Guidelines for Fall 2020 Teaching

The University of San Diego acknowledges the deep commitment and expertise of faculty to make pedagogical decisions about how to design and deliver their classes.

Because instruction during Fall 2020 will deviate from a traditional semester, the Ad Hoc Committee on Teaching Guidelines, as part of the F20 Academic Task Force, created this document to provide a brief overview of the recommendations for instructional practice. The guidance is general, in recognition of the fact that faculty have academic freedom to set the curriculum for their courses, regardless of delivery mode. Faculty should not feel limited to a particular pedagogical approach, but instead develop the best approach for their courses.


  • Faculty should seek to continue USD’s focus on high-quality interactive education.
  • Faculty should strive to build community in their courses, as this is an integral part of USD’s education. This goal can be accomplished in many ways (see these resources from the Center for Educational Excellence as a place to start).
  • Faculty are expected to be available to students during their scheduled class time, but the way in which this is implemented is at each faculty member’s discretion, appropriate with designated teaching modality, with the following guidance in mind:
    • All classes should include synchronous elements.
    • Synchronous course meetings must be held during scheduled class time only. Provide recordings of instructional sessions for students who are remote and unable to attend.
    • Faculty will continue to follow the USD policy of holding office hours weekly outside of scheduled class time.
    • There are many options for structuring your course; however, some departments or schools have specific accreditation requirements that may inform how courses are designed.
      • If you have questions about whether the way you plan to design your class is in line with USD, Unit, and/or Departmental expectations, talk to your department chair.
      • For additional information, you can find resources through the Learning Design Center or Center for Educational Excellence.
  • Keep in mind considerations for students’ personal circumstances, e.g., being in different time zones or problems with access to reliable internet, when designing your course and course policies. Faculty are encouraged to practice compassionate pedagogy.

Committee Members

Jim Bolender (Chemistry & Biochemistry, CAS), Gordon Hoople (Integrated Engineering, SMSE), Ashley Kovacs (Learning Design Center), Lisa Nunn (Sociology, CEE), Amanda Ruiz (Mathematics, CAS), Jena Hales (Psychological Sciences, CAS), Ron Kaufmann (Environmental and Ocean Sciences, Associate Dean, CAS), Kristin Moran (Communication Studies, Associate Dean, CAS), Alberto Pulido (Ethnic Studies, CAS), Rebekah Wanic (Psychological Sciences, CAS)