Friday Week: grades, tenure, “smooth week”

Author: Andy Fuller

Note: Dated communications are archived here for reference, but may not reflect the most up-to-date information available.

Campus mail and COVID-19
Campus Mail employees collected thousands of letters, magazines and parcels that had been delivered to student campus residences, separated them by individual student, and forwarded the mail to students’ homes. The undertaking was launched this week, following a similar effort to retrieve from students’ rooms their essential belongings, pack them, and ship them home.

The transition from in-classroom instruction to distant teaching and learning went smoothly this week. There was also more clarity about policies as they pertain to grades, employment, tenure track and other issues of importance to students, faculty and staff.

Provost’s Message: Grades and Tenure

Provost Tom Burish wrote to students and faculty and reported that deans, in collaboration with faculty, decided to allow undergraduate and graduate students to view their letter grades before the end of the semester and either keep them unchanged or substitute a P for pass, or NC for no credit. Certain differences between undergraduate and graduate grading are detailed in the Provost’s messages. (Letter to Students) He also announced the granting of an automatic one-year extension to the tenure clock for faculty. (Letter to Faculty

Dr. Burish also opined about online education yesterday in the South Bend Tribune. Here’s an excerpt:

“Compounding the technical challenge of expeditiously coordinating and delivering online education is the emotional impact of sending students away from our campuses, their classmates, activities they worked hard to plan, and the familiar places they have come to know as their homes away from home. Herein lies the challenge — to use our modern technology to bridge that divide. From what we have seen in the early days of the collective response by our nation’s colleges and universities, we are poised to deliver. Because in a remarkable way, the threat posed by the coronavirus has also had the effect of decreasing “social” distance between people.”  (Full Article)

“Smooth first week…”

As the week came to an end, Notre Dame was assessing its first expansive shift from in-class instruction to distant teaching and learning.

The assessment, so far, by Elliott Visconsi, associate provost and chief academic digital officer: “Notre Dame has just completed week one of remote learning and teaching, having moved 2,725 unique courses online within twelve days. The generosity and resourcefulness of our faculty is everywhere on display while the smooth first week of remote teaching simply would not be possible without the extraordinary commitment of our learning and information technology professionals.

“Those twelve days of intense preparation were marked for everyone by long hours and intense collaborations; by exciting solutions and frustrating setbacks; by uncertainties about the future and concerns for the well-being of our Notre Dame community; by mourning for a community now dispersed and keen anticipation for the moment when we gather again. We are now at the end of our first week; we are proud of the creative solutions and proven learning strategies our faculty and staff have created to sustain a Notre Dame education-- which we believe remains unmatched even while we are apart.”

According to the provost’s office, the resumption of every scheduled class online involved 1,499 faculty instructors.

EVP Update

On Tuesday, executive vice president Shannon Cullinan sent a letter to the Notre Dame community regarding remote work and the University’s commitment to supporting our employees during these financially challenging times.

For additional information, including wellness resources for faculty and staff, visit

In light of the current coronavirus pandemic, the Spring 2020 Staff Town Halls originally scheduled for March 30 and 31 have been postponed. Over the next few weeks, the University will explore other opportunities in place of these important gatherings. 

Division of Student Affairs

In a newsletter for students yesterday, the Division of Student Affairs reported that in response to the shift to online learning for the remainder of the semester, student employment policies have been updated.

The newsletter also has important information on health and wellness resources, student activities, faith resources, and career development. A variety of health and wellness services continue to be available to students while they are away from campus.


Please visit for updates and further information.