FAS Coronavirus Updates

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Messages from the FAS Dean's Office

FAS Fall 2020 Plans - 7/6/2020

Dear members of the FAS community,

On June 15, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences provided an interim report on fall planning efforts that outlined three possible pathways for how we might return students to campus. After careful deliberation, and informed by extensive input from our community, we write today to announce our plans to bring up to 40% of our undergraduates to campus, including all first-year students, for the fall semester. Assuming that we maintain 40% density in the spring semester, we would again bring back one class, and our priority at this time is to bring seniors to campus. Under this plan, first years would return home and learn remotely in the spring. We also will invite back to campus those students who may not be able to learn successfully in their current home learning environment.

In making this consequential decision, we have been guided by the same core principles we established at the outset of this crisis: to put health and safety first, protect the academic enterprise, leverage our breadth and diversity, and preserve access and affordability. Some of the attributes that we most value about our campus are exactly the things that make adaptation to pandemic conditions particularly challenging. Our bustling urban environment, the ease of grabbing the T into Boston, our intergenerational residential communities that house 98% of our undergraduates, our global research community of students, faculty, staff, postdocs, and visitors from around the world—Harvard was built for connection, not isolation. Without a vaccine or effective clinical treatments for the virus, we know that no choice that reopens the campus is without risk. That said, we have worked closely with leading epidemiologists and medical experts to define an approach that we believe will protect the health and safety of our community, while also protecting our academic enterprise and providing students with the conditions they need to be successful academically.

Harvard is eager to welcome students and scholars back to campus and recapture the residential liberal arts and sciences experience that is core to our identity. In our planning efforts, we have sought a path to bringing all students back as soon as conditions allow, while continuing their academic progress in the meantime and remaining a vibrant research community across our broad range of disciplines. But we also recognize that, fundamentally, there is an intrinsic incompatibility between our highly interactive, residential Harvard College experience and the social distancing needed to mitigate COVID-19 transmission. The recent upturn in COVID-19 cases in certain states illustrates the difficulty of making predictions, even well-informed ones, about the evolution of this virus. Given this uncertainty, we determined that our fall plan must enable us to bring back as many students as possible while providing sufficient margin to accommodate an escalation in the prevalence of COVID-19 in our area. Anything less and we could find ourselves again facing the prospect of asking our students to leave, on short notice, prior to the end of the semester. Given the constraints imposed by our existing housing inventory, we have made a decision that enables up to 40% of undergraduate students to learn from campus in appropriate accommodations, while retaining the ability to isolate and quarantine up to 250 individuals at a time. Absent an effective vaccine or clinical therapy, this reduced density, together with a high-cadence viral testing program and universal adoption of public health practices such as face masks and frequent handwashing, is needed to safely host a significant number of undergraduates on campus. This finding is supported by extensive modeling by our public health experts.

Choosing which students would be invited to campus was not easy, and we have enormous sympathy for sophomores and juniors as they consider the prospect of not starting their fall term in Cambridge. We could not help but recognize the unique position that first-year students find themselves in, making the transition to college in these strange times. They have not yet begun to build their Harvard network of faculty, advisors, and friends or learn about life in the Yard. Even with the many adaptations that will be in place this fall, we see enormous value in having them on campus in our residential system. Though we are far from a decision about spring, as we describe below, making sure that seniors have their final semester on campus, to finish their thesis work and complete their four-year journey, is a priority we hold dear. With the experience of sophomores and juniors in mind, we have decided to extend to all students who spend the year studying away from campus the opportunity to attend Summer School in Cambridge without tuition charge in 2021. This program, described in more detail below, was designed also in recognition of the many international students and those with pre-existing medical conditions who may not be able to join us on campus during the academic year.
 
REMOTE TEACHING AND LEARNING

The interim planning report established that all course instruction (undergraduate and graduate) for the 2020-21 academic year will be delivered online. Students will learn remotely, whether or not they live on campus. With that in mind, we have taken the following steps:

  • Academic calendar and course scheduling: The fall term will begin as planned on September 2, 2020. The instructional day will be expanded to accommodate synchronous instruction across a range of time zones. The Registrar will soon issue guidance about fall semester course scheduling to the academic departments.
  • Excellence in remote teaching: As we work to prepare for the fall, we are guided by the recognition that the success of remote teaching depends on our ability to create and sustain strong connections among students and between students and faculty. Harvard’s learning technologists and specialists in innovative pedagogy are supporting faculty and teaching fellows in the development of fall courses and the design of activities and assignments that take advantage of the remote format and enable students to achieve key goals, including for hands-on learning in lab and art-making courses. We are increasing instructional support by recruiting graduate students as Bok Media and Design Fellows and Remote Support Teaching Fellows. The Bok Center has also designed its fall teaching conference to help teaching fellows prepare for their remote teaching responsibilities. More information about required instructor trainings and other remote ready resources is available online.  
  • Excellence in remote learning: We are working to ensure that all students are prepared for remote learning. The Academic Resource Center has assembled dedicated remote learning resources and will be offering orientations to all incoming first-year undergraduate students.  
  • Grading: The emergency grading systems that were put in place in the spring semester will not continue into the fall semester. Fall courses for all students will return to regular grading.
  • International students: Guidance for international students continues to evolve at a rapid pace. A town hall for international undergraduate students will be held on July 8 and the graduate student town hall meetings on July 7 and 8 will also include detailed information for international students. The latest guidance and resources are available from the Harvard International Office. One of the reasons that we determined early in our process that we would rely upon remote instruction was that we expect many international students will encounter challenges entering the country given that consular offices are not processing F1 visas.

LEARNING REMOTELY FROM CAMPUS

We know that students are eager to be on campus and we too are eager to return to full residential operations. Informed by a careful review of our residential capacity, the academic needs of our students, and guidance from public health experts, we have defined the group of undergraduate students who will be invited to learn from campus this fall—first-year students and those who must be on campus to progress academically.

All first-year undergraduate students will be invited to campus for the fall semester. This will enable first-year students to benefit from a supported transition to college-level academic work and to begin to build their Harvard relationships with faculty and peers. Both online and dorm-based programs will be in place to meet these needs. Over the last few weeks, there has been frequent communication with our first-year students about their transition to Harvard and this will continue as we approach the start of the academic year.

We are committed to ensuring a secure and supportive learning environment for all students. While all courses will be taught remotely, we understand that some students may not be able to learn successfully in their current home learning environment. If a student believes they will have remote learning challenges this fall, we ask that they please complete this form by Monday, July 13. Student submissions will be reviewed by a committee of faculty and staff in order to identify what specific supports may be needed, including whether it may be necessary for a student to reside on campus.

Accommodations in the Yard Dorms and the Houses will be adapted to meet new public health standards. Enrolled undergraduate students who will be learning remotely from campus will live in single bedrooms with a shared bathroom. Students will be distributed across the first-year dorms and a number of upper-class Houses in order to achieve a maximum residential density of 40%. The dorms and Houses are undergoing physical modifications to support our public health goals. These include enhanced cleaning schedules, personal safety training and protective equipment for custodians, security guards, and House staff, improved air handling and filtration in shared spaces, hand sanitizer and wipe stations, and signage outlining our public health community guidelines.

Campus access will be restricted to safeguard our community’s health. There will be restrictions on inter-house access to dining areas and to non-residential Harvard buildings, with the exception of Harvard University Health Services. We hope to provide some access to athletic and recreational facilities, as part of our commitment to overall wellness, though guidance for that is not yet final. No off-campus visitors will be allowed into Harvard buildings, and this will include enrolled Harvard students who are not in residence on campus. With these measures in place, we are confident that we can support campus-based remote learning while also safeguarding our residential community’s health and safety.

Move-in and move-out procedures and timelines will be different. While the academic calendar for the fall semester will not change, there will be additional considerations for students who will be learning remotely from campus. Students will receive instructions regarding the protocol for a phased arrival to campus prior to the start of the semester. All students will move out for the semester by November 22 and will complete reading period and exam period from home. The standard process for granting exceptions will be followed.

This decision has implications for our Athletics program. We anticipate that the Ivy League will issue a decision on July 8 about fall sports competitions and training. Even in the absence of this guidance, we acknowledge that our medium density plan will necessarily place limits on what athletic activities are possible at Harvard this fall. An enhanced focus on wellness will be important for all members of our community. Wellness programming and resources will be developed by the Department of Athletics, Harvard University Health Services’ Center for Health and Wellness, the Dean of Students Office and other partnering organizations.
 
UNDERGRADUATE COST OF ATTENDANCE

Tuition and fees: Tuition and fees will remain as announced for the 2020-21 academic year.

Room and board for students learning from home: For enrolled students who are living away from campus and attending classes remotely, obviously there will be no room and board costs included on their term bill.

Remote room and board allowance for students receiving financial aid: For enrolled students receiving financial aid who are not living on campus, the Griffin Financial Aid Office will use a “COVID-19 Remote Room and Board” allowance of $5,000 per semester in calculating their aid award. In general, this will allow students to be supported by financial aid while studying at home. Standard room and board charges will be applied for students who are invited to live on campus, and Financial Aid budgets and awards will be adjusted to reflect that as approved.

Term-time work: Students receiving financial aid have been relieved of the term-time work expectation in the fall, replacing it with scholarship in the calculation of their financial aid award. This recognizes the current challenges of finding work and the public health considerations of work that is not remote. This does not mean that students can’t or won’t choose to work, but rather that there is no expectation of a work contribution to meet their cost of attendance. While aid awards will reflect this change for the year, we will review the policy for the spring term in the context of the latest public health guidelines.

Summer School credit: In recognition of the fact that many of our students will not have a residential campus experience this year, all enrolled undergraduate students who will be learning remotely from home for the full academic year 2020-21 will be eligible to come to campus to take two courses at the Harvard Summer School in the summer of 2021 under a special arrangement that waives tuition; room and board will be subsidized for students receiving financial aid.
 
DEFERRALS AND LEAVES OF ABSENCE

The deadline for first-year students to defer enrollment has been extended to July 24, 2020. For upperclassmen deciding whether to take a Leave of Absence, the College has trained a special team of advisors to help students and families. They can offer support in terms of thinking through the decision, explaining the logistics of the process, and directing students to resources before, during, and after the leave. Advisors can be reached at fall2020advising@fas.harvard.edu.
 
HEALTH AND SAFETY

Harvard University aims to provide a campus environment that enables the pursuit of our teaching and research mission while protecting the health and safety of our community. With the restart of campus-based research over the summer, Harvard University Health Services led the implementation of required training, daily symptom attestation using the Crimson Clear web portal, viral testing, and standard public health practices such as physical distancing requirements, limits on gathering sizes, use of face coverings in public spaces, and careful hygiene. Our return to campus-based academic operations is predicated on our community’s adoption of these public health practices designed to limit the spread of the virus and to keep each other and our families safe. These measures meet or exceed those in place across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Health and Safety in the Houses and Dorms

Because COVID-19 is highly contagious, an individual's actions can have serious implications for the health of the broader community. Though an undergraduate student may be at relatively low risk of complications associated with COVID-19, for example, their actions can impact the families of dining workers, security guards, House staff, and others who make residential life possible. The Faculty of Arts and Sciences promotes shared responsibility for the health and well-being of our campus community. We are truly in this together. It is important that all students who will reside on campus in Fall 2020 read, understand, and be prepared to abide by the rules and guidelines that will be in place in the fall in order to make an informed decision about residency. Those guidelines, as developed by Harvard University Health Services, will include, among other features, the requirement that students and residential staff participate in a viral testing program that will begin with an initial screening upon arrival, followed by testing for the virus every three days while in residence. The frequency of testing may increase or decrease depending on the prevalence of infection within the Harvard community and the region, along with other factors influencing the likelihood of exposure to the virus. Additional testing may be warranted if a student or residential staff member develops symptoms of COVID-19. The campus public health protocols will also include daily attestations of symptoms, as well as requirements to self-isolate in the event of a positive test, to talk to a healthcare professional if experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19, or to quarantine for known exposure to a positive case. We have established dedicated housing for quarantine and isolation, with sufficient space to appropriately house 250 individuals.

Expectations of students in residence are outlined in the undergraduate Social Compact available here.

Monitoring

We have established an index of key public health factors, both on campus and in the surrounding Boston community, that we will monitor continuously. Among these are:

  • The number of individuals in our community that has tested positive for the virus.
  • The number of symptomatic individuals in our community.
  • The Harvard community’s compliance with testing and other required public health practices.
  • Boston-area healthcare readiness indicators.

As we have seen over the last several weeks, with spikes to record levels of infection emerging in other parts of the country, the course of the virus can change quickly. We must be ready to respond to changing conditions and have built flexibility into every level of our operations. For example, we are prepared to seamlessly transition between touchless food pick-up and more traditional dining operations as conditions dictate. As a community we must assume that change and adjustment are part of daily life and a key attribute of informed and responsible management in a pandemic.
 
RESUMING RESEARCH AND OTHER CAMPUS OPERATIONS

The decision regarding undergraduate residential operations does not change the guidance to faculty, postdocs, staff, and graduate students that has already been issued regarding campus-based research or other operations. Current information on restarting research in Science and SEAS can be found here. Current information on library operations can be found here. The University’s latest travel guidance can be found here. This decision also maintains existing University guidance that most faculty, postdocs, and staff will continue to work remotely, through at least the end of the summer, unless otherwise directed by the academic division or their manager. Answers to many questions about administrative operations across the FAS can be found here
 
IMPLICATIONS FOR SPRING

As the description of our monitoring program makes clear, attempting definitive decisions now about things that will happen in six months would provide only a false sense of certainty. Instead, we want our community to know that we are anticipating three scenarios for undergraduate residential life in spring 2021:

  • Lower residential density than fall, retaining only those students who must learn remotely from campus. We would pursue this option only if conditions worsened so that we could not manage the campus safely with 40% of students in residence as provided for in this plan.
  • Continuing medium residential density, returning those students who must learn remotely from campus and one class cohort. As mentioned at the outset, the current priority cohort is the senior class.
  • Higher residential density, returning those who must learn remotely from campus and more than one class cohort.

As we have noted earlier, we would like to bring back students as quickly and safely as we can.  Clearly, the third option above would be our preferred path. However, much will depend on the status of the virus, our success in containing any campus-based infections, and the willingness of the entire community—our students, faculty, and staff—to abide by our protocols for testing, social distancing, facial covering, and other public health measures. We anticipate making a decision about the spring semester in early December, including setting a date for a delayed start of the semester. We will update the community regularly throughout the fall.

We are sure you have many questions that we have not answered here. Invitations have already gone out for a number of virtual town hall meetings where more information will be provided and questions can be addressed.

  • FAS Faculty Town Hall: July 6 at 1 p.m. EDT
  • FAS Administrators Town Hall: July 6 at 2 p.m. EDT 
  • College Students and Parents Town Hall: July 6 at 3 p.m. EDT
  • GSAS Town Halls: July 7 at 9 a.m. EDT (returning students), July 8 at 9 a.m. EDT (incoming students)

Harvard College will hold a series of webinars throughout the summer to address particular student concerns.  

The process of planning for the fall semester has only strengthened our commitment to the residential liberal arts and sciences experience as the means to pursuing our mission of educating leaders for our society and our diverse community of scholars; in fact, the planning process itself demonstrated the power that comes from bringing a breadth of disciplines to bear on a hard problem. This decision was informed by the models of data scientists, analyses of economists, the perspective of historians, the protocols of privacy experts, insights of life scientists, principles of philosophers, and the expertise of so many more members of our community. We are enormously grateful to the more than 100 members of our faculty and administration who have worked tirelessly to adapt Harvard to the demands the pandemic has placed on us while maintaining our commitment to academic excellence and inclusion.

As one member of our planning group reminded us last week, we navigate this history-making moment without a roadmap. Harvard will be changed by the choices we make now, and this crisis gives us an incredible opportunity to change it for the better. As we shift from planning to implementation and management, we will define mechanisms for engagement, conversations, and feedback. As we have already seen, this community has unlimited wisdom to contribute and it is our most cherished resource.
 
Stay safe and healthy,

Larry Bacow
Claudine Gay
Rakesh Khurana
 

 

Interim Report on FAS Fall Scenario Planning - 6/15/2020

6/15/2020

Dear Colleagues, 

At the end of May, I announced that the FAS had launched an extensive scenario planning process to develop a range of potential options for how to bring students and scholarship back to campus, safely. We are on track to make a final decision about fall plans by July. Today, I am writing to provide an interim update to our community on the scenarios (or “pathways”) currently under discussion and the range of considerations that have informed them.

While the goal of returning to campus is simple, determining how best to achieve it is much more complicated. The members of the FAS Scenario Planning team, and the eleven working groups that support them, have been working tirelessly over the past several weeks to develop possible paths forward to adapt the pursuit of our teaching and research mission to the changed circumstances of the fall and beyond. I’m profoundly grateful for the tremendous expertise, vigorous debate, and many long hours that have gone into this work. In what is ordinarily a season of rest and renewal for our community, faculty and staff are going to extraordinary lengths to imagine what might be possible for the upcoming academic year and to chart a course for achieving that future, while maintaining Harvard’s uncompromising tradition of educational excellence and intellectual ambition. 

I want to start with an observation that can get lost in this discussion but is critical to keep in view—namely that our graduate and undergraduate programs are confronting very different situations. Like Harvard’s professional schools, our graduate programs must find ways to adapt their program requirements, like coursework, teaching, and research, as well as mentoring and apprenticeship, to a pre-vaccine world. These adaptations must account for a host of complications and limitations, from visa and travel issues for international students to access to collections and laboratories without which academic progress for some is simply not possible. For undergraduates, we must confront these same issues and also add another big challenge—the context of a fully residential program where 98% of our students live together in dorms and Houses and participate in a broad range of extracurricular activities in addition to their courses of study. As a result, particular focus has been needed on the unique challenges posed by our residential undergraduate program, and the differences among the pathways currently being considered are tied to this specific challenge.

In developing the pathways, the FAS Scenario Planning team has been guided by the same core principles we established at the outset of this crisis: to put health and safety first, protect the academic enterprise, leverage our breadth and diversity, and preserve access and affordability. Guided by these principles, they have established a set of common objectives that each proposed pathway must meet. First, our plans are creating pathways to the eventual return of all undergraduates to campus. We are all eager to welcome students and scholars back to campus and recapture the residential Harvard experience that is core to our identity. The question is at what pace and under what conditions that return occurs. Second, we must deliver a truly excellent learning and growth experience for all students. We are committed to offering an excellent Harvard learning experience and will not move forward with a program that does not meet that bar. Third, we must build in flexibility to enable adaptation to changing conditions. One constant of the last three months has been the challenge of contending with a continually evolving public health context. Any plan for the fall must account for this and enable a quick shift in operations should that become necessary. And fourth, all scenarios must align with public health guidance. To that end, this process has benefited from the direct participation of Harvard University Health Services, as well as periodic review by the medical expert advisory board convened by Dr. Nguyen and the University Coronavirus Advisory Group convened by Provost Garber. This engagement has been critical to our understanding of crucial gating assumptions, such as Harvard’s available capacity for testing, as well as the development of density guidelines to determine our residential capacity. 

In light of the challenges before us, three possible pathways are currently under consideration for resuming residential operations. Each of these pathways shares the goal of bringing our students safely back to campus while envisioning differently how and at what pace they can return. They include a path that starts the fall semester with a low-density campus, much like our current state of operations; a medium-density path that brings 30-40% of undergraduates back to campus; and one that begins with a quick return to a high-density campus that would welcome back all undergraduates for the fall semester. These options are presented at a high level on the FAS Scenario Planning website, though not all of the many epidemiological, medical, infrastructure, and other assumptions implicit in them are described. I encourage you to take a moment to review them.

There are a number of gating considerations that will determine whether all three paths are viable choices. Harvard University Health Services is leading the development of a strategy to provide large-scale testing for the university community as a whole, which will require investment as well as an implementation strategy that meets the varied needs of all of Harvard’s Schools. Additionally, the University is leading the effort to acquire and distribute masks and other protective equipment that will be essential to carrying out the new public health practices these plans assume will be in place on campus. 

Importantly, all three pathways share a common set of assumptions. All pathways assume that regardless of where our students are living, whether on campus or at home, learning will continue to be remote next year, with only rare exceptions. The overwhelming reason for this decision is our commitment to protecting the academic enterprise and preserving academic continuity for all of our students. Continued remote instruction ensures that academic continuity for all students is maintained, even if travel restrictions, visa issues, or health considerations keep them away from campus. We also recognize the difficulty of holding in-person classes while still conforming to guidance from public health authorities. Dean of Undergraduate Education Amanda Claybaugh has been leading a team dedicated to supporting our students and faculty and teaching fellows in learning and teaching remotely, respectively. Guided by student input and grounded in educational research and best practices, her team is providing training and resources as we build an online fall curriculum that prioritizes and enables meaningful interactions among students and between students and faculty and teaching fellows, no matter where they are living. Conveniently, deep engagement has always been the hallmark of a Harvard education and so investments here will have significant returns for years to come, including when we resume in-person learning.

All pathways assume a change to the academic calendar. While the two-semester system would be maintained, breaks during the semester would be removed to minimize travel in and out of the campus community during the term.

All pathways assume frequent testing of the campus community and changed campus norms that embrace new public health practices. Regardless of the pathway chosen, there is a recognition that our community norms will have to adapt for our public health practices to be successful. The greater Boston area remains a hot spot for the virus, and social-distancing, masking, and other public health practices will be a part of campus life for the foreseeable future. We will each need to make these practices a regular part of how we contribute to the health and safety of our community.

Regardless of the path we choose, some members of our community will return to campus this fall, and the campus they return to will not be the one they left in the spring. We have already begun the phased process of resuming our research activities in our labs, libraries, and museums that incorporates changes to facilities and community expectations that are adapted to public health guidance. We are learning valuable lessons from this process about how to reduce the risks of community transmission while maintaining a vibrant and active research community. Practices piloted during the resumption of research—like the universal masking protocol and baseline testing needs—are helping us determine what is possible for our residential experience in the fall.  

There are still many important things yet to be determined, and many important aspects of our situation that remain unclear. Our final decision will benefit tremendously from community insight. The Academic Divisions and SEAS continue to convene faculty conversations with departments. Surveys, focus groups, town halls, and other mechanisms for graduate and undergraduate student input have been implemented, and discussions with student advisory groups continue. If you have not already, please share your ideas and perspectives here: FASscenarioplanning@fas.harvard.edu. All messages are routed to appropriate working groups and archived.

The planning process has demonstrated for me not only the power but the necessity of the liberal arts. We have brought together the foremost experts in epidemiology, data privacy, infectious disease, history, economics, astrophysics, literature, evolutionary biology and more who are rolling up their sleeves with our administrative leaders to model scenarios, identify risks and mitigations, and, most importantly, keep our mission front and center as we plan for the future. Beyond this decision, Harvard has an unparalleled ability and a responsibility to bring broad expertise and a commitment to truth to bear on the challenges before us as a Harvard community and a society as a whole. There is important work to do, and I am eager to settle on the path forward.

Sincerely, 
Claudine 

An update on FAS Finances - 6/2/2020

6/2/2020

Dear FAS colleagues,
 
With last Thursday’s Commencement, we reached the end of an historic year, unlike any we have experienced before, and I am confronted with a number of strong emotions. Foremost among them is a deep sense of pride in all that our community has accomplished together this year. The Class of 2020 enters a world of significant uncertainty. But their time here at Harvard—and the education they received—has armed them for what is to come, helping them to find new ways to lead as they navigate a changed world with no road map to guide them. I am hopeful about the future in no small part because I know that their ideas, their energy, and their passion will help to shape it.
 
With this major milestone behind us, we turn our attention to the fall and beyond. Our collective focus is trained on one goal—finding a path to safely return our students to campus and transforming the FAS for the long term to pursue excellence within our changed context. To accomplish this, we will need to draw on all of our resources, including our community’s ingenuity and insight, which is happening now through a fall planning process that engages more than 100 faculty and staff across eleven workstreams. We also must marshal our financial resources and that is what I am writing to you about today.
 
COVID-19 is a public health threat, but it is having a dramatic impact on the financial condition of colleges and universities across the nation, and our School is no different. The economy has been hit hard, unemployment is soaring (1 in 4 are unemployed in Massachusetts), and most analysts agree that there will not be a swift, “v-shaped” recovery. Though the full extent is not yet known, the global recession is likely to have deep impacts on endowment performance, as well as other revenue sources including philanthropy. It will also impact student aid needs, as mounting job losses affect families’ ability to pay for college. As all of higher education takes on the challenging task of planning for a safe and academically excellent fall, we do so without a full view of the resources we will have to put behind those plans.
 
In the FAS, some aspects of our financial picture are becoming clearer. We expect to end the current fiscal year (FY20) with an operating deficit of $42M due to the costs of campus de-densification, the rapid pivot to remote instruction, and the cancellation of continuing education programs. Looking ahead to FY21, which begins on July 1, the Corporation has decided that the endowment distribution (the revenue source that funds nearly 50% of the FAS budget) will be reduced by 2%. For the FAS, this decision means we will receive about $730M, which is $48M less than what was originally budgeted for FY21 (and $15M less than the FAS received in the current fiscal year).
 
Additionally, the Corporation has decided to implement a one-time special assessment, an extraordinary step, taken in recognition of the urgent need for unrestricted funds to meet immediate challenges. The assessment takes 3% from all restricted funds and makes them available for immediate use by the School toward student support and other pandemic response needs. This assessment is being applied across all Harvard Schools. The flexible funds provided to the FAS through this mechanism will total approximately $23M and will help us to address some essential elements of our pandemic response (e.g. the GSAS Emergency Support Initiative; acquisition of masks and other protective equipment). While welcome, these funds are not scaled to the challenge we face in responding to the pandemic. The cumulative impact of these two endowment decisions, the payout reduction and the special assessment, is that the net distribution to fund our wide range of activities will be down by 6%.
 
The full financial impact of the pandemic on the FAS will be significant, in the hundreds of millions of dollars, on par with that of the 2008 financial crisis, if not greater. And those impacts will not be limited to one year; we are on a changed trajectory that will persist for some time. The challenge before us is to enable necessary transformation of the FAS to ensure that we remain a vibrant research community and continue to define excellence in education. Our actions must be grounded in our academic mission, informed by our financial realities, and guided by four principles: that we put health and safety first, protect our academic enterprise, leverage our breadth and diversity, and preserve the access and affordability that have so positively transformed our community.
 
We are taking a number of immediate steps to respond to this challenge. We will lean into the growth potential of the Division of Continuing Education and its deep expertise in delivering high-quality remote instruction that generates new revenue for the FAS. We are engaging our loyal alumni and donors in our planning and sharing with them our highest academic priorities that we hope will inspire their support. We are reviewing the 5-year capital plan to reduce our construction spending, while continuing to prioritize projects that address critical infrastructure needs and support our research capacity. Compensation is our largest expense category, at nearly 50% of the FAS expense budget. We have already taken the step, consistent with University policy, to freeze salaries and this action will provide $15M in savings next year. But given reduced activities on campus, furloughs for fully or partially idled workers will also be necessary.
 
Our successful response will require many small actions taken at the individual, departmental, and School levels. It is important to bear in mind that 86% of the spending in FAS occurs in academic programs like departments and centers (39%), academic support programs (19%), ladder and non-ladder faculty salaries (17%), and student services (11%). This is true even for our largest expense above, compensation, as most of the staff (69% of FTEs) sit in academic programs. This reveals something we know intuitively—the action of our mission, and the spending associated with it, is happening locally in academic units and the programs that support them. This means that it will take a community-wide effort to identify resources to support our pandemic response. We will have to be rigorous and exhaustive as we work together to ensure the resilience of our mission, in the fall and for the longer term.
 
There are a number of ways that you can contribute to a successful FAS response to this crisis. All units should reduce or eliminate non-essential spending, including travel and entertainment; supplies, equipment, and furniture. (In FY19, we spent nearly $100M, with one-third on travel and entertainment alone, on these activities.) For faculty, pace and prioritize spending on your research start up and prioritize essential curricular needs in your teaching plans to reduce your department’s need to hire visitors. For faculty and staff who will be involved in the upcoming budget process, approach that work with a focus on mission-critical activities and on operational changes that will reduce expenses and be sustainable beyond next year; you will soon receive budget guidance to assist you.
 
You also can help by supporting impacted members of our community. By contributing to the Harvard College Fund or the Graduate School Fund, you can provide direct support for the changing needs of undergraduate and graduate students throughout the pandemic. By contributing to the Harvard COVID-19 Employee Emergency Relief Fund, you can support employees facing economic hardship due to the pandemic. I will make a personal contribution equal to 15% of my salary to these funds, and the members of the FAS Academic Planning Group will also each be contributing a minimum of 5% of their salaries. I encourage members of the community to join us in making contributions to these funds as they are able.
 
I wish I could say that the hard parts are behind us—especially, to our students who graduated last week into an uncertain future—but I cannot. The road ahead will demand the same resolve, urgency, and generosity we have needed to get us this far. But what I can say with conviction is that our mission has never been more important than it is right now. What you do has never been more valuable—to our undergraduates, to the next generation of scholars we are training, and to our society at large—or more valued by this institution. And I believe in this Faculty—its resourcefulness and creativity, its wisdom and insight, and its unwavering commitment to advancing truth and knowledge. The world is hungry for new answers, and new paths forward. Together we are defining not only how we will manage in the pandemic, but how we will answer that call, in the fall and in the years to come. In that journey, I hope we continue to draw strength and inspiration from our mission and from one another.
 
Sincerely,
 
Claudine

Update on FAS Fall Planning Efforts - 5/27/2020

5/27/2020

Dear FAS colleagues,

As I noted in my message to the community at the end of April, the FAS has launched an extensive scenario planning process, led by Dean of Science, Christopher Stubbs and Registrar, Mike Burke, to develop a range of potential options for how to safely bring students and scholarship back to campus. I write today to provide an update on our progress in anticipation of an announcement of our plans for fall 2020, which will occur no later than early July.

We are all eager to welcome students and scholars back to campus and recapture the residential Harvard experience that is core to our identity. In all our planning efforts, we are seeking a path to bringing students back as soon as conditions allow, while continuing their academic progress in the meantime and remaining a vibrant research community across our broad range of disciplines.

There is still much we don’t know about important aspects of our situation. And there are some questions that only the virus can answer. We do not know, for example, what course the disease will take, how testing and treatment will continue to evolve, or what the state will require and when. But we do know that until a vaccine is widely available, any options for the upcoming academic year will look different than the Harvard we left behind, with new community wide protocols and practices necessary to ensure the health and safety of both our community and society at large. How we resume our academic enterprise in the new circumstances of the fall and adapt as an institution for the years to come is our most pressing work in the weeks and months ahead.

In order to lay the groundwork for returning to on-campus operations as soon and safely as possible, we must plan for alternative campus scenarios and develop contingencies that are shaped by both government directives and public health considerations, and most fundamentally our uncompromising commitment to excellence in education. This planning is being undertaken through 11 working groups. Each is led by a chair or co-chairs and draws on the diverse expertise and perspectives of both our faculty and our staff. Those chairs comprise a steering committee that enables information sharing and collaboration across working groups and coordination with related University planning efforts. The working groups and their leads are as follows:

Decision Framework: Decision flow diagram and framework. Leads: Christopher Stubbs, Dean of Science, Samuel C. Moncher Professor of Physics and of Astronomy; Mike Burke, FAS Registrar

Five-year Horizon: Consider five-year perspective, advise on longer-term impacts of AY 20-21 decisions. Provide a vision for where Harvard College is headed. Lead: Maya Jasanoff, X.D. and Nancy Yang Professor of the Arts and Sciences, Coolidge Professor of History, Harvard College Professor

Financial Planning: Establish a framework for strategic financial planning. Evaluate fiscal impacts of AY 20-21 scenarios. Lead: John Campbell, Morton L. and Carole S. Olshan Professor of Economics

Go for Fall: Identify conditions that would allow for the return of a substantial number of students to campus for Fall 2020, and advocate for that outcome. Lead: Mike Burke, FAS Registrar

Restarting Scholarship: Determine process for staged return to on-campus scholarship. Lead: Christopher Stubbs, Dean of Science, Samuel C. Moncher Professor of Physics and of Astronomy

Houses and Facilities: Determine what we need to do in order to prepare undergraduate houses and other facilities for safe operation in a post-Covid-19 world. Leads: L. Mahadevan, Lola England de Valpine Professor of Applied Mathematics, Professor of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Professor of Physics, Faculty Dean of Mather House; Zak Gingo, Associate Dean, Office of Physical Resources and Planning

Enrollment: Advise on interplay between offerings, deferrals, and related issues. Lead: David Laibson, Robert I. Goldman Professor of Economics, Faculty Dean of Lowell House

Scheduling: Consider how to best use both 12-month academic calendar and 24-hour classroom scheduling. Leads: Jay Harris, Harry Austryn Wolfson Professor of Jewish Studies, Former Dean of Undergraduate Education; Erika McDonald, Associate FAS Registrar

Testing and Tracing: Advise on viral and serological testing, and contact tracing methods in coordination with the University. Leads: Latanya Sweeney, Professor of Government and Technology in Residence, the Director of the Data Privacy Lab in the Institute of Quantitative Social Science at Harvard, Faculty Dean in Currier House; Mark Fishman, Professor in the Harvard Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology and Chief of the Pathways Clinical Service at the Massachusetts General Hospital

Remote Experience AY 20-21: Coordinate Harvard College efforts on preparing for the remote elements of AY 20-21, including both formal courses and extra-curricular aspects. Lead: Amanda Claybaugh, Samuel Zemurray Jr. and Doris Zemurray Stone Radcliffe Professor of English, Harvard College Professor, Dean of Undergraduate Education

Division of Continuing Education Coordination: Coordinate with DCE in planning for various scenarios and help leverage DCE’s experience in remote education. Lead: Henry Leitner, Senior Lecturer in Computer Science, DCE Chief Innovation Officer, Interim Dean of DCE

FAS community input is essential to this effort. The Academic Divisions and SEAS are regularly convening faculty conversations with departments. Surveys and other mechanisms for graduate and undergraduate student input are being developed and some have already been implemented, and discussions with student advisory groups have begun. If you have not already, please share your ideas and perspectives here: FASscenarioplanning@fas.harvard.edu. All messages are routed to appropriate working groups and archived.

I am enormously grateful to these colleagues for undertaking a complex and consequential effort. The significant uncertainties of our present situation make this work particularly difficult. Nevertheless, the steering committee is moving quickly to engage the barriers that stand between today and our return to campus, and I am eager to receive their recommendations.

Sincerely,

Claudine

FAS Guidance in response to Massachusetts Phased Re-Opening - 5/19/2020

5/19/2020

Dear FAS colleagues,
 
Faculty and staff across the FAS are hard at work to resolve the outstanding issues that stand between today and our return to low-density, on-campus scholarship, which will not happen until June 1, at the earliest. The low-density phase will incorporate protocols for the use of face coverings, low-density scheduling of access to facilities, and training for new ways of working in line with public health guidance. Only when this planning, which is engaging all Academic Divisions and SEAS, is complete will we announce a timetable for initiating the process of restarting on-campus activities. For the time being, our remote work practices for all areas, including research, remain unchanged.
 
Thank you for your engagement in this and the myriad other planning tasks underway across departments and units, and for your flexibility and perseverance as we pursue that demanding work in these unusual circumstances.
 
Sincerely,
Claudine

Read the University message: Harvard Guidance in response to Massachusetts Phased Re-Opening - May 18, 2020

FAS Planning for Fall 2020 - 4/27/2020

4/27/2020

Dear FAS colleagues,
 
Today, Provost Garber wrote to the Harvard community to confirm that the University will be open for fall 2020, though in a form necessarily adapted to the new realities of education during a global pandemic.
 
Like you, I am eager to reclaim the Harvard experience and return to campus-based operations as soon as possible. For each of us, Harvard is more than our courses, grades, experiments, or publications. There is a profound sense of place created by the way we come together, in hallway conversations, debates in the classroom, lab, or across the dining hall table, and in treasured rituals like Housing Day and Commencement that link us to generations past. While we make every effort to remain connected in this time of remote teaching and work, we long for all the experiences that only a return to campus can make possible. The vulnerabilities exposed by this pandemic, however, will shape how we pursue our research and teaching mission next year and, most likely, for many years to come. Already we are developing approaches for restarting our research program for faculty and graduate students, including accessing campus-based research facilities, that reflect our new understanding of what is required to protect the health and safety of our community.
 
Our most daunting challenge will be how and when to stage the return of undergraduates to their residential Houses. The Houses are essential to the Harvard undergraduate experience, part of a tradition of residential education that is at the core of the College’s institutional identity and integral to the goal of personal, social, and intellectual transformation. De-densification of the campus fractured these intergenerational communities of faculty, graduate students, staff, and undergraduates, creating a sense of loss more profound than a simple disruption in the rhythm of the semester. Harvard will not feel truly “open” until all students return to campus. But we will not bring students back until we can do so safely, in a manner that protects individuals and our broader community from undue risks associated with Covid-19. As an international community, we must consider not only local conditions, but also constraints on travel, the accessibility of visas, and other potential barriers to a return to campus. Thus, in order to fulfill our teaching mission and ensure that students continue to make progress in their education, we must actively plan for a wide range of alternatives for the coming academic year.
 
Any option for fall 2020 presents complexities, and must be evaluated against a host of unknowns about the course of the pandemic, the availability of testing, our capacity to manage new outbreaks, and myriad other factors essential to determining the viability and sustainability of a course of action. The range of alternatives we will need to consider, because the pandemic will not be behind us, includes some degree of remote instruction. If we decide to pursue a remote experience in the fall, we will approach it differently than was possible in the quick transition to remote instruction that occurred this spring, using the next four months to reimagine the Harvard experience for students, both in and beyond the curriculum, and to provide an entirely different level of support to faculty and teaching fellows. In many ways, this option would constitute the heaviest lift for our community and for it to be viable, focused and deliberate work must begin immediately.
 
I have asked Dean Chris Stubbs and Registrar Mike Burke to spearhead the FAS planning work, and I am grateful for their leadership and for the principled, epidemiologically-informed approach they are taking. Faculty input will be essential to our planning, and the Academic Divisions and SEAS already are convening conversations with departments. Additionally, we will appoint a number of working groups of faculty and staff to examine particular issues related to fall 2020, including the curriculum, scheduling, facilities modifications, and testing and contact tracing. Mechanisms for graduate and undergraduate student input are also being developed, and some discussions with student advisory groups have begun. We also have established an email address (FASscenarioplanning@fas.harvard.edu) where you can share your ideas and perspectives. As the planning work unfolds, we will keep you informed of the progress. We expect to reach a decision about fall 2020 no later than July.
 
Planning for fall 2020 is a difficult task, and it comes at a moment when we have already devoted enormous energy to making the spring semester as successful as possible. As we ready ourselves for this longer road, I have been heartened by my conversations with so many of you. Your commitment to teach and learn from our undergraduates and to develop our graduate students as the next generation of academic leaders is easy to see, and it is the critical resource we draw on now. Our collective knowledge, ingenuity, and experience will be necessary as we try to see around corners and develop effective strategies for pursuing our teaching and research activities under new assumptions and constraints.
 
We cannot predict now the outcome of our planning efforts, but what is certain is our commitment to offering an excellent Harvard learning experience. We will not move forward with a program, whether remote or in-person, that does not meet that bar. We also recognize that this is our students’ moment in history, and we have an obligation and opportunity to help them lean into it. The world around us has changed fundamentally, and our students need Harvard and a Harvard education now more than ever to develop as thinkers, leaders, and agents of change. We will bring that sense of purpose to our planning work.
 
For the newest members of our community, our admitted students, whose Harvard stories have yet to begin, the uncertainties of the current moment may be particularly hard to bear. Many are already mourning the loss of a traditional high school graduation and other rites of passage, and now they face the prospect of a first-year experience unlike any other in Harvard’s history. While this is not the beginning they imagined, it is nonetheless the start of an intellectual journey too important to delay. We hope they choose to join us. We are eager to have them here.
 
The Faculty of Arts and Sciences is a residential academic community. This is fundamental to our identity, as well as a source of pride and inspiration. Even as we aspire to be together again as soon as possible, our resilience through this crisis will depend on a successful transition to a safety-conscious, remote-ready institution for the long term. That is the work that must begin now, and I am committed to our collective success in that endeavor. Thank you for your patience and partnership, your seriousness of purpose, and your care for our students and your colleagues as we continue this journey together, one week at a time.
 
Sincerely,

Claudine

Immediate-term FAS Financial Guidance - 4/15/2020

4/15/2020

Dear FAS colleagues,

In his Monday message to the Harvard community, President Bacow provided an update on the financial condition of the University, and outlined a number of specific policy decisions to slow the negative financial impacts of the pandemic. As we begin to implement these immediate-term actions and to prepare for middle- and longer-term planning, I want to share with you some additional information about the approach being taken in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

The direct costs of de-densification, which exceed $30M, while significant are only one aspect of the financial impact of COVID-19 on the FAS. The pandemic and the resulting economic downturn have disrupted Extension School programs, sponsored research funding, philanthropy, the endowment, and other important sources of support for our mission-driven activities, with no sign of a return to normalcy in the foreseeable future. Much is unknown, but what is beyond doubt is that the economic context has been fundamentally altered in a matter of weeks, and universities across the country are having to reassess every aspect of their operations. That work begins for us now, understanding that the financial impacts and our responses to them will not be limited to one year, and that we are on a changed trajectory that will persist for some time.
 
We enter this period having benefited from a successful capital campaign and well-established, priority-driven planning and budgeting practices across our departments and units, many of which were developed in our response to the 2008 financial crisis. These are important institutional strengths, but they will not spare us from the need to make difficult reductions and tradeoffs. If we act swiftly, we preserve more flexibility to support our core academic priorities over the long road ahead. What follows are the critical moves that we must make now in response to the economic reality we face and to prepare for a more challenging future.

First, we are suspending faculty and exempt staff salary increases, as well as all bonus programs. In order to maintain the continuity of our teaching and research mission, we have adopted the following exception to that policy: Lecturers and preceptors will receive the increase that was announced earlier this semester, as the final step in a two-phase compensation adjustment.

Second, we are suspending ongoing faculty searches wherever possible, with only a small number near completion allowed to continue, and new searches will not be authorized. I am grateful for the cooperation of departments who have put their academic planning priorities on hold at this time.

Third, we are carefully managing staffing levels. With a University-wide hiring freeze now in place, vacant positions will remain open and requests for new hires will require decanal review and approval—and the bar will be very high. We are asking all managers to better leverage existing staff, recognizing this may require some of you to take on new tasks and functions for the time being. We appreciate your flexibility during this unusual period. With this approach we hope to sustain, for as long as possible, employment and benefits for our current workforce.

Fourth, all capital projects have been suspended, per ordinances from the cities of Boston and Cambridge. The many capital projects that were underway, planned, or envisioned in the FAS will be evaluated as to whether and when they will resume, based on priority level and funding source.

Finally, and more generally, we are eliminating non-essential spending across all FAS budgets. We expect all units to make every effort to identify savings that can be achieved by delaying, reducing, or canceling activities and programs that are not mission-critical. The Divisional Offices and the finance team are resources to help you in this work. Similarly, we ask faculty to manage their research budgets carefully, to slow the pace of spending wherever possible, and to draw on restricted funds when available.

As we undertake these initial financial actions, and begin to plan in earnest for Fall, our focus will remain on four key priorities—putting health and safety first; protecting the academic enterprise; leveraging our breadth and diversity; and preserving access and affordability. More than ever before, we will need to draw on our collective wisdom, strength, and creativity to navigate this new trajectory and maintain the commitment to excellence that distinguishes us as an institution. I invite your engagement and your ideas in the work ahead. I will be looking to you for help. Often.

I can imagine that there are many questions that you have that I have not answered here and I acknowledge that it is exceedingly difficult to make consequential decisions when much of the context of those decisions is still not known. This is the definition of a hard problem—and thankfully we are a community that is built for that. The divisional and administrator town halls will continue to be important places to share questions and discuss options. I appreciate your patience and your partnership as we navigate this challenging time, and I will continue to share more information as it becomes available.

Sincerely,

Claudine

Guiding Principles for Uncertain Times - 4/10/2020

4/10/2020

Dear faculty and staff colleagues,
 
The transition to a de-densified campus is now officially behind us, but the range of institutional impacts of this pandemic is just beginning to come into view. In our long history, Harvard has never faced a challenge as all-encompassing as this one. No part of our academic enterprise has been immune to disruption, and each day we are confronted with new information about our constraints and possibilities. Even as we anticipate hard choices ahead, we lack the clear view and stable facts needed to engage in the careful and comprehensive planning that has long sustained our academic excellence. And yet, we must adapt. As the FAS moves from emergency management to operating in this new reality, we have a profound responsibility not only to the Harvard of today, but also to the Harvard we want to be in the months and years to come. We have all been drawn to this “city upon a hill,” that champions truth and advances knowledge to the betterment of the world around us and the deepening of our understanding of what it means to be human. This precious thing, at once fragile and enduring, is our common project, held in trust for future generations. In this challenging moment, we can only move forward, making decisions as they come—and, at times, before we are ready—if we do so united in common purpose by our mission of advancing knowledge. For that to be possible, we need a shared understanding of the realities we face and of the principles guiding us in our decisions. I write today to begin to share those, knowing that my understanding is incomplete and that our situation continues to evolve.
 
The challenges of our new environment are intricate and dynamic. Issues that at first seemed distinct are revealed in the end to be fundamentally interconnected, and each choice can foreclose future possibilities not yet in view. Already we have seen just how radically our understanding of our situation and its constraints can shift in a matter of weeks, and are humbled to imagine what we will come to understand weeks from now. We are called on to make sense of a complex present even while anticipating and planning for what comes next. The pace has been grueling. That said, I have been buoyed by the response and planning across departments and units, and our shared values have been easy to see: profound empathy for our students; attention to consistency and fairness; an impulse to connect and consult; and recognition that collective problems require collective action. This has enabled the sort of coordination that can be hard to achieve in a large, diverse institution but that is so essential in this moment. As faculty, students, staff, and research scholars have scrambled to make this transition, amidst all the unavoidable personal impacts of a life in lockdown, the impulse to make a positive difference could not be restrained. Gathering PPE, sharing moments of artistic inspiration, advancing research in the fight against COVID-19, and supporting colleagues – our community has been doing it all.
 
The financial impact of the pandemic on the FAS was immediate, is growing, and will be significant. With the decision to de-densify the campus and support our students through the transition, the FAS incurred over $30M in unforeseen expenses and lost revenue, resulting in the inability to fully cover our FY20 budget. We anticipate continuing pressure on revenue sources, even as new needs may present themselves in our community, including greater financial aid for students whose families have been affected by the global economic slowdown. It is inevitable that as a community and as individuals we will be called on to make sacrifices, and we will bear them as equitably as possible, while continuing to invest in mission critical areas. As we navigate the road ahead, I offer the following principles to guide our thinking and to enable the tradeoffs that will be necessary so that we may, as we must, emerge from this crisis with our intellectual vitality and mission intact.
 
Put health and safety first. From the start of the crisis, the University established protecting the health and safety of our community and of our society at large as our orientating priority. Looking ahead, we will not make choices that place other goals above the protection of human life. In following the public health imperative, we will be guided by medical expertise and public health officials, including those within our own community, and we will adopt an evidence-based approach to managing the risks associated with COVID-19. We also recognize that our institution attracts people globally and local conditions alone should not drive our decision-making.
 
Protect the academic enterprise. The core identity of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences is its research and teaching mission. The viability of that mission, today and into the future, is second only to the public health imperative. We must ensure that the academic progress of our students is maintained, even if what that means must evolve. We must remain a research active community to the extent possible, and be ready to scale up research activities as soon as conditions allow.
 
Leverage our breadth and diversity. The unparalleled breadth of disciplines, perspectives, questions, and approaches of our academic community cannot be a casualty of this virus. The FAS does many things and that is our strength, even as it presents challenges in resourcing and coordination. As we draw inspiration from our diversity, there will be moments when simplicity, efficiency, and collaboration are necessary and offer our best chance for sustaining the overall health and vitality of our school. We must embrace those moments with clear-eyed resolve and an openness to new ways of pursuing our mission. If we succeed, the FAS will continue to be a place where the caravans meet and the big ideas are born.
 
Preserve access and affordability. In order to attract the most promising students to Harvard, we invest in making sure that all students can say yes to a letter of admission, and financial means is never a barrier to attendance. We stand by our leading commitment to financial aid, and that commitment will not waiver.
 
At a time when uncertainty prevails and rapidly evolving conditions make bold policy pronouncements feel like an act of hubris, these priorities, together, are my north star. Underlying all of this is the profound responsibility we all share, having been entrusted with resources that last in perpetuity because we have a mission that transcends generations. We must be responsible stewards of an institution that endures. Though it can be difficult to hear or accept, the reality is that the FAS cannot be all things to all people, pursue goals that are beyond our capacity and outside our mission, or unduly privilege the current generation at the expense of the next. We will almost certainly find, in the months ahead, that there will be opportunities we cannot pursue, activities we may have to stop, and ambitions that will go unrealized. These are not decisions to take lightly, and we will strive to bring thoughtfulness, care, and the long view of our academic excellence to the choices we face.
 
In the coming days, I will write to you again to provide specific guidance and information on the steps we will need to take in light of the financial impacts of the pandemic. For now, I simply want to thank you for the sacrifices, extraordinary effort, and deep commitment to our students and our mission that you have shouldered in these last weeks. As you go into your weekend (which I sincerely hope is Zoom-free), please take good care of yourself and your family.
 
Sincerely,
Claudine

Important Message for FAS Faculty and Staff - 3/27/2020

Dear FAS Faculty and Staff colleagues:
 
Earlier today, Executive Vice President Katie Lapp announced several important updates to the University’s human resources polices in response to the evolving impacts of the coronavirus pandemic on our community. These new updates build upon a number of other workplace policy enhancements announced earlier this month.

Specifically:

  • For Harvard employees (core staff including administrative/professional, support staff, and service and trade workers) who are well and available to work, but their duties cannot be performed remotely or because of the shifts in population on campus they no longer have work to perform, we will guarantee their regular pay and benefits through May 28, 2020. This includes Harvard employees providing dining and custodial services. Additionally, we will expand eligibility for this guarantee of pay and benefits to part-time contingent employees who are less than half time (LHT). 
  • For contract employees working in dining, custodial and security roles, the University will provide financial relief in the form of pay and benefits, if they are well and available for work, but displaced from their contract assignments due to the COVID-19 public health emergency and unable to obtain new assignments. Employees of Harvard’s 14 major suppliers of these services are eligible for this support, for work disruptions between March 10 and May 28, 2020. The University is working with these suppliers to ensure its financial support will be used for the direct benefit and financial relief of contract food service workers, custodians and security guards. 
  • For the six independent, non-profit childcare centers that operate on the Harvard campus, the University is providing a financial stabilization package to enable the centers to continue to operate through June 2020, ensuring employment stability for their approximately 180 employees, if COVID-19 related closures remain in place until that time. Under normal conditions, these centers serve 380 families in Boston, Cambridge and Harvard communities. 

These actions are aimed at providing greater certainty for important members of our workforce during these uncertain times. Additional details on these updates can be found on the Human Resources Coronavirus Workplace Policies webpage.
 
Thank you for your continued partnership and leadership during this challenging time.
 
Sincerely,
Leslie

Emergency Grading Policy - 3/27/20

3/27/2020

Dear colleagues,
 
With each new day, we come to understand things we were unable to imagine at the start of our response to this pandemic. As circumstances evolve and we gain experience operating in this new environment, we have had to adapt, and to do so much more quickly than ever before. At the end of our first week of remote teaching, experience has again taught us things that now require quick action.
 
First, the pivot to remote teaching has been on the whole quite successful. With a few important exceptions, the technology has cooperated. Faculty have been creative and thoughtful in adapting their materials and dealing with the logistical constraints of this shift. Student attendance has been high and the level of engagement has been perhaps the biggest and most pleasant surprise of this week. Reconnecting with faculty and classmates and returning to “the classroom” has been embraced by our students – a small return to normalcy in these uncertain times.
 
Just a few days in, we are now starting to understand what remote learning looks like for our undergraduates. After leaving campus, students returned home to a variety of circumstances. Many, like those in Massachusetts, are living under various lockdown orders, dealing with the anxiety of the escalating crisis and the frustration of trying to study with a full house of family members. But for some students the challenges have been more severe. Some have seen parent job losses, or have had to take over childcare and other household responsibilities, as healthcare and other essential workers in their families continue to provide critical support or have become ill themselves. Those who relied on the public library for internet access are struggling to find other ways to join their classmates online, as public buildings are ordered closed. Students in a time zone 12 hours away from us are feeling remote and closed off by time, and by closed borders.
 
We of course remain committed to academic continuity, but we cannot proceed as if nothing has changed. Everything has changed. I have heard from many faculty who have expressed confidence that they can teach their course material but are increasingly reluctant to assign our normal grades when students find themselves in such different circumstances. To understand this issue better, I charged the Committee on Undergraduate Educational Policy (EPC), a standing committee of the Faculty that oversees issues of undergraduate educational policy, to develop a proposal to address this situation. EPC consulted widely with directors of undergraduate studies, received input from the Undergraduate Council and the Honor Council, consulted with peers and with graduate, fellowship, and internship programs. After careful review they have recommended that, for this term only, all courses be graded on an “Emergency Satisfactory/Emergency Unsatisfactory” or “SEM/UEM” basis. This new terminology is purposefully chosen to indicate the unique nature of this semester in the archival record and to distinguish this semester’s grades from Harvard College’s standard grading system. Additionally, qualitative assessment of student learning can be documented in my.harvard to describe material that has been mastered. This proposal was discussed at length by the Faculty Council and received their unanimous endorsement. I have accepted this proposal and it is now in effect.
 
Apart from the apparent equity concerns, there are important reasons to adopt this universal grade policy and not an opt-in approach. As colleges and universities have begun to impose similar temporary grading policies for this semester, graduate and fellowship programs have signaled that they will accept these grades if they were instituted for all students. Their flexibility is less certain in any grading system that retains the option for a letter grade. Also, international students will maintain the full-time status needed for their student visas under this grading policy. This decision has many implications. The Office of Undergraduate Education has developed FAQs for faculty and students and will be communicating this decision to students later today. I encourage you to review these materials and to bring forward questions to oue@fas.harvard.edu.
 
Not everyone will agree with this policy, and I have heard reasonable arguments on all sides of the issue. That said, we are facing something that imperils the health of every human on the planet. Continuing to pursue our educational mission helps our students, academically and personally. I can’t help but be moved by how present our students want to be. But we must in this moment adjust our expectations of them. This grading policy better meets the needs of today, and I hope prepares us to face challenges to come as this situation continues to evolve. We will strive to meet each day with flexibility, perseverance, and understanding. We will continue to learn and to adapt.
 
Sincerely,
 
Claudine

Important Message for FAS Staff on Essential Personnel Protocol - 3/23/20

3/23/2020

Dear FAS staff colleagues,
 
I encourage you to read the below message from Executive Vice President Katie Lapp, which provides guidance on how Harvard will be responding to the emergency order issued by Governor Baker earlier today.
 
As Executive Vice President Lapp notes, while the order is not significantly different than the measures we have already implemented for remote teaching, learning, researching, and working, it does have additional implications for the University’s, and the Faculty of Arts and Sciences’ (FAS), operations and critical personnel. The definition of “essential” under the Governor’s emergency order may differ from past lists in the FAS. Thank you to colleagues across the Divisions and administrative units for your quick partnership in pulling together this information. Please contact your manager if you have any questions about your role.
 
Whether you have already stopped coming to campus, will now be required to stop coming to campus, or will remain on campus in an essential function, we are grateful for the work you are doing to keep the FAS operational, and our community healthy.
 
Best,
Leslie
 
Dear Members of the Harvard Community,
 
Today Governor Baker issued an emergency order requiring all businesses and organizations that do not provide essential services to close their physical workplaces and facilities as of Tuesday, March 24th, at noon. At Governor Baker’s direction, the Department of Public Health also has issued a stay-at-home advisory. The order will stay in effect for two weeks until noon on Tuesday, April 7th, though of course it may be extended as circumstances evolve. While the order is not significantly different than the measures we have already implemented for remote teaching, learning, researching, and working, it does have additional implications for the University’s operations and critical personnel.
 
These state-wide measures are designed to compel residents to stay in their homes and limit movement to obtaining food, gas, or other essentials, to receiving necessary health care, or to provide essential services and functions, as defined in the emergency order. All workers performing essential services and functions must maintain social distancing protocols and follow any other applicable guidance from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. The Governor has also further restricted meetings from 25 to 10 individuals.
 
In response, our emergency management team has been preparing protocols and defining the list of critical personnel—those who absolutely must remain on campus—in the context of this public health crisis. Note that the definition of “essential” under the Governor’s emergency order may differ from past University lists. Please contact your manager if you have any questions about your role, and heed additional guidance from your School or Unit leadership.
 
This development is no doubt adding to heightened anxiety and concern as we are all dealing with new challenges compounded by uncertainty. Whether you have already stopped coming to campus, will now be required to stop coming to campus, or will remain on campus in an essential function, we are grateful for the work you are doing to keep the University operational, and our community members safe.
 
Again, please look for additional guidance from your School or Unit and be in contact with your manager or local HR office with any questions. You can also visit the remote work section of the University coronavirus website for updated information and resources.
 
Best,
Katie Lapp
Executive Vice President

Update from Dean Gay - 3/20/2020

3/20/2020

Dear FAS faculty and staff colleagues,
 
As we look to next week, and the shift to remote teaching, I want to pause and reflect on where we are, where we have been, and share some thoughts on the road ahead. This has been a challenging two weeks. I have typed or spoken the word “unprecedented” so many times in the last 14 days that the expression already feels like a cliché. But in the living memory of this community, I have yet to land on anything that compares to the realities of life in a pandemic. The painful and disorienting uncertainty; the sense of dread and vulnerability; the upheavals in daily life. There is no comparison. Not the shock of the financial crisis. Not the snowy apocalypse of the winter of 2015. Those events changed some aspects of how we work and live. Covid-19 changes everything, radically and for the indefinite future. 
 
We all want things to go back to normal, quickly. Instead, every day brings new facts that require new adaptations. The interventions that have been implemented may feel draconian, but they are what is necessary to respond to a public health imperative that takes precedence in everything we do. I remind you that actions that seemed proactive just 14 days ago, such as limiting gatherings to less than 150 people, are now understood to be woefully inadequate to the threat we face. Your patience, your generosity, and your commitment to the common good are among the most powerful tools we have as individuals and as an institution as we join the global effort to respond to this pandemic.  
 
The campus is especially quiet now, but that surface quiet belies the feverish work that all of us have been engaged in over these last days as we transition to remote work and teaching and do our best to sustain the educational mission. Over the last 14 days, we have accomplished some pretty remarkable things. As of this past Sunday, 90 percent of undergraduate students had successfully moved off campus, thanks to the incredible efforts of our students and many other members of the Harvard community, including 170 staff and faculty volunteers. In addition to the 67,000 boxes provided, students received financial support for shipping and storage, airplane tickets, and other immediate needs. On Wednesday, the approximately 350 undergraduates who were permitted to remain on campus moved to the River Houses to individual bedrooms and bathrooms, each outfitted with a mini-fridge to store pre-packaged meals. Graduate students have also been preparing for the change to a de-densified campus, with approximately 200 graduate students moving today into similar accommodations in the Quad.
 
This has been a monumental “all hands on deck” effort to support our students. House staff have tirelessly answered questions and provided support as students grappled with the logistical challenges and understandable disappointment, including the rushed good-byes, inherent in this enormous readjustment from campus life as usual. The Griffin Financial Aid Office has been a clearinghouse for questions from aided undergraduates as they navigate these changes. Spring term-time work expectations were reduced by half, and financial aid awards are being mobilized to meet students’ needs now that they have left campus and returned home. The GSAS Student Center has begun virtual programming to help with the isolation and work/life balance issues that graduate students may face in the move to remote teaching and research. The Harvard International Office, together with the Office for the Vice Provost for International Affairs and partners across Harvard’s Schools, worked around the clock to find solutions for each international student who had concerns about returning home or, in other cases, developed an option for the student to remain here on campus.
 
The shifts have been no less dramatic for faculty and staff. While a core group of staff have been working long hours on campus, thousands of others have been quickly moving to remote work, figuring out new ways to accomplish core tasks in a remote context, and coming up to speed on Zoom and other tools that have now become essential to our daily lives. Faculty and staff from across our divisions and SEAS have been ramping down on-campus collaborative scholarly activities and ramping up virtual ones, while leaning into the response to Covid-19, offering up diagnostic capacity and medical supplies harvested from labs.
 
Looking at all that has been accomplished in 14 short days, I am overwhelmed with gratitude. I have been amazed and inspired by the resolve, urgency, and generosity of our community. People have taken on additional assignments, pitched in wherever they could to be helpful, and learned to operate in new ways. Things we would never have imagined we could do, we have found a way to tackle in the response to this pandemic. And our collective commitment to our mission of excellence in teaching and research has remained unshakeable, even as we have had to accept that excellence will look different in the days to come.
 
Next week we enter a new phase. With remote work now extended until further notice, we make the switch to remote teaching and learning. This too has been a herculean effort on the part of the faculty, our learning technologists, and teaching fellows, managing challenges of technology, pedagogy, and an ever-evolving understanding of the situation around us. Even as we recognize these challenges, I can’t help but wonder what we will learn and how it will change how we approach what we do.
 
As we complete the transition to remote work and teaching, this also means you should not be using your workspace on campus. For the health and wellbeing of our community, it is important that our facilities are not used or occupied in a manner inconsistent with our efforts to de-densify campus. To this end, the FAS is implementing a restricted access plan for offices, classrooms, laboratories, and other research facilities and will undertake a necessary and important effort to review daily access logs. Harvard University Information Technology and the Office of Physical Resources and Planning will provide the FAS with building swipe data, consistent with steps provided for in Harvard’s Policy on Access to Electronic Information to ensure we are maintaining the University’s guidance on social distancing.
 
While we have accomplished much together and stand to learn from all that we are doing today, I know this is hard. Even as we fully embrace the new virtues of this moment—imagination, flexibility, perseverance—we know that it will not ensure that all will go smoothly or that the steps we take today will be enough tomorrow. But this is a moment when our now-virtual community must pull together and support each other. It has never been more important to be kind to yourselves and to one another. We will not get all of it right, but know that we are all fellow travelers walking this path that no one has walked before. We are, each of us, in good company.
 
Sincerely,
 
Claudine

Important Message for FAS Staff - 3/20/2020

3/20/2020

Dear FAS staff colleagues,
 
These past two weeks have been a whirlwind of activity in the FAS, as we have responded to the coronavirus pandemic by supporting efforts to de-densify campus. We have helped our students depart and readied special accommodations for those who will remain. We have supported our faculty, as they prepare to transition to remote teaching. And we have tested remote work for ourselves, establishing new ways of connecting with one another to advance our work. I am amazed and grateful for how our staff have come together and responded in this incredibly challenging and unprecedented moment.
 
It is important that we continue to adhere to guidance coming from the CDC, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and the University to practice social distancing and limit interactions with groups of any size. The health and wellbeing of our community during this public health emergency is paramount. That is why the FAS is extending remote work for all who are able to work remotely until further notice. There are several resources available to support the continuation of remote work, including the “Work remotely” section of the University’s coronavirus webpage and the “IT for working remotely” section of HUIT’s website. If you have questions about whether you must work from campus or should be transitioning to remote work, please speak with your manager.
 
If you are able to work remotely, this also means that you should not be using your workspace on campus. The coronavirus pandemic has required the FAS to take several measures to support the health and wellbeing of our community, including de-densifying our campus. It is important that our facilities are not being used or occupied in a manner that is inconsistent with this effort. We must also ensure our facilities and equipment are secure and to minimize the risk of accident or injury, especially in this time of acute demand for medical care. To this end, the FAS is implementing a restricted access plan for offices, classrooms, laboratories, and other research facilities and will undertake a necessary and important effort to review daily access logs. Harvard University Information Technology (HUIT) and the Office of Physical Resources and Planning (OPPR) will provide the FAS with building swipe data, consistent with steps provided for in Harvard’s Policy on Access to Electronic Information. Understanding how often and when our facilities are being accessed will help ensure we are maintaining the University’s guidance on social distancing. If you need to access your workspace, please be in touch with your manager.
 
This rapidly changing situation is impacting us all in different and significant ways. With the closure of childcare centers and schools, many of us are juggling the demands of work with the needs of home. It is important that we all take care of ourselves in this challenging time. Please remember that the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is available to you at 877-EAP-HARV (877-327-4278) to help with feelings of stress or anxiety.
 
I continue to be humbled by the incredible efforts staff are making to support one another and our community. The flexibility, resourcefulness, and enduring care you have all shown over the last few weeks is remarkable. I feel confident that we will continue to meet the challenges of this uncertain and evolving situation together.
 
Sincerely,
Leslie

Update on FAS Transition to Remote Work and De-Densifying Campus - 3/15/2020

3/15/2020

Dear staff colleagues,

On Monday, we begin the transition to remote work. Our goal in asking all those who can work from home to do so is to reduce the overall number of people on campus. In so doing, we make it possible for those who must work from campus to employ social distancing strategies. Whether you are working from home or continuing critical tasks on campus, you are helping to protect the wellbeing of our community by making social distancing possible. If you have questions about whether you must work from campus or should be transitioning to remote work on Monday, please ask your manager.
 
At this point, we have all heard the phrase “flattening the curve” in the coverage of COVID-19. I found this article from the Washington Post particularly useful in helping me visualize the power of social distancing as a public health intervention. It reinforces the importance of social distancing as a core component of Harvard’s response, along with the other measures described below, to this pandemic.

A lot of guidance has been circulated to the community in the last few days as we have responded to the evolving situation and to guidance from the CDC and other agencies. As we announced the testing and implementation of remote work this coming week, we also informed our community that laboratory and other collaborative scholarly work would also be carried out remotely. This has required a significant shift in thinking and expectations, as faculty and staff engaged in research of many kinds have typically assumed that their work must be performed on campus. Given the primacy of social distancing in our response, this expectation must change. To enable the de-densification of campus, the scholarly enterprise must be part of our move to remote work. 

Having said this, we recognize that the transition of collaborative scholarly activities to remote work is not easy. There are practical, intellectual, compliance-related, and many other considerations that must be addressed when making this shift. In recognition of this complexity, faculty were given until Wednesday, March 18, to transition to remote work, but were encouraged to make the transition as early as Monday, March 16, when the broader remote work effort in FAS begins. Also, knowing that planning for laboratories and other collaborative groups might be approached differently depending on the time horizon, we provided a longer planning estimate of six to eight weeks. It was our hope that this clarity would provide faculty and research staff with the guidance they needed to make important choices now to support the continuity of our research activities. I want to express my sincere thanks to Dean Chris Stubbs and Dean Frank Doyle for their leadership of these efforts with their departments and areas, providing coordination with other schools, advice and guidance, and a clearinghouse for questions as faculty take on this work.

For those who have not already fully transitioned to remote work, use Monday and Tuesday to collect any items on campus that are essential to your remote work. This checklist can help. If you have questions about technology that you will need to work from home, bring them to your manager. Finalize remote workflows for critical functions. Make sure you have access to a conference line and Zoom if you need to convene group conversations. If you will be working remotely, you should be prepared to do so no later than Wednesday, March 18.

As we begin implementation of remote work on Monday, we do so knowing that the situation is fluid. I plan to communicate again with the FAS community no later than Friday, March 20, to provide an update on our plans, including whether and for how long we will extend remote work. I understand how challenging the uncertainty of this situation can be, compounded for many by the additional responsibilities created by K-12 school cancellations. We must continue to do our best to support one another, share information, and be flexible as we learn to work well in this new way. We all strive for excellence in what we do, and must recognize that excellence will look different in the days to come, but our commitment to our work and to one another remains the same.

Sincerely,

Claudine
 

FAS Guidance on Laboratory Research Activities - 3/12/2020

3/12/2020

Dear Colleagues,

Following today’s message about piloting remote work in FAS next week, we are writing about what this will mean specifically for our scholarly activities. Efforts to de-densify our campus bring particular complications in laboratory and other collaborative settings, and academic leaders across the University have been exploring strategies to incorporate public health practices like social distancing into our research environment. While we recognize the challenges, we also believe that we must shift work habits to significantly reduce the number of physical interactions amongst our graduate students, postdocs, faculty and staff. Accordingly, we request your help in developing a rapid strategy to move to remote work for our scholarly activities. We are taking this action in close coordination with other Harvard schools.

Each Principal Investigator or group leader of a laboratory research program (experimental, computational, or otherwise) will be responsible for the coordination of a strategy to ramp-down laboratory research activities by Wednesday March 18th, with the expectation that such a period of  suspended lab access will likely last at least six to eight weeks. We will revisit that time frame on a regular basis as more information on the trajectory of disease transmission becomes available, and we will update you if this estimate changes. Please be prepared to implement your plans starting Monday, March 16.

We are mandating that all group meetings, courses, and scientific convocations be conducted virtually, per the FAS and University guidance. To minimize community interactions, we ask that each lab identify at most 2-3 key individuals, in discussion with the department chair, to manage issues such as animal husbandry or essential experiments—those that if discontinued would generate significant financial and data loss.

Scholars whose research does not entail laboratory work should comply with the spirit of limiting campus presence to essential personnel during the week of Spring Break (March 16-22), while making contingency plans for a more extended period of reduced access to campus.

We understand your research is critically important, and during this period we urge you to devote your time to productive alternatives, such as writing grant proposals, reviewing articles and papers, writing thesis chapters, conducting analyses, compiling data and/or synthesizing important research. This is a good opportunity to reflect, and to work on books and research papers. We ask research group leaders to identify contributions that individuals in their group can make while working remotely.

We expect to sustain access to FAS Research Computing resources during this time.

We appreciate that this is a disruption to the life to which we are accustomed. We are facing an unprecedented challenge and must all do our part to “flatten the curve” to protect our community, and lessen predictable pressures on our public health infrastructure. This is our chance for Harvard to act decisively, rise to the occasion, and protect our community. Thank you for taking on this challenge as you have so many other hard problems—with creativity, innovation, and a commitment to the common good.

Sincerely,

Claudine Gay
Frank Doyle
Emma Dench
Chris Stubbs
Lawrence Bobo
Robin Kelsey

FAS to Pilot Remote Work Beginning March 16 - 3/12/2020

3/12/2020

Dear FAS faculty and staff,
 
With the announcement on Tuesday, efforts are underway across our campus to respond quickly and decisively to the coronavirus pandemic. With faculty and teaching staff now deeply engaged in the work of transitioning courses to remote teaching, and our entire community working to assist students as they prepare to leave campus, we will take an additional step forward in our efforts to prepare for de-densifying our campus. I am writing to announce that we will use Spring Break as an opportunity to pilot remote work. We are encouraging those who are able to do so to work from home next week, beginning Monday, March 16.
 
At this time, the recommendation to work from home is only for the week of Spring Break (March 16-20). This pilot is an opportunity to learn what remote work would mean for many different activities; to identify issues and questions, gaps in resources, unanticipated interdependencies, and other barriers to consistent remote work should that be adopted. Faculty and managers will need to lead efforts this week to think about how critical processes will be handled remotely and to support students, postdocs, and staff in their efforts to prepare for next week’s pilot. Department administrators will receive additional guidance via Zoom conference.
 
I recognize that not all members of our community will be able to participate in this pilot. In particular, Spring Break week represents a valuable time to prepare for online teaching, and technical and instructional support is essential for that transition. Additionally, the Harvard College community (with the help of many volunteers from across the FAS) is focused on supporting our students, as they move off campus, and on supporting those who are unable to do so. Communications from Harvard College, SEAS, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, the Division of Continuing Education, and the Academic Divisions will be forthcoming to provide additional guidance and information, and we are grateful for the local wisdom and leadership that this pilot will require.
 
As you know, decisions and policies are being made daily, resulting in changes in expectations and daily routines. I recognize that this is, in and of itself, stressful, and is compounded for many by the challenges outside of work, including elderly relatives, family and friends miles away, and potential worries and health concerns yourself. I share your concerns—the unknowns around COVID-19 can be frightening. Please remember that we are a strong community. In addition to all the steps we are taking to safeguard our collective health and well-being, we must all support one another. Patience, kindness, grace, and empathy have never been more important than they are now. And in a time when we don’t have all the answers, let’s give one another the benefit of the doubt as we move ahead together.
 
Thank you again for everything you do every day to keep our community healthy.
 
Sincerely,

Claudine

COVID-19 Message to Faculty — FAS Moving Classes Online, Other Updates - 3/10/2020

3/10/2020

Dear faculty colleagues,
 
As President Bacow announced in his message this morning, Harvard University will be transitioning to virtual instruction for undergraduate and graduate classes with the goal of completing the transition by Monday, March 23, the first day of scheduled classes following Spring Recess. In addition, undergraduate students are being asked not to return to campus after Spring Recess and to meet academic requirements remotely until further notice. Graduate students are also being asked to transition to remote work wherever possible.
 
As President Bacow describes, this decision was made to protect the health of our community, and it was not made lightly. These changes are intended to minimize the need to gather in large groups and to spend prolonged time in close proximity with each other in spaces, such as classrooms, dining halls, and residential buildings. The campus will remain open and operations will continue with appropriate measures to protect the health of our community. The University continues to update this dedicated webpage, and Provost Alan Garber, Executive Vice President Katie Lapp, and HUHS Executive Director Giang Nguyen will continue to send updates by email as needed.
 
I want to take a moment to describe what this guidance means for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Over the last few days, colleagues in the Academic Divisions, SEAS, Harvard College, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, the Division of Continuing Education, and our administrative units have been working quickly to plan for this transition, and have prepared guidance and answers to many questions you may have. You will receive direct communications from a number of offices throughout the course of the day as local guidance is set. You can find links to those messages and resources, as well as frequently asked questions, on the FAS website.
 
As we move ahead, we are, of course, guided by University policies, and are extending them into local activities, both in spirit and by the letter. These policies have been carefully informed by recommended public health measures, as well as by Harvard’s considerable public health and medical expertise. There is much we still do not know and the situation on the ground continues to evolve. As guidance changes, we will continue to communicate to our community, with a focus on accuracy and coordination with the efforts being led by the University. Colleges and universities across the country have announced a variety of measures to shift operations in response to COVID-19, including taking steps to de-densify their campuses. Though we are in good company, we are in somewhat uncharted territory. As we find creative, innovative, and practical approaches to remote teaching and research activities, we have an opportunity to help colleagues elsewhere as they take on these challenges. To enable that, we have defaulted to making all links to FAS materials publicly available.  
 
Before I share guidance, I want to acknowledge that this is a lot to take on. It can be overwhelming, frustrating, and anxiety-producing to have to shift gears so dramatically in the middle of the semester, and finding a way to be creative in a situation of considerable pressure is difficult to say the least. I want you to know that you have a community of people ready to support you in this, and that includes me. This is hard stuff, and no one is in this alone.
 
People will also be looking to you for support. This transition will mean change to the daily routine for all members of our community, and change is difficult. Students will be confronting uncertainty, but likely also disappointment to be leaving campus. They will be worried about the logistics of moving out, and concerned about impacted family and friends. It would be impossible to overstate the importance of the way you present your response in this situation to your students, staff, and colleagues. Your care, compassion, and sense of confidence that we can reach solutions to the challenges intrinsic in this transition are perhaps the most powerful tools we have in this moment. Give yourself a moment to prepare how you will lead in your research group, class, program, and department. Your community will look to you to understand how they should be feeling about what is happening, and every interaction is a moment to underscore that we are in this together and will navigate this transition successfully.
 
Here is an overview of current FAS guidance. 
 
Classes
As President Bacow stated, Harvard will be transitioning to virtual instruction for undergraduate and graduate classes. Resources are in place to answer your technical Zoom questions and to get you started on the platform, as well as to help you think about how to adapt your courses for remote teaching. There are a number of strategies that can be employed to make remote teaching successful, and to rethink materials and assignments to better fit a remote format. The Office for Undergraduate Education and the Bok Center have developed guides that share best practices and Harvard-specific resources. For courses that employ lab-based or performance-based pedagogies, the Office of Undergraduate Education has a team in place that can provide specific suggestions and support for teaching remotely, and the Divisional offices and SEAS have also assembled additional resources. Please review the information you are receiving from them closely. Spring break is an opportunity to engage these resources and prepare for remote teaching after spring break.
 
If you would like to postpone the mid-term exam in your course or define an alternative, you have the option of doing so. Please be in touch with the Office of Undergraduate Education for support (instruct@fas.harvard.edu).
 
Class meetings this week will afford an opportunity to see students face-to-face before the transition to remote teaching begins. It will be important to reassure them that the rest of the semester will go well, and that the remote learning experience will provide a meaningful learning experience for them. Your flexibility and understanding on deadlines as we make this transition is greatly appreciated.
 
Undergraduates
Harvard College is communicating with all undergraduates about this transition and will forward that communication to all faculty. This communication will address a broad set of logistical questions, from Housing to travel to work study concerns. The College website will house information on undergraduate issues and the Houses will help provide support and answer questions for students. 
 
Graduate students
As President Bacow noted, the default assumption is that all graduate students will transition to remote work wherever possible. The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences is communicating directly with graduate students and will forward that communication to all faculty. In it, graduate students will receive guidance on housing, teaching fellow support, and issues confronting research assistants.
 
Postdoctoral fellows
Postdoctoral fellows will follow the same guidelines as graduate students to work remotely wherever possible.
 
Staff
As President Bacow acknowledged, this transition will rely on staff to go above and beyond in their efforts to support our important mission of teaching and scholarship. With our residential model of education, this is particularly true for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. This transition will require us all to help each other in new ways and to change our normal way of working. Staff colleagues will need your support and understanding as they join efforts to make this transition successful.
  
Events
Consistent with the updated University guidance reflected in President Bacow’s message, all gatherings (over 25) in the FAS must be postponed or canceled. In practice, however, we would ask that all meetings and events, even those under 25 participants, be transitioned to Zoom or conference call or postponed where possible.
 
This guidance has resulted in the postponement of arts, athletics, and other community events. The Department of Athletics has posted guidance for student athletes online.
 
Future meetings of the FAS Faculty Council and FAS Faculty will move to a virtual format, and all department meetings should follow suit.
 
Travel and Visitors
FAS policy, consistent with University guidance, is that all Harvard-sponsored international and non-essential domestic travel is prohibited. This guidance is being applied broadly, and includes course-related travel. All prospective student events, for undergraduates and graduate students, are being transitioned to online. Additionally, visits to campus, whether for job talks, guest lectures, or other activities, should be postponed or transitioned to Zoom. This applies to local colleagues, as well as those who would have been traveling to campus from outside the Boston area. Divisional offices and SEAS can provide further clarification, but there is an expectation that this guidance is applied consistently across all departments and programs. For those travelling on University business, the Harvard Travel Policy allows for reimbursement of cancellation or change fees with a valid reason. The current Coronavirus outbreak meets this requirement. Harvard Financial Administration has provided a guide to frequently asked questions and other information is here.
 
Extending this guidance, you are advised against all international travel, even if not sponsored by Harvard, and are cautioned to carefully consider domestic travel, particularly to heavily affected areas.
 
I am sure that there are a lot of questions that you have that I haven’t answered here. Concerted work is underway to understand what this new guidance will mean for us, and communications will continue as guidance is ready to be shared. There is still a lot we do not know, and we will not get everything right as we work quickly to shift operations. That said, in times of uncertainty, I am always reminded of what makes this community extraordinary. I am continually amazed by your willingness to meet challenges with urgency, resolve, and deep humanity. I know this is a stressful time for many of us. Please take care of yourselves and one another. Remember that during challenging times, we need to connect with each other more, not less. I hope we can each find ways to reach out, and to treat one another with patience and understanding in the days ahead.
 
Sincerely,
 
Claudine

Important Message for FAS Staff - 3/10/2020

3/10/2020

Dear FAS staff colleagues,
 
As President Bacow announced in his message this morning, Harvard University will be transitioning to virtual instruction for undergraduate and graduate classes with the goal of completing the transition by Monday, March 23, the first day of scheduled classes following Spring Recess. In addition, undergraduate students are being asked not to return to campus after Spring Recess and to meet academic requirements remotely until further notice. Graduate students are also being asked to transition to remote work wherever possible.
 
As President Bacow describes, this decision was made to protect the health of our community, and it was not made lightly. These changes are intended to minimize the need to gather in large groups and to spend prolonged time in close proximity with each other in spaces such as classrooms, dining halls, and residential buildings. The campus will remain open and operations will continue with appropriate measures to protect the health of our community.
 
Closely following President Bacow’s message, Executive Vice President Katie Lapp provided current guidance for staff, which you will find at the end of this message.
 
I know you will have questions about time off to care for yourself or a sick family member, underlying health issues, remote working, compensation, and much more. University Human Resources has provided detailed guidance on workplace policies relating to Coronavirus. Please be assured that FAS Human Resources is working closely with University Human Resources to support this unprecedented situation. We will continue to get additional information out to managers as quickly as it is developed, so they can support you and answer your questions.
 
As Dean Gay said in her message to the faculty, “I want to acknowledge that this is a lot to take on. It can be overwhelming, frustrating, and anxiety-producing to have to shift gears so dramatically in the middle of the semester, and finding a way to be creative in a situation of considerable pressure is difficult to say the least. I want you to know that you have a community of people ready to support you in this, and that includes me. This is hard stuff, and no one is in this alone.”
 
It is in this spirit that I write to ask for your help. This transition is unprecedented for the FAS, and it will require each and every one of us to stretch ourselves in new and different ways to support our community. Over the last few days, colleagues across the Academic Divisions, Harvard College, SEAS, GSAS, and DCE have been working quickly to plan for this transition. Our primary focus over the next few days is to:
 

  1. Help our students pack up and prepare to head home or, if necessary, to relocate to alternate housing, and
  2. Help our faculty and teaching staff prepare to shift to remote teaching.

 
Many staff will be involved in planning and executing these tasks as part of their jobs; Others may be asked to pitch in outside of their usual roles and responsibilities. With this in mind, it is important to acknowledge that much of our routine work may need to be postponed during the initial days of this transition.
 
As EVP Lapp said, what we know for certain is that social distance will limit the opportunity for illness to spread, and this action will protect the health and wellbeing of everyone, including those who remain on campus. Therefore, we must also take immediate steps to reduce risk in the workplace by keeping meetings and events to smaller numbers, fewer than 25 consistent with updated University guidance. We must also begin to plan for a potential shift to remote work for staff. This is a good time to ensure you have the right technology and work processes and to identify and seek support for any potential barriers to remote work.
 
There is still a lot we do not know, and we will not get everything right as we work to quickly shift operations. Managers are here to help but won’t have all the answers today. That said, I am humbled by the incredible efforts staff are already making to support this transition and our community. Your care, compassion, and sense of confidence that we can reach solutions to the challenges associated with this transition are critical in this challenging moment. I am continually amazed by the resourcefulness and dedication of our staff, and I’m confident we will rise to this occasion together.
 
Sincerely,
Leslie Kirwan
 

Zoom Training to Support Teaching - 3/6/2020

3/6/2020

Dear faculty colleagues,
 
As you know, we continue to track the progression of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and are engaged in planning and preparation to safeguard the Harvard community. I am writing to you today with a request that you sign up for a Zoom account and complete Zoom training no later than Friday, March 20, in order to enable the option of remote teaching, should that become needed.
 
Harvard offers Zoom for both teaching remotely and general video conferencing. The Canvas site for every FAS course is enabled to use Zoom for remote teaching. While Zoom is fairly intuitive, some instruction is helpful when getting started.

Here are four ways you and teaching fellows can learn how to use Zoom for remote teaching:

  • Watch a brief video tutorial
  • Attend an in-person, half-hour workshop
  • Visit in-person office hours for questions and one-on-one help
  • Request a one-on-one session with a HUIT member

HUIT has other resources available, including best practices for remote teaching and general information about getting ready to work remotely. For additional help with Zoom or other technology resources, you may request help through the ITHelp Portal or by calling 617-495-7777. Additional resources will continue to be added to HUIT’s Get Ready to Work Remotely website.
 
To be clear, at this time you should continue your regular in-person teaching. You are being asked to familiarize yourself with these tools and to think about how to shift your pedagogy for remote teaching. We are committed to residential education and appreciate that the classroom experience cannot be fully replicated online. However, remote teaching is an important and powerful tool in our contingency planning as we look to maintain the continuity of our teaching and the academic progress of our students.
 
You should also begin to consider alternate forms of final assessment, should in-person exams become impossible. If you need additional support to help you plan, you may be in touch with your Director of Undergraduate Studies or the Office of Undergraduate Education (instruct@fas.harvard.edu).
 
Also, as the University guidelines have made clear, if you are feeling unwell, you should remain off campus and prepare for the possibility of missing classes and research activities. Please explicitly encourage your graduate and undergraduate students to adhere to these guidelines and support their efforts to do so.
 
Best,
Claudine

Messages from Harvard College

FAS Planning for Fall 2020 - 4/27/2020

Dear Harvard College Students,

As you may have seen earlier today, Provost Alan Garber announced that Harvard courses will be offered in fall 2020, although we do not know yet whether courses will be remote or on campus. I write to share with you a message that Dean Gay sent to the faculty that offers more information about this.

We hope this information will allow you to begin to plan for the fall; however, I recognize that there is still a great deal of uncertainty about what the fall semester will look like. Guided by recommendations from public health experts, we are exploring a broad spectrum of options to determine the best path forward both for academic continuity and social engagement – whether on campus or from afar. As we navigate this challenging moment, we would like to hear directly from you. Please use this survey link before the end of this semester to share your thoughts with our planning team to help inform fall planning. 

We plan to decide no later than July whether the residential campus will open for the fall semester. Please know that our decisions will continue to be driven by our unwavering commitment to your health and well-being. Thank you for your help and patience as we navigate these uncertain times. I look forward to hearing from you in the days ahead and to sharing more information as soon as possible.

Warmly,

Dean Khurana
Danoff Dean of Harvard College

Q Survey Update - 4/22/2020

4/22/2020

Dear Colleagues,
 
We want to thank you for your heroic efforts in transitioning so quickly to remote teaching this semester. We recognize the challenges associated with maintaining academic continuity during the COVID-19 pandemic, and we are grateful to you for making that continuity possible. Given the unprecedented disruption this term, we also know that it makes little sense to pursue our normal approach to collecting, sharing, and otherwise using data from the Q survey. Just as grading will be done on an emergency basis this semester, the Q survey will also temporarily take a different form.
 
This semester, in light of the COVID-19 disruptions, the Educational Policy Committee worked with Harvard College Institutional Research to modify the survey so that faculty can collect student feedback on the first half of the semester as well as learn about best practices in remote teaching. The data collected will be primarily qualitative, with no quantitative composite scores (i.e., overall course and instructor scores), and results will not be published in my.harvard or otherwise shared with students. In addition, so that faculty can gather feedback on their remote teaching that is most helpful to them, faculty will be able to customize the survey instrument with up to five individualized questions. 
 
You can view the revised Q survey instrument for Spring 2020 and the framing language for students here q.fas.harvard.edu. This webpage also has useful guidance for instructors on how to create customized questions.
 
Thank you again for all of your work during this difficult time.  This semester’s Q will give us an opportunity to document our collective work and to learn from our experiences.
 
Sincerely,
 
Amanda Claybaugh, Dean of Undergraduate Education
Nina Zipser, Dean for Faculty Affairs and Planning
 

Emergency Grading Policy - 3/27/2020

Dear Students,

Over the past two weeks, as you know, there has been a great deal of discussion over whether we should shift to an alternate grading system. We have decided to do so. In the spring of 2020, all undergraduates will receive grades of either Emergency Sat or Emergency Unsat. Below you'll find an email from Claudine Gay, Edgerley Family Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, explaining why we are making this shift.

I'm sure that many of you will have questions about how this grading system will affect the courses you're taking now — and the plans you're making for the future. You'll find answers to general questions in the COVID-19- FAQs for students. For questions about your own specific situation, please don't hesitate to ask your instructors and your resident dean. 

Finally, I'd like to thank all of you who spoke out — so passionately and so thoughtfully — about this issue. Our thinking was informed by The Harvard Crimson editorials, by Undergraduate Council proposals, by consultation with the Honor Council, but it was informed just as much by the individual emails sent by so many of you. We have tried, in this new policy, to address the needs of all of our students, while also responding to the enormity of the situation we find ourselves in. 

With all best wishes,

Amanda Claybaugh
Dean of Undergraduate Education
Zemurray Stone Radcliffe Professor of English
 
 
Dear colleagues,
 
With each new day, we come to understand things we were unable to imagine at the start of our response to this pandemic. As circumstances evolve and we gain experience operating in this new environment, we have had to adapt, and to do so much more quickly than ever before. At the end of our first week of remote teaching, experience has again taught us things that now require quick action.
 
First, the pivot to remote teaching has been on the whole quite successful. With a few important exceptions, the technology has cooperated. Faculty have been creative and thoughtful in adapting their materials and dealing with the logistical constraints of this shift. Student attendance has been high and the level of engagement has been perhaps the biggest and most pleasant surprise of this week. Reconnecting with faculty and classmates and returning to “the classroom” has been embraced by our students – a small return to normalcy in these uncertain times.
 
Just a few days in, we are now starting to understand what remote learning looks like for our undergraduates. After leaving campus, students returned home to a variety of circumstances. Many, like those in Massachusetts, are living under various lockdown orders, dealing with the anxiety of the escalating crisis and the frustration of trying to study with a full house of family members. But for some students the challenges have been more severe. Some have seen parent job losses, or have had to take over childcare and other household responsibilities, as healthcare and other essential workers in their families continue to provide critical support or have become ill themselves. Those who relied on the public library for internet access are struggling to find other ways to join their classmates online, as public buildings are ordered closed. Students in a time zone 12 hours away from us are feeling remote and closed off by time, and by closed borders.
 
We of course remain committed to academic continuity, but we cannot proceed as if nothing has changed. Everything has changed. I have heard from many faculty who have expressed confidence that they can teach their course material but are increasingly reluctant to assign our normal grades when students find themselves in such different circumstances. To understand this issue better, I charged the Committee on Undergraduate Educational Policy (EPC), a standing committee of the Faculty that oversees issues of undergraduate educational policy, to develop a proposal to address this situation. EPC consulted widely with directors of undergraduate studies, received input from the Undergraduate Council and the Honor Council, consulted with peers and with graduate, fellowship, and internship programs. After careful review they have recommended that, for this term only, all courses be graded on an “Emergency Satisfactory/Emergency Unsatisfactory” or “SEM/UEM” basis. This new terminology is purposefully chosen to indicate the unique nature of this semester in the archival record and to distinguish this semester’s grades from Harvard College’s standard grading system. Additionally, qualitative assessment of student learning can be documented in my.harvard to describe material that has been mastered. This proposal was discussed at length by the Faculty Council and received their unanimous endorsement. I have accepted this proposal and it is now in effect.
 
Apart from the apparent equity concerns, there are important reasons to adopt this universal grade policy and not an opt-in approach. As colleges and universities have begun to impose similar temporary grading policies for this semester, graduate and fellowship programs have signaled that they will accept these grades if they were instituted for all students. Their flexibility is less certain in any grading system that retains the option for a letter grade. Also, international students will maintain the full-time status needed for their student visas under this grading policy. This decision has many implications. The Office of Undergraduate Education has developed FAQs for faculty and students and will be communicating this decision to students later today. I encourage you to review these materials and to bring forward questions to oue@fas.harvard.edu.
 
Not everyone will agree with this policy, and I have heard reasonable arguments on all sides of the issue. That said, we are facing something that imperils the health of every human on the planet. Continuing to pursue our educational mission helps our students, academically and personally. I can’t help but be moved by how present our students want to be. But we must in this moment adjust our expectations of them. This grading policy better meets the needs of today, and I hope prepares us to face challenges to come as this situation continues to evolve. We will strive to meet each day with flexibility, perseverance, and understanding. We will continue to learn and to adapt.
 
Sincerely,
 
Claudine
 
 

Resuming the Semester - 3/20/2020

Dear Students,
 
We've promised you that your education will continue, and your professors and TFs have spent this week working to ensure that it does. They're thinking about how to lead a seminar across a dozen time zones, how to teach a lab course online, how to create new environments in which you can learn. It's a big challenge, but they're rising to it with energy and ingenuity — and a deep commitment to you. 

There are some things that you can do to prepare. Please consult the resources we've gathered about learning remotely and about accessing the internet. You should have heard from your instructors, but, if you haven't, please write to them to make sure you know what's expected next week. If you have any trouble contacting your instructors, please write to me at oue@fas.harvard.edu. And if you have other questions, please check the Academic Continuity section of the FAQs or consult with your resident dean.
 
We're committed to your education continuing, but we recognize that many things have changed. We're living in uncertain times, and the weight of that lies heavy on us all. We'll get through this, in part, by being flexible. As you know, we've extended the deadline for you to convert a course to P/F (it's now April 13th), and we're reviewing other policies to see whether they should be adjusted as well. We also realize that some students may need additional flexibility. If you are facing particular difficulties, please let your instructors and resident deans know, so that they can work with you to find solutions.
 
We're going to need flexibility, but we'll also need forbearance. I've written to your instructors to remind them of how disruptive all this has been for you, and now I'll remind you that it's been equally disruptive for them.  Like you, your instructors are facing unexpected challenges. Like you, they're wondering how they can do good work under difficult circumstances. But if we all remember that we're working toward a shared purpose, then we'll make our way forward together no matter how rough the road ahead.
 
With best wishes for you and your loved ones,
 
Amanda Claybaugh
Dean of Undergraduate Education
Harvard College Professor
Zemurray Stone Radcliffe Professor of English
 

Our Journey Together Continues - 3/16/2020

3/16/2020

Dear Harvard College Students, 

The past week has been one of the toughest that any of us could ever have imagined facing together. Last Monday, you were attending classes and socializing with friends. Now, most of you have departed for the semester, and those who remain are adjusting to a very different campus. While the decision to de-densify our campus was disruptive and burdened you with enormous personal and logistical challenges, I believe it was the right thing to do for the safety and well-being of our community. Although absolutely necessary and required by the evolving global pandemic, the decision came with unintended and incredibly hard impacts on our community. I wish I could find the words to tell you how much I already miss seeing you on campus.

I know you don’t need me to tell you how fortunate we all are to be a part of this extraordinary community. Harvard College is extraordinary not because of its hallowed history, beautiful architecture, or famous alumni, but because of each and every one of you. As I walked around campus this week, I was inspired by your empathy, your camaraderie, and your generosity towards each other. Students who had never met one another before were helping each other pack, lending a hand as boxes were loaded into waiting cars, or simply being there as a shoulder to lean on for those struggling. And in the midst of juggling difficult logistical issues, you found time to support your friends, and to enjoy each other’s company for a few more days. Your responses to this difficult time reminded all of us how much we mean to each other.

I know we have all felt pain and sadness this week, and that the coming months will be difficult. Saying goodbye is one of the hardest things in life, and having to do so months sooner than you anticipated is an enormous burden for anyone. I know this week was especially hard for our seniors. But I take comfort in knowing we will find ways to reconnect in the coming weeks. Throughout the remainder of the term, our faculty and staff will do everything they can to stay connected with you. You already know that classes will continue, and that we will do our best to support your academic progress. And we will also do our best to foster a sense of community during this difficult time. I hope you will help us sustain our connections by reaching out to friends to see how they are and by finding new ways to work with classmates and faculty. I know that each of us will face different challenges as we adapt to these new circumstances, and not everything will go smoothly. But I hope that we will all be able to remain patient with each other and gentle with yourself.

As we navigate our way through the rest of the spring term, you will continue to hear from me. You might even hear me quote the mission of the College once or twice because I believe it has never been so important. But one thing you won’t hear from me is “goodbye.” Because while we may have temporarily gone our separate ways, our journey together continues.

I look forward to staying in touch as we meet this challenging moment together. 

Warmly,
Dean Khurana

THANK YOU! And Remote Work Pilot Information - 3/13/2020

3/13/2020

Dear Colleagues,

I am in awe of your dedicated support for our community this week as we have rallied to support our students and one another. With the news yesterday that the upcoming week (March 16-20) is to be used to pilot remote work across the FAS, I write in follow-up to share some basic guidelines from the College related to working remotely.
 
Due to students leaving and residential community transitions happening through early next week, many members of our College staff community will not be able to participate in the pilot immediately.  I recognize that there are move out and academic continuity functions during the coming days and week that must be completed in person and appreciate the commitment of our staff members to ensure these processes proceed smoothly.  Please continue to take care of yourself and to take advantage of the resources being made available to enable safe working conditions.
 
As Dean Gay shared, the next week is an opportunity to learn more about our work together in these new circumstances – whether it be identifying gaps in resources, issues and questions, or unanticipated interdependencies. Please keep those themes in mind in the coming weeks.
 
I know we will continue to support each other as we embark on this unprecedented transitional time and the remote work pilot ahead.
 
With thanks for all the work you do,
Sheila
***
 

Basic guidelines on working remotely for all College units
 


Who should work remotely? 
Everyone who can.  Bring home everything you need on short notice – files, monitors, laptops, etc.  Most units have already planned for this but consult with your manager if you have questions. If you have files with sensitive or confidential information, please review the Information Security Policy website, and speak with your manager on ways to handle private and confidential information remotely if you have questions.
 
Every manager and employee should consult the HUIT checklist (https://huit.harvard.edu/are-you-ready-work-remotely-checklist) to make sure they have what they need for remote work.
 
What if I have critical work that must continue but lack the capacity (e.g. equipment, broadband wireless, access to secure information and platforms, etc.) to do this work remotely?
Consult with your manager first to determine strategies:

  • Is there is a work-around (e.g. equipment or access needs that can be addressed)?  Resources for this:
    • If a purchase needs to be made by an individual, it must be cleared by their manager.  All purchased items are the property of Harvard.  Managers should consult with Nancy Laird if there are purchasing questions (her contact information is below).
  • Is there someone else with access who can take over the work that you do, or can it be subdivided among various people with access?  Build in redundancies.
  • Managers should surface problems that cannot be solved locally to their managers. 

How can employees manage ergonomic well-being?
The week of Monday, March 16th is a pilot week for remote work.  If the situation persists, Harvard will advise on the purchase of ergonomically sound furniture to avoid injuries.
 
What if some essential work can only be done on campus?
Consult with your manager to determine if there is a location on campus to complete this work.  It may be appropriate for an individual to come into their office.  Alternatively, perhaps the employee can be relocated to another place on campus that provides what is needed.
 
Harvard is offering reduced parking fees for on-campus parking for employees who do not have permits.
 
What are the best ways to connect for meetings remotely?

Interreacting with other staff during this time should be done as much as possible via telephone, e-mail and using messaging services available through Teams and Slack; the next level should be by teleconference; the last resort should be Zoom. As we transition to Zoom for our pedagogy, we must ensure that our systems can support it without interruption.  Use of Zoom should be used judiciously for routine administrative and non-essential function.  HUIT is working on guidelines and procedures on the use of Zoom to ensure that the system is not overwhelmed needlessly. Your compliance with those guidelines is critical to our success.
 
What if the person doing essential work becomes sick?
Units should have redundancies built in – with designated alternates for who can take over the work, even remotely.
 
What resources are available to help address needs?
In addition to University resources that you are used to, please continue to send remote work-related questions to the following:
Finance questions: Nancy Laird – nlaird@fas.harvard.edu
IT questions:  Kaitlyn Santa Lucia – ksantalucia@fas.harvard.edu
HR questions:  Cesar Mieses – cesar_mieses@fas.harvard.edu
General questions:  Sheila Thimba – thimba@fas.harvard.edu
--
Sheila Thimba
Dean, Administration and Finance
Harvard College
617.495.7897

Teaching remotely (a message from Bok and OUE) - 3/13/2020

3/13/2020

Dear Colleagues,
 
Our students are leaving campus with our promise that their education won’t come to an end. Ensuring that it continues will require from us a great deal of energy, creativity, and patience, but I know that we’re all committed to enabling our students to complete the courses they began--and to stay on track to graduate. Below you'll find information and resources that we hope will help.

I. Flexibility
 
This is an unprecedented situation, and flexibility is warranted. Students are worried that they won’t be able to do their best work under these circumstances, and so we’ll be allowing students to switch to P/F grading up until April 13. Faculty have similar concerns, and so we’re reflecting on what to do about course evaluations: What questions should we ask? How should results be used and shared?
 
More generally, this situation has been incredibly disruptive. This week, students have been packing their belongings and traveling home, while also saying goodbye to their friends, mourning the projects and activities they won’t be able to complete, and dealing with anxieties about the pandemic and what it might mean for their future. Soon, they will be resuming their courses under conditions that might not always be conducive to learning. We would encourage you, therefore, to be flexible with deadlines and understanding when difficulties arise
 
The situation has also been disruptive for faculty, of course, and so flexibility is needed here as well. We're working to postpone the ordinary deadlines, so that you can devote your energies to preparing to teach remotely. As a start, the Registrar's Office has agreed to postpone the scheduling of next year's courses and the OUE is postponing the allocating of next year's TFs.
 
We will continue to monitor the situation and make additional changes, as the need arises. Please don’t hesitate to let us know what you or your students need. And if you have any questions, please check our FAQs.
 
II. Teaching Remotely
 
The OUE and the Bok Center have compiled resources and scheduled workshops to supplement the more technical trainings HUIT is offering. In addition, the Bok Center is putting over a dozen members of its senior staff at your disposal for individual Zoom consultations; you may schedule a consultation here or email bokcenter@fas.harvard.edu for additional options. 
 
Stage 1: Initial Zoom training

Acquaint yourself with Harvard’s Zoom. Even if you’ve used Zoom before, make sure to get your Zoom account set up for use with your Harvard course at http://harvard.zoom.us.

Stage 2: Faculty Meet-ups to Discuss Strategies
 
In these remote sessions, faculty and professionals experienced in teaching with Zoom will share easily-adopted techniques and facilitate a discussion among faculty about how to address teaching challenges within a pedagogical area. Bring your questions, your ideas, and any concerns you may have about technology gaps in your classroom. 

In addition to the faculty meet-ups, we encourage you to join one of our practice micro-teaching sessions on Thursday or Friday for a chance to try out teaching in Zoom. Sign-ups for those sessions and any updates or additions to the above sessions will be available on this calendar
 
Stage 3: In-Class Technical Support
 
For those who would benefit from it, we can provide in-class technical support for the first few Zoom class meetings. A trained volunteer will join your Zoom class meeting to help address any technical problems that arise for you or your students. If you would like “ride-along” technical support, sign up and let us know when your class will be meeting
 
Self-Service Resources
 
In addition to signing up for the resources above, we would like to draw your attention to the following self-help resources. 

With all best wishes,
  
Amanda Claybaugh
Dean of Undergraduate Education
Harvard College Professor
Zemurray Stone Radcliffe Professor of English
 
Robert Lue
Richard L. Menschel Faculty Director of the Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning
Professor of the Practice of Molecular and Cellular Biology

Important Updates - 3/11/2020

3/11/2020

Dear Harvard College Students, 

I am grateful to have had the opportunity to speak with many of you today about what you have been experiencing since you heard the news that you will have to leave campus. I recognize how difficult the last 36 hours have been for all of you, and I sympathize with the frustration you are experiencing as you try to meet the challenges ahead. Please know the College is working hard to support you and respond to the needs of our community in the midst of this rapidly evolving situation. We are committed to sharing as much information as possible with you as we learn more. I am writing now with updates about course flexibility, storage, shipping, travel booking assistance, room and board, as well as housing exceptions.

Course Flexibility 
The Faculty of Arts and Sciences has decided that effective immediately, all major academic deadlines, including Senior Thesis due dates, will be extended by one week. We hope this will allow you to focus on the logistical challenges of leaving campus.  

Storage, Shipping, and Travel Booking Assistance 
Mike Burke sent a message earlier today detailing additional move-out resources for all students. Please refer to this detailed resource for more information. 

Room and Board 
Room and board charges will be prorated for students who move out. 

Housing Exceptions
We are aware of the many circumstances that might make it very difficult for some students to return home. We are committed to ensuring our students’ well-being while also mindful of public health guidelines for the need to de-densify our residential buildings. The College will review all applications and announce decisions beginning tomorrow. I promise you that each application receives the careful consideration it deserves, while also remaining mindful of the need to provide answers quickly.

Additional Resources
Urgent Care, CAMHS, Title IX, and AODS remain open and fully operational. These resources are here to support you, so please take advantage of them if you need to. We have developed FAQs that are updated frequently, and a website for all College updates and information related to COVID-19. 

We are a community that gathers, and I know that the shift in our daily life on campus will bring great challenges and disappointments. In particular, I am thinking about our seniors. We’ve had an extraordinary journey together, and I know this is not how you or I expected our spring semester together would end. I am also thinking about our first-year students who were looking forward to Housing Day and to meeting all of the upper-class students, tutors, staff, and faculty deans who were excited to welcome them to their new home. We will find a way to celebrate this tradition in another way. 

I appreciate your efforts to adhere to the health guidance provided by health experts for our campus, our larger community of Cambridge, and the world. I know in the coming days and weeks we will feel a range of emotions, have more questions to answer, and that we will continue to find ways to come together as a community. 

Warmly,

Dean Khurana

Message to Faculty on Support for Aided Students - 3/11/2020

3/11/2020

Dear colleagues,

In the spirit of over-communication, we wanted to share this message that was sent yesterday afternoon by Jake Kaufmann, Griffin Director of Financial Aid to all undergraduate recipients of financial aid.  

Warmly,

Rakesh

Dear members of the faculty,

We know that you are concerned about your students as they process the University directive to return home. In the spirit of over-communication, we wanted to share this message that we sent yesterday afternoon to all undergraduate recipients of financial aid. We will continue to update them as we receive information. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to reach out.

Sincerely,
Jake Kaufmann
Griffin Director of Financial Aid


Dear Students,

As we all navigate the impacts of the University directive to de-densify our campus, we want to assure you that the Griffin Financial Aid Office is here to help.

If you need assistance to buy a plane/train/bus ticket, please contact us at 617-495-1581 or email faoinfo@fas.harvard.edu. We will work with each student individually to ensure that you can safely and affordably travel home.

If you are not able to return home for whatever reason, please contact your Resident Dean (Allston Burr Resident Deans for students in the Houses, Resident Deans of First-Year Students for first-year students in the Yards.) 

We appreciate your understanding as we coordinate with University departments to answer questions related to room and board, student work, and how they will affect students receiving financial aid. We will let you know about any specific guidance and policies as soon as we can.

Until then, please continue to refer to the FAQs on the DSO website for our latest updates. 

At this time, your health and safety is our highest priority. Do not hesitate to email us at faoinfo@fas.harvard.edu, call 617-495-1581, or stop by the Griffin Financial Aid Office at 86 Brattle Street.

Sincerely,

Jake Kaufmann
Griffin Director of Financial Aid

An Important Message from Harvard College - 3/10/2020

3/10/2020

Dear Harvard College Students, 

I am writing to follow up on President Bacow’s email about Harvard’s response to the current challenges posed by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Although no one on our campus has been diagnosed with the virus, the University has a responsibility to take proactive measures in order to protect the health and well-being of every member of our community. That is why we are announcing today that Harvard College students will be required to move out of their Houses and First-Year dorms as soon as possible and no later than Sunday, March 15 at 5:00pm. 

We realize that leaving campus at short notice will be challenging for some of you. If your home is in a country designated level 3 for COVID-19, or if your home is in a country subject to the federal government’s travel ban, you should consult with your resident dean as soon as possible for further information. If you have other concerns about leaving campus, you should also consult your resident dean as soon as possible. We have posted a list of important FAQs (e.g. moving out, storage, financial support, etc.), which we have also shared with parents and families.

We are committed to ensuring that you will all be able to finish your spring term courses, and that you will remain on track to graduation. We are working with faculty to make sure that all courses will be offered remotely, and you will receive specific information about how to access them. If you have questions about specific courses, please be in touch with your instructors.
 
In making this difficult decision, we have been guided by our commitment to the health of our community and by our responsibilities to the larger community. We have been fortunate to be able to draw on the wisdom of professionals in the Harvard community who have devoted their careers to responding to health emergencies. Public health experts have advised us that the best way to delay the virus transmission and to contain any breakout is to decrease the number of people on our campus. They believe that taking these actions will make it easier to maintain social distance and slow virus transmission. 

I do not take lightly the apprehension and disappointment you will experience with this news. In the coming days our faculty and staff will be working diligently to implement plans to best support you during this transition. As you deal with the uncertainty of these unexpected challenges, I hope you will be gentle and respectful with others and with yourselves so that we can meet these challenges in ways that will reflect the College at its best.  

Though circumstances will require us to physically distance ourselves from each other, we are going to be innovative in finding ways to continue to engage as a community and to draw strength from one another. I have seen us come together and support each other with compassion during difficult times, and I am confident that we will do so now as we meet this new challenge.

Warmly,

Rakesh Khurana
Danoff Dean of Harvard College

Messages from Harvard College Admissions & Financial Aid

Financial Aid Update - 3/23/2020

3/23/2020

Greetings from the Griffin Financial Aid Office. On Wednesday, you received an email from the College about the prorating of room and board charges and that no changes would be made to financial aid packages regarding room and board. You may be relieved to know that this means that students may be eligible for a refund from their college student account to help support the cost of living at home. Please visit our updated FAQs regarding the latest developments, how and when to request a refund, as well as the other ways the College is supporting students during this unprecedented time.

While our financial aid officers are working extremely hard to review and reflect these reimbursements and make the adjustments to almost 4,000 financial aid awards, we appreciate your patience as this will take some time – perhaps several weeks. We are trying to work on the most pressing refunds first to ensure that students with urgent financial need can get what they need to continue their studies.

While our physical office space is now closed and our staff are all working remotely, please rest assured that we are here to help. At the moment, we are unable to take incoming phone calls on our main line, but we are responding quickly to email and a financial aid officer can call you back if that’s easier for you. Just email the office (faoinfo@fas.harvard.edu) and we’ll be in touch as quickly as possible. Thank you for your patience as we are all learning to work and live under new circumstances.

Sincerely,

Jake Kaufmann
Griffin Director of Financial Aid

 
 

Reimbursements for Travel Costs and Other FAQs - 3/12/2020

3/12/2020

I'm writing to thank you for your patience and understanding as we navigate the effects of the COVID-19 emergency planning together. In the past two days since we all received the news from University leadership about moving students off campus, the Griffin Financial Aid Office has taken hundreds of your emails, phone calls, and walk-ins. We are fully committed to supporting you and your family during this emergency transition and beyond.

The Faculty of Arts and Sciences has approved additional emergency financial aid funding for extraordinary expenses incurred by aided students due to the requirement to depart from campus early. The immediate concern is to help all students depart campus and resources have been deployed by the DSO and Campus Services to ensure that students without money immediately available can buy tickets and store or ship belongings.

All students receiving financial aid will be eligible for reimbursement of their travel costs home. Students with a $0 parent contribution will be fully reimbursed and all other aided students will be reimbursed up to $750 depending on their level of aid. Exceptions beyond $750 will be granted for aided students on a case-by-case basis. We will be in touch with you about the process for requesting a reimbursement as soon as possible.

We know there are still many more open-ended questions and we are working around the clock with FAS and University officials to get you answers. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions. You can also find this information on the Dean of Students Office website.

What should I do if I cannot afford a plane, bus or train ticket?

Our priority is getting you home quickly and safely. For students who need assistance arranging travel, College staff will be stationed in all dining hall locations to help you book travel. Check dso.college.harvard.edu/coronavirus for updated locations and times. All charges incurred will be applied to your term bill. All students receiving financial aid will be eligible for reimbursement of their travel costs home. 

Who should I contact if I don't have a place to go or don't want to leave?

Please contact your Resident Dean (Allston Burr Resident Deans for students in the Houses, Resident Deans of First-Year Students for first-year students in the Yards.)

What happens if I cannot work to pay my term and summer time contributions?

We are seeking guidance about this issue, particularly as regards term-time earnings. We will update you as soon as we have more information and we appreciate your patience. With our recent expansion of financial aid, students are no longer expected to contribute from their summer earnings, which applies to this upcoming summer 2020.

Will my Pell Grant be affected?

The Department of Education released emergency guidelines regarding the use of federal financial aid funds. As long as students are enrolled and working towards their degree, Pell and SEOG funding will not be impacted.

If you have any further questions, we encourage you to email, call, or visit our office at 86 Brattle Street. In addition, please continue to visit the Harvard College FAQ's for a complete list of resources. 

Sincerely,

Jake Kaufmann
Griffin Director of Financial Aid

We're Here to Help - 3/11/2020

3/11/2020

As we all navigate the impacts of the University directive to de-densify our campus, we want to assure you that the Griffin Financial Aid Office is here to help.

If you need assistance to buy a plane/train/bus ticket, please contact us at 617-495-1581 or email faoinfo@fas.harvard.edu. We will work with each student individually to ensure that you can safely and affordably travel home.

If you are not able to return home for whatever reason, please contact your Resident Dean (Allston Burr Resident Deans for students in the Houses, Resident Deans of First-Year Students for first-year students in the Yards.) 

We appreciate your understanding as we coordinate with University departments to answer questions related to room and board, student work, and how they will affect students receiving financial aid. We will let you know about any specific guidance and policies as soon as we can.

Until then, please continue to refer to the FAQs on the DSO website for our latest updates. 

At this time, your health and safety is our highest priority. Do not hesitate to email us at faoinfo@fas.harvard.edu, call 617-495-1581, or stop by the Griffin Financial Aid Office at 86 Brattle Street.

Sincerely,

Jake Kaufmann
Griffin Director of Financial Aid

Harvard College Information Sessions and Campus Tours - 3/11/2020

3/11/2020

We have been closely monitoring the outbreak of COVID-19 and preparing to do our part to keep our community and our visitors healthy and safe. Therefore, it is out of an abundance of caution that we have decided to close our Visitor Center and suspend information sessions and campus tours through May 2020.

We know this must come as a disappointment to you, and we hope to welcome you to our campus at a later date. In the meantime, we wouldlike to offer you an online version of our information session that you can watch on your own time. The link for this video will be emailed to you in the coming weeks. In it, you will find details about our liberal arts and sciences offerings, our unique residential experience, and our exceptional financial aid program.

We also encourage you to take our interactive virtual tour, which takes you through many buildings around campus (in fact, even more than are covered during our in-person tour). In it, you can explore residence halls, libraries, laboratories, dining halls, and more.

If you have further questions about Harvard, you can connect with a current student over email by filling out this form. Our students will be happy to answer your questions and share their experience. Again, we sincerely apologize for the disruption that this change may cause you. It is only out of respect for your health and wellness, and that of the greater Harvard community, that we have come to these measures. For more information about Harvard’s response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, please visit harvard.edu/coronavirus. If you have any questions, you can contact the Admissions Office at 617-495-1551 or at college@fas.harvard.edu.

We look forward to welcoming you to Cambridge, Massachusetts soon!

Sincerely,
Anne De Luca
Harvard College Admissions & Financial Aid

Harvard"s Response to COVID-19 - 3/10/2020

3/10/2020

Dear Alumni Interviewers,

We are writing to provide some updates from Cambridge in light of the rapid spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). As you may have heard, Harvard is transitioning to virtual instruction for the remainder of the spring term and all students are being asked to move out of their dorm rooms by Sunday, March 15th. Our top priority is the health and wellness of our campus community, and we are working hard to support our current students as well as making plans to welcome the Class of 2024. With that in mind, we will share President Bacow’s community update, our preliminary thoughts regarding “Virtual Visitas,” and important guidance pertaining to local admitted students receptions.

University Wide Update

President Bacow wrote to the Harvard community this morning to inform us that Harvard University will be transitioning to virtual instruction for undergraduate and graduate classes with the goal of completing the transition by Monday, March 23, the first day of scheduled classes following Spring Recess. In addition, undergraduate students are being asked not to return to campus after Spring Recess and to meet academic requirements remotely until further notice.

Impact on Financial Aid

This update, of course, brings lots of questions to our students and community and Harvard officials are working as quickly as possible to help students during this time of unexpected change. The Griffin Financial Aid Office is working closely with all students, especially international students, who receive aid to ensure that they can travel home safely and affordably. As you can imagine, there are many implications regarding tuition, room and board, student work, etc. and our staff are coordinating with finance and administration to ensure that we support all students. We are encouraging students to contact our office via email at faoinfo@fas.harvard.edu, phone at 617-495-1581, or in person at 86 Brattle Street.

Students who are not able to return home may request to stay on campus through their Resident Dean and the https://dso.college.harvard.edu/home. Students and alumni may also wish to review this FAQ sheet from the Dean of Students Office for further information.

Impact on Admissions

As it relates to the Admissions Office, we have already informed our admitted students that Visitas will be held virtually this year. Here is Dean Fitzsimmons’ recent announcement to students who were accepted to the Class of 2024 through the Early Action round:

We are in the midst of assembling an exciting series of online events for a Virtual Visitas that will allow you to explore all that Harvard has to offer. Rather than be confined to three days, these videos and sessions will be available to all admitted students throughout the month of April. Please refer to the Visitas page on the Admitted Students Website for the most up-to-date information about our schedule.

As planning continues for our Virtual Visitas, we are looking into ways to bring this experience to our alumni interviewers. We will share more information about this opportunity as Virtual Vistas develops.

Impact on Alumni Interviewers

Alumni efforts to congratulate admitted students and welcome them to the Harvard family are an important tradition. That outreach is also one of our most effective tools in helping students to choose Harvard. The exceptional conditions associated with the Coronavirus require us to take a different approach this year, calling on both our caution and
creativity.

With the University’s decision in mind, we ask you not to host or facilitate gatherings of admitted students. A number of clubs have already made independent decisions to forgo their customary hospitality, and that is the approach we ask all clubs to adopt.

Phone calls, emails and virtual communications will have to take priority this year, and we hope you will brainstorm with us ways to welcome the Class of 2024 to Harvard.

Work Continues for Regular Decision

The admissions cycle for the Class of 2024 is still progressing as planned. This Harvard Gazette article offers information regarding the 2024 pool, as well as a recent update to our financial aid program. We expect to notify students of their admission decisions on Thursday, March 26th.

These unusual circumstances call for great sensitivity and creativity as we work to support our current and prospective students. As such, your patience and flexibility is not lost on us. We are so grateful for your hard work and support as we continue to recruit outstanding students to the Harvard Class of 2024.

Sincerely,
Maeve Hoffstot
Harvard College Admissions & Financial Aid

Messages from the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

FAS Announces Fall 2020 Plans - 7/6/2020

Dear GSAS Students,

Earlier today, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences announced decisions about the fall, which provide a roadmap for teaching, learning, and undergraduate residential life for the fall. The work undertaken by the FAS Fall 2020 Planning working groups also focused on restarting scholarship, which is of paramount importance to GSAS students.

I know that many of you have questions about how this announcement pertains to your academic studies and your personal circumstances. GSAS will hold a student town hall tomorrow, July 7, 2020, at 9:00 a.m. EDT (you will find a list of participants below). This event will give you the opportunity to hear about planning from University leadership and get answers to questions that you may have. You may submit questions in advance, and we will take questions during the event, as time allows. If you are unable to join us, GSAS will make a recording of the event available online. 

Within the FAS and at GSAS’s University partner Schools, graduate students are facing unique challenges due to disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. While we don’t yet have all the answers, I want to summarize what we do know as of today.

One of the biggest areas of concern has related to access to the spaces and resources necessary for research. In recent weeks, graduate students began returning to their lab-based research activities, and this successful pilot will soon expand to enable students to pursue more deeply their research projects. To improve access to libraries and archives, the Harvard Library has released their plan and announced plans for a phased reopening of physical libraries for research. Digital resources are also available on Harvard’s museum websites

Several weeks ago, FAS Dean Claudine Gay announced that undergraduate instruction would take place remotely in the fall. To provide support to graduate student teaching fellows, the Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning has designed their fall teaching conference to help TFs prepare for their remote teaching responsibilities. GSAS and the Office of Undergraduate Education also partnered to support students with teaching guarantees and those in the outer years who would typically have taught in the FAS this fall by providing additional teaching support through the appointment of GSAS students as teaching fellows and research assistants

Restrictions on Harvard travel have meant that some graduate students have seen their research stalled, including those benefiting from traveling fellowships for spring and fall 2020. This advisory is currently being reviewed at the University level, and GSAS will communicate with students as and when updated guidance is available.

In addition to global travel restrictions, consulate closures have meant that many international students may not be able to return to the Cambridge/Boston area. To ensure that all students can participate in their education equally, GSAS recommended that all teaching and learning be conducted remotely, thinking primarily of activities, such as classes and cohort-building activities, for students in the early years. GSAS is working with graduate programs to ensure that they are developing an academic plan focused on curriculum, cohort-building, and advising.

While GSAS staff and students may not currently be on campus, we are all available to support you remotely. Financial aid officers and staff from the Office of Students Services and the Office of Student Affairs are meeting regularly with students. The Fellowships Office and the Center for Writing and Communicating Ideas are offering individual meetings and remote events. The Office of Diversity and Minority Affairs is working closely with affinity groups on activities and advocacy. Recognizing that the graduate student experience is more than classes, research, and teaching, the GSAS Student Center has developed virtual programming to help students maintain connections with Harvard and with one another while Lehman Hall is temporarily closed.

I hope this overview provides some clarity on how GSAS and the University are working to reopen scholarship for graduate students. I encourage you to attend the town hall tomorrow to learn more.

With all best wishes,

Emma Dench
Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
McLean Professor of Ancient and Modern History and of the Classics

Remote Activities for GSAS Students - 7/1/2020

Dear Department Chairs and Directors of Graduate Studies,
 
As you know, FAS Dean Claudine Gay sent a message earlier this month announcing that instruction in the FAS will take place remotely for fall 2020, which I followed up with an email outlining GSAS’s recommendation that all teaching and learning be conducted remotely, thinking primarily of activities, such as classes and cohort-building activities, for students in the early years. I also mentioned that any exceptions to this policy would need to be decided by the head of the Division or School in which the class or activity is based.
 
It is very important that all students have access to the same teaching and learning opportunities that will allow them to make academic progress. Our international students, particularly our incoming international students, may face barriers in coming to the United States, and for them, remote participation may be their only option. If you do seek an exception with your FAS divisional or School deans, please ensure that you have a plan for accommodating the learning needs of students who are unable to be physically in the Boston/Cambridge area.
 
I know that many of your students are wondering whether they should return to the area or remain where they are. While GSAS is recommending that instruction take place remotely this fall, the decision to return should be made at the local level between students and the members of your program.
 
With all best wishes,
 
Emma Dench
Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Message to Faculty about Graduate Student Advising - 6/12/2020

6/12/2020

Dear Directors of Graduate Studies,
 
By now, I hope you have read the message I sent to FAS faculty earlier today. I would appreciate it if you would ensure that your faculty colleagues have also seen this message.
 
Thank you so much for all you do for our students.
 
With all best wishes,
 
Emma Dench
Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
McLean Professor of Ancient and Modern History and of the Classics
Dear Colleagues,
 
The past months have proved challenging for everyone at Harvard. We all abruptly left campus, lost access to Harvard’s libraries and laboratories, and had our research and travel plans severely impacted. While the COVID-19 pandemic at first seemed the biggest issue we faced, the most recent murders of Black/African American people in the US have caused us to acknowledge systemic racism at Harvard and challenged us to reflect and act. In this environment of upheaval, I write today to specifically address how through advising we might begin to mitigate the impact of many of these disruptions on GSAS students.
 
First, I know that many of you have already reached out to your advisees, and I want to thank you for checking in on our students. For those of you who have not had a chance to yet, I encourage you to reach out as soon as possible, no matter where they are in the world, even if it is only to check in to see how they are doing personally. Please also check in on your advisee’s progress, asking how the COVID-19 pandemic and the events of the past few weeks, which have highlighted the longstanding pandemic of racism, have affected their research and whether they need assistance in determining next steps. Together, you should develop clear guidelines regarding what the student should be accomplishing and when, being sure to acknowledge any personal challenges they are facing and factoring that into planning. Maintaining progress is important, but it is even more important to understand and empathize with the struggles they may be contending with.
 
During that conversation, you may both conclude that adjustments will need to be made to existing research and dissertation plans, not only because of time lost but also because the project may need to change course given lack of access to research materials and other crucial information. Brainstorm with your student about the best way to pivot their ideas and provide concrete advice that will enable you to work together to determine an amended path forward for their research.
 
We are hearing reports that some students are experiencing delays in hearing back from their advisors, and that this is affecting their well-being as well as their ability to stay on track. I know that we are also managing our own challenges, but if  a student reaches out to you, it is imperative that you respond as quickly as you reasonably can, even if it is just a short preliminary message with the promise of a fuller response in due time.
 
At this moment, we all need to focus on our students, providing them the critical support they need to succeed personally and academically. If it is appropriate, you may also share the resources available to them through GSAS and Harvard, including Counseling and Mental Health Services, the Office of Diversity and Minority Affairs, and the Office of Student Services. GSAS maintains a comprehensive list of resources, and you can always contact Danielle Farrell, director of student services, to discuss any concerns you may have.
 
Thank you again, for all you do for our students.
 
With all best wishes,
 
Emma Dench
Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
McLean Professor of Ancient and Modern History and of the Classics

Graduate Student Return to Lab Research - 6/8/2020

6/8/2020

Dear Directors of Graduate Studies,
 
Following up on the DGS meeting on Friday, we wanted to emphasize the importance of paying additional care to students as they return to the lab. In particular, we ask you to encourage PIs to check in with their graduate students about concerns they may have in commuting to campus.

For some, this may involve concerns about travel during the COVID-19 pandemic but others, particularly our Black/African American students, may have added serious concerns about their personal safety given the police/military response to the social unrest sparked by the recent murder of George Floyd and the systemic racism and violence against the Black/African American community. Our Asian and Asian American students may also be experiencing increased harassment due to COVID-19. In addition, please be sensitive to the additional emotional and mental energy that our Black/African American students and other students of color have been forced to expend because of this situation, and thus may have a harder time focusing on their research.
 
Please remind PIs that University policy states no one will be coerced to return to the lab during the pandemic and that they should be open to accommodating students by developing work-from-home opportunities if necessary or by offering creative scheduling or transportation solutions to help them safely commute to and from campus. Anyone who feels they are being inappropriately pressured to spend excessive time on campus can raise the issue with their lab's leadership or administration or file a report with Harvard's Anonymous Reporting Hotline; as DGSs, you should ensure that students know to reach out to you or to graduate program administrators if they need to discuss concerns. Please also encourage students to reach out to Danielle Farrell in the Office of Students Services and Sheila Thomas, Stephanie Parsons, or Karina Gonzalez Herrera in the Office of Diversity and Minority Affairs.
 
Our students have serious concerns, and we should be doing all we can to assure their safety as they pursue their academic studies.
 
Please do not hesitate to reach out with questions.
 
With all best wishes,
 
Emma Dench
Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
McLean Professor of Ancient and Modern History and of the Classics
 
Sheila Thomas
Dean for Academic Programs and Diversity
 

 

Instructional Support for Remote Teaching - 6/3/2020

6/3/2020

Dear GSAS Students,
 
As Harvard continues to evaluate the changes to our academic mission brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, many graduate students have raised concerns about the scheduling of fall 2020 undergraduate courses and the availability of teaching. GSAS has been working with the Office of Undergraduate Education to support students with teaching guarantees and those in the outer years who would typically have taught in the FAS this fall.
 
Yesterday, I joined with Dean of Undergraduate Education Amanda Claybaugh in sending a message to FAS faculty about providing additional teaching support through the appointment of GSAS students as teaching fellows and research assistants. You can read the message below, which outlines guidance on teaching appointments for the fall and how faculty can appoint research assistants for help in redesigning courses over the summer.
 
GSAS has reached out to graduate program administrators for help in identifying students who fit the criteria and plan to teach in the FAS this fall. This process will ensure that students with appointments will receive their teaching stipend at the usual time.
 
Both GSAS and OUE are delighted to be able to confirm that teaching or comparable appointments will be available to students. I encourage you to check in with your graduate program coordinator for more information.
 
With all best wishes,
 
Emma Dench
Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
McLean Professor of Ancient and Modern History and of the Classics

 

Dear Colleagues,
 
As we look to the possibility of teaching remotely in the fall, the FAS is considering ways to support departments as they adapt their curricula to ensure that Harvard College undergraduates continue to receive a high-quality education. To aid with this process, the FAS will provide additional instructional support by appointing GSAS student TFs, who will gain additional teaching experience and assist faculty with the transition to remote teaching.
 
PhD students who are invoking the teaching offered to them as part of their financial support package, and who typically teach in the FAS, will be allocated at least the minimum teaching allotment (or equivalent work) expected for their program. Outer year students not on a fellowship (DCF, Merit or other), and who are in programs where students typically teach within the FAS, will be allocated at least the minimum teaching allotment typical for students in these programs. Final teaching assignments or equivalent academic roles will be determined once information about fall teaching is finalized.
 
In general, graduate students will be assigned to lead sections of departmental and Gen Ed courses (with a target section size of 12), work as Head TFs or remote support TFs, lead tutorials for concentrators or DCE course sections, or serve as writing TFs or support TFs within departments. Training for these roles will be provided in August, and the OUE will continue to approve TF appointments so that students will receive teaching payments in August.
 
In addition, the OUE will repurpose its Course Innovation Funds to pay research assistants to help faculty redesign courses over the summer. Because these funds are limited, the OUE will first support courses prioritized by departments. More information about these positions and the hiring process are forthcoming.
 
We hope that these additional teaching appointments will help you to re-envision your courses and adapt them for the remote teaching environment.
 
With all best wishes,
 
Emma Dench
Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
McLean Professor of Ancient and Modern History and of the Classics
 
Amanda Claybaugh
Dean of Undergraduate Education
Samuel Zemurray, Jr. and Doris Zemurray Stone Radcliffe Professor of English

Message about GSAS Standard Funding Package - 5/22/2020

5/22/2020

Dear GSAS Students,

I am pleased to announce that those benefitting from guaranteed financial support will receive a 2.8 percent increase to their stipend for the 2020–2021 academic year. I hope this is welcome news as you make plans for the fall.

Since GSAS introduced tuition grants in 2001 and stipend support in 2002, the School has steadily improved the standard GSAS total aid package for PhD students, which now provides financial support and fully subsidized health insurance totaling more than $350,000 per student over the course of five years. This financial package is part of the overall benefits available, which include transit subsidies, support for new parents, and free gym membership for students and substantially reduced membership costs for family members.

I am delighted that GSAS is able to increase stipend rates during this challenging time. As always, if you have any questions about your financial support package, please contact your financial aid officer.

With all best wishes,

Emma Dench
Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
McLean Professor of Ancient and Modern History and of the Classics

Update on the Emergency Support Initiative - 5/8/2020

5/8/2020

Dear GSAS Students,
 
Last week, I announced the launch of the GSAS Emergency Support Initiative, the first phase in GSAS student support that includes targeted measures designed to help PhD students overcome academic disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Applications are now open for:
 

Emergency COVID-19 funds for GSAS students, including lost-time funding and emergency summer research awards;
GSAS visiting fellow status opportunities;
Postdoctoral writing and fellowship appointments.
 
Please visit gsas.harvard.edu/emergency-support-initiative to learn more and apply.
 
This phase of support was designed to prioritize research or postgraduate plans that, due to access issues or personal conditions, were severely disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. As I mentioned in my earlier message, GSAS is working with our University partners to evaluate additional categories of need to determine the next phase of support so that we may expand the program.
 
As more opportunities for support become available, I will be in touch.

Emma Dench 
Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences 
McLean Professor of Ancient and Modern History and of the Classics 

Steps toward Reopening Research Facilities - 5/5/2020

5/5/2020

Dear GSAS Students, 

I wanted to share a message from Provost Alan Garber about steps toward reopening Harvard’s research facilities, which went out to Harvard faculty earlier today. As you will read, the Provost has asked that a committee be formed to develop a phased approach for the resumption of laboratory-based research. He also notes that preparations are underway for the phased resumption of research access to Harvard’s libraries and museums. 

I trust this is welcome news to those of you relying on access to labs, libraries, and other scholarly resources to continue your research. While there is still much to be done, progress is being made. I am particularly heartened by the Provost’s acknowledgement that lost research productivity is not only a problem for faculty, but one that affects the academic progress of graduate students as well.

The Provost’s Office plans to communicate progress regularly, and GSAS will ensure that students are kept informed. 

With all best wishes, 

Emma Dench 
Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences 
McLean Professor of Ancient and Modern History and of the Classics 

GSAS Emergency Support Initiative - 5/1/2020

5/1/2020

 

Dear GSAS Students,

Today, GSAS is launching an Emergency Support Initiative, four targeted measures designed to help PhD students overcome academic disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Emergency Support Initiative includes:

  • Lost-Time Funding
  • Emergency Summer Research Awards
  • GSAS Visiting Fellow Status Opportunities
  • Postdoctoral Writing and Fellowship Appointments

Lost-Time Funding
Students will be able to apply for up to a year of additional funding to make up for time lost due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Students currently on dissertation completion fellowships whose completion has been delayed will be prioritized, followed by those on research fellowships during March 2020.

Emergency Summer Research Awards
Students whose summer 2020 research plans will be disrupted may apply for awards to help them advance their progress toward the degree.

GSAS Visiting Fellow Status
GSAS will allow students graduating in May and November 2020, who do not have a job lined up or whose employment was delayed, to apply for a GSAS visiting fellow appointment for up to a one-year term. These recent alumni would:

  • Remain members of the Harvard community, with access to libraries and other Harvard resources so that they may continue their research independently.
  • Have visiting fellow tuition waived and access to Harvard’s health insurance plan at the student rate.
  • Be able to continue searching for jobs while retaining a Harvard affiliation, including their Harvard email address.

Postdoctoral Writing and Fellowships Appointments
The GSAS Center for Fellowships, Writing, and Communicating Ideas is actively supporting students in maintaining progress on their dissertations and in improving their fellowship applications. To expand this work, over the next two years GSAS will create ten one-year postdoctoral writing and fellowships appointments, to which graduating Harvard PhDs may apply. This will provide opportunities for new graduates while helping current students advance their scholarship and enhance their ability to secure outside funding.

This initial phase is made possible thanks to the flexibility of an anonymous GSAS graduate, who allowed their generous gift to be redirected to fund the Initiative. We are tremendously grateful for their desire to support our students.

GSAS is currently creating mechanisms to collect applications for these four opportunities, which we anticipate will be available next week. You will receive an email with more details once the application process is live.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, GSAS has heard directly from students and their advocates, including faculty and directors of graduate studies, about the many ways this public health emergency is affecting PhD students. We first focused on personal safety and emergency needs while we worked with our University partners to evaluate additional categories of need to determine this next phase of support. In the coming weeks, we will continue working with our University partners to augment and expand this program.

We understand that this has been an extraordinarily difficult time, and I thank you for your patience as we undertook this important work. As more opportunities for support come online, I will be in touch.

All best wishes,

Emma Dench
Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
McLean Professor of Ancient and Modern History and of the Classics

 

Planning for Fall 2020 - 4/28/2020

4/28/2020

Dear Incoming GSAS Students,

I am thrilled that you will be joining GSAS in the fall. All of us at GSAS appreciate that you will be making important decisions about your graduate studies under very unusual circumstances this year. Many of you have reached out to ask about Harvard’s plans for the fall, and I wanted to be sure that you had access to messages from Provost Alan Garber and Edgerly Family Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Claudine Gay, which outline Harvard’s principles in this regard. Much more to come as the situation becomes clearer. 

In the meantime, I am very much looking forward to welcoming you to GSAS and getting to know you as you pursue your graduate studies. 

With all best wishes,

Emma Dench
Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
McLean Professor of Ancient and Modern History and of the Classics

Harvard Fall Planning - 4/27/2020

4/27/2020

Dear GSAS Students,

By now, I hope you have had the chance to review the message from Provost Alan Garber, which outlines principles for fall 2020. FAS Dean Claudine Gay has also communicated on planning specific to the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. While the trajectory of the Coronavirus Disease pandemic remains unknown, it is heartening to hear that Harvard is making efforts to reopen education and scholarship, even if much of that will need to be accomplished remotely.

Because the GSAS community is so diverse, these plans will impact each of you differently.

  • If Harvard determines that instruction will continue remotely, GSAS is committed to ensuring that PhD students with a teaching guarantee are provided with teaching or comparable work for the fall 2020 term. Many of you were instrumental in plans for remote teaching this spring, which took place in an incredibly short time. By beginning conversations now about remote teaching for the fall, Harvard can ensure excellence in the student educational experience.
  • International students will face unique challenges in the coming academic year, dependent upon ease of travel and visa accessibility. The Harvard International Office is available to help and has developed a Coronavirus FAQ that may answer questions you have.
  • As Provost Garber mentions, Harvard is developing approaches focused on restarting our research program. This includes access to campus-based research facilities, with a focus on protecting the health and safety of the community. I know that, for many of you, this is the aspect of graduate study you are most concerned about. Know that Harvard is working hard on this and will communicate once plans are ready to share.

Your input will be critical as Harvard and the FAS develop plans for the fall. I encourage you to share your ideas and perspectives by emailing FASscenarioplanning@fas.harvard.edu. The FAS expects to reach a decision about fall 2020 in July.

Since the Coronavirus Disease pandemic began, GSAS has focused on helping our students during this crisis. Our initial focus was on the immediate safety needs of students and on assisting those who found themselves in severe financial need. GSAS is in the process of working with our University partners to evaluate the categories of need students have and to try to address them. We will continue to communicate as more information is known.

In my past messages, I’ve said that this is an unprecedented time, one filled with uncertainty. I know it is hard to hear that we don’t yet know what fall 2020 will bring academically and personally; it is hard for me, too, to not have answers for you at this time. Yet, I am committed to continuing to work towards answers and to being in touch as soon as we know more.

With all best wishes,

Emma Dench
Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
McLean Professor of Ancient and Modern History and of the Classics

Message to Teaching Fellows about Q Survey - 4/22/2020

4/22/2020

Dear GSAS Students,
 
Thank you so much for everything you’ve done—and continue to do—to transition to remote teaching this term. We understand how challenging it has been to learn new tools and engage your students with them as you help them complete the spring term.
 
Given the disruptions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, Harvard has made the decision to temporarily change which data is collected for the Q survey, as well as how that information will be shared and otherwise used. In particular, the decision was made to remove questions specific to teaching fellows and instead collect primarily qualitative information, with no quantitative composite scores (i.e., overall course and instructor scores). The results will not be published in my.harvard or otherwise shared with students, but TFs may still access general course reports.
 
We appreciate how you have maintained academic continuity during this unprecedented and challenging time. Thank you again for all your efforts.
 
With all best wishes,
 
Emma Dench
Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
McLean Professor of Ancient and Modern History and of the Classics
 
Amanda Claybaugh
Dean of Undergraduate Education
Samuel Zemurray, Jr. and Doris Zemurray Stone Radcliffe Professor of English

Emergency Changes to Grading Policy - 4/10/2020

4/10/2020

Dear GSAS Students,
 
Several weeks ago, GSAS implemented an emergency policy amendment that allows GSAS students to petition to take courses SAT/UNSAT for spring 2020 only, with the approval of the instructor and the student’s home program. Since that time, GSAS has heard from students and faculty asking us to consider extending that amendment to make all grading SAT/UNSAT by default.
 
As we investigated a mandatory policy, we heard repeatedly from students and faculty across GSAS about issues of fairness and equity in the increasingly tough and disruptive conditions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. These issues were raised for both mandatory SAT/UNSAT and for options that allowed for letter grades. We brought the issue to our two advisory committees, the Graduate Policy Committee made up of faculty across GSAS and the Committee on Graduate Education composed of students and faculty. After vigorous debates by both committees, both chose to recommend a policy of SAT/UNSAT for all GSAS students. We brought this recommendation to the Faculty Council, who approved the request earlier this week.
 
For spring 2020 only, all GSAS students enrolled in any course at the University will be graded on an “Emergency Satisfactory/Emergency Unsatisfactory” basis. This includes students who are taking courses at other Harvard Schools.

  • A clear notation of SEM/UEM will be included on all transcripts for the spring 2020 term to indicate that courses were graded SEM/UEM due to extraordinary circumstances caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • All cases where students have already chosen the SAT/UNSAT option will have that grade option converted to the SEM/UEM basis. 

The FAS Registrar’s Office will be implementing this new grading structure over the coming week. Faculty have been instructed to, wherever possible, provide qualitative letters of recommendation if further explanation of a student’s grade is required.
 
I know that many of you will be relieved by this decision, but that others will be disappointed. As discussed above, please know that this decision was made after a thoughtful process that included input from master’s and PhD students in programs across GSAS as well as the GSAS Student Council.
 
With all best wishes,
 
Emma Dench
Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
McLean Professor of Ancient and Modern History and of the Classics

Follow-up on Travel Prohibitions, Summer Programs, and Visas - 4/8/2020

4/8/2020

Dear GSAS Students, 
 
By now, I hope that you’ve had a chance to read the message from the Office of the Provost sent earlier this week. The restrictions on travel and suspension of visa processing are sobering reminders of the impact that the Coronavirus Disease pandemic is having on the entire Harvard community.
 
The restrictions on summer travel will not affect our ability to award travel fellowships to support your scholarship during these challenging times, and we will use travel funding as flexibly as we can. We must, however, recognize that while some travel may become possible, the global situation may remain unsettled for some time. Students who win fellowships and who had planned to use the funding for research travel this summer should consult with their advisors to determine how to pursue the project most productively under these changed circumstances. Similarly, students awarded funding for travel in academic year 2020–2021 will need to work closely with advisors to adjust travel plans and consider modifications to their projects. More guidance will be shared when students are notified about travel fellowship awards in mid- to late April, but we want students and their advisors to begin thinking now about how to make the best use of the time ahead.
 
The Provost’s message also contained information about visa processing suspensions. If you are an international student, I encourage you to remain connected with the Harvard International Office and to visit the HIO COVID-19 webpage for the latest immigration updates and advice.
 
Research is the lifeblood of graduate study, and I know that all of you are wondering when you will be able to get back to the field and to labs, archives, and libraries. In all honesty, I do not yet know the answer to that question, but I can assure you that the University understands the impact on your scholarship and is working hard to develop solutions. I will reach out again as soon as decisions have been made.
 
With all best wishes,
 
Emma Dench
Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
McLean Professor of Ancient and Modern History and of the Classics

GSAS to launch DGS Digest - 4/2/2020

4/2/2020

Dear Directors of Graduate Studies,
 
As directors of graduate studies, you are a critical link between GSAS and your graduate program. We rely on you to ensure that both your students and your faculty colleagues are aware of the important information and guidance needed for graduate students to successfully navigate their academic careers. We also rely on you to look to the health and well-being of students and to provide GSAS with the feedback necessary for us to support our students.
 
To help keep you informed, we are launching a new, weekly email titled the DGS Digest. In the DGS Digest, you will find updates to policies; answers to question you, your faculty, and students may have; requests for feedback; and more. Our intention is to provide you with information you can share with students and faculty and give you a mechanism for providing feedback to GSAS.
 
I recognize that many of you are based in large departments and that communicating with students and faculty may be more difficult in these virtual times. However, I cannot stress enough how central your role is to our support of students. That’s one of the reasons we are including a mechanism for sharing feedback in the DGS Digest: if you have a question about how to undertake communication or have a best practice to share, we want to hear about it.
 
In this time of uncertainty, the one thing I am certain of is that we won’t have all the answers, at least not immediately. But all of us are working hard to support you and our students. I am tremendously grateful for your partnership, now and ever.
 
Watch for the first issue of the DGS Digest, which will arrive on Friday.
 
With all best wishes,
Emma
 
Emma Dench
Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
McLean Professor of Ancient and Modern History and of the Classics

Writing Support for GSAS Students - 4/1/2020

4/1/2020

Dear GSAS students,
 
Academic writing can be a struggle, even under ideal circumstances. The difficulty has only been exacerbated in this unprecedented climate, but please know that you are not alone in facing these challenges. To help you navigate this unique moment, the Center for Writing and Communicating Ideas (CWCI) is preparing for the launch of virtual writing oasis, open to all GSAS students. These small groups are designed to help with accountability and productivity, as well as to provide peer support and social connection as you write during this unusual time.
 
A virtual writing oasis may:

  • connect you with peers who are committed to writing without distraction during designated blocks of time;
  • ensure that you dedicate set times both to writing and critical break periods;
  • foster a sense of accountability as you articulate and work toward clear goals, and allow you to exchange the drafts that you produce for feedback, if desired;
  • create a forum where you can chat with peers and/or a group facilitator to share struggles and offer strategies; and
  • give you the opportunity to check in with people and provide structure to your workday.
  • Ultimately, you will be able jointly to design these flexible, virtual writing groups to meet your needs. You can also explore creative ways to make them fun and engaging – for example, by swapping recipes or sharing writing playlists with your fellow students during break times. 

If you are interested in participating in the virtual writing oasis program, please complete this brief survey by April 8, 2020. Your responses do not entail a formal commitment to participate. They will, however, provide invaluable information as we move from the idea stage to (virtual) reality.
 
CWCI continues to offer one-on-one writing consultations remotely. Visit the CWCI website and follow the instructions noted in How Do I Make an Appointment?
 
With all best wishes,
 
Emma Dench
Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
McLean Professor of Ancient and Modern History and of the Classics
 
PS: For information about other virtual activities being offered by GSAS offices, including the Academic Resource Center and the GSAS Student Center, visit Engage

Follow-up on Commencement Announcement - 3/20/2020

3/20/2020

Dear GSAS Students,

By now, you will have received President Bacow’s message to the Harvard community regarding the postponement of an in-person Commencement this year. I know this will be disappointing news for students who intend to graduate this year and for the communities that support them; all of us at GSAS are taking this equally hard. Commencement is the highlight of the year, when we celebrate your remarkable accomplishments as students and see you transition to alumni.

While the physical ceremony itself is postponed, GSAS is planning a virtual degree-granting ceremony to follow the University’s online celebration. We know how important it is to mark this milestone, and we are thinking about how we can make a virtual program feel special and celebratory. GSAS will be in touch with details as they are finalized. You can also visit GSAS’s Commencement website for updated information.

It is indeed extraordinary to postpone Commencement in this way, but we are living through an extraordinary time. Rest assured, GSAS will do all it can to mark your achievements and recognize your hard work.

With all best wishes, 

Emma Dench
Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
McLean Professor of Ancient and Modern History and of the Classics
 

Emergency Academic Policy Change - 3/19/2020

3/19/2020

Dear Directors of Graduate Study, 

Thanks to the overwhelming support of the Graduate Policy Committee and FAS Dean Claudine Gay, an emergency policy has been approved that will allow GSAS students to petition to take courses SAT/UNSAT for spring 2020 only, with the approval of the instructor and the student’s home program. This allows students, instructors, and programs greater flexibility in accommodating individual circumstances and will relieve some of the pressure our students are feeling at the moment.
 
Students wishing to petition would be required to obtain email approval from the faculty member and then forward that email to the department. The department, if they approve, would then forward the email to the Registrar’s Office (enrollment@fas.harvard.edu), which will process the change.
 
Please feel free to be in touch with any questions you may have.
 
With sincere gratitude for everything you are doing to support our students at this very difficult time,

Emma Dench
Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
McLean Professor of Ancient and Modern History and of the Classics

Financial Guidance Regarding Graduate Student Work -3/18/2020

3/18/2020

Dear GSAS Students,

As the full impact of the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic has become clearer, GSAS has received questions from students and faculty regarding compensation for graduate students. I wanted to share guidance I’ve received from the University regarding graduate student work for the spring 2020 semester:

“The University continues to evaluate the shifting administrative landscape during the coronavirus pandemic. Graduate student work, as part of that landscape, is an essential driver of the University’s mission. Where possible, the University expectation is that the work that graduate students are compensated for should continue. If work assignments are not possible to complete using online or distance learning technologies, supervisors are encouraged to find other opportunities for graduate student workers to complete their work commitments, including shifting jobs and job descriptions to alternate assignments in order to fulfill their employment obligations. If this is not possible, graduate student workers who are unable to work due to the pandemic will still be compensated to the end of work expectation within the spring 2020 semester.”

I hope that this helps alleviate any concerns you may have. If you have any questions, I encourage you to reach out to your local supervisor and/or employing department.

With all best wishes,

Emma Dench
Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
McLean Professor of Ancient and Modern History and of the Classics

Update on Harvard Library - 3/16/2020

3/16/2020

Dear GSAS Students,

As you know, the Harvard Library announced the closure of multiple locations last Friday. In keeping with Harvard’s continued safety measures related to the Coronavirus Disease, the Library has announced the closure of additional locations and that the borrowing of physical materials has been suspended until further notice. This affects library locations at FAS, GSD, HDS, HGSE, HLS, HMS, and HKS. Those using HBS libraries should check the HBS website for updated information, and you can find more details on each library's website. The Harvard Library’s Coronavirus page contains more information as well as options to connect online.

I know that many of you rely on library access for your research, especially those finishing up dissertations, and you may have concerns about how the Library’s closure—and, indeed, other changes that affect research activities—will impact your academic progress. GSAS is reviewing existing academic policies and considering longer-term issues that may arise, given the extraordinary circumstances. I will be in touch with an update as guidance becomes available.

With all best wishes,

Emma Dench
Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
McLean Professor of Ancient and Modern History and of the Classics

HUHS Guidance on Potential Exposure Concerns - 3/15/2020

3/15/2020

Dear GSAS Students,

I wanted to follow up on the message you received earlier today from Dr. Giang T. Nguyen, executive director of Harvard University Health Services (HUHS). Many on campus are understandably concerned about possible exposure, so I want to highlight what Dr. Nguyen stated:

“Any persons who have had close contact with the individuals in question have been notified by the Department of Public Health in accordance with standard public health principles. If you have not been notified, then you are not deemed to have an increased risk because of exposure to these individuals.”

If you haven’t yet reviewed the message, I encourage you to do so to inform yourself, particularly the self-isolation evaluation guidance in the message’s second bullet.

Managing fear and anxiety at this time is important, and HUHS has prepared a fact sheet of information and resources that may help. Please take good care of yourselves.

With all best wishes,

Emma Dench
Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
McLean Professor of Ancient and Modern History and of the Classics
 

COVID-19 and Library Access - 3/14/2020

3/14/2020

Dear GSAS Students,

I’ve just learned that, as part of Harvard’s efforts to minimize the number of people gathering in close proximity and the need to consider the health and well-being of staff and students, the Harvard Library has closed all locations, except for Widener and Lamont libraries, which will be open tomorrow, March 14. If you access Harvard Library locations, I urge you to read the Library’s announcement to evaluate how this will impact your research.

Virtual services and resources will be available as usual, as well as a service for picking up books, and librarians continue to provide chat, reference and consultations through online venues.

For those of you who are teaching, the library has provided Resources for Remote Teaching.

I know that the closing of the libraries may contribute to anxiety about your research progress or preparation for generals. I hope that the virtual resources and online engagement will be of some help as you continue your scholarly engagement during these trying times.

With all best wishes,

Emma Dench
Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
McLean Professor of Ancient and Modern History and of the Classics

GSAS Coronavirus (COVID-19) March 13 Update - 3/13/2020

3/13/2020

Dear GSAS Students,

Yesterday, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences announced a remote work pilot scheduled for next week, which is aimed at testing how remote work will function for staff. Other Schools have announced similar plans. This will give us the opportunity to identify issues and questions, gaps in resources, unanticipated interdependencies, and other barriers to consistent remote work should we need to extend the pilot.

While the GSAS physical offices and the GSAS Student Center will be closed next week, GSAS IS NOT CLOSED. All staff will be available to meet with you virtually, either over phone or via Zoom, should you need to. Please reach out as normal or if you do not have contact details, please visit the GSAS contact page for more information.

GSAS has continued to update information on the GSAS Coronavirus site, most recently adding a section on fellowships and information on dissertations to the academic section. Please continue to review this page as necessary and follow updates on the Harvard Coronavirus page, which recently updated information on transportation and visitor guidance.

Finally—and most importantly—I want to encourage you to take care of yourselves and one another. The stress and anxiety around this situation can get the better of any of us. Remember that Harvard Counseling and Mental Health Services is available to help.

With all best wishes,
 
Emma Dench
Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
McLean Professor of Ancient and Modern History and of the Classics

FAS Guidance on Laboratory Research Activities - 3/12/2020

Dear GSAS Students,
 
I wanted to share the message below, which went to the FAS community earlier today. In it, FAS leadership outlines guidance regarding scholarly activities in FAS laboratories. If you are a research assistant based in an FAS lab, I encourage you to read this message carefully and consult with your PI on next steps.

If you are a research assistant in a lab based at another Harvard School, you should receive information directly from that School.

Please know that GSAS is here to support you. Reach out to your program's director of graduate studies or to GSAS directly if you have questions.

With all best wishes,

Emma Dench
Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
McLean Professor of Ancient and Modern History and of the Classics

Dear Colleagues,
 
Following today’s message about piloting remote work in FAS next week, we are writing about what this will mean specifically for our scholarly activities. Efforts to de-densify our campus bring particular complications in laboratory and other collaborative settings, and academic leaders across the University have been exploring strategies to incorporate public health practices like social distancing into our research environment. While we recognize the challenges, we also believe that we must shift work habits to significantly reduce the number of physical interactions amongst our graduate students, postdocs, faculty and staff. Accordingly, we request your help in developing a rapid strategy to move to remote work for our scholarly activities. We are taking this action in close coordination with other Harvard schools.
 
Each Principal Investigator or group leader of a laboratory research program (experimental, computational, or otherwise) will be responsible for the coordination of a strategy to ramp-down laboratory research activities by Wednesday March 18th, with the expectation that such a period of  suspended lab access will likely last at least six to eight weeks. We will revisit that time frame on a regular basis as more information on the trajectory of disease transmission becomes available, and we will update you if this estimate changes. Please be prepared to implement your plans starting Monday, March 16.
 
We are mandating that all group meetings, courses, and scientific convocations be conducted virtually, per the FAS and University guidance. To minimize community interactions, we ask that each lab identify at most 2-3 key individuals, in discussion with the department chair, to manage issues such as animal husbandry or essential experiments—those that if discontinued would generate significant financial and data loss.
 
Scholars whose research does not entail laboratory work should comply with the spirit of limiting campus presence to essential personnel during the week of Spring Break (March 16-22), while making contingency plans for a more extended period of reduced access to campus.
 
We understand your research is critically important, and during this period we urge you to devote your time to productive alternatives, such as writing grant proposals, reviewing articles and papers, writing thesis chapters, conducting analyses, compiling data and/or synthesizing important research. This is a good opportunity to reflect, and to work on books and research papers. We ask research group leaders to identify contributions that individuals in their group can make while working remotely.
 
We expect to sustain access to FAS Research Computing resources during this time.
 
We appreciate that this is a disruption to the life to which we are accustomed. We are facing an unprecedented challenge and must all do our part to “flatten the curve” to protect our community, and lessen predictable pressures on our public health infrastructure. This is our chance for Harvard to act decisively, rise to the occasion, and protect our community. Thank you for taking on this challenge as you have so many other hard problems—with creativity, innovation, and a commitment to the common good.
 
Sincerely,
 
Claudine Gay
Frank Doyle
Emma Dench
Chris Stubbs
Lawrence Bobo
Robin Kelsey

GSAS Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information - 3/12/2020

3/12/2020

Dear GSAS Students,

Since my last email, GSAS has been hard at work developing a dedicated web page to address questions about the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) outbreak. On this page, you will find answers to questions you may have about academic and financial concerns, health care, teaching, and more. At the bottom of the page, you will also find links to past student messages, if you need to refer to them.

This is not an exhaustive list of questions and answers, rather a living document that we will continually update as we identify additional information to communicate to students. I encourage you to review the site and bookmark it for future reference.

As I said in my last message, this is a time of considerable uncertainty and anxiety for us all. Remember that Harvard Counseling and Mental Health Services is available to help. Please do continue to monitor University communications and visit Harvard’s Coronavirus web page for more information.

With all best wishes,

Emma Dench
Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
McLean Professor of Ancient and Modern History and of the Classics

Important update on Coronavirus (COVID-19) - 3/10/2020

3/10/2020

Dear GSAS Students,

I hope you’ve had the chance to read President Bacow’s message about remote teaching and reducing the on-campus residential population, which is aimed at reducing risk of Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) transmission. GSAS students are engaged in research and teaching throughout the University and around the world, meaning that we cannot take a one-size-fits-all approach to developing protocols. I would like to provide the following high-level guidance that I hope will begin to answer some of the questions you may have. Because this is an evolving situation, please keep a close eye on your inbox, as we will continue to provide GSAS-specific updates.

Teaching Fellows
As President Bacow’s message notes, instructional staff are required to conduct classes, sections, and office hours remotely. Harvard offers Zoom for this purpose, and the Canvas site for every FAS course is enabled to use Zoom for remote teaching. If you have not already, I encourage you to sign up for a Zoom account and complete Zoom training as soon as possible. If you are teaching outside the FAS, please review information on instructional tools distributed at the local level.

Research and Academic Activity
As you read in President Bacow’s email, Harvard’s assumption is that all students will transition to remote academic and research activity to the greatest extent possible. This includes dissertation defenses, qualifying exams, and general exams. GSAS is working with our partners across the University to develop guidelines for lab research. You will continue to receive updates on this from GSAS; you should also review communications from the School/hospital your lab is based in.

Students Living in Residence Halls
As a way of lowering risk, Harvard is working to reduce the number of students living in residence halls.

  • Those in the GSAS Residence Halls who have an alternate off-campus place to stay should move out of the halls. For those who do not, Harvard may require that you move to another campus residence to minimize the population density in locations across campus. More details are forthcoming from the Office of Residential Life.
  • Those graduate students who are proctors and resident tutors in undergraduate housing will not be asked to move.
  • Those graduate students living in residence halls at our partner Schools should follow guidance from the local School dean.

I know that this is a time of considerable uncertainty and anxiety, and we are committed to do all we can to safeguard the well-being of our entire community. Remember that Harvard Counseling and Mental Health Services is available to help you manage anxiety and stress. Please do continue to monitor University communications and visit Harvard’s Coronavirus web page for more information.

With all best wishes,

Emma Dench
Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
McLean Professor of Ancient and Modern History and of the Classics

Messages from the Division of Continuing Education

Harvard Extension, Message to Students - 3/10/2020

3/10/2020

Dear Harvard Extension School Students,

We write with NEW information involving COVID-19 and all Harvard Extension School spring courses.

Per University President Larry Bacow’s message from earlier today, all spring courses as of Monday, March 23 will be moved to a virtual format. Weekend and on campus classes prior to this date will be held as scheduled. To clarify, no classes, labs, section meetings, exams, and official Harvard Extension School student groups will not be held on campus after Sunday, March 22.
The decision was not made lightly, but we believe this is the best course of action to minimize the spread of the virus. 

Changes to Course Formats. If you are unsure what format your course if offered in, it is designated on the HES course search. Just choose your course and the format description will appear. 

If you are registered in one of the following formats your courses will continue to be offered online as scheduled– no change:

  • Online course
  • Online thesis and precapstone tutorials
  • Online (live) web conference
  • Online (live or on-demand) web conference

If you are registered in one of the following formats your instructor will communicate you directly regarding the virtual course plan for courses with on-campus weekends meetings after March 23:

  • Active Learning Weekend
  • Online with Required On-campus Weekend (that has not met on campus yet)

If you are registered in a course listed as “On Campus or Online” you will not meet on campus but will likely meet over Zoom and it will be recorded. You'll find both your Zoom links and recordings in their usual place on Canvas under the "Class Meetings" link.

Changes will be to format only, not to the meeting schedule. We ask that you hold off on contacting your instructors this week as they need time to devise their new course designs. 

SPECIFICS

Learn Zoom Now. It is likely that web conference may be the instructional delivery mode for most courses moving from on campus to online; therefore, we recommend that if you don’t already use the web-conferencing platform Zoom that you become familiar with Zoom and review our guidelines for using this platform.  Also view Zoom help video or attend a training.

Technical Help. Online Support (Technical Questions and Computer/Software Troubleshooting). 617-998-8571 Monday–Thursday, 10 am–11 pm; Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, 10 am–8 pm or e-mail academicTechnology@dce.harvard.edu.

Residency Requirements. Any spring course that was schedule to fulfill the residency requirement for our degree programs will continue to fulfill the residency for all students who complete the course for the required grade. It is unlikely that residency requirements will ever be waived again. You should not consider this current waiver as a precedent setting decision. The residency requirement is critical to our ability to offer quality degree programs at Harvard and, after this term, we will continue to require all students to come to campus to meet these requirements.   

Refunds. If you determine that you cannot complete your course in the new format you can submit an appeal through the Financial and Registration Committee to drop the course for a tuition refund (tuition only; HES cannot reimburse for lodging, travel, or other course-related expenses). The deadline for filing a refund appeal April 24. Each student's appeal will be reviewed individually and a decision will be made based on each student's statement, supporting documentation, and the merits of the case.
Withdrawals. The spring withdrawal deadline, April 24, as well as our regular withdrawal academic standing policy has not changed. (Note: Active Learning Weekends have different withdrawal deadlines, check the individual course descriptions). 

Harvard Summer School. As of today, we are planning to run courses as scheduled, with the exception of Study Abroad.  Decisions about Study Abroad will be made by early April.
We ask you to visit Harvard’s new coronavirus website for the latest guidance and resources because the ramifications of the spread of coronavirus/COVID-19 are changing daily.
Your education is paramount to us. The staff is working around the clock to continue to offer you the highest quality academic experience. Moving 100+ courses to an online format will require the entire HES community to be patient, understanding, and flexible. I thank you in advance for your cooperation as we navigate, to the best of our ability, this challenging and unprecedented global public health event. 

Sincerely, 

Henry Leitner
Interim Dean,
Harvard Division of Continuing Education 
and University Extension 

Harvard Extension, Message to Staff - 3/10/2020

3/10/2020

Dear DCE colleagues,
 
I wanted to share the steps we are taking to ensure your safety and the safety of our students and faculty as we deal with the emerging coronavirus/COVID-19 situation. As most of you know, the conditions and restrictions around the coronavirus/COVID-19 are rapidly evolving and information about decisions is being distributed as quickly as possible. Please know that the health and well-being of our staff is of utmost importance to me and the senior leaders.
 
You may have already seen President Bacow’s message from earlier today announcing that all courses will be moved to a virtual online format beginning March 23, with no on-campus classes meeting until further notice. This decision was made to “de-densify” the on-campus populations that currently live closely together in-residence, and hopefully minimize the risk of spreading the virus.  Likewise,non-essential gatherings are limited to no more than 25 people. 
 
As of the time of this writing, there is no University-wide directive mandating a remote work from home policy for staff. However, DCE’s Executive Council is closely watching the situation and monitoring guidance from the CDC and the University. With the help of key staff and departments, we are developing worst-case scenario contingency plans.  In the unlikely event the situation reaches a level which makes it impractical or unsafe for staff to come in to work, senior leaders are looking at various options, including the ability to work from home. To this end, we are exploring resources and critical needs that ensure we can continue to function as an educational institution, and at the same time protect the health and safety of our staff.
 
Managers are working with their department’s senior leaders to determine where additional resources are needed to ensure a smooth transition to a work at home plan should that become necessary.  Please speak to your manager if you have any concerns about this.  Additional information will be made available as soon as a plan is determined.  Hopefully, we will not need to implement a work-from-home plan for staff.
 
We are following the guidance of the University’s meeting guidelines for this situation and postponing or cancelling large gatherings of more than 25 people. The DCE Town Hall planned for March 11 and the Dean’s Appreciation Event planned for April 3 have already been postponed until further notice.Rest assured that once the situation has improved, we will reschedule these activities. 
 
We also know that some of you have plans to attend conferences in the upcoming weeks. The UPCEA conference, planned for the week of March 16 in Boston (for which we were the local host university), has already been postponed until the summer. The University has also prohibited non-essential air travel and has urged staff to use extreme caution for person travel within the U.S. With that guidance, we believe it is best that any planned attendance at conferences be cancelled or postponed, for now.
 
I understand that these unexpected changes and the fluidity of the situations can create difficult decisions for many of you. I understand that many of you may find yourself feeling overwhelmed during this time. I want to remind you of the Harvard Employee Assistance Program. I encourage you to speak with your manager or Tracie Cole, Senior HR Coordinator, if you need additional support or are unsure of what to do regarding the coronavirus/COVID-19 situation.  
 
Cleaning staff are using disinfectant solutions during the regular daily cleaning of all restrooms including sinks, faucets, toilets, dispensers, etc. as well as throughout the buildings, entrance lobbies, on all doors, door handles, knobs, railings, elevator buttons and panels, and other commonly touched areas. 
 
Facilities has placed a large order of additional Purell due to arrive within the next week. Lysol wipes are available in Facilities at 51 Brattle and in the 3rd floor supply room at 1100 Mass Ave. Reach out to facilities if you need supplies restocked.   
 
I want to take a moment to thank and acknowledge the advance contingency work being done by the staff of the Registrar’s Office, Summer School, HES, Enrollment Services, Teaching & Learning, as well as Administrative Dean Mahoney to ensure we are prepared no matter what happens to keep staff, students, and faculty safe and to allow us to continue to achieve our mission and serve students.
 
At times it can be difficult to process how quickly this situation is changing. I encourage you to stay abreast of updates, and to focus on the actions that can help to keep us healthy.  Here are some resources:
 
•    Harvard University’s coronavirus/COVID-19 webpage
•    CDC’s guidelines for avoiding viral illness
•    HUHS Guidelines for avoiding viral illness
•    Harvard University Coronavirus Workplace Policies
 
As Dean Gay said in her message to the faculty, “I want to acknowledge that this is a lot to take on. It can be overwhelming, frustrating, and anxiety-producing to have to shift gears so dramatically in the middle of the semester, and finding a way to be creative in a situation of considerable pressure is difficult to say the least. I want you to know that you have a community of people ready to support you in this, and that includes me. This is hard stuff, and no one is in this alone.”

We have also created two pages dedicated to DCE-specific information on Confluence.  They are located on the LEMT (Local Emergency Management Team) page. The first is DCE Coronavirus/COVID-19 Communications Page which will host current status information and past correspondence regarding policies and decisions around courses and staff related to the virus. The second page is DCE Staff Preparedness, which contains links and information of use to staff who may need to work from home or who want to explore alternative meeting platforms.

These pages will be kept up to date. Please check them frequently.
 
If there are members of our community who you think may not have received this message, you are encouraged to share it with them.
 
We understand there are a lot of questions about this situation and for some of them we may not have answers just yet.  I will continue to update you via email and on our Confluence pages as new information or plans are put in place.  
 
Please take care of yourselves as we all navigate this difficult time together.
 
Sincerely, 
 
Henry Leitner
Interim Dean,
Harvard Division of Continuing Education
and University Extension
 

Message to HILR Community - 3/10/2020

3/10/2020

Dear HILR Community,
 
President Bacow has just issued a major announcement about the University’s COVID 19 plan. In a letter sent this morning, he has communicated his decision to transition to virtual instruction only at Harvard starting March 23 (and lasting until further notice). I am following up with to you to communicate the plan for HILR.
 
The health and safety of our community members is our highest concern. Given this virus poses a higher risk for people in the age bracket HILR serves, HILR classes will be suspended starting next Monday, March 16 until further notice. However, some classes will likely meet remotely during this period (with the SGL and all SGMs participating from their homes, using Zoom’s web conferencing platform integrated with the Canvas course website).
 
I am sorry that I cannot yet tell you for which classes remote participation will be an option. I communicated with all the Spring 2020 SGLs last Friday on this subject as part of contingency planning, and steps are already underway that are providing many of our SGLs orientation and training in the technology, hence a chance to make an informed decision about whether they will run their class virtually for as long as on-campus classes are suspended. I will write at the end of the week with an update on the question of which classes will meet virtually, and whether those virtual sessions will start next week, or later. I ask your patience in what will be a very busy and challenging week for all staff, SGLs, and SGMs alike.
 
SGLs who expressed interest in training, I ask your patience especially. Steven Cabral has reached out to some of you already. Everyone will receive a reachout before the week is out. Please understand we must roll out training in a staggered fashion. 
 
Clearly there are implications for a number of large events currently scheduled to take place in April and May. It is too soon to conclude definitively whether they will take place or be cancelled.  Again, I ask everyone’s patience. The focus this week will be on getting as many SGLs as possible oriented and trained in the use of a Zoom virtual classroom.
 
I will be in touch with all Committee Chairs by the end of this week as well. If you are a committee member wondering how your work will be impacted, please wait for a communication from your Chair.
 
The Curriculum Committee will continue to assess proposals and communicate with proposers—please don’t let this interruption stop the flow of proposals, as they are the seeds for Fall 2020!
 
Finally, while the suspension of classes and extra-curricular activities at 34 Concord Ave. does not begin until next week, anyone who feels they need to stay home the rest of  this week as well should by all means do so. If you are an SGM, please just drop your SGL an email. If you are an SGL unable to lead your class this week, please be in touch with your SGMs and inform the  HILR Office.
 
I know this a challenging and anxious time for all of you as individuals, as well as for the HILR community. HILR has faced challenges before and risen to the occasion. I know I can count on everyone’s good will and support for one another in this difficult time.
 
Tess
 
Tess O’Toole
Assistant Dean and Director
Harvard Institute for Learning in Retirement
34 Concord Ave
Cambridge MA 02138
617-998-8408

Messages from the Arts & Humanities Division

Re: the next phase — 3/17/2020

3/17/2020

Dear A&H Colleagues,

I hope you are keeping your spirits up in this crazy time. 

I am writing to thank you collectively for your good works of this past week, for the many valiant acts that came to my attention and for the many that did not, as well as for the compassionate care you showed our students and staff. You rose to the occasion in ways big and small, and I have never felt more proud of this community and its ethos.

As the restrictions on our activities mount, the next phase of our work will bring new challenges. Already, for faculty with school-age children the closing of schools and daycare facilities is exacerbating the difficulties of working from home. Spring break gives us some time to prepare for remote learning, but faculty and students alike will confront a host of difficulties in bringing the semester to a fruitful close. Students in widely divergent time zones, kids or elderly parents requiring attention, struggles of mood or distraction: the list of issues is all too easy to anticipate.

The challenges are daunting, but we must rise to meet them. In particular, to flatten the curve of the COVID-19 outbreak, we need to heed the imperative to disperse our community. All members of our community whose presence on campus is not considered essential (i.e., all members not responsible for animal care, food service, custodial or security matters, etc.) should make every effort to be out of their buildings and office spaces by tomorrow, Wednesday, March 18. (People currently out of town will be able to get into their buildings next week using their HUIDs to retrieve items they need to work at home, but should abide by all social distancing guidelines.) The Divisional office will work with Departmental leadership to manage exceptions to this policy, but these exceptions must be rare. Additional guidance is likely to follow as circumstances develop, but for now please embrace the letter and spirit of the policy and move to a remote working location by the end of the day today.

Under these stressful circumstances, we must continue to teach as best we can. Collectively, your powers of pedagogical creativity and improvisation greatly exceed anything that University Hall could supply, and I urge you to share ideas with colleagues about how to make the most of what remains of the semester. Class meetings through Zoom may be right for certain purposes, but epistolary modes of exchange, shared documents, and other forms of intellectual interaction with and among students warrant consideration as well. 

As you do all you can for our students, please be kind to yourselves and to one another. The best practices of remote learning cannot be mastered and executed on the fly. Trying to maintain a course as you planned it, to squeeze through the internet all of the educational experiences that you had envisioned, is likely to elicit frustration. I encourage you to talk openly with your students about the challenges that you are facing together, and how best to chart a way forward that will make the most of this semester of study. Such exchanges will invite serendipity and renewed commitment, while keeping students engaged in their learning. They will also give you a chance to model the reflection and thoughtfulness that our students will need as they wend their way through a difficult world. 

The deanery of University Hall is convening electronically twice daily to go over issues and concerns. Please be in touch with Mathilda, Ellen, or me with any matters requiring immediate attention. In the meantime, we will continue to update our FAQs and links to helpful sources of information on the Divisional website.

With much gratitude and all best wishes,

Robin

A Note from Dean Robin Kelsey - 3/10/2020

3/10/2020

Dear A&H Faculty and Staff,

By now you will have received the notices from President Bacow and Dean Gay about the need to conduct all courses remotely after spring break. Our students, with minimal exceptions, will not be in campus housing again until the fall, a measure necessary to protect our community and especially its most vulnerable members from the spread of COVID-19.

I recognize the profound challenge that this presents to our Departments and Programs and to all of you as individuals. The core pedagogy in our Division involves face to face interaction, and some of our courses are grounded in resources – studios, art supplies, equipment, ensembles, galleries etc. – to which students will lose access when they leave campus. I can imagine that initially some of you will feel at a loss about how to complete the semester through remote learning. There is no papering over the sad sacrifice of classroom time and the challenge of finding new ways to round out the term.

But, as Dean Gay has indicated, our students are counting on us. They are counting on us to stand strong in this time of uncertainty, to demonstrate resourcefulness and resilience, and to meet anxiety with assurance. Most of all, they are counting on us for their education. In the days ahead, those of us with an allergy to certain forms of technological mediation will need to learn how to use Zoom. Those of us who were planning to evaluate students based on projects using Harvard equipment or supplies, will need to think creatively about other forms of engagement and assessment. This is a major challenge, but I know from experience and student testimonials that you have the dedication and ingenuity to handle it successfully.

Over the last few days, as those of us in University Hall have struggled to determine the best way forward, my mind has returned time and again to our undergraduates and their profound emotional investment in their four fleeting years at Harvard. It is all too easy to imagine the disappointment at this turn of events, especially for our seniors. My hope is that one day our undergraduates, along with the rest of us, will look back on this time with pride, knowing that together we rose to a historic challenge that none of us could foresee. Our chance at this solace rests in large part on how we handle the contingencies now before us. I have been thinking also of our graduate students, whose professional lives already bear so much uncertainty. Whatever you can do to support them would earn my lasting gratitude. In particular, I want to ensure that our Teaching Fellows, who will be facing unexpected challenges of their own, will not find themselves saddled with excessive responsibility for the adjustments we must all make in our courses. As Dean Gay has said, now is a time to take care of one another, and this precept applies especially to our relationship to the graduate students who teach under our care.

Those of us in the Office of the Dean of Arts & Humanities stand ready to help you in any way we can. In the meantime, please take advantage of the links in the messages from President Bacow and Dean Gay, and please consult our set of answers to Frequently Asked Questions that we have prepared for our Division. They will be updated regularly on our Divisional website.


With gratitude for your devoted service to our educational mission,
Robin
 

Important news from the Director of the Office for the Arts - 3/10/2020

3/10/2020

In keeping with the University’s directives around the coronavirus (COVID-19) and distance learning, the Office for the Arts has suspended all on-campus programming, including the annual ARTS FIRST Festival. You can find out about University protocols on Harvard's dedicated web page.

We know this is a challenging experience for students, faculty, staff and worldwide communities.

To our students, you are at the heart of our work and mission at the OFA. If you have questions, concerns or need to talk with someone, you can contact me directly or any members of our staff. We are here for you. Remember: Creativity goes on, and we are eager to help you. To that end, the OFA invites students to fill out this form to share your thoughts on methods to engage meaningfully with you and Harvard’s arts community during this time. We welcome ideas!

To all other members of our community, we invite you to stay connected with us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter about future arts activity. We appreciate your interest in the arts at Harvard and want to stay connected. Better days are coming. We look forward to continued contact with you – albeit from a distance – as the spring term rolls on.


Sincerely,

Jack Megan
Director, Office for the Arts at Harvard
megan@fas.harvard.edu
617-495-8409

FAS Division of Arts & Humanities Coronavirus FAQs - 3/10/2020

FAS Division of Arts & Humanities
Coronavirus FAQs for Faculty and Staff
March 10, 2020


These are extraordinary times. We face an unprecedented interruption to our teaching mission and the cancellation of many anticipated events and experiences. While we grapple with our anxiety and grief at a semester interrupted, we ask for your patience and cooperation as we do our best to ensure the continuity in our teaching and the safe shepherding of our community through this outbreak of COVID-19.


INFORMATION SOURCES
1. Where can I find reliable information about this virus?
The CDC website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

2. Where can I find up-to-date information about Harvard’s policies?
https://www.harvard.edu/coronavirus

3. Is there FAS-specific guidance available?
https://www.fas.harvard.edu/fas-coronavirus-updates

4. What else should I be doing to prepare?
Take preventative measure to protect yourself, such as those listed by HUHS here:
https://huhs.harvard.edu/about-us/announcements-events/how-protect-yourself-viral-illness
Prepare your devices to work from home and practice using Zoom. Guidance is available
from HUIT: https://huit.harvard.edu/remote

REMOTE INSTRUCTION
5. Where can I find information on using Zoom to teach classes remotely?
A Zoom link exists already on Canvas for all courses. You can use that to schedule online sessions, and to distribute the appropriate link to students registered for the class. A good starting point for learning how to use this tool is at https://huit.harvard.edu/zoom-training

Instructors need to form plans for 1) remote participation for scheduled classes, sections, and labs, and 2) final exams/assessments being done remotely.

More information and help may be found on the Teach Remotely website at:
https://teachremotely.harvard.edu The Office of Undergraduate Research has also
developed guidance (https://oue.fas.harvard.edu/resources-faculty) as has the Bok
Center (https://bokcenter.harvard.edu/teaching-remotely).

6. What if I teach a making- or performance-based course?
We understand the move to online instruction will prove particularly complicated for courses that heavily feature performance and art making as a part of their syllabus. This is a challenging situation, and we must ask you to do the best you can to reformat your students’ learning experience for the online space. Flexibility and creativity will be key in continuing to provide our students with the transformative educational experience they look for in our classes. The Office of Undergraduate Education has offered to consult with faculty members looking for advice on how to alter their courses. You may contact them at instruct@fas.harvard.edu.

ON-CAMPUS MEETINGS AND EVENTS
7. We have a large on-campus meeting planned. Should we cancel it?
Yes. All meetings with more than 25 attendees must be postponed, canceled, or
conducted over Zoom or the equivalent.

8. Is it okay to continue with smaller sized on-campus meetings?
Yes, though we should be aware that this could change. Organizers may wish to use such opportunities to test Zoom, especially as a way to make the meeting accessible to people outside of Harvard (see below), or as an option to Harvard affiliates who may not wish to expose themselves to groups of people. When in doubt, organizers should err on the side of conservatism.

Even in smaller meetings, attendees should practice appropriate social distancing, keeping approximately six feet between individuals and holding meetings in rooms where the number of attendees is no more than one-third the capacity of the room (for instance, it would be appropriate to host a meeting of 25 or fewer individuals – per the standard above – in the Thompson Room, which has a capacity of 100).

9. Should we cancel or re-schedule visits by seminar speakers?
Yes. Alternatively, you can invite scholars to deliver their talks remotely.

10. We have a faculty search under way. Should we cancel or defer visits by candidates, even if we have had prior visits by other candidates?
Yes. Job talks should be conducted over Zoom or the equivalent.

11. I received Provostial Funds for an activity or experience with my students this semester. How will this be handled?
If you decide to postpone the activity that was awarded a grant from the Provostial Fund for Arts and Humanities, you will be able to carry forward the funds until a later date. If you have already used some of the funds, there is no penalty and you will still be able to carry forward any remaining funds. If you purchased tickets for future travel, the fund will cover any cancellation penalties or non-refundable expenses. We do ask that you try to have the airline or hotel waive any cancellation fees.

TRAVEL
12. Harvard has prohibited non-essential domestic air travel and all internationalprofessional travel. What is considered “essential” versus “non-essential”?
“Essential” travel is vital to the functioning of the University, and very few trips meet this condition. Examples might include legally required depositions, and the like. Academic exchanges such as conferences, seminars, lectures, etc., are (in this context) non-essential activity and the travel ban applies.

13. Can you help me understand the definition of “University-related travel”? For example, if I am giving a seminar or a public lecture, is that “University-related”? What about attending a meeting?
Each of these is considered university-related travel and therefore prohibited.

14. I have been planning to give a talk outside of town. Do I have to cancel that trip?
FAS has banned all non-essential domestic and international professional travel. Cancel or reschedule the trip.

15. When do we think travel will return to normal?
That is hard to predict. The travel ban is currently (as of March 10, 2020) in place through end of April 2020, but may be extended depending on how the situation evolves. For the time being it seems premature to cancel trips planned for after May 1, but stay abreast of our travel policy posted at https://www.harvard.edu/coronavirus/travel-guidance.

16. Will I receive reimbursement of cancellation costs?
For those traveling on University business, the Harvard Travel Policy allows for reimbursement of cancellation or change fees with a valid reason. The current Coronavirus outbreak meets this requirement.

SOCIAL AND COMMUNITY ASPECTS
17. I seem to have offended someone whose hand I didn’t shake. Why are they reacting this way?
Not everyone appreciates our community’s opportunity to attenuate the transmission of germs by avoiding person-to-person social contact. You might explain that your action is not a reflection of your relationship, but rather just following current guidelines from experts (some of whom we are proud to have on the faculty at Harvard!).

18. Should we worry about adverse effects on ethnic or national groups?
We should all be aware of the possibility that individuals might be apprehensive of possible biases as a result of nationality or ethnic origin, and any such bias is clearly inconsistent with the values of the Harvard community. We will work together to slow  the spread of this disease, using an evidence-based appropriate response that draws upon the advice of experts.

19. I am concerned about losing the sense of community that comes with being on campus. How can I stay connected with the Arts & Humanities community during this time?
Times of uncertainty and upheaval can cause feelings of anxiety and isolation. While many members of our Arts & Humanities community will no longer be on campus following spring break, the Division will work to connect those in our community through social media. Follow us on Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/harvartshum/) and on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/HarvardArtsHum) to hear from faculty and students on how they are handling these extraordinary times, updates from campus, and the sharing of good news, which we will all need. Please reach out to Sarah Zeiser (zeiser@fas.harvard.edu) if you have a story to share that would connect our community from a distance.

NOTE: This is intended to be a living document. Please send any questions you have to artshum@fas.harvard.edu. We will review your questions daily and respond to them as quickly as
we can.
 

Messages from the SEAS and Science Division

COVID-19 - additional guidance for SEAS - 3/10/2020

3/10/2020

Dear SEAS Colleagues,
 
Further to the message sent earlier today by President Bacow and Dean Gay, the University is taking steps to reduce the density of students on campus, consistent with guidance from public health officials, which will have a salutary effect for all community members who remain on campus.
 
The steps we are taking are designed to: protect the health and well-being of all community members; to facilitate as smooth as possible transition to post-spring break online instruction for graduate and undergraduate classes; and to maintain support for the educational and research mission by ensuring business continuity in all aspects of the running of the school (instruction, lab and research, financial operations, etc.).

To this end, we have prepared guidance around some commonly asked questions.
 
In addition, we are planning to hold a remote all-hands meeting, to provide real-time updates and address SEAS faculty and staff questions and concerns to be conducted via Zoom next week. Announcement forthcoming.
 
For everybody
 
Undergraduate and graduate instruction will transition to remote/online mode rather than in-person, on-campus instruction after spring break.
 
Graduate students, postdocs, and other researchers should shift to remote-work to the maximum extent possible.
 
Consistent with the updated University guidance, all gatherings over 25 must be postponed or canceled. This includes seminars, job talks, candidate visits, advising events, etc. Please review University guidance for the most up-to-date details on travel restrictions.

In practice, however, we would ask that all meetings and events, even those under 25 participants, be transitioned to Zoom or conference call or postponed where possible. Please use judgement.
 
Harvard’s coronavirus site is the most up-to-date source of news and developments and we urge you to closely monitor this resource - https://www.harvard.edu/coronavirus
 
We have attached a joint SEAS-Science Division Coronavirus FAQ. We will be setting up a joint web site later today with this document and additional guidance. Details to follow.
 
Undergraduates
 
As you have seen, Harvard plans for all post-spring break instruction to be delivered remotely via Zoom or other virtual platforms. The transition of lecture-based courses will be relatively straightforward. It will take more time to develop detailed plans and pedagogical approaches for project- and lab-based courses. Stay tuned for further details as these plans develop.
 
At this time, we encourage all students who have not already done so to set up a Zoom account (https://huit.harvard.edu/remote) and to familiarize themselves with the platform.
 
SEAS recognizes that many students, especially seniors scheduled to graduate in May, will have questions regarding how they complete required courses by end of semester. More guidance on those questions will be provided soon.
 
Your SEAS point of contact is Patrick Ulrich - pulrich@seas.harvard.edu

For other concerns: https://dso.college.harvard.edu/coronavirus
 
PhD Students
 
Please check with your advisor regarding expectations for your immediate-term research and, If applicable, TFing responsibilities.
 
Lecture-based courses will transition to remote instruction utilizing Zoom. Information about how to set up a Zoom account can be found here: https://huit.harvard.edu/remote
 
Please refer to EHS guidance for coronavirus-related health and safety considerations while working in labs.
 
GSAS will be providing information about graduate student housing, work-from-home options, and other concerns that specifically affect PhD students. GSAS will be providing information.
 
Your SEAS point of contact is John Girash:  jgirash@seas.harvard.edu
 
If you have questions about environmental health and safety, please contact: Maryam Borton, Laboratory Safety Advisor (SEAS): maryam_borton@harvard.edu

If you have questions about lab operations, please contact Leigh Needleman, Director of Science Operations for SEAS: leigh_needleman@harvard.edu 
 
Masters Students
 
Lecture-based courses will transition to remote instruction utilizing Zoom. Information about how to set up a Zoom account can be found here: https://huit.harvard.edu/remote
 
Students enrolled in the MS/MBA (joint degree program with HBS) should be in touch with Sheila Coveney, coveney@seas.harvard.edu at SEAS or Jill Fadule, jfadule@hbs.edu at HBS with questions specific to their program.  Look for updates here: https://www.hbs.edu/about/Pages/coronavirus-critical-information.aspx
 
Students enrolled in the MDE (joint degree program with GSD) should be in touch with Janessa Mulepati - mulepati@gsd.harvard.edu with questions specific to their program.
 
Students enrolled in Master of Data Science should be in touch with Lori Ray - lray@seas.harvard.edu with questions about their program.
 
Students enrolled in Computational Science should be in touch with Lori Ray - lray@seas.harvard.edu with questions about their program.
 
Postdocs
 
Please check with your advisor regarding expectations for your immediate-term research and, If applicable, TFing responsibilities.
 
Your SEAS point of contact is: Diane L. Schneeberger: dls@seas.harvard.edu
 
If you have questions about environmental health and safety, please contact: Maryam Borton, Laboratory Safety Advisor (SEAS): maryam_borton@harvard.edu
 
If you have questions about lab operations, please contact Leigh Needleman, Director of Science Operations for SEAS: leigh_needleman@harvard.edu 
 
Faculty

Lecture-based courses that serve undergraduate and graduate students will transition to remote instruction utilizing Zoom. On-campus events (seminars, job talks, etc.) will be cancelled or postponed, or moved to virtual meetings via Zoom or equivalent.
 
Resources and training for Zoom can be found here: https://teachremotely.harvard.edu/
 
Questions about pedagogy and teaching should be directed to Fawwaz Habbal: habbalf@seas.harvard.edu 

If you have questions about searches, seminars or travel, please contact: Diane L. Schneeberger: dls@seas.harvard.edu
 
If you have questions about environmental health and safety, please contact: Maryam Borton, Laboratory Safety Advisor (SEAS): maryam_borton@harvard.edu
 
If you have questions about lab operations, please contact Leigh Needleman, Director of Science Operations for SEAS: leigh_needleman@harvard.edu 
 
Staff
 
Further guidance regarding remote versus on-site work options will be provided soon by Harvard and SEAS HR. Talk to your manager if you have specific questions about your own situation.
 
Everyone should establish a Zoom account and become familiar with the system.

SEAS staff who live in residence halls will be advised by the College Dean of Students and should stay tuned for further updates.
 
See the Harvard HR Coronavirus Workplace Policies: https://hr.harvard.edu/corona-virus-workplace-policies
 
Your SEAS point of contact is: Kim Harris kharris@seas.harvard.edu
 
I greatly appreciate your support and collaboration during these challenging times. We will continue to keep you updated at appropriate intervals.

Sincerely,

Frank

-- 

Francis J. Doyle III

John A. Paulson Dean

John A. & Elizabeth S. Armstrong Professor

Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering & Applied Sciences

617-495-5829

dean@seas.harvard.edu

FAS Science Division Resources - 3/10/2020

3/10/2020

Dear FAS Science Colleagues,
 
The University is taking steps to reduce both the density of individuals on campus and close interactions between them, consistent with guidance from public health officials, which will have a salutary effect for all community members who remain on campus. 
 
These steps are designed to: protect the health and well-being of our community; facilitate the transition to post-Spring Break online instruction, and maintain support for the educational and research mission by ensuring continuity in all aspects of the running of the Science Division.
 
We will soon launch a joint FAS Science/SEAS website that will contain regularly updated FAQ information, that will also enable members of our community to submit any further questions they have. 
 
For everybody
 
Instruction will transition to remote/online mode rather than in-person, on-campus instruction after spring break. This does not mean, however, that all on-campus operations will cease.
 
Please review and follow University guidance regarding: 

  • on-campus in-person meetings (candidate visits associated with faculty searchers, seminar talks by visiting scholars, advising events, etc.) 
  • availability of virtual meeting platforms and support, 
  • travel restrictions.

Harvard’s coronavirus site is the most up-to-date source of news and developments and we urge you to closely monitor this resource - www.harvard.edu/corona. Please also refer to the FAS coronavirus site for FAS-specific information https://www.fas.harvard.edu/fas-coronavirus-updates.
 
HR policies for staff are accessible at https://hr.harvard.edu/corona-virus-workplace-policies. Discuss any questions you might have with your manager. 
 
If you have questions about lab safety issues in this context, your point of contact is listed at EH&S Lab Safety Advisor. Please refer to EHS guidance for coronavirus-related health and safety considerations while working in labs.
 
If you have questions about lab operations, please contact Sarah Elwell, Director of Research Operations for Science and Engineering, Sarah_elwell@harvard.edu.
 
Ph.D. Students
 
Graduate students should shift to remote-work to the maximum extent possible. Please check with your advisor regarding expectations for your immediate-term research and, If applicable, TFing responsibilities. 
 
This might be a good time to start writing the introduction to your dissertation, or reading those foundational papers in your field!
 
Lecture-based courses will transition to remote instruction utilizing Zoom. Information about how to set up a Zoom account can be found here: https://huit.harvard.edu/remote
 
GSAS will be providing information about graduate student housing, work-from-home options, and other concerns that specifically affect PhD students.
 
Postdocs and other laboratory research staff
 
We are shifting to remote-working to the maximum extent possible. Please check with your advisor regarding expectations for your immediate-term research and, If applicable, TAing responsibilities.
 
For job interviews, at this time such trips are treated as personal (provided host is paying). However, the FAS’ strong recommendation is to use extreme caution and judgement regarding all outside travel, and follow CDC guidance (quarantine, etc.).
 
Your postdoc point of contact is: Stephen Kargere, kargere@fas.harvard.edu
 
Faculty

Lecture-based courses will transition to remote instruction using Zoom. Student advising will also be done remotely through Zoom. 

Resources and training for Zoom can be found here: https://huit.harvard.edu/remote

Your science division point of contact for Zoom instruction is: Logan McCarty, mccarty@fas.harvard.edu
 
On-campus events (seminars, job talks, etc. will be cancelled or postponed, or moved to virtual meetings via Zoom or equivalent)
 
I am asking for your help in adapting to rapidly changing circumstances, and for your lending support to our entire community. Faculty should first consult with Department chairs and lead administrators on interpretation and implementation. My office stands ready to assist with any issues that can't be easily resolved at the unit level. 
 
Chris
 
Christopher Stubbs​
Dean of Science, Faculty of Arts and Sciences
Harvard University
(617) 496-0289
415 NW building