For faculty: Timelines and expectations for meeting SUNY standards for remote instruction

The following message was sent to faculty and staff via email on Dec. 17.

Dear Faculty Colleagues:

As shared in my December Report to the Faculty, we are accountable for meeting SUNY standards for remote instruction as outlined in the Chancellor’s recent guidance from SUNY.

In keeping with this guidance, this letter outlines minimum expectations, requirements, and timelines with regard to:

  1. Faculty self-review of course design, based on OSCQR principles and practices
  2. Certification for online teaching.

At the end of the letter is a matrix summarizing the more detailed contents which follow.

Spring 2021

Under COVID-19, we will continue to waive the full certification historically required by our policies in order for faculty to teach online. However, to meet SUNY Spring 2021 guidance, respond to the students’ open letter and student survey findings, and support faculty in their remote teaching, see the following outline:

  • All faculty must conduct an OSCQR (Open SUNY Course Quality Review) self-review of each of their online SYNC, online ASYNC and HYBRID Spring 2021 courses to ensure they are using best practices and to determine whether they need additional training or support.
  • Faculty not previously certified who are teaching fully asynchronous courses must turn in their OSCQR self-reviews to the Chair, Associate Dean, or Dean, as determined by the school so that they can be guided toward any support or training that may be in order.  If course remediation is needed, the self-evaluation may be additionally submitted to the instructional design team so they can tailor their support.
  • To find the OSCQR rubric, please note that the New Paltz streamlined adaptation of OSCQR (Open SUNY Course Quality Review rubric) is housed in the New Paltz Knowledge Base and you can find a link at the very top of the Teaching Menu in Faculty Services at
    • The New Paltz adaptation of OSCQR is a simplified, fillable Word version of the original OSCQR rubric (at the link above, you will find this Word document with the title “OSCQR accessible with links”).
    • To further simplify this review process, we have also included an annotated guide to the rubric along with 6 steps faculty can take to meet most of these elements (at the link above, you will find the pdf of this annotated document with the title “Guide to OSCQR with accessible links”).
  • To identify who is already certified, deans and Chairs have been provided a list of faculty who are certified.  That list includes anyone who has been through any of the formal certifications offered at New Paltz (grandfathered or recent) or who has been provisionally certified on the basis of experience at another institution.
  • What to do with the self-review and when
    • Non-certified faculty offering fully asynchronous courses must turn in their self-reviews for those courses to the Chair, Associate Dean, or Dean, as determined by the school by Jan. 11, 2021.
    • All other faculty teaching online (SYNC or ASYNC) or hybrid courses will simply provide notification that they have completed the self-review along with the regular submission of their syllabus which is due by the end of the second week of spring classes.
  • It may be worth keeping in mind these considerations:
    • Before applying the OSCQR rubric, you may wish to adopt the OIT (Office of Instructional Technology) Default Course Shell in Blackboard.  The shell’s elements easily ensure that a remote course meets most of the OSCQR best practices.  The default Blackboard shell also serves as a useful organizing tool for in-person courses.
    • Completing the OSCQR review early allows more time to tap resources designed to assist you.  These include the New Paltz Training: Developing a Blended Learning Course (available to all faculty in Blackboard [Bb]), SUNY Online supports for the full OSCQR rubric, live or recorded campus workshops and webinars, archived support materials in the campus OIT Knowledge Base, or one-on-one support with an instructional designer, and/or coaching by the online teacher mentor assigned to your school.
    • OIT will offer additional drop-in hours during the first two weeks of January to help support faculty in this review work.

Fall 2021

The expectations outlined below may have some bearing not only on how you plan for fall 2021 courses but also how you plan for the spring semester just ahead.  Therefore, the following advance guidance details are shared below.

First, Official Guidance for Fall 2021 Course Scheduling – 11-23-20[76409].docx was distributed to deans/chairs in late November and key aspects were reiterated in the President’s Report to the Faculty.  Provisions include:

  • We are planning for a normal semester, but must be prepared to pivot and, thus, courses that should remain in-person and hybrid should be identified in advance and other courses with seated elements should be prepared for possible pivot to online synchronous.
  • We will no longer waive certification requirements for online/hybrid teaching, although we will offer an intermediate option of provisional certification.
  • Full certification
    • Will continue to be available.
    • Is appropriate only for faculty planning to continue teaching online/hybrid beyond COVID-19.
    • Deadline to apply for fall 2021 delivery is Feb. 1.
    • Full certification is not designed simply to meet CV19 remote needs: faculty should use provisional certification for that.
  • Provisional certification. 
    • Provisional Certification Option One: Evidence of successful prior experience with online teaching and learning, in alignment with OSCQR-based standards (ex:  someone has come to New Paltz with prior online experience from another institution)
    • Provisional Certification Option Two: Using a well-developed and OSCQR-based Blackboard course developed and shared by another faculty member
    • Provisional Certification Option Three:  In the absence of one of the above:

Evidence of going through the New Paltz Blackboard training course (Developing a Blended Learning Course), which includes:

    • Using the New Paltz adapted OSCQR checklist (or the original, if desired)
    • Using or modeling the New Paltz default Blackboard template shell
    • Note:  Many faculty who made excellent use of the Developing a Blended Learning Course and OSCQR checklist during 2020 will likely be able to provide this evidence)
  • To teach remote courses in fall 2021, faculty must establish full or provisional certification by June 15.
  • Provisional certification must be verified and approved by the Assistant VP for Graduate and Extended Learning and OIT.
    • Further process details will be sent to you by separate communication(s).

Matrix Summary

Semester  Action Deadline
Spring 2021
  • All faculty teaching remotely (online ASYNC, SYNCH, or HYBRID) should conduct an OSCQR self-review for each course.  Notify the department chair along with the regular syllabus submission.
By the end of the 2nd week of the Spring 2021 semester
  • Non-certified faculty teaching ASYNC must turn in their completed OSCQR rubric to their chair, associate dean or dean as determined by school.
Due Jan. 11, 2021
Summer 2021
  • All certified faculty teaching online complete the OSCQR for self-evaluation but not submission
  • Non-certified faculty teaching ASYNC must turn in their completed OSCQR rubric to their chair, associate dean or dean as determined by school
 Due by May 1, 2021
Fall 2021
  • Faculty teaching ASYNC or hybrid and not yet certified must have either provisional or full certification.
  • SYNC online should be discontinued unless CV19 conditions indicate and Dean and AVP G&EL approve.
Apply for full training by Feb.1 and complete training
by June 15, 2021or

demonstrate evidence of provisional certification by June 15, 2021.


Thank you for your patience and cooperation as we align our remote instruction practices not only with the high value New Paltz faculty members place on teaching quality but also with SUNY guidance regarding remote instruction.


Barbara Lyman
Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs