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COVID-19: News and Campus Updates | University Resources | COVID-19 County Status | Fall 2021 Plans

COVID-19 Current Graduate Students Updates

In response to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, the University of Northern Colorado has implemented plans for on-campus learning and support and protocols to protect the UNC community. Most graduate courses will be offered in hybrid or online format. All individuals are required to wear facial masks in university buildings and classrooms.

COVID-19 Safety at UNC

UNC will always prioritize student and campus community health and safety. UNC has been actively monitoring the evolving Coronavirus situation at a university level and is providing regular updates on UNC's COVID-19 website.

2020 Fall Semester Information

The staff of the Graduate School continues to work remotely and remains available to help you. In many cases, your program faculty will be your first stop for answers pertaining to courses, grades, internships, practicums, comprehensive exams and defenses of theses or dissertations. Please feel free to contact Graduate School staff with questions and concerns that faculty are unable to answer or that are not addressed in other university communications. Graduate School staff members are available for virtual meetings via Microsoft Teams or Zoom to assist students and faculty.

Currently, none of our Graduate School deadlines for this semester have changed.

  • Remote Instruction

    The University of Northern Colorado follows the guidance of the CDPH and Office of the Governor. Social distancing protocols have significantly reduced the capacity of classrooms for face-to-face instruction. Students in on-campus graduate programs may find that courses normally offered face-to-face are being delivered online or in a hybrid format. Student meetings with course faculty, academic advisors or research advisors should take place on a regular basis. It may be preferable for these meetings to be virtual via Microsoft Teams or Zoom.

    It is important for students to have reliable internet service. Many internet providers are allowing internet services at a reduced cost to students (please check with your internet provider).

  • Applications for Admissions to Graduate School: Information for Faculty

    Completed applications for graduate programs are viewable online through Slate. Review of applications and recommendations regarding admission must continue in a timely manner. The application portal is open for Spring, Summer and Fall 2021.

    If you have responsibility within your program for reviewing applications, please do the following:

    • Log in to Slate regularly and check your workflow.
    • Schedule committee meetings to review applications and make recommendations via Zoom or Microsoft Teams
    • Reach out to the Graduate Admissions Team if you run into problems
  • Funding for Graduate Students
    • Assistantship funding has been allocated by units and, in most cases, students have received semester or academic year contracts. Stipends are paid at the end of each month. Tuition and fee waivers will be applied after drop and add deadlines.
    • If a graduate assistant or teaching assistant must quarantine or becomes ill with COVID-19, the student is eligible for two-weeks paid leave. If students can engage with their work remotely while under quarantine, they are encouraged to do so. If a student becomes ill with COVID-19 and the illness persists beyond the two-weeks of paid sick leave, the student should contact Human Resources to request medical accommodations.
    • Graduate scholarships will be awarded in the usual manner. Students must complete the universal scholarship application form, located in the Financial Aid website. They must also be enrolled in course credits in order to receive a scholarship.
    • All terms and conditions of graduate/teaching assistant agreements apply, including participation in the Graduate Teaching Assistant Conference. 
  • Doctoral Examinations and Defenses

    Written comprehensive exams take many forms across graduate programs at UNC. The deadline for submitting comprehensive exam results for fall semester remains Nov. 13, 2020. 

    • Please submit written comp exam results electronically to laura.hulsey@unco.edu on the form normally used by the program.
    • Please submit a separate form for each student.

    Oral comprehensive exams, defenses of dissertations and doctoral scholarly projects will follow the same process and policies as explained in the catalog, with the exception that all must take place electronically for the remainder of the semester. Please note that we are relaxing some of our practices, but we are still following and enforcing Graduate School policies.

    Oral comprehensive exams or defenses should be scheduled two weeks in advance with the Graduate School using the Request to Schedule a Doctoral Exam form*. Please email the form directly to Carol.steward@unco.edu.

    • As per the policy in the Graduate Catalog, if an oral comprehensive exam or defense takes place without first being scheduled through the Graduate School, the results will not be accepted. The committee and student will have to schedule the comprehensive exam or defense and complete it a second time.
    • The Graduate School expects that all scheduled oral comprehensive exams and defenses are being held via Zoom or other video conferencing platform until further notice — a request for an exception is not needed.
    • The Graduate School will send the research advisor an electronic copy of the Results form via email once an exam or defense is scheduled.
    • The Results form is to be used for a specific student and should not be edited for use with other students.

    The electronic copy of the form will allow insertion of Adobe Acrobat verified signatures from each committee member. Please return the signed form via email to laura.hulsey@unco.edu

    *The last day to schedule a dissertation defense for fall 2020 degree conferral is Nov. 6. Research advisors who have already received a paper copy of the Results form for an upcoming exam or defense should check their email for an electronic version of the form in the next few days.

  • Master’s Comps and Thesis Defenses

    Master’s-level comprehensive examinations and thesis defenses are not scheduled by the Graduate School. Our office receives the results of the comprehensive examinations and an electronic version of the completed thesis. The deadline to submit the results of comprehensive exams is Nov. 13. Please submit written comprehensive examination results electronically to laura.hulsey@unco.edu on the form normally used by the program.

    • Please submit a separate form for each student.

    Since comprehensive exams take many different forms for master’s programs, the Graduate School can only provide general advice. Please note:

    • Comprehensive exams cannot be administered in an on-campus, classroom setting for the remainder of the semester
    • Necessary accommodations must be made for students with disabilities as documented by the Office of Disability Resources
    • Any form of comprehensive examination should have safeguards against or include means of detecting violations of academic integrity

    Consider the following suggestions for the comprehensive examination:

    • A take-home exam with appropriate instruction and information on penalties for violations of academic integrity (remember that Canvas has the Vericite plagiarism checker)
    • A Canvas shell dedicated to delivery of the comprehensive examination
    • Explore electronic options for administering standardized licensing/certification exams (for programs that use these exams as their comp)
    • Using Zoom for oral exams, presentations or performances

    Suggestions for Thesis Defenses (or equivalent):

    • Use Zoom or Microsoft Teams for an electronic alternative to the traditional thesis defense
    • Have students develop a 15-20-minute narrated presentation of their thesis research and findings and submit that to their thesis advisors electronically
    • Have students submit a digital portfolio of work with details of how they would exhibit their pieces
    • Require students to perform online or submit a video of their performance
  • Thesis, Dissertation and Scholarly Project Reviews

    The last day to submit a thesis, dissertation or doctoral scholarly project for fall degree conferral approval is Nov. 13.

    All theses, dissertations and scholarly projects are submitted electronically for review. There are no changes to the Graduate School’s normal timelines for review and approval of these projects. 

  • Research

    Students and faculty should resume research activities following all necessary safety protocols to protect themselves and others.

    • Zoom is a good alternative for individual interviews, if that is a student’s method of data collection.
    • Students and research advisors must ensure that methods of data collection comply with the student’s IRB protocols.
    • If any changes are needed to methods of data collection, and such changes fall outside IRB protocols, the student will need to amend the IRB.

    If a student’s dissertation or thesis research was disrupted by the closure of campus and cancellation of face-to-face meetings during the spring semester, then the student’s graduation from the program may be delayed. The Graduate School is here to help. We will explore what flexibility we may have with extension of term limits or waiving of continuous registration fees. Please contact the Associate Dean of the Graduate School, Cindy Wesley, at cindy.wesley@unco.edu.

  • Graduate School Meetings and Events

    As the Graduate School staff continues to work remotely, we will be in regular communication with each other and with faculty and students. The staff will be meeting at least weekly, via Microsoft Teams, and communicating more frequently via phone, text and email. If you encounter difficulties or have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact our team members.

    Graduate Council
    Graduate Council will hold virtual meetings on the usual monthly schedule.

    Graduate School Events

    • New Graduate School Orientation will be a virtual event. New students should register through the link in their admission portal.
    • The annual Graduate Teaching Assistant Conference is a mixture of livestream workshops on Aug. 19 and asynchronous presentations in Canvas. 
    • Research Evening will take place in December. Although the exact format and schedule has yet to be decided, it will likely be a mixture of synchronous virtual presentations and pre-recorded poster presentations.
    • Graduate Student Association activities will include both face-to-face and virtual meetings.  All face-to-face events will follow social-distancing protocols.