Skip to main content

Important faculty information for the 2023-2024 academic year

Dear faculty,

Welcome to the new academic year! Some of you started teaching weeks ago, while others are awaiting the arrival of new and returning students. The buzz of campus life has begun again.

We have much to share with you as we embark upon an exciting year. This follow-up to yesterday’s community message includes tips and reminders specifically for faculty. We hope this information will help you as you support your students:

  • Generative AI resources: Given the increasing popularity and availability of generative artificial intelligence (GAI), we ask you to carefully consider if and how you will use these tools with students. Please make explicit in your syllabi any permitted uses of GAI and talk about your expectations with your students. We have gathered resources to assist you. If you plan to use GAI with students, please include the Instructors Who Engage Students in Using Generative AI Systems/Software syllabus statement.
  • Religious Observance Statement: A new syllabus statement reinforces the policy on academic accommodations for religious holidays stipulating that students will not be penalized for class absences to observe religious holidays. The Religious Observance Statement will be useful as the Jewish holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur approach later this month.
  • TimelyCare: Many students are unaware that TimelyCare, a virtual mental health platform that provides counseling, health coaching and 24/7 on-demand services, is free for any student in the U.S. with an active NetID, including graduate, remote, and part-time students. Though Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) and TimelyCare offer similar services, TimelyCare is a good option for students who would like to access a provider outside of CAPS’ normal office hours. Find more information in the FAQ section of the TimelyCare homepage. Please share this valuable resource with your students.
  • Names and pronouns: With the University’s rollout of the Systems Updates for Names and Pronouns project last year, faculty, staff and students can now provide their name and pronouns as they would like them to be displayed in systems. When a student adds pronouns or updates their display name, they will appear on your class roster in CAESAR and the display name in Canvas. Consider revisiting your roster throughout the quarter to note changes and invite students to notify you if their names or pronouns change at any point. You can find instructions to update your own display name and pronouns as well as a list of frequently asked questions on the Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion (OIDI) website.
  • Student illness guidelines: Northwestern has incorporated most of its earlier COVID-19 protocols into existing health resources. We continue to expect flexibility and understanding with students and other community members who become ill. Northwestern Medicine Student Health Service can assist students who need clinical treatment, excuse notes for missed academic work or documentation for requesting a short-term disability accommodation.
  • Books for ’Cats: Originally launched for first-years students, Books for ’Cats now provides course materials at no cost to eligible undergraduate students throughout all four years for select courses. Instructors teaching these courses were notified this morning. Eligible students also received instructions for ordering their materials. Please refer any student who asks about eligibility to Undergraduate Financial Aid.
  • Reimagining Assessment Practicum (RAP): This three-week online program is designed to help instructors reflect on their assessment and grading practices, with an emphasis on equitable approaches and alternative methods. Programming starts in early October, kicking off with the Oct. 3 keynote “Grading for Growth.” Registration is open for the entire practicum, which takes place during Fall, Winter and Spring Quarters.

As always, the Office of the Provost is here to support and guide you through the myriad challenges, big and small, associated with serving as a faculty member at our extraordinary University. We are so proud of the incredible work you do and want to emphasize again how immensely you are valued. We wish you a wonderful and rewarding academic year.


Kathleen Hagerty
Provost and Professor

Sumit Dhar
Associate Provost for Faculty and Professor

Miriam Gamoran Sherin
Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education and Professor