Undergraduate FAQs Related to COVID-19

We are here to support you! Please check back often. Answers will be updated as the situation evolves.


Answers as of 3/17/20:

How will this affect my ability to graduate?

It will not. We are committed to providing students a means to complete all courses this semester. Regardless of the nature of the course (lecture, lab, capstone), faculty will develop a plan to address all remaining learning outcomes.

(*) Note that you still need to do your part and complete course requirements in a satisfactory manner.

Do I Need to Stay in Buffalo? I am afraid I will be forced to stay on campus to complete labs.

All SEAS UG students can return home, if they would like to do so. You are not required to remain in the Buffalo area. If you live in the dorms and would like to stay, you are welcome to do so.

Will the transition to online instruction postpone or change the rest of Spring academic schedules? (e.g. move Spring final schedules to a later time, such as Fall 2020)

There are currently no plans to change the academic calendar. The schedule for the Spring 2020 semester remains as originally stipulated. We expect to begin the Fall 2020 semester in late August. 

Will there be in person office hours for TAs and or professors?

Unfortunately, faculty and staff are not available for in-person meetings. Following guidance from the NYS Governor, many faculty and staff will be working from home. Faculty, TAs, advisors, and other staff are available via email and videoconference.

Will there be an option for on-campus labs for those that choose to stay on campus? Will the labs be open for lab oriented classes?

No. Unfortunately, all UG labs are closed. Tinkering labs are also closed. UG students are not permitted to access the Machine Shop or Digital Manufacturing Lab. 

How will I communicate with my SEAS advisor?

Advisors are ready and eager to support you via email, telephone, and online videoconference meetings. You can make an appointment with your academic advisor by calling (716) 645-2775 or using the online scheduling system.

Will lectures be recorded or livestreamed or both? What platform will be used for online lectures?

We understand that many of you will be in different time zones and have varying levels of access to technology. Faculty are aware of the importance of recording livestreamed events. They have been asked to record events and post the videos to UBlearns. Many faculty are using Panopto to record lectures.

Will online instruction run at the same scheduled times as normal lecture?

We have asked faculty to hold synchronous (livestream) events (e.g., office hours, discussion groups) at the same time the class or office hours were originally scheduled.

How will office hours work? Will questions be answered quickly?

Faculty and TAs are expected to utilize online collaboration tools, such as WebEx, Zoom, Skype, and Google Hangouts to offer virtual office hours. Information regarding connection methods and times will be included in the revised syllabi. Email and Piazza remain effective means to communicate with faculty and TAs.

How will labs work?

The solution for labs will vary by program. You will learn more from your department and/or faculty. A number of options are being considered. Faculty or TAs may record the lab and ask students to respond to questions related to this recording. In some cases, faculty may provide students data collected in a previous semester and ask them to analyze, interpret, and communicate findings.

How will the final design project classes proceed?

The solution will vary by program. You will learn more from your department and/or faculty. Students are encouraged to connect via online collaboration tools, such as WebEx, Zoom, Skype, and Google Hangouts. This approach is common in industry!

How will major exams be held online?

The solution will vary by course. There are options. Some faculty may employ a different style of exam (e.g., open book, take home). Other faculty may use software to lock down your web browser (e.g., Respondus Lockdown Browser) and/or monitor you while taking an exam (e.g., Respondus Monitor). In some cases, faculty will substitute a project for an exam.

(*) Please do not assume that take-home exams are “more difficult” than in-class exams.

How will SEAS maintain academic integrity during exams?

We appreciate your concern. Faculty are aware of shortcomings with various assessment techniques. That said, we need your help. We call on SEAS students to be true professionals during this challenging period and act with honesty and integrity. Demand the best in yourself and your peers.

Will commencement happen in May?

Due to the unprecedented circumstances faced as a result of COVID-19, UB’s May 2020 commencement ceremonies will not take place as scheduled. See President Tripathi's full message. The School of Engineering and Applied Sciences is brainstorming alternative ways to celebrate this milestone.

If necessary, all ordered gowns can be sent back for refund. Students that home-shipped their gowns will need to call Jostens to send them back to get a refund. These regalia packages must not be opened and in their original packaging to receive full refunded credit. The students that shipped to the bookstore will also be refunded either through Jostens or the store based on when they get the final confirmation from the university.

How are student clubs and organizations going to work?

Unfortunately, the student association made the difficult decision to cancel all student club events and activities until May 16, 2020. As a result, SEAS has decided to close all SEAS student club spaces until further notice. All club presidents have been notified.

Are there resources available for students experiencing financial difficulty?

Please contact the office of Student Conduct and Advocacy. This office oversees distribution of UB emergency funds. The office can conduct telephone interview for students who are unable to come to campus.

How can I take care of my mental health during this stressful time?

We care deeply about the mental health and wellbeing of our students. Visit the counseling website for tips on managing anxiety during this health emergency. We understand that counseling services are also working on options for teletherapy. TAO self-help is also available to all UB students.

What will happen to tutoring services?

Tutoring and Academic Support Services (TASS) is moving to an online platform. Beginning March 30th, tutoring services and academic coaching will be offered via Zoom. The approach to making an appointment remains the same.

The SEAS Small Groups program is also moving to an online format. Prof. Wild will be in touch with connection details.

Will I be required to purchase additional hardware to complete exams or other course components?

We are sensitive to the fact that you did not register for an online course. We expect any additional expenses to be minimal (say $15 to $20). If costs are higher, please contact us.