Skip to main content

Excited About the Opportunities Ahead

Dear faculty,

Welcome back! Whether you are preparing for the start of your academic year, or it already has begun, I hope you had a productive summer with time to rest and recharge.

In less than a week, we will welcome Michael Schill as Northwestern’s 17th president. I have spoken with President-elect Schill several times since his appointment, and I am energized by his enthusiasm. He looks forward to meeting you and learning more about your teaching and research, which define our excellence as a university. I am excited about the opportunities that lie ahead for Northwestern and the work we will do together to continue to build our intellectual eminence and enhance our excellence.

During this presidential transition, we continue to recognize President Morton Schapiro for his accomplishments and wish him the best in the next phase of his life and career. Our thoughts also continue to be with Rebecca Blank and her family during her cancer treatments.

As we begin the academic year, I want to share some important updates for instructors:

  • COVID-19 guidelines: New this fall, the University has evolved its isolation procedures to align with current guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which should diminish the disruption from missed classes and bolster academic continuity. Remember, masking remains optional in most University spaces, including classrooms, offices and research labs, and faculty are not permitted to require masking. Please continue to use the Instructor FAQs and Supporting Excused Student Absences Due to COVID As we shared in our Aug. 15 summer/fall update, instructors who teach an in-person class may teach up to 10% of their class sessions remotely in the fall.
  • Withdrawals due to monkeypox: Students who contract monkeypox are required to follow current public health guidance for strict isolation protocol until they have fully healed. Given that this isolation period often lasts two weeks or longer, we expect these students will need to withdraw from classes and take a medical leave. However, if instructors feel they can make adjustments for a student who will need to miss class for an extended period, they can discuss an exception with staff in their dean’s office.
  • Proctored testing for students in on-campus isolation: Students in on-campus isolation housing who feel well enough may sit for exams proctored in-person during their isolation. More information on test proctoring will be shared early in the quarter.
  • Syllabus statements: The Office of the Registrar supplies a number of important syllabus statements. Please review these and include the appropriate statements in your syllabi.
  • Undergraduate student support resources: The new Faculty and Adviser Action Guide provides direction for whom to contact based on various categories of concern regarding undergraduate student behavior. You can find more information, including a video presentation and other useful resources, on the Undergraduate Advising website.
  • Universal Design for Learning Practicum: This practicum will be offered again this fall from Oct. 17 to Nov. 4. Register by Sept. 30.

In the coming weeks, the Office of the Provost will share information about faculty well-being resources, award opportunities and more. Please look for these communications, and never hesitate to reach out to our Faculty Resources inbox if you have questions or feedback.

I wish you another productive and rewarding year at Northwestern!