FAQs for Faculty and Staff

This FAQ is updated as information becomes available. If your question is not listed here and you need to make a decision on something, please follow these principles:

  • No face-to-face instruction should be occurring through April 25. Any exceptions should be cleared with your Dean.
  • Students should not be academically penalized for not completing something that involves working face-to-face with others.
  • Faculty and staff should hold meetings virtually when possible to encourage social distancing.

Teaching & Learning

A. Grand Valley’s decisions on when to return to face-to-face instruction are evolving as the COVID-19 situation develops. Currently:

Courses starting May 4 (Spring – 1st 6 weeks, and Spring/Summer – full 12 weeks)

  • All courses will be offered remotely or online (no face-to-face instruction)
  • All study abroad programs are cancelled
  • Experiential education programs (internships, co-ops, clinicals, etc.) have not been cancelled. Students may register for these courses. Experiences that can be conducted remotely can progress regardless of the current health-related conditions. For in-person experiences, students should be aware that they may need to drop their spring term internship and take it in the summer term—or take an Incomplete and complete the bulk of their internship hours in the latter part of the summer into fall. Additionally, it is possible that in-person spring/summer internships may be cancelled at some point prior to the start of the semester if conditions in the state dictate (i.e. another executive order from the Governor; public health warnings; etc).

Courses starting June 22 (Summer – 2nd 6 weeks)

  • Courses are currently scheduled as normal – either face-to-face or online/hybrid
  • All study abroad programs are cancelled
  • Experiential education programs (internships, co-ops, clinicals, etc.) will be scheduled as normal, with opportunities available based upon each organization’s ability to support student experiential learning.

A. An Academic Continuity web page developed by the Pew Faculty Teaching and Learning Center includes information about the FTLC’s and Information Technology’s workshops, as well as open hours, to assist you in managing your teaching online.

A. As many people across the university now have the need to contact students remotely (via phone or video-conferencing software), please verify that the person you are talking to is actually the student before discussing grades or any other personally identifiable information. The following are methods that are routinely used by staff in the Record’s Office to verify identities:

  • If you are using a video-enabled software and you don’t know what the student looks like, you could ask the individual to hold up their GVSU ID card or a government issued ID card.
  • If you are using audio, you can ask the individual several questions to verify their identity. Ask questions that you can verify by looking in Banner SSB, such as:
  1. What is your G#?
  2. What is one class you are taking this semester and what is the name of your professor for that class?
  3. What is one class you took last semester (fall 2019)?
  4. What is the name of your academic advisor?

In general, avoid questions that a parent or someone closely related to the student would know (major, for example).

A. Please make such requests to your dean's office; that office will coordinate with Information Technology and vendors, as appropriate.

A. There are options to borrow technology and access free internet subscriptions, which are posted on Financial Aid's website. From the FAQ on Financial Aid and Scholarships:

Here some helpful resources available for you:

If you feel that you will be unable to be successful in online coursework due to a financial hardship, please contact us at  finaid@gvsu.edu

A. Yes! The IT Help Desk is providing additional support to faculty, staff, and students. They can provide general technology assistance and student support in the use of Blackboard, Collaborate, Ally, Panopto, and Respondus LockDown Browser/Monitor.

Web: http://www.gvsu.edu/it 
Email: helpdesk@gvsu.edu
Phone: (616) 331-2101 and (855) 435-7488 (Toll-free) 

Phone/Email Support (through April 13):
Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. - 8 p.m.
Saturdays & Sundays, 10 a.m. - 8 p.m.

Additionally, IT is providing faculty support in the use of Blackboard, Collaborate, Ally, Panopto, and Respondus LockDown Browser/Monitor:

Web: http://www.gvsu.edu/elearn
Email: bbadmin@gvsu.edu
Phone: (616) 331-8526 

Phone/Email Support:
Monday - Friday, 7 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Blackboard support is provided 24x7 for faculty and students. For after hour assistance, please call: (616) 331-2101 and push "1" to transfer when prompted

A. Grand Valley has a subscription to Respondus Lockdown Browser and Monitor, which allows you to proctor tests through Blackboard and from a distance. Information Technology has more information about Respondus on their website.

Disability Support Resources (DSR) can, on a case-by-case basis, consult with faculty on other test proctoring needs, including for non-DSR students. Please note that to accommodate a student with a documented disability requiring more time on tests, faculty can adjust the time allotted for a Blackboard exam for one (or more) students separate from the rest of the class. DSR can be reached at dsrgvsu@gvsu.edu or 616-331-2490. 

You might also consider open book exams or other assessment activities that do not require proctoring. Contact the Pew Faculty Teaching and Learning Center to consult with someone on alternative assessment activities.


A. Departments may make small technology purchases (e.g. microphones, webcams) outside our regular policy, which mandates all orders go through IT. Please work with your unit head for approval ahead of purchasing technology in this way. Because there are cybersecurity concerns associated with computers and networked printers, this policy suspension does not apply to such purchases.

A. If you do not have a laptop, contact Bob Holcomb in IT. We have ordered several laptops for loan, There are a few in stock and more will be delivered (ETA 2-3 weeks).  Bob can be reached via email at holcombb@gvsu.edu.

A. At its meeting on Friday, March 13, the Executive Committee of the Senate--acting on behalf of the University Academic Senate--passed the following emergency measures, which were recommended by the Academic Policies and Standards Committee. The Provost has approved these academic policies for the Winter 2020 term, which take effect immediately:

Please note that students are encouraged to check with their advisor and Financial Aid before making any changes to their schedules.

1) The withdrawal date is extended to April 6. Emails can be used to expedite the approval process and retained as withdrawal documentation.

2) Faculty should provide students with feedback on their progress in an online learning environment before March 29.

3) Modification of syllabi:  Faculty may make necessary adjustments to how they assess students’ performance, e.g. grading rubrics, assignments, exams, attendance. Synchronous online courses should not penalize the student based on inability to attend at the scheduled time. Modifications to the syllabus are not subject to appeal.

4) Students' academic standing will not be lowered based on their performance before the university returns to normal operations. For example, students on probation will not be lowered to jeopardy of dismissal status based on their performance in Winter 2020 classes.

For the remaining, decisions will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis and subject to approval by the unit head based upon consideration, such as:

  • if it is appropriate for the course,
  • if the instructor deems it appropriate,
  • if it affects the student’s progress toward completion,
  • if it imposes undue hardship upon the student.

5) Students may petition to switch one or more courses to CR/NC. March 16-31 was a window for requests.  There will be one more window for requests, May 1-15, after grades are posted.  Details are on this web page.

6) When essential course objectives cannot be completed in an online environment under current circumstances and students’ progress toward graduation is not hindered, students may be assigned an incomplete until the objectives have been met. The University will provide greater latitude on limitations for incomplete courses.

7) Where applicable and appropriate, the schedule and delivery (e.g. make-up laboratory time/instruction) may be altered in a manner that is respectful of the burden placed upon students.


A. GVSU Laker Store is temporarily closed to the public in adherence of Governor Whitmer’s Stay Home, Stay Safe Executive Order. Store staff is working remotely and checking email and voicemail regularly. Be advised that it may take longer than usual to receive a reply.

GVSU Laker Store website will remain open so we can service students via online orders. The store’s website, http://lakerstore.gvsu.edu/, is regularly updated with information. We will be shipping physical books and other materials to students for Spring/Summer semester. There is no imminent need to transition all books to digital, although digital materials are an option, if you so choose.

The Text Collect site, https://gvsu.verbacollect.com/, will also remain open to receive book orders from faculty & departments for Spring/Summer 2020 and Fall 2020 semesters. GVSU Laker Store staff will continue to maintain and monitor the site to make sure it is as up to date as possible. If you know of any changes such as course/section adds or cancellations, faculty updates, etc., or if you would like to make changes to your current book order, please send those to Tom Bevington, Course Materials Manager, at bevingtt@gvsu.edu.

GVSU Laker Store has partnered with one of our used book wholesalers to provide book sell back virtually. The information is posted on the Laker Store website; students can sell back books here: https://onlinebuyback.mbsbooks.com/index.php?jde=9192.

A. Yes, as of March 20.  The Registrar’s Office has posted fillable PDF versions of the Authorization of Grade Change, Course Change Notification, and Winter 2020 Credit/No Credit forms on its web page.

The Grade Change and Course Change forms available on the Faculty/Staff secure site at https://www.gvsu.edu/registrar/faculty-staff-resources-16.htm.

The two forms require signatures, which should be applied using a mouse.  Typed signatures using a font will not be accepted.

How to add a signature to a PDF

  1. Open the PDF file in Adobe Acrobat Reader.
  2. Click on Fill & Sign in the Tools pane on the right.
  3. Click Sign, and then select Add Signature.
  4. A popup will open, giving you three options—Type, Draw, and Image. Once you're done, click the Apply button.
  5. Drag, resize and position the signature inside your PDF file.

The Winter 2020 Credit/No Credit Request Form is available on the student-facing forms page at https://www.gvsu.edu/registrar/student-forms-14.htm.

For Credit/No Credit forms we will continue accepting an email chain of approvals from student to advisor to unit head (if needed ) to Records.

Please contact Records at regdept@gvsu.edu with questions.

A. Please refer to the following page for guidance when a student, faculty or staff member indicates they are sick. https://www.gvsu.edu/coronavirus/a-student-is-sick-in-my-class-9.htm

As we navigate new ways to offer support for our students, the Student Academic Success Center and Division of Student Affairs has created a resource for faculty and staff. The "TIPS" sheet provides links to students for the resources that best meet their needs.

A. The GVSU Career Center is available to provide support with job searches, and has a remote services page for students.

Final Exam/Culminating Experience

A. Yes. While this semester has been abnormal in many ways due to the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, there is an expectation that all courses will include a final exam or culminating experience as would be the case in any normal semester.

A. Yes. If you are having a final exam, it must be conducted during the final exam week. Likewise, any culminating experience apart from a final exam should also either be completed, or have some student activity related to it performed, during the final exam week. While the culminating experience itself may be completed prior to the final exam week, there should be some student activity related to the project that is expected during the final exam week (e.g. presentation, group discussion, etc.).

A. No. If you are holding a scheduled exam or meeting, it must take place at the scheduled time for your course section. To do otherwise would complicate the exam schedule for students who have multiple exams/meetings during that week. That being said, there may be students who are unable to make the scheduled time due to complications in their personal schedule related to the COVID-19 pandemic (e.g. child care, sickness, caring for others, limited/no access to internet at the given time, etc.). In such cases, faculty should be as generous as possible in allowing flexibility to individual students to make alternative schedule arrangements.

It is also acceptable to conduct your final exam/culminating experience asynchronously during the final exam week (i.e. the exam/experience can be completed at any time during the week). If using this approach, the due date of the final exam/culminating experience cannot be earlier than the date and time assigned for the course in the final exam schedule.

A. Yes. There are several resources provided by the eLearning and Emerging Technologies team including information about building online assessments and proctoring an exam online. When thinking about using Respondus LockDown Browser/Monitor for proctoring an exam, you should consider that students need to download and install the software, and the software requires specific levels of technology on the student’s computer such as a webcam.

In addition, the eLearning staff and Disability Support Resources staff are available to help problem solve individual concerns, and provide recommendations for alternative assessments such as: papers, projects, quizzes, and student presentations as video assignments through Panopto, or shared live through Blackboard Collaborate. 

Meetings & Events

A. Only faculty and staff identified as critical workers should be working in campus offices. Critical Workers will receive notification from their Appointing Officer. Contact your Appointing Officer if you have questions.

A. No. Due to Governor Whitmer’s Executive Order, no meetings can be held on campus. Please try to move as many meetings as possible to virtual sessions using one of the options on the GVSU Web Conferencing web site.

A. The University has several web conferencing options for faculty and staff that you can use for meetings--and your teaching.

A. Per Governor Whitmer's Executive Order no events should be held on campus through April 13, 2020.


A. All university-sponsored international travel is suspended effective immediately; the University strongly discourages domestic travel for business as well, even if you have already booked your flight. All travel is subject to suspension at short notice. Previously booked travel can be reimbursed through department faculty and staff development funds, as well as grant subsidies provided through CSCE and FTLC.  Please follow standard guidelines for reimbursement. 

A. All nonessential university-related travel booked after March 12, both international and domestic, will not be reimbursed. Any essential university-related travel must be approved by the Appointing Officer and Provost, which will be subject to scrutiny of need and CDC guidelines. Be aware that essential travel is subject to suspension at short notice. We will revise travel guidelines as the situation warrants. 


A. The university strongly recommends that you limit your personal travel, internationally and domestically.  Please refer to the CDC updates, as travel information is changing on a frequent basis.  If you are required to self-quarantine after a personal trip, be aware of how your absence impacts your unit and university operations. Any self-quarantine for GVSU employees needs to be reported to Natalie Trent in Human Resources.


A. To provide students with maximum opportunity to secure alternative academic arrangements, all spring/summer study abroad is canceled. Communication has already gone out to faculty, staff, and students that were planning to travel as part of faculty-led study abroad programs in this time frame.

Experiential Learning

A. Students should not be required to complete face-to-face interactions for academic credit; thus, their grades should not be penalized if they choose not to complete these experiences. Credit-bearing work/service experiences are managed on a program-by-program basis and with permission of the dean. Students should abide by the Governor Whitmer’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order. Through April 13, all Michigan businesses and operations must temporarily suspend in-person operations that are not necessary to sustain or protect life, and all Michiganders must stay in their homes unless they’re a part of that critical infrastructure workforce. Students working in another state should abide by any orders/mandates in place for that state. Students have been provided the guidance outlined on the Student FAQ page.

Coordinators of these programs are encouraged to sustain learning opportunities for students by moving them online as much as possible. For example, mentorship meetings, supervisor visits, debriefings, etc. can be held virtually or by phone; reflective assignments, learning modules, and trainings can be put online.

Additionally, coordinators should be in regular contact with their unit head and/or dean as the public health situation of COVID-19 evolves.

A. No. Students should abide by the Governor Whitmer’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order. Through April 13, the university has temporarily suspended in-person operations, and all faculty and students should stay in their residences.


A. ECS and the Provost agreed to temporary policies on March 27. LIFT evaluations will not be conducted during Winter 2020. Faculty who wish to collect feedback from their students may do so by setting up a survey in Blackboard (under Course Tools) or through other means.  Directions to set up a survey using some questions from LIFT can be found at this web page.

Details on other policy changes can be found here.

A. More than anything else, Grand Valley's response to COVID-19 is part of a community, state, and national effort to slow the spread of the virus and ensure our medical system isn’t overwhelmed with cases. This is the primary reason that Governor Whitmer enacted the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order. Through April 13, all Michigan businesses and operations must temporarily suspend in-person operations that are not necessary to sustain or protect life, and all Michiganders must stay in their homes unless they’re a part of that critical infrastructure workforce. The decision to resume activities as usual will be based on clear signs that the spread of the virus has been controlled. We cannot predict when that will happen, but GVSU leadership monitors the situation daily.