Changes to Academic Calendar - Faculty Responsibilities


DATE:     October 1, 2020

TO:          Deans, Associate Deans, and Department Chairs

FROM:    Dawn Bratsch-Prince, Associate Provost for Faculty

RE:          Changes to Academic Calendar – Faculty Responsibilities


We are approaching the mid-point of the fall semester and many faculty are already looking ahead and planning for next semester. To support that planning, I am writing to share information on faculty responsibilities that reflects the changes made to the 2020-2021 academic calendar.

As announced previously, Fall 2020 instruction ends on Wednesday, November 25, and Spring 2021 instruction begins Monday, January 25. The Faculty Handbook (section 4.5.1) states that 9-month faculty are “required to be on duty during the academic year on those days when classes are in session and the two working days before the first day of classes of fall and spring semesters.” This provision assumes a normal academic calendar and does not anticipate changes, such as fewer than 15 weeks of instruction, that have taken place in response to the pandemic.

For the fall semester, per Provost Wickert’s June 17 message [SVPP COVID-19 Communication #12]:

  • Faculty will have responsibilities during the week of Thanksgiving.
  • Regular departmental business and other faculty responsibilities are expected to continue as best as possible through December 16, one week beyond final grade submission.

Consistent with prior years, university administration will distribute information about office hours, university holidays, and building closures during the winter break.

Similar guidelines will be in place for Spring 2021:

  • Faculty will have responsibilities beginning Monday, January 11, through Thursday, May 6.
  • Although instruction does not start until January 25, regular departmental business and other faculty responsibilities are expected to continue as best as possible between January 11 and the start of classes.
  • There will be no Spring Break, and thus faculty will have instructional and other professional responsibilities during the week of March 15-19.

These changes to the fall and spring academic calendars do not impact faculty pay which will continue as usual through the non-instructional periods of December and January.

Faculty responsibilities during the non-instructional periods of fall and spring semesters (November 30 – December 16, 2020 and January 11-21, 2021)

Faculty are expected to engage in their professional responsibilities throughout this period which may include preparing course materials; advising and mentoring students; carrying out clinical or extension work; conducting research; participating in departmental, college, or university business, such as committee or faculty meetings; and engaging in professional development activities. The Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT) has scheduled a number of programs for faculty during this period.

Compensation for Winter Session instructors

Some faculty will have additional instructional duties as part of the university’s Winter Session (December 14, 2020-January 21, 2021). Compensation for this work will be determined at the college level, and may include per-class payments, course releases from the spring, or other options as agreeable to deans, chairs, and faculty.

Effort Reporting and Certification

With the changes to the academic calendar, we recognize that some faculty may devote additional time to funded research projects. Faculty working on funded grants during the extended winter break should charge salary to those grants consistent with the Effort Reporting and Certification Policy.

Questions should be directed to Brenda Behling, Director of Academic Policy and Personnel ( or myself (