Words from the Provost to highlight a number of matters for your attention.
Welcome back to the start of the new year! I hope you had a satisfying and restorative summer.
I write to highlight a number of matters for your attention at this time of the year. Most are in the way of reminders, but in some cases there have been significant changes. This is a long message, but I ask that you take the time to (re)acquaint yourselves with each of these critical issues.
Personnel Policies and Handbooks
All employees, including faculty, operate under personnel policies governing the terms and conditions of their employment. These policies, which are collected in handbooks for certain types of employees, are posted on both the Provost’s Office and the Office of Human Resources websites as well as W&M’s online policy library.
Only the Provost can cancel classes or alter work obligations of College employees (for VIMS and Ash Lawn-Highland, the Dean/Director and Executive Director, respectively, will make closing decisions). The specific policy and details are online. Also, please make sure that your phone number(s) and email address(es) in the Emergency Notification System are current. These can be updated via Banner Self-Service.
Safety and Respectful Workplace and Reporting Obligations
Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual Violence
Please review W&M’s policies on Discrimination, Harassment, and Retaliation and Sexual Misconduct. Please also familiarize yourself with campus resources for discrimination-related services.
Faculty, Staff and Students with Disabilities – Request Accommodation
W&M modifies academic and working conditions and programs as necessary to accommodate students and employees with disabilities. Accommodations may be authorized only by the Dean of Students Office (for students with disabilities) or the Office of Diversity (for faculty or other employees with disabilities).
There are certain situations that you are required to report to others, including sexual assault or other forms of sexual harassment of a student and threats and acts of violence. Information about these reporting requirements is available on the mandatory reporting website. Further information about identifying threats and the university’s threat assessment team can be found online.
Concern about a Student
Faculty and staff are encouraged to contact the Dean of Students Office promptly with any concerns about an individual student – general welfare concerns (multiple class absences, personal or family crisis, disturbed/disturbing behavior), suspicions about hazing, conduct/honor violations, signs of substance abuse, or any other matter that raises concern. The Dean of Students website has an online Care Report Form and the Dean’s professional staff will follow-up promptly based on the information provided. In cases of imminent safety concern, always contact the W&M Police at 221-4596.
Environment, Health & Safety Compliance
The EH&S office is responsible for maintaining compliance with health, safety, and environmental regulations and standards. Please review and comply with EH&S procedures, including all directives for fire/safety drills, safety inspections or routine “walk-throughs.” More information can found on the EH&S website. Per College policy, the EH&S Office has “stop work” authority if a dangerous situation is deemed to exist.
Conflicts of Interest
Our Code of Ethics requires that we avoid even the appearance of conflict of interest. One type of conflict is financial remuneration, gifts or other benefits that might be provided to faculty and staff from vendors or other service providers. External paid employment can also present a conflict of commitment or other conflict of interest, and must be approved in advance. You should also be aware that under Virginia law, the business and financial dealings of your spouse are imputed to you; thus, your obligation to avoid conflicts of interests extends to your spouse’s activities. Find information and resources regarding conflicts.
Travel and Other Transactions Involving W&M Money
Regardless of funding source, when using funds through the university, including when you make a business-related purchase for which you later request reimbursement, such as when you travel on university business, you must follow applicable policies and procedures. For example, you must have an approved travel authorization prior to travel. Further information about buying goods or services is available from the Office of Procurement, and information about travel expense reimbursement is available through Financial Operations.
Technology, Information and Intellectual Property
Information Security and Sensitive Data
The College is required by law to protect specific information defined as “sensitive data.” The Policy for Securing Sensitive Data narrowly defines “sensitive data” and describes other important rules for handling such data. Most notably, be aware that storing sensitive data using services like Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft SkyDrive or other cloud-based storage services is not permitted. View this and other important Information Security Policies.
Use of Copyrighted Materials
Please review the policy; it is important and touches on matters such as assembling course materials. If you have any questions or need clarification or guidance, please contact Dean Carrie Cooper, who is my designee in copyright matters.
Intellectual Property, Technology Transfer, and Export Control
Along with various regulations, laws, and policies regulating research, found in the VPR’s semester compliance reminder letter (pdf), employees must comply with W&M policies on Intellectual Property (pdf) and Export Control.
Use of the Internet and Electronic Media and W&M computers
State policy on use of the Internet and electronic communications covers a broad range of devices such as smartphones and social media technologies including Facebook, LinkedIn, blogs, etc. Under the policy, personal use of these technologies is permitted as long as it does not (1) interfere with productivity or performance; (2) adversely affect systems or (3) imply that the communication is made on behalf of W&M. The policy outlines specific requirements and banned activities. In addition, the Code of Virginia prohibits the use of W&M-owned or leased computers to access sexually explicit content, except when approved in advance by the Vice Provost for Research and Graduate/Professional Studies.
Of course, if you have any questions about any of the items listed above, please do not hesitate to contact your supervisor, department head, dean or my office. Thank you for your attention to these important matters.