Message from the Provost / Academic Continuity for PSC

To: Paul Smith’s College students

Delivered: March 20, 2020

This message addresses our college-level academic plans. Each of the department chairs will also be posted messages today through Canvas. I have prepared a separate video message, which is accessible through this link.

The current international crisis which has led New York State to shut down public gatherings has been a shock to us. Every educational institution is having to find ways to keep operations going when meeting face-to-face is impossible. We did not choose this problem, yet will face it together and overcome it.

Keeping you safe is our first priority. This means that the campus is completely closed as of Friday, March 20th. Paul Smith’s is fully committed to our mission to educate students, and the faculty are doing everything possible to ensure students complete their semester and get full credit. All courses will complete the semester using distance education. Since that is not our usual approach, there will be bumps along the way. Please be patient and forgiving.

We know this is a very stressful time with worries about academics, health and finances. Even when we cannot meet in person, we need to maintain the Smitty Spirit of caring for each other. Many people are facing big challenges right now. I am well aware that this includes many of you and your families. Please support and encourage others who are struggling. The college cares about you.

Below is information regarding academic plans for the rest of the semester, as well as who to contact if you need help.

Academic Credit / Learning Online

  • Assignments that were due during the extended spring break will be re-scheduled with new due dates. We will be as flexible and fair as possible.
  • Log into Canvas as soon as possible to make sure you have connectivity. Contact Information Technology if you are having trouble logging in. Canvas will be our main platform for all teaching. You can rely on this platform as your go-to hub for all course elements.
  • Faculty have been working hard to figure out how best to continue their classes in a distance education format. Faculty will post the necessary materials to resume classes in their Canvas class by Sunday.
  • Assuming you complete your work as defined by your faculty, full credit will be awarded for completed classes. Everyone will be able to stay on track to graduation, and seniors will be able to complete their degrees.
  • Capstone courses will still take place and include a public presentation at the end. Please work with your professor on how we plan to do this.
  • As you know, like many other colleges, we lost a week of instruction due to the extended spring break. The State of New York requires a certain number of instructional hours. They have not yet told us if those hours will need to be made up. Right now we plan to end the semester as regularly scheduled.

Getting Help

  • Technology support services are provided by the Information Technology Department
    • The office is staffed remotely from 8-5pm Monday – Friday. Messages will be answered promptly, with academic support questions answered until 8:00 pm Monday – Thursday.
    • helpdesk@paulsmiths.edu
    • 518-327-6465
  • Note, to help you get started there are some excellent Canvas support materials already posted. Our team is available to help you navigate this information.
  • Talk to your professors for guidance. Professors have modified their office hours to be as accommodating as possible. Office hours for individual faculty are posted in Canvas.
  • Our Faculty Office is staffed remotely to assist with making faculty connections and help with general academic questions or paperwork. Please contact:
  • The Center for Academic and Career Success, and all of its programs and services such as Tutoring, HEOP, TRiO, Career Services and Accommodative Services provide essential support for our students. Please be assured that all of our programs and services will be transitioning to an online format and will be fully available by the end of next week. All of our staff, including peer tutors and peer mentors, will be available by electronic means to offer full service support to students and faculty. Please feel free to email academic_success@paulsmiths.edu if you have any questions and stay tuned for further communications.
  • The library staff will be working remotely Mondays – Fridays from 8:00am – 5:00pm to help support the transition to online learning. You can reach us at library@paulsmiths.edu, 518-327-6313, contact staff directly at their phone extensions, or chat with us online using Teams. For any questions, please check out our new Online Resources FAQ. Available services include:
    • Virtual reference sessions and research help, bookable via Starfish. These can be for any help you might need in terms of materials and information, please use them! We want to help you!
    • Screencast tutorials available on the library website and in Canvas (link to the tutorial in Canvas Commons)
    • eBook and digital journal lending
    • Interlibrary Loan to access digital materials our library doesn’t own

Add/Drop and Registration

  • The add/drop period has been extended to April 1. You will still be able to drop classes without getting an “F” in the class up to that date. Advisors can email registrar@paulsmiths.edu after they and the student have agreed on a change, and those specific changes will be made without needing the traditional forms. For guidance email registrar@paulsmiths.edu or telephone our staff at 518-327-6231. Messages will be answered daily.
  • Students enrolled in spring courses that included travel this summer to British Columbia and Denmark will not be travelling. You do not need to drop these classes! Students will be given an alternative way to earn credit. Details or refunds or re-scheduled trips will be provided once the situation clarifies itself.
  • The college will also add at least two short one credit classes, which will be announced next week. Along with the campus internship class, which is still open for registration, these will give you some options if you need some additional academic credit.

Finally, let me wish you all the best. Your faculty and staff will do all they can to support you. This is a challenging time, but we will make it through. Hang in there, and see you back on campus in September.

Provost Hunt-Bull

Key Contacts

Student Health Services
Abigail Fontaine, RN, BSN, Director
(518) 327-6349
afontaine@paulsmiths.edu

Housing & Residence Life
Lou Kaminski, Director
residencelifeandhousing@paulsmiths.edu
(518) 327-6488

Campus Safety
Holly Parker, Director
hparker@paulsmiths.edu
(518) 327-6300

Emergency Management
Teresa Gay, Compliance Coordinator
tgay@paulsmiths.edu
(518) 327-6451