Policy 2.2 - Policy on Academic Continuity

The official version of this policy is housed with the University Secretariat.  In the event of a discrepancy, the official version will prevail. Click here for a printable version of this policy. 

Approving Authority: Senate
Responsible Office: Provost & Vice-President (Academic)
Responsible Officer: Provost & Vice-President (Academic)
Original Approval Date: June 3, 2019
Most Recent Revision Date: N/A
Previous Revisions: N/A

1. Preamble

1.1. The University of Guelph is committed to its mission as a learner-centred University, which includes commitment to the highest standards of pedagogy and meeting the needs of all learners.

1.2. The University recognizes certain events may be potential threats to academic continuity, and good stewardship requires the University to undertake appropriate planning and preparation to promote continuity.

1.3. In the event of a threat to Academic Continuity, the University will do everything it can to maximize support for student learning and achievement of program outcomes.

2. Purpose

2.1. The purpose of this Policy is to provide a framework that will guide the University in its ability to fulfill its academic mission in the face of potential threats to Academic Continuity.

3. Jurisdiction and Scope

3.1. This Policy applies to academic governance and decision-making as related to academic programming in the event of an Academic Disruption.

3.2. A state of disruption may be declared to affect one or more programs departments or colleges, one or more campuses, or the whole University.

3.3. In the event of an Academic Disruption, the provisions articulated in this Policy and related Procedures may supersede regulations and procedures outlined in the academic calendars.

4. Definitions

4.1. “Academic Activity”: includes any work subject to evaluation or necessary for a student to meet the requirements of a course or program of study.

4.2. “Academic Continuity”: the process of preserving the functions of the academic core of the University.

4.3. “Academic Disruption”: occurs when academic activities are substantially interrupted or impeded as a result of hazardous weather, public health emergencies, natural disasters, prolonged service interruptions, ongoing labour disputes, or other like causes.

4.3.1. In determining whether an interruption or an impediment is substantial, the following factors shall be considered: The duration and point in the term or session in which the Academic Disruption occurred; The availability of physical and instructional resources The impact on the attendance of students, instructors, and other necessary participants; and The impact on the timing and sequence of evaluations such as examinations, practica, assignments and presentations, etc.

4.4. “Academic Units”: refers to units responsible for the delivery of academic programs under the jurisdiction of Senate and includes colleges, departments, schools, institutes and faculties.

4.5. “Day”: refers to calendar day.

5. Policy

The following principles will guide the University in its preparation and planning for Academic Continuity and in its response to any potential Academic Disruption.

5.1. Academic Integrity

5.1.1. In the event of an Academic Disruption, the primary obligation of Senate is to ensure the academic integrity of all programs. No dilution of standards normally expected of students should be permitted and there should be as little diminution as possible in the instructional or supervisory support given to students.

5.2. Fairness to Students

5.2.1. Students who do not participate in academic activities because they are unable to do so owing to an Academic Disruption are entitled to immunity from penalty, to reasonable alternative access to materials covered in their absence, to reasonable extensions of deadlines, and to such other remedy as Senate deems necessary and consistent with the principle of academic integrity.

5.2.2. Such remedies shall not alter the academic standards associated with the missed activity, nor shall it relieve the student of the responsibility for mastering materials covered.

5.2.3. The availability of a remedy under this policy does not guarantee students the same learning experience they would have received in the absence of an Academic Disruption.

5.3. Timely Information

5.3.1. Students, staff, and faculty have a right to be informed in a timely manner of changed requirements, rescheduled academic activities, and procedures to be in effect at the conclusion of an Academic Disruption.

6. Responsibilities

6.1. All members of the University of Guelph community share in the responsibility to enhance and maintain the continuity of academic programs.

6.2. The University has a responsibility to:

6.2.1. Oversee the implementation of the policy;

6.2.2. Provide education and support to students, instructors and academic administrators regarding strategies for ensuring academic continuity;

6.2.3. Coordinate activity in the case of a state of disruption; and,

6.2.4. Inform all members of the community about a disruption, in a timely fashion and issue communication regarding procedures to help ensure academic continuity.

6.3. Academic Units have a responsibility to:

6.3.1. Develop guidelines in line with the institutional framework; and,

6.3.2. Communicate with staff, faculty, students and field placement/training sites regarding division-specific plans.

6.4. Academic administrators are responsible for:

6.4.1. Overseeing changes to course procedures in the academic unit in the case of a declaration of a state of disruption; and,

6.4.2. Where an instructor is not available during a disruption, the relevant academic administrator will assume responsibility for all essential administrative activities associated with the course and, when appropriate, identify an alternate instructor.

6.5. Instructors are responsible for:

6.5.1. Altering course procedures, requirements and methods of evaluation in consultation with academic administrators to help ensure academic continuity; and,

6.5.2. Making reasonable accommodations for students who are unable to attend classes or complete academic requirements due to a disruption.

6.6. Students have a responsibility to:

6.6.1. Complete all coursework and academic requirements; and

6.6.2. Stay informed about Academic Disruptions and changing academic requirements and procedures.

7. Related Policies, Procedures & Documents

7.1. Procedure for Policy 2.2 Policy on Academic Continuity   

7.2.  University of Guelph Mission Statement

7.3. Policy 512 Hazardous Weather/Emergency Closing Procedures, All Staff

7.4. Policy 513 Time-off for Hazardous Weather/Emergency Closings

7.5. Establishment of the Academic Schedule of Dates

7.6. Undergraduate Calendar | Undergraduate Degree Regulations and Procedures

7.7. Undergraduate Calendar | Statement of Students’ Academic Responsibilities

7.8. Graduate Calendar | General Regulations

7.9. Graduate Calendar | General Information

7.10. Graduate Calendar | Procedures

7.11. Diploma Program Calendar | Associate Diploma Regulations and Procedures

7.12. Guelph-Humber Calendar | Statement of Students’ Academic Responsibilities

7.13. Guelph-Humber Calendar | Undergraduate Degree Regulations and Procedures

7.14. Senate Committee on Student Petitions Bylaws

7.15. Guidelines for the Admissions and Progress Committee

7.16. University Risk Management Policy