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Office of the Provost

Step 2: Communicate

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Communication is critically important during times of rapidly changing, unexpected situations that prompt University-wide temporary suspension of face-to-face classes. These steps are intended to provide faculty with guidelines for the most important elements of information sharing during this period. Any questions regarding classes or other academic operations may be sent to academic.affairsFREEMississippi.

  1. Stay up-to-date on University policies and plans by regularly checking the official website:

  2. Ensure that your director and any other regular points of contact have a phone number where you can be reached, and alternate numbers if appropriate. Check your USM email daily and keep lines of communication with your director open. Respond as quickly as you are able to any requests for information or input.

  3. Communicate regularly with all students enrolled in your classes, using Canvas for mass communication. Check both Canvas and USM email daily for communication from your students and provide them with links to the official information pages as appropriate. If the situation changes with the University and the timeline for face-to-face class suspension, communicate that as suggested on the official homepage or by your director, and refer students back to the University website. When questions arise, use the following contacts as a guide:

    a. Your questions about classes, grading, or other academic matters: academic.affairsFREEMississippi
    b. Questions about students with disability accommodations: odaFREEMississippi
    c. Questions about enrollment, dropping and adding: registrarFREEMississippi
    d. Questions about financial aid: financial.aidFREEMississippi
    e. Questions about outstanding bills/balance owed: business.servicesFREEMississippi
  4.  Use the CARES system to report any student concerns that are reported to you that are beyond simple requests for delayed deadlines or rescheduling, so that the University is able to have a record of major issues facing students. Make your director aware of these issues that you are seeing.

  5. Encourage your students to communicate with you and stay focused on completing their semester, despite the unexpected change in modality and assignments. Remain as flexible as possible as we adjust to the rapidly changing situation. (Please review the “Make a Plan” page for further details.)

    We recommend inclusion of this paragraph on your Canvas site and/or syllabi to clarify the situation:

    We recognize that changes to classes mid-semester can be stressful. Please know that the University is committed to supporting students during these extenuating circumstances and doing all that we can to ensure that you have the opportunity to complete your spring classes. Be sure to review your revised syllabi carefully for changes to assignments or expectations, stay in communication with all your instructors, and let your instructors know of any changes in your situation and what you need. It is critically important that you stay on top of your classes (review our guide for you at on this point) and take care of yourself as we work through the unexpected challenge of this semester. 

Keep Teaching •  Step 1: Make a Plan  •  Step 2: Communicate  •  Step 3: Resources


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Lucas Administration Building

Hattiesburg Campus

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