Message to undergraduates at a time of crisis

March 13, 2020

Dear English majors,

This is a stressful time for all of us. There’s a lot of uncertainty about how COVID will impact the university and beyond. You will have read announcements from the Chancellor and you are probably checking https://covid19.wisc.edu/ for updates.

I’m writing to offer reassurance about your English classes. We are helping English instructors move their courses online in order to ensure that that transition is as smooth as possible. We have a task force made up of faculty and staff who have taught online before, and they are able to offer English instructors guidance. The university has also provided us with lots of information and resources. Undoubtedly there will be some bumps and glitches during the transition, but we are committed to supporting you and helping you succeed in your classes.

We do not expect English courses to be easier or harder moving forward, only different. Your grades won’t suffer as a result of the transition. You will remain accountable for learning class content and participating in class activities and completing assignments – the same as before, only the class format, some activities, and some assignments may be altered. We have been assured by campus leadership that libraries will stay open and that access to computers will be available.

Moving forward, communication is key. It is important that once class resumes, you check your Wisc email or Canvas course site at least once a day for any announcements. Make sure your Canvas Notification Preferences are set to receive Canvas announcements in real time rather than once a week. If you leave campus, make sure you take your books and notes with you.

Your instructors will be sending more detailed information before courses resume on March 23. You will also hear from the English advisor, Chris Logterman, about shifting to modes of advising that do not require your presence on campus.

Again, we are committed to helping you perform your best in your English classes and to making this transition as smooth as possible.We all need to work together, and we will.

Best regards,

Anja Wanner (Department Chair) and David Zimmerman (Associate Chair)

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