4/11/2020 | Message from Professor Coté

Good afternoon MMA Students, (also sent to MMA Faculty & Staff)

I apologize for the length of this email, but there are a number of subjects to cover.

I hope that you and your families are well and, now that you’ve been taking classes by remote instruction for at least two weeks, you are finding a rhythm and studying process that is working for you. Again, if you need assistance in any area, I encourage you to work with your professors, your advisor, and the Buoy House staff to get the help you need.

I wanted to update you on the latest developments in academic procedures and services:

Course Completion – By now, you should have a clear understanding of the path forward for all your courses that moved to remote instruction. Each professor should have provided you with a revised schedule, a date for the class final exam, if applicable, and when the last remote instruction class sessions will occur. Because of the staggered start to Remote Instruction, there will be a staggered end to each class, but I have asked for all final grades to be submitted by May 8, 2020.

There are a limited number of classes where labs or practical STCW assessments can’t be done remotely and those students will have to return to campus to complete that work. While there may be exceptions, at this point, the classes that have been identified as requiring additional work are:

NS332 – Marine Communications
NS493 – Electronic Navigation II

EG234 – Power Equipment Lab
EG243 – Welding I
EG252 – Machine Tool I
EG392L – Diesel Power II LAB
EG422 – Steam Power Systems II

In those classes, you will receive a grade of Incomplete at the end of remote instruction, which will remain on your record until the follow-on session is completed.

If anything about the operation of your classes is not clear, I encourage you to reach out to your teachers for clarification.

One other note on finishing this semester: I know this change in instruction mode has been a challenge and that some of you are finding that the distractions of being at home, with social distancing rules in place, make it difficult to keep up with your studies and perform at a high level. Should you be having difficulties, please don’t give up. You have already invested a lot into this term, so reach out to your professors, your advisor, and the Buoy House staff to get the help you need. Don’t let this chance slip away. If you need help in other areas, please reach out to Dean Davis or to Mr. Ferreira in the Counseling Office. We really want you to succeed and will do everything we can to help, so please take the initiative and ask.

Academic Board – We understand that this has been an unusual semester and that moving to remote instruction has not been positive for many of you. In light of this, we will be modifying the Academic Board proceedings in May. All students will still receive their grades for the term as determined by their professors, but the Academic Board will be adjusting their process and rules when they review your performance. The Board will still place students on Warning or Probation and direct students to obtain assistance through the PFD program if warranted, but the plan for this term is that no student will be dismissed from the academy based on their academic performance in the Spring of 2020. The Board will resume its normal operations when we return for a traditional semester in the fall. The following is the temporary (May 2020) Academic Board Policy. If you have questions about this temporary process, please contact Dean Loomis.

Summer Internships/Cadet Shipping – We understand that a number of students are anxious to complete the spring semester and begin their internships and/or Cadet Shipping work for the summer. In light of the pandemic, this will not be a normal period of summer work for either the students or the employers wanting to participate in that process. The Summer 2020 Work Policy describes how we will handle this evolving situation based upon our current understanding. The policy will also be available through your course pages in Canvas. The key takeaway is to work with Career Services to coordinate anything you do. If you do not follow the policy, it may result in whatever you do this summer not qualifying to support your academic program. If you have questions, please contact Ms. Harman or Mr. Easley in the Career Services Office.

Completion of Requirements for Unlimited License Program Majors – For the deck and engine students who will have in-class assessments that need to be completed or the MMA training cruise to complete this summer, know that we are looking at alternatives for completing these requirements. Since the scheduling of these events is impacted by the status of the pandemic, we cannot yet provide firm guidance on when and/or how we will move forward with these events. The Coast Guard has provided some flexibility in what we will be required to do, but until we have a better understanding of the progression of this disease, I cannot yet give you firm plans. We currently still plan to give you at least two weeks’ notice of when we can return to campus to complete in-person assessments and at least one month’s notice before the start of cruise. In either case, you will have the option to decline participation in this summer’s sessions and we will work with you to complete those requirements in the fall of 2020 or the summer of 2021.

For the Class of 2020 re: diploma process – Many of you have asked how graduation and the awarding of diplomas will be handled. While we are still investigating a suitable way to conduct a Commencement ceremony, I can tell you that, should you complete your degree requirements, it is not our intention to hold your diploma. Once the spring remote instruction term is completed, the registrar will begin the process of auditing all Senior Academic Plans to verify that all requirements have been met. Once that audit is completed, the plan is to send diplomas for signature and then mail them to graduates at their home of record. It is our hope that the majority of students who have completed all requirements will have their diplomas in hand by early June. Please contact the registrar if you need to update your address of record or if you have any questions about this process.

Thank you again for your willingness to work with us during this challenging time. As always, please let us know if there is anything we can do to make this process work better or help you in any way. I wish you success in your studies, a strong finish to the semester, and good health for you and your family.

Prof. Coté

CAPT Mark Coté, USN(Ret) PE
Acting Provost/Academic Dean
Professor of Engineering
215 Leavitt Hall or 212 BIW
Maine Maritime Academy
(207)326-2485 or 2102