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Coronavirus Information and Updates for the Widener Law Commonwealth Community

Widener University and Widener Law Commonwealth are actively monitoring the Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19. Law school information and updates about developments with the illness, Widener Law Commonwealth’s response to it, or any impact on law school classes or operations will be available here. Additionally, links will be provided to Widener University's coronavirus webpage and communications.

Important Information for Widener Law Commonwealth

Most Recent Law School Email Update

March 27, 2020

Dear Students,

As our first full week of Zoom classes comes to a close, I hope you have made a smooth transition and are adapting as well as possible.  We know that this is tough both academically and emotionally which is why my daily communications with you are important.  I know I enjoy writing these updates because it makes me feel more connected to you.  I hope you will join us today at 4:00 for Yappy Hour.  You can access this event by using my Zoom link: https://widener.zoom.us/my/rbteplitz.  Laurie Besden from LCL and her dog Amazing, are also hoping to stop by to say hello.  Please do not ever hesitate to reach out if you need someone to talk to and remember LCL is a free, supportive resource that can be accessed 24 hours a day at 1-888-999-1941. 

Today’s update will focus on an issue that I know is weighing heavily on many of you (and us)—the Bar Exam.  As of today, this is what we know:

At this time, the bar exam remains scheduled for July 28-29, 2020. You should continue as usual in registering and preparing for the bar exam. The National Conference of Bar Examiners (NBCE), which provides the questions for the MBE and the UBE, announced that it will decide no later than May 5, 2020 on whether it will administer the bar exam in July 2020. Plans are underway to have an additional testing date in fall 2020 but no date has been selected yet.

In addition, all of the Deans of the law schools in this region met yesterday to discuss the administration of the Pennsylvania Bar Exam and to develop contingency plans if needed.  They are collectively uniting to engage with the Pennsylvania Board of Law Examiners in order to formulate a plan that will best serve our bar candidates.  However, those plans will ultimately hinge on whether the NBCE releases the MBE questions.  Dean Johnson will also be participating in a call later today with the NBCE.

Please proceed as if the bar is going to take place as scheduled.  I encourage you to register for PMBR if you have not already done so.  While we are unsure at this time if PMBR will be offered live, the course will still be available in an online format.  Questions about PMBR should be directed to Professor David Raeker-Jordan ([email protected]).

I will continue to provide you with updates related to the bar exam as the information becomes available.  Please also remember to check our FAQ page for updates at:  https://commonwealthlaw.widener.edu/coronavirus/.

Please continue to check your e-mail as I anticipate major news to report next week related to final exams.  Also, remember that the summer/fall course schedule will be available by April 1.

Have a great weekend.  Please let me know if you need anything.

Fondly,

Dean Teplitz

Past Law School Updates

As new updates are sent, older updates will be moved to the bottom of this page and be linked to from above.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will I be able to earn all of my spring credits?

Yes, you will be able to earn all spring credits.

How will I find out updated information about the law school?

Dean Teplitz will email students around 3:00 PM every weekday. Updates will be posted on this page as well.

Are events still being held?

March 12 - 1L Scholars  - Canceled
March 13 - Conaboy Symposium - Canceled
March 19 - Coronavirus Program - Canceled
March 21 - Wills for Heroes - Canceled
March 27 - Law Review Symposium - Converted to a paper symposium
March 28 - Barrister’s Ball - Canceled
April 2 - Gedid Lecture - Postponed
April 13 & 14 - Graduation Meeting - Postponed
April 17 - Hugh B. Pearce Competition - Canceled
April 18 - 30 Days Party - Canceled
April 23 - Student Awards Ceremony - Canceled
April 24 - Student Organizations Banquet - Canceled

What will happen with the graduation ceremony?

At this time, graduation remains scheduled for May 17, 2020. We are working on alternate options if the university postpones or cancels graduation.

What about the bar exam?

At this time, the bar exam remains scheduled for July 28-29, 2020. You should continue as usual in registering and preparing for the bar exam. The National Conference of Bar Examiners (NBCE), which provides the questions for the MBE and the UBE, announced that it will decide no later than May 5, 2020 on whether it will administer the bar exam in July 2020. Plans are underway to have an additional testing date in fall 2020 but no date has been selected yet.

Will PMBR be offering live classes on campus?

At this time, we do not know. The campus is still closed in accordance with Governor Wolf's order and we do not know how long that order will remain in place. Regardless of whether it is offered live, PMBR will still be available in an online format. For more information about PMBR, please contact Professor David Raeker-Jordan ([email protected]).

What should I do about my externship?

We are expecting that all of you are working remotely now. Continue working your regular schedule as advised by your supervisor. Contact Professor Simcox ([email protected]) with any issues.

What about exams?

We will not have on-campus exams. Dean Teplitz will be emailing students the week of March 30th with more details about exams.

What about the curve and grading?

Deans Johnson and Teplitz provided the details of the Spring 2020 grading policy via e-mail on March 24, 2020. Please e-mail Dean Teplitz if you have any questions about the policy.

Will buildings on campus be open to students?

Students are not permitted on campus until further notice. We will update you when students will be allowed back on campus. If you must have access to campus for any reason, you should contact Dean Teplitz ([email protected]).

University Communications

All Widener University (main campus) communications are available at widener.edu/coronavirus. We encourage all members of the Widener community, including faculty and staff, to monitor widener.edu/coronavirus for important updates that may pertain to them. 

Additional Resources

Links are also available at widener.edu/coronavirus.

Past Law School Email Updates

March 26, 2020

Dear Students,

I am very excited to invite you to a Zoom Yappy Hour tomorrow at 4:00 p.m.  Attached please find the event flyer.  Thank you to the Program for Health, Exercise & Wellness (PHEW) for organizing this event and recognizing the importance of our Widener community staying connected.

I have also appreciated connecting with many of you over the last few days to answer your questions related to the Spring 2020 grading policy.  For today’s update, I thought it would be worthwhile to share some of the commonly asked questions that I have received since the policy was released.

As always, please do not hesitate to reach out if you have any questions.

See you tomorrow at Yappy Hour!

Best,

Dean Teplitz

CAN I ELECT TO TAKE GRADES V. CREDIT ON A COURSE-BY-COURSE BASIS?

Yes!  You do not have to choose one or the other.  You may make that determination on a course-by-course basis.  For example, if you have 5 classes, you can take 3 classes for the grade and 2 classes for credit.  You could also take 5 classes for a grade or 5 classes for credit.  You have the power to decide what is in your best interest.

HOW DOES THIS NEW POLICY IMPACT MY CUMULATIVE GPA (CGPA)?

Courses that you take for credit will not factor into your CGPA calculation.  So, if you take all of your classes this semester for credit, your CGPA will be the same as it was following the Fall 2019 semester.  Your CGPA will only be adjusted if you choose to take courses for a grade.

HOW MUCH WILL MY CGPA IMPROVE IF I CHOOSE TO TAKE GRADES FOR COURSES?

It depends.  There are a lot of variables that factor into this.  For example, choosing a grade for only 2 of your credits will have less of an impact than if you choose grades for 12 of your credits.  In addition, the number of credits that you have already accrued is a factor.  The more credits you have already earned, the harder it is to move your CGPA.  For these reasons, the answer will vary depending on your unique circumstances.  This is where Molly Acri and I can assist and provide you with options counseling following the release of grades.

HOW WILL MY RANK BE AFFECTED?

Class rank/percentages will be re-calculated following the Spring 2020 semester.  If you choose to take all of your courses for credit, even though your CGPA will not change, it is still possible for your rank to change.  This will depend on your classmates, particularly those with CGPAs close to you, and the choices that are made in taking grades versus credit.  The more grades a student takes, the more their CGPA will move.  By contrast, the fewer grades you take, the less your CGPA will move. This is why we encourage all students to persist and stay motivated so you can perform at the highest level that you are able given the circumstances. 

HOW WILL A CREDIT GRADE BE REFLECTED ON MY TRANSCRIPT?

Dean Acri is working with national registrar’s organizations to determine how this will be reflected on your transcript.  While we do not have the specific language yet, we expect that there will be a statement on your transcript that explains that the courses on your transcript for this semester were the taken during the COVID-19 pandemic.  This will provide context for the credit/no credit grade option.

IF I TAKE A COURSE FOR CREDIT, WILL IT MAKE ME LESS COMPETITIVE IN THE JOB MARKET?

Dean Mandrell does not believe that this will cause you to be less competitive in the job market. She has been involved in conversations on a national level and with local employers who understand that we are in the midst a situation that is beyond our control.  Employers will place more weight on your academic performance in the past and/or in the future.  Taking courses for credit this semester, should not significantly impact your competitiveness as long as you are able to demonstrate your performance under more normal circumstances.  If you would like to connect with Dean Mandrell about this or any other employment-related matters, please contact her at [email protected]

WHAT ABOUT DEAN’S LIST FOR SPRING 2020?

We will be suspending the Dean’s List for Spring 2020 semester.  There is no way to accurately calculate a Dean’s List given the grading choices that are available. 

I TOOK A PRE-SEMESTER COURSE, HOW WILL THAT GRADE BE CALCULATED?

While we recognize that the coursework for those classes was completed prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, because those courses are considered part of your Spring 2020 semester, there is no clear way for us to differentiate those courses on your transcript.  For the sake of clarity and consistency, pre-semester courses will also be governed by the Spring 2020 grading policy and as such you may choose to keep the grade or convert it to credit or no credit.

March 25, 2020

Dear Students,

By now, with the exception of Wednesday only classes, you have likely attended all of your classes via Zoom.  Now that we are becoming more familiar with Zoom and its features, I think it is a good time to review some remote learning netiquette.  Please remember:

  • Turn on your camera—if you have an issue that precludes you from using your camera you must get permission from your professor to have your camera turned off.  You are required to turn your camera on and will not be counted as attending if it is off.
  • Point your camera at your face.  You continue to be a part of a classroom community.  It is hard to maintain a classroom presence if your professor and classmates can only see your ceiling or floor.
  • Set up your learning space prior to the start of class.  It is distracting to others if you are walking around with your webcam on while class is in progress.  We understand that many of you have learning environments that are prone to distraction; it is okay if you need to step away for a short time.  That is preferred to you taking the entire class with you.
  • Mute your microphone unless you are participating to reduce feedback and background noise.
  • Check your e-mail.  Some professors have set up recurring meetings that have generated individualized Zoom links that are different from the ones that were provided on the master spreadsheet.  In these instances, the links that your professor has e-mailed you will supersede the link on the master spreadsheet.  If you have not received information about this from your professor, you should use the link in the spreadsheet.

We appreciate your cooperation with the above guidelines.

Earlier this week, I provided you with updated information related to LexisNexis’ online resources and promotions.  Today, I will focus on Bluebook Online and West Academic Study Aids.

Bluebook Online.  Access keys for the online version of the Bluebook are available (although, the Legal Methods professor in me is wondering why you don’t have a Bluebook—just saying). That said, if you are interested in accessing the Bluebook Online, please contact Brent Johnson via e-mail and he will provide you with the access code and instructions on how to sign-up for this 60-day subscription.

West Academic is providing and adding additional content to our current study aid package.  

Our current study aid package includes a comprehensive digital collection of study aids, treatises, audio lectures, and newly added audio books totaling over 500+ titles.  Practice examsmultiple choice examplesessay questions/answers, are available within certain series of the study aids.  Interactive practice questions allow you to take self-paced quizzes and immediately see results with informative explanations.  The Exam Pro Series with quizzes include: Business Associations, Civil Procedure, Contracts, Federal Income Tax, Property, and Torts.  Supplemental practical skills, with titles from the Bridge to Practice Series, Building Skills Series, and Developing Professional Skills Series, allow you to supplement your core materials with skills exercises.  And audio lectures from the Sum and Substance and Law School Legends Series simplify difficult subjects and provide you with exam tips as you listen.

The new formative assessment content that has been temporarily added to our study aid package allows you to add quizzes to your eProducts bookshelf.  The following topics are available:  Administrative Law, Business Organizations, Civil Procedure, Comml Law-Sales And Leases, Comml Law-Secured Trans., Comml Law-Survey, Constitutional Law, Contracts, Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, Criminal Procedure – Adjudicative, Criminal Procedure – Investigative, Dispute Resolution, Environmental Law, European Union Law, Evidence, Legal Writing, Professional Resp/Ethics, Property, Remedies, Tax-Income, Torts, and Trusts and Estates.

Students that already have a West Academic study aid account, will simply be able to "toggle" back and forth between the study aids and the assessment platform.  One side will say, "Access my Digital Study Aids," the other will say, "Access My eProducts Bookshelf."  All others will need to create an account with their Widener email.

Also being provided by our vendors:

Westlaw Edge is currently offering national webinars geared towards helping students with their assignments, as well as those from its Prepare to Practice series. Students can register for these webinars at lawschool.thomsonreuters.com.  They are also providing free access to some of their CLE programs, events, and skills courses from West LegalEdcenter.  For more information, view the course list here: WLEC Academic Outreach Course List.  They will also continue to offer a robust collection of assignable online legal research training and certification materials within its Knowledge Center.  This collection ranges from research process tutorials, demonstration of key functions within Westlaw and Practical Law, as well as skills in transactional and litigation research. You can see a list of their current offerings here.

Lexis Advance is doing a "Prepare to Practice" certification with several modules to complete: https://tinyurl.com/sdlv33r

We hope you take advantage of these additional supportive resources.  Also, please do not hesitate to contact or amazing library team if you need assistance.  They are fully operational from their remote locations and are happy to help.

Susan Giusti:            [email protected]

Brent Johnson:         [email protected]

Ed Sonnenberg:       [email protected]

Please let me know if you have any questions.  I am always very happy to hear from my students!

Fondly,

Dean Teplitz

March 24, 2020

Dear Students,

Thank you for your feedback over the last week about the Spring 2020 grading policy.  Dean Johnson just sent you the details of the policy that was passed by faculty earlier today.  While it is impossible to please everybody, I think this policy represents a fair compromise and gives you the ability to self-determine how you would like your grades to be counted.  This structure gives you the power to choose what is best for you given your unique and individualized circumstances. 

As we get closer to grade release, I will provide you with more details about how to convert your grades.  Also, after grades are released, Molly Acri and I will also be available for “counseling” to help you determine your best options.

We recognize that you are facing challenges both personally and academically and we want to help alleviate as much of that stress as possible.  I think this policy is a positive step in giving you closure surrounding this issue while also providing you with peace of mind.

Thank you for being patient as we thoughtfully considered and worked through the logistics in formulating a policy that would most benefit our Widener Commonwealth student community.

I know that questions still remain about how final exams will be administered.  Please know that we are listening to your feedback and taking your thoughts and concerns into consideration.  I hope to have more details related to final exams by early next week but we needed to work through the grading process first.

Please do not hesitate to reach out if you have any questions.

Fondly,

Dean Teplitz

March 23, 2020

Dear Students,

I hope you took some time this weekend to enjoy the sun and fresh air.  I know my dog enjoyed some nice long walks this weekend.  While the current situation is not ideal, I am grateful to have the opportunity to slow down.  That is not something that many of us take time to do on a regular basis. 

I have been receiving a lot of e-mails with questions concerning finals and grading.  Please know that we are very carefully reviewing your suggestions and concerns and should have more concrete information to share with you later this week.  Please do not hesitate to reach out to me if you ever have any issues that I can help to address.  I will continue to be transparent with you and prefer that you contact me directly opposed to being guided by rumors and gossip that may lead to unnecessary anxiety.  After all, as your Dean of Students I am here to be a resource and means of support for you.

Today’s update will focus on LexisNexis' online library resources.  So as not to bombard you, I will provide information about Westlaw’s resources in a later update.

First, LexisNexis is providing additional content to our current study aid package.

Our current study aid package includes over 160 titles.  

The new content that has been temporarily added to our study aid package now totals over 660 titles including casebooks.  Please see the attached list of all available titles.  Students that already have a LexisNexis study aid account will need to sort by practice area or search for a particular title of interest in order to see all content for that particular topic.

Second, LexisNexis has launched a digital library promotion.  The first 25 Widener Commonwealth students who do the exercise that I have attached and e-mail Kaitlyn will get 300 points.

Third, I have attached a letter from Mary Katherine and Owen related to Table Tips opportunities and their Zoom hours.

[Attachments: Lexis Study Aids, Lexis Promotion, Lexis Letter]

Finally, I want to end by telling you how impressed I have been with your ability to be flexible and adapt.  I think you will find that character trait will serve you well as you embark on your legal careers.  I am so proud of all of you.  But, please remember that I am here for you.  Law school is stressful under the best of circumstances.  If you ever need someone to talk to, please do not hesitate to reach out.  Also, LCL has assured me that they are fully operational.  They can be reached 24 hours a day at 1-888-999-1941.

I know these are difficult times.  Try to maintain a positive attitude and find the silver lining.  We will be okay.  We are #StillWidener.

Fondly,

Dean Teplitz

March 20, 2020

Dear Students,

I hope you have found your transition back to classes to be smooth and are beginning to feel comfortable in the Zoom platform. We have received positive feedback from both faculty and students and look forward to the remaining weeks of the semester.

By way of update, pursuant to Governor Wolf’s order, the Law School campus is now officially closed as educational institutions have been classified as non-essential/non-life sustaining businesses.  As such, our faculty and staff can no longer enter or teach from the buildings and this has effectively eliminated the possibility of students returning to campus for any reason until further notice.  But, that’s okay, we have all proven that we can quickly adapt to these rapidly changing circumstances.   Please be patient as we set up all of our systems remotely.  We anticipate a seamless transition but at least wanted you to be aware of this development.

I understand from many of you that you are interested in joining your friends via Zoom so I wanted to take this opportunity to provide you with more specific guidance. Please note that Chrome, Firefox, and Safari tend to be the most compatible browsers when working with Zoom.  Your account will allow you to Zoom with (1) student with no time limit and (2) to (5) students for a 40-minute session that can be renewed by logging out and back in.  I have attached step-by-step instructions for you to use to access your personal Zoom room.

I hope you use Zoom to help stay connected to each other.  Stay tuned next week as the Program for Health, Exercise, and Wellness (PHEW) is planning a Zoom get together.  More details to come!

Please let me know if I can be helpful.  I know I am behind in answering my e-mails but will work through them this weekend.  Thank you so much for your patience.

Have a great weekend.  Be well!

Fondly,

Dean Teplitz

March 19, 2020

Dear Students,

Welcome Back!

I am so excited to be returning to our schedule and to re-connect with all of you.  I have found that the Zoom meetings and small group conferences that I have had with students this week have kept me focused and frankly, just have made me happier and more energized.  I would encourage you to schedule your own Zoom meetings so that you remain connected to each other.   Click here to log-in to your personal meeting space. I think you will find this connection to be important during this time.   I am also always up for a virtual coffee date if you ever want to chat! 

I am going to keep today’s update short because I know you are adjusting back to classes.  At this point, everyone should have received a copy of your course Zoom links.  If you did not, please check your spam folder. If you experience any issues in accessing your classes, please let me know as soon as possible. 

Please be sure to take care of yourself and others during this difficult time. After all, we are Widener Law Commonwealth wherever we are! Let’s stay connected—please post your photos on social media using the hashtag #StillWidener. I posted this morning—did you?

Please do not hesitate to reach out if I can be helpful.

Be well,

Dean Teplitz

March 18, 2020

Dear Students,

We are excited to be returning to our class schedule tomorrow. Attached please find the Zoom links that you will need to access your classes. Use this link to enter your class at its regularly scheduled time unless you are instructed otherwise by your professor. Please also be sure to regularly consult your course schedule. Note that on Wednesday, March 25th, you should attend your Monday classes. Wednesday classes do not meet on this date.

I am happy to report that as of today more than half of our students successfully participated in Zoom testing. As I expressed during these sessions, it is our goal to record as many classes as possible in order to protect against technical glitches and unexpected attendance issues. However, you are expected to attend the live session; the recording is simply to be used as a back-up. If you cannot participate in the live session, you must contact your professor to confirm whether a recording will be available.

While campus may be closed, the Career Development Office stands ready to assist you. It is a great time to update your resume and cover letter. If you are in need of assistance, please reach out to Dean Eden Mandrell at [email protected] to schedule a Zoom appointment or phone call.

Business continues as usual and with that comes course registration. You can expect that the course schedule will be posted by April 1st and registration will begin on April 20th. Molly Acri and I will be hosting Zoom sessions to answer your registration questions in early April. We will also be available to schedule Zoom or telephone appointments to discuss your specific registration needs.

Finally, I have been fielding many questions about final exams and course grading. We have been working behind the scenes on this and will roll out that information to you as soon as it is available.

Thank you for your patience and kind words. I cannot begin to express how much your supportive e-mails have meant to those of us who have been working around the clock to give you a positive and engaging learning experience. Our community remains strong. After all, we are Widener Law Commonwealth wherever we are! Let’s stay connected—please post your photos on social media using the hashtag #StillWidener.

On to tomorrow. . .

Best Wishes,
Dean Teplitz

March 17, 2020

Dear Students,

Thank you for participating in yesterday’s Zoom tests. I am happy to report that about half of our students participated and we experienced very minor issues with connectivity and those issues appeared to be isolated. If you missed yesterday’s sessions but would still like to test, I have added a final session on Wednesday, March 18 at 11:00 a.m. You may join this session by using this link: https://widener.zoom.us/my/rbteplitz. Unless you advise us otherwise, it will be presumed that you do not have any technological or connectivity issues that will interfere with your class attendance and participation.

Next, I want to provide you with the current information about upcoming events and access to campus. Upon reviewing the updated guidance from the CDC and the University, I am sorry to report that we have had to cancel the 30 Days Party, the Hugh B. Pearce Trial Advocacy Competition, Student Awards Ceremony, and the Student Organizations Cocktail Reception. Similarly, we have also had to severely restrict access to campus. We had hoped to be able to provide you with limited access to the library, but the University has made a proactive decision in order to protect our students, employees, and the greater community to close campus to non-essential employees. While our day-to-day business will continue, it will continue remotely as the majority of our employees are now working from home. That being the case, business offices, including the law library, will not be physically accessible until further notice. If you have business to conduct with the Law School, please do not hesitate to reach out via e-mail as we are still fully operational during regular business hours. Click here to access the staff and faculty directory.

Even though the law library is physically closed, it is still open for virtual assistance. There will be live chat reference available between 9:30am and 5:30pm, Monday-Friday. Simply go to the law library home page and click on the chat widget on the left side of the page. If the chat widget is not live, you can leave an email and a librarian will get back to you shortly.

In addition to Lexis and Westlaw, all students have remote access to the other databases such as HeinOnline, Ebsco, and West Academics Online Study Aids. The complete list of available databases can be found at:

https://commonwealthlaw.widener.edu/academics/law-library/resources/database-list 

You will be prompted for a username and password the first time accessing from off-campus. The username is the name as it appears on your Widener ID. The password is the barcode numbers on the back of the Widener ID. If you have trouble with the login to the databases, send an email to [email protected] and a librarian will assist you.

Finally, I will be sending out a spreadsheet of your Zoom links tomorrow. I had hoped to get that to you today but we are going to need until tomorrow to generate the final version.

I look forward to providing you with my next e-mail update tomorrow afternoon. If you have any questions or problems, please do not hesitate to reach out to me.


Fondly,

Dean Teplitz

March 16, 2020 

Dear Students,

Thank you for your participation in today’s Zoom tests.  At this time, we have conducted two of the three scheduled Zoom tests.  I am very pleased that the tests have gone smoothly and there have not been any major connectivity issues.  If you have not already participated, I hope you will join us tonight at 6:00 p.m. for our final session.  Remember that if you do not test, we will presume that you do not have any technology or connectivity issues.

There has been a commonly asked question about how to manage more than one window/application (like opening Word) while Zoom/Powerpoint is being used.  We have learned that if you hit the Escape button, the Zoom/Powerpoint window will be made smaller and then you can drag that window to the right of your screen.  You will then be able to open Word (or whatever application you need) on the left.

Next, please be sure to check your Widener e-mail.  You can expect to hear from your professors with specific instructions about their classes.   In the next few days, I will also be updating you on event and campus access information and providing you with the Zoom links to access your classes. 

Finally, below are some suggestions for your consideration.  We want you to remain engaged and successful despite the challenges that some may experience while adapting to the remote platform.  I urge you to decide what your work/classroom space is going to be when online classes resume and consider what you need to get that space ready.

Remember:

  1.  You are still in school and need to keep a schedule.  Your family, friends, and even you may feel like you have more time and that is simply not the case.  You have the same workload, academic commitments, and time constraints that you did a month ago.  Please do not lose sight of this.
  2. Resist temptation.  It is easy to become distracted.  Be mindful of these distractions as you are tempted to surf the internet or do your laundry while class is in session.  If you have kids, we recognize that they may also be home with you.  Try to set up a space in your home that becomes your dedicated “classroom.”  There is a subconscious difference in learning attitude if you are sitting at a desk or table versus sitting on your couch with your computer on your lap.
  3. Be an active participant.  Prepare for class, take notes, ask questions, volunteer to answer questions.  Commit to being an active learner. 
  4. You are still a part of a larger community that cares very much about you and your success.  If you are experiencing academic, technological, or personal difficulties, please let us know.  We are here to help.  It may be more difficult for a professor to read non-verbal cues, so please reach out if you have questions.  Most professors will also be holding virtual office hours in some capacity.   I am also very happy to schedule appointments via Zoom. 

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or problems.  We are happy to help troubleshoot issues as they arise.

Stay healthy,

Dean Teplitz

(Adapted from:  Natalie Rodriguez, Southwestern Law School, lawprofessors.typepad.com/academic_support/online learning tips)

March 13, 2020

Dear Students, 

I hope you are well.  Thank you for your cooperation as we continue to work through the logistics required to ensure a smooth transition to the remote learning platform.  To that end, today’s update will focus on the use of Zoom and connectivity. 

You can expect that your classes will continue to meet as regularly scheduled via Zoom.  You can access Zoom via a link that your professor will provide to you.  The remote platform will be interactive and will replicate the classroom experience.  Therefore, as a remote participant, you can expect to be called on much like you would if you were sitting in the classroom.  In addition, unless otherwise notified by your professor, you will be expected to have your camera turned on during class and your microphone muted unless you are specifically participating.   

While I know that most of you probably have already used Zoom at some point in your academic careers, we would like to hold approximately 15-minute Zoom test sessions on Monday, March 16, 2020 at 10:00 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 6:00 p.m.  We encourage you to participate in one of these sessions so that we can test your equipment and internet connectivity.  Zoom can be accessed on a computer or through the Zoom app on your cell phone.  These test sessions will help us to identify if there any issues that we need to troubleshoot before we go live on Thursday.  Please note that if you do not participate in a test session, it will be presumed that you have used Zoom and/or do not have any equipment or connectivity issues

You may choose any of the three test sessions that is convenient for you.  Please use the corresponding links below to enter the meeting space.  If you are unable to join any of these sessions due to a scheduling conflict but are interested in doing a test run, please let me know as soon as possible. 

10:00 a.m.:       Zoom Test Session #1:              https://widener.zoom.us/j/666127292 
12:30 p.m.:       Zoom Test Session #2:              https://widener.zoom.us/j/410446584 
6:00 p.m.:         Zoom Test Session #3:              https://widener.zoom.us/j/618374242 

If you do not have access to a computer, cell phone, or reliable internet, please let me know ASAP. 

My next update will be on Monday afternoon.   

I look forward to seeing you Monday via Zoom.  It is very quiet around here without you! 

Have a nice weekend and stay healthy! 

Fondly,  

Dean Teplitz 

March 12, 2020

Dear Students, 

As Dean Johnson indicated yesterday, each week day afternoon I will be sending an e-mail to inform you of any campus updates as this public health crisis continues to evolve.  Please be sure to check your Widener e-mail regularly as this will be my primary method of communication with you. 

I appreciate your kind words, patience and questions over the past 24 hours.  Obviously, this was not the plan that any of us had in mind for this semester.  I know that this is an unsettling turn of events and I will do everything that I can to try to alleviate your concerns.  We have created a FAQ page that I think you will find helpful.  This page will continue to evolve as we identify your major questions and concerns so I highly recommend that you refer to it regularly.  I encourage you to bookmark this link:  https://commonwealthlaw.widener.edu/coronavirus/

The focus of today’s update will be on the academic calendar and the scheduling of final exams as I am aware that these topics are weighing heavily on your minds.  As you know, we have paused classes until March 19th.  As a result, there have been many questions as to how this time will be made up.  Please note that the academic calendar will remain as published and you will not lose the April 10th Spring holiday.  Professors may use different methods to make up the classes that were missed this week, such as adding 5-10 minutes to the end of their remaining classes; scheduling a class session during the April 9th make up day; and/or  giving you assignments to complete.  It is within the professor’s discretion as to how to account for the missed time.  The last day of classes will still be April 24th

The final exam period will still run from April 28th-May 11th.  Final exams will not be offered on campus.  Your professors will have the discretion on how to administer their final exams.  Final exams are one of the major logistical details that your professors will be working on this week.  As more information becomes available, either your professor or I will communicate it to you.   

I understand that the absence of information and the fear of the unknown creates anxiety.  This is why I will provide you with as much information as I have available through my daily updates.  I also spoke with Laurie Besden from LCL this morning and she asked me to remind you that they remain ready to assist, should you need their services.  The LCL 24-hour helpline is 1-888-999-1941. 

My next update will be tomorrow afternoon and will discuss the use of Zoom technology and connectivity testing so that we can ensure a smooth transition to a remote learning platform.  Please review this important information when it is disseminated. 

As always, please do not hesitate to reach out if you have any questions.  Please know that I will work through your questions as quickly as possible. 

Stay healthy! 

Fondly, 

Dean Teplitz 

March 11, 2020

Dear Students:

I assure you that there are no confirmed COVID-19 cases on any Widener University campus.

To prevent the spread of COVID-19, however, the University has cancelled all in-person classes as of tomorrow, March 12, for the remainder of the semester.  All course will resume on-line via zoom on March 19th.

Dean Teplitz will be sending out daily update emails to each of you using your official Widener University email accounts.  You must check them regularly as this will be our primary method of communication with you.

Students are not permitted on campus through at least March 18th.  We will update you when students are allowed back on campus. If you must have access to campus for any reason, you should contact Dean Teplitz. Students taking VITA, Clinic, or externships, however, should continue as usual until we notify you otherwise.

I am sure that you each have many questions as we move forward.  We are developing a FAQ section for the website on the Coronavirus situation that will be available by the end of the day Thursday that will answer many of your concerns. 

Please also do not hesitate to reach out to Dean Teplitz if you have any additional questions.

Respectfully,

Dean Johnson

 

Last Modified: This page was last updated on March 27, 2020 at 3:32 PM

 

CONTACT INFORMATION

Randi Teplitz
Assistant Dean of Students
Phone: 
717.541.3952
Email: 
[email protected]

Related Widener University Page


widener.edu/coronavirus



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