In light of the evolving situation regarding the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and the understandable concern it has caused, I am writing to echo President Fry’s message of last week and to offer guidance for our College of Engineering community.
There continue to be no cases of the virus on our campus and as of today, Drexel is still in normal operating mode. What we can do as a campus and as a college is to remain adaptable, and prepare together for various scenarios should the situation change.
In this email:
- Campus and CoE Preparedness Planning
- CoE Guidance for Faculty and Staff
- CoE Contingency Planning Workshops
- Additional Resources
Again, we are still conducting business as usual, and will keep you posted as events unfold. The more we plan ahead, the better prepared we will be to maintain efficient business operations and an effective, positive learning environment for our students.
Sharon L. Walker, PhD
Dean, College of Engineering
Campus and CoE Preparedness Planning
The CoE leadership team met on Thursday, March 5, to discuss the college-wide preparedness plan; University-wide contingency planning includes an academic response committee chaired by campus IT and educational specialists and coordination by the office of Drexel Business Services. Associate Dean for Undergraduate Affairs Kevin Scoles is our member of that committee. Assistant Dean for Strategic Initiatives Katie Meier is communicating with Assistant Vice President Don Liberati and others on the non-academic response. In addition, all department heads have convened, or will shortly, their faculty and staff to discuss unit-specific planning. Staff in CoE Academic Affairs and Advising stand prepared to manage workload and communication with students should we shift to online operations.
We must be thoughtful about being effective regardless of how campus responds, to do our jobs well and to serve our engineering students under various scenarios.
- For Faculty: Associate Dean Scoles shared a message yesterday on behalf of the Registrar regarding final exam week. I refer you to that email, and reiterate that opportunities we have to avoid large gatherings are ones we should take. Final assessment of student learning in Winter courses does not necessarily have to be conducted face-to-face, but please prepare for the possibility that all final assessments and exams may need to be administered online. For those of you with research and lab groups, back up your data, think about safe and appropriate materials you may want to take home, and consider how you will communicate and coordinate with your lab group. Please keep an eye out for emails directly from the Registrar and/or Office of Research Should we receive further guidance or recommendations from either of these offices, we will be sure to share that information.
- For Staff: Be thoughtful about what you may need to be effective working from home in the event we need to move to remote business. It would be helpful for supervisors and staff to meet to discuss project types, expectations for daily business and modes of communication.
- For All: I direct you to President Fry’s message on preserving an inclusive, caring community at Drexel amid COVID-19 concerns. The same goes for CoE – I fully expect our community to be respectful of the wellbeing of everyone. Please also remember to be vigilant about monitoring email communications and conducting virtual work. Beware of suspicious messages and links, and refer to Drexel’s Best Practices for Information Security. If you are contacted by a reporter: refer to Drexel’s News Media Relations Policy, refrain from commenting or responding, and send any inquiries directly to Britt at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are active on social media: please also be sure to familiarize yourself with Drexel's social media policy, particularly point #10, "Posting on personal sites," as well as best practices regarding when to engage and when to ignore.
CoE Contingency Planning Workshops
To support the potential need to move some or all of our operations online, CoE will offer the following workshops – all in Hill Seminar Room unless otherwise noted – and I strongly encourage you to attend (
please bring a laptop to any workshop you attend
- Monday, 3/9
- 10:00am-11:00am: ENGR113 Contingency Planning (Patrick Gurian)
- Tuesday, 3/10
- 10:00am-11:00am, Note location change: MEM Seminar Room, Curtis 162: ENGR113 Contingency Planning (Patrick Gurian)
- 2:00pm-3:00pm: Delivering and Collecting a Winter Take-Home Final through Learn (Kevin Scoles)
- Wednesday, 3/11
- 9:00am-10:00am: Delivering and Collecting a Winter Take-Home Final through Learn (Chris Fiori, Kevin Scoles)
- 10:00am-11:00am: Instruction via bbLearn and Zoom (Kevin Scoles)
- Thursday, 3/12
- 2:00pm-3:00pm: Best Practices for Staff and Faculty Working Remotely (Katie Meier)
- 3:00pm-4:00pm: Instruction via bbLearn and Zoom (Kevin Scoles)
- Friday, 3/14
- Time/Location TBD: Instruction via bbLearn and Zoom (Kevin Scoles)
- 11:00am-12:00pm, Note location change: session will be conducted via Zoom. Join URL is https://drexel.zoom.us/j/598057873: Best Practices for Staff and Faculty Working Remotely (Katie Meier)
We are able to offer these workshops based on the tireless effort of faculty and staff volunteers. I offer my deepest thanks to the following individuals who have offered to serve as mentors and coaches for those less familiar with online teaching and work:
- Chemical and Biological Engineering: Nicolas Alvarez and Jason Baxter
- Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering: Bob Brehm, Joe Hughes and Jim Mitchell
- Construction, Project Management and Systems Engineering: Johanna Casale, Chris Fiori, Chris Morse and Kathleen Short
- Electrical and Computer Engineering: Nagarajan Kandasamy, Kevin Scoles and Steven Weber and
- Engineering Technology: Mira Olson and Althea Middleton-Detzner
- Materials Science and Engineering: Chris Weyant
- Mechanical Engineering and Mechanics: Jennifer Atchison and Ahmad Najafi
- Dean’s Office: Andrew Marx and Katie Meier
- CoE IT Support: If you have any concerns about the function or access of your devices in the event we need to move operations and teaching virtually, please contact college IT staff directly to ensure your devices are configured properly. CoE staff are located in Bossone 614, ext. 4444, and available from 8:00am-5:00pm Monday through Friday.
- Coronavirus Research Update Webcast: Dr. Charles Haas will join The Water Research Foundation for a webcast about coronavirus research on Thursday, March 12, 3:30pm-5:00pm ET. The webcast is free and open to the public. Register here.
- Blackboard Collaborate Ultra: Drexel-specific information on access, device setup, presenting, and helpful videos.
- Blackboard Learn Help for Instructors: provides guidance on common questions and course setup.
- Drexel Zoom: Access Drexel Zoom athttps://drexel.zoom.us/. Students can click on ‘Sign in Standard,’ and use their Drexel login to sign in. Once logged in, they can schedule a meeting for their groups. Additionally, students can select to save the recordings of their Zoom-group discussions for future reference. Recordings are saved in the cloud. Zoom online also provides an extensive list of video shorts on joining, scheduling and conducting meetings and webinars.
- Drexel Blog Posts: Options for capturing video, as well as webcast recording tips.
- Drexel Streams: Drexel IT uses Kaltura and offers a number of tutorials, including guidance on uploading videos for use in bbLearn and other platforms. CoE’s Brandon Terranova also created a brief video tutorial describing how to create and upload a video to Drexel Streams and post it to bblearn.
- Drexel Instructional Technology Group: our colleagues in this office are highly competent, friendly and willing to assist. Contact at ext.1224 or email@example.com.
- ITG contingency planning: Information on contingency planning including links to a series of webinars that will begin on March 10.
- Remote Teaching Resources for Business Continuity: DePaul University’s Center for Teaching and Learning has compiled an extensive list of universities across the country with links to resources on academic continuity and making rapid transitions to online teaching.