Welcome to Fall ‘22, Here are Helpful Resources and Policies to Know at the Start of the Academic Year
Welcome to the start of the 2022-2023 Academic Year! I hope you had a relaxing, rewarding summer.
Thank you for all the effort you’re putting in now to get our academic year off to a great start. The purpose of this message is to provide essential information that supports academic work, in a single source for your reference throughout the semester. I hope you find this helpful as you prepare for your courses and related academic activities.
As a leading research institution, it is our responsibility to explore and discuss challenging issues and ideas. Diversity of thought makes an institution stronger. At KU we value academic freedom as we go about our research, teaching, and scholarly activities. It is our obligation to exercise academic freedom responsibly and in accordance with accepted standards of each academic discipline. You can read more about our dedication to academic freedom in Section 4 of the Code of Ethical Conduct.
Freedom of Expression
In a setting as diverse as KU, we will likely encounter ideas, opinions and philosophies that we personally find disagreeable or offensive. Though it can be painful, offensive speech is often considered protected speech under the First Amendment. To the greatest extent possible, we encourage civil and respectful discussion and interaction. At the same time, we must ensure we do not unlawfully inhibit or penalize expression protected by the First Amendment. Threats, incitement of violence and targeted harassment are not protected. The Kansas Board of Regents provides guidance in a Statement on Free Expression.
Support for Mental Wellness
As we continue to navigate through challenging times, please be aware of how our people – coworkers, students, colleagues – are faring, and connect them to support if you notice them struggling in any way. The last few years have been hard on everyone. Each one of us can be the help that makes the difference in someone’s life. Learn to spot the signs and put the individual in touch with campus and regional resources. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline went live in July, so dialing 9-8-8 on any activated phone will automatically connect to a crisis call center. You can learn more about the lifeline and resources in Lawrence at the Kansas Suicide Prevention HQ.
Support for Teaching
The Center for Teaching Excellence provides a broad array of programs and resources to assist instructors at every step – from course design through content delivery and assessing student learning. Their website also offers guidance for challenges and questions that can arise during the semester. The Center for Online and Distance Learning also provides free course design, course transformation and implementation services for online, hybrid and flexible courses. Additional instructional resources and assistance are available through KU Libraries, Spencer Museum of Art, KU Information Technology and the Center for Faculty Development and Mentoring.
Code of Ethical Conduct
KU’s Code of Ethical Conduct affirms our commitment to the highest standards of ethical, legal and professional behavior. It was added to the Policy Library in fall 2021 and outlines our commitment to seven core values including the two already mentioned: Freedom of Expression and Academic Freedom.
Resources, Offices and Policies to Know
Many additional resources are available to guide, shape and support our academic year and our interactions with students and each other. Information from a variety of offices – such as Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging – and web pages can simplify your efforts or facilitate solutions by providing details on the latest COVID updates, how to get classroom technology support, or dates on the academic calendar. Policies lead us to appropriate actions in situations such as accommodations for tests occurring on days of religious observance, mandatory harassment reporting, inclement weather and protection of student records (FERPA) (to name a few).
While not a comprehensive list, this link can provide quick access to key policies and information pages that can be beneficial to you as you carry out your academic responsibilities.
Thank you for all you do to promote discovery and innovation – for our students, in your academic discipline, and at KU.
Barbara A. Bichelmeyer
Provost & Executive Vice Chancellor