I hope this finds you safe and well.
Below is a summary of the points covered by Jeff and myself at last week's faculty meeting. Some of it has been superseded by more recent developments as set out in the update message you will have received from us this morning.
Shanghai current status
--Life in Shanghai is getting back to a level of normality--with masks. Border closing is a temporary policy that China wants to lift as soon as things come back under control overseas. The prospects in Europe and the US are improving but it is unlikely borders will reopen to foreigners before late April/early May at the earliest, which with 2 weeks of quarantine makes it unlikely faculty overseas will be able to get back onto campus before the end of the semester. Not impossible, but very unlikely.
--Please see our most recent message for updates on reopening.
We will reopen if we can, to show our support of government efforts to manage the relaunch of society as quickly as possible. Many of our students and faculty are in Shanghai, so it would be odd to decline to reopen. Faculty and staff (but not students) can re-enter the academic building now, with protocols. Faculty in China should come back if they can, but we understand there will be a lot of complications to be considered for individuals.
--About the applicability of policy announcements we receive from NYU Provost Katy Fleming:
Matters that go to the Board of Trustees (like tenure clock extensions) apply to us automatically. They are uniform across the university.
Most other matters do not apply to us automatically. They are aimed at the New York campus, which is different from the Shanghai campus in many ways. The disease epidemiology is different. And the New York campus is not growing, but we still are.
Nevertheless, we consult with NY all the time and for the most part we try to harmonize whenever it makes sense to do so. We try not to be different unless there is a reason to be different.
--About pass-fail, including for capstones:
It is up to the students, not the faculty, to make the choice to take the capstone, or any other course, pass/fail. What’s more the faculty won’t know if a student is taking a class pass/fail so they must submit letter grades. For that reason, to maintain integrity it’s important not to make any kind of grade deals with your student.
--Faculty Recruitment this year
10 new tenured and tenure-track faculty with 2 (now 3) offers outstanding, as follows: 4 in Business; 2 in Sociology; 2 in Math; 1 in Global China Studies; 1 in Art History; outstanding offers in Global Public Health, Computer Science, and IMB.
We unfortunately had to halt searches in Philosophy, Environmental Studies, and for a Director of Chinese Language. The Data Science search was not successful.
Other new faculty include:
1 in Social Science, 4 in Writing; 2 in EAP; 4 Math Visitors; 3 Humanities Visitors; 5 new GPS Teaching Fellows; 1 Math Teaching Fellow
As for next year’s faculty recruitment, it’s too soon to say whether or what hiring we’ll be able to do. We have frozen new hires until things become clearer because our top priority is to keep our existing faculty employed.
--Faculty discretionary funds
Our approach is different from New York's. This year’s unused annual discretionary funds cannot be rolled over. We don’t yet know about next year—too much is in flux right now. As for startup funds or other funds for specific research projects, usually provided for a multi-year period with automatic roll-over: if you currently have access to this kind of time-sensitive startup or grant funding and it’s about to reach the end of its automatic rollover period, please get in touch with me (Joanna).
A question subsequently came up about rolling over unused home leave. Home leave is annual and isn’t bankable. It regenerates in September. You may be able to use unused home leave to defray the cost of return to Shanghai.
--Fall Semester plans
As of now we expect to be teaching face to face in fall semester.
Likely to have at least a full crop of new students, Chinese and international, in part for visa reasons.
Gaokao one-month delay makes things tight for our Chinese students. A task force is working to adjust the fall academic calendar, considering e.g. a shorter orientation and later exams. More soon on this.
Of course, we have to consider how we would teach our fall classes if we have to do them remotely.
In general, we know that we all need to plan; that we all need to make contingency plans, and that any time you start to make contingency plans for X somebody is going to announce that you are planning to do X. Contingency plans by definition are contingency plans, not actual plans.
--Contract faculty re-appointments
The reviews that were conducted this semester are almost complete.
For those who are up for review in the fall, as of now we expect those to proceed as usual. If you are due to be reviewed in the fall and have a concern about the timing you should speak with your Dean.