As you know, the University announced on Monday (May 18) plans to bring students back to campus this fall. The announcement naturally raised a lot of questions from staff, so I want to let you know about some of the ongoing activities to address workplace related issues at the College level.
Working on Campus: The guidance provided in Father John’s letter is that staff members who are currently working remotely should continue to do so until further notice from their supervisors. Also, it’s likely that staff members will return at different times, depending on their roles and responsibilities, and some may continue to work remotely beyond the campus’ reopening in August.
From the questions received by our Transitioning Back to Work Committee, we understand that this is an area of great concern for our staff. The University has a number of committees looking at the implications for staff to return to working in person. I will provide updates as soon as information becomes available. In the meantime, I encourage you to talk over any concerns or considerations with your supervisor so they have a better idea of adjustments or accommodations that might need to be made.
Social Distancing: Nick Page and Jim Spencer are currently analyzing the College’s classrooms and common areas to create plans that will comply with CDC guidelines to safeguard the health and well-being of our students, staff and faculty.
Kudos to the Mendoza Ed Tech Team—their work in this area has been featured as setting best practices for peer schools and others in articles and discussion boards dedicated to flexspace learning environments.
Transitioning Back to Work Committee: The committee meets weekly to discuss any new developments, concerns raised and plans for the future. While there are more questions than answers right now, the key priority in the transition remains the health and safety of our staff, faculty and students. Please continue to reach out to your supervisor, me or any of the committee members: Brian Connelly, Carol Elliott, Christine Gramhofer, Angela Logan, Kelli Kilpatrick, Robin Kistler, Jennifer Harwell LaPrad, Chris Fruehwirth and Doug Franson.
On behalf of Martijn, the committee and the Mendoza leadership, I want to express deep appreciation for the efforts of the Mendoza staff during these past months. You’ve had to juggle not only changes to your job, but homeschooling, caring for elders and many other concerns and responsibilities. Your positive attitude and perseverance have been remarkable. Stay tuned—we have plans for great things ahead to celebrate our community!
Have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!
Dear Mendoza Colleagues,
Earlier today, Father John Jenkins announced plans for reopening the University for on-campus programs this fall. These plans include starting the fall semester early on August 10 and continuing straight through to Thanksgiving without a fall break.
A great number of details still needs to be worked out, including how to safeguard everyone’s health and well-being in the process.
I will be meeting with the associate deans, chairs and members of the Transition Back to Work Committee led by Kara Palmer to make and implement plans for the College to enact the University’s directives.
I want to thank you for the grace and patience you’ve shown throughout the past months, and ask that you continue in the same spirit as we work through these complicated circumstances and logistical challenges.
I will keep you updated as information becomes available. You also can check Notre Dame’s coronavirus site.
As always, if you have questions, concerns or ideas, please reach out to one of the individuals mentioned above or myself.
In Notre Dame,
Dear Mendoza Colleagues,
Thank you for taking the Mendoza Staff Back to Work Survey last week. We had an amazing response rate of more than 95%, with 156 total respondents. The rate clearly indicates how much transitioning back to working on campus is on everyone's minds and therefore a top concern of the College and University. I appreciate your thoughtful answers.
You can review a summary of the results here, but I’d like to share some of the most-mentioned issues or concerns:
- The ability to enforce appropriate social distancing practices, especially for those who work in cubicles. Nearly 19% of respondents rated it as their top concern.
- The problem of juggling family responsibilities with work. This included finding quality child care as well as protecting elderly or at-risk family members after we return to work.
- Accommodations for our staff members who have underlying health conditions that make them vulnerable to COVID-19.
- The possibility of alternative work arrangements in the future. Almost 93% reported feeling as productive or more productive working from home.
We’ve shared the survey response metrics and a high-level summary of the results with the University. Although we don’t have a return-to-work date, the University continues to work diligently on comprehensive plans to bring our staff, faculty and students back to campus in a way that safeguards our health and well-being. You can view a list of the leadership teams working on the various aspects of the University’s response to COVID-19 here.
The Mendoza Transition Back to Work Committee will meet weekly with the following objectives, among others:
- Staying in touch with the University to be aware of and provide input to their return to work strategies.
- Researching the activities and decisions of other groups across campus and other universities to stay apprised of best-practice guidance.
- Identifying specific areas within the College that need our focus and attention, such as personnel needs, safety, facilities, capacity and so on.
- Providing Mendoza staff with updates in the Mendoza Exchange enewsletter and website as information becomes available.
In the meantime, if you have questions, concerns or ideas, please contact me or one of the committee members: Brian Connelly, Carol Elliott, Christine Gramhofer, Angela Logan, Kelli Kilpatrick, Robin Kistler, Jennifer Harwell LaPrad, Chris Fruehwirth and Doug Franson.
Again, thank you for providing your perspective and insights. We are part of an awesome community, and as much as we miss each other (which also came across in the survey!), your health and well-being are our top priority.
All my best,
Dear Mendoza Staff,
During the recent Staff Town Hall, Father Jenkins emphasized that the University is committed to bringing students back to campus in the fall. Of course, that means bringing faculty and staff back, as well.
There are still many uncertainties surrounding exactly when and how we will transition back to working on campus. Indiana recently outlined its plan to reopen the state economy, which will guide back-to-work decisions as well as federal guidelines. The University has convened several committees to begin planning about what the transition process will look like, taking into account the top priority of protecting the health and wellbeing of our students, faculty and staff.
Although we don’t have a return date, it’s important that we at Mendoza begin thinking about what a transition plan will entail. I’ve asked Kara Palmer to lead a Mendoza committee that will consider issues related to safety protocols, transition schedules and individual accommodations for staff at higher risk, among other concerns. My thanks to committee members Brian Connelly, Carol Elliott, Christine Gramhofer, Angela Logan, Kelli Kilpatrick, Robin Kistler, Jennifer Harwell LaPrad, Chris Fruehwirth and Doug Franson
As a first step, the committee is asking that all staff members complete the Mendoza Staff Back to Work Survey by Friday, May 8, to better understand your thoughts, hopes and hesitations about returning to work on campus. Your responses will provide important guidance as we put back-to-work plans into place.
In addition to the survey, if you have ideas, questions or concerns about the transition at any time, please let the committee members know. Kara also is available to discuss any situations that you want to share confidentially, as am I.
I appreciate the amazing effort that all of you have put into these last weeks, and how you have continued to support our students, faculty and each other. You have shown courage, creativity and perseverance amidst great upheaval, uncertainty and adversity. I echo another sentiment expressed by Father John: It is empty and lonely here without you. I really look forward to the time when we can see each other in person again.
In Notre Dame,
My Fellow Mendoza Staff Members,
I hope you are all well and enjoying the beautiful spring weather. The purpose of this message is to provide some guidance and details for staff in follow up to the dean’s message sent Friday on the financial outlook for the College and University.
Let me start by thanking you for your ongoing commitment and dedication to the College, our faculty and students and to one another. I recognize there is a great deal of uncertainty for all and that naturally comes with many emotions. It is in these unprecedented times that I am grateful to have my Notre Dame and Mendoza “family.” Thank you for your ongoing patience, grace and understanding!
I want to reiterate Martijn’s statement that we are committed to preserving all current staff positions as a top priority. Everything we do in the College could not be accomplished without the leadership, hard work and support of staff and it is recognized and appreciated.
As I shared in the Staff Town Hall a couple weeks ago, the ND Voice Committee identified that transparent and intentional communication is an important priority for the College. As such, I am writing to share some additional information and provide clarity on a few matters:
- Staff hiring continues to be frozen for the foreseeable future. The College currently has 14 positions that will remain unfilled. While this certainly puts a pinch on teams, I encourage you and your team to work through these questions mentioned by Father Jenkins during the fall Town Hall:
o Automate: Are there systems or processes that will automate certain jobs or tasks to enhance efficiency?
o Integrate: Can we improve efficiency and effectiveness by identifying areas where people are doing similar jobs and looking for ways to integrate operations?
o Prioritize: What activities can we stop doing in order to take on those that have a higher strategic priority?
I will continue to work with senior leadership on where we have occasion to do this and welcome the opportunity to work with your teams to find new and innovative ways to gain efficiencies.
- There will be no merit raises and no increases in salaries related to promotions for faculty and staff at least for Fiscal Year 2019-20. I know this is disappointing news, especially as you all have stepped up to help the College make the transition to online learning under stressful conditions.
We are committed to prioritizing increases in salaries related to promotions for faculty and staff as soon as the budgetary situation has changed. I want to emphasize that it is important for you to complete your performance review steps in Endeavor to recognize your hard work. Some dates to keep in mind:
o At this time, all staff members should have finished their year-end comments and ratings and submitted them to their supervisors. (Step 3).
o Over the course of the next couple of weeks, I will be meeting with directors and managers across the College to calibrate performance ratings to ensure we are both consistent across all of our departments in how we are evaluating performance and to that we are aware of and recognizing the amazing work being done.
o Mid April – Early May : Supervisors will meet with their direct reports’ to discuss their performance evaluations and final ratings.
o May 15, 2020: Endeavor closes for FY2019-20.
- Staff Appreciation Day will be postponed. This is probably no surprise given the current state mandates against social gatherings, but I do want to thank the planning committee for the thought and effort that they’ve already put into planning the event. Our annual Staff Appreciation Day has always provided a great opportunity to come together, celebrate the work we are doing and build relationships. As such, there is a team that is currently working to identify opportunities for staff to engage together remotely during these times of social distancing. If you have any suggestions, please let me know. Otherwise, please stay tuned more information.
The Dean's Office and senior leadership recognize and value all of the amazing work that continues to be done remotely to support our faculty, staff and students. We encourage others in the College to acknowledge colleagues as well. A few suggestions are:
o Send emails to thank one another and recognize work on teams.
o Nominate someone for a Rocky Award in the Mendoza Brew. (Email nominees for future recognition to firstname.lastname@example.org.)
o Send a “kudos” to be included in the weekly Mendoza Exchange newsletter. (Submit suggestions via this link.)
o Copy Martijn and myself on emails to share the great work that is being done.
- Returning to work. I've received a number of inquiries from staff about when we will return to working on campus. The state of Indiana's stay-at-home order has been extended to April 20, but beyond that, the University has not yet issued any guidance. I will keep you updated as soon as more information is available.
Lastly, let us remember that Easter is about hope and renewal. Although we won’t be able to gather in our respective places of worship to celebrate Easter, you are welcome to join your Notre Dame family virtually and in spirit. Holy Week liturgies will be streamed live from the Basilica of the Sacred Heart on the Campus Ministry and FaithND websites. Happy Easter to you and your loved ones.
All my best,
I hope you and your families continue to be safe and well.
This email is a follow-up to Executive Vice President Shannon Cullinan’s email this Wednesday about the financial challenges faced by the University as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
The University remains committed to providing for all of our students – undergraduate and graduate – who themselves often are encountering a heavier financial need; to attending to the care and welfare of all of our workforce; and to all faculty continuing the University’s central work of teaching and research.
In order to honor these commitments, we have been asked to reduce expenses and control spending for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2019-20 as well as Fiscal Year 2020-21. These measures include the freezing of staff hiring, no merit raises for faculty and staff, no increases in salaries related to promotions for faculty and staff, and no non-essential travel, among others.
Please note: We are committed to preserving all current staff positions as a top priority.
We are also committed to prioritizing increases in salaries related to promotions for faculty and staff as soon as the budgetary situation has changed.
It is important that we complete the process in April for assessing performance as usual (including feedback for staff via Endeavor) to recognize the hard work our faculty and staff have accomplished this year, even if no merit raises will occur at this point in time. Completing the process will allow us to fully incorporate everyone’s performance when the budgetary situation changes in the future and we can again provide merit raises.
In regard to the overall College budget, we will need to examine our expenses to determine which are essential and which are non-essential, and make reductions in order to meet the University’s financial mandates. We have asked the department chairs, in conjunction with their faculty, to consider which teaching and research expenses are essential versus non-essential. Similarly, we have asked all associate deans to work with their academic and program directors on such determinations. All College directors with budgetary responsibilities will be doing the same.
In the coming days, Doug Franson and I will be working with the associate deans, chairs and directors to review our budgets. We need everyone’s input and guidance so that we can get a sense of what our priorities are, in order to best inform our decisions on what is essential versus non-essential spending. This will include reviewing our plans for renovations to the building as well as other capital projects.
If you have questions, concerns or ideas, please contact your department chair, associate dean, senior director, Doug or myself. Doug will serve as the central point of contact and communication for all financial and budget questions and for all decisions regarding essential and non-essential spending. Kara Palmer, Doug and I will keep you updated as decisions are made.
I am mindful that families also are hurting and that uncertainty about the future weighs heavily on many. The challenges we currently face may be unprecedented in our lifetime, but the Notre Dame community has a long history of overcoming adversity with faith, hope, commitment to solidarity and hard work. We’re in this together and can get through this together. Thank you for your hard work and dedication, as well as for your understanding of our current budgetary challenges.
In Notre Dame,
As you are probably aware, the University is in the process of considering changes to academic policies to support learning continuity objectives during this time of online teaching.
The University’s Academic Council will decide tomorrow (March 27) on changes to the grading and leave of absence policies for all undergraduates. The Mendoza College Council is currently evaluating a uniform proposal from the three associate deans for our graduate programs. We should have decisions also made by tomorrow.
Although the decisions are not yet final, I want to give you an idea of the changes being discussed and an approximate timeline for when and how you will be notified what the new policies are.
Throughout these discussions, our prime objectives have been to alleviate the stress on the part of faculty, staff and students as much as possible, while providing solutions that are equitable and compassionate for all of our students. We also recognize that the tools and methods for evaluating student learning that were available at the beginning of the semester may no longer be available to the faculty member for the second half of the semester.
Here are a few specific items being considered as part of the new policy:
Grading Policy (Undergraduate and Graduate): The proposals for changes to the grading policies focus on the best options for accommodating students who face particular difficulties in the new online teaching environment—such as students with poor internet connections or challenging home environments — and that treat them equitably. We also want to encourage those students, as well as all of our students, to “stay the course” so that they don’t lose course credits or harm their GPAs due to the current difficult circumstances. We further want to adopt policies that are as consistent as possible across programs.
It’s likely that the adopted solution will be an optional Pass/No Credit system that gives students the option to change their letter grade to a Pass/No Credit grade, but no decision has yet been finalized.
For background: Under a Pass/No Credit system, all faculty would submit letter grades for all students as normal, and faculty would not know which of their students would receive a letter grade or choose the Pass/No Credit option for their particular course. Under the Pass/No Credit option, a passing letter grade is changed to a Pass and a non-passing or failing letter grade is changed to No Credit, with neither influencing the student’s GPA.
Student Leave of Absence (LOA): The Leave of Absence policy is being expanded for the remainder of the spring 2020 semester. The University will determine the terms for undergraduate students. For our graduate programs, if a student must cease enrollment due to health-related circumstances (e.g., contracting COVID-19 or being required to care for a family member that has contracted the virus) or unforeseen changes in academic programming (e.g., canceled or unavailable coursework) in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the student may seek an LOA for the spring semester 2020 no later than April 29. The graduate programs affected by the policy include MBA, MSM, MSBA (South Bend and Chicago), MSA, MNA, Executive MNA and Executive MBA (South Bend and Chicago). (Note: The MSF program is not currently in session.)
Mendoza Grading Curve: As has been previously communicated, the Mendoza curve is suspended for the spring semester, which is meant to allow for more generous letter grades.
Details about the grading and leave of absence policies will be communicated to faculty through follow-up messages from the associate deans as information becomes available. Students enrolled in our graduate programs will have the opportunity to attend an information session to explain the policies.
If you have questions, please contact your chair, the associate deans or myself. Kristen Collett-Schmitt and Jim Leady are great resources of information as they serve on the provost’s Instructional Continuity Committee. You also can check the University’s coronavirus website for updates.
Once again, I’m thankful for the grace and positive attitude shown by so many at Mendoza as we continue to deal with the challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I hope you stay safe and well.
In Notre Dame,
In follow up to Martijn’s March 13th message advising Mendoza faculty and staff to make alternative work arrangements, please find further instructions on handling emails and phone calls, along with some best practices while working remotely:
- As Martijn shared, staff are expected to perform their duties and responsibilities, which includes being available by phone and email during regular work hours. We ask that you do not put an auto-reply “out of office” message on your email, unless you are truly out of the office because of illness, a planned vacation or other reason that means you are unavailable.
However, we recognize that working remotely can create unique challenges that may prevent us from providing the same level of service to one another and to our key stakeholders. As such, we are asking that you add something similar to the following to your email signature:
Out of concern for the safety and well-being of our campus community, the University of Notre Dame has suspended in-person classes at least through April 13 and is moving instead to online instruction. In addition, staff may begin to work more regularly from alternative locations. We remain committed to conducting our work and providing services and close to normal as possible. However, there may be a delay in response to your message as our teams become oriented to our new work mode.
- Please make arrangements to have your phone calls forwarded to your cell/home phone and/or have your voicemails converted to emails. You can find more information on the ND OIT portal for setting up phone options at phone.nd.edu
- Be sure that you are building in lunches, breaks and reporting your time/and overtime (as applicable) appropriately. As a reminder, please review the University's Overtime and Rest and Meal Period policies.
- Also, here are a couple of articles that may be helpful:
- Lastly, don’t forget — we’re still a community! The Communications Department is looking for good ideas for items to include in Mendoza Exchange to support and encourage each other during this time. Please contact Melissa Jackson (email@example.com) if you have suggestions.
I will provide regular brief updates about HR decisions and policies as the situation evolves. If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to contact me. Thank you for your ongoing flexibility and patience during these unprecedented times.
As conditions rapidly change due to the coronavirus pandemic, we all face a lot of uncertainty and stress. I appreciate the flexibility, patience and extra effort so many of you have shown during this time.
You should have received the March 11 email from Bob McQuade, the vice president of Notre Dame Human Resources, about protecting the health of our staff and faculty. If you haven’t done so already, I encourage you to read it and review the resources provided.
I want to share some additional guidance specific to Mendoza faculty and staff:
First and foremost, your health is of utmost importance and we are committed to maintaining a healthy and safe workplace for all. I am strongly encouraging all Mendoza faculty and staff to consider their individual work situations and identify opportunities to work from home through April 13 in order to further safeguard individual health and well-being.
To this last point, I am asking supervisors to work with their teams to determine alternative work arrangements in keeping with the University’s guidelines. Specifically, this will involve:
- Determining and communicating who is considered essential personnel and must be physically on campus, at least part of the time, to perform their jobs.
- Completing the staff contingency plans that were distributed by leadership earlier in the week. This process involves clearly articulating ongoing work commitments and determining how to effectively adjust to accommodate working from home or in other remote locations. These plans must consider how the department will continue to provide expected services to stakeholders, such as students. (Link to document here)
- If, based on the contingency plans, alternative work locations are deemed reasonable, work with your teams on communication with key stakeholders on how work will be accomplished. Of note, albeit remote, work hours and overtime policies still apply and staff are expected to perform their duties and responsibilities as agreed upon, which includes being available by phone and email during regular work hours.
For those who must be physically present, please follow the University and CDC guidelines recommending practices of social distancing and avoiding large gatherings. Check the University’s coronavirus website for updates, guidance and resources. We have also set up a hotline to answer any questions students, parents, faculty or staff might have, utilizing the askHR team to triage the calls and direct them to the appropriate offices. The hotline number is 574-631-5900.
I echo the sentiments of the University president and provost to ask everyone to do the best they can to continue delivering quality programs and services, with the understanding that nothing is going to be perfect. I am grateful for your patience and grace during this difficult and uncertain time.
In Notre Dame,
Dear Mendoza Community,
As a follow up to President John Jenkins’ letter dated March 11, I want to provide information about Mendoza’s plans for its classes and programs in view of the coronavirus outbreak.
Let me first emphasize that our preeminent priority at Mendoza is to consider the health and welfare of our students, faculty and staff. This serves as the guiding principle for all of our decisions and plans. To be sure, the coronavirus outbreak presents new questions and challenges for the College, particularly as conditions are rapidly changing.
To emphasize several key points:
Mendoza undergraduate, graduate and executive classes will transition to virtual instruction only, beginning March 23 and continuing until at least through April 13. All in-person classes will be suspended during this period. Executive classes will transition to online instruction immediately.
Further, there will be no undergraduate or graduate classes in any format during the week of March 15 to allow faculty the time to make adjustments to online formats with the following exceptions: The classes planned next week for Mendoza's executive degree programs will be held online instead of in-person residencies. Additionally, courses for the Executive MNA degree program that are currently offered online will be held next week as originally scheduled. Students and faculty are expected to participate. The program directors will follow up with more information.
All students should expect to receive more information from their program directors and their faculty via email in the next few days to address, among other things, changes to the syllabus, availability of the most essential materials for the course and instructions for the virtual access.
Many of our faculty members have long used the classroom tools of Zoom and Panopto to deliver and record online content. The Mendoza IT department is offering additional training to faculty and we are utilizing the resources provided by ND Learning (The Kaneb Center and the Office of Digital Learning) and the Office of Information Technologies to optimize the online learning experience.
Faculty can find additional resources at coronavirus.nd.edu/instructional-continuity. They can also consult associate dean Kristen Collett-Schmitt for assistance with online pedagogy practices and Mendoza IT director Chris Fruehwirth for technology help.
Executive non-degree program offerings will be postponed until at least through April 13.
Mendoza conferences and other large events scheduled between now and April 13 should be canceled in accordance with University Enterprises and Events’ guidance. If you have a Mendoza event planned in the next three months, please fill out this form to help us track scheduled activities.
Staff are asked to read the detailed instructions in HR vice president Robert McQuade’s letter. I reiterate his points that 1) staff should continue with normal operations until further notice and enact social distancing practices, and 2) staff members who can adequately carry out their job duties from home should make sure they are immediately prepared for the possibility of doing so. Further, all staff members should discuss potential alternate work options with their managers before making any changes to their work schedule or work location. Any change in schedules needs to be discussed and approved in advance with managers or supervisors.
Those at higher risk of contracting coronavirus, particularly those who are over the age of 60 and immunocompromised as advised by the CDC, should work with their supervisors to arrange for any alternative work arrangements. As always, we strongly encourage any employee who does not feel well to stay home, regardless of symptoms. Mendoza staff members should contact their direct supervisor or Mendoza director of administration Kara Palmer with any additional questions or concerns.
Mendoza faculty and staff travel reimbursed by the University to international locations is prohibited and personal travel strongly discouraged. University-reimbursed domestic travel must be postponed or canceled unless an exception is approved by the dean or senior associate dean. Faculty can consult senior associate dean Ken Kelley for advice about travel plans and nonrefundable costs. Students and staff should check with Doug Franson, director of finance and facilities, about any nonrefundable costs incurred because of a canceled event or program.
Anyone — faculty, staff or students — who has traveled to any country rated as a CDC Level 3 travel advisory (currently China, South Korea, Iran, and Italy) are required to self-quarantine and self-monitor their temperature for 14 days before coming onto campus. Self-quarantine requirements would also apply to those who have traveled to any countries that transition to a CDC Level 3. If you have a fever, cough, or shortness of breath, and especially if you have traveled to a CDC Level 3 travel advisory country or have been in close contact with anyone diagnosed with COVID-19, please contact your local health care provider or University Health Services (574-631-7497) by phone.
Mendoza will remain open and accessible to all of our faculty, staff and graduate students. Graduate students may gather informally in small groups in the College if they choose. However, all student club activities are prohibited until at least April 13.
We realize that the great amount of uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus outbreak is stressful for people in all facets of life — personal, professional and as a student. We also realize that all of these changes are very disruptive and regrettable to our students. As a community, we remain committed to the well-being of all, where the actions described above prioritize the most vulnerable among us in particular.
On behalf of the associate deans and directors, we endeavor to keep you informed about any new developments as the situation evolves. As questions arise, we encourage you to visit Notre Dame’s coronavirus update website for the most recent news and advisories.
In these extraordinary circumstances, I am especially grateful for your patience, perseverance, flexibility, and willingness to help each other. Our strong community will allow us to deal with and overcome the many challenges we face.
In Notre Dame,
Please visit coronavirus.nd.edu for the most recent updates from the University of Notre Dame.
Mendoza and Stayer Building Access
As of 3/21/20, your Notre Dame ID card is required to access Mendoza and Stayer. Please note, after-hours access to Stayer also requires the PIN associated with your card. If you don't remember your PIN, you can look it up at irish1card.nd.edu.