Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Faculty FAQs following the Camp Fire

December 5, 2018

Debra S. Larson, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Below you will find a list of frequently asked questions from faculty regarding the Camp Fire and its impact on Chico State.

I’m an instructor. What does this mean for classes and coursework?

We ask that you rely on the principles of consistency and equity as you make each course-related decision, keeping in mind that some of our students are newly homeless; others may lack access to computers, books, and other necessary materials; and all are coping with the unexpected stress of the crisis.

  • What about my SETs?
    The SET administration period has been extended to December 14. 
  • Can I completely cancel any exams or assignments due the week of November 13-16?
    Yes. However, if the exam or assignment is part of an essential learning outcome for the course, it should be rescheduled or redesigned. If you do move the exam or assignment, be sure to reduce another part of the coursework to avoid burdening impacted students. Any such changes may require adjustments to how course grades are determined. In this circumstance, do your best to communicate any revisions to all of your students in writing, utilizing all possible communication channels.
  • May I use the final exam period for replaced instructional time?
    Yes. Campus policy established by EM 17-004 states that “all classes are required to meet for one two-hour period during finals week for instruction or examination.” 
  • Can I extend exam or assignment deadlines past the December 21st, the end of the semester?
    No. The academic calendar remains intact. We will address related issues in forthcoming updates to these FAQs.
  • What support will my students have while the campus is closed? How can I help?
    Activities and support systems will be in place for students who remain on campus. This website is a one-stop shop for the campus community to discover needed resources and ways to help. This site also offers a set of general University FAQs that you may find useful. We encourage you to reach out to students with messages of support and concern. A friendly word from their instructor can have a great impact on students facing an unexpected and stressful interruption in their semester.  
  • What if a student has lost all their course materials? 
    Faculty looking to make materials more available to students can contact the library, as library staff can place instructional materials on reserve so that all students have access.
  • When is an Incomplete appropriate?
    As our catalog states, “Incompletes (I) will be assigned only in cases where instructors conclude that a clearly identifiable pattern of course requirements cannot be met for unforeseen reasons. An Incomplete shall not be assigned when it is necessary for the student to attend a major portion of the class when it is next offered.” You should not grant Incompletes to your entire class for work missed during the campus closure (Friday, November 9 – Friday, November 16). However, you can use the above to determine whether an Incomplete is appropriate for individual students, given their individual circumstances.
  • What is the process for a student to withdraw from an individual class in fall 2018?
    Students may petition to withdraw from one or more classes for “serious and compelling” reasons. Please use your best judgement in determining whether recent events constitute such reasons. For fall 2018, the University is waiving the fee for late withdrawals.
  • What constitute “serious and compelling” reasons for withdrawing from a class or from the university?
    As our catalog details, the following situations are typical of those for which "serious and compelling" is appropriate justification for approving withdrawals:
    • An extended absence due to a verifiable accident, illness, or personal problem serious enough to cause withdrawal from the University. For example, a one- to two-week absence with a doctor's written excuse.
    • An extended absence due to a death in the immediate family. This applies to absences exceeding a week due to family affairs that must be attended to by the student.
    • A necessary change in employment status which interferes with the student's ability to attend class. This change in employment status must be verified in writing by the student's employer.
    • Other unusual or very special cases, considered on their own merit.
    • The following situations would not fall under the intent of "serious and compelling":
      • Grade anticipated in class is not sufficiently high, or student is doing failing work.
      • Failure to attend class, complete assignments, or take a test.
      • Dissatisfaction with course material, instructional method, or instructor.
      • Class is harder than expected.
      • Pressure of other classes, participation in social activities, or simple lack of motivation.
      • A change of major.
  • What should I tell students who have questions about possible refunds and financial aid?
    Students who have questions about possible refunds should be forwarded to Student Financial Services, SSC 230, 530-898-5936, cash@csuchico.edu.

I am a graduate coordinator or committee member serving on a grad student committee. Are the fall deadlines changed?

Yes. We have extended the deadline for culminating activities and thesis and project submission to Wednesday, December 19, 2018. We have advised students to contact you to discuss oral exam dates, or if they have been significantly impacted and may need an additional extension. If an additional extension is needed contact Sharon Barrios, Grad Studies, regarding special arrangements for these students.

Are there any changes to the timeline for RTP or the issuing of sabbatical award letters?

In consultation with the Executive Committee of the Academic Senate, the date for issuance of sabbatical award letters has been extended from November 16 to Friday, December 7, 2018 to allow for Office of Academic Personnel and Provost review, letter preparation, and mailing.

The RTP Deadline Calendar has also been revised. Some Department Committee, Chair and College Committee report due dates have been extended and affected Rebuttal/Response timelines have been extended. The approved Revised RTP Deadline Calendar is available on the Office of Academic Personnel website.

Are there any suggestions for how best to engage with my students once classes resume?

The return to classes when campus reopens will be a difficult time for all. Though it will be good to be back in our classroom communities, everyone will be managing varying levels of stress. Faculty are not expected or equipped to provide mental health services, but there are simple things you can do to help students transition back to their coursework for a successful end of semester. Psychology professor and licensed therapist Kyle Horst has prepared a short guide to help faculty navigate (PDF) these difficult times in their classes. It includes tips for the first day back as well as links to resources for deeper understanding of trauma in the classroom. He has also provided a flier for the Disaster Distress Helpline (PDF) that you may want to share. Finally, for an example of trauma-informed outreach to students, see Media Arts, Design and Technology faculty member Aaron Draper's message to his students (PDF), which has been shared over 14,000 times on social media.

My students lost their textbooks and course materials in the fire. In addition to loading and putting materials on reserve in the library, is there anything else I can do?

Within fair use guidelines, consider copying remaining materials for your students.

Contact textbook publishers; many are willing to give students free copies or electronic access.

Encourage students to engage in an informal sharing system.

Additionally, the Associated Students are working on a textbook scholarship program with the Wildcat Store. Students may contact ASVP of Business and Finance Alex Williams at asvpbf@csuchico.edu for more information.

Where can I find counseling support?

Students can call the Counseling and Wellness Center 24/7 at 530-898-6345. Faculty and staff can also utilize 24/7 counseling through the Employee Assistance Program at 1-800-367-7474 or mylifematters.com(opens in new window).

I have more questions. Where can I get help?

These FAQs will be continually updated as we work to resolve the challenges of the situation. These can be found at the Chico State Camp Fire Information FAQs page. Please direct additional questions to your college dean, who will provide guidance to you.