April 9, 2020 Update
Information/Updates for Students, Faculty and Staff
- Orientation changes explained for coming year
- Career Services Tip of the Week
- Housing provides important date
- USI IT Advisory: Important information about summer course shells and Zoom
- Outlook Calendar event removal
- Second round of faculty and staff Zoom meetings scheduled for April 15
- Faculty experts share COVID-19-related knowledge with community/media
- Bursar’s Office provides updates on holds and fees
- Alumni, donor and retiree Zooms now available for viewing
- Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) offers tips, tools and other COVID-19-related resources
- Virtual Service Learning workshop offered
- Human Resources offers important updates for faculty and staff
Several changes have been made to Screaming Eagles Orientation due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Orientation dates are being transferred to Virtual Advising and Registration dates. Student Development Programs is also creating a robust New Student Online Orientation which should be completed soon.
Detailed information about Screaming Eagles Orientation changes, including a list of Virtual Advising and Registration dates and important information for Advising Centers and advising faculty and staff.
If you have questions, email Carmen Stoen, contact her through Microsoft Teams or call 812-266-0246.
Over the next few weeks, Career Services and Internships will be sharing a Career Tip of the Week for students. Tips will be sent via email or you can “like” or “follow” Career Services and Internships on social media. Tips will include career advice, as well as links to articles or webinars that will help with job and internship searches.
Students are encouraged to use these tips to prepare for their job or internship search.
Career Services and Internships is available to answer questions and offer advice. Students can schedule an appointment with a career coordinator on Career Launch or by emailing Career Services and Internships.
Important Housing Dates:
- July 1 – The extended date to cancel the 2020-21 housing contract without penalty
- July 2-14 – Online room selection for returning students who didn’t choose space in March or April and new students
The Registrar’s Office needs to make some changes in course format for the summer sessions in response to COVID-19 changes. The current summer course shells reflect the old course format (hybrid or face-to-face) and need to be recreated in Banner to reflect the new course format (online delivery). Please see the notes below to help facilitate this process:
If the summer course you were scheduled to teach was already being offered in an online format, you do not need to make any changes. The summer shells you have are properly formatted and are ready to go. You may begin building your course there.
If the summer course you were scheduled to teach was being offered in either a hybrid or face-to-face format, please discontinue using your current shells.
- After Friday, April 10, you should see two course shells, the old shell reflecting the old format (ex: .NC1 or .001) and the new shell, reflecting the online delivery format (ex: .NO1).
- If you have done any work in the course shell reflecting the old format, please do a Course Copy into your new shell to transfer your work no later than Monday, April 20. After April 20, the summer shells with the old format will be deleted from the system and they will no longer show up in your course list, nor will you have access to them.
Secondarily, many have reached out to ask about Zoom updates. In an effort to fix any potential security or privacy bugs, Zoom is releasing a series of patches. You should be able to run these update patches with the confidence that they are safe. However, if you would feel more comfortable, you can always go directly to Zoom’s website and download the most up-to-date client, which includes all patches and bug fixes.
Additionally, resources pertaining to best practices for securing Zoom meetings are posted on the Online Learning Instructional Continuity Plan website. Please contact Shannon Hoehn if you have any other questions or concerns.
If you imported the important University dates into your Outlook Calendar last fall, those events cannot be globally removed. Events that have since been canceled will still show up on your Outlook Calendar. They can be manually removed or ignored.
On Wednesday, April 15, Dr. Ronald Rochon, USI President, along with Dr. Mohammed Khayum, Provost, and members of the administrative staff, will again offer three live Q&A sessions for USI employees via Zoom video conferencing.
We have one new request! Please turn on your cameras and wear your favorite USI spirit gear. We want to see you and share our school pride. #screaglesflytogether
These will be 45-minute moderated sessions. Employees can submit questions through the Zoom chat function and moderator Kindra Strupp, Vice President for Marketing and Communications, will deliver those questions to the panel.
The sessions will be broken down as follows:
Support Staff 9 - 9:45 a.m.
Faculty 10 - 10:45 a.m.
Administrators 11 - 11:45 a.m.
Links for each session will be sent via email. All sessions will be recorded and made available for later viewing on the USI COVID-19 website.
To continue promoting USI faculty as sources of expertise, University Communications has reached out to several faculty members to solicit 300- to 500-word op-ed columns on how Coronavirus/COVID-19 has impacted their field.
These columns are intended to be published to the USI website and distributed to media, with follow-up information about contacting University Communications to arrange for further interviews. The first of these columns, written by Dr. Jill M. Raisor, Dr. Joy Howard and Dr. Kelly Sparks, has been published on the Screagles Fly Together website.
Any interest or proposals for such columns from other faculty can be sent to Ben Luttrull for consideration.
During this time of difficulty and uncertainty for our students and their families, the USI Bursar will allow all students who are enrolled in the Spring 2020 Semester to participate in priority registration for Fall 2020 regardless of the current amount owed to the University.
Students with an outstanding balance must pay the balance due in full by June 30 or qualify for an extended payment plan approved by the Bursar’s Office to confirm their Fall 2020 registration. Those who demonstrate a direct financial impact related to the COVID-19 pandemic or the associated economic impact could receive up to 12 additional months to pay outstanding Spring 2020 charges.
No enrollment fee or interest will be charged for participation in the extended payment plan. Additional information on payment plan options will be available on the Bursar website by April 20 following the priority registration period.
Visit the Bursar website for a full list of updates.
On Wednesday, April 8, Dr. Ronald Rochon, USI President, along with other USI administrators continued a series of Zoom meetings with University constituents, addressing retirees as well as alumni and donors. These sessions will be available to view and share on the USI COVID-19 website.
Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) offers tips, tools and other COVID-19-related resources
- ‘Nobody Signed Up for This’: One Professor’s Guidelines for an Interrupted Semester (Supiano, 2020)
- ‘Zoomed Out’: Why ‘Live’ Teaching Isn’t Always the Best (Supiano, 2020)
- Wise Feedback: Using Constructive Feedback to Motivate Learners (Bose, 2020)
- OK Go Sandbox: Here's a bit fun with Ok Go's music videos, behind the scenes, and K-12 learning activities.
Tips and Tools for Online Instruction
- Contribute to the List: You are invited to suggest tools, tips and resources that you have found useful as you navigate the transition to online/remote instruction and working from home. Examples include webpages, instructional strategies, tools, tips and resources.
- View the List: This compilation will be updated regularly to include the suggested resources and tips for the USI community.
Resources for Online/Remote Instruction
- Instructional Continuity at USI: Online Learning's website with resources to support your online/alternative instruction, including the Instructional Services Request form, list of peer mentors, and technology instructions to share with your students
- Adapting your Face-to-Face Course for Online: Slides, planning worksheet, and recording from recent webinars to provide guidance for adapting your class to an online/remote environment and to start drafting a weekly plan
- Teaching with Limited Internet: See the webinar slides and recording
Service Learning is offering the Zoom virtual workshop “Strategies for Integrating Service Learning Projects Into Your Online Course” from Noon to 1 p.m. Tuesday, April 14.
Join the workshop via the Zoom link or use the Meeting ID: 459-013-6475.
Participants will work with online tools that students can use to develop, execute and complete projects.
Are you interested in learning more about service learning but unable to attend this session? Please contact Marie Opatrny Pease, Director of Service Learning, to schedule an individualized information session. Additional resources on service-learning can be found on the USI Service Learning webpage.
The following new developments regarding benefits have also been posted on the Benefits webpage:
Dependent Care FSA Changes Due to COVID-19
Did you know that you can make changes to your 2020 Flexible Spending Account election if there is a change in your dependent care costs? The cost of coverage rules permit you to make changes to the Dependent Care FSA if there is change in cost associated with a change in provider, rates by a provider or change in work schedule impacting the need for care. If your dependent’s daycare or school has closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19, this would be considered a qualifying life event for those enrolled in a Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account.
How to Take Action
You must notify Human Resources within 31 days of the change in your dependent care. If you’ve notified your HR representative within this time period, you will be given the opportunity to adjust your election for the year.
CARES Act New Allowances
Making a retirement plan/account distribution/withdrawal: Participants are able to take a retirement plan/account withdrawal through December 31, 2020 without the 20% mandatory federal tax withholding or 10% early withdrawal penalty.
Taking a retirement plan loan: Through September 23, 2020, eligible loan amounts are revised from 50% to 100% of vested balance, up to $100,000 (still requires collateral for collateralized loans). Through December 31, 2020, participants can request a suspension of loan repayments up to one year.
Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) for 2020: RMDs may be suspended for 2020, allowing opportunity to recoup any market loss and savings to build back up.
IRA Contributions Deadline: For 2019, the tax year IRA contributions deadline has been extended to July 15.
For the remainder of April, Indiana Public Retirement System employees are welcome to contact our representative Bob Boxell directly regarding pension and annuity savings account, in place of in-person meetings. Please contact Benefits staff to obtain contact information.
For the remainder of April, TIAA employees are welcome to contact our representative Tim Stout directly regarding retirement accounts, in place of in-person meetings. Please contact Benefits staff to obtain contact information.
Employee Assistance Program - Deaconess CONCERN
The University provides a confidential Employee Assistance Program through Deaconess CONCERN which provides assessment, short-term counseling, referral and follow-up services for eligible employees and members of their household. Family, marital, financial or work-related problems are dealt with in a confidential manner by one of the EAP counselors. Employees and members of their household are eligible for up to eight free visits; additional visits are covered by most health plans. The cost of the EAP is paid by the University.
Employees can see counselors via Zoom or in person.