatives soon.

Some other topics:

  1. Quick COVID-19 updates
  2. Fall 2020 Calendar announced
  3. Consultation with Fiscal Priorities Committee
  4. A brief primer on how Miami is constrained in taking actions against racist speech

1. Some quick facts on COVID-19

  • You can see trends in Butler County and Ohio. Right now it looks as though we are flat or slightly trending downward right now. We will see what the impact of “opening” the state and gatherings for protests might be. Fingers crossed that most of us are continuing distancing, hand washing, and wearing facial coverings.
  • We need to ensure we are not stigmatizing folks who test positive for COVID-19 once we return to campus. COVID-19 is not a moral failing, but a virus that can attack any of us.
  • Ohio statistics: The median age for those dying from COVID-19 in Ohio is 81. 53% of deaths have, tragically, come from those over 80. Only 9% of deaths in Ohio have come from those under 60 years of age. The statistics for Butler County seem to be mirroring these trends to date.
  • It remains unclear whether Vitamin D has a relationship to adverse outcomes in COVID-19.
  • Some research has suggested that blood types or Rh status might be related to better outcomes (esp. Type O; sadly I am AB+). These data, like Vitamin D, are very preliminary.
  • The most visible study questioning the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine was retracted.

2. Fall 2020 Calendar
Late last week we released information on our current plans for our Fall semester calendar. In coming to this decision, we received broad input from our community through several shared governance mechanisms. Our goal was to balance our desire for the safest semester possible while also trying to stay true to our exceptional Miami educational experience. Our strategy, like many universities, is to begin slightly earlier than planned (August 17th), eliminate fall break, ending classes prior to Thanksgiving, on Friday, November 20th. Students will have a full week for Thanksgiving break, and we will finish our semester remotely, with two study/reading days, and then five days of finals administered remotely. This plan eliminates two points during the semester where students traditionally leave campus and return: fall break and Thanksgiving break. We anticipate this will better protect our campus community as well as students’ families. We hope for a vaccine and return to more routine campus experience prior to the regularly scheduled winter and spring terms. Note that we will have further information about December commencement when it is available.

3. Consultation with Fiscal Priorities Committee
The Fiscal Priorities Committee (see attached) continues to serve as a shared governance resource for President Crawford, Dr. Creamer, me, and other members of the PEC as needed. The Fiscal Priorities and Budget Planning Committee represents the University Senate in the financial management of the University; in the process of setting fiscal priorities and budget planning. Dr. Creamer and the Committee have scheduled weekly meetings and the plan is to present a draft budget to the University’s Board of Trustees at its June 19, meeting. Here is a brief summary of what we have discussed or received feedback on:

  • David Creamer met with the University Senate’s Fiscal Priorities and Budget Planning Committee last Tuesday following the close of enrollment for the fall 2020 class and shared some initial budget planning information. I met with the Committee on Friday and discussed our values-based approach to reducing expenditures in light of our anticipated budget challenges for Fall 2020.
  • EMSS update: By the June 1, 2020 admission deadline, 4165 first-year students committed to enroll on the Oxford Campus for the Fall 2020 semester. This is the second largest class in the past 5 years. The Regional Campuses are open admissions and students apply throughout the summer. Despite strong enrollment, preliminary estimates indicate we will experience a reduction in revenue as compared to the last five years—both in terms of net instructional revenue (NIR) and State Share of Instruction (SSI). This reduction in revenue will persist for at least four years as this new class moves toward graduation, even if next year’s incoming class brings significantly increased NIR.
  • Our budget outlook is solidifying and by our meeting with the Board of Trustees, we will have more refined estimates as to the challenges we face. We continue to face nationwide challenges such as:
    • Declining high school graduates, more competition for students from struggling institutions, and more aggressive discounting as institutions try to attract students;
    • A dramatic economic slowdown, accompanied by high unemployment and unpredictable investment returns;
    • Reductions in state revenues that will likely lead to significant decreases in funding for higher education;
    • Increased financial for students and their families due to economic factors;
    • Significant refunds of fees to students and their families
  • We are entering FY21 (July 1, 2020—June 30, 2021) budget planning with an important advantage in that we have realized approximately $19 million dollars in budget savings as a result of advancing the planned 5-year budget cuts. By taking these accelerated actions last January, these budget savings will be available to help address the budget shortfall anticipated for FY 21.
  • The University received a little over $12 million dollars from the Federal CARES Act. As required by law, half is being used for direct grants to students to defray costs associated with COVID 19. The other half is being used to defray the costs incurred by the University in responding to the COVID crises. The State of Ohio reduced the University’s 4th quarter SSI payment by almost $3 million dollars and the University refunded over $27 million dollars in housing and meal and general fee charges.
  • We have heard concerns that Miami will need to take actions similar to those of other institutions around the country. Because of our strong fiscal management and our exceptionally strong efficiency rankings:
    • The University has no plans to reduce employee benefits. The University cannot, by law, change employer contribution rates to retirement plans (STRS, PERS or the Alternative Retirement Plan-ARP);
    • No continuing faculty lines have been cut; all needs identified by departments that cannot be met by continuing faculty are being met by visiting faculty;
    • Assuming a return to residential face to face instruction for the Fall Semester and thereafter, the University is NOT for involuntarily furloughs;
    • As mentioned previously, the University did offer members of the AFSCME bargaining unit the opportunity to take voluntary furloughs beginning June 13 and ending July 24. Over 160 AFSCME employees have already applied to take the voluntary furlough. Housing and dining employees are being given first preference because the University will not be hosting camps or conferences this summer due to the COVID19 virus. Although a voluntary furlough is a leave without pay, the University will be assisting furloughed employees in applying for unemployment benefits. In addition to Ohio unemployment benefits ( maximum of $455 per week) there is a federal unemployment supplement of $600 per week available. The University has also offered to pay all of the furloughed employees’ cost share (premium) for health care as well as dental and vision insurance.
  • We also talked about the values we in Academic Affairs are using to think through the various strategies we could employ to reduce expenditures in light of revenue declines. These include:
    • Protecting continuing faculty, academic programs, and our nationally-prominent student experience;
    • Investing in important future efforts;
    • Keeping promises to the greatest extent possible;
    • Serving continuing needs with continuing positions, and temporary needs with contingent positions; and
    • Expecting all units to manage budgets responsibly within resources.

We have a great group of leaders, and I am confident that we can navigate these current challenges and remain a top quality, impactful research university.

4. Public Employees and Freedom of Speech (from our General Counsel, Robin Parker, with my edits/clarifications underlined)
Public employees are protected from adverse employment action (e.g. termination, retaliation ) by their public employer for exercising their rights as citizens to free speech. This prohibition is grounded in the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Garcetti v. Ceballos, 547 U.S. 410 (2006). The Garcetti decision makes it clear that as long as the public employee is acting in their capacity as a private citizen, speaking on a matter of “public interest and concern” (as opposed to a matters of purely private concern), the employee’s right to speak prevails over the public employer’s interest in workplace order; efficiency, discipline, confidentiality and morale as long as the speech did not occur within and pursuant to the public employees actual job responsibilities. As a public university (meaning we are part of the government), Miami is obligated to follow the dictates of the Garcetti decision unlike private universities which are not bound by the First Amendment, which only constrains government action.

By contrast, when a government employee speaks pursuant to his or her job duties (excluding perhaps when a faculty member speaks in the scholarship or teaching context) the employee is not speaking as a citizen on a matter of public concern and the Constitution does not protect them from employer discipline. In such circumstances, the government (University) enjoys “wide latitude in managing their offices, without intrusive oversight by the judiciary in the name of the First Amendment." See Garcetti v. Ceballos, 547 U.S. 410 (2006).

Dr. Brooks was not acting pursuant to his duties as a public employee when he verbally attacked the protestors. He was off campus, not on work time and did not represent himself as speaking or acting as a professor at Miami University. The issues of racial injustice, police violence, and the murder of George Floyd and others are clearly matters of “public interest and concern.” Thus the University is left without legal recourse to take any adverse employment action against Dr. Brooks as a result of his Constitutionally protected hate speech. (Note: Brooks had retired previously and is not scheduled to teach after this current course is completed.)

Miami University is not the only university to find itself caught in this terrible conflict between its deeply held values of diversity and inclusion and its duty to afford its faculty, staff and students their Constitutional rights of free speech. For similar conflicts at other universities, see CNN's article on the University of North Carolina Wilmington and "On the First Amendment" (Indiana University).

Many thanks,
Jason


Wednesday, June 3, 2020 10:13 p.m. - From the Provost

Dear Colleagues:

I have written and rewritten this introduction several times today. I am at a loss to say anything that feels useful at this moment. I am beyond frustrated with what I see in our country. I am mystified at how people can treat other human beings with such disregard in so many different ways. None of my drafts felt right. Let me just say that I am with you, wherever you are, whatever is weighing on you. I continue to believe that we, as educators, can and do make a difference.

I continue to believe that a strong, values-focused university like Miami can have a profound positive impact on our students and our communities. We work for the future.

Feeling bad is not enough. Being knowledgeable is not enough. We must take action. Implicit bias, structural bias, history, culture, prejudice, discrimination, and ignorance are difficult to overcome, but we as a species have a long history of overcoming difficult challenges. One challenge right in front of us is the failure of higher education to realize the social justice goals we set for ourselves. Let us begin by getting our own house in order. In the days to come I will ask for help to identify evidence-based actions we can take to:

  • Ensure our curriculum and co-curricular activities fully engage our students in exploring the myriad social justice issues present in this and other cultures, as well as the pervasive and insidious effects of cultural and societal disparities;
  • Continue helping first-generation students and students with minoritized identities find post-secondary success at unprecedented levels and in new ways; and
  • Implement evidence-based strategies to ensure that we recruit, support, retain, promote, and empower a broadly diverse faculty that will continue strengthening our ability to fully deliver on our mission to serve the public good.

We can be the change we want to see in the world. Let's start.

Now, some selected topics for our mid-week update:

  1. Planning for safe(r) return to campus: what does science say?
  2. A message from our campus-wide Safe Return to Campus Planning and Coordinating Committee
  3. Brief overview of voluntary furlough offered to AFSCME workers
  4. Reminder of faculty development opportunities in preparation for fall

1. Emerging evidence about COVID-19 and safe(r) return to campus:
I have heard significant anxiety as we discuss fall term, and I want to assure you that we are doing everything we can to prepare for a successful return to campus for as many of our university members as possible. Of course, we acknowledge that nothing can guarantee zero risk of exposure to a freely-circulating virus, but I want to review our thinking at this point (which of course will evolve as evidence evolves):

De-densifying, hand washing, and face masks: Our Physical Facilities staff are providing us guidance regarding using a 50% occupancy rule of thumb for classrooms in addition to lower density options. This new(er) 50% occupancy guidance is based on recent recommendations from various scientific agencies.

Some have expressed concern over this guidance. Recall that the prior guidance—our ubiquitous six foot rule—was from the earliest days of the pandemic. Recent research has developed more nuance. Face masks, distance, and hand washing seem to be common elements of most evidence-based recommendations for reducing the probability of airborne transmission:

  • Staying 3 feet (1 meter) apart lowers the chances of coronavirus spread by 82% … according to the review that analyzed information from 44 studies across 16 countries and published June 1 in the journal The Lancet. With face masks, the chance of spread was … more than 80%, according to the report.
  • "Although distancing, face masks and eye protection were each highly protective, none made individuals totally impervious from [COVID-19] infection," lead author Dr. Derek Chu, a clinician scientist in the Department of Health Research Methods, Evidence and Impact, and the Department of Medicine at McMaster University in Ontario, said in a statement. For this reason "basic measures such as hand hygiene are also essential to curtail the current COVID-19 pandemic and future waves."

Fabric Face Masks: I have three different fabric face masks and have closely monitored the scientific findings around face masks to ensure I keep myself and my family as safe as possible.

  • It appears that fabric face masks can be surprisingly effective. “We found that very breathable fabrics are a good choice, like common t-shirt materials. They tend to have low droplet resistance, and their efficiency increases when used in a two-layer mask. The net breathability of the two layers is much higher than the medical masks, too. In fact, the breathability of cotton T-shirt fabrics remains higher than a medical mask, even with three layers. Homemade masks can be an effective tool for the public, together with testing and contact tracing, social distancing and other interventions to mitigate disease transmission.”
  • “Mixing two different fabrics can also lead to impressive results: The researchers used an aerosol mixing chamber to produce particles ranging from 10 nm to 6 μm in diameter. A fan blew the aerosol across various cloth samples at an airflow rate corresponding to a person’s respiration at rest, and the team measured the number and size of particles in air before and after passing through the fabric. One layer of a tightly woven cotton sheet combined with two layers of polyester-spandex chiffon—a sheer fabric often used in evening gowns—filtered out the most aerosol particles (80–99%, depending on particle size), with performance close to that of an N95 mask material. Substituting the chiffon with natural silk or flannel, or simply using a cotton quilt with cotton-polyester batting, produced similar results. The researchers point out that tightly woven fabrics, such as cotton, can act as a mechanical barrier to particles, whereas fabrics that hold a static charge, like certain types of chiffon and natural silk, serve as an electrostatic barrier.”

Faculty accommodations: Many departments will likely need to offer some courses online due to space constraints. Ideally, departments will match those needs with faculty who prefer to be off-campus. Where faculty preference cannot easily be navigated in creating a balanced portfolio of course offerings, we will need to engage our existing accommodations process.

  • For those faculty who believe they will not be able to return to campus to teach in the fall or will need additional assistance to return to campus due to a serious underlying health condition, the University will work with them to provide reasonable accommodations to enable them to continue working where possible. For those seeking an accommodation, see Accommodation and Accessibility to follow the process.
  • Those faculty for whom no reasonable accommodation is possible or who have a family member with a serious underlying health condition, should consult with Academic Personnel Services about leave options.

Personal responsibility and safety: As a university community deeply enmeshed with the communities around our campuses, all members of our community will need to agree to a social contract whereby we do certain things to take care of each other. We are working to establish a norm of doing what it takes to have the best possible safety and best odds of having a full semester of on-campus education and activities.

  • To this end, Student Life is planning to have a series of required trainings regarding safety, public health, mask wearing, etc.
  • As faculty and staff who routinely leave campus and interact with community members and families, we must commit to the same social contract that we expect our students to adhere to.
  • As faculty, you are empowered to set norms of behavior within your classroom. You have the right, some might say the responsibility, to set an expectation that everyone wears a mask, engages in social distancing as much as possible, washes hands, and monitors their personal health, joining the class remotely rather than in-person if illness is suspected.
  • We once again ask you to carefully consider attendance policies to support healthy behaviors and not punish students for doing the right thing by staying away from class when unwell. By communicating how you will support students who are remote or not in class, you will reduce anxiety and improve their educational outcomes as well as public health. I would also recommend that you commit to your students that if you are unwell, you will take measures to reduce exposure such as temporarily teaching remotely.

Testing, tracing, isolation: We continue to have discussions with our health system partner, Tri-Health, and with various other public health agencies. As you may be aware, some of our students spent the past few months working as tracers with Butler County, and we can have a significant tracing capacity available. The biggest question will be testing, which is an area that is rapidly evolving. Other environmental monitoring techniques, such as monitoring wastewater, are also evolving. We have a long time until classes resume for fall, and it is unclear what specific strategies we will utilize. We even have alumni leading companies who develop and deliver testing. You can be certain that we are prioritizing this as a key tool for improving the health and safety of our community and will update everyone as we know more.

2. A message from the Safe Return to Campus Planning and Coordinating Committee: Earlier today, Dana Cox and Gwen Fears, co-chairs of the Safe Return to Campus (SR2C) Planning and Coordinating Committee, shared a message with the community that highlights their charge (see the message "To the Miami Community," dated June 3). They also introduced a new web resource that will both collect and disseminate information about out return to camps, and a communication plan for sharing updates.

3. Voluntary Furlough for AFSCME workers: On Monday, the University offered members of the AFSCME bargaining unit the opportunity to take voluntary furloughs beginning June 13 and ending July 24. Over 160 AFSCME employees have already applied to take the voluntary furlough. Housing and dining employees will be given first preference because the University will not be hosting camps or conferences this summer due to the COVID19 virus and will not need as many AFSCME workers. Although a voluntary furlough is a leave without pay, the University will be assisting furloughed employees in applying for unemployment benefits. In addition to Ohio unemployment benefits ( maximum of $455 per week) there is a federal unemployment supplement of $600 per week available. The University has also offered to pay all of the furloughed employees’ cost share (e.g. premium) for health, dental and vision insurance. At this time, I am not aware of any other furlough plans for any other group.

4. Pedagogical and skill development support for faculty preparing for fall classes: All of us face an uncertain fall semester. As we learned this past spring, it is not possible to know what might be around the corner. In order to create the best learning environments for our students in this uncertain context, we all benefit from having more tools, strategies and supportive networks at our disposal. Toward this end, the Center for Teaching Excellence, the Howe Center for Writing Excellence, and eLearning Miami have partnered to create a summer series of innovative development opportunities that draw from best practices in teaching with technology.

Our current plan for summer development:
June: Self-Paced Basics of Online Course Design (available starting June 15)
July: 90-minute Synchronous “Deep Dive” Sessions on Preparing for Flexible Formats, Creating Engaging Course Material, and Creating & Facilitating Quality Interactions Online
July and Early August: 90-Minute Synchronous Workshops in Response to Instructor Needs and Requests

Thank you!
Ryan Baltrip, Director, Digital Learning Initiatives
Elizabeth Wardle, Director, Howe Center for Writing Excellence
Ellen Yezierski, Director, Center for Teaching Excellence

(Note that faculty on our regional campuses have excellent support from the eCampus and other groups, as well as the option of engaging with these opportunities.)

Many thanks,
Jason


Sunday, May 31, 2020 4:27 p.m. - From the Provost

Dear Miami Colleagues:

Miami University unequivocally condemns racism and injustice.

I celebrate the values that we as Miamians hold dear and I believe that our values celebrate the strength that comes from inclusion and diversity. I believe that we are at our best when we seek to live our values by lifting up those around us. I believe those of us with privilege should use that privilege to make the world better for those who live under the shadow of oppression and marginalization. Sherri and I have dedicated our lives to being allies and advocates for those who work for social justice and to promote peace and respect for others.

2020 has been a dark year for all of us. I grew up in the 1970s when I believe many of us were optimistic that our society had learned from past mistakes, and that we were driving toward a bright, optimistic, egalitarian future. I still believe that that future is possible, but we must work harder for it than we ever anticipated. As educators, mentors, coaches, and colleagues, we in higher education are helping to nurture those who will build the future. We have the power to create change through others and I can imagine no greater calling or gift. Thank you, each of you, for what you do for our future.

Course Evaluations from Spring 2020:

I regret we are in such a troubled moment but we have much to celebrate at Miami. I recently asked the Office of Institutional Research to share with me a high-level summary of how our course evaluations fared this spring, compared this time last year. Given the world-wide disruption we experienced, I think everyone understood last semester was uniquely challenging. It would have been no surprise to see course evaluations drop significantly despite the best efforts of our exceptional and dedicated faculty. Pivoting to solely remote-delivery courses in less than 24-hours is no simple task and I speculated that it would be difficult to deliver instruction at a level our students are accustomed to receiving. We at Miami, particularly for the Oxford campus, had not widely prioritized excellence in online education before. I am gratified to report that in true Miami form, the broad feedback from students was on par with, or exceeded that of the prior spring. In almost every department, in almost every college, on almost every campus, we showed that despite the massive disruption(s) we experienced, our faculty made us proud.

Course Evaluations bar chart
Read transcript

Congratulations to everyone and thank you, faculty, for all of your hard work and persistence. Thank you from the President, the PEC, and the Board of Trustees.

Unfortunately, as we are all aware, we are not done with the Coronavirus and this coming fall will bring its own challenges that we will have to rise to meet. If you are anticipating needing to modify your class for online or hybrid delivery, or you want to continue developing your strengths in teaching and pedagogy, we have a strong set of offerings from Oxford eLearning, our Center for Teaching Excellence, the Howe Center, and our Regionals eCampus to support you.

Be well, take care of yourself and those you care about. We will get through this.

With Love and Honor,
Jason


Thursday, May 28, 2020 7:52 p.m. - From the Provost

Colleagues,

As we move into summer, I hope all of you are taking a moment to recharge and attend to self-care. The last few months have been trying for most of us. I continue to be optimistic about the future while grieving the tragedy of the present. My goal here is to continue to provide updates as we move through summer and plan for a safe return to campus this fall.

Groups throughout the University are meeting regularly to plan for a safe return to campus. These include University Senate; the Council of Academic Deans who are continuing the work of the University and staying updated on developments and planning within each academic division; the campus-wide Safe Return to Campus committee co-chaired by Dana Cox and Gwen Fears; and the AAO Return to Campus committee that James Bielo and I are co-chairing. There are too many others to list; e.g., Return to Research, multiple student life committees, global and international affairs, IT, graduate and undergraduate students, each academic division, athletics, etc. Many thanks to all the leaders from across the university who are supporting shared governance by participating in these working groups. Your efforts greatly increase our chances to achieve our goal of a safe and engaging fall semester.

We are currently seeing positive indicators regarding enrollment for the fall. Our summer enrollment on Oxford campus is higher than last year, and our regional campus summer enrollment is significantly above last year. Our retention numbers and our graduate enrollments continue to be strong and our incoming class is shaping up well. Next week, on June 5th, University Senate is hosting a virtual Town Hall that will focus on the work of Enrollment Management and Student Success (EMSS). Brent Shock will join us to discuss all the myriad ways in which supported our students through the spring semester, continued working to recruit a strong class, and how they are preparing for an unpredictable fall semester.

Event: Town Hall Meeting - Enrollment Management
Event number (access code): 798 721 717
Audio conference: +1-415-655-0002 United States Toll
Join from a video system or application: Dial 798721717@miamioh.webex.com (You can also dial 173.243.2.68 and enter your meeting number.)

Also as a reminder, June 19th will be our online Board of Trustees meeting. At this meeting we will update Board members with what we know about the incoming class, our budget models, consult about the fall academic calendar, and discuss other topics related to our safe return to campus. All will be welcome to join the public sessions. Some of our guidance to the university community needs to wait until the trustees have provided guidance and approval, and so we may have more information to share with you on some matters after that meeting.

Finally, on a positive note, our alumni continue to make the world a better place:

As the entire world plans for an uncertain future in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, Miami alumni continue to lead the way in charting that future, showing the value of a Miami degree in creating solutions to society's largest challenges. Carrie Graham, who earned a master's degree at the Scripps Gerontology Center in 1995, wrote with the following update:

I have been working as a policy consultant to the California Department of Aging. Originally I was consulting on Governor Newsom’s Master Plan for Aging. But when COVID-19 hit California, we pivoted to full time COVID Response. I have been advising the state on policies around LTC facilities, analyzing and summarizing data on vulnerable groups of seniors in California, and moderating weekly “Caregiver Check in Calls” on topics ranging from caregiving for someone in your home, caring for someone in senior living during COVID, advanced care planning, and Grief and Loss during COVID-19. We hope to be pivoting back to the Master Plan for Aging very soon.

Updates:

  1. Guidance for faculty and staff released
  2. Guidance for return to research released
  3. Guidance for fall class planning released
  4. Resources for faculty contemplating future teaching options
  5. AAO return to campus agenda items
  6. Bulk ordering of PPE and other supplies for fall

1. Guidance for faculty and staff released
This week, Dr. Creamer and I released the guidance we have for both faculty and staff on returning to campus. These documents summarize what we know at the moment, and also include processes for requesting accommodations or leave if you are unable to perform your job duties and balance health concerns. (See May 27 announcement.)

2. Return to research guidance released
Jim Oris and Michael Crowder co-chaired this team, which rapidly worked through multiple sub-groups to adapt guidance from national organizations like the APLU to meet our specific needs. This research guidance is now available.

3. Guidance for fall course offerings released
Wednesday evening, deans and other academic leaders received guidance on how to begin planning for fall semester course offerings. We ask departments to prepare a proposal for delivering a portfolio of courses utilizing a range of delivery mechanisms this fall which meet our goals of providing an exceptional, healthy, on-campus experience for students, provides support and accommodation for students not able to be on campus, meets learning goals, follows public health guidance, and protects the health and well-being of faculty. We must ensure that students do not end up with a majority of their courses online, especially for our incoming students. We ask our deans to work across departments to balance these different needs while we work on communicating with parents and students about how we are making decisions to maximize the quality of their experience while also maximizing public health and safety of our community members. Your deans and department chairs will have more guidance.

4. Faculty support
This will continue throughout the summer. If you are anticipating needing to modify your class for online or hybrid delivery, or you want to continue developing your strengths in teaching and pedagogy, we have a strong set of offerings from Oxford eLearning, our Center for Teaching Excellence, the Howe Center, and our Regionals eCampus to support you.

5. Our AAO return to campus committee
This committee continues to energetically discuss various issues around fall semester. Below is an incomplete set of highlights that I am aware of. There are extensive discussions over a tremendous number of issues happening continually.

  • IT is working across campus to ensure our classrooms are appropriately equipped for what we anticipate;
  • Student Life is planning a campaign of communications to students around shared responsibility and social contracts to keep each other safe through routine public health measures we are all becoming familiar with;
  • The campus Safe Return to Campus committee has developed some feedback on various scenarios for the fall academic calendar and will engage the AAO committee for further deliberation;
  • The Return to Research Committee continues to move us forward in scholarship and creative work;
  • Our HR and Academic Personnel offices are working across campus to ensure we are taking appropriate measures to support those who need support of various kinds;
  • Our international and global engagement folks are providing extensive support to our international students and continue to plan for study abroad and study away for fall semester;
  • Athletics is working to allow student athletes to return to campus safely and in small numbers; and
  • Our facilities experts continue to refine their plans to enhance safety and cleaning.

6. Bulk ordering of supplies for return to campus
We are working to coordinate large purchases of supplies we expect to need for fall. Please communicate with your supervisor or dean to collect your anticipated needs. Your supervisor or dean will know which office to share this information with. Note that our understanding of COVID-19 continues to evolve daily. For example, recent reporting suggests that surface contamination may not be the most serious concern as we return to campus if everyone washes their hands and wears masks to avoid touching their face.

Many thanks,
Jason


Wednesday, May 27, 2020 4:22 p.m. - From the SVP for Finance and Business Services and the Provost

To the members of the Miami staff,

These are challenging times for faculty, staff and their families. Uncertainty about the fall is causing anxiety for many. As we begin to plan for a return to on-campus classes in the fall, the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff is our highest priority and at the forefront of our planning. President Gregory Crawford has appointed a broadly representative committee to make recommendations on the safe reopening of Miami University campuses and a return to on-campus classes in the fall.

While we certainly don’t have all the answers and the situation remains highly fluid, university leaders—including staff from the Department of Human Resources and Academic Personnel Services—are working hard to provide guidance and information for employees. We do want to share with you our current planning and will continue to provide information as we gain more certainty in the coming weeks and months.

Shortly, the divisions and offices will begin planning for individual employees to resume on-campus work for the fall semester. And while more is unknown than known at this point, our plans will likely include university requirements and guidelines for safety measures (including face coverings, temperature taking and social distancing) based upon the directives and guidance of public health authorities including the CDC, Ohio Department of Health and the Butler County Health District. Based on what we know now, these will likely include:

  • Taking daily symptom assessment, such as temperature.
  • Practicing social distancing.
  • Wearing a face covering while at work unless working alone in an enclosed workspace, unless exempted from doing so in accordance with the Ohio Department of Health regulations.
  • Engaging in regular handwashing and hand sanitizing.
  • Limiting use of some building and spaces (break rooms and meeting rooms).
  • Meeting remotely when possible.
  • Staggering work schedules.
  • Limiting “drop-ins” and requiring scheduling of appointments.
  • Disinfecting frequently personal workspaces (e.g., laptops and desks).
  • Restricting hosting of minors and other visitors on campus.
  • Closing non-essential spaces.
  • Limiting non-essential activities.
  • Placing barriers in some spaces to ensure social distancing (e.g. reception desks).

We will also provide appropriate education and training on these topics.

It is highly unlikely that all personnel will return to campus at the same time. Accordingly, each division/office is being asked to plan for the return of their employees by planning a phased-in approach by assigning each classified and unclassified staff member to one of the following groups based on their duties:

Category 1: Personnel for whom a substantial portion (or all) of their responsibilities need to be performed on campus on a daily basis.

Category 2: Personnel for whom a substantial portion (or all) of their responsibilities can be performed remotely on a daily basis if necessary.

Category 3: Personnel for whom a significant portion of their responsibilities can be performed remotely but must come to campus on a regular, but less than daily, basis to perform critical duties.

Those who must come to campus to perform critical duties may be able to perform their other responsibilities remotely. Thus, some employees may work on campus full time, while others will do so only on specified days (or portions thereof) as their duties permit and the needs of the university require.

Many employees have concerns about their own health, the health of family members that live with them and child care. This is what we know now.

  1. The university will provide employees with paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave for specific reasons related to COVID-19 under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA.) These provisions are currently in effect from April 1, 2020, through December 31, 2020. For a summary of benefits, see the poster issued by the US Department of Labor, Employee Rights (PDF).

    For more information, see Family First Coronavirus Response Act.

  2. For those employees who believe they will not be able to return to campus to work in the fall or will need additional assistance to return to campus due to a serious underlying health condition, the university will work with them to provide reasonable accommodations to enable them to continue working where possible. For those seeking an accommodation, see Accommodation and Accessibilty to follow the process.

  3. Those employees who have a family member with a serious underlying health condition, should consult with Human Resources or Academic Personnel Services to explore leave options.

  4. Privacy: We will follow all EEOC Guidelines regarding health inquiries. For more information, see Pandemic Preparedness in the Workplace and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

  5. Workspace modifications: We will be working with Physical Facilities and Environmental Health and Safety to plan for appropriate adjustments to workspaces to facilitate social distancing, including:
    • One-way entrance/exit.
    • One-way office hallways or aisles.
    • Plexiglas or other partitions to serve as sneeze guards/shields, if appropriate.
    • Use of tape or other floor markings to designate 6-foot distances.

David Creamer
Senior Vice President of Finance and Business Services

Jason Osborne
Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs

May 27, 2020 - From the Provost

Dear Colleagues,

These are challenging times for faculty, staff and their families. Uncertainty about the fall is causing anxiety for many. As we begin to plan for a return to on-campus classes in the fall, the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff is our highest priority and at the forefront of our planning.  President Gregory Crawford has appointed a broadly representative committee to make recommendations on the safe reopening of Miami University campuses and a return to on-campus classes in the fall.

While we certainly don’t have all the answers and the situation remains highly fluid, university leaders—including staff from Academic Personnel Services—are working hard to provide guidance and information for employees. We do want to share with you our current planning and will continue to provide information as we gain more certainty in the coming weeks and months.

Shortly, the academic departments and divisions will begin planning for face-to-face, hybrid and online classes for the fall semester. And while more is unknown than known at this point, our plans will likely include university requirements and guidelines for safety (including face coverings, temperature taking and social distancing) based upon the directives and guidance of public health authorities including the CDC, Ohio Department of Health and the Butler County Health District. Based on what we know now, these will likely include:

  • Taking daily symptom assessment, such as temperature.
  • Practicing social distancing.
  • Wearing a face covering while at work unless working alone in an enclosed workspace, unless exempted from doing so in accordance with the Ohio Department of Health regulations.
  • Engaging in regular handwashing and hand sanitizing.
  • Limiting use of some building and spaces (break rooms and meeting rooms).
  • Meeting remotely when possible.
  • Staggering work schedules.
  • Limiting “drop-ins” and requiring scheduling of appointments.
  • Disinfecting frequently personal workspaces (e.g., laptops and desks).
  • Restricting hosting of minors and other visitors on campus.
  • Closing non-essential spaces.
  • Limiting non-essential activities.
  • Placing barriers in some spaces to ensure social distancing (e.g. reception desks).

We will also provide appropriate education and training on these topics.

Many employees have concerns about their own health, the health of family members that live with them and child care. This is what we know now.

  1. This pandemic has required faculty to be extraordinarily flexible in their instructional delivery; moving first to online instruction in the middle of the spring semester and then to remain in that mode for summer courses. On-campus face-to-face instruction is a vital and essential part of Miami University’s success. We know the vast majority of students and faculty want to return to face-to-face instruction in the fall, but we are also asking faculty to be prepared to accommodate the need of some students to continue to learn remotely. Those faculty, who for pedagogical or other reasons, want to teach online in the fall, should consult with their department chair.

  2. The university will also provide employees with paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave for specific reasons related to COVID-19 under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA.) These provisions are currently in effect from April 1, 2020, through December 31, 2020. For a summary of benefits, see the poster issued by the US Department of Labor, Employee Rights (PDF).

    For more information, see Family First Coronavirus Response Act.

  3. Privacy: We will follow all EEOC Guidelines regarding health inquiries. For more information, see Pandemic Preparedness in the Workplace and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

  4. Workspace modifications: We will be working with Physical Facilities and Environmental Health and Safety to plan for appropriate adjustments to workspaces to facilitate social distancing, including:
    • One-way entrance/exit.
    • One-way office hallways or aisles.
    • Plexiglas or other partitions to serve as sneeze guards/shields, if appropriate.
    • Use of tape or other floor markings to designate 6-foot distances.

Jason Osborne
Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs


Thursday, May 21, 2020 2:04 p.m. - From the Provost

Colleagues,

As we head into the Memorial Day weekend, I hope all of you are able to spend some time relaxing. This will be a brief update.

First, let me share with you that University Senate will host a remote Town Hall meeting on Friday June 5th (3:30–5:00 pm) when Brent Shock, VP for Enrollment Management and Student Success (EMSS), and I will update the campus community on three large issues of interest:

  • How EMSS adapted to serving student needs and recruiting efforts this spring during the COVID-19 pandemic;
  • Where we are with the incoming freshman class, returning students, and graduate student enrollment,
  • How EMSS is working over the summer to limit summer “melt” and support students in preparation for an unpredictable and challenging fall semester.

We will share the meeting link and details as we get closer. As is now our custom in the age of WebEx, all are welcome to submit questions through senators by Noon, Friday, May 28. Please understand that late submissions will not be accepted due to the substantial volume and work required to coordinate responses and we ask that you keep questions limited to topics related to enrollment management and student success.

Next, there are a few COVID-19 stories our communications and marketing folks have been collecting:

  • Our International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) will be hosting a graduation celebration for international students tomorrow, Friday 5/22 at 9:00 AM. Register to attend or view the event to support and celebrate our international students and colleagues who make Miami such a special place.
  • Miami's orientation team already is working hard to facilitate seamless academic advising sessions for the Class of 2024. By communicating early and often with the incoming class, we will help them—and all of us—adapt to whatever challenges the fall semester will bring. Kudos to the team for their display of Love and Honor.
  • We all know that higher education faces perhaps our biggest test and transformation in a generation. Our own Megan Gerhardt has written about higher ed's "crucible moment." One thing I know: If we remain committed to the success of our students, we can emerge as a more nimble, more responsive and healthier university.
  • In Miami University’s Introduction to Disability Studies (DST 272) course, students are required to develop an action project to improve accessibility, and some students were able to help in a way they couldn’t have imagined. Honoring our commitment to diversity and inclusion, our students are making and donating accessible masks to help during the COVID-19 pandemic. Kudos to Professor Ashley Johnson and all her students for this important initiative.
  • Research and scholarship about the causes and effects of the COVID-19 pandemic undoubtedly will go on for years. Here at Miami, there already are several innovative studies around the issue. For example, Hillel Gray, an assistant teaching professor in the Department of Comparative Religion, initiated a special research initiative called Preaching Goes Viral, with students compiling and analyzing data to understand the religious responses to the pandemic. Even in an online environment, Miami scholars continue to break new ground.

Planning for Fall 2020 continues energetically. Dana Cox and Gwen Fears are co-chairing President Crawford’s university-wide Safe Return to Campus committee, and will be providing us updates on their progress. There are also other multiple focused return-to-campus committees working to plan as well. Jim Oris recently shared guidance for "Returning to Research" based on national guidance from our friends at APLU. This will certainly help us to resume our scholarly and artistic efforts both safely and soon. Each academic division is thinking through their specific challenges of returning for the fall, and our academic affairs committee is also meeting regularly. Make sure your senators and divisional leaders are updating you periodically on our discussions.

Finally, with our first successful virtual commencement behind us, a big thank you to Dawn Tsirelis who led the team implementing the ideas, to our Miami alumnus, Austin Mace and his team at Subvrsive, who powered the event with their creativity. If you were not one of the over 100,000 individuals who tuned in to see the event, you can still see artifacts from the event on the commencement web page. Many additional thanks to all our featured alumni and friends who contributed videos and comments to make these ceremonies even more special.

Many thanks,
Jason


Friday, May 15, 2020 4:05 p.m. - From the Provost

Colleagues,

This weekend we will host our unique commencement ceremonies. Information has been sent out to all faculty and staff and can, of course, be found on the Commencement website. All ceremonies will be recorded and also available for viewing from our website. I hope you will take a moment to celebrate the accomplishments of all our graduates. Each of you made this success possible. Each of you rose to the challenge of an overnight transition to remote delivery during a pandemic with grace, determination, and dedication to our mission. As we reflect on our collective journey, I hope each of you know how profoundly your work has been appreciated by students, parents, trustees, community partners, alumni, and of course, each one of us who has the privilege to serve in a leadership role.

Of course we all know that our COVID-19 journey is far from over. We must engage in summer classes, consider how to maintain scholarship, work to welcome new colleagues and students in August, and understand the evolving public health and economic impacts of this virus. We as a university will continue meeting in various groups throughout the summer to ensure we are as well-prepared as possible.

We must also turn our thoughts toward fall semester. I will need to ask you once more to go above and beyond to ensure that we continue to offer a first-rate education to our students, attend to our mission to serve the public good, and help Miami through this difficult time toward what will be a brighter future.

Until we have a vaccine or other effective treatment(s) for the virus, we must continue to follow public health guidance. This will likely continue to include wearing face masks, routine physical distancing, and enhanced attention to effective measures like hand washing. We will continue to provide guidance on these topics as they are available to us. Governor DeWine is expected to release updated and focused guidance for educational institutions and other types of organizations soon and these will guide our decision-making.

Meanwhile, offices across campus continue to work tirelessly to help us prepare for future scenarios:

  • HR and Academic Personnel Offices have been working to develop guidance and support for faculty and staff who are not able to return to campus safely;
  • The Physical Facilities team continues to work with us to develop guidance regarding room occupancy limits that adhere to health guidelines so that we can better plan for the future;
  • The Center for Teaching Excellence, in collaboration with the Howe Center for Writing Excellence and our e-Learning experts are in the final stages of developing a robust set of offerings that can assist you as you consider how best to conceptualize your classes for the fall;
  • IT leaders are helping to think through what we will need to teach effectively in the fall;
  • Student Life folks are beginning orientation and onboarding of our students; and
  • Our Enrollment Management & Student Success (EMSS) team continues to work more than 24/7 to recruit a strong and diverse incoming class.

We are also working to schedule another “Town Hall” with Brent Shock, VP for EMSS, for early in June so that he and his team can share with you where the incoming class is, all the strategies they implemented to recruit students to Miami during COVID-19, and how they will work over the summer to support students. More details for that will be shared very soon.

With deep gratitude and many thanks,
Jason


Thursday, May 14, 2020 5:02 p.m. - From the Crisis Management Team

Dear Miami Community,

As an essential business, Miami has remained open throughout the pandemic, with only essential personnel reporting to campus. However, some additional work does need to be done on campus, therefore, last week, in compliance with Ohio reopening guidelines, many of our employees in Physical Facilities and Campus Services began returning to campus to work.

For most other employees, unless your supervisor informs you otherwise, our plan is to continue to have faculty and staff who can work from home to continue to do so. We expect this arrangement to remain in place until June 30, at which point we will reevaluate and provide additional guidance. We will also continue to maintain 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. working hours throughout the summer.

Thank you to everyone for what you have done and are doing to continue to provide an exceptional educational experience for our students during these challenging times.

Crisis Management Team


Friday, May 8, 2020 1:32 p.m. - From the Crisis Management Team

Dear Miami Community,

As an essential business, Miami has remained open throughout the pandemic. Over the past several weeks only essential personnel have been asked to report to campus and we made the decision to offer the balance of the spring semester and summer classes remotely. So, for now our plan is to continue to have our faculty and staff who can work from home to continue to do so.

However, some work does need to be done on campus. Beginning this week, many of our employees in Physical Facilities and Campus Services will be returning to campus to work. These employees are having their temperatures taken (or are being required to self -assess), wearing face masks in certain areas and practicing social distancing as much as possible. Each employee received COVID - Return to Work Phase 1 Guidelines which contained safety and other information, and many employees received additional requirements based on their individual job responsibilities.

We, like you, want to know with certainty what the future holds and what our lives will look like in the fall. The President has appointed a highly talented and broadly representative committee to advise on the safe reopening of our campuses in the fall. Our plan for return will need to follow a consistent set of safety measures based upon the direction and advice of the CDC, Ohio Department of Health and the Butler County Health District. Additional information and details will be shared as plans are made.

On the Oxford campus you will soon be seeing more of our students as they return to retrieve their belongings, either from our residence halls or from their homes off campus.

Student Life has been working with those students who must return to their residence hall to schedule a specific time for their visit, to limit interactions and to promote physical distancing. For the students living off-campus, Student Life has provided them with guidance to help promote safety while they move out.

Thank you to everyone for what you have done and are doing to continue to provide an exceptional educational experience for our students during these challenging times.

Crisis Management Team


Thursday, May 7, 2020 6:08 p.m. - From the Provost

Colleagues,

Miami faculty have a reputation as master teachers and scholars. This reputation will continue to sustain us through tough times and help us thrive in better times. As we look toward the future, there are many unknowns. One thing we do know is that we will need to innovate to continue serving our mission. Until there is an effective vaccine, we expect to continue public health measures such as social distancing and wearing masks as much as possible. Some of our faculty, staff, or students may be unable to return safely to campus, or may need to self-isolate. We will be challenged like never before in thinking through how we teach, use our spaces, collaborate, continue our scholarship, participate in service and shared governance, and engage in self-care.

One size will not fit all courses or disciplines. I am empowering deans, chairs, and faculty members to make decisions within their departments for how they will meet the needs of their classes for fall. I believe it is likely we will need at least two different approaches to meet the complex needs we anticipate: (a) fully realized online courses, and (b) a hybrid approach that provides flexibility for the various permutations of remote/on campus presences possible. I would expect that our largest courses will need to be delivered online until social distancing mandates ease. In other courses, social distancing might be accomplished through having different subgroups of students rotating between in-person and online might work. For smaller courses, space might permit all students on campus to be present yet may need to be prepared to be hybrid to serve students not able to be on campus.

We are aware that some faculty and staff have concerns about being on campus during the fall before we have a vaccine. We are working on specific guidance around this to accommodate the large variety of needs. For faculty, if you anticipate needing to teach online, please speak with your department chair to develop a plan to prepare and teach your assigned courses effectively in an online format. For faculty unable to teach your assigned courses online, we will have further guidance for requesting a leave of absence.

We are going to provide support for the new learning environment we will all face in the fall. The CTE, ELearning and Howe Center for Writing Excellence will be sharing a plan for coordinated summer support soon. In the meanwhile, there are already many resources available to help you think about your courses.

Topics:

  1. Senate proclamation of gratitude to the campus and community
  2. Tech Fees
  3. Excellence in Academic Advising Award
  4. Appreciation for Support Services
  5. Summer Reading Program Update
  6. Undergraduates should not be returning to campus for research
  7. Return to campus student “town hall”

1. Proclamation of Senate
On May 4th, your senators voted to acknowledge with gratitude the sacrifice, dedication, and engagement of all our colleagues. Within that proclamation, we renewed our commitment to enhancing shared governance throughout the university. We encourage you to stay involved, updated, and engaged as we all work together to move forward in uncertain times.

2. Tech Fees call for proposals
As the semester winds down and the days seem to melt together during our remote work and instruction, it is never too early to look ahead to the fall and the next round of the Student Technology Fee Competitive Proposal Process (Tech Fee). The complete schedule for FY21 is available online, but we wanted to highlight a few items early. Committee members are looking for innovative or significant ideas that clearly benefit students. The guidelines define significance in two ways: impacting a large number of students or having a deep impact on a smaller number. Your project may directly relate to academics or may be part of the broader Miami experience, making students’ lives better or more productive. Both graduate- and undergraduate-focused proposals are encouraged. Proposals for the 2020-2021 academic year need to be submitted by midnight on Sunday, September 20. The link to the online application form will be available from the Tech Fee website on August 17. An open informational meeting and Q&A session will also be held the week of August 31. For more information, see Student Technology Fee or send questions to TechFee@MiamiOH.edu.

3. Excellence in Academic Advising Award
This year’s two recipients of the award for Excellence in Academic Advising - Miami’s highest advising honor:

  • Heeyoung Tai, Teaching Professor and Chief Departmental Advisor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
  • Greg Phillips, Associate Professor and Chief Departmental Advisor in the Department of Music

4. Appreciation for our Support Services Staff
Lots of what we do relies upon our support services. Last week, Miami’s IT Services, with support from e-learning, was instrumental in the successful online Undergraduate Research Forum April 29. Joyce Fernandes, director of undergraduate research, says the IT team recruited colleagues to sit in on training sessions, helped train moderators and students, and connected organizers with student disability services to address accessibility issues. The 26th annual event was the first online forum; 220 primary presenters and 162 co-presenters delivered their project outcomes. The online forum made it possible to invite accepted students from the incoming class and alumni to participate. Fernandes called the forum “a phenomenal experience in collaborations across the university and a testament to the talent and expertise on campus.” Thanks to all our great support teams that help us deliver our mission effectively!

5. Summer Reading Program update
For almost four decades, Miami University has featured a Summer Reading Program (SRP) for its incoming students. While this program has served us well for many years, the format has remained largely unchanged with the author giving a speech at Convocation along with small discussion groups with students prior to the beginning of the fall semester. Assessment has indicated that many students do not read the book, thus making the impact less than optimal. A task force has developed a proposal to significantly revise the Summer Reading Program. This group, which included members of the Summer Reading Program Committee and an associate provost, has developed a plan for a new program with the broader aim of advancing common learning experiences around a particular annual interdisciplinary and pioneering theme. The new program called "One Year/One Theme," will begin in fall 2021. As we work to prepare for this new program and also deal with the pressures of the COVID 19 pandemic, we have decided not to offer a summer reading program for fall 2020. More information on the new program which will begin in fall 2021 will be forthcoming during the upcoming academic year.

6. Undergraduates and research
We agree with and adhere to the principles of the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities’ Council on Research (APLU-CoR). One of APLU-CoR’s guiding principles is that undergraduates are students first and researchers second. All APLU schools, including Miami, have cancelled summer research programming for undergraduates. In our case, our three NSF Research Experiences for Undergraduate programs and the University Summer Scholars program have been cancelled. We have, however, encouraged research with undergraduates to continue if they can conduct it remotely. Undergraduates should not be on campus conducting research, scholarship, or creative activities until we return to campus for the fall semester.

7. Return to campus update
Join me and Dr. Jayne Brownell Friday afternoon for our “town hall on students,” where we will discuss how we have been serving students through the transition to remote instruction, and how we are preparing for returning to campus for Fall.

As part of the question submissions for the town hall, we received many questions about faculty and staff issues. While we will not be addressing issues specific to faculty and staff in the town hall, I will remind you that we have multiple committees working on safe return to campus- in research, academic personnel/HR, academic affairs, facilities, student life, and within each academic unit. James Bielo and I are planning to focus some of our upcoming return to campus committee meetings on these topics and we will continue to share updates as we have them.

Love and Honor,
Jason Osborne


Monday, May 4, 2020 5:46 p.m. - From the Provost

Colleagues,

Happy unofficial “Star Wars” day - “May the Fourth be with you….” First a reminder that our remote Town Hall-style meeting will be held on Friday, May 8, 2020 (3:30–5:00 pm), when Dr. Jayne Brownell (VP for Student Life) and I will give an overview of the key issues at the intersection of student life and academic affairs, how we are serving our students during COVID-19 currently, and how we are working collaboratively in planning for return to campus. As we did for the budget symposium, all are welcome to submit questions on these topics through their senators by Noon, tomorrow, Tuesday, May 5. Please understand that late submissions will not be accepted due to the substantial volume and work required to coordinate responses.

Here is a brief communication from the provost office to get your week started.

Topics:

  1. Student emergency fund update
  2. Budget corner- review of a basic principle
  3. Reporting Remote Meeting and/or Class Disruptions
  4. Some examples of how we have met the COVID-19 challenge

1. Student Emergency Fund
Our student emergency needs fund is closing in on $450,000.00 in donations. All this money will be distributed to students in need. This is a great example of how the Miami community supports its students. Thanks to our advancement team for leading this effort and to all who have given!

2. Budget Corner
Since many questions and concerns revolve around budget, I thought it would be good to keep talking about general budget issues and principles. A common question remains: Why can’t we “tap into reserve funds” to offset budget issues?

We don’t know how serious or how long the financial fallout from the pandemic will last. We have already refunded $27.2m in student room and board and other fees. Having these reserves on hand has allowed us to make refunds to students; and allows us to pay bills and employees between student billing cycles. Continuing to maintain reserves will prepare us for future developments such as reduced tuition revenue, a potential reduction in state support, another unplanned campus closure, a different type of natural disaster, etc.

Further, not all reserves are the same. Some reserves are designated, some reserves are restricted, and some reserves are unrestricted net assets. Miami’s reserves includes funds yet unspent but already designated for faculty professional development, other departmental needs like equipment maintenance or accreditation, unspent course fee monies, monie related to grants, unspent faculty start-up funds, money set aside for building projects, etc. If these funds are used for operating deficits, the purpose previously identified for the funds must be foregone, the recurring problem isn't fixed, and the University must spend more of these funds in each subsequent year until they are exhausted and the University is forced to make the cuts or not survive. As Dr. Creamer has cautioned on multiple occasions, both Wright State and Miami had about the same amount of unrestricted net assets back in 2010 -2011. Wright State chose the course of spending down these funds rather than immediately dealing with the budget crisis and Miami chose to create the strategic priorities committee. The results of these two different approaches to fiscal management are clear and will become moreseo as the two universities move into the next fiscal year.

3. Reporting Remote Meeting and/or Class Disruptions
As we head into the last two weeks of remote delivery, it is important to keep in mind that if you experience a remote meeting or classroom disruption to report it. To make a report, use the Community Standards Incident Reporting Form. All reports will be investigated and pursued through proper accountability channels. Disruptors can be found, and disruptive actions within Webex are traceable back to the student or disrupter. For more information about securing your classroom, see Webex Security Options.

4. More Stories of how Miamians met the COVID-19 Challenge

  • Entrepreneurship and CincyTech are collaborating to help find Miami students internships and jobs.
  • Mark Morris, associate clinical professor of political science, has helped the department support students and faculty with a weekly "Monday Message" that includes updates and informational videos. The email updates existed previously but engagement has increased significantly since Miami transitioned to online instruction. Morris, who has taught several online classes previously, also has served as a resource for faculty trying to optimize the offerings in Canvas for the first time. "They're learning what Canvas can do and the things to avoid," Morris said. "For example, 75 minute lectures online probably are not the way to go."
  • One of our students shares her experience this semester as we transitioned to remote delivery of instruction.
  • Western Program during remote delivery: Since Miami transitioned to online classes in March, Miami’s Western Program has continued to support students through online options including “Tea and Conversation” sessions, plus a video for seniors to fill the void of some of its senior traditions. The entire Western team of faculty and staff has collaborated to maintain contact with students. Coordinator and advisor Zack Hill said he has conducted about 100 academic advising sessions during the past month, often dealing with issues students might be having working from home or with family. “I love in-person appointments,” he said. “This has been much better than I expected it to be. Some students are more comfortable with this. They’re a little more relaxed.” After the announcement in March, Hill also helped develop a six-week sprint course in Biology and Society to replace sprint courses that could not be offered remotely.
  • CCA’s #thrivingartist series presents students adapting to our current COVID situation while completing their projects. Here is Cello Performance major and Arts Management co-major Nicole Holman, '21. She was scheduled to give her junior recital this weekend in Souers Recital Hall. Since that was no longer possible, she gave her performance in her cul-de-sac for her family and neighbors who watched from a safe social distance. The performance was live streamed on Facebook and is available on her YouTube page.
  • Congratulations to the art history students of ART420D- Art and Its Markets, whose hard work paid off yesterday when the Miami University Art Museum decided to acquire four of the prints they researched over the semester. The Museum staff found the acquisition proposals of students Faith Walker, Abby Solon, and Maria DeSantiago most convincing. Walker argued that John Sloan's “Art of Salesmanship" (1930) will help the Museum to represent the Ashcan School of American realism and that it also tells the story of the early 20th century passion for African art among modernist artists and collectors. Solon's presentation of Max Klinger's "Self-Portrait" (1918) was grounded in the fact that the Museum already owns a famous portfolio of the artist's symbolist prints, to which the addition of a self-portrait adds biographical context. Lastly, DeSantiago's pair of prints, “Entry to the German Jails” and “Release from the German Jails" (1915) by Theophile Steinlen, built on the Museum's past exhibitions of World War One prints, the frequent use of the Museum's German collection by faculty in History and Art History, and the potential of this print for the theme of "Migrations," the topic of the upcoming 2020-2021 John W. Altman Program in the Humanities. Pictures of the prints acquired are attached.

Love and Honor,
Jason Osborne


Thursday, April 30, 2020 6:11 p.m. - From the Provost

Colleagues,

Happy Thursday, everyone! I am going to attempt to reduce the frequency of communications to once or twice a week unless more is needed. Let’s see how this goes.

Let me start off with an announcement that as part of our “Return to Campus” planning, University Senate will be hosting a remote Town Hall-style meeting similar to the budget symposium Dr. Creamer and I presented a couple weeks ago. On Friday, May 8, 2020 (3:30–5:00 pm) Dr. Jayne Brownell (VP for Student Life) and I will give an overview of the key issues at the intersection of student life and academic affairs, how we are serving our students during COVID-19 currently, and how we are working collaboratively in planning for return to campus. As we did for the budget symposium, all are welcome to submit questions on these topics through their senators by Noon, Tuesday, May 5. Please understand that late submissions will not be accepted due to the substantial volume and work required to coordinate responses.

Updates:

  1. Highest ever national fellowship count
  2. Undergraduate Research Forum
  3. Speech Pathology and Audiology coming through for our students
  4. Institute for Food update
  5. Return to Campus committees

1. This Friday, we will celebrate a banner year for national fellowships
This is a year with much to celebrate as we had 29 current Miami students or recent alumni win national fellowships in 2019-20, which is the most ever fellowship recipients in a single academic year in Miami history. Thanks to each faculty member who mentored one of these students, nominated them, wrote a letter, or in any other way supported our students.

2. Undergraduate Research Forum
This was an impressive event AND they did all remotely. Some highlights! There were 329 student presentations, with more than 500 students participating. Over 25% were interdisciplinary, and this is all thanks to 154 faculty mentors and 73 graduate students who also mentored our budding scholars. You make Miami special.

Our students covered just about every topic I can think of, and represented every division. Congratulations to Joyce Fernandes and the team who put this all together, supported the technology, and most importantly, made this a special day for our students.

3. Speech Pathology and Audiology serving our students
In the midst of everything, we are helping our students continue progress toward professional licensure or certification. The Speech Pathology and Audiology department converted its clinical training program for graduate students from on-site delivery in the Miami Speech and Hearing Clinic to a new online clinical case simulation program. Small groups of students work through cases in a digital library and meet regularly with clinical faculty so they can continue to obtain hours towards licensure and certification. The clinic also is reaching out to outside clients and hopes to start tele-practice delivery later this spring.

4. Institute for Food
The farm has continued work on campus as an essential business throughout the current crisis. COVID-19 has drawn attention to the fragility of the global food supply chain and underscored the need to build resilience and capacity in local food systems. This has been the mission of the Institute for Food since its inception in 2016. Over the past eight weeks, three farm staff members with the help of a few remaining student volunteers enrolled in IES/ITL 231 Italian Food Cultures in Context have been practicing social distancing while sowing seeds, prepping beds, transplanting seedlings, and harvesting spring greens—all with the goal of learning about and promoting a healthy and sustainable local food system. The farm has supplied lettuce and spinach to Miami dining services for those students who have had to remain on campus. It has also donated 25 pounds of fresh produce per week to the Talawanda Oxford Pantry and Social Services (TOPSS) in support of their mission to counteract food insecurity in the region. In addition, farm staff and student volunteers have been gearing up for the start of the 2020 season CSA (Community Supported Agriculture program), which begins on May 21. More information about the Institute for Food and the local food system in Oxford is available at EducatingFromTheGroundUp.org. Those interested in signing up for the summer or fall CSA or donating a CSA share to TOPSS can contact IFMiami@MiamiOH.edu.

5. Academic Affairs Return to Campus
This committee(s) had their first meetings this week. Throughout the university, areas are engaging the campus community broadly to think through how to safely return to campus for the fall semester. Within academic affairs, there are two processes we are engaging to collect questions, ideas, and recommendations for how we each respond to the expected range of situations we need to be prepared for.

Each dean is working with all areas of their college to ensure every faculty and staff member has a clear vision for how to prepare for the fall. The deans will continue meeting together to share ideas and concerns across divisions and with the provost office.

At the same time, University Senate Executive Committee Chair-Elect James Bielo and I are gathering leaders from around campus to discuss coordinate communications across the broader academic affairs community. We will ensure senators, faculty, and staff are well-informed of developments and concerns within divisions and other areas of academic affairs (global and international, libraries, student success, undergraduate and graduate student concerns, research, etc.) and the broader university operational areas, e.g., student life, budget, facilities, IT, public health and safety, equity and inclusion, etc.

We are also engaging other universities and state systems to ensure we remain aware of the up-to-date actions and recommendations of how this will be happening around the country. All of this is to say that there is a broad engagement with shared governance, and each faculty, staff, and student has at least two different paths for getting information and sharing questions: through the department and division, or through senators. We will continue meeting throughout the summer until we are confident we are prepared for fall return to campus and will keep you updated as best we can between now and then.

This fall semester may be one of the most challenging we will ever plan for. This year, 2020, will be looked back upon as one of the most challenging and tragic in modern history. This will end at some point, however. This is not our new normal. We will have a vaccine, and we will have treatments that are effective. We will go back to socializing, gathering, working, and playing together. We can and will get through this time, together, as a community.

Thanks to each of you,

Jason Osborne


Saturday, April 25, 2020 4:23 p.m. - From the Provost

Colleagues,

As the semester winds toward finals week, we continue to monitor our incoming and returning classes, graduate student admissions, budget information, and events from around the nation as higher education continues to adjust to COVID-19. I am thankful for the expressions of support from many corners of campus, and for all the faculty and staff leaders who are moving us forward. Here are some updates from the Provost Office as we look forward to the coming week. I hope you all are able to enjoy the nice weather over the rest of the weekend.

Topics:

  1. Summer Courses Online
  2. Academic Affairs Return to Campus—shared governance working groups
  3. Tune in to our Undergraduate Research Forum
  4. Commencement information coming Monday
  5. Update from the Humanities Center

1. Summer courses
This past week we shared an announcement with the entire university community affirming what many of us have been discussing: that we will offer all summer courses fully online as we cannot predict when the various “stay-at-home” or limitations on gathering will be lifted.

2. Academic Affairs “Return to Campus” Working Group Update
University Senate Executive Committee Chair-Elect, Dr. Bielo and I have put out a call to all faculty and staff senators to join our AAO Return to Campus (R2C) working group. This will be our attempt at getting broad representation and diverse perspectives around the virtual table to discuss the many complexities of planning for a semester with so many unknowns. We will be updating the campus community regularly (hopefully weekly) as we move forward, and we will consider how to further engage the broader community in these discussions.

Each division will have their own more focused RtC committee, formed by their dean. I encourage everyone to work locally to surface the concerns, challenges, and opportunities unique to your discipline or context, to talk within departments and divisions. The provost office leadership and I will be meeting regularly with our deans to hear the outcomes of these discussions, and between these two groups, hope to successfully open campus safely when the time comes.

3. Undergraduate Research Forum
Our 26th Undergraduate Research Forum on Wednesday, April 29th, 2020, will be an online event, with over 300 student presenters expected to participate. Poster presentations and talks will be delivered using Webex. Additionally, an event website is available to preview research projects using keywords for discipline and major, and to peruse submitted abstracts, and “gallery walks” of PowerPoint images. Presenters and mentors are being encouraged to use Twitter to showcase their projects and engage with the university community. #MiamiOHUndergradResearch #MiamiOH_URForum2020

4. Celebrating the Miami University Class of 2020
The Miami University Virtual Commencement Experience, May 16 & 17, 2020 is in rapid development, and stakeholders from across our campuses are engaged. A total of 3,531 graduates with an additional 62 who planned to walk in May, as well as the entire Miami Community of faculty, staff, alumni, parents, family and friends, will be invited to this virtual celebration. It will be a blend of the main commencement ceremony with divisional elements, like timing, dean's speeches, and the sense of community for a one-of-a-kind, uniquely immersive, interactive, and unprecedented event - that will bring the "Miami Experience" not only to our graduates - but to the world. The Class of 2020 will receive a personal invitation on Monday announcing the virtual ceremonies, and you will receive more information on how to participate very soon. Stay tuned.

5. Humanities Center update
Humanities Center Director Dr. Tim Melley, invites you all to join him via Webex May 1, 2020 (10 am - 12pm) for a special 2019-2020 Geoffrion Undergraduate Fellows Symposium, “COVID Temporality.” Our six (6) extraordinarily accomplished Geoffrion Fellows will each give a 10 minute research talk on some aspect of the Altman Program theme, “Time and Temporality.” After a Q & A session, they will then engage in a roundtable discussion on how the response to COVID has affected their sense of time and how their year-long study of time and temporality has in turn affected their experience of the current crisis. The session will conclude with an unveiling of the group’s collaborative podcast series on “Time and Temporality.”

Love and Honor,
Jason Osborne


Friday, April 24, 2020 11:47 a.m. - From the Crisis Management Team

Dear Miami faculty and staff,

While the Ohio Stay at Home order is set to expire on May 1, all employees are to continue their current work arrangements, essential or remote, until further notice.

Crisis Management Team


Tuesday, April 21, 2020 6:41 p.m. - From the Provost

Colleagues,

We continue to be asked about life after July 1. I wish I had better answers, but at this point, the only thing we know is that we have asked each of our academic divisions to provide a robust portfolio of online classes for this summer. We cannot predict what July will look like, or how the return to campus will play out, but we hope for the best, and continue to plan for contingencies. Where we ARE clear though, is that Miami always takes care of our students. We may not know what the future looks like, but we will figure it all out together.

Topics:

  1. "Return to Campus" Committees
  2. Policy for Instructors re: Course Evaluations
  3. Spring 2020 Final Exams

1. "Return to Campus" Committees
At the request of the Governor, the IUC, and President Crawford, we are beginning to form "Return to Campus Committees" throughout the University. While this does not mean we are changing our plans to offer online courses throughout the summer it does mean that we are imagining what our return to campus will look like while still maintaining public health and safety.

Each area of the university will have a planning committee to discuss what a return to campus looks like specific to their division. For example, Jim Oris has already constituted a “Return to Research” committee, and Student Life will undoubtedly have multiple committees looking at all areas of student life and services. Within Academic Affairs, we need to constitute committees that will look at all issues around returning to campus from student, graduate student, faculty, staff, departmental, and college perspectives. We also need to think through what the implications are from a global engagement, international student, and online perspectives. We need to ask a lot of questions and find as many answers.

I have asked the incoming Chair of the University Senate Executive Committee, James Bielo, to co-chair an AAO “Return to Academics” committee and to help me think through all the various issues that this process raises. To provide broad input, we need to create and engage ad-hoc committees composed of various stakeholder groups who will help us both surface questions and topics that need to be addressed and to discuss and propose answers to questions we are already asking. Dr. Bielo and I will be looking for volunteers to help with these discussions very soon.

2. Course Evaluations Revisited
During yesterday's Senate, a broad range of concerns and questions around course evaluations specific to this semester were discussed. As a result of this discussion, I believe that students deserve to have a voice and to provide feedback on their experiences this semester, and that we must provide our instructors agency on how they use that information. There is also relevant institutional policy which states that where instructors engage in revised or novel pedagogies, they can choose to disallow reporting of their evaluations for purposes of annual review, promotion, etc. Based on policy and input from many individuals, we:

  • Will offer a brief window later this week so instructors can consider adding some optional questions to their course evaluations to potentially enhance the value of this feedback;
  • That course evaluations will continue as planned; and
  • Instructors will have the complete discretion to include or exclude any or all aspects of the Spring 2020 course evaluations from any or all future annual evaluations, promotion, and tenure review processes. Further, choosing not to report these results cannot be held against instructors as implying poor results. However, reporting beneficial outcomes or including in a narrative how an instructor used this feedback constructively to improve teaching practice in the future can be positively considered in future evaluations.

This is in addition to prior commitments we collectively have made, such as the commitment to remind external reviewers that COVID-19, and the overnight transition to remote delivery, can be taken into account as context for evaluating portfolios, and continuing to offer access to clock extensions where desired by instructors as previously discussed.

3. Spring 2020 Final Exams—Information for Faculty
These guidelines are provided in addition to what appears in the Miami University Policy Library.

  • “Final Exam” can refer to any type of culminating assessment, which could be a final exam, project, paper, or other product.
  • Faculty should communicate plans to their students for the final exams by April 30 at the latest—especially if plans have changed since the start of the semester.
  • A final exam can be either synchronous or asynchronous. Exams can be administered through Canvas and support is offered through eLearning (Oxford) and E-Campus (Regionals).
    • Synchronous final exams must be given following the 2020 spring semester final exam schedule. Remember that a synchronous final exam can be problematic for students who are in a significantly different time zone or who are dealing with problems relative to COVID-19. Please be understanding to students who may have problems with a scheduled synchronous final exam and be prepared to offer another option.
    • Asynchronous final exams provide students the opportunity to complete the exam within parameters specified by the instructor, at the time of their choosing, within a window you define windows should conclude at the end of the scheduled final exam day/time. Such windows should be large enough to accommodate situations in which students have other exams and/or students are residing where there are significant time differences. I personally used these options with my classes to allow students optimal ability to demonstrate mastery of material.
  • Reminder: No exams can be given the week before final exams.
  • There is no extension to the deadline when final grades must be submitted (noon on Tuesday, May 19).
  • If faculty would like to explore the pedagogical considerations associated with different options for culminating assessments, they should schedule a CTE consultation.

Love and Honor,
Jason Osborne


Friday, April 17, 2020 4:23 p.m. - From the Provost

Colleagues,

We have just a few bits of information to share with you today. I hope you are focusing on self care, that families are safe and healthy, and that we can finish our semester strong. All of us continue to be appreciative of the excellent work happening throughout campus to support our students and position us for a successful summer session.

Topics:

  1. Update on student refunds
  2. Summer classes will be online
  3. (Remote) happenings around campus
  4. Some higher education COVID19 developments

1. Student fee refunds

Dr. Creamer and I promised to update the campus community as we have factual information to share. We are refunding these fees directly to students and their families so they can use them during this economically challenging time. At this point we expect the total refunds to be $27,276,781.

2. Summer course offerings

With the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff always our top priority, Miami will offer a portfolio of online courses throughout the summer. We remain optimistic that we may resume select on-campus activities (such as reopening research labs) once health department officials indicate it is safe. We are working with each division to identify courses that can be offered as high quality, fully developed online experiences that will serve student needs. Training and resources are available to assist faculty in enhancing their online delivery courses on both the Oxford and Regional campuses. eLearning Miami (Oxford) and eCampus Regionals will be contacting faculty to provide further information.

Starting with the first summer session, we will return to typical grading practices. Credit/no credit will still be an option, but there will be the typical early semester deadline for electing this option.

3. Some (remote) happenings around campus

  • Our faculty and staff have completed over 11,000 calls to current and prospective students. The feedback we are getting from students is almost universally appreciative of all that our faculty and staff are doing to make a difference for our students. Thank you!
  • From the Howe Writing Center, a video about remote work and how to have a remote writing center consultation
  • EMSS, UCM, academic departments and divisions, programs, centers, offices, support services, faculty, staff and students have worked together to create our virtual visit website.
  • Our library is working on a remote computer lab to provide access to resources for students. Stay tuned!
  • Entrepreneurship is moving its pitch competition online: Miami University’s RedHawk Venture Pitch Competition has always been a LIVE, in-person event held in the Farmer School of Business over two rounds. But for the first time in our history, the RedHawk Venture Pitch Competition will be a fully digitally-immersive experience. The event will be early in May and there is an effort to live stream it for non-judges. The Entrepreneurship group (officially a new department for the coming year) continues to offer resources and support internally and to our community

4. Some news about higher education

Love and Honor,
Jason Osborne


Wednesday, April 15, 2020 5:32 p.m. - From the Provost

Colleagues,

As promised on Monday, Dr. Creamer and I are providing these documents that capture the information presented during our annual Budget Symposium.

Love and Honor,
Jason Osborne

Budget_Symposium_QA_04.13.2020_508.pdf

Budget Symposium_PPT_04.13.2020_508.pdf

Fiscal_Priorities_Chair_Remarks_04.13.2020_508.pdf


Friday, April 10, 2020 3:11 p.m. - From the Provost

Colleagues,

Many groups continue to reach out to current and incoming students. We have called thousands of students and have heard many tales of resilience and gratitude. Our students understand how challenging this situation has been, and how diligently we worked to do what we could given the circumstances. Most are eager to return to our beautiful campus and miss being able to interact personally with friends, classmates, staff, and faculty. Likewise, I know we all miss seeing our students, colleagues, and friends. Stay strong- what we are doing to keep everyone safe is making a difference.

Topics for today:

  1. Credit/No Credit for honors courses
  2. IUC provosts
  3. Promising trends from EMSS
  4. Boldly Creative #2
  5. Grant awards up about 10%

1. Credit/No Credit
Honor students now have the option to take Honors courses with the Credit/No Credit option during the current Spring Semester. The message has been shared with students and all details can be found here. Many thanks to all our great staff who made this happen!

2. IUC Provost discussion
The IUC (Ohio public) provosts have been in frequent contact discussing our situations and approaches to all the COVID-19 challenges. Some highlights from these conversations:

  • We are discussing how to begin opening campuses when Governor rescinds the "Stay at Home" executive order:
  • Most schools around the country are announcing online classes for at least part of the summer; Miami has announced we will deliver online courses through the summer to serve our students needs even if we are able to open campus after June
  • Most are scrutinizing hiring; many, like us, continue to hire or offer contracts as needs become evident
  • There are indications that international students want to attend Ohio schools but are concerned about obtaining a visa for the start of the semester
  • We are talking about working collectively with accreditation bodies to ensure we can appropriately respond to COVID-19 while supporting our students who are adjusting to requirements that reflect our current reality
  • HLC, our regional accreditation body,has indicated it will continue to work with institutions to support reasonable needs as COVID-19 continues.

3. Promising News from EMSS
We remain optimistic about our Class of 2024. Confirmations are above our three-year moving average even though students now have an extra month until the deadline. Our team continues working with families experiencing economic hardship due to COVID-19. We have received over 150 donations to our student emergency fund, and many other donors are providing more support for scholarships. We cannot allow the mis-representations in the media to become the narrative for Miami. We will thrive because of our very strong reputation, our dedicated staff and visionary faculty, our corporate partners, and our passionate and committed supporters around the globe.

4. Boldly Creative Round #2
Our deans met this week to review the final BC#2 proposals and each team will receive feedback soon. We thank each team for their excellent work on these visionary ideas. Those approved have the potential to create robust revenue streams or materially enhance our reputation and recruiting. Boldly Creative round #3 is still being evaluated and we expect by the end of the month to have invitations for full proposals. These investments will ensure we remain a destination for future students.

5. Sponsored programs awards up 10%
Over last year as we head toward one of our best years for external funds in a while. It is also likely that the coming year will have enhanced grant opportunities as part of a stimulus package. Join me in congratulating some of our recent awardees:

  • Carole Dabney Smith, associate professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, was awarded $433,500 by NIH. Her three-year project will examine a protein transport system that bacteria, such as the ones that cause tuberculosis and ulcers, rely on to infect humans.
  • Hailiang Dong, professor in the Department of Geology and Environmental Earth Science, was awarded nearly $312,000 by NSF. His three-year project, seeks to resolve a longstanding paradox between what is understood about how the nitrogen gas that is necessary for life on earth becomes bioavailable and contradictory evidence in the geologic record.
  • Sarah Woodruff, director of the Discovery Center for Evaluation, Research, and Professional Learning, and Cricket Meehan, director of the Center for School-Based Mental Health Programs, were awarded more than $313,500 by the Ohio Department of Education. They will examine efforts by Ohio school districts to implement student wellness and success initiatives and recommend best practices for future implementation of such programs.
  • Katie Johnson, professor in the Department of English, and Scott Kenworthy, associate professor in the Department of Comparative Religion, were awarded prestigious and highly competitive Summer Stipends by the National Endowment for the Humanities. Both faculty members will use their stipends to research and write books. Johnson's book is about interracial collaboration in theater in New York City in the 1920s and 1930s, while Kenworthy's is a biography of Patriarch Tikhon Bellavin, head of the Orthodox Church during the Russian Revolution.

Toward a brighter future: March was a tough month. As we count down toward finals, we know everyone is exhausted, not only from the stress of what we are dealing with at work, but because of worry over the health and safety of our loved ones and those who are suffering. Please continue to take care of yourself and your loved ones.

While we are often surrounded by negativity, fear, and anxiety, we are also surrounded by uncountable acts of kindness, generosity, and goodness. It is easy to succumb to negativity, but I urge you to consider how fortunate we are, even during these dark times. Whatever job you hold at Miami, your job is to help change the world, one student at a time. We create positive change and all work to leave the world better than we found it.

Spring is a time of renewal, rebirth, beauty, and growth. I hope each of you can focus on all the positive things in our lives during this time.

Love and Honor,
Jason Osborne


Wednesday, April 8, 2020 7:29 p.m. - From the Provost

Colleagues,

First, I want to thank you, Miami faculty, staff, graduate students, undergraduate students, alumni, community friends, and everyone, for your incredible efforts, support, and understanding over the past several weeks. I cannot thank you enough for your energy, teamwork, perseverance, and commitment to our distinctive mission and core values as a student-centered institution. I know that President Crawford, our Trustees and other leaders join me in celebrating the spirit of Love and Honor that has carried us through these challenging times. We have been in contact with hundreds of students to receive their feedback – they are so grateful for your time, generosity, support, and flexibility.

Thank you also for taking time to submit your questions. I am not answering the many budget-related questions at this time. Dr. Creamer and I will hold the annual budget symposium, Monday, April 13, via WebEx that everyone is invited to join—Meeting number (access code): 796 822 437.

At that time, we will share what we know about our budget situation, what we expect to happen in the future, and the values and priorities we consider as we are approaching the most unpredictable budget planning in our careers. Live Q&A tends not to work well with such a large audience, so we ask you to submit any questions that you have to your senators. They will be gathering and submitting them to Dr. Creamer and me by the end of this week so we can respond thoughtfully on Monday.

I have been trying to respond to individual questions but with our Budget Symposium looming large, let me make a few general responses your most common questions:

  • There are questions about whether we are responding to the COVID-19 budget implications in ways that are different from other universities. President Crawford, Dr. Creamer, other PEC leaders, and I have been discussing our situations with other Ohio universities through our Inter-University Council (IUC) as well as with colleagues around the nation.
  • We are working to ensure we spend our resources to optimally support our students and our mission, and we are asking all continuing faculty to equitably contribute to this goal. We are optimistic that our incoming class will be robust. We are taking action now, because now is when course schedules are being finalized for fall. With institutions across the country, including Miami, giving admitted students extra time to confirm attendance for fall, this delays our ability to determine exactly what courses we will need to offer and what instructional support we will need to support those offerings. Once we have determined our incoming and returning classes and our curricular needs, we will begin to make offers for supplemental faculty appointments for next year on an as-needed basis. This is similar to every year, when visiting appointments routinely begin during April and continue through the summer as needs evolve.
  • We are asking all faculty to teach in line with longstanding university-wide guidance around teaching responsibilities. We hope that during this year, all divisions can work with Senate and the Provost’s office to energize their shared governance to develop clearly stated norms on how they will equitably and transparently manage teaching responsibilities, curriculum, and budget effectively and efficiently going forward. This will help us insure each division will be empowered to deliver needed courses for students within budget.
  • There is concern about COVID-19 impacting promotion, annual review, tenure, and so on. I have not been aware of any discussion about changing any of these practices, except that we have committed to expanding opportunities for faculty to request additional time for their tenure or promotion clock, ensuring teaching evaluations and research productivity during this semester and the coming year is appropriately contextualized within these completely unique times.
  • We are thankful for our alumni, corporate partners, and everyone who contributed to our student emergency needs fund. 100% of these funds are being distributed to students in need, and donations continue to roll in.

Thank you for caring enough to ask questions, and for going to the lengths you have for our students. In times like these, some organizations will falter and fade; others who are strategic, plan prudently, and apply their creativity and ingenuity, and will emerge stronger than ever before. I am confident that this institution, with its creative, thoughtful, and compassionate faculty, committed and dedicated staff, and it's very talented and ambitious students, will come through these times as strong, or stronger, than before.

Love and Honor,
Jason Osborne


Monday, April 6, 2020 9:02 a.m. - From Human Resources

Our first commitment at Miami is to the health and safety of our students, staff, and faculty. In the midst of the current public health emergency, we are focused on providing you the resources and information you need to keep you and your family healthy. You can refer to this website for the latest updates. In response to recommendations from Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and Miami leadership, this communication provides updates concerning your benefit coverage and resources that may be helpful.

Miami employees (spouses and dependents) covered by the Miami health plan have several healthcare options including Anthem.com and related services and/or applications (i.e. Sydney – the Anthem app through Google Play for Apple and Android phones). These options can be found at Your Miami Benefits and the Coronavirus, showing how you can access healthcare when you need assistance.

The Benefits & Wellness department hopes that you are your family are doing well and we will share related healthcare and wellness information to assist you while working remotely. Contact the Benefits and Wellness department if you have questions through email at Benefits@Miamioh.edu or healthandwellbeing@miamioh.edu, or by phone at 513-529-3926.


Friday, April 3, 2020 4:33 p.m. - From the Crisis Management Team

Dear Miami faculty and staff,

With the extension of the Ohio Stay at Home order, all employees are to continue their current work arrangements until May 1, 2020.

Crisis Management Team


Monday, March 30, 2020 5:15 p.m. - From the Provost

Colleagues,

Mondays are typically “shared governance” days that find me meeting with either the Senate Executive Committee or Senate itself. I have been heartened by the progress we have made this year with some really large and important initiatives. Senate has been adaptable and has been a model for how to continue university business while living with COVID-19. In fact, our Board of Trustees will be looking at how the Senate has managed these meetings to learn lessons that might work for them also.

Unfortunately, economic and budgetary crises do not respect, nor respond to, shared governance. They happen, without our consent or input, and we must respond decisively to avoid even greater problems. Yet even in trying times, there are many ways that we can engage in shared governance to ensure we are best serving the needs of our students and mission. Faculty should be helping their units ensure essential courses are being efficiently offered, serving our students the best we can, and working within expected budgetary limitations. Although in times of plenty, it may not always have been clear as to how interconnected these things are, it is impossible to disentangle faculty teaching responsibilities, curricular offerings, and budgetary resources.

Shared governance should also be about creating equity, effective actions, and working toward strategic goals. In the near term, faculty can help divisions develop governance documents which clarify how we express our values, and in particular, the “teacher-scholar” model, in an equitable and financially sustainable manner. There is much work to be done in this area.

Topics:

  1. Leadership transitions at MUDEC
  2. Credit/no credit guidance available; students can opt-in starting Wednesday
  3. Update on commencement from President Crawford
  4. Reminder: Ask the Provost questions due Wednesday

1. Leadership transitions at MUDEC
After eleven years as Dean of MUDEC, Dr. Thierry Leterre will be transitioning back to his role as a faculty member after his current term ends June 30, 2020. We thank Dr. Leterre for his lengthy leadership and celebrate all his successes. Eleven years as a dean is a very long time, and I know each of you will join me in wishing him well as he takes a well-earned sabbatical.

Raymond Manes has graciously agreed to serve as interim Executive Director to ensure continuity of leadership. Please join me in thanking him for taking on this role and provide him support as he strives to continue building momentum for MUDEC. We expect to launch an international search for a permanent executive director in the future.

2. Credit/no credit guidance available today
Beginning at 12 pm EST on Wednesday, April 1, 2020 and through May 8, 2020:

  • Students will be able to select credit/no credit grading for any course which is approved by the University for credit/no credit grading. This will include most undergraduate courses and many graduate courses. Information will be shared on Wednesday, April 1 on how to determine whether a course has a credit/no credit option.
  • Credit/no credit and its limitations in other academic policies (including those related to academic probation and degree requirements) will be relaxed for courses taken in Spring 2020 to allow students to fully exercise the credit/no credit option.
  • The deadline for selecting the credit/no credit grade option will be Friday, May 8, allowing students plenty of time to review the FAQs that will be provided as well as consult with an academic advisor if they still have questions after reviewing the FAQs.

3. Updates on commencement from President Crawford
"We were all extremely disappointed with the need to cancel the commencement ceremony planned for May. Commencement is a cherished occasion for our graduates to celebrate with family, friends, faculty, and staff, to have their name called, walk across the stage, and to receive their diploma. Renate and I consider ourselves to be part of the Class of 2020 as well, we began at Miami when they began, during that summer four years ago. We want this to be a special celebration, and as promised we have explored creative ways to honor our graduates and to celebrate.

We envision two components to the commencement ceremonies for the class of 2020. On May 16, the actual commencement date, we are preparing a virtual recognition of our graduates, to mark the official conferment of degrees. In the fall, we are planning a weekend dedicated to celebrating and recognizing our graduates and their achievements."

4. Reminder to submit questions to the Provost
Remember you have until Wednesday at 5:00 to submit your question.

Love and Honor,
Jason Osborne


Saturday, March 28, 2020 12:36 p.m. - From the Provost

Colleagues,

It has been a tough couple of weeks, but COVID-19 cannot stop the sun from shining, the flowers from blooming, or my allergies from peaking. While we socially distance, the world continues on, and before we know it, finals will be here.

We are exploring ways to hold a virtual graduation ceremony when we would normally be gathering to celebrate degree completions. While it cannot replace a traditional ceremony, neither does it diminish the accomplishments of our students. If we can pull this off, they will certainly have the most unique graduation in our history. More on that as plans develop.

In the meantime, we look forward with hope for a full campus come August, and life will settle into a new normal. We must not lose sight of that hope while we head toward the worst of what COVID-19 will bring to the USA.

In that spirit, let’s end the week of spring break with nothing but good news, as there continue to be many things to celebrate.

  1. New dean of the College of Engineering and Computing
  2. New dean of Graduate School and Interim Vice President for Research & Innovation
  3. Goldwater Scholars
  4. Donations to Students in Need
  5. Send in your questions for the Provost

1. & 2. All of our dean searches held substantial challenges

While diversity and inclusion is a core value at Miami, dean searches for divisions like the Farmer School of Business and College of Engineering and Commuting can have difficulty attracting a large, diverse pool of applicants. Graduate School dean pools are also often highly unpredictable. Yet somehow, our consultants assembled large, diverse pools of prospects. The challenge, ironically, was for our search committees to narrow these pools down, separating the merely strong from the very strong and we were honored to bring to campus so many excellent candidates. As of yesterday, I was proud to announce the final two dean appointments They will join Dr. Jenny Darroch, our incoming dean of FSB as new members of our divisional leadership team:

  • Dr. Beena Sukumaran named next dean of CEC
  • Dr. Michael Crowder named next dean of the Graduate School & Interim VPRI

I know you will join President Crawford and me in welcoming our newest leaders.

3. Two students named Goldwater Scholars
The 2020 Goldwater Scholarships included two Miami students this year of the only 396 students selected nationwide:

  • Alexandra (Lexie) Adams chemical engineering, mentor: Prof. Andrew Jones (CPB)
  • Hope Kirby microbiology, mentor: Prof. Luis Actis (MBI)

This is the ninth year in a row for a Miami student to be named a Goldwater Scholar.

4. Donations to students in need
Our advancement effort has raised over $52,000.00 in just a few days; much coming from Miamians, demonstrating how we live our Code of Love and Honor. We are also thankful for a large gift to this fund from our friends at Worldpay. The fund is of course, still accepting donations and these monies will immediately go to supporting our students who have been impacted by COVID-19 by providing:

  • Food, toiletries, and funding for necessary medications.
  • Educational-related expenses as a result of moving to remote learning.
  • Funds to help compensate for loss of student employment.

To make a donation, see Emergency Needs Fund.

5. Ask the Provost
While this isn’t technically a “good news” item, I do think it’s a positive step in the right direction. It’s been a crazy few weeks and many of you are anxious, confused, or feel as though you haven’t gotten the information you need around everything that is happening.

If you have a question that you would like answered, submit your question by 5:00 Wednesday, April 1, and I will compile all the questions into categories and try to answer, or get the answers to as many as I can. Please keep the questions brief and to the point, and don’t submit anything you don’t want shared publicly.

Love and Honor,
Jason Osborne

March 28, 2020 12:20 p.m. - From the Crisis Managment Team

Dear Miami Community,

A Miami University unclassified employee who works in Campus Services has tested positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19). The individual was last on campus on March 20, and is now self-isolating at their home. Our hearts and thoughts go out to them and their loved ones. Unfortunately, as the coronavirus continues to spread we most certainly will learn of students and employees - on and off-campus - who become infected and ill.

Those individuals identified as having been in close personal contact will be contacted by Human Resources and provided with advice.

Ensuring the anonymity of the individual who has tested positive for COVID-19 is important. If you are aware of their identity, please respect their privacy. Please abide by all laws related to personal health information (HIPAA), and expectations for the responsible use of social media. Miami is committed to doing all that we can to support this person and our broader community through what is a stressful and challenging time.

We will continue to follow the guidance and advice of the Ohio Department of Health and to work closely with the Butler County Health Department. We will also communicate with the Miami Community as we learn more. Our website miamioh.edu/coronavirus is updated frequently to keep you informed.

If you have a fever or symptoms of respiratory illness, such as a cough or shortness of breath, you should call your healthcare provider or the Miami Health Center at 513-529-3000. It is important that you call first for guidance, and do not visit a healthcare facility before calling. If you are feeling ill, we encourage you to stay in your home. Please continue to practice social distancing.

Everyone is reminded to stay home and away from people, in accordance with the Ohio Department of Health’s order. Practice social distancing and, if you meet, spread out, but please use remote mechanisms and technology if at all possible at all times. Always follow these practices:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; dry hands with a clean towel or air-dry hands.
  • Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer when soap and water are unavailable.
  • Cover your mouth with a tissue or sleeve when sneezing or coughing.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Stay home when you are sick or if you have any symptoms.
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • Clean “high-touch” surfaces daily. These include counters, tabletops, doorknobs, light switches, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, desks, and tablets.
  • Stay home. Social Distancing. Spread out.

We understand that there are many questions and concerns as we navigate this extraordinary moment in our history. We continue to work closely with partners at the city and state to manage these challenges and will continue to share information as we are able.

Crisis Management Team


Thursday, March 26, 2020 4:37 p.m. - From the Provost

Colleagues,

I remain very optimistic that Miami will emerge strong from the financial challenge we are facing and that we will be open and thriving for fall 2020, with a strong freshman class, a bumper crop of graduate students, great new faculty colleagues, new leaders, and a bright future. Getting there, however, does mean that we will have to tighten our belts now. To that end, we are asking faculty to prioritize their teaching responsibilities, in particular, for the coming year.

I have heard that some faculty are displeased with this, and some are questioning whether we continue to be committed to being a research university. Let me reassure you that we remain committed to our mission as an elite R2 institution and we greatly value our scholarship, but at this moment, for the coming year, we must prioritize the teacher in "teacher-scholar". If we do this right and continue investing in important new programs, we will be on a sustainable, positive trajectory. We can't do this without you.

Topics for today:

  1. Maintaining privacy in COVID-19 times
  2. Donate to the Emergency Needs Fund
  3. Big Blue Button access ends 3/30
  4. Are we continuing with Boldly Creative while we face budget challenges?
  5. What the daily Provost staff daily check-in looks like

1. Privacy guidance from our General Counsel 
As the coronavirus continues to spread, we most certainly will learn of students and employees, both on and off-campus, who become infected and ill. As we move into this period where students and employees are testing positive for the coronavirus, it is important that we all recognize and respect the medical privacy of our faculty, staff and students. You may NOT disclose the identity of any student or employee who has tested positive for the virus. You may disclose the fact that a person in your division/department (if greater than 10 people) has tested positive, but you may not share any additional information without the employee’s or student’s written consent and authorization. The Centers for Disease Control in its guidance to employers states:

If an employee is confirmed to have COVID-19 infection, employers should inform fellow employees of their possible exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace but maintain confidentiality as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The fellow employees should then self-monitor for symptoms (i.e., fever, cough, or shortness of breath).

Failure to adhere to these standards could violate any number of federal privacy laws including but not limited to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and /or Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

If a student or employee under your supervision has tested positive or if you have questions, please contact the Office of General Counsel at 529-6734.

These are enormously challenging times but responding with respect, care, and compassion to those who become ill and their family members is the very foundation of our humanity. Please take care of yourselves and your families and stay well.

2. Donating to support Miami students in need
University Advancement has started a campaign to raise funds for students most in need during this COVID-19 time. You can donate to the effort here: https://www.givetomiamioh.org/s/916/16/interior-flah.aspx?sid=916&gid=1&pgid=17283. Please share the link with others who might be interested in contributing.

3. Big Blue Button will go away
On Monday, March 30, 2020, Canvas Conferences using BigBlueButton will no longer be available for video conferencing due to factors including accessibility, platform stability, and substantial budget implications. Existing BigBlueButton recordings will remain available for 14 days after the recording date. Cisco Webex is the University’s recommended and supported technical solution for video conferencing. We apologize for the inconvenience this will undoubtedly cause. As always, eLearning and CTE can help you utilize WebEx and/or Google for your video conferencing needs. Read details regarding changes affecting Canvas Conferences.

4. Boldly Creative in the time of COVID-19?
I have been asked how we can continue considering investing in Boldly Creative when we are asking all divisions to streamline expenditures. It’s a fair question. Let me say that Boldly Creative is, much like your retirement fund, an investment in our future. We can either spend it now, for an immediate and short-lived benefit, or we can invest it and reap long term benefits that will help us thrive in an ever-more-competitive higher education world. Boldly Creative is helping us position Miami as an ever-stronger Public Ivy.

5. Provost Meetings in the age of WebEx
Every morning we have a senior staff check-in meeting to get ahead of what is coming at us and to ensure we are on the same page in this fast-moving environment. I am grateful to each of these colleagues doing everything that they can to keep us aimed in the right direction. Do you have a picture of what your work looks like while we are dealing with COVID-19? Share it with us!

Provost in WebEx meeting with senior staff

Love and Honor,
Jason Osborne


Wednesday, March 25, 2020 5:18 p.m. - From the President

Dear Miami Community

The Governor has been informing us all of the increasing number of coronavirus cases, and the importance of social distancing and staying at home. To best safeguard the health of our students, faculty and staff, we have been working closely with the Butler County Health Department and the Ohio Department of Health, and we soon expect a wider spread of cases within Butler County.

It is important that we all take the actions necessary to contain the coronavirus, and prevent transmission. To support our students and vital campus services, essential staff are continuing to report, and it is important that they take their temperature before leaving home, and if they have a fever, cough or difficulty breathing to stay home. Essential food and building service workers will have their temperature taken upon arrival on campus and need not take it at home.

For all other employees, we strongly encourage you to stay home, if you do intend to come to campus- even for a quick stop, you are required to take your temperature first, and if you have a fever, cough or difficulty breathing you may not come to campus.

These are challenging times for us all, and it is important to work together and to think of others. Practicing social distancing, and remaining at home to the greatest extent possible, are our most effective tools in combating the coronavirus. Let’s work together to stop the spread – it will save lives.

Love and Honor,

Gregory P. Crawford,
President

Wednesday, March 25, 2020 12:07 p.m. - From the Provost

Good Afternoon,

As you know the State of Ohio issued a Stay at Home order that began Monday March 23, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. Higher education has been designated an essential business. Essential staff are expected to report as scheduled. All others remain in remote work status. Those working remotely are expected to maintain normal business hours. All classes are being delivered remotely. There are no on-campus classes. Faculty are strongly encouraged to teach from home if possible.

For those who are coming to campus for ANY reason it is important that you:

  • Take your temperature daily.
  • If you have a temperature that is 100.4 or higher, stay home.
  • If you have a cough or if they have difficulty breathing, stay home.

Please be vigilant and practice these and all other preventative measures in helping us to keep our community safe and healthy.

Love and Honor,
Jason Osborne,


Sunday, March 22, 2020 3:45 p.m. - From the President

Dear Miami Community,

Throughout this national health emergency, we have followed the guidance and direction of our Governor, and the Ohio Department of Health. Today a Stay at Home order has been directed as the Governor increases our State’s effort to combat the coronavirus, it goes into effect Monday evening at midnight. What does this mean for Miami? For essential employees you will continue to work and provide essential services to our campuses. Your supervisor will contact you if you are no longer to report. For the rest of us, we will continue to work remotely, stay in our homes, leaving only in accordance with the directive, which does allow for us to exercise, care for others, and to purchase groceries and medicine. It is well aligned with the guidance the Governor has been providing throughout.

These are unprecedented, trying times, and as our Governor has told us, this enemy invader, the coronavirus, can succeed only with our help – remaining in our homes and limiting contact will reduce and prevent transmission of the coronavirus, and will save lives.

I am so moved, and feel so privileged to be a Miamian as I watch the way in which our Miami community has responded to this health crisis. Faculty and students have been sharing clips from their remote instruction and assignments, and they are incredible. The creativity I have seen is inspiring and helps further cement in me the rock-solid belief that we will overcome this challenge, and will be an even stronger Miami going forward.

We are Miami, and as Governor DeWine has assured us all, “We will get through this.” Together.

Love and Honor,

Gregory P. Crawford
President


Thursday, March 19, 2020 5:19 p.m. - From the Provost

Colleagues,

Trying to follow my own recommendations to find some good in all that we are facing right now. So, on this first day of spring and in celebration of everyone who has struggled to adapt quickly to remote delivery of instruction, here is Michael Bruening singing his version of “I WIll Survive” for all teachers moving online unexpectedly. Enjoy! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CCe5PaeAeew

Topics:

  1. Course Registration dates moved back two weeks
  2. COVID-19 budget challenges

1. Fall 2020 Course Registration — New Starting Date

To address the unusual disruptions caused by the COVID-19 outbreak, Miami University (both Oxford and Regionals) is postponing the start date for Fall 2020 registration for all students.

The revised registration schedule for fall 2020 classes on ALL campuses will begin on April 22 (rather than the original April 8 start date), and it is listed below:

  • Early priority = 04/22 through 04/24
  • Regular priority = 04/23 through 04/24
  • Seniors = 04/28 through 04/29
  • Juniors = 04/30 through 05/01
  • Sophomores = 05/05 through 05/06
  • Freshmen = 05/07 through 05/08 (last day of Spring semester classes)
  • Open registration for all Oxford students = 05/18 through 05/25 (not during final exam week)

Regional campus registration times would also adjust per the same pattern.

A delayed start date will give students and their academic advisors more time to plan their fall academic schedules. It is important to note that due to the changing situation, course listings may be revised more significantly than in past semesters. As a result, students are urged to carefully review up-to-date course listings before they register for classes. Students will be notified of the change in registration dates and encouraged to review their new registration time tickets in BannerWeb.

2. Budget challenges likely

Most of you will have noticed that the COVID-19 crisis has drastically impacted the economy, the stock market, and of course many businesses and industries. It is increasingly clear that this will be a long-term situation with potentially grave economic consequences. Our university will not be immune to this unfortunate situation, which has seen us refund tens of millions of dollars to students for housing and meal plans as they moved out of on-campus housing. As you know, we had to recall many study-abroad and study away programs, which will also lead to substantial refunds and loss of revenue. Summer revenue is currently an unknown and most universities are seeing lower confirmations for fall term than expected.

It is in the greatest uncertainty that our current and future actions become ever more important and we all must be careful and strategic stewards of university resources at this time. Being more careful now gives us more opportunity to avoid drastic actions later. With this in mind, I am working with leaders within Academic Affairs and strategizing over how we as an institution can respond to the significant challenges while protecting our ability to serve our students and our mission. In the next few days we will provide more guidance to divisions on how to proceed.

There are things each department can do right now:

  • Spend only on essential items. Conserve resources to the greatest extent possible.
  • Consider expanding summer online course offerings to generate revenue. Do not assume students will be able to physically return to campus before August.
  • Examine planned course offerings for fall 2020 and spring 2021.
    • a. Decide what is essential to offer, e.g., required courses, and what does not need to be offered this fall. Non-essential courses should be deferred.
    • b. Defer courses offered occasionally until another semester.
    • c. Proactively cancel low-enrolled classes now and utilize faculty for essential courses.
    • d. Examine section sizes and where possible, expand sections to reduce the number of sections being offered.

To assist departments and divisions, we have an excellent team who have developed some extensive and detailed resources that can help inform these decisions. We will also soon begin high level meetings to review available data, provide relevant examples, and suggested actions that could help us address the financial concerns we expect to face.

Love and Honor,
Jason Osborne

March 19, 2020 8:21 a.m.

Dear Miami Staff,

Miami University will be switching to a new service provider for university-related printing effective March 31, 2020.

Miami’s printing portal will continue to be available at MiamiOH.edu/printing. This site hosts links to order printing – such as posters, flyers, brochures, business cards, letterhead and envelopes. Students and employees can also locate printers across campus via MUprint and learn more about Miami’s branding and logo standards.

Xerox will continue to accept print orders through March 31 with delivery through April 3. Any orders placed prior to March 31 that cannot be delivered by April 3 will be redirected to university communications and marketing for assistance.

What will change?

When selecting “Order Printing,” employees and students will be directed to log in (with unique ID and password) and then be routed to a new site run by Arnold Printing. This interface will appear different with some new options and categories.

Why the change?

Miami’s contract with its current provider, Xerox, expires March 31. The new service through Arnold Printing will offer a robust template system in a Web to Print environment while continuing to allow a file upload option for already designed projects.

When will it change?

The switch to the new portal will begin at the end of March. A 3-tier implementation phase for services is planned.

  • In Phase 1, service will remain much the same as it is now, with the ability to upload files and order printing.
  • Phase 2 will include stationery templates and potentially some other smaller items, such as postcards and posters.
  • Phase 3 will be a complete rollout including a full template system. The system is anticipated to be ready for training by Fall 2020.

How do I learn to use the new system?

For Phase 1, definitions and instructions to help navigate the new system will be provided. Also, live support will be provided through specified contact information. In Phases 2 and 3, training will be provided in labs on all campuses and support will continue to be available throughout the existence of the service.

For more information about this transition, please contact Barb Maccombs, director of client relations and operations in university communications and marketing, at 513-529-1382 or barb.maccombs@MiamiOH.edu.


Wednesday, March 18, 2020 4:20 p.m. - From the Provost and SVP for Finance and Business Services

Dear Miami Community,

Like you, we are feeling the need to reach out to family and friends, including all of you in our Miami Community. We hope your first day of working remotely went well, and we truly appreciate that you are facing unusual challenges and coming up with solid solutions. For example, a wooden kitchen chair was never meant to serve as an office chair for eight hours. Pillows help. If you are experiencing any difficulties or need additional resources, please don’t hesitate to contact your supervisor or Miami’s Human Resources Call Center at 513-529-3131.

It’s heartening to see all the ways that we’re looking out for each other as we go through this historic and unprecedented public health crisis. We’re hearing of people—strangers to each other only days ago—becoming friends as they brainstorm on how best to comfort our children away from their classmates and our elderly cut off from their families. Unfortunately, this pandemic will likely persist for some time. Being isolated at home can be lonely for all of us. Please stay in touch with your supervisor and co-workers. If you need assistance, the following websites may help:

We can and will get through this together—with intelligence, integrity, and kindness. Please take care of yourselves and your families.

If you have suggestions for improvement, a work-from-home tip, a happy thought, or something funny to make everyone smile, please send it to CMT@miamioh.edu, and we will share it if we can.

Stay well!

Love and Honor,

Dr. Jason Osborne, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs
Dr. David Creamer, Senior Vice President for Finance and Business Services

March 18, 2020 3:54 p.m. - From the Provost

Colleagues,

With one week of remote delivery of classes under our belt, the world keeps moving and we are trying very hard to stay one step ahead - or, more accurately, not more than one step behind. One of the many things that makes this such a deeply difficult time is because we do not always know what to expect. We all hope for a resolution to COVID-19, but of course none of us know when that will happen, what that will look like, or when we will be able to get back to business as usual.

Many good things continue to happen despite all this upheaval. One of those good things is the hiring of our next Dean of the Farmer School of Business, Dr. Jenny Darroch. The announcement is now public (see our announcement here: https://www.miamioh.edu/news/top-stories/2020/03/new-fsb-dean.html). I know the Miami community will welcome her and will see FSB continue to amplify the strengths and national reputation under her leadership.

Topics

  1. Warning for campus closure unlikely; prepare now
  2. Residence Halls Closing
  3. Why pass/fail grading (credit/no credit) is not something we are unilaterally doing as part of our COVID-19 response
  4. Personalized consultations with eLearning remote now

1. In the event of a campus closure
Faculty have requested that in the event of a travel ban or campus closure we provide sufficient warning for them to retrieve anything they might need from their offices. Please understand that if we are directed by the state or federal government to “shelter in place” or to close campus, we will likely have little notice. I strongly recommend that we all work now to retrieve anything you may need for the next several weeks from your office, lab, etc.

2. Dorm closure FYI
From Dean of Students, Kimberly Moore, “In light of the statewide emergency declaration, the residence halls will now be closing Saturday, March 21, at 5 p.m.” This continues to be a concerted effort to get students to leave Oxford and get safely to their family homes, where possible. They are of course, working with students who may not be able to return home.

3. Pass/Fail (credit/no credit) for all courses this semester
In light of the upheaval that COVID-19 has caused, we have had a number of students and parents request we make for all courses this semester Pass/Fail (credit/no credit). This type of change could be detrimental to the financial well-being, academic success, and prospective employment of many of our students and is, therefore, not a viable option.

As Federal regulations currently stand, this change would also negatively impact students utilizing veteran education benefits or federal financial aid. In the case of VA benefits, credit/no credit courses are not eligible for payment by VA benefits when a no credit grade is earned.

In the case of federal financial aid, students with credit/no credit courses who fail to earn credit could jeopardize federal aid eligibility. These potential losses would come at a time when many recipients can least afford to lose it.

There would also be negative GPA ramifications for students who may, at some point, seek admission to graduate or professional school or prospective employment where part of the admission or hiring process is an assessment of undergraduate academic performance as measured by GPA. Miami coursework that has not factored into a student’s GPA would be interpreted as being of D- or better quality which gives no insight into a student’s mastery of that knowledge.

4. eLearning is still delivering remote support
You can still sign up for a training session, talk with a consultant, and get individualized help through remote technology! Be sure to use these resources since we now are delivering instruction remotely for the remainder of the semester. https://www.miamioh.edu/digital-learning/

COVID-19 Updates and Resources

Remember that all resources related to COVID-19 are available on this website.

Love and Honor,
Jason Osborne

March 18, 2020 3:20 p.m. - From the Dean of Students

Miami Faculty and Staff,

In an effort to keep you informed, please see the below message that was just sent to all Oxford undergraduate and graduate students with resources to support their transition to remote learning. We encourage you to take a look and refer students as needed.

Kimberly A. Moore, Ed.D.
Associate Vice President and Dean of Students

_____________________________________

Dear Miami students,

We recognize the new challenges you may be facing as you are transitioning to remote learning for the rest of the semester. Please know the Division of Student Life is here to support you both academically and emotionally.

Some students, faculty, and parents have asked for advice and ideas on how to set up a remote learning environment for success. We have attached a remote learning guide from the Rinella Learning Center. This guide can also be found on Rinella’s new Remote Learning website.

Additional virtual resources that may be helpful:

  • The Rinella Learning Center is now providing remote tutoring appointments and supplemental instruction. Remote tutoring can be accessed through Canvas.
  • Howe Writing Center appointments are now online.
  • Remote services and resources from the University Libraries are available.
  • The H.O.P.E. line is available 24/7 for students to call for immediate support, crisis intervention, and stabilization from a licensed mental health counselor. 855-249-5649.

While remote coursework may be inherently more independent than meeting face-to-face, we urge you to stay in touch with your instructors and communicate how things are going. When you have questions about course content, connectivity issues or concerns about your progress, start with your instructors. They likely won’t know about these issues until you tell them. They, like you, may be navigating a remote classroom environment for the first time.

We know this isn’t an ideal situation - none of us expected, even a week ago, that this is where we would be today. Things may change again tomorrow, but in uncertain times, this is what I know - we are committed to listen and respond as new needs arise. We ask that all members of our community continue to be flexible, and do their best at staying committed to learning. During this challenging time, make sure you are taking care of yourself and others, and know that Student Life is here to support you in whatever way we can.

Very sincerely,

Kimberly A. Moore, Ed.D.
Associate Vice President and Dean of Students


Tuesday, March 17, 2020 10 a.m. - From the Provost

Colleagues,

A brief update for Tuesday morning: We appear to be at least partially successful in emptying campus of students. We anticipate around 1,800 students in the residence halls by the end of the day today, down from over 7,000 on campus. Of course, we can not control off-campus housing and hope that students have taken this opportunity to go home where possible.

You may be aware that Green Beer Day has been cancelled. Because of this, our prior request to hold a synchronous class Thursday is probably unnecessary, and could put students who are trying to travel home in a bind. Please accommodate any students who cannot attend synchronously and please allow flexibility with any graded activity. We do not want students staying on campus and risking their health or ours because of a class.

Essential Staff-Only Follow-Up

Yesterday, our memo regarding essential staff and remote work inadvertently caused some confusion. Remote work status primarily impacts staff, but it may also be important information for faculty. Faculty should be aware that there will not be many, if any, departmental staff on campus to assist them (e.g., no administrative assistants). Other changes are also in place. For example, academic and administrative buildings are accessible by card swipe only.

The University is still open for faculty to teach their remote classes from campus but if faculty can/will teach from home they can further reduce the chance of either contracting or sharing the virus through community spread. It is also possible the University could, at some point, be ordered to close the campus. If that were to occur, faculty would need to be able to teach their courses from home for the remainder of the spring semester.

We apologize for the confusion. We are grateful for all you are doing to deliver high quality instruction to our students under extraordinarily challenging circumstances.

COVID-19 Updates and Resources

Have a great Tuesday, we are proud of what we have accomplished in the past week! Remember that all resources related to COVID-19 are available on this website.

Love and Honor,
Jason Osborne

March 17, 2020 11:47 a.m. - From Payroll Services and Human Resources

Good Morning!

We appreciate your patience as we work through this extraordinary and challenging time.

With the transition to a remote work environment, Human Resources will automatically load 8 hours of regular pay for all classified staff working remotely. Classified employees working remotely do not need to record or "clock" specific punches in Kronos.

Supervisors will be required to approve time in Kronos per pay period as they normally do.

We will continue to provide updates through this listserv and share instructions and other guidance to supervisors.

For important information on remote work expectations and other resources for our employees, see Employee Resources.

Please send any questions regarding timekeeping to HRTime@miamioh.edu.

Thank you,
Payroll Services and Human Resources


Monday, March 16, 2020 9:13 p.m. - From the Provost

Colleagues,

It was less than a week ago that we transitioned to remote delivery of instruction. Like everyone else has experienced, this already feels like it's been a very, very, very long week. Even so, I have found the time to brag to all my colleagues at how impressive you all been in pulling together so quickly in the face of so much change. I will continue to thank everyone again and again for accepting this challenge to continue serving our students and our shared mission during this hopefully once-in-a-lifetime crisis. Please communicate with your students often and try to be flexible as we ask them to to be with during this difficult time.

Topics for today:

  1. No instructional activities in person allowed; limit non-essential in-person activities
  2. Hiring freeze
  3. Mid Term grades
  4. Pass/Fail
  5. Spring Break goals for faculty
    1. Take a breath and find time to think through the rest of the semester
    2. Update syllabus to reflect new reality and how you will meet learning objectives through remainder of semester
    3. Prepare for what-if scenarios like: "What if the US requires everyone to stay in-home for two weeks" like Italy and other countries have
    4. Think through final exams/papers/products
    5. Engage in self care
    6. Breathe
  6. Tools for extended remote work

No face-to-face instructional activities are allowed

Just to continue communicating around this directive, we are prohibiting any face-to-face instructional activities on campus or in any other venue. This includes holding classes in-person but at an off-campus location. All instructional activities must be held via remote technology. In other words, on-campus, in-person activities should be suspended with limited exceptions. Essential research activities that require lab access by faculty or graduate students completing research should contact Dr. Oris (orisjt@miamioh.edu) for an exemption.

Immediate hiring freeze

This morning, the President's Executive Committee agreed for the need to implement an immediate hiring freeze in light of the substantial budgetary implications from the COVID-19 outbreak. Specifically, there can be no further hires without the express permission of Dr. Creamer or me. This also applies to graduate assistantships so you are are asked to please halt in any new offers of assistantships. Any faculty, staff, or assistantship formal offers loaded into the system by 12 p.m. today (3/16/2020) may proceed. No new offers are allowed. More guidance on Academic Personnel hires will be discussed with the deans in our meeting later this week on possible exceptions. I ask that you please wait for that guidance before asking for exceptions or clarifications. We will move as quickly as we can.

Midterm grades

Please be sensitive to the fact that many students are experiencing significant upheaval right now as they are moving out of dorms and to their permanent residences. If at all possible, please give them flexibility with assignments.

As we know, University policy requires the submission of midterm grades for students meeting the midterm grade criteria, and we strongly encourage midterm grade feedback for all other students. With the move to remote instruction it will be more important than ever to ensure that our students receive meaningful feedback on their academic performance thus far in the semester, and midterm grades are a valuable performance indicator.

To facilitate midterm grade submission, the deadline is being extended from Friday, March 20, to 12 p.m., Friday, April 3. On Friday, March 20 we will make all submitted midterm grades viewable to students, and we will continue to keep the midterm grade submission application open for faculty to continue to submit until 12 p.m., Friday, April 3.

Questions regarding midterm grade submission can be directed to the Office of the University Registrar at registrar@MiamiOH.edu or 513/529-8703.

Pass/Fail

There have been petitions and requests from students and parents asking for a wholesale switch to pass/fail grading given the global crisis we are facing. I am officially communicating to you that this is NOT something we are currently contemplating. Faculty have the discretion to run their classes as they deem pedagogically appropriate. We have policies that guide us in this area, and there are federal and other implications for this sort of grading policy. What I would ask is that you attempt to over-communicate and reassure you students during this time as we continue to deal with this unfolding situation. Give your students grace, and ask them to give you some leniency also. We are all human, and everyone is doing their best.

Some Spring Break recommendations for faculty

Faculty should already communicating with their classes, holding remote classes, or assigning work. At this point, there should either be synchronous or asynchronous interactions at least as often as classes would have been held. If you would like support, now is the time to reach out to the Center for Teaching Excellence, eLearning, or eCampus experts.

Before the end of Spring Break, please update your syllabi to reflect your plan for the rest of the semester. While we often characterize a syllabus as a “contract” between a student and faculty member, in fact, syllabi can be modified particularly in exceptional circumstances such as what we are experiencing. Please be certain that revised syllabi are uploaded with clearly defined new expectations, assignments, how learning objectives will be met, and any other changes you need to make. Please share this with your department chair so they can be aware of what you have modified. We want to be in the best position to support you!

At some point, we will need to think about finals. As always, faculty have complete discretion to evaluate learning objectives as they see fit. Please consider how you can adapt your summative assessment to the remote delivery reality. Will you assign a paper, a project, a presentation, an asynchronous (“take-home”) test, or a synchronous test? How will you accomplish this via remote technology? How can we help you? (Please note that if you are holding a synchronous test, it must be during the standard finals time scheduled for your course.)

Engage in self-care. We are all stressed out and anxious. We have family and loved ones who we are worried about. Find time to exercise, relax, and to find moments of positivity in the midst of this chaos. Generations before us were able to find uplifting moments in the midst of unthinkable tragedy. We can rise to this moment.

Tools for remote work

IT services have provided a comprehensive list of software to make telecommuting a little bit easier.  Academic Personnel and Human Resources will also be putting together information to help us through some of the day-to-logistics of moving to remote work.

Love and Honor,
Jason Osborne

March 16, 2020 6:03 p.m. - From the President

Dear Miami Staff,

Today, I met with University leaders to finalize a plan to follow the guidance of the Governor and the Ohio Department of Health for all Ohio businesses to identify as many employees as possible to work from home. Starting tonight with the third shift which begins at 10:00 p.m., the remote work plan will go into effect. If you have been designated as essential staff you are expected to report to campus to work as scheduled. If you have not been informed that you are essential staff, you should plan to work from home until further notice. If you have any questions please contact your supervisor or Human Resources at 513-529-3131. All personnel designated as essential staff are expected to report.

We are grateful for your help and support in these challenging times. We will continue to communicate with staff through emails and on our www.miamioh.edu/coronavirus.

Love and Honor,

Gregory P. Crawford
President


Sunday, March 15, 2020 8:32 p.m. - From the Provost

Colleagues,

The President’s Executive Cabinet (PEC) and other leadership across the university have been working all weekend to plan for what for whatever unknowns may come our way in the next week. This includes helping students move out of residence halls and return to permanent residences, and contingency planning for our faculty and staff. It is difficult to believe that it was less than a week ago that we asked everyone to move to remote instruction. We as a community must continue to support and encourage each other, question everything we do in the light of current public health needs, and engage in patience and self care when anxiety and fear are understandable human responses. Eventually, this will pass and we will emerge from this crisis intact, but to get there, we must do the right thing by limiting interpersonal contact. We will emerge from this crisis intact. Looking forward, we will be different, but we will remain a vibrant, strong, and student-focused residential lberal arts university, a Public Ivy, with a bright future and the same core values as before. Thanks to everyone for making a difference.

Topics for this evening:

  • Do everything possible to help facilitate students working remotely
  • Make sure we are communicating with students about clinical placements, internships, licensure requirements—even when the future isn't entirely certain
  • Limit nonessential face-to-face meetings
  • Limit nonessential searches within Academic Affairs
  • Research facilities and university remain open

Help students go home or work remotely where possible:

We must do everything we can to allow students to leave campus quickly and to be safe in this fast-moving time.

  • No faculty may require students to remain on campus for any reason- labs, clinicals, studios, etc.
  • No faculty member can require students to assume an undue burden by purchasing equipment, licenses, supplies, etc. aside from those similar to what is routinely required for face-to-face sections.
  • Do your best to help students achieve the learning objectives of your courses without undue cost, technological burdens, etc.
Please help us in getting this message out to your students. We can not require students to potentially risk their health in this moment because of unreasonable expectations.

Reassure our students who are nervous about internships, clinicals, practica, and capstone projects

For all faculty and leaders who are engaged with supervision of internships, clinical practica, or other state licensure requirements, please communicate with your students, even though all the answers are not known at this time.

There will be significant anxiety, particularly for those students who are expecting to graduate and obtain licensure. Reassure them we are and will do all we can to work with licensure boards. Given the scope of this global public health and state administrative messaging—I do not anticipate that there will be irrational expectations on students who were affected by measures taken by the country, state and University. In fact, some of us have heard supportive comments from state agencies that rigid expectations will likely be relaxed this year where public health measures have interfered with a student’s ability to complete hours.

It is important that you let us know your concerns so that we can advocate with the appropriate state agency, but understand, most agencies may not have answers for a few weeks yet.

If there are independent study or capstone experiences students need to graduate, please work to allow students flexibility in achieving objectives remotely and without imposing unreasonable burdens.

Limit non-essential face to face meetings, provide alternative remote options for people to attend meetings

Ohio State Department of Health Director Amy Acton has told us throughout the week that COVID-19 has more than likely already spread within all of our communities already. As expected, we are seeing cases within Ohio increase dramatically. Although numbers remain small, the path of this virus is now predictable and the only way to limit spread is to limit human contact, both at work and outside of work. We must all make tough personal decisions in this moment for the greater public health so that serious complications due to this virus doesn’t overwhelm our health system capabilities. Toward that end, I would ask each one of you to immediately limit nonessential face-to-face or in-person meetings. Department meetings, research talks, lab meetings, etc. should be curtailed to essential only, allowing people to join through WebEx or other technology as needed.

Prioritize ongoing searches, with essential searches utilizing remote meeting technology

I also ask that all faculty, administrative, and staff searches should be evaluated and categorized as essential or non-essential. I am defining essential to mean critical to the ability of the university to continue operation. Those designated essential should utilize WebEx or other remote meeting technology as travel is likely the largest risk to personal and public health. Please delay or cancel non-essential searches.

The university is still open for business

As long as we can maintain campus operations, research facilities and all on campus services will remain operational and accessible, although it is likely that buildings will be locked and key card access will be required. If you come to campus, maintain social distancing and all other preventative measures. Our library facilities are operational, although we will limit walk-in services and access to non-Miami individuals in an effort to keep our staff healthy. Remember that we need to keep teaching, researching, and serving our public mission. Please continue doing all you need to do, but do it without unnecessary person to person contact where possible.

Love and Honor,
Jason Osborne


Friday, March 13, 2020 6:23 p.m. - From the Provost and SVP for Finance and Business Services

Dear Miami Community,

This has been a long and difficult week for many in our University community. The welfare of our faculty and staff remains our highest priority as we work to meet our responsibilities. This unprecedented COVID-19 outbreak presents new challenges for our employees and their families and we are committed to supporting you.

Parents of K-12-aged children in our University community are facing special challenges as they work to arrange child-care. We understand that many daycare centers are also starting to close.

As part of our COVID-19 support efforts, on Monday, the University will credit each employee with an additional five days of emergency leave. Emergency leave days may be used in the unfortunate event you or a family member become ill or you need to provide short-term child care because of the unexpected school closures.

Unclassified staff and faculty may use emergency leave days in half-day or whole day increments and should be reported as sick leave on your monthly leave report with a comment of "COVID19." Hourly paid staff may use emergency leave days in four- or eight-hour increments and should be reported as sick leave and must include the Kronos comment code "COVID19." Please follow your normal absence reporting procedures.

Employees without sufficient paid leave balances may use up to ten unearned sick leave days in case they or a family member become ill. These ten days will be repaid as sick leave days are earned.

Please remember, if you are ill -stay home. If you believe you have been exposed to the virus, follow your normal absence reporting procedures. You will be directed to the appropriate health care or board of health facility to determine whether you should be quarantined or are able to return to work.

We are deeply grateful for the efforts of our employees and your commitment to serving our students and community. We thank you for supporting those employees, families, colleagues, and friends who may be impacted by the virus.

For the most current information, refer to this website. If you have questions, please contact the Benefits Office at 513-529-3926.

Love and Honor,

Dr. Jason Osborne, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs

Dr. David Creamer, Senior Vice President for Finance and Business Services


Thursday, March 12, 2020 7:09 p.m. - From the Provost

Colleagues,

Topics for today:

  1. Study abroad cancelled, students recalled
  2. Support for remote teaching
  3. Support for students with disabilities
  4. Submitting information about IT issues

We made it through Thursday! I know that for many of you, this is your first experience with remote delivery of instruction and we are all learning a lot along the way. The last several days have us all on a steep learning curve but I know that we can and will get through this together as a community. If I could wish one thing for each of us, it is that we try and find the humor in these trying situations and celebrate any and all victories.

Here are some updates about what is happening around campus:

Study abroad cancelled, students recalled

Late last night, we made the decision to recall our students from their overseas studies. Prior to President Trump’s address to the nation last night, bringing them back to campus was the last option we wished to pursue. With the heightened risks around European travel and new CDC regulations, we had to prioritize getting our students home safely and quickly. We regret having to interrupt their time abroad and be assured that we will work with the impacted students to ensure their semester can be completed successfully.

Support for Remote Teaching:

ELearning Miami, eCampus Regionals, Center for Teaching Excellence and other units have been working feverishly to provide resources for faculty and students in this time of remote delivery of instruction. The Continuity of Education website is being frequently enhanced, and a survey is being sent to all faculty to gain insights on additional forms of support that are needed.

Please only university supported software and tools, as that allows us to be more effective with supporting you. Also, those official packages are better suited to meeting the accessibility needs of our students.

Tutoring and Writing Center Consultations:

The Howe Center for Writing Excellence has posted some resources on our website about teaching writing online, and it is now offering fully online writing center consultations so that your students can get the support they need.

The Rinella Learning Assistance Center is still offering subject area tutoring in person. Remote tutoring opportunities will be available beginning next Tuesday.

Support for Students with Disabilities:

The Miller Center for Student Disability Services is proactively contacting faculty who have students with visual and hearing disabilities to provide support. If you encounter a barrier relating to accessibility and accommodations for students with disabilities, you are encouraged to complete the Barrier Form.

IT Issues:

We know that some faculty experienced challenges relating to holding classes via Webex yesterday. IT Services has been working with Cisco to troubleshoot these problems so that the system will work well in the future.  Faculty are encouraged to complete Help Desk Tickets when they experience difficulties so that IT can track salient and systemic problems and address them expeditiously. The Help Desk contact information is 529-7900, or you can communicate by chat via MiamiOH.edu/ITChat. IT Services will be issuing a survey to gather additional input so that they can continuously work to improve our technology systems.

Love and Honor,

Jason Osborne
Provost


Wednesday, March 11, 2020 9:53 a.m. - From the President
New Travel Restrictions & Reporting Requirements

Dear Miami Students, Faculty and Staff,

Following Governor DeWine’s recommendations at his news conference yesterday - https://ohiochannel.org/collections/governor-mike-dewine- the University is announcing the following new travel restrictions and reporting requirements:

University Sponsored or Supported Travel

All University sponsored or supported international travel for students, faculty and staff is suspended for the balance of the spring semester. 

All University sponsored or supported domestic travel is limited to essential travel and must be approved by the divisional vice-president. 

Personal Travel

All Miami faculty, staff and students are urged to closely evaluate the risks of all personal travel (domestic, international or cruise ship) and to change or cancel personal travel plans as appropriate.

Those employees and students who do decide to travel internationally are required to report their travel to the University, before departure, at the following email address travel@miamioh.edu.  When reporting your personal travel please provide the following information:

  • Name
  • Travel Dates
  • Countries and Cities
  • Cities of U.S. departure and entry

The guidelines associated with travel to high-risk countries and the process for subsequent reentry into the United States may change rapidly and without notice. It is possible that you may be required to self-monitor your health upon your return. This can be as simple as monitoring and reporting temperatures twice a day for 14 days or being quarantined or isolated. In addition to any health monitoring or quarantine, employees and staff who travel internationally may be required to be screened by University Health Services upon return. 

Please watch for updates and changes in the need to report personal travel as circumstances may change over the coming weeks or while you are traveling abroad. This information and all other COVID-19 updates can be found on this website.

Thank you for your patience as we work together to navigate these unprecedented events and for your cooperation in taking the steps necessary to protect the health and safety of our Miami community.

Love and Honor,
Gregory P. Crawford
President


Tuesday, March 10, 2020 5:52 p.m. - From the Provost

Dear Colleagues,

As President Crawford outlined in his email today, we continue to face a rapidly changing and unprecedented environment. We are attempting to balance the need to protect public health and our need to serve our educational mission. As Governor DeWine said in his address this afternoon, the choices we make now will determine how well we can contain the spread of COVID-19.

I want to reiterate that we do not currently have any active cases on campus nor do we have any persons under investigation. There are no cases we are aware of in Butler County. We are not closing, cancelling classes, or quarantining campus. However, out of an abundance of caution, effective 8:00 AM Wednesday, March 11th, we are changing to remote delivery of instruction.

Yesterday, University Senate endorsed a resolution stating “... all instructional staff must ensure they are prepared to deliver their classes remotely through Canvas, by accomplishing the following steps:

  1. Ensuring each class section they are responsible for has a Canvas section that includes;
    1. the course syllabus;
    2. grades earned for each student on each assignment for the current semester;
    3. announcements to students enrolled in each section, including the attendance policy as amended by the Sense of the Senate Resolution;
    4. assignments, quizzes, and other types of activities for the balance of the semester.
  2. Providing students with the information to access the Canvas site for the course.”

All faculty must immediately focus on transitioning their classes to remote delivery of instruction. Note that we are not requiring each class section to become a fully realized online learning environment overnight. We do require that you have regular interactions with your students, to give assignments and assessments, to grade, and provide feedback. This can happen through Canvas in a variety of ways that can be as simple as sending and receiving emails.

As I noted in my message to the community on Monday, we are providing significant support to faculty in the form of peer mentors, drop in sessions, online step-by-step guides, etc. My sense from the discussion in the Senate yesterday, is that our faculty are highly competent and are ready to rise to this challenge. We are elite teacher-scholars and our students deserve nothing but the best we can offer. If you have a challenging course or lab section, consider what the learning outcomes would be for those labs or courses, and consider how students might achieve those goals without access to studios, labs, and/or facilities.

To be clear, we will deliver our curriculum remotely until spring break (March 23-27). At that point, we will need to sustain our social distancing strategy. We will continue remote delivery of curriculum for at least two weeks after spring break (March 30- April 10). We will be continuously evaluating this plan to return to face-to-face instruction after as this situation evolves. We hope that our actions now will enable us to resume normal operations and to finish the semester together.

As we prepared for this development, we in Academic Affairs have been meeting since Sunday to look at continuity planning:

Sunday, March 8:

  • The deans and other academic affairs leaders met to identify key goals and strategies to help our campus prepare for potential disruption of on-campus operations.

Monday, March 9:

  • divisional representatives met to be trained on how to pull data from canvas that will identify what sections or faculty might need support;
  • the President’s Executive Committee met to discuss preparedness throughout the entire campus operation;
  • University Senate discussed COVID-19 and institutional preparation.

Today, March 10:

  • held a meeting of academic affairs leaders to continue planning for all eventualities related to COVID-19;
  • asked all department chairs to identify faculty members who are already skilled in these areas, and who can quickly provide peer mentoring to their colleagues;
  • announce drop-in sessions where faculty can come receive individualized mentoring in these areas as needed;
  • preparing detailed online resources to support these goals;
  • identifying help-lines to call for support with Canvas;
  • hosted a discussion to discuss these and other strategies.
  • distribute a list of “Do’s and Don’ts” from our Center for Teaching Excellence that will help you identify some easy good practices to use with remote delivery of course content, and to avoid pitfalls;
  • begin hosting drop-in sessions for Canvas and remote delivery of course content;
  • IT services will hold a limited test of systems and work-from-home capability to begin identifying areas of concern.

On Wednesday, March 11, we will:

  • distribute a list of “Do’s and Don’ts” from our Center for Teaching Excellence that will help you identify some easy good practices to use with remote delivery of course content, and to avoid pitfalls;
  • begin hosting drop-in sessions for Canvas and remote delivery of course content;
  • IT services will hold a limited test of systems and work-from-home capability to begin identifying areas of concern.

By Friday, March 13, we will:

  • send department chairs a list of course sections do not appear to be prepared to the level needed; and
  • finalize a plan for advising and registration in the event in-person advising is not possible.

To reiterate President Crawford's message earlier this afternoon, we will continue to work closely with public health officials to monitor and evaluate the spread of the COVID-19 virus. This is a quickly evolving situation and we must all be ready to act to safeguard the health of the Miami community. The University will be continuously assessing the situation over the coming days and weeks.

We will keep everyone informed through this website. If you have any questions please call the University’s call center at 513-529-9000 between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. today or 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. tomorrow.

Love and Honor,
Jason Osborne


Monday, March 9, 2020 10:04 p.m. - From the Provost

Colleagues,

As you saw in the message from President Crawford this evening, we, as an institution of higher education, are faced with a significant challenge. The State of Ohio has now confirmed cases of the Novel Corona Virus (COVID-19) and Governor DeWine has declared a state of emergency to enable agencies to coordinate a response and to mobilize resources.

This is not a time to panic. It is time to show that we can respond to this moment in positive and constructive ways. Earlier this afternoon our University Senate passed two “Sense of the Senate” resolutions that clearly affirm our core institutional values. President Crawford and I endorse both of these resolutions.

The first resolution clearly states that we as a community care about the health and well-being of all of our members. We urge faculty, staff, and students to stay home when ill to avoid spreading any contagion. This resolution further affirms that it is not in line with our core values to penalize students for staying home from class if ill, and that we as teacher scholars commit to accommodate reasonable needs arising from illness. It is time for each faculty member to modify attendance policies to accommodate any student who is sick, allowing them to make academic progress without penalty for doing the right thing for our public health. 

The second resolution reinforces our commitment to being prepared to serve our students in the event our access to campus is limited or disrupted. This resolution states that, no later than March 20, “... all instructional staff must ensure they are prepared to deliver their classes remotely through Canvas, by accomplishing the following steps:

  1. Ensuring each class section they are responsible for has a Canvas section that includes;
  2. the course syllabus;
  3. grades earned for each student on each assignment for the current semester;
  4. announcements to students enrolled in each section, including the attendance policy as amended by the Sense of the Senate Resolution;
  5. assignments, quizzes, and other types of activities for the balance of the semester.
  6. Providing students with the information to access the Canvas site for the course.”

Guidance released by the US Department of Education indicates that these are the minimum requirements to accommodate students when classes are temporarily disrupted by events such as COVID-19. This is remote delivery of instruction and not a fully realized online class and we ask you to meet these minimum requirements. To help every faculty member accomplish this goal, we have taken the following steps:

Sunday, March 8:

  • The deans and other academic affairs leaders met to identify key goals and strategies to help our campus prepare for potential disruption of on-campus operations.

Today:

  • divisional representatives met to be trained on how to pull data from canvas that will identify what sections or faculty might need support;
  • the President’s Executive Committee met to discuss preparedness throughout the entire campus operation;
  • University Senate discussed COVID and institutional preparation.

Here is what we will do in the coming days:

On Tuesday, March 10, we will:

  • hold a meeting of academic affairs leaders to continue planning for all eventualities related to COVID-19;
  • ask all department chairs to identify faculty members who are already skilled in these areas, and who can quickly provide peer mentoring to their colleagues;
  • announce drop-in sessions where faculty can come receive individualized mentoring in these areas as needed;
  • prepare detailed online resources to support these goals;
  • identify help-lines to call for support with Canvas;
  • host a discussion immediately following Faculty Assembly (March 10, 4:45 pm - Shriver 104) to discuss these and other strategies.

On Wednesday, March 11, we will:

  • distribute a list of “Do’s and Don’ts” from our Center for Teaching Excellence that will help you identify some easy good practices to use with remote delivery of course content, and to avoid pitfalls;
  • begin hosting drop-in sessions for Canvas and remote delivery of course content;
  • IT services will hold a limited test of systems and work-from-home capability to begin identifying areas of concern.

By Friday, March 13, we will:

  • send department chairs a list of course sections do not appear to be prepared to the level needed; and
  • finalize a plan for advising and registration in the event in-person advising is not possible.

I hope that you will please join us tomorrow for Faculty Assembly beginning at 4:15 pm and stay for a brief update immediately following, when Butler County Health Commissioner Jenny Bailer will join us to discuss university preparations related to COVID-19 and we can begin to answer your questions and concerns. 

Love and Honor,
Jason Osborne


Wednesday, March 4, 2020 10:55 a.m. - From the Provost and SVP for Finance and Business Services
COVID-19 Travel Cancellations and Reporting

Dear Faculty and Staff,

Last Wednesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that the global spread of the new coronavirus (COVID-19) makes it almost certain the United States will experience an outbreak. Miami University is closely monitoring COVID-19 developments, nationally and internationally, in conjunction with Tri-Health, the Butler County and Ohio departments of health and the CDC.

Protecting the health and safety of all members of our community is our highest priority.

Containing the spread of a contagious disease presents real challenges. The CDC recommends cancelling all non-essential travel to China, Italy, Iran and South Korea due to significant COVID-19 outbreaks in those countries.

In response to the CDC recommendations, colleges and universities across the U.S. have begun cancelling study abroad and foreign travel. Miami is no exception.

University Travel Cancellations

Earlier this year the University canceled all University-sponsored travel to China for the balance of the semester. Following the recommendations of the CDC, the University is now also canceling all University-sponsored travel to South Korea, Italy, and Iran for the balance of the semester. We will continue to follow the recommendations of the CDC when deciding whether countries should be added to or removed from the travel cancellation list. Find the most up-to-date information on CDC Level 3 travel warnings.

Travel Reporting

The global outbreak is spreading rapidly and things are changing almost daily. We are asking all faculty and staff to report any planned academic travel to these countries (China, Italy, Iran and South Korea). To report any planned Spring Semester academic travel to China, Italy, Iran or South Korea (e.g. conferences, invited lectures, research trips), go to this page and sign in with your Miami unique ID and password.

A number of other countries, including the U.S. have also reported cases of COVID-19. The CDC is also recommending that travelers reconsider cruise ship voyages into or within Asia.

The guidelines associated with travel to high-risk countries and the process for subsequent reentry into the United States may change rapidly and without notice. It is possible that you may be required to self-monitor your health upon your return. This can be as simple as monitoring and reporting temperatures twice a day for 14 days; however, higher-risk individuals may be quarantined or isolated. It is important to consider the benefits vs. the risks of travelling abroad.

Please be alert for updates and changes in the need to report travel as circumstances may change over the coming weeks or while you are traveling abroad.

Prevention

The best prevention for coronavirus, the flu, or the common cold is to practice good personal hygiene:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. It is especially important to wash your hands:
    • Before, during, and after you prepare food.
    • Before you eat and after you use the bathroom.
    • After handling cash.
    • More frequently when someone in your house is sick.
    • Before/after smoking/vaping.
    • Before/after using public computers.
  • Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with your arm.
  • Frequently clean doorknobs, light switches, and other commonly touched areas with disinfectant wipes.
  • Avoid contact with people who are ill.
  • Stay home from work or school if you are ill.

Flu Shots

It is flu and respiratory disease season. The CDC recommends getting a flu vaccine if you have not already done so this season, taking everyday preventive actions to help stop the spread of germs, and taking flu antivirals if prescribed.

Thank you for doing all that you can to protect your health and the health of the Miami University community. We also thank you in advance for remembering to be kind: Some of our faculty, staff and students have family members, close colleagues and/or friends in places that are experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks and may need support.

Global Initiatives staff are available if you have questions or concerns about your international travel, at global@MiamiOH.edu or 513-529-8600. We will continue to post updates, FAQs, and resources on this website as needed.

If you have additional questions or suggestions, please send them to cmt@miamioh.edu.

For information on the role of the University's Institutional Response Team and its Crisis Management Team in response to this health emergency, please see the attached document.

Jason Osborne
Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs

David Creamer
Senior Vice President for Finance and Business Services


Wednesday, January 29, 2020 9:21 a.m. - From the Provost

Colleagues,

As President Crawford addressed in his message yesterday evening, we are working closely with the Butler County Health District and the Ohio Department of Health to ensure we are taking all reasonable actions to support students feeling unwell and to prevent spread of disease. We are also reaching out to every person at Miami who has traveled to China in the past two weeks. Right now, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are labeling the Novel Coronavirus as “low risk” and we are responding accordingly.

Our Code of Love and Honor states that we demonstrate Love and Honor “by supporting and caring for [our] fellow Miamians." This means that we treat our fellow Miamians with care and compassion, even when (or especially when) we are anxious or afraid. It is bad enough to be unwell under any circumstance. Imagine how frightening it must be to feel unwell while at college in a foreign country. Many of our students from China must also be very worried about their loved ones back home. I urge each of you to treat all members of our community with compassion rather than suspicion.

During this time, which happens to also be peak cold and influenza season, we urge faculty to provide as much accommodation as soon as possible for students who are unwell or who are wanting to avoid physically attending class. We encourage academic divisions and departments to help their faculty implement temporary accommodations such as:

  • Implementing less restrictive attendance policies;
  • Providing alternative assignments, readings, etc. to allow mastery of content delivered in class;
  • Using modern IT tools such as Canvas or WebEx to live stream classes, to provide students collaborative/groupwork opportunities remotely, or to provide asynchronous access to recorded material.

In addition to the information found on Miami’s website and the CDC’s website, Miami has set up a call center to address any general questions or concerns at 513-529-9000. If you are concerned that a student in your class is ill and should see a physician, encourage them to call Student Health Services (513-529-3000) prior to walking over, so the staff at the health center can be prepared to receive the student. Please share these points with colleagues, students, or parents who reach out to you directly.

As always, we thank you for your continued support of all of our students in their academic success.

Love and Honor,
Jason