Academic Senate Faculty Update for 2020-21 Academic Year

Dear Faculty, 

Thank you for the enormous contributions you have made to the university during this difficult period. It is a historic time and you continue to rise to the many challenges we face. You have done so in ways that reveal your commitment to our mission and, no doubt, at times leave you exhaustedWe appreciate all you have done and continue to do for UCI. 

We recognize the demands placed on you as we moved rapidly to transition to remote teaching in March and continued remote instruction throughout the remainder of the academic year and into the summerYour work culminated in ontime graduation for our many undergraduate and graduate students. On behalf of our 10,000+ new alumni, as well as countless others who are on the way to completing their programs, we thank you. 

We also want to honor you for your extraordinary contributions to the campus and the surrounding community. From partnering with local organizations to provide education and leadership on COVID-19 and combating anti-Black racism, to providing everyday support for your colleagues, your contributions have helped us all navigate through these difficult times. For many of you, the effort expended to support the university has been concurrent with managing increased family responsibilities and/or health care issues. We know how much you are managing and we take it seriously as we continue to plan for the immediate and longterm future.  

Below, is a brief update on important issues as we enter the 2020-21 academic year. For further detail and other supportive resources, please view the coronavirus information hub at https://uci.edu/coronavirus/. 

Campus Safety and Return to Work  

  • Consistent with current state, county and university guidance, if you can work remotely, you should continue to work remotely. 
  • Research Phase 2 ramp up began June 8, 2020. Faculty who are participating in research ramp up or wish to return to campus in Fall 2020, full or part-time, will brequired to follow all UCI COVID19 related Executive Directives and other applicable university policies and protocols, which are outlined on the information hub linked above.  

Merit and Promotion Process 

Working closely with Academic Senate’s Council on Academic Personnel (CAP), we have put in place a number of accommodations to help address the impact COVID-19 has had on scholarly and creative activities. https://ap.uci.edu/covid19/ 

  • Automatic COVID-19 stop the clock option for assistant professors. This option is available to all assistant professors who are employed while the university is operating in COVID-19 crisis mode (March 2020 – TBD)Faculty who want to use this option can wait to notify the academic personnel office until June 30 of the year in which they would like to delay the mid-career review or the promotion decision. 
  • Option to exercise a oneyear COVID-19 deferral for the next review action, for all associate or professor rank faculty employed while the university is operating in COVID-19 crisis mode (March 2020 – TBD)To use this option, faculty can notify the academic personnel office they would like to apply the COVID-19 delay in the year in which the review is to occur.  
  • Option to exclude teaching evaluations of courses taught during COVID-19 crisis mode (March 2020 – at least Dec 2020). Teaching evaluations beginning Spring 2020 will have a watermark if they were conducted during COVID-19 crisis mode.  
  • Personnel files will continue to be reviewed holistically, which will now include a consideration of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic 

Compensation and Budget 

The COVID-19 crisis has resulted in a significant change in the university’s financial situation.  

  • A campus budget workgroup that includes Academic Senate representatives is meeting to assess options and make recommendations.  
  • Faculty recruitment will continue, albeit at a lower level than in recent years. Proposed recruitments will be reviewed by the Office of the Provost. 
  • Salary adjustments associated with merits and promotions will continue as per standard procedure for actions effective July 1, 2020 and July 1, 2021. 
  • There will be no increase in the salary scales for 2020-21. 
  • Salary is subject to adjustment during the year as determined by the University of California Office of the President. 

Instructional Continuity
 
Instructional plans for Fall 2020 have been developed through ongoing conversations among administration, academic unit leaders, and Academic Senate leaders.  

  • Undergraduate instruction will be predominantly remote for Fall 2020.  
  • Graduate instruction will include some onsite, some remote, and some hybrid courses. The mix of instructional approaches is based on consultation among school leadership, faculty, and central administration.  
  • Students’ return to campus and presence on campus will be governed by our COVID-19 related Executive Directives and other applicable university policies and protocols. 

Accommodations 

Special needs or requests will be reviewed on a casebycase basis through an interactive discussion with faculty who wish to change where or how they work.  

  • If you need to have a different work arrangement due to a disability or COVID-related reason, discuss your need with your departmental chair and your equity advisor.  
  • They will work with you along with your chief personnel officer, the Academic Personnel Office, and the campus Disability Management Consultant to find a solution that works for both you and the department.    
  • The Academic Personnel Office will provide guidance and has final approval for accommodation requests. 

The challenges we face as a university will persist. We will plan for them and will continue to draw on the faculty expertise and commitment to meet them. The nature of this crisis requires compassion, flexibility and effective communication. We are committed to providing as much support as we can to help you be successful in the upcoming academic year. We will send updates as information becomes available and will continue to work closely with the Academic Senate to revise guidance and practices as appropriateAs always, your feedback is encouragedWe look forward to a successful and rewarding year ahead. 

Returning to where we began: thank you for all you do, day in and day out. 

Sincerely, 

Hal S. Stern, Ph.D. 
Interim Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor
Chancellor’s Professor, Department of Statistics
 
Diane O’Dowd
Vice Provost, Academic Personnel 
HHMI Professor, Developmental and Cell Biology