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Reminders about RNC Preparations
July 2, 2012

Dear Colleagues —

I write to remind you that our first week of classes, Aug. 27-31, coincides with the Republican National Convention being held at the Tampa Convention Center. A faculty group, led by then-Interim Provost Joe Sclafani, developed a policy to address issues related to holding class in this unusual situation. The following policy was presented to the Faculty Senate at their March meeting and met with unanimous approval: 

Policy for Classes in the First Week of Fall Semester 2012/RNC

The purpose of this policy, for the week of Aug. 27-31, 2012, is

  • To assure that all fall classes have an alternate delivery system in case a class cannot physically meet;
  • To ensure that all teaching faculty have a working knowledge of the use of Blackboard; and
  • To note that individual faculty will have the right to decide if they cannot be on campus due to safety or other accessibility issues.

The University of Tampa is committed to delivering a full 15-week fall semester for its students. All faculty are encouraged to take advantage of the opportunities that the Republican National Convention will provide.

It is expected that all faculty will hold classes as scheduled in the fall. However, given the unpredictability of traffic issues, access to campus, and unforeseen events, this may not be possible. The decision to meet classes ultimately rests with the faculty member and his/her best judgment. In the event classes cannot physically meet, all faculty must have an alternate course delivery system. Both the Office of Educational Technology (Joy Harris) and the Teaching Guild (Bruce Friesen) are prepared to assist faculty in setting up these alternate course delivery plans. Department chairs will coordinate preparation of these Blackboard course plans and follow up with faculty who do not have an online version.

Faculty who are certain they will not be able to guarantee their presence on campus in the first week, or who have pedagogical justifications for delivering class through alternate means, are requested to inform their dean of the decision to hold the first week of classes using this alternate system in advance of the fall semester. This notice must be given prior to Aug. 1, 2012, and faculty should then notify enrolled students of their decision. This student notification should be through both a Blackboard course announcement as well as a class email through SpartanWeb.

Part-time faculty will also be required to create an online alternate course delivery plan for the first week of the semester. Department chairs or their designated faculty contact should inform all part-time faculty scheduled to teach in the fall of these policies. The chairs will coordinate with part-time faculty to create alternate online delivery plans. For this reason, all part-time faculty will be expected to be conversant with Blackboard.

Any circumstances not covered above should be reported to the dean of one’s college.
Approved by Senate on 23 March 2012

Below, you may find additional information about the implementation of this policy and about other RNC-related matters:

Course Information
  • Unless prior notice has been given to deans and students and appropriate alternative online class plans developed and communicated, faculty are expected to come to campus to meet classes on Monday, Aug. 27. When you have developed your online alternative and reviewed those plans with your chair, please notify the dean when completed. This must be accomplished by Aug. 1.
  • Students are being told to show up for classes unless notified otherwise by their professor. Notification to students and your dean will be through email.
  • In order to accommodate commuter students who may not get to campus and to prepare for unanticipated problems that may prevent your holding class on campus, please have an online version available even if your class does meet on campus.
  • Department chairs will audit Blackboard course material to be sure all courses have back-up content online and available.
Other Information
  • All colleges will hold meetings on Thursday, Aug. 16, and the faculty welcome reception will be held on Tuesday, Aug. 21. At all these opening events, we will share further information on RNC preparations.
  • Beginning on Friday, Aug. 24, you will need to wear your SpartanCard ID on a special UT lanyard we will provide.
  • Lanyards must be worn at all times when on campus from Aug. 24-31. You may be asked by security to produce your Spartan ID at any time in this time period. This will be the case when entering campus during RNC week.
  • Lanyards will be distributed at your first college meeting or through your college AA. You must sign for your lanyard.
  • Faculty and staff who do not have Spartan Cards should obtain a replacement now by going to Vaughn Center, Room 235A. Open Monday - Thursday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. all summer.
  • Make sure you have made alternate arrangements in case your typical plans for child care, pet care or other obligations do not work.
  • When on campus, keep your office door locked if away, and pay close attention to your valuables (phones, purses, laptops) at all times.
  • If you see anything suspicious, report it to campus security (ext. 7777).
  • Check the site for traffic updates and other RNC-related information.

Thank you for your attention to these preparations for this challenging coincidence of UT’s opening week and the Republican National Convention.


Janet M. McNew
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs