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Message from the Office of the Chancellor

March 30, 2020 - Welcome back to the spring semester

Dear UMSL Students,

I am writing to you today with a message of encouragement and support as you return to coursework from your spring break in the midst of navigating the profound effect that the coronavirus is having on your everyday life. Our faculty, staff and administrators understand that this is a stressful time and we are working to ease your transition back to classes and to support you on your journey through these last weeks of the spring semester. While you have received messages through your Online Course Overview in Canvas over the past weeks, I want to send you some highlights from those messages to ensure that you are aware of special arrangements that we have made to support your education and well-being.

  • Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U) grading basis change option for undergraduate courses: We know that there have been a lot of questions about whether or not the campus will change the grading basis for spring 2020 classes. We want this process to be student driven and have made arrangements to extend the deadline to April 30 for undergraduate students to request to change the grading basis for their classes. We know that S/U is not necessarily the best option for every student or every program, so we want to make sure that you have a choice and that you have the support of your academic advisors to help you make the right decision about your grading basis. Many of you may not be aware that UMSL has this grading basis option, so I want to make sure you know this option is available. Our ITS and Registration Office teams are developing an app for you to use to make this request, which can be made for either a single course or any number of courses. That app may be accessed here any time after Friday, April 3. Detailed information about this S/U option may be accessed here.

  • Late Drops: Currently students who wish to drop any course after the 12th week of the semester are required to provide documentation of exigent circumstance in order to receive an excused grade. For spring 2020, no documentation will be required at any point. Students will still need to initiate the drop process through the Drop App on the Registration website.

  • Social Services Support: We want to remind you that UMSL has social workers here to assist with basic needs and to connect you to resources you might need outside of academic support. Please visit the Student Social Services webpage and select the appropriate option on the right hand side of the page.

  • Health and Counseling Services: Health and Counseling Services will maintain limited operations to assist students as needed. Students should call 314-516-5711 to schedule an appointment. Virtual counseling appointments are available.

  • Online Tutoring: Our online tutoring services have been expanded and can be accessed by emailing jasonjohnson@umsl.edu.

  • Advising and Academic Coaching: All advising and coaching sessions are available by phone and Zoom so please don’t hesitate to reach out to your support system. If you need assistance connecting with an advisor, please call 314-516-5396 or email beckelkamp@umsl.edu. If you need assistance connecting to an academic coach, please call 314-516-5128 or email smalln@umsl.edu.

  • Technology: If you do not have the technology needed to be successful with remote learning, please contact your advisor or academic coach to be connected with available resources.

  • Staying Connected: It’s easy to feel isolated when you are engaging in social distancing. There is a great discussion board on the Learning to Learn Online Canvas course site that can keep you connected with your peers. We love that UMSL students are supporting each other! The Office of Student Involvement will also be sharing new content and virtual programs starting March 30. You can follow their social media @UMSLOSI to stay connected and engage with each other from wherever you are.

  • Wellness Resources: While our Recreation and Wellness Center is closed, staff members are still providing resources for fitness and wellness, ways to connect with others and other recreation tips during our time at home. Please visit their website to see online content for fitness videos, wellness resources and recreation resources.

  • Sanvello is a free app available for any student with an UMSL email address. The app has tools to create a mental health roadmap and track the progress of a user’s journey.

We will continue to keep you updated through announcements in your email and Canvas, but please remember that the campus COVID 19 website is a great resource as well. And don’t forget the Keep Learning website for tips to succeed in your classes this spring.

As I wrote in my message to the UMSL community last week, I want to remind and encourage you to please be kind to yourselves and to each other. Take good care. Follow the social distancing measures that serve to keep not only ourselves but our families, our communities and our healthcare systems safe and intact. Reach out when you need to. Use technology, creativity and your own unique gifts to lift each other up in ways that cut across distance. Stay well, stay connected and stay ever hopeful.

If you need assistance that we have not been able to connect you to, please don’t hesitate to reach out directly to Beth Eckelkamp, associate provost for student success, at beckelkamp@umsl.edu any time.

Be safe,

Kristin Sobolik
Interim Chancellor and Provost