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HR update, March 19, 2020

To keep communication as clear as possible, and archive it for later use, the Office of Human Resources will be sending out updates using this format.

If you have information that you would like to disseminate to all employees, please send that to and we will coordinate adding the information to a future HR update.

For now, we would ask that you limit any mass communications to avoid confusion.

Update on spring semester - student and employee communication

Dear members of the Augustana College faculty, administration and staff:

I shared the message below with Augustana students this afternoon. As I asked our students, I also ask you for flexibility and openness to further updates. Be assured that every decision we make is guided by local public officials and is in the best interest of our community’s health and safety.

Our team of faculty, administration and staff is the best team I have worked with in my 35 years in higher education, and I thank you for the privilege of serving as your president. We will weather this crisis together, and we will become stronger. 

Steve Bahls, President


Dear students,

My thoughts are with you, your families and all members of the Augustana community at this time. I share your concerns for the present and your hopes for the future. Most especially, I maintain great hope for each Augustana student’s future.

And so I write to share the latest information from the college, and our plans for a creative, safe and student-centered approach to handling the remainder of the semester. As I share this plan, I ask for your willingness to be flexible and open to further updates. We will make every decision with the guidance of local public health officials and in the best interest of student health.

All classes moving to distance learning through the end of this semester

We have made the difficult decision to transition all classes from our signature in-person, small-class teaching and learning to distance learning after spring break and to the end of the spring semester.

Provost Dr. Wendy Hilton-Morrow, the Office of Academic Affairs and our faculty are committed to ensuring you have the chance to complete courses and earn academic credit for this semester, while maintaining the high-quality academic experience you expect from us.

Limited services for students who must stay on campus

Students who are on campus now should return to their family home if possible, but will not be forced to do so. Those who stay should be aware that the college is transitioning many employees to a work-from-home model, and only limited food service will be available. Employees are working on creative solutions to offering key services such as career services, academic advising, counseling and similar support service via phone and web conferencing.

Students who have returned home absolutely should not return to campus now. Details about an orderly move-out with consideration for social distancing will be shared tomorrow.

Re-opening campus still possible (though distance learning will continue to the end of the semester)

We are hopeful that before the end of semester we may be able to re-open campus and offer some services and opportunities. This would mean you could choose to continue distance learning from campus, with potential access to faculty office hours, more library resources, and in-person support from CORE or the Learning Commons.

If we can re-open campus this spring, returning to campus will be an option but not a requirement. Students who choose not to return to campus will continue with distance learning remotely, with no academic penalty.

I fully recognize that re-opening campus before the end of the term is unlikely, but with the fluidity of the situation, we want to retain that option.

More questions anticipated

My intention with this message is to inform you of plans for delivering the academic programs, but I realize that information can raise additional questions. Please know that more information will be forthcoming. Our goal is to provide the best information clearly and quickly. 

At this juncture, I encourage you to consult the website for regular updates, and watch for official campus communications from

You also can anticipate emails coming from Provost Dr. Hilton-Morrow in regard to academics, graduation and distance learning; Dean of Students Wes Brooks regarding housing; Chief Financial Officer Kirk Anderson about credits or refunds for unused room and board, and other financial information.

Looking to the future

It is a sacrifice for our students to forgo the special learning and living experience of the Augustana College campus for any amount of time. But during this time of national crisis, we all must respond. 

We have not yet determined whether to postpone commencement. Rest assured that Augustana will hold a ceremony and graduation festivities, even if we need to postpone the date. By April 15 we will determine whether graduation must be postponed.

Thank you, Augustana students, for doing your part at this pivotal moment in world history. I am grateful to our faculty and staff for the transition to distance learning as we maintain a firm commitment to delivering on the learning outcomes we promise you, and which you deserve. 

On a personal note, I recognize your role in this talented, caring and deeply dedicated community, and thank you for the privilege of leading this community.

President Steve Bahls

Thanks for your feedback

We’ve had a number of you reach out with appreciation and encourage that this daily update continue in the short-term.  We are happy to do this and welcome any updates from campus and individuals.

Keeping our campus community connected will be a moving target as events unfold.  Please send any items for inclusion to If we receive items by 3 p.m., they will generally by included in the next day's HR update.


Expectations for telecommuting employees - IMPORTANT AND URGENT

For those employees who have been approved under our temporary telecommuting policy, expectations and procedures are as follows:

1) To allow for access to Time Clock Plus and other resources, telecommuting employees should see ITS COVID Response Resources

  • Fortinet VPN for those with a campus desktop PC
  • Virtual Viking for those with no campus desktop

2) Through March 30, telecommuting employees are not expected to punch in and out using Time Clock Plus. Instead all telecommuting employees (both hourly and salaried) must report the total number of hours via email by the end of the day on Friday (to their supervisor).

 Due to the workload of moving to distance learning, employees within academic departments should send these hours directly to

3) Supervisors must input hours in Time Clock Plus for hourly employees by the end of the day each Monday using a timesheet entry. Detailed instructions on using time sheet entry is available here: TCP

4) Supervisors must input any vacation, STD or sick hours in Time Clock Plus for salaried employees by the end of the day on  Monday.

5) The college can NOT pay employees if hours are not entered, so it is essential that these steps be followed.

Housekeeping in academic buildings

We know that this is not our normal “spring break” and that many of you may be working as we prepare for distance education.  Our facilities staff is not routinely cleaning break rooms and meeting rooms during this extended break period.  

If you do use these rooms, please clean up when you are finished and place any leftover food in a common area trash receptacle for emptying.  Your assistance will prevent any smelly surprises in the future.

Dealing with stress and anxiety during this period

Times of uncertainty are tough, and many are dealing with a new routine. While solutions are different for each of us, taking care of your mental health is important. We hope you find this link helpful.


FERPA and privacy reminders for remote work


It’s important to keep in mind that the college maintains our communication policy and the expectation is that when using email, we are only communicating with students through their email address rather than through another personal email.  This email is protected by FERPA and helps us verify the student’s identity.  It is imperative that we are using the student’s college account when having conversations surrounding not just registration related items but also when engaging in any discussion about their educational record, including their distance learning.  Additionally, staff and faculty should only be using their Augustana email accounts when working with students. 

Education Record Clarification

We are all making the best of an unprecedented situation and it’s helpful to remember what constitutes an education record.  Education records are those that are directly related to the student and that are maintained by the institution. Everything in Canvas, the discussion board, assignments, any communication to the student, is a part of the student’s education record.  If you are conducting a class synchronously and making a recording of the class, that becomes a part of the student’s education record.  

What Needs to be Documented and Maintained

  • Advising records

    • It is strongly recommended you store all of your advising notes in Starfish. If your advising session is conducted via email or some other electronic mode, it is considered a part of the education record and needs to be saved. 

    • If a student is requesting course withdrawal or change to P/NC status via email, please have them use the new  online forms on the Registrar’s Office website for documentation.

  • Academic records

    • Grades or scores

    • Discussions, chats, blogs and all assignments in Moodle

    • Exams, tests, quizzes in Moodle

    • Any other course materials that will be used for grae assessment/evaluation in other places or modalities

  • Declaration or change of major (instruct them to use the new on-line form coming soon) 

  • Course waiver or substitution permission (faculty continue to use the link in Arches to submit a substitution) 

This is not an exhaustive list but several examples of what we need to maintain.  Most of the time, this information is forwarded to the Registrar’s Office and we ensure that it is maintained on the student’s record. As always please contact Wes Brooks or Liesl Fowler with your privacy questions. 

Office of Human Resources
639 38th St.
Rock Island, Ill., 61201

Phone: 309-794-7352

Fax: 309-794-8962