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FAQ - Faculty and Staff


Faculty and Staff

Will faculty and staff be required to come to campus at all?

A limited number of faculty and staff may need to come to campus, but most employees will telework. Further guidance will be forthcoming from HR and department heads.

Does the suspension of university-sponsored international travel apply to all research trips?

The travel guidance applies to all international destinations and all university-sponsored trips for any official purpose.

Where do faculty/staff go for more information on telework, benefits, leave, and other issues regarding expanded telework during COVID-19?

Faculty and staff can learn more about our telework arrangement policies and procedures on HR's COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions page.

What support is available for conducting classes online?

The University has two learning management systems, Blackboard and Canvas. Each are managed and supported by the University Library's e-Learning Support Team. For Blackboard support, please reach out to blackboard@american.edu or 202-885-3904. Please contact the same office for technical support for Blackboard Collaborate, Zoom, Kaltura, Responds, and any other tool used through Blackboard. For Canvas support, please start by clicking the Help link on the Canvas home page (the ? icon, lower left navigation). The Canvas team can help you with functionality of Canvas. If you have specific questions to AU (course availability, enrollment, integrated tools, etc.), again please contact the e-Learning Team at canvas@american.edu or 202-885-3904. For instructional design help please start with help.american.edu/lss, the new Learning Support Services portal. You'll find links for design help, who to contact, tool descriptions, and workshop schedules.

What should I do for students who cannot participate online?

Please work with individual students and provide support and flexibility to the extent possible.

In this online teaching environment, it is critical that faculty continue to provide reasonable accommodations, including testing accommodations, to students in their classes. Faculty should pay close attention to students’ ASAC memos and be in contact with students about their accommodations. The ASAC is committed to helping faculty work through challenging situations and can be contacted for guidance at asac@american.edu or 202-885-3360.  

As an alternative dedicated resource, the Student Technology Task Force has been established to work with students and provide accommodating resources and services for those who are having difficulty ensuring continuity in their academic experience. Please feel free to refer students to the Student Technology Task Force, techtaskforce@american.edu, to have their unique technology need tended to.

Should I continue to have office hours?

Please communicate to your students about how you are going to conduct office hours or other opportunities for discussion, questions, etc. Some faculty offer experiential learning components, and students will be seeking information about how those elements will be addressed during the online instruction period.

Are faculty expected to come to campus to teach their online courses?

Faculty are encouraged to make arrangements that best facilitate online instruction for our students and enable you to continue progressing your courses. The technology and tools available enable faculty to conduct most courses remotely without having to come to campus.

What additional support is available to faculty and staff?

Library News

Many of the academic publishers are making their journals, e-books, and textbooks available to faculty and students at no charge during the pandemic. Faculty should be in touch with their subject librarians to access these materials. In addition, Project MUSE is pleased to support its participating publishers in making scholarly content temporarily available for free on their platform. Among the publishers currently opting to make content free on Project MUSE are

  • Johns Hopkins University Press (all books and journals)
  • Ohio State University Press (all books and journals)
  • University of Nebraska Press (all books and journals)
  • University of North Carolina Press (all books)
  • Temple University Press (all books)
  • Vanderbilt University Press (selected books)

Research Guidance

With input from leaders across the university and in alignment with our AU Forward Health and Safety and Workforce plans, the university is undertaking a phased approach to Restarting Research. Following guidance provided at this site, AU researchers can operate in the 2020-2021 academic year with adaptable considerations to meet each researcher’s and research team’s unique needs. Given the fluidity of the public health situation, researchers should plan to remain updated on the most current information. This phased approach to restarting research requires transparent, efficient, and equitable processes to ensure that the communities' health and safety are the highest priority. Each researcher should use the Restart Research checklist as a guide and consult with university guidance and unit administrators to determine the best way to proceed. The goal here is to provide uniform parameters and considerations that are specific enough to be actionable, but broad enough to be adaptable to each research team’s needs. Current research that does not require a presence on-campus or in off-campus space, including human subjects research that does not involve face-to-face contact, can and should continue.

All AU researchers must register with their respective unit and Dean’s office and the Office of Research and identify all personnel, spaces, research team members, and research hazards associated with the research, as well as provide documentation of safety training requirements using the Restart Research App available at this SharePoint site. Each research team will have a responsible contact person who must (1) develop a protocol for returning to research, (2) complete the "COVID-19 Research Reopening Checklist", and (3) maintain contact with their team through this phased return to the research process. Those researchers who work in shared research spaces should coordinate with all users of the space in terms of attending to this checklist. Guidance documents to support the completion of the checklist can be found in the SharePoint site. 

In response to the updated quarantine requirements announced by DC Health on July 27, the Office of Research has taken two additional actions. Researchers who completed a Restart Research Checklist prior to the new order must fill out a new attestation regarding the quarantine order. Those who have not yet completed the checklist will see an updated version that incorporates the new attestation. Upon receipt of this acknowledgement and an approval of your Restart Research Checklist, you may commence research per the approved plan.

Chairs, Deans and/or Deans Designees will review each research team’s plan for completeness and also related to overall occupancy in the unit, coordination in the use of shared spaces, and administrative needs to enact the plan. The AU Forward Health and Safety Guidelines must be followed by all researchers, including faculty, staff, and students as we re-enter campus to engage in research. Faculty who are permitted to come to campus for research purposes pursuant to the process outlined below should not assume they are permitted to work on-campus for all purposes.

Does AU have a research continuity plan?

AU has established a Research Continuity Task Force, which has put together a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for research continuity.

With a variety of schedules for faculty and staff, how will parking be handled?

Parking enforcement and payment requirements remain suspended until further notice. Faculty and staff enrolled in payroll deductions can submit a cancellation request to parking@american.edu. Additional information is also available on the Parking and Commuter Services page.

Can staff and faculty take their AU-owned IT equipment home to aid productivity during the COVID-19 pandemic?

While the Office of Information Technology does not encourage taking AU equipment home that is not designed to be portable/mobile, we understand that these are unprecedented times. Staff or faculty wanting to take AU-issued desktops and monitors home must agree to the following requirements:

  • Obtain the approval of your supervisor or department head to take the equipment home.
  • Email the Help Desk at helpdesk@american.edu to inform us of the change in location, so we have a record for tracking and accountability. 
    • Be sure to include the AU asset tag number, make, and model.
    • Agree to properly care for the equipment so that it is not damaged. 
    • Use added caution transporting the equipment.
    • Select a location where children or pets will not have easy access.
    • Do not leave the equipment in a car, where it is an easier target for theft.
    • Understand that the equipment must be returned as soon as you may safely return to work or your employment ends. 
    • Staff/faculty will not be issued more than one workstation, so you cannot have one AU-owned workstation at home and another in the office.
    • Accept responsibility for dismantling and reassembling the workstation set-up independently, as OIT staff are not permitted to travel to personal homes.
    • Agree to bring the equipment back to AU’s campus in the event of a hardware problem that requires in-person assistance.

Please contact the Help Desk for guidance at 202-885-2550 or helpdesk@american.edu.

How can faculty and staff find out more information about how AU is approaching the fall semester?

Staff and faculty can find more information about AU’s approach to moving to the next phase of how we work on the Human Resources website.