MSP One-Year Extension Agreement FAQs
Effective July 1, 2020 - June 30, 2021
The Provost Office has assembled a list of frequently asked questions and provided the University's response to them. This document controls over any contrary information that has been communicated. Questions should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org
How can faculty find the instructional modality for their course(s) and can the designated modality be changed?
Faculty can find the instructional modality for their course(s) by looking at their Faculty Center in SPIRE. In the My Teaching Schedule>Fall 2020 Room field the essential face-to-face courses will have a building and room location identified while the fully remote courses will have “Fully Remote Class” in the Room field. Students will also be able to see the instructional modality of all of their courses in their Student Center in SPIRE.
Only essential face-to-face courses (F2F), such as labs, studios, performance, and hands-on courses required for degree pathways, that have been previously identified and approved as F2F will be able to meet in person. Faculty cannot schedule in-person meetings, office hours or activities with students in fully online courses and faculty cannot move non-lecture components of essential face-to-face courses online. For more information on course designations, please see the Provost’s Message about the Fall Reopening Plan.
What are the workload accommodations available to faculty who convert a face-to-face course to fully online?
Faculty who are required to convert a 3 or 4 credit face-to-face course with an enrollment of 12 or more students to a fully online course that meets University Quality Standards may select one of the following accommodations in recognition of the time and effort required for course development work, but no additional compensation. Small courses with 12 students or less for which the instructor is not required to create alternative curricula or put in additional course development/conversion work will not have any workload adjustment or accommodation. Faculty must complete an APWS workload adjustment request.
- One Year of Sabbatical Credit. Tenure-Track faculty are expected to choose this option unless this is unworkable because the faculty member will be retiring or departing the university soon and unable to take the sabbatical and return for one year.
- One Course Release. Timing to be determined with approval of the Chair in one of the following seven semesters.
- For Non-Tenure Track Faculty only: One year of credit towards continuous appointment.
- Other accommodations: may be agreed to by the faculty member, the MSP, and Department Chair in lieu of the above.
Are workload accommodations available to non-tenure track faculty?
Yes. Full-time and part-time non-tenure track faculty who are required to convert a face-to-face course to a fully online course are eligible for a course release, or a one year credit towards continuous appointment. The faculty member, the MSP, and the Department Chair may agree to other accommodations or that no accommodation is warranted.
What is required of faculty in order to qualify for a workload accommodation?
Faculty must engage extensively with information technology, instructional design and pedagogy experts from the Instructions Design, Engagement and Support group (IDEAS), the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL), the Libraries and other relevant resources to ensure the course meets University Quality Standards for Fully Online Courses.
Do faculty receive a workload accommodation for each course conversion?
Yes, faculty members will receive a workload accommodation for each 3 or 4 credit course that they are required to convert from face-to-face to fully online. Small courses with 12 students or less for which the instructor is not required to create alternative curricula or put in additional course development/conversion work will not have any workload adjustment or accommodation. Faculty, with relevant approvals from their chair and dean, may request that a course be cancelled if converting and teaching multiple courses to high quality fully online simultaneously cannot be accomplished. A course cancellation would be considered an immediate course release and reduce any accommodations for converting other courses to fully online.
How will workload accommodations be documented?
Workload accommodations or modifications must be articulated in writing between the faculty member and the Department Chair. Faculty must initiate and complete a Workload Accommodation submission in the University’s Academic Personnel Workflow System (APWS) to meet this requirement. The submission will be forwarded to the respective Department Chair for review and approval. All workload accommodations decisions will be routed to the Dean and Provost for tracking and reporting and to ensure consistent application of the agreement.
Are faculty members entitled to a workload accommodation if they convert a 1 or 2-credit course to online?
No, workload accommodations are for converting courses that are 3 credits or more and are not available for independent study, first year seminars, and other small seminar or discussion courses with enrollments of twelve students or less.
What happens if faculty already received compensation or a workload adjustment for converting a course?
If compensation or a workload adjustment have already been arranged for converting a face-to-face course to fully online, an additional workload adjustment would not permitted.
Where can faculty find information about resources available to them for course conversion?
What kind of technical assistance will be available for faculty teaching remotely?
The Instructional Design, Engagement, & Support (IDEAS) group, the Center for Teaching and Learning, Information Technology and the Libraries provide assistance to instructors on a variety of instructional technology tools and supports, online pedagogy, and digital resources needed to support faculty in meeting the University Quality Standards. Access to these resources are available on University’s Quality Standards website.
Can faculty who teach a fully remote course come to campus and use a classroom with appropriate technology to record their lecture?
Yes, faculty who are teaching a fully remote course can request usage of an on-campus classroom with appropriate technology by submitting a help request to the University’s Quality Standards website.
Are there funds available for faculty who have outdated computers or who need supplemental technology to support remote work?
Faculty can apply for replacement computers through the Technology Assistance Fund. In order to expedite requests, the University has a catalogue of pre-approved laptop, desktop and tablet configurations from which faculty can choose. Funds will be prioritized to applicants who verify that the requested computer is necessary to enable them to perform their work remotely, who clearly have an outdated machine that is due for replacement, or who previously applied for funds through the Chancellor’s Computer Replacement Fund.
Faculty can also apply for peripherals (monitors, headsets, cameras, etc.), internet service upgrades and other items through the Technology Assistance Fund. Purchases and reimbursement requests will require the same supporting documents that are required for similar business expenses, such a receipt or other proof of purchase.
Faculty can apply through the University’s Academic Personnel Workflow System (APWS) from July 27, 2020 through August 5, 2020.
How does the calendar change affect the period of non-responsibility?
The Faculty Senate Rules Committee adopted a revised academic calendar for the Fall 2020 semester. Classes will start on August 24th and conclude on November 20th. Classes will be held on three holidays: Labor Day, Columbus Day, and Veterans Day. For more information about the revised Fall 2020 Academic Calendar, see the June 17th announcement.
Does the revision to the academic calendar affect faculty compensation or benefits for existing faculty?
There is no change to faculty compensation or benefits for existing faculty or faculty who are reappointed for the Fall 2020 semester. Only the period of responsibility has changed to accommodate the revised academic calendar.
New faculty will receive amended offer letters describing the earlier start date and its impact on their biweekly pay rate (which will be slightly lower but paid out over a longer period of time) so total compensation remains unchanged.
What about faculty who have summer appointments dedicated to research grants?
Summer research appointments shall be adjusted so that the effort is accelerated by one week and the appointment ends prior to August 24, 2020. The rate of pay will be increased through a supplemental payment so that the total summer compensation remains the same.
Can faculty or departments elect to opt out of the University’s Quality Standards for a particular course?
No. Faculty who are teaching a fully remote course are required to meet the University’s Quality Standards. If faculty fail to meet the University Quality Standards they will not receive the requested accommodation.
What are the intellectual property (IP) rights of faculty who convert a face-to-face course to a fully online course?
The University of Massachusetts Amherst Intellectual Property Policy is in full-force and effect. Course materials developed by faculty are considered “exempted scholarly work” and the University automatically waives any ownership interest in such works.
How will workload accommodations for courses that are co-taught by multiple faculty be handled?
Participating faculty will decide who will serve as the primary faculty member responsible for converting the course to fully-online. Only the primary faculty member will be eligible for the workload accommodation.
Are newly-hired faculty who are teaching in the fall eligible for workload accommodations?
Yes, brand new faculty who perform the required course development work including consultation with the Instructions Design, Engagement and Support group (IDEAS), the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL), the Libraries and other relevant resources and design a fully online course that meets the University Quality Standards will also be eligible for a workload adjustment.
What happens if a faculty member leaves the University prior before using their course release or other workload accommodation?
Faculty departures will be handled on a case-by-case basis.