Remote Learning Resources

All remote courses will be facilitated through SAIC Canvas. Click here to access your account and accompanying tools and resources. Questions about remote teaching platforms (i.e., Canvas) can be emailed to General questions can be addressed to the CRIT HelpDesk at 312.345.3535 or

Faculty Resources for Rapid Transition to Online Teaching Guide

REMOTE LEARNING @ SAIC: 10 Tips for Success as You Move Your Studies Online


Student Guide for Remote Learning + Making



Dear SAIC Faculty,

As we prepare to resume teaching and learning tomorrow, I want to share updated information and several resources to assist you this semester. Below, you’ll find information on the following:

  • Mandatory Attendance Compliance Reporting
  • Online Faculty Resources
  • Canvas
  • Zoom
  • Contact Information
  • Guidelines for COVID-19

As always, you can find the latest updates, including Make Ready announcementsrecordings of webinars and forums, and  FAQs on


Shawn Michelle Smith
Interim Dean of Faculty  
Mandatory Attendance Compliance Reporting
In addition to regular attendance taking, faculty also need to verify attendance in order for SAIC to disburse Federal Aid to student accounts. In order for SAIC to comply, faculty must confirm that each student has attended their course at least once. Faculty will receive email instructions from the Registrar on how to complete this in Faculty Self-Service. Federal Aid attendance verification is due immediately following add/drop, which ends on September 15, 2020.  
Online Faculty Resources

Faculty need to use Canvas this semester for multiple reasons. An online tool, Canvas can be used to organize course content in modules, upload and record video using Panopto, make PDFs more accessible using Ally, create graded discussions for students to share images and presentations, and schedule student appointments.

During the semester, CRIT staff are providing Canvas workshops every weekday from 2:00–3:00 p.m. CT. In the first 30 minutes, they will cover topics that have been frequently requested. The rest of the time will be guided by the needs and questions from participants. Click here for the Zoom link. Email to reach CRIT support for help with Canvas

  • Please publish your courses, upload your syllabus, and add any other materials that can help students understand your course(s). This week, the Dean’s Office began outreach to faculty teaching all-online courses who have not published their courses to Canvas to see if any assistance is needed.
  • Students will need to use Canvas for all of their courses and be encouraged and required to participate via Canvas.

All faculty teaching in fall 2020 will receive a licensed SAIC Zoom account. You can find more information in the Canvas Faculty Portal, including a guide for enabling the Zoom integration in your Canvas courses.
Additional Resources and Contact Information 

Dean’s Office
Contact information for all SAIC administrative staff can be found in the Faculty Information Guide here.
Shawn Michelle Smith
Interim Dean of Faculty

Delinda Collier
Interim Dean of Graduate Studies

Dwayne Moser
Associate Dean of Graduate Studies

Dawn Gavin
Dean of Undergraduate Studies

Paul Jackson
Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies

Chair of Faculty

Faculty Liaison
Raja El Halwani

Title IX
Stop Sexual Violence
Sexual Misconduct Under Title IX Policy
Lumturije “Luma” Akiti
Title IX Coordinator

Darryl Lockett
Deputy Title IX Coordinator

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)
Jefferson Pinder
Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Academic Affairs

Dio Aldridge
Special Assistant to the Dean and Provost on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Katrina Valera
Director of Student Affairs for Diversity and Inclusion

Office of Student Affairs
Debbie Martin
Dean of Student Life

Dean on Call (Email for unresponsive student concerns only)
Available by phone 24 hours per day, 365 days per year, for consultation and assistance on urgent matters.
312.768.8485 (For staff and faculty use)

Additional Contacts
Academic Advising (for students)
Rebekah Champ
Assistant Dean of Student Affairs for Academic Advising

Counseling Services (for students)

For employees: The Art Institute of Chicago (both the School and museum) has an excellent resource in ComPsych, part of our Employee Assistance Program(EAP). Counselors are available 24/7 to confidentially address concerns you and/or members of your family may have. For additional information about the EAP or any other benefits, please reach out to the HR Benefits Team at 312.629.3382 .

Disability and Learning Resource Center (DLRC)
For handling student accommodations requests
Valerie St. Germain

I strongly recommend cc’ing the DLRC on email exchanges with students regarding requests for accommodations in your courses.

The Writing Center
Leila Wilson
Writing Center Coordinator

John M. Flaxman Library
Mackenzie Salisbury
Reference and Instruction Librarian

Instructional Resources and Facilities Management (IRFM)
Craig Downs
Executive Director of Media and Instructional Resources

Sarah Hicks
Executive Director of Facilities Services

Brad Johns
Executive Director of Fabrication and Instructional Resources

Material Source
Material Source Operations for Fall 2020
You can pre-order materials you need through our Order Form.
Contact us at

Media Centers
What’s New for Fall 2020?
Hours: Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m.
All equipment requests may be reserved in advance through Patron Portal.
You can arrange for a no- or low-contact pickup transaction.
Equipment certification and training workshops are available online instead of in person.

Instructional Fabrication Facilities and Shops
Instructional Fabrication facilities and shops, including the Columbus Metal Shop, Columbus Wood Shop, and the Columbus Digital Fabrication Studio, will be open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., beginning September 2. Departmental production facilities may have adjusted hours and modified service provisions. Virtual project consultations, shop time and equipment reservations, low-contact pickup options, and expanded online and digitized alternatives to in-person visits will be available. Click here for more information.
Guidelines for COVID-19


AUGUST 10, 2020

Dear SAIC Faculty,

Each semester, the Dean's Office prepares a document outlining resources and recommendations for faculty as they prepare their syllabi for the upcoming semester. In order to keep all of these resources in one place, we published the syllabus guidance within the Fall 2020 Teaching Guide. A direct link to the syllabus-related resources can be found below. We have provided the syllabus information in two formats for your convenience.
Fall Syllabus Resources

We hope this material proves helpful to you in building a syllabus that helps prepare students to successfully engage in the creative, substantial, and flexible curriculum you have worked so hard to prepare for this term. Thank you for all that you are doing.


Paul Jackson
Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies


AUGUST 4, 2020

Dear Faculty,

As you prepare your courses for the fall semester, we wanted to share resources that will help in that planning. It is our intention to provide you with guidance, training, and ongoing support to ensure that you have both agency and assistance in delivering your course content in both modified in-person and fully online formats. The Fall 2020 Teaching Guide on Canvas has been developed by the Schedule and Curriculum Support (SCS) Team and its various subgroups to support you as you plan your curriculum for the new context of fall 2020. Additionally, throughout the month of August we will be hosting a series of faculty workshops and conversations on teaching and learning for the fall semester.

The first of these workshops will focus on Modular Course Structure, and will be held on Thursday, August 6, from 1:00–2:00 p.m. CT and again from 3:00–4:00 p.m. CT. Organizing your course content in Canvas with a modular structure promotes curricular flexibility as individual modules can interrelate and can be interchangeable in sequence. Both modified in-person and fully online courses can utilize a modular structure to enable flexibility in the mode of delivery, allowing for student absences due to illness, an unforeseen change, or the rapid transition of an in-person course to a fully online delivery if circumstances warrant.

The following week there will be two workshops on Accessibility and Accommodations on Thursday, August 13, from 12:30–1:30 p.m. CT and again from 4:00–5:00 p.m. CT. The Zoom links for these workshops can be found below and also in the Fall 2020 Teaching Guide

Here are some additional links to online training videos focusing on our Canvas learning management system. We encourage you to utilize Canvas extensively as you prepare to teach in the fall and if you are not already familiar with the platform, the following links are a great place to start: 

Additional workshops and conversations will focus on building community in an online course, principles of online teaching, conducting critiques online, assignment scheduling and workload considerations, evaluation of student engagement and learning, and strategies for asynchronous teaching, amongst other topics. Please review the Fall 2020 Teaching Guide for the most up-to-date information on these opportunities.

Faculty Workshop: Modular Course Structure
Thursday, August 6, 1:00–2:00 p.m. CT
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 913 2557 2887
Passcode: 299987

Faculty Workshop: Modular Course Structure
Thursday, August 6, 3:00–4:00 p.m. CT
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID:  951 1186 6399
Passcode: 29998

Faculty Workshop: Accessibility and Accommodations
Thursday, August 13, 12:30–1:30 p.m. CT
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 388 394 5785
Passcode: SAIC2020

Faculty Workshop: Accessibility and Accommodations
Thursday, August 13, 4:00–5:00 p.m. CT
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 388 394 5785
Passcode: SAIC2020

Delinda Collier
Interim Dean of Graduate Studies

Dawn Gavin
Dean of Undergraduate Studies

Dwayne Moser
Associate Dean of Graduate Studies 

Workshops for Teaching and Learning Subgroup 


JULY 16, 2020

Dear Faculty,

Over the past several months, members of the Schedule and Curriculum Support team have been working tirelessly alongside members of Faculty Senate, department chairs, and many volunteer faculty to prepare for the challenges of the fall 2020 semester. Today I write to share a new set of resources developed by your colleagues that we hope will help you continue the crucial work of preparing your courses.

These resources will exist as a section of the larger Faculty Portal in Canvas. As a body of information and guidance, they seek to help you prepare curriculum that is both flexible and resilient, whether online or in person. What you’ll find here builds on everything we have learned through hard-won experience teaching through crisis and disruption during the spring 2020 and summer 2020 terms.

Click here for a direct link to the Fall 2020 Teaching Guide.

In the Teaching Guide, you will find the following items of note: 

  • Q&A Regarding Contact Time in Online and Hybrid Courses
  • Modular Course Planning Guide
  • A New Engagement, Participation, and Attendance Policy
  • Designing Course Materials for Accessibility
  • Practices All SAIC Faculty Should Adopt While Teaching Online
  • Strategies for Online Instruction at SAIC
  • Off-Campus Course Activity Policy for Fall 2020

The Fall 2020 Teaching Guide is intended to be a living document, and we will continue to update these materials and add new ones where needed. In particular, a modified version of the traditional syllabus recommendations message will be added to the Teaching Guide in the weeks to come.

Thank you for the creativity and passion you have shown again and again throughout this year. We have enormous confidence in your collective abilities to meet this next moment and share your expertise with our students, whether in a socially distanced classroom or from around the world.


Shawn Michelle Smith
Interim Dean of Faculty and Vice President of Academic Affairs

Arnold J. Kemp
Dean of Graduate Studies

Dawn Gavin
Dean of Undergraduate Studies

Dwayne Moser
Associate Dean of Graduate Studies

Paul Jackson
Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies


APRIL 9, 2020

Dear Faculty,

As online instruction gets underway this week, the Dean’s Office is aware that many faculty members have sought guidance on how to evaluate student performance in this unprecedented semester. Today, we write to share updates that we hope will inform your approach to evaluation as you re-engage with your students and their work:

  • Spring 2020 Withdrawal Deadline Pushed Back to April 30
  • A Reimagined Class Progress Report System
  • How SAIC Will Address Grading in Spring 2020
  • Recommendations for Evaluating Student Performance
  • An Extension of the Spring 2020 Grading Period for Faculty to May 24
  • A Reminder Regarding Incomplete (INC) Grades

The Dean’s Office, your department chairs, administrative directors, and staff across the School will support you fully in helping students emerge from this difficult semester with new knowledge, increased confidence in their capabilities, and fresh momentum to propel their studies forward in the semesters and years to come. On behalf of the entire SAIC community, we thank you again for your continued flexibility and empathetic engagement with your students. Do not hesitate to reach out to any of us as needed.


Jefferson Pinder, Interim Dean of Faculty and Vice President of Academic Affairs
Arnold J. Kemp, Dean of Graduate Studies
Dwayne Moser, Associate Dean of Graduate Studies
Dawn Gavin, Dean of Undergraduate Studies
Paul Jackson, Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies
Spring 2020 Withdrawal Deadline Pushed Back to April 30

Because of the extended Spring Break, the withdrawal deadline was moved to Thursday, April 30, giving all students ample time to return to their now-online studies and fully assess their ability to succeed in them.

As usual, when a student withdraws from a course or multiple courses, a system-generated message will be sent to each faculty member, and until you receive such a message, do not assume a student has formally withdrawn.

You can find more general information about withdrawal grades here.

As a reminder, if a student in your class has not been participating and has not responded to your outreach, please contact SAIC’s dean on call at Include in your email the name of the student, course, and issue you are experiencing. Staff from the Office of Student Affairs will respond as soon as possible.

If you have reason to believe that there is an emergency involving a student, as always, the dean on call is available via phone 24/7 at 312.768.8485.
A Reimagined Class Progress Report System

The Class Progress Report early alert system has been significantly reworked over the extended break. Now called “Instructor Check-Ins,” this PeopleSoft-generated communication has additional flexibility in terms of the messages it can convey. Notably, we have added two checkbox options that provide students with positive feedback and throughout emphasized the message’s function as an initiation of further dialogue between the student, faculty, and academic advising support. We encourage all faculty to make use of the tool’s expanded ability to formally provide affirming feedback for students who are either doing well or in the process of improving their class performance.

Your comments in any given situation remain the most important information an Instructor Check-In message will contain, and we continue to encourage all faculty who submit one to include comments that provide students with detailed guidance or instruction.

Instructor Check-In messages are primarily a communication between the faculty and student, but academic advising/advisors will continue to review these messages, and advisors will reach out appropriately to undergraduate advisees when a message or combination of messages indicates concern.

The process for submitting an Instructor Check-In via PeopleSoft Faculty Center has not changed. Academic Advising has updated the Guide for Submitting an Instructor Check-In. This guide can be found on the faculty dashboard in the “Policies: Student Interactions” section on the left hand side.
How SAIC Will Address Grading in Spring 2020

First, let us affirm what will be the same: As usual, students will earn Credit (CR) based on satisfactory completion of course requirements. Individual faculty must determine who should earn Credit in the course(s) they teach, based on the merits of each individual’s performance, and only faculty will be able to award students Credit.

What will be different this semester: When students are not able to successfully complete a course or courses, SAIC will not issue No Credit (NCR) grades, or subject students to the typical consequences that accompany NCR grades.

The reason we will set aside NCRs this semester: truly extenuating circumstances surround every one of our students. As such, when a student is not able to successfully complete a course, SAIC will highlight the circumstances, not their individual performance. To do this, we will apply a one-time special notation in lieu of placing an NCR grade.

The technical particulars of what exact notation to use are still being worked out, but the final product will be functionally different from a No Credit in both nomenclature and in that as a result of receiving this notation:

  • Students’ academic standing will not change one way or the other.
  • There will be no impact on a student’s eligibility to receive institutional merit aid.

Note: SAIC is required to include non-completed courses in determining a students’ ongoing eligibility to receive federal, state, and institutional financial aid. SAIC will take all necessary steps to assist any student whose financial aid is impacted by their spring 2020 performance.

However, students receiving this spring 2020 notation for a course will not receive the benefits associated with earning Credit. Specifically, such courses will not:

  • Provide any credit hours toward degree requirements or satisfy any prerequisite requirements for future courses.
  • Satisfy any specific degree requirement. If received in a degree-required course, the student must retake the course in a future semester and earn Credit.

When faculty submit their spring 2020 semester grades, they should follow the usual process, issuing either a grade of CR, NCR, or INC (Incomplete, see below) to each student on their roster. This semester, faculty should understand that issuing a NCR grade on the grading roster will automatically result in the placement of the spring 2020 special notation in its place.
Recommendations for Evaluating Student Performance

The Dean’s Office has previously offered some observations on the challenges many of our students face right now, and these need not be repeated here, particularly as many are challenges all of us, faculty, students, and staff, confront both individually and collectively. We understand, however, how important these considerations are for faculty as you evaluate student performance in the midst of so many concerns.

When determining if a student should receive Credit, SAIC will continue to rely on faculty to apply their professional judgement and consider a student’s performance against both the course requirements (online and remote) and the circumstances surrounding their performance. As always, SAIC will support faculty judgement in making these determinations, and in this unique semester we will utilize the new, one-time spring 2020 notation (see above) to specifically mitigate some of the negative consequences in the event that students simply cannot earn Credit.

With that said, we offer some additional recommendations for faculty to consider in making the most challenging decisions—how to proceed when students are almost, but not quite, performing up to course standards:

  • Expect all students to participate (to the best of their ability) through the duration of the course as a minimum expectation for issuing Credit. We have asked all faculty to redevelop curriculum which they will share throughout the remainder of the spring semester, and students should be expected to continue to regularly engage with the class curriculum as it deploys. However, if a student has been doing well and then shares that they are no longer able to participate, consider whether independent assignments are a suitable alternative, and offer these where appropriate.
  • Do not be reluctant to adjust your expectations from when you began the semester. As all students’ ability to attend to their studies has become greatly challenged by external circumstances, the successes they do achieve in courses should be recognized as more significant accomplishments.
  • If you are willing to exercise flexibility, make this clear as soon as possible, and let students know exactly how to secure flexibility (if it will not automatically be granted).
  • Consider both the on-campus and online components of the course as parts of a whole, but if a student is stronger in one component of the course, give that performance greater weight.
  • Emphasize what it will take to earn Credit in your discussions with students, so they have clear markers to aim for, but be prepared to adjust these in students’ favor when you feel circumstances warrant.
  • Consider a student’s engagement with the course and their relative growth or improvement since the course began as factors which complement objective performance markers (assignment grades, test scores, etc.), and do not hesitate to let these considerations be determinative if they favor the student.
  • Reach out proactively if a student is not on track to earn Credit, and be willing to suggest options without being asked.
  • Suggest students take the time they need after the semester ends to complete viable work-in-progress (see below).
  • Do not hesitate to propose an Incomplete when even more time is needed, without waiting for the student to do so (see below).

If you would like to consult on a specific case or situation, please do not hesitate to contact your department chair, or the deans or associate deans in the Undergraduate or Graduate Divisions, respectively.
An Extension of the Spring 2020 Grading Period for Faculty

To support faculty in their ability to be flexible with students this semester, SAIC will push back the deadline for submitting spring 2020 grades. Typically, this deadline is set a week after the last day of the semester, which would have been Sunday, May 17. With this change, faculty will have until Sunday, May 24 to submit spring 2020 grades. We encourage all faculty to use this extended grading period to offer students greater flexibility in submitting any final assignments or work that puts them in a better position to ultimately earn Credit for a course.

Please note: An extension of the grading period is not an extension of the teaching period. As planned, the semester will conclude on Sunday, May 10. Faculty should not build curriculum which requires students to engage in new course activity beyond this date, and in practice, the last round of class activities/assignments should be shared with students by Sunday, May 3, giving them up to three weeks of additional time to complete all outstanding work.
A Reminder Regarding Incomplete (INC) Grades

Faculty should continue to enter placeholder grades of Incomplete (INC) for students who require additional time (beyond May 24) to complete outstanding coursework, when (in the judgement of the faculty) the student has presented a viable plan to do so.

INC grades have always represented a way for faculty to provide flexibility to students who can successfully complete course requirements but need more time than is left in the course. Incomplete grades should always represent an active agreement between the faculty and student on a plan of action. They are ideally student-requested but if a faculty feels an Incomplete arrangement is the most feasible way for a student to finish the course successfully, we encourage faculty to broach this subject and propose a suitable plan.

As usual, faculty must notify the Registrar's Office at to have an INC grade changed to Credit (once the student has completed the required work). Also as usual, any INC grades remaining at the end of the fall 2020 semester add/drop period will automatically be changed, but this semester they will be changed to the unique spring notation, rather than being changed to No Credit.


APRIL 1, 2020

Dear Faculty,

As you know, spring 2020 courses officially resume online beginning Monday, April 6. In support of your work moving your teaching into an online/remote context, the Dean’s Office would like to share additional recommendations. These recommendations have emerged from the many conversations happening across our virtual campus in the past two weeks. In order to cut down on separate messages, we are condensing a number of related topics into this communication, broken into content sections for your convenience.

Also please note that department chairs, administrative directors, and area coordinators are reaching out to faculty this week to solicit any further assistance faculty may need to be ready to resume teaching. Departments are trying to reach any faculty with whom departmental personnel have not recently had contact. Should you receive such outreach from your department, please respond to it as promptly as you can, as we collectively seek to make sure all faculty are in the position to resume instruction next week.

In closing, all of us in the Office of the Dean of Faculty, on behalf of the entire SAIC community, want to thank you again for the work you have done to prepare for this moment. The Dean’s Office, your department chairs, administrative directors, and staff across the School are ready to continue to support your teaching in the weeks to come. Do not hesitate to reach out to any of us as needed.


Jefferson Pinder, Interim Dean of Faculty and Vice President of Academic Affairs
Arnold Kemp, Dean of Graduate Studies
Dwayne Moser, Associate Dean of Graduate Studies
Dawn Gavin, Dean of Undergraduate Studies
Paul Jackson, Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies
Ongoing Assistance for Faculty in the Remote Instruction Virtual Resource Room

CRIT staff will continue to host a virtual Resource Room every weekday from 2:00–3:00 p.m. CT through the remainder of the spring semester. All faculty may stop in for one-on-one assistance. This is the link to the virtual Resource Room for the duration of the semester.
Resuming Regular Communication with Your Students

We know that many faculty members have kept in regular communication with students these past few weeks, and we appreciate all of these efforts to stay connected and offer community and support during a tremendously challenging time. To help all students prepare to resume their studies, we ask that all faculty reach out to their class(es) between Thursday, April 2, and Sunday, April 5, to officially resume course-related communication. SAIC will notify all students to look out for such a message.

Here are some further suggestions of what all faculty should share with students in these “welcome back” communications to class participants:

  • Share how the course will proceed. In other words, what work will happen, in what time, using which tools and resources (physical and digital)?
  • Make clear what resources (physical and digital) students will need to participate in your course moving forward, and invite them to communicate with you individually if they do not have the resources they need so you can help them make a plan (also see the “Resources for Students” section below).
  • State what students will need to do in order to keep on track to earn credit for the class.
  • Let students know how they should contact you directly should they need to do so.
  • Offer reassurance that we’ll all get through this challenging time together.

We strongly encourage all faculty to share their course adjustments and expectations through either a revised syllabus or a simple addendum to your existing syllabus. This will make the transition to online learning less stressful for your students. These can be shared in your “welcome back” communication or as classes begin next week.

If you would like to survey your students on their resources/capabilities as a part of finalizing your revised curriculum, a group of SAIC faculty have developed a brief student questionnaire as a resource for other faculty to draw from or utilize as they feel would be helpful. This questionnaire is among many resources offered in the Guide to Rapid Transition to Online Teaching. This guide is in continuous development and we are currently focusing on sharing discipline-relevant ideas for student work and assignments. We encourage all faculty to draw on these resources as you deploy and refine your remote curriculum over the remainder of the semester.
Ongoing Engagement with Students

The Dean’s Office recommends that faculty and TAs plan to interact with each student in the class at least once a week between now and the end of the semester (May 10). These interactions could include work being assigned and then submitted, participation in discussion boards, one-on-one correspondence, participation in virtual office hours, or virtual course activities.

We understand that student interaction will vary from week to week and from class to class, but we ask all faculty to consider how they can most sustainably continue to be in dialogue with each student on a weekly basis and proceed accordingly.
What to Do If a Student is Not Participating in Class and You Cannot Reach Them

During this time when we are navigating remote learning, if a student in your class has not been participating and has not responded to your outreach, you can contact SAIC’s dean on call at Please include in your email the name of the student, course, and issue you are experiencing. Staff from the Office of Student Affairs will respond as soon as possible and asks for your patience during this transition.

If you have reason to believe that there is an emergency involving a student, as always, the dean on call is available via phone 24/7 at 312.768.8485.
Resources for Students

SAIC has established additional avenues for students to seek computing or other urgent resources related to their continued ability to participate in their studies. Faculty should be aware of these avenues and refer students to them as appropriate:

  • Emergency Relief Funding: The Office of Advancement has raised emergency relief funding to help our students during this difficult time. While funding is limited, there may be extenuating circumstances with your students' situations related to COVID-19 that could increase their eligibility for additional institutional aid in the form of loans or grants. If you know of a student who is struggling to pay for food, rent, utilities, etc., please send the student’s message or information to Jane Brumitt, executive director of enrollment services. Note that this funding will not be used for tuition relief support, but rather it is intended to help students with unexpected needs during this time.
  • Computing Resources: SAIC may be able to provide some limited resources to assist students who have urgent course-related computing needs. If faculty become aware of a student who does not have the basic computer equipment necessary to be able to participate in your now-online class, you can refer them to seek these resources. Please have any such students complete this form so we may evaluate their needs.
  • Many SAIC services continue to operate in support of student well-being and ongoing teaching and learning. The SAIC COVID-19 FAQ page is a great place to find a list of these resources (navigate to the question: “What resources and services for students and faculty are still available?”) and we encourage faculty to continue to connect students to resources as appropriate.

Emphasizing Asynchronous Approaches in Your Curriculum

We again wish to remind all faculty to emphasize asynchronous (non-time-based) approaches in their revised curriculum. For more information on why we encourage asynchronous approaches, please see the Dean’s Office message in the aforementioned Faculty Guide.

We appreciate that there is ample appetite among both faculty and students for synchronous activities, often via videoconferencing applications such as Zoom or Google Hangouts Meet, and videoconferencing resources are available to you via CRIT.

When planning any synchronous activities related to a class, please keep in mind that students may have as many as five different faculty seeking their availability for such sessions each week, which students will have to factor in among many other expectations, School-related and otherwise, and in some cases from another side of the world.

Anticipating that some students will struggle to engage in synchronous instruction for these types of reasons, the Dean’s Office asks faculty to ensure that students’ ability to participate in videoconferencing activities does not determine whether or not they ultimately earn credit for any spring 2020 course. As such, faculty should be prepared to offer asynchronous alternatives for students who cannot participate in synchronous activities.

For faculty who do utilize videoconferencing, we suggest that you record these sessions and post them to your Canvas course page. CRIT has developed a page with instructions for recording and sharing your class meetings/activities.
Online Course Curriculum and Intellectual Property

The General Counsel's Office has affirmed that faculty teaching online courses will maintain the exact same intellectual property rights that they currently possess for their in-person classes.
Preliminary Guidelines for Safe “Making” at Home

The Instructional Support Spaces/IRFM team has developed some basic guidelines for students making art in a home studio environment, for the health and safety of the artist and anyone else living in the home. Faculty should keep these guidelines in mind when assigning students work and guiding them as they develop course-related projects. A more extensive document addressing specific art-making practices is in development and will be shared in the future. These guidelines will also be shared with students:

  • All art-making materials should only be used according to the manufacturer's approved usages, and those usage scenarios should follow all Safety Data Sheet (SDS) precautions for the product.
  • Do not use toxic substances or processes.
  • Stick to no-VOC or low-VOC products in small quantities, and avoid powders and pigments that could contain silica or heavy metals.
  • Anything that would normally have been done in a spray booth is not safe for the home studio environment.
  • Always use personal protective equipment (PPE) when necessary and according to manufacturer guidance.
  • Ask yourself if a material is really necessary, and when possible, substitute it for a less toxic material.
  • If utilizing power or hand tools, use only those tools you are trained on and are comfortable controlling. Tools should be maintained in good working order with required guards installed, and used in conjunction with proper PPE (goggles, respiratory, and/or hearing protection). Comply with manufacturer guidelines for the tool’s usage.
  • Tools should not be used to process toxic or potentially sensitizing materials such as plastic, painted surfaces, or materials containing formaldehyde binders or adhesives.

Grades and Student Performance Expectations

This is a singular and unprecedented semester, which includes both an on-campus and online period of instruction, all taking place against a backdrop of tremendous distraction and anxiety for all members of our community. Many faculty and departments have been in touch with the Dean’s Office regarding how to approach evaluating student performance and grading in such an environment.

The Dean’s Office and Campus Emergency Operations Group are currently working on addressing these questions and preparing related policy changes. Faculty should expect a communication on this subject as instruction resumes next week.

We are also in the process of updating our Class Progress Report content options to accurately reflect the nature of our remote operations and to make these communications a more useful vehicle for sharing positive and/or encouraging feedback with students, in addition to issues or concerns which require their attention and action. We will share these changes with you as soon as they are finalized.


MARCH 23, 2020 

Dear Faculty,

As you prepare your curriculum to transition to remote instruction when classes resume on April 6, we want to highlight three new or updated resources this week. Below you will find information on:

  • Ongoing Technology Assistance
  • Resources for the Transition to Remote Instruction
  • Utilizing Zoom/Teleconferencing Guidance for Faculty

The Computer Resources and Information Technologies (CRIT), the John M. Flaxman Library, and the Dean’s Office staff are all here to assist you in the days and weeks to come. As a reminder, questions about remote teaching platforms (i.e., Canvas) can be emailed to General questions can be addressed to the CRIT HelpDesk at 312.345.3535 or

Dev Ravichandran
Vice President of Educational Technologies and Chief Information Officer

Melanie Emerson
Dean of the Library and Special Collections

Paul Jackson
Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies

Ongoing Technology Assistance
Several of last week’s remote instruction workshops, hosted by Todd Chilton and Jill Lanza, have been posted to the Canvas Faculty Portal page. All current faculty should already have access to this Canvas page. Please note that the slides used during all presentations are also accessible in the same place.
As a supplement to the recorded workshops, CRIT staff will continue to host an online Remote Instruction Resource Room via Zoom this week, beginning Tuesday. The hours for the Resource Room are below. During the hours of operation, the Resource Room can be accessed via this link.

Tuesday, March 24–Friday, March 27
10:00 a.m.–11:00 a.m.
2:00 p.m.–3:00 p.m.

  • We invited faculty with previous experience delivering remote instruction to be available along with CRIT staff in the Resource Room to provide their own expertise and suggestions.
  • As always, faculty are also invited to reach out to with questions or requests for specific assistance.

Resources for the Rapid Transition to Remote Instruction
Staff from the John M. Flaxman Library have been working very hard to develop a one-stop reference site for faculty looking to dig into the wealth of information available on how to develop effective approaches to remote instruction. In concert with CRIT and the Office of the Dean of Faculty, the Library team has curated a key selection of resources to create a single starting point for faculty. This guide is an excellent start but it is also a living repository, and we will develop both its content and functionality according to need and circumstance in the days and weeks to come.

Please review the John M. Flaxman Library Research Guide on Remote Instruction/Online Teaching.

Zoom/Teleconferencing Guidance for Faculty
In the past week, one of the most frequent questions we heard was “How can/should faculty utilize teleconferencing generally and Zoom specifically?”

In response, we put together a brief sheet that provides full details on Zoom, how faculty can gain access to SAIC’s Zoom client, details on the recent removal of meeting duration restrictions for educators, and recommendations for how faculty may wish to use teleconferencing as a supplement to asynchronous instruction.

The Zoom Information sheet will be hosted on the Canvas Faculty Portal page.


MARCH 20, 2020 

Dear Part-Time Faculty,

You know from President Tenny’s most recent email communication that Governor J.B. Pritzker has issued a stay-at-home order for the State of Illinois to begin at 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 21, and last through Tuesday, April 7.

As Elissa noted, this will prevent all but a handful of employees needed onsite from gaining access to campus facilities. As of tomorrow, faculty may no longer access campus to use any School facilities, including computer labs, studios, or department offices, even in preparation for online teaching.

As a result, I want to move quickly to determine those of you who need computer equipment to continue your spring 2020 online teaching. I ask that you please respond to a brief survey, which will help us determine how to allocate our limited number of laptops and iPads.

I would be grateful for a response by Monday, March 23, at noon. In light of the stay-at-home order, it may be necessary for us to engage commercial shippers to send you needed hardware, hence the tight deadline.

Martin Berger
Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs

Dev Ravichandran
Vice President for Education Technologies and Chief Information Officer


MARCH 19, 2020

Dear Faculty,

Ensuring that part-time faculty have the computer resources they need in order to complete their spring 2020 courses remotely is an institutional priority, and we’re writing to let you know how faculty without these resources can request a short-term hardware allocation from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC).

The Computer Resources and Information Technologies (CRIT) office is keeping track of all institutionally owned laptops, tablets, and other resources as we transition to both primarily remote operations and instruction.

That being said, we ask that all faculty be prepared to utilize any personal computing resources they may have, including desktop computers, laptop computers, tablet devices, and mobile phones, in their efforts to teach remotely. CRIT can offer as much guidance and support as possible for all faculty utilizing a variety of personal resources. Questions about remote teaching platforms (i.e., Canvas) can be emailed to General questions can be addressed to the CRIT HelpDesk at 312.345.3535 or

If you do not have access at home to computing resources that are minimally necessary to continue instruction, please complete this form. Your request will be reviewed, and you will receive a response via phone or email as soon as possible. Please try to be available to connect with CRIT regarding your request. If you need an SAIC-issued computer to support your online teaching, please submit a request and be prepared to pick up the hardware as soon as possible, preferably by the end of the day tomorrow, March 20.

We will do everything possible to issue the resources needed, but what we have is very limited. Please consider all other options prior to requesting institutional hardware.

Jefferson Pinder
Interim Dean of Faculty and Vice President of Academic Affairs

Dev Ravichandran
Vice President of Educational Technologies and Chief Information Officer


MARCH 16, 2020

Dear SAIC Faculty and Staff,

As announced, Computer Resources and Information Technologies (CRIT) will host workshops on remote instruction delivery Tuesday, March 17; Wednesday, March 18; and Thursday, March 19.

The workshops listed below will be provided via Zoom, which is the preferred mode of instruction, but CRIT staff will accommodate requests for in-person support as needed. Faculty requiring an in-person appointment for March 17–19 should email

Online Workshop Schedule
The remote workshops will be one hour long and recur on Tuesday, March 17; Wednesday, March 18; and Thursday, March 19 at:

  • 10:00 a.m.
  • 12:00 p.m.
  • 2:00 p.m.
  • 4:00 p.m.

Joining the Online Workshop
Faculty should connect to the workshops via Zoom at the link below:

When you click the workshop meeting link, you will be prompted to download the Zoom client application onto your machine (if you have not already done so). We encourage you to click the link and download the client in advance of your workshop at this link:

If you have difficulty downloading the client, please contact the CRIT HelpDesk via phone at 312.345.3535.

Online Resource Room
We will also host a supplemental Remote Instruction Resource Room in between workshops, where faculty can digitally connect to CRIT staff and fellow faculty to discuss individual questions. The resource room will be open to all faculty and CRIT staff will respond to questions on an ongoing basis.

In the Remote Instruction Resource Room, CRIT staff will host dedicated question-and-answer sessions for an hour on Tuesday, March 17; Wednesday, March 18; and Thursday, March 19 at the following times:

  • 11:00 a.m.
  • 1:00 p.m.
  • 3:00 p.m.

Here is the link to connect with all of the resource room sessions through the week:

Faculty with experience or ideas related to delivering curriculum remotely and interested in sharing are invited to join discussions in the Remote Instruction Resource Room. We will keep the room open between 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.

Jefferson Pinder
Interim Dean of Faculty and Vice President of Academic Affairs

Dev Ravichandran
Vice President of Educational Technologies and Chief Information Office


MARCH 14, 2020

Dear Faculty and Staff,

By now, many of you have read President Tenny and Provost Berger’s message from Thursday afternoon, announcing SAIC’s plan to move up and extend Spring Break and transition all undergraduate and graduate courses in spring 2020 to a remote or online model of teaching thereafter.

As a community of faculty and staff, our charge is this: while classes are suspended between March 16 and March 29, all faculty must prepare to move all existing graduate and undergraduate courses into a remote context. We anticipate much of the resulting curriculum will be delivered via online mediums. Please know that our primary disciplinary accrediting body, the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), has already signaled their full support for institutions making such a change in this unprecedented moment. When instruction resumes on April 6, we will be prepared to continue with the spring 2020 term through its successful conclusion.

Please know that the Dean’s Office and the Computer Resources and Information Technologies (CRIT) staff are your co-facilitators in this curricular pivot. We will deploy all our professional experience and technological resources, and we will work collaboratively to provide faculty with guidance, training, and ongoing support. Our goal is to ensure you have both agency and assistance in delivering a remote-instruction version of your course content.

Your creativity and flexible thinking will be essential in our efforts in supporting our students at this time of tremendous challenge, and ensuring that they can continue to make progress toward their educational and creative aspirations.

At its best, online education is more than simply the delivery of existing curriculum by a different means. Strong online education takes advantage of its medium and what we develop here will necessarily not be a reproduction of five weeks of existing course content (which was built for an on-campus setting); this is an opportunity to try new approaches that also further student learning, differently.

Most importantly, our revised curriculum must not require that students have access to any campus-based resources. Many students will depart Chicago in the coming days and not have access to comparable facilities and resources. Wherever they go, we must also recognize that our students will confront circumstances and emotions that greatly challenge their ability to attend to their studies at any given moment. Our curriculum must now reach them there, and we must make plans which include all students, are mindful of what is going on in the world around them, and are achievable in as flexible a manner as possible.

It is important for us to acknowledge that this transition, both philosophically and operationally, will be much easier for some faculty and departments than others. SAIC will meet all our faculty where they are. Whatever our individual familiarities with the medium, we are all about to leap into this mode of instruction together. We will deploy all necessary support resources to facilitate your teaching.

Beginning on Tuesday, March 17, and through Thursday, March 19, CRIT and Dean’s Office staff will host one hour workshops every other hour on the following schedule:

10:00 a.m.
12:00 p.m.
2:00 p.m.
4:00 p.m.

All workshops will focus on content most relevant to converting instruction to an online medium, and all workshops will be broadcasted via Zoom teleconferencing to allow faculty remote access. Instructions for joining workshops via Zoom will be sent to all faculty on Monday, March 16.

For those who wish to attend in person, please come to the lobby of the MacLean Center ten minutes prior to the session you wish to attend. Staff in the lobby will direct you to an appropriate classroom with computer access. Even if you plan to attend an on-campus session, you are invited to bring a laptop if you will be using that computer as a primary tool in your teaching.

Please note that seats in each room will be limited to promote social distancing and no food or beverages will be provided to reduce the spread of germs. All rooms will be cleaned in between each session.

In addition to the workshops, a separate resource room will be open for faculty to visit between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. each day, where CRIT staff will be present to assist faculty with resources and answer questions.

In addition to active training provided via workshops, you can expect more communications and specific resources to be shared by staff in the Undergraduate and Graduate divisions as well as CRIT in the coming days. These will include:

  • Information on general approaches to remote instruction
  • An FAQ which we will initially build out and then continue to update on a regular basis as questions arise which have not yet been addressed
  • Guidance on the various SAIC-supported software platforms and digital resources available for all faculty to utilize in transitioning to remote instruction
  • Resources already available from peer institutions, which may provide inspiration or avenues for SAIC faculty to consider

Below you’ll find links to several online training videos focused on our Canvas learning management system. We anticipate that many of you will utilize Canvas extensively in this undertaking, so this is a great place to start your consideration of how this platform will be of use to you, in advance of workshops beginning next week.

Intro to Canvas for Faculty

Advanced Canvas Training

Additional Canvas Resources

During business hours, CRIT staff are reachable via email at, and we encourage you to reach out to them with specific technical questions you are interested in addressing via email.

Please note that graduate Teaching Assistants (TAs) assigned to courses will be asked to continue to support faculty in their delivery of course content once (remote) instruction resumes. While we are sure there will be disruptions, we ask that you work with them as creatively and flexibly as you will your students, and continue to engage TAs in your work through the end of the spring semester. TAs should be given tasks or responsibilities that they can complete remotely.

So many of us are experiencing this together at art and design institutions around the world. Facing such a challenge, great ideas will come from everywhere and are encouraged to be shared in the spirit of collaboration, generosity, and a common purpose of teaching students. Many of you have already begun to make these connections and exchange resources. In that spirit, we will set up means for you to share your own ideas and those you have encountered, with both the Dean’s Office and your SAIC colleagues.

To give you time to focus on preparation, Elissa and Martin asked students to refrain from contacting you as much as possible in the coming days so that you may prepare. We expect that many students will be unable to fully hold off, and you will receive questions, probably before you can answer them. As much as you can, respond and assure students you hear their questions or concerns and are working hard on re-developing materials. Remind them that you will be in touch with the whole class in the near future regarding how you will continue in your work together.

Many of us believe in the benefit of slowing down, to think, to reflect, and to re-approach one’s ideas or work. In the coming weeks, we have a tremendous opportunity to engage in just this practice as colleagues. We are excited to see what you will do, and we are all ready to support you as you take your teaching further beyond our campus.

As always, we want to conclude with a reiteration of resources for faculty and our support for you in looking after your own well-being and those around you. All faculty with questions about their health should reach out to their primary care provider for medical concerns or the employee assistance program for mental health support. Additionally, for questions regarding benefits and coverage, benefits-eligible faculty and staff may contact Cigna at 800.244.6224. Benefits-eligible faculty and staff may also reach out to Telehealth at 855.667.9722 or MDLIVE at 888.726.3171 for questions about their health.

We will continue to keep you updated via email and will post updates on our continuing response to COVID-19 at

If you have any questions regarding academics, please reach out to Jefferson at or 312.899.5180. For technical questions, please reach out to Dev at or 312.345.3730.

Jefferson Pinder
Interim Dean of Faculty and Vice President of Academic Affairs

Dev Ravichandran
Vice President of Educational Technologies and Chief Information Officer