Guiding Principles for Faculty Off Campus

**Note: These Guiding Principles were last updated in July 2020 and remain unchanged.


The majority of Federal agencies are requiring the continuation of research activities if the sponsored research agreement is to continue and costs reimbursed. Faculty may perform their research remotely to the extent they can continue to advance their research objectives and to the extent consistent with any sponsored research requirements. 

If a campus presence is required to conduct sponsored research, and that research cannot be continued remotely, the faculty member must return to campus to perform that commitment. If that is not possible, faculty can consider the following options: 

  • Find a co-investigator who can be on campus (effort would have to be revised) to carry out the work,
  • Transfer the grant to another investigator, or
  • Relinquish the grant.

In any of the above circumstances, it is critical to discuss options with program officer and/or sponsor before a final decision is made. In addition, as there are differences with schools and the College that have been developed in consultation with the Vice President for Research and the Associate Deans of Research, faculty should also connect with their ADR before a final decision is made.  

Faculty members with laboratories are returning to their labs through the staff re-entry process, and are working with their respective deans and associate deans of research on these plans and their approval.  


The Deans (and the department chairs, if applicable) are responsible for executing the academic plans being developed at their respective schools/college. 

When a faculty member's campus presence is required per academic plans being developed by the school/college Dean with respective department chairs, and safe and appropriate space is available, assigned faculty members must return to campus during the scheduled time period. 

In the event a faculty member cannot perform their faculty duties because of a COVID-19 related issue, the department chairs and deans are authorized to allow teaching substitutions to the degree consistent with curricular goals and the resources available. The range of options for this substitution varies, including faculty forgoing  a portion of their salary to allow for the hiring of additional instructional support. How this is operationalized at the College and School level is left to the discretion of the Dean. 

In the event the above options are not available and a faculty member cannot perform their faculty duties because of a COVID-19 related issue, and if a solution cannot be met at the Dean’s Office level, then such faculty member shall be directed to contact the Provost’s Office to determine the available options, including options available under the CWRU and/or Faculty Handbook such as the FMLA, ADA, and/or leave policies. The Provost's Office will work confidentially with a group of advisors on the final decisions.  See summary of attached CWRU and/or Faculty Handbook options for COVID-19 related issues.  

A critical component of this decision once health/safety issues are addressed is the impact on the student experience as members of the campus community.  If it is determined that an assigned course being taught must be delivered in a remote mode per direction of the respective Dean’s office, a faculty member may conduct that course remotely and off-campus. 


When appropriate, most service-related activities (including committee work) should be conducted via Zoom remotely. One possible exception is around student mentoring. There may be circumstances when on-campus, in-person mentoring may be needed to adequately support the student. In those instances, the faculty member should endeavor to provide the needed support in-person so long as it can be done in a safe manner. 

There are few, if any, service requirements that would be deemed a required activity on campus that can’t be performed at or above levels remotely.