Skip to content

Main Navigation

informaton for all

For the latest updates about the University response to the COVID-19 National Emergency, check the U Department of Public Safety's COVID-19 website, .

We will update you as new information comes available. Remember, the university and our office remains open but FASB and WBB remain closed.  Contact us electronically or by phone.  As always, watch for the latest updates.




Your physical health, mental well-being, and education are our top priorities. We realize that with all the changes, you no doubt have concerns. Please know that we are doing everything we can to mitigate any negative impact these changes may have on you. If you need anything or have any concerns, please reach out to us.


For additional support and services, you can also reach out to the U of U Center for Student Wellness:,, or 801-581-7776.  Also, reach out to the U of U Food Pantry if you should need to:


Feeling Sick? Contact Student Health at 801-581-6431 to be assessed.


Student Counseling Center: The Student Counseling Center provides help and support via a variety of modalities including telemental health and by telephone.




Sutton Building and Browning Building Limited Access: Due to health concerns, the exterior doors to the Sutton building will now remain locked. Entrance is limited to card-access doors on the east and west sides. Students must have specific written permission (printed email) from their advisor and Department Chair to enter. Faculty and Staff should not enter without permission from the Department Chair. Because of the March 18 earthquake, the Browning building is closed to assess damage. More information will be available at a later date. Anyone who is found in either building without Dept Chair or Unit Director permission will be subject to disciplinary action.


Sanitation: Efforts will be made to sanitize the Sutton building so it will be clean and ready once activity in the area resumes. For information about what you can do and FAQs on the virus, visit:


Academic Advising:  All online through email (Michelle Tuitupou and ConexEd where students can make phone appointments or chat with advisors online.


Classes: All classes resumed on Thursday, March 19.  Look to Canvas to access classes that were previously on campus. Students, all comminication regarding classes should be coming from your professors.  If you are concerned about your access to a computer and/or the Internet, please reach out to your instructor. Please note that the Sutton building, as well as the Browning building are closed at this time. If you need assistance beyond what your instructor or teaching assistant can provide, please contact our Dept Advisor, Michelle Tuitupou at


Faculty Office Hours: Contact your instructor for consultation. These meetings need to be conducted online via chat or via email. You may also contact your instructor via Canvas.


Computer Labs:  Because FASB and WBB are closed, contact your professor regarding labs. You may also contact Michelle Tuitopou if you need help finding a lab or internet access. There are computer labs on campus that remain open, however, the Marriott Library computer labs will be closed until April 7. Several internet companies are offering internet access for no charge during the COVID-19 crisis. Comcast is offering two months free service for new customers.


Field trips: All field trips related to classes and student clubs are canceled.


Graduate Defenses: Expect these to be done remotely via the online conference, or postponed.


Graduation/Commencement: Postponed until further notice.


Coffee Hour: No Coffee Hour at this time.


DLS:Canceled for the remainder of the semester. Scheduled guests are being rescheduled.


GeoSlice:Canceled for the remainder of the semester.


Student Research Poster Session:Canceled.  


Undergraduate Research Symposium:Canceled.  


Outstanding Alumni of the Year event: This event, which was scheduled for March 17, will be rescheduled for the 2020-2021 school year.


Department Awards Banquet & Scholarship Announcements: We will announce departmental and college scholarship and award winners by email in late April. For scholarship information, please contact our Dept Advisor, Michelle Tuitupou at or 801-581-6553.


Recent Earthquake: The March 18, Magna, Utah earthquake has really impacted us all. Recently, UUSS Director Keith Koper sat down to share what's important about the 5.7 quake. He also shared some simple things we can do to be prepared for the next one. Check out the video here:

. . .

We realize that this is a lot of change and a lot of cancellations. We are saddened by this reality, but know that it is the most prudent action we can take in order to help slow the spread of COVID-19 and, ultimately, safe lives of those among us who are most at-risk, including newborn babies, the elderly, the medically frail, and others who live with and/or are fighting various health conditions.

Once again, we humbly ask for your patience as we all work through this. And we want to reiterate that campus and our office will remain open and that we are happy to help with any concerns you might have.

High-Order of Business:

  • Ask for what you need.
  • Follow the chain of command. Minimize everyone getting stressed out. Start your requests with Shanna and she will shepherd them up the chain.
  • The department office will remain open. Don’t, however, expect everyone to be at their desks every day. Thea is the only office staffer who will be working from home; many or her tasks have been re-assigned to Steve.
  • The University is not closing: the Student Union, Campus Store, Student Counseling, cafeterias, and similar offices and student spaces will remain open for students and the entire campus community.
  • We are sending updates via email and posting much of that content on our Social Media platforms.
  • Be patient and kind with each other.
  • If you get sick, let the GG office know as soon as you can.


 Telecommuting:Campus is not closed. However, if an employee feels they need to telecommute, they need to work out the details with their supervisor and complete the attached form and return it to me; I will take it to the Dean’s office. University Human Resources and Information Technology (UIT) staff has developed work-at-home protocols you can review here: Also refer to the U’s policy: For other resources:


Lab Research: Researchers are encourgaed to limit operations in laboratorys.  Only essential personnel should be on Campus. Be mindful of sanitation and personnel needs.


Travel: All travel is canceled and should be rescheduled if possible. As noted above, if you feel your travel needs an exception, complete the attached form and return it to me well in advance of the planned travel.


  • Travel Training: These trainings will continue as scheduled. The goal is still to have all employees who travel trained by May 15.
  • Fieldtrips: All fieldtrips related to classes and student clubs are canceled.
  • Field Work: All field work should be rescheduled. However, if the field work includes critical, time-sensitive data collection, you may submit an exception form (see attached). Please email the completed form to me and I will send it through the approval process. It will need to be approved by the Chair, Dean, and Academic VP.
  • Reimbursement of Travel Expenses: You should first work directly with vendors to get refunds on any existing travel expenses. For specific details and advice on requesting cancelations, visit
    • Any money you cannot get refunded still may be reimbursed through the existing Travel Reimbursement process. However, please confirm with your PI/Supervisor/Faculty Advisor on the account that is to be charged. AND, if that account is a 5000-level (soft money/grants), be aware that your grants may have restrictions on paying for travel that did not happen. You should secure permission from the funding organization’s program officer before submitting the expense for reimbursement; this is one of those situations where “ask for forgiveness” instead of permission, is not advised (as advised by our Grants Development Specialist, Jesse Pugh). If you are unable to charge a 5000-level account with your reimbursement expenses, you may charge them to your 2500-level start-up accounts or 6000-level research accounts.
  • Visitors: Please work with any potential graduate student visitors, visiting scholars, guest speakers, post docs, etc. to reschedule their visits or to do them digitally.
    • For potential graduate students, it was suggest that faculty work together to do a joint digital tour, including a tour of the building, short presentations by faculty, and interviews with existing graduated students.



  • Faculty Office Hours: If changes to an instructor’s current office hours are needed, they will communicate these changes to you directly. Although we do want to practice social distancing and use electronic communication where possible, we are supportive and welcoming of 1:1 in-person meetings where appropriate.
  • Computer Labs:Campus is not closing. Students will still be able to access and use the Sutton building computer labs; more details to come. Also, please know that sanitation procedures are currently being developed.





  • Students will be watching a lot of video. This can get monotonous. It also demands a lot of digital bandwidth; many students will not have high bandwidth at home or may have it only on their phones (which is expensive and limited). Keep this in mind
  • Do not require hands-on lab: sanitation concerns, as well as access concerns.
  • Do not require any assignments that requires student to do it at a specific time during the day, in groups, or in a specific location.
  • Do not require live lectures: students now have different daily schedules and demands than when classes were in session and will have different internet access. If you continue to lecture, you need to record those lectures so that students have access to them at any time.




  • Canvas: University and CMES administration are requiring that all faculty use Canvas (learning management) for instructional delivery. Canvas is fullyintegrated with Kaltura (video capture and storage)andConexED (two-way live video meetings)and is FERPA compliant. The use of Canvas will also ensure consistency of experience for all of our students.
    • For guidance on how to move your class into Canvas, visit the TLT website. Faculty members with questions not answered by the website can request support by emailing
  • Content-Specific Software: For those of you who teach IN the computer lab, UIT is currently working with CMES on a solution.  This will likley come in the form of VPN access. Please refer to emails coming from Alex Gribenko.
  • Skype for Business is free through the U’s software agreements. It does a good job for recording lecture and audio than can be used later.
  • Zoom works well for some live meetings (like this one; lab group meetings). It is not FERPA compliant, so do not use for lectures. (Zoom cheat-sheet:
  • Camtasia is a great resource for recording and editing lectures. Conversations are ongoing about acquiring a college license.
  • Considering combining a slide-deck with an audio file of your narration of the slides indicating to students when to advance slides. Generate a transcript to accompany the audio file (accessibility).
  • Class Fees are to be used to purchasing any needed technology, software, etc.


Useful Resources for Online Instruction:

Below are some helpful links for content and ideas about moving courses online. There is a lot of material out there. You do not need to reinvent the wheel. Consider your key learning objectives for the remainder of the semester and focus on achieving those with the greatest ease for everyone.

Important considerations for your students (thank you Sarah L.):

Google Sheet of Existing Online Resource and Content, complied by Julie Libarkin at Michigan State University. This is being populated by the Geo education community on Twitter. It’s a treasure trove. Note there are many tabs at the bottom, including those for guest lectures, online labs, and Field trips.

A very useful resource: Flipped Classroom Master Resource List compiled by Dr. Cynthia Furse , U of U  Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering:

Accessible Teaching in the Time of COVID-19 (Aimi Hamraie):

 Going Online in a Hurry & Maintaining Continuity (Michelle Miller):


Department Activities:


  • Sanitation: Efforts will be made to regularly sanitize frequently-touched surfaces in common areas, such as elevator buttons and door knobs; however, there is no guarantee that these efforts will prevent the spread of the virus. Each individual should be diligent in taking precautions. If you choose to come to campus, please sanitize any computers, microscopes, mineral and rock specimens, etc. before using them. For information about what you can do and FAQs on the virus, visit:
  • Advising: Campus-wide, the advisors are developing a plan that will be communicated to students in a future email from our Advisor, Michelle. In general, advisors and students are encouraged to use email, phone calls, chat, or video conferencing/Zoom in lieu of in-person meetings. For details, contact our Dept Advisor, Michelle Tuitupou at or 801-581-6553.
  • Graduate Defenses: Will proceed as scheduled but this is subject to change.
  • Graduation/Commencement: The final decision will be made at the university level by April 1.
  • Coffee Hour: The weekly Department Coffee Hour will continue each Wednesdays at 10am.  Increased sanitation procedures will be in place, but are no guarantee.
  • DLS:Canceled for the remainder of the semester. Scheduled guests are being rescheduled.
  • GeoSlice:Canceled for the remainder of the semester. L
  • Student Research Poster Session:Canceled.  
  • Undergraduate Research Symposium:Canceled.  
  • Outstanding Alumni of the Year event: This event, which was scheduled for March 17, will be rescheduled for the 2020-2021 school year.
  • Department Awards Banquet & Scholarship Announcements: We will announce departmental and college scholarship and award winners by email in late April. For scholarship information, please contact our Dept Advisor, Michelle Tuitupou at or 801-581-6553.
Last Updated: 9/25/20