Planning your fall 2020 courses

Dear Faculty Colleagues:

We thank you for your continual attention to preparing for the fall 2020 semester amid our ongoing uncertainties. As we await coordinated state-wide guidance from SUNY and from the Governor’s Office, we are reaching out again to reiterate actions you should take so that all faculty, regardless of planned teaching modality, can be remote-ready to meet the needs of our students. We also want to answer questions you may have.

Back in April, hearing your emerging concerns about fall, we sent out two communications about fall semester planning. On April 22, we let you know that we were suspending the policy of faculty having to be certified as a prerequisite for teaching online or hybrid courses in fall 2020. (See Fall semester academic contingency planning now). Then on April 30, we announced the expedited 5-10 hour training available via a Blackboard course designed to enhance your readiness for the flexible course delivery that could be needed in fall 2020.  (See Update on Fall Semester Academic Contingency Planning).

Becoming Remote-Ready
We write now to urge you all to be remote-ready for fall.  As you plan, please take these steps – regardless of currently planned teaching modality:

  • Request needed technology, e.g., webcam, headset, microphone, Wacom tablet, monitor, or computer. Make a remote teaching technology request, or work with your Chair and Dean.
  • Set up your Blackboard course shell for ALL classes, which will:
    1. facilitate a pivot to remote learning if necessary
    2. support colleagues who may substitute for you if needed
    3. support students who may become ill or have to quarantine during the semester.
  • Place in your Blackboard shell, at a minimum, your syllabus, handouts, Powerpoints, assignments, and other essential information about how to successfully complete your course.
  • See more information on Blackboard course design at Course Design and Management in the New Paltz Knowledge Base.

ADA Accommodations
If you wish to teach remotely due to personal medical need, you should consider making a reasonable accommodation request under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Requests under ADA should be submitted through HRDI. That process can be found on their website or by following this link: ADA Process Inquiry Form.

Communications and Support
As we receive awaited guidance from SUNY and the Governor’s Office, we will reach out further.  In the interim, because of the uncertainties of COVID-19, faculty planning seated sections should prepare for the possibility of a mid-course pivot to remote learning. We will continue to support you in preparing for such changes. Do allow us to help you now in order to later save time, reduce stress, and heighten quality. Take advantage of a selection of webinars, online drop-in hours, and individual support by phone. Above all, if you have not yet done so, engage in the Blackboard training (all faculty were automatically registered back on May 1) that was designed to meet your needs in this specific existential moment.

Attached you will find an FAQ that may help to answer questions you may have about online, hybrid, and remote learning options.

Again, please know that we will reach out to you after receiving fall 2020 guidance from SUNY and the Governor’s Office shaping how we are to proceed. In the meantime, thank you for your cooperation in planning for the greatest possible support and success of our students.


Barbara Lyman, Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
Shala Mills, Assistant Vice President for Graduate and Extended Learning
John Reina, Assistant Vice President for Technology and Chief Information Officer
Kate Bohan, Lead Instructional Designer
Rene Antrop-Gonzalez, Dean of Education
Kris Backhaus, Dean of Business
Laura Barrett, Dean of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Dan Freedman, Dean of Science and Engineering
Jeni Mokren, Dean of Fine and Performing Arts