Dear Students, Faculty, Staff, Alumni, Parents, and Friends –
Happy new year and best wishes for a productive and successful spring semester. We’re glad to welcome our students back!
As you may have read elsewhere, Lawrence Tech is providing face-to-face instruction this semester as much as possible, augmented, when necessary, with hybrid and e-learning courses. Students have overwhelmingly told us that face-to-face learning is the method they prefer. A Lawrence Tech education, with its remarkable return on investment, is still very much worth the effort, even during the pandemic’s disruptions.
We’re very confident in offering face-to-face learning under appropriate conditions because of the splendid diligence our campus community showed in following health and safety protocols during the fall semester. However, the pandemic is not over. We need to continue wearing masks, practicing social distancing, limiting social activity, washing hands frequently, disinfecting our environments, and other safety procedures. Very importantly, these measures need to be followed not only on campus but off campus as well as at events, jobs, gatherings of friends and family, at restaurants, while shopping, and more.
We’re all very interested in the rollout plans for the COVID-19 vaccine. This phased rollout likely will take a number of months to complete. First priority are front line healthcare workers, emergency personnel, and the elderly. It ultimately fans out to all of us as a larger supply of vaccines become available. Please watch the news and contact your local health department or your personal healthcare provider when it is appropriate for you to make an appointment for your vaccine inoculation. The latest vaccine information can be found at:
- Oakland County: https://oaklandcountyvaccine.com/
- DHHS: Michigan.gov/COVIDVaccine
- CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/index.html
While the pandemic continues to affect all of us, in these difficult times I am heartened by your patience, cooperation, and the ways we work together to overcome any obstacles. Keep up your good efforts and know how much we’re cheering for your continued progress and accomplishments.
Virinder K. Moudgil, PhD
President and CEO
OFFICE OF THE PROVOST
I hope that you find yourself well as we approach the halfway mark of the academic year. This year has presented the Lawrence Tech community with many challenges, yet we have persevered and will continue to do so. Placing high priority on health and wellness, I have made a decision to delay the start date of the spring 2021 semester.
The spring semester will begin on Tuesday, January 19, immediately following Martin Luther King Day. After consultation with numerous members of the LTU community, I have also decided to cancel the mid-semester break. These changes will help to ensure that we are healthy before returning to campus and limit potential exposure to illness. The semester end date of May 7, 2021, will remain as previously scheduled.
Universities in Michigan and throughout the nation have taken similar steps to ensure the safety and well-being of their communities. At LTU, we will continue to implement appropriate safety measures and prepare for a successful spring semester. More information will be provided to you very soon. I sincerely thank you for your understanding and continued commitment to Lawrence Tech.
Stay well and best regards,
Tarek Sobh, PhD, PE
OFFICE OF THE PROVOST
Earlier tonight, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer updated the State of Michigan on the latest restrictions and mitigations related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As a result, Lawrence Technological University will make the following switches immediately, as of today (November 15, 2020) through the end of the Fall semester (December 17, 2020):
- All in-person, face-to-face instruction, including labs. and senior projects, is being replaced by online instruction through the end of the semester, December 17, 2020. Students should communicate with their college Dean if they need further details regarding course instruction.
- All courses currently delivered online will continue as scheduled.
- Students residing in University Housing units will receive further updates tomorrow from the Dean of Students office.
- All NAIA athletic practices and competitions are cancelled through November 29, 2020. Student-athletes will receive communications on the resumption of practices and competitions from the Director of Athletics later this week.
Thank you for cooperation and understanding. Be safe!
Tarek Sobh, PhD, PE
OFFICE OF HUMAN RESOURCES
As you have heard, LTU has decided to deliver all classes online beginning Monday, November 16, 2020, in light of the increase in COVID cases in Michigan. There are some lab courses and senior projects which will remain on campus through November 24, 2020.
For employees, you should continue to follow the work schedule that has been approved by your supervisor in each of your individual departments. Our last day of work before Thanksgiving will be Wednesday, November 25th, and then we come back to work on Monday, November 30th.
Chief Financial Officer
OFFICE OF THE PROVOST
Our goal this semester was to provide as much of a traditional university experience as possible during these unusual times while maintaining safe practices. We have consistently monitored the virus in our community and adjusted our practices as deemed appropriate. It has recently become apparent that there is an increase in COVID-19 positivity rates in the State of Michigan and in the Lawrence Tech community, leading us to make an adjustment to our semester schedule with the goal of mitigating the spread of COVID-19.
Beginning on Monday, November 16, 2020, all classes will be delivered virtually for the remainder of the Fall 2020 semester. Laboratory courses and senior projects in the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Business and Information Technology, and the College of Engineering will be an exception and will remain on-campus through November 24, 2020. The College of Architecture and Design will identify the classes that will remain on-campus through November 24, 2020 and communicate these exceptions directly to its students.
Residence halls and dining services will remain open through their originally scheduled and communicated dates. These actions will hopefully allow us to do our part as Blue Devils and help slow the spread in our community.
I hope that you are well and thank you for your efforts.
Tarek Sobh, PhD, PE
Telecommuting Policies and Procedures
Lawrence Tech is pleased to announce a Telecommuting Policy and Procedure for staff and administrators. We consider telecommuting a viable, flexible work option for rare cases where it is mutually agreed upon that both the employee and their job is suitable for such an arrangement. Telecommuting may be appropriate for some employees and their jobs but not for others. Immediate supervisors, and their supervisors, are responsible for making this determination and completing a Telecommuting Arrangement form in DocuSign - Envelope 12.
For interpretation of this policy, please contact Deshawn Johnson, Associate Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer, on extension 2117 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Office of Human Resources is here to answer your questions. If you have a medical condition that would make you a high or very high exposure risk, please contact Starlett Sinclair, Senior Manager Benefits and HRIS, at email@example.com.
This message is a follow-up to the message that Dr. Moudgil sent yesterday after our leadership team evaluated the situation with the corona virus. Although all of us wished to allow our students to come back to campus, and continue our lives as we had planned, the reality is that is it impossible to do it.
As a result of the continuing spread of COVID-19 and following the guidelines and mandates from CDC, Governor Whitmer and President Trump we made some hard decisions related to the future until the end of the semester.
Probably the most important decision was to continue to teach our classes online through the end of the semester. We all know that this is not going to be an easy task, but we are a resilient, creative and dedicated group and we will find ways to work with our students and make this semester a successful one. The e-Learning office and the Help Desk will continue to support you, by phone, on-line or in person. As needed please ask for assistance. Also, please discuss your issues and questions with your department head as many issue will need their advice and their assistance. They are available to help you to solve your problems. All classes offered by Lawrence Tech on campus or off campus are under the same directives.
Most of the students that were still on campus left. NAIA cancelled all the spring competitions, and the athletes that were on campus to prepare for the competitions are heading home. We would not compete in the Motor Sports competitions although we expect that they will be cancelled. All students that were on campus preparing their vehicles for the competition are also headed home. Most of our student assistants are also released as we want to minimize the number of people on campus. Even many of our international students decided to go home for the remainder of the semester. We still have some students on campus, mostly international students because we are home to them. We will take care of them and continue to support them until the end of the semester.
The campus will continue to be open, although most of the offices will be staffed with a rotation of personnel. The deans will send you a message with the schedule of the offices in the colleges. The staff and administrators that are not on campus will be working from home and we will be available for meetings and we will continue our functions through ZOOM, on the phone or email. Please refer to the CANVAS website “Teaching and Working for Home” for new information. This website as well as the President’s communication will keep you informed on the resources that you have available as well as changes that will happen as this very fluid situation continues to evolve.
With this in mind please see below several things that you should do now to prepare for Monday:
- Test your connection from home this week and see that all the tools that you are going to use are working properly. You and your students do not need to be frustrated on Monday when things are not working properly. As an example that just happened to be yesterday, I was connected in ZOOM with several people for the first time, my microphone did not work and they could not hear me. The solution was very easy, but I did not know of it. After I learned it, I helped someone else later in the day with the same problem. Contact eLearning to set up a quick Zoom test call.
If your home WIFI bandwidth is not enough to deliver a class without difficulties, you can come to campus and deliver your class from your office. You will still be isolated, but you will give a better experience to your students.
- Review your syllabus and make any needed modifications to due dates, assignments and exams. Clearly explain your expectations for your class going forward – required attendance in Zoom sessions, etc.
- Please contact your students and explain the plan for your class and any changes that you will have to make. Be sure students have links to any Zoom meetings that you have scheduled and advise them to also test their connections to ensure a smooth first session. Assure them that you are there for them and perhaps offer office hours (via Zoom) to discuss any concerns.
- If you are experienced with on-line teaching, please assist your colleagues and if you are not please contact eLearning for help and strategies to teach online.
The eLearning Office will continue to email you directly with important updates as needed.
Contact eLearning Services : 248.204.2380 | e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Although the Library is closed due to the executive directive of the governor, the librarians will continue to support students and faculty online and by phone.
There are still several issues that we have to discuss with the deans and department chairs, such as laboratories and project courses. I am confident that we will find solutions that will work for both faculty and students.
In addition, one important function that needs to take place is student advising which starts on April 13. Please work with your department chair to ensure that you will still be able to advise your students online, through email or on the phone as they will need to register for classes in the period that we have assigned. The retention of our students is extremely important for us and you are an important part of it. The University Advising Center and the Academic Achievement Center are resources to you as we continue the academic operations of the university.
Finally, I just want to thank you for the effort and the positive attitude that you all have in face of this great disruption that all of us know is temporary. We are a great team of faculty, staff and students and we will move forward. I am sure that we will all learn from this experience that will also enrich our lives.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions.
Thank you very much,
Maria Vaz, PhD