Mills remains committed to providing a distinctive and transformative education this academic year while following State and Alameda County public health orders. In consultation with faculty and academic leadership, our plan was to resume instruction this fall with a low-density hybrid model for our academic programs. However, based on the surge in coronavirus cases and public health guidelines, we will now move to a primarily online format for the fall semester. Pending further information from the State of California on higher education guidelines, we may be able to offer selected hands-on academic experiences in person for programs that do not translate to an online environment.
Before returning to campus, all faculty will be required to complete a COVID-19 training. This training is meant to ensure that each faculty member has a shared understanding of their individual responsibility for mitigating the risks associated with the coronavirus. Mills staff and students are also required to complete the training. Please review our health and safety guidelines page for detailed prevention protocols designed to protect you and your students while on the Mills campus.
We are requesting that all students, faculty, and staff complete a daily COVID-19 self-check list (PDF). The intent of this checklist is to ensure that you are not exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 before coming to campus or coming into contact with anyone on campus. If you exhibit any symptoms, or are sick in any way, please stay home and get tested for the virus.
After reviewing the faculty survey results on the pedagogical rationales for course modalities and working with academic leadership on courses that would work well online, we have determined that classes will be offered in four teaching modalities:
The course schedule contains information about the course modality in the notes section for each course.
To assist you in the development of online hybrid teaching and course design, Mills will be retaining instructional designer(s) to guide faculty with in-person and digital learning, course design, peer-to-peer and student-to-instructor engagement, inclusive design, and accessibility. The instructional designer(s) will also be responsible for developing and deploying learning content into well-organized instructional modules that employ supported, vetted, and effective digital learning technology that includes Canvas, Zoom, and Google Suite, while focusing on research-backed pedagogy and instructional strategies to encourage student engagement, knowledge acquisition, and achievement of learning outcomes.
With remote instruction, class sizes will remain the same. If public health guidelines allow us to hold any in-person academic experiences, sizes will be limited to allow faculty and students to maintain physical distancing.
For each classroom identified for on-campus instruction, the following equipment will be provided:
Audio-visual staff will provide one-on-one training for instructors on the physical set up of equipment in the classroom they are assigned to use. Additional assistance for integrating the provided hardware into instruction may be requested by contacting the ITS Helpdesk at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For home teaching situations, the Provost's Office will send a survey to the faculty with a deadline of July 24, 2020, requesting information on the faculty member's needs. Filling out the survey is not a guarantee of equipment. After the survey is completed, the Provost's Office will review the requests and deliver recommendations to ITS. ITS staff will determine what can be repurposed from existing Mills inventory and what is appropriate/affordable to purchase. Once final decisions are made, ITS will work directly with the individual faculty for implementation.
We recognize that students who don't have access to the technology needed for online learning have been disproportionately and negatively affected during COVID-19. In response, Mills has expanded our existing iPad initiative to increase technology access and affordability for our students.
In addition to our iPad Semester Loan Program, we've introduced the Mills College iPad Purchase Program. Students will be able to purchase a new 128GB iPad, an Apple Pencil, and two years of AppleCare technical support through Mills for half of the standard purchase price. We hope this makes learning more accessible to all of our students and your teaching more productive. Students who wish to participate in the iPad initiative should be directed to the Information for Students web page.
Reliable Internet access is another challenge that affects many students. To help students access affordable Internet options, we have compiled a list of low-cost Internet plans that are being offered by different companies and organizations.
Mills is committed to supporting the success of students with disabilities. Classes in all formats will meet accommodations standards for our students. If you have concerns about individual students' ability to access online or hybrid content as a result of a disability, please contact Student Access and Support Services at email@example.com.
The academic calendar will proceed as currently published, and classes will begin on schedule on August 26, 2020. However, after Thanksgiving break, all classes and final exams will be remote, and students who leave campus do not need to return until their classes begin again in January.
Academic policies have returned to normal and are listed in the catalog. For example, undergraduate students are limited to taking a total of 8 units of P/NP credit for courses that are offered for a grade. Courses taken for P/NP during the spring 2020 semester are exempted from the 8 credit limit. The petition process, initiated through the portal, remains available to students who need to request an exemption from an academic policy.
Faculty are encouraged to consider if adjustments in their assessments of exams, essays, reports, presentations, etc. must be made for students who are remote or quarantined (either mandatory or self) or are in any other way prevented from participating in class interaction (e.g., poor Internet quality).
Final exams will take place remotely. The Canvas Learning Management System will include a tool for virtual exam proctoring.
Grading practices have returned to normal as described in the catalog. The temporary changes to academic policies are no longer in effect.
Students will meet remotely with their instructors and advisors for office hours and academic advising at times that are convenient for students and faculty. Faculty will notify students either in the syllabus and/or by email of those times.
For remote advising appointments, students’ privacy will be preserved in compliance with FERPA guidelines, and every effort will be made to limit those present at these appointments to the faculty advisor and the student.
Our librarians will provide online access to reference/research services and instruction via email, chat, video conferencing, and telephone and interlibrary loan of articles and book chapters. You'll also have 24/7 access to electronic resources including licensed content such as electronic journals, eBooks, and databases. The library subscribes to 50,000+ electronic journals and 168,000+ eBooks. View the F. W. Olin Library Covid-19 Access and Procedures for guidance on accessing these and additional resources.
If the College reaches a reopening phase where the library building can be occupied, we may be able to circulate physical library materials (e.g., books, DVDs, etc.), offer limited computer use and scanning, provide some study spaces, and offer a variety of in-person services by appointment (reference, special collections use, etc.). Library staff would be available to assist you and facilitate the acquisition of needed materials. Safety precautions would include: