Coronavirus Response

There are no known cases of COVID-19 at Georgia Tech at this time and the Institute remains open with modified operations. This page was created to provide information of specific interest to the Georgia Tech academic community.

Institute Updates

Continuity Resources

Academic and Research Daily Updates from Dr. Bras and Dr. Abdallah

Find regular updates on available resources and services, health alerts, and other details that will assist you to best serve our students, your research needs, our community, and each other. 

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Teaching Faculty Town Hall - April 30, 2020

Provost Rafael Bras was joined by Chaouki Abdallah, executive vice president for Research and Kelly Fox, executive vice president for Administration and Finance, and offered updates on the state of the academic enterprise and preparationsfor summer semester. The town hall also featured participation from the deans of the Colleges, the Library, and Georgia Tech Professional Education.

Watch the town hall. 


Announcements

Adjustments to Faculty Tenure and Similar Events Due to the Impact of COVID-19 — April 17, 2020

Dear Colleagues:

We recognize that the COVID-19 pandemic required faculty to rapidly adjust their teaching methods to conduct instruction in a distance format; to figure out alternative locations, arrangements, and resources for continuing research; to increase their service load by mentoring and advising others during this period; and/or to meet challenges posed by the sudden shift in working arrangements in the context of family and community responsibilities.

In order to mitigate the impact of the disruption to normal faculty workload due to COVID-19, we are adjusting the timelines of some faculty member reviews as described below. These actions are the result of recommendations made by a working group that includes the vice provost for Graduate Education and Faculty Development, the associate deans for Faculty Development, and the Office of Faculty Affairs, with input from the ADVANCE Professors and review by the Faculty Executive Board.

Tenure and Critical Review Decisions: After consultation with chairs, deans, and the provost, the president will add a one-year automatic extension to the probationary period for each individual untenured tenure-track faculty member hired between Oct. 16, 2014, and Oct. 15, 2019 (that is, faculty currently serving their first through fifth year of service). Additionally, tenure-track faculty members who were hired between Oct. 16, 2013, and Oct. 15, 2014, who have already been awarded one extension will automatically be granted an additional one-year extension. Faculty members may individually then choose to use or not use that extension, meaning that this does not change the first year that they can go up for tenure, but it does change the last year that they must go up. Tenure policies and procedures will be applied to individuals who receive this extension in a manner consistent with extensions granted for other reasons. Several special cases are clarified below.

Clarification on Special Cases:

  • Faculty members hired between Oct. 16, 2019, and Oct. 15, 2020, do not receive the extension because AY2019-2020 does not count toward their probationary period.
  • Faculty members who have not yet gone through the Third Year Critical Review would have a choice of going up in their third year (if they chose not use the tenure extension) or the following year (if they do use the tenure extension). Their choice to use or not use the extension when they go up for tenure is independent of the choice that they made for Critical Review.
    • Under normal conditions, faculty members who receive a decision of “Reappointment with Warning” during the AY2019-2020 review cycle would need to go through a Critical Review the following year. The automatic extension means that these faculty members may delay that review until the AY2021-2022 review cycle.
  • Faculty members who go up early for tenure (in their fifth year or less in service), do not forfeit their extension and may use it after an unsuccessful bid for tenure. This includes faculty members who went up early for tenure in AY2019-2020.
  • Faculty members who were denied tenure and are on a terminal year contract for AY2019-2020 or AY2020-2021 do not receive an extension. 
  • Faculty members who receive an approved extension for circumstances other than COVID-19 during AY2019-2020 will not receive a second extension for this period.

Policy: https://policylibrary.gatech.edu/faculty-handbook/3.3.5-tenure

Lecturers Third Year Critical Review:  Add an automatic one-year extension to the period for all lecturers hired prior to Oct. 16, 2019, who have not gone through their Third-Year Critical Review.  Lecturers would have a choice of going up for their third-year review in their third year (if they chose not to use the review time extension) or the following year (if they do use the review extension). The lecturer third-year review process is determined and coordinated by the schools or appropriate home unit, which will work with lecturers to determine individual preferences for using the extension or not. If a lecturer does or does not accept the extension, the school or appropriate home unit will notify Faculty Affairs when submitting the review documentation to Faculty Affairs so that it is noted in their file.

Policy: http://policylibrary.gatech.edu/faculty-handbook/3.2.2-non-tenure-track-academic-faculty-members-hiring-and-promotion-guidelines

Librarians/Archivists: Following a discussion with Library leadership, it was determined that no automatic extension to the timeline for current faculty members in the librarian I or archivist I roles or for the third-year cumulative review for faculty members in all ranks was needed. However, if a faculty member (in any rank) determines that he/she needs an extension due to COVID-19 circumstances, the faculty member would make a request in writing to his/her supervisor no later than May 2021. Each request would be considered on a case-by-case basis and requires approval by the supervisor, dean, and Faculty Affairs in GT-TRACS as an “Other” package.

Policy: http://policylibrary.gatech.edu/faculty-handbook/3.2.2-non-tenure-track-academic-faculty-members-hiring-and-promotion-guidelines

Promotion: There are no automatic changes to the timelines for any faculty promotion process since there is no designated last time that a faculty member must go up for promotion, with the exception of librarian I and archivist I. This decision applies to all tenure-track faculty, librarians and archivists other than the first rank, academic professionals, lecturers, and research faculty. For all promotion and review cases, faculty may choose to include a brief statement in their narrative on how COVID-19 impacted their research, teaching, and service. There may be changes to the external letter requests as well, asking for reviewers to consider the impact.

Periodic Peer Review (PPR): Since this is a peer review process, adjustments to the standard review process and timelines should be done with oversight by faculty governance. The standard process does allow for exceptions to be considered on a case-by-case basis.  

Policy: https://policylibrary.gatech.edu/faculty-handbook/3.3.9-periodic-peer-review-policy

In summary: We have tried to consider all types of faculty and their individual situations. However, we recognize that there may be faculty and circumstances that these guidelines do not address. Other extensions or requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis, and should be approved and documented in GT-TRACs, as appropriate. We urge any faculty member to discuss their situation with their school chair and/or supervisor.

Rafael L. Bras, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs

Guidance on Graduate Student Employees for Spring 2020 Semester - March 27, 2020

Dear Faculty and Graduate Student Employees –

As a follow-up to the Thursday, March 26, message to campus regarding leave with pay procedures for employees, we would like to clarify the expectations around graduate student employees for the remainder of the Spring 2020 semester.

All graduate students on an assistantship must be allowed to telework to fulfill their work expectations.

  • For students on teaching assistantships (GTAs), this work will likely include supporting their faculty member in the preparation of course materials and other support of remote delivery of instruction. 
  • For students on research assistantships (GRAs), this work can include, but is not limited to: preparation of data, completing literature reviews, data analysis, drafting manuscripts, and contributing to sponsor reports. Additionally, if other work assignments are not available, GRAs could be redeployed to support instruction, as appropriate to needs and funding sources.
  • Similarly, graduate assistants (GAs) should telework to complete the duties and terms of their assistantship.
  • In all cases, graduate student employees are students first and foremost, and the work of courses, dissertations, and theses should be made a priority. Students who are close to graduating and need to complete time-sensitive activities to meet spring graduation deadlines should consult with their advisors and the Office of Graduate Studies to ensure progress toward these deadlines.
  • Students who are teleworking from international locations must inform their advisors. Faculty advisors and PIs with researchers working from international locations must consult with the Office of the General Counsel (asklegal@gatech.edu) to conduct an export review to ensure compliance with U.S. export control laws. 

As of March 19, all on-campus research laboratories were restricted to only essential activities. Research activities designated as essential have been approved by their school chair or IRI director. Research personnel conducting these essential activities are permitted to be on campus as approved. GRAs can be designated as essential research personnel. This ramp-down plan does not apply to the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI). GTRI personnel should follow current guidance from their leadership.

Because the cessation of research activity is mandated by Georgia Tech, graduate students on an assistantship must continue to be paid during the period in which they will be teleworking, regardless of the source of funding for their assistantship.

Regards,

Chaouki T. Abdallah, Executive Vice President for Research and Rafael L. Bras, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs

Crosland Tower Closure - March 19, 2020

Dear Members of the Academic and Research Faculty:

As we continue to modify campus operations, please be alerted that Crosland Tower is closed, effective immediately. The closure means that lending and delivery of all physical resources, both from Georgia Tech’s collections and Interlibrary Loan, are suspended until further notice, barring exceptional circumstances.

We know that the Library is absolutely essential for the continuity of curriculum delivery and research. As such, electronic resources will remain available. Additionally, Interlibrary Loan content will continue to be delivered electronically, upon request and if available. Lastly, archival resource assistance, as well as all scheduled courses and consultations with librarians, archivists, and public service associates will continue virtually.

We appreciate your flexibility as operations continue to be impacted. The vast majority of Library business is electronic, so I hope for minimal disruption. I do ask that you extend some additional grace to your students, as these changes could affect their assignments or research. Our Library personnel are truly dedicated and will make every effort to support the needs of our faculty and students.

For more information, please visit: https://www.library.gatech.edu/covid-19-library-response.

If you have questions, please contact the Subject Matter Expert Librarian for your school. Each is listed by specialty here: https://library.gatech.edu/experts.

Rafael L. Bras, Provost

Transition to Distance Learning Format - March 17, 2020

Dear Members of the Georgia Tech Faculty:

Following guidance from the University System of Georgia, starting March 30, we will move all residential courses to a distance learning format for the remainder of the semester. As such, please continue this week and next to train and refresh your knowledge of the available Georgia Tech-supported tools available here and adapt your curriculum.

During the week of March 23, please reach out to your students and conduct practice tests of these tools to ensure your course is ready to transition online. As a reminder, you should postpone any graded assignments, tests, or quizzes originally planned for the week of March 23 until after March 30. Additionally, modifications to your syllabi with new dates and expectations should be delivered to students when classes restart on March 30.

This will be a new experience for many of you, as well as your students, and I understand that it may be difficult, so I greatly appreciate your flexibility. Please be sure to communicate clearly and promptly, and be responsive to the concerns and questions that are sure to come from your students. 

The last few weeks have been incredibly challenging for everyone. We have been dealing with rapidly changing, extraordinary situations, full of uncertainties. Many would quickly give up under these circumstances – but not you. You have been extraordinarily patient and understanding. More importantly you have recognized that foremost in all our minds must be the personal well-being of students and their academic progress. Stories abound that are evidence of the caring and committed nature of our faculty and instructors. Thank you so much. I ask you to continue your efforts and prepare for all contingencies so that instruction can resume online in two weeks with minimal problems.

Please continue to reference the updated FAQ available at http://health.gatech.edu/coronavirus#faqsas your primary resource for current information. Please reach out to me or via provostsoffice@gatech.edu if you have questions or concerns.

Take care of yourselves always, and be mindful to avoid and prevent illness. Thank you again. We will reach out with additional details when they are available.

Rafael L. Bras, Provost

Updated COVID-19 Faculty Guidance - March 14, 2020

Colleagues,

Last evening, you received communication from President Cabrera updating the plans to offer distance learning options to our students. Following the University System of Georgia guidance on March 12, students are to remain away from campus, with no instruction, until March 29th 2020. Until then, Georgia Tech and the USG will continue to assess the situation and any need to change the nature of instruction, including the use of distance learning. All faculty, instructors, and teaching assistants are asked to use the available time and be prepared to resume residential instruction or shift to distance/online instruction. The Institute, each unit, and each faculty member will continue testing our continuity plans and our ability to deliver education to our students in alternate ways, should it be necessary. Updates on the campus operations and instructional delivery plans after March 29th will be provided as available.  

All of us will be fielding many questions from students and their families. First, please be understanding and listen. Recognize that students and parents, like all of us, are anxious. Refer questions to the comprehensive FAQ at www.health.gatech.edu/coronavirus. Should you receive a question not covered by that resource, let us know so that a consistent response can be developed.

Thank you for your dedication, understanding, and cooperation.

Rafael L. Bras, Provost