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FAQ - Faculty and Staff


Faculty and Staff

Will faculty be required to come to campus during the 2021-2022 academic year?

Most faculty will be expected to teach on campus during the 2021-2022 academic year. However, some residential program courses will be offered in a hybrid or online modality. Decisions regarding class modality will be made by the unit dean and will be based on a set of factors including space, pedagogy, international student needs, enrollments, and other needs determined by the unit.

Faculty can request an workplace accommodation based on the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act. Faculty can learn more about our fall plans at the How We Work page.

Will staff be required to come to campus during the 2021-2022 academic year?

Beginning August 2021, American University is implementing a new way of working based on learnings from the past year and new workplace approaches to advance our mission, serve our students, and support our staff. Many staff members will work some days on-campus and some days from a remote location in the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia region (DMV). This is referred to as a hybrid work environment that combines the elements of remote work with the benefits of campus presence. Our new way of work is part of the University’s commitment to increase staff satisfaction, retention, and productivity. It is how AU works now and in the future.

Staff can learn more about our plans for fall 2021 at the How We Work page.

To ensure the health and safety of our community, AU will require COVID-19 vaccinations for faculty and staff for fall 2021. All faculty and staff must complete the vaccine attestation form available on the AU Forward portal or request an exemption to the vaccine requirement by August 1, 2021.The University has developed a procedure for vaccine attestation and for requesting a medical or religious exemption that follows recent guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, DC Department of Health, and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. We have also revised and improved our process for employees to request workplace reasonable accommodations due to a disability. As a reminder, AU is hosting a vaccination clinic on campus this summer. Information and schedules can be found on the Student Health Center website.

What support is available for conducting classes online?

All courses during the summer and scheduled for Fall 2021 will be delivered in Canvas, the university’s new learning management system. During the summer, faculty are encouraged to make the transition to Canvas by taking advantage of the additional support and workshops available. To sign up for one of the workshops and keep up to date with future trainings, please visit the Upcoming Canvas Workshops page and to begin migrating your content from Blackboard, set up a consultation with your school’s embedded instructional designer. Additionally, the e-Learning Support Services  office at canvas@american.edu is available to help with migration, and Canvas Support is available for 24-hour assistance (click on the Help icon, lower left navigation bar) or call 202-885-3904. Several self-help articles can also be found in the Learning Support Services portal.  

During the Fall 2021 term, Blackboard will be available for faculty and staff to copy/download remaining courses until December 31, 2021. For Blackboard support, please reach out to blackboard@american.edu or 202-885-3904. As of January 1, 2022, Blackboard will be permanently unavailable at AU.

Can faculty hold in-person office hours in the fall?

Yes, faculty can hold in-person office hours and/or virtual office hours, depending on preference and need.

Can a faculty member move an in-person class online due to a conference, sick family member, childcare issue?

The ability to move a class meeting or two online due to a conference, childcare issue, etc. should be at the discretion of the faculty member. A faculty member should have an established plan around how a change to the course modality (for one or two class meetings) will be communicated to students and with as much lead time as possible. It is not acceptable to change the established modality of the course for longer than one week of instruction without permission from the school Dean’s office.

Can staff and faculty take their AU-owned IT equipment home to aid productivity during the COVID-19 pandemic and the fall semester?

Office equipment such as desks, desktop computers and printers that were authorized for home use will generally need to be returned to the campus offices at the onset of the hybrid work environment. Employees should contact their departments to explore accessing laptop computers instead of desktops that can be ported from office to home.

Can hybrid work schedules be adapted for seasonality or during particular times in the year where classes are/are not in session? 

Every position will have a modality, which represents their work schedule for the majority of the year. There may be peak times where staff will be expected to work on campus more often and units will provide staff with reasonable notice. 

How will the university support the technology needs of faculty and staff members in the new hybrid work environment?

OIT is evaluating solutions to support and improve the hybrid employee experience. They will continue to assign workstations and provide remote assistance for employees through the Help Desk. In accordance with university policy, faculty and staff are issued one workstation As resources allow over time, and as computers come up for replacement, departments may implement more hybrid optimized technology, including technology to enable hybrid meetings. Review the My Assets for information about the replacement schedule for your PC.  

How will the university support employees' childcare needs?

August 16th is the start date based on the university’s schedule and there is often a mismatch between the university start date and the first day date of public schools. Staff may backup caregiving resources through Bright Horizons for short term caregiving needs, and the university CDC and Bright Horizons for long-term caregiving needs. Caregiving resources are available on the HR website.

Will accommodations be made for people with compromised immune systems, disabilities, or chronic illnesses?

Exemptions to the vaccine requirement will be considered for individuals with medical conditions that prevent them from being vaccinated and for individuals with sincerely held religious beliefs that prohibit them from being vaccinated, consistent with federal and DC law. Those requiring an accommodation due to a disability or medical condition to allow them to perform the essential functions of their job should complete the Reasonable Accommodation Request Form. Accommodations may include but are not limited to additional or enhanced protective measures, temporary modifications of work schedules, or revised office space. Generally, accommodations will not include remote work for duties that require campus presence.

What is the remote work policy for employees who have high-risk family members in the household?

Reasonable Workplace Accommodations are applicable for the employee only. Employees seeking modified schedules to care for family members or support household members who may be immune compromised may consider Family Medical Leave.

How will the university manage situations where employees cannot be vaccinated?  

Employees who receive a medical or religious exemption to the vaccine requirement will follow additional health and safety protocols, including but not limited to mask wearing and more frequent COVID-19 testing. An awareness campaign will help educate the community about vaccines. Any discrimination, retaliation, intimidation or other adverse action against an employee due to vaccination status inconsistent with AU’s values and prohibited by University policy. The vaccine requirement and associated exemption process supports the health and safety of our community and is designed to assist all members of the community.

Are the fall hybrid work modalities intended to be permanent?

Yes, the goal is for the hybrid work environment to become the norm at AU. While we will learn important lessons this fall and make adjustments as necessary, our new way of work is part of the University’s commitment to increase staff satisfaction, retention, and productivity.

What is the role of HR vs. individual units in managing a hybrid schedule? 

Department heads are responsible for determining and communicating the work modality and schedules for the full and part-time positions in their unit, and for establishing the unit’s core day(s) for in person collaboration.  Department heads are also responsible for identifying and budgeting for any supplemental technology equipment, beyond what is provided by the Office of Information Technology, that is needed to support hybrid work and coordinating with OIT to arrange for the replacement of eligible workstations. 

Human Resources is responsible for the design and implementation of hybrid work including communicating, educating, gathering feedback and refining the approach as necessary to meet the needs of the university. Human Resources is responsible for reviewing the program and position modality classifications to ensure fair and consistent application in accordance with the University’s commitment to inclusion and equity as well as EEO policies.

How do flex/compressed schedules factor into hybrid modalities?

Employees with existing flex or compressed schedules can speak with their manager about incorporating these arrangements into the hybrid work schedule.

Will parking be prorated depending on how many days faculty and staff come to campus?

AU community members may choose to take advantage of the “Virtual Self-Park Code.” The location code offers a discounted $0.75/hour rate (plus $0.35 service fee) through the PayByPhone mobile application to park in all general parking areas on campus, as well as the garages at the Spring Valley Building and 4401 Connecticut Ave (a separate authorization is required for this location). To get the discount code, go to the Parking Portal and select Affiliated Login and enter your AU credentials. Click the Get Permits button and select the "Virtual Self Park Code" option to register your vehicle, obtain the discount code and get instructions for use. Logins using a guest account do not have access to this parking option. Visit the Parking and Commuter Services website or email parking@american.edu for more information.

What is AU’s dress code for faculty and staff in the Fall 2021?

At AU, all faculty and staff are expected to dress in a professional manner that aligns with the nature of their role at the university and their individual functions at any given time. Staff who work in certain university positions, such as  facilities and public safety, are provided with uniforms. For other positions, in general, business casual dress is appropriate. Business casual dress generally includes shirts with collars, business casual tops and shirts, blouses, and polo shirts. Casual slacks, trousers, skirts, dresses, and jeans are appropriate but does not include shorts. Casual slip-on or tie shoes, boots, dress sandals, and athletic shoes are appropriate.  

Traditional business attire may be expected when meeting with parents, alumni, or external organizations. Although it is impossible and undesirable to establish a universally applicable dress code given the range of roles and functions at AU, the university will apply a reasonable and professional workplace standard. An employee who is unsure of what is appropriate should check with their manager or supervisor.