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Dear Faculty,

Finals week is drawing to a close for what is easily the strangest and most disruptive semester I’ve seen in my 24 years at USD. Thanks to your extraordinary efforts, classes were reconfigured on the fly and students received a solid academic experience for the remainder of the spring term. I’m truly grateful for all that you were able to accomplish.

Like you, I look forward to being back in front of students in the fall (HIST 470: History of World War II), although I am sure that teaching in a socially distanced classroom will be a new and very different experience for us all. Over the next few days, I will be contacting faculty who have been nominated by their deans or University Senate to provide frontline perspective as the Office of Academic Affairs begins planning exactly what those classes might look like, how they might function and what resources we will need. I have specifically asked for faculty who teach in a wide variety of settings all across campus, and I look forward to the insights they will provide. At the same time, the Center for Teaching and Learning is expanding USD’s capacity to transition to truly online courses should the COVID-19 pandemic prevent us from teaching our classes face-to-face.

The deadline for recording final grades is 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, May 13. The temporary policy allowing most of our students to choose S/U grading this term has made it more important than ever that final grades be entered in a timely and accurate manner. Students must choose the S/U option by May 18, but they cannot exercise that option if grades have not been entered. The Registrar’s Office has created a webpage for students with links to the change of grade form, a video showing students how to complete the form and use our new GPA calculator, and several links to help them understand the new policy and its implications. This information will be equally useful to faculty advisors, and I encourage those who work with students to explore this collection of resources.

My final listening session for faculty this spring will be held Thursday, May 14 at 4 p.m. at President Gestring will be joining me, and I hope you will take the opportunity to chat with us about any issues that might be on your mind.


Dr. Kurt Hackemer
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
Professor of History