Columbia University

Faculty of Arts and Sciences

Spring 2022 Communications

Resources for Spring Teaching (01/11/22) 

Dear Arts and Sciences faculty members and graduate student instructors,

We hope you enjoyed a few days of relaxation over the holidays. In this letter we summarize and compile the resources, policies, and materials we believe you will find useful as you begin the spring semester, including:

  • Protocols for returning to campus
  • Starting the semester with remote instruction
  • Planning for student absences
  • Resources and support for teaching

Protocols for returning to campus

Although instruction will be remote for the first two weeks of the spring term, you may wish to come to campus during that time. Please bear in mind the guidelines for COVID-19 testing currently in place:

  • New faculty, researcher, or staff OR any individual who has not received a gateway test since Jan. 1, 2021: Get a gateway COVID-19 PCR test from a Columbia testing location within 72 hours after accessing the campus.
  • Returning faculty, researcher, or staff: In light of holiday travel and gathering, it is strongly recommended to receive a PCR test before or as you return to campus at either Columbia testing sites or other community testing locations.

Campus access will be allowed while awaiting results of the gateway test. After January 28, 2022, red passes will be applied to all those who are not compliant with the gateway testing requirement.

Starting the semester with remote instruction

As the Provost announced, the first two weeks of classes will be conducted remotely. This two-week remote learning period is designed to minimize disruptions for students who may be unable to travel or who must isolate because of COVID-19. It will also allow a period for gateway testing of all students prior to the start of in-person classes.

Faculty should set up Zoom meetings for their first two weeks of classes in their CourseWorks sites to enable students to join their classes remotely. To ensure that students, including those on the waitlist, can access the Zoom links during the change of program period, CourseWorks sites will be opened and accessible to anyone with a Columbia UNI starting on January 14 until January 29. Faculty who wish to opt out should notify Timur Gulyamov in Arts and Sciences at [email protected].

Book orders are still being accepted by local campus bookstores. In addition, please make any required course materials for the first two weeks of the term available remotely, either by posting scanned copies on your CourseWorks site or by providing links on your syllabus to digital copies. The Columbia University Libraries may be able to provide access to digital copies of course materials through their reserve system, and faculty who wish to ask the Libraries for help in acquiring digital copies of texts should contact their departmental library liaison.

As in past semesters, please post your syllabus on your CourseWorks site as soon as possible.

Planning for student absences

Some students may need to be absent from class in order to comply with University public health guidelines. Faculty will want to consider how to ensure that absent students keep up with course material and requirements. Student absences relating to COVID-19 will be recognized as circumstances for which absences are excused, and students should not be penalized.

  • Students must contact their instructor to inform them that they will be unable to attend in-person classes for medical reasons. The student may decide to share the reason for the absence, but they are not required to do so. Please note that students should not be required to provide documentation of illness or test results from Columbia Health.
  • Depending on the size, format and pedagogical goals of the class, instructors can support absent students in a number of ways, including:
    • Record the lecture or class or make an existing recorded lecture available.
    • Invite a remote student to "attend" via a Zoom.
    • Create an activity that students could complete on their own to make up missed class or content.

Further information can be found in the University's COVID-19 Resource Guide.

Resources and support for teaching

The Columbia Center for Teaching and Learning has a variety of resources to support your courses, including:

As always, we want to provide you with the support you need for a successful spring semester, so please contact us with any questions:

We send our best wishes for the new year, and the semester ahead.

Best regards,

Lisa Hollibaugh
Dean of Academic Affairs, Columbia College

Rose Razaghian
Dean of Academic Planning and Governance, Arts and Sciences

Victoria Rosner
Dean of Academic Affairs, Columbia School of General Studies

Andrea Solomon
Vice Dean and Dean of Academic Affairs, Graduate School of Arts and Science