Last updated: March 24, 2020

Message to SCI Students from Dean Cohen

As you know, the University of Pittsburgh has suspended classes until March 23, after which they will resume as online classes. Chancellor Gallagher’s message to Pitt is here. Dean Bonner’s message to students is here. See also a helpful public safety website.  Questions about grad students are answered here.

The SCI faculty and staff will do everything we can to ensure that your education continues with a minimum of disruption. It won’t be the same experience as being on campus, but we will strive to make it contentful and perhaps even an  informative experiment in new ways of teaching and learning.

Your instructors will contact you in the coming days about how they will handle classes, recitations, homework, exams and so on. TAs and UTAs should get in touch with the instructors of their courses to seek guidance.  None of these students will lose employment, though duties will probably change a bit. In general, the biggest difference will be that class meetings — lectures and sections — will be on-line.  The decision as to whether a course will meet online at the regular time (i.e., synchronous) or will be recorded for you to watch at any time (i.e., asynchronous) will be up to the instructor as they decide the best way to deliver their material; please be on the lookout for information from each instructor directly.

Academic advising operations for undergraduate students will not change, except that you will meet with your advisor remotely via BlueJeans. We expect students to register for coming semesters in the usual way, although we await guidance from Pitt. Please follow normal procedures for scheduling appointments through Navigate Student. Your advisor will contact you with information regarding connecting through BlueJeans. Please pay special attention to any emails you get from your academic advisor, which will include detailed information. Graduate students should contact the graduate director or graduate administrator in their department or program for information regarding any possible changes to advising.

Please note that Pitt’s Student Health Services, Counseling Center, Libraries and other facilities will remain open. All concerns can be directed to Director of Student Services and SCI Student Ombudsperson Wes Lipschultz (wpl4@pitt.edu) or Associate Dean Adam Lee (adamlee@pitt.edu) or me (prcohen@pitt.edu).

You will find a variety of resources on this page to help you navigate this time. We are developing an FAQ that will be populated below, we will post a listing of key points of contact and resources, and even a Dashboard of Classes (a bit like airline flight tracking, but for classes!)

You have been inundated with information, so I won’t add any more, except to say that everyone in SCI is committed to your success, and we are confident that you — our best and most inspiring students ever — will get through this.

Paul Cohen
Founding Dean and Professor
School of Computing and Information


Frequently Asked Questions

The FAQ below covers a variety of topics relevant to SCI students. Please review the material and direct any questions unanswered to the appropriate contact found below.

Ongoing updates

The prevention and symptoms tips page provided by the University and the Center for Disease Control will keep you current on health preparation and general updates to University functioning.
All updates regarding Pitt's plan for the remainder of the term can be found here.
All information and updates regarding SCI's plans and response will be posted on this web page (www.sci.pitt.edu/covid-19)
Yes – this site indicates what is online, what is canceled, on-campus housing details, and what services are still available on campus. Undergraduate health and safety is additionally addressed in this note from Dean Bonner.
“Yes – here is a link to resources for graduate students put together Vice Provost for Graduate Studies Nathan Urban.  He has also put together this site to provide information on assigned graduate assistantships and credit-bearing experiential learning commitments (practica, field experiences, etc.).”
The Provost’s Office has provided the following update: “We have made the decision to deliver summer courses remotely, with the possibility of a few exceptions for clinical or field experiences that may become possible later in the summer. While we would certainly have liked to return to in-person classes, it is not safe or feasible given the circumstances and time frames we face. We will have more details to share about summer very soon.”  Please visit this page for the full update.

Volunteering and Work

To date, university-wide policies have not resulted in these positions be canceled or changed. However, individual hourly work positions may be impacted differently. Please consult directly with your Pitt supervisor. If problems arise, please contact the Office of Human Resources.
University-wide updates have not indicated that these be canceled or changed. However, individual internships may be impacted differently. Please: a) consult your internship course instructor to verify any delivery/participation updates, and b) consult your site supervisor to confirm any updates to their work policies (which may be independent of the University). If problems arise, please contact the SCI Director of Experiential Learning, Alka Singh.
University-wide policies have not indicated that these are canceled or changed. However, individual co-op rotations may be impacted differently. Please: a) consult the Co-op Office to verify any delivery/participation updates, and b) consult your site supervisor to confirm any updates to their work policies (which may be independent of the University). If problems arise, please contact the Co-op Office.
University-wide policies have not indicated that these are canceled or changed. However, individual co-op rotations may be impacted differently. Please consult your site supervisor to confirm any updates to their work policies (which may be independent of the University). If problems or questions arise, please contact the SCI Director of Experiential Learning, Alka Singh.
University-wide policies have not indicated that these are canceled or changed. However, individual placements may be impacted differently. Please consult your site supervisor to confirm any updates to their work policies (which may be independent of the University). If problems arise, please contact Elizabeth Mahoney, Associate Chair of the Information, Culture, and Data Stewardship Department.
University-wide policies have not indicated that these are canceled or changed. However, individual assistantships may be impacted differently. Please consult with your course instructors (if a teaching assistant) and/or your research project PIs (if a research assistantship or fellowship) to obtain instructions on how to continue to perform your teaching and/or research duties. Should any additional problems arise, please contact your academic advisor, PhD program chair, or department/program chair as needed. The faculty directory provides contact information for all SCI and SCI-affiliated faculty.
Most likely your activity is either a PittServes placement or a community engagement commitment in the Hill District or Homewood. Continuance of these activities will need to be determined on an individual basis based on your context. A member of SCI’s Experiential Learning team will be reaching out to students impacted by this as information becomes available. Please feel free to contact Alka Singh with any immediate questions or concerns.
Effective immediately, the Career Center will provide uninterrupted, virtual service.  Staff will continue to be available via email, phone and Skype appointments.  Staff are working remotely during normal business hours of 8:3am - 5 :00pm. Please visit the Career Services site for details.

Academics

Yes. Your SCI professional academic advisors will still be available during regular normal business hours for appointments for summer/fall planning, as well as any other advising issues you have. The advisors also realize that this transition may present a variety of challenges based on your individual circumstances and are there to assist you in working to get the help you need. Advising meetings will, however, be conducted using a video conferencing program called BlueJeans. If you have an upcoming appointment scheduled in Pathways, they will be sending you information about how to access the meeting. It’s a very simple program to use and will allow us to share our screen and review your AAR and other resources as we would in a face-to-face meeting.

Students seeking guidance from Undergraduate Program Directors or other faculty members should reach out to those individuals by email to make arrangements for online discussion. Any general questions about advising should be directed to sciadvising@pitt.edu.

Yes. Please continue to work with the appropriate faculty advisor in your program. You are encouraged to meet with your academic advisor online, however, using any meeting tool suggested by your advisor, if they have a preference. Please reach out to your Graduate Program Administrator should you have any issues reaching your assigned academic advisor (Keena Walker for CS, Michele Thomas for ISP, Debbie Day for ICDS, and Kelly Shaffer for DINS).
The University is supporting the continuance of these efforts, but such group responsibilities are encouraged to be conducted remotely. Please work with your group leader and/or faculty advisor to determine appropriate next steps.
Students will be given the greatest opportunity possible under the circumstances to continue their coursework. As efforts are being made to allow student to compete courses, there is no anticipated change to the grading policies of the University. Consistent with standard University policy, individual students may, depending upon their personal circumstances, choose to request an incomplete (G grade) and make up the work at a later time (Undergraduate Regulations | Graduate Regulations). Alternatively, students may choose to withdraw from all classes pursuant to University  policies (Undergraduate Term Resignation | Graduate Term Resignation). Students should consult with instructors directly regarding incomplete grades to agree upon expectations for completing coursework at a later date. All inquiries regarding term resignation should be directed to the University’s Office of Student Appeals.
The assignment of S and NC grades depends upon the program that a student is enrolled in.
  • For all undergraduate programs: a C or higher corresponds to an S grade, C- or lower corresponds to an NC grade
  • For professional Master’s programs (MSIS, MST, MLIS) and Certificate programs:
    • For MLIS core courses (LIS 2022, LIS 2030): B or higher corresponds to an S grade, B- or lower corresponds to an NC grade
    • For all other courses in these programs: C or higher corresponds to an S grade, C- or lower corresponds to an NC grade
  • For all other graduate programs:  B or higher corresponds to an S grade, B- or lower corresponds to an NC grade
Given the unique situation posed by COVID-19, courses taken for S/NC in term 2204 will not count against overall limits on S/NC classes.
Students will be able to elect into S/NC for a given course after grades have posted at the conclusion of the term.  Further details will be available closer to that time.
This occurs when someone “crashes” your Zoom meeting, shares their screen, and presents inappropriate/offensive materials.  This has the potential to disrupt any meetings you have, including those that are part of your studies. Zoom has put together some guidelines to help prevent this from happening to you.

Health and Wellness

As announced by Chancellor Gallagher, the University has shifted exclusively to remote learning for classes, effective March 23, 2020.  For availability of University Offices related to health and wellness, please access the sites for these offices themselves for detailed information: Student Health Service, Disability Resources and Services, and the Counseling Center.
Online and digital services and resources are available for students by contacting the University Counseling Center at 412-648-7930 extension 1. You can reach an on-call clinician 24x7 at this number.  Please see the Pitt Student Affairs site for a full list of services and resources.

Resources

As announced by Chancellor Gallagher, the University has shifted exclusively to remote learning for classes, effective March 23, 2020.  Please contact Panther Central with any questions regarding the Photo ID and its services.
As announced by Chancellor Gallagher, the University has shifted exclusively to remote learning for classes, effective March 23, 2020.  Please monitor technical services and direct questions about those services here.
The University has put together an online group for Pitt faculty, staff, and students who are parents. For more information on how Pitt is supporting these parents, please visit this page.

Finances

Any questions regarding Federal, State, or University-level aid or loans should be directed to the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid.

Any questions regarding aid provided by the School should be directed to your Department (Keena Walker for CS, Michele Thomas for ISP, Debbie Day for ICDS, and Kelly Shaffer for DINS).

If an urgent need for limited emergency funding has arisen from these circumstances, please contact the SCI External Relations Team.

The Provost’s Office has created such a fund: “In response to these uncertain days, we have created the Student Emergency Assistance Fund, which is a new joint venture led by the Office of the Provost, Office of Philanthropic & Alumni Engagement, Student Government Board, Graduate and Professional Student Government, and the Division of Student Affairs. This fund will be used to provide financial support for graduate and undergraduate degree-seeking Pitt students with unanticipated and insurmountable expenses related to emergency situations that may cause financial hardship.”

Graduation

Prospective Student and Applicant Information

All on-campus interview/campus/recruiting visits have been suspended for this term. However, we are working on arranging real time remote sessions as an alternative. To honor your schedules, we will make every attempt to schedule these alternative sessions around the dates and times that have already been provided to you. Once these virtual sessions are confirmed, we will publish the details both here and in the place where the on-campus sessions were initially advertised. If you have any initial immediate questions, please email us at SCIadmit@pitt.edu. Thank you!

Contact List