School of Communication-Specific COVID-19 FAQs


Dear School of Communication community,

News of COVID-19 and its related disruptions is causing understandable anxiety and uncertainty. Please know that the health and wellbeing of our students, faculty, staff, and visitors is our highest priority and is guiding all decision making.

First and foremost, we have been following Northwestern University’s comprehensive response and communications protocols. Please closely review these announcements.

For SoC-specific considerations, we have created the FAQ below. If you have any questions not listed here, please contact Communications Director Kerry Trotter at

Q: I’m a faculty/staff member who has been given permission to work from home. What technical specifications must my internet connection meet? What tools should I use for remote learning?

A: NUIT has created a very helpful resource for teaching, learning, and working remotely.

Meanwhile, our own SoCIT team has been working tirelessly to ensure our students, faculty, and staff have access to all the tools needed to operate remotely. Please familiarize yourself with the new global-protected VPN, which is available on all faculty/staff computers. Additionally, each computer has TeamViewer, which allows SoCIT to assist you remotely in IT matters. For any service requests or questions, please use its ticketing system. SoCIT has been working to provide an online info session for faculty and staff interested in operating web conferencing and remote learning tools. For those on collaborative teams, we recommend setting up and using Microsoft Teams for quick and confidential communication. It’s an efficient messaging app created for the workplace.

Q: I’m a student and unsure of what I need technology-wise while I’m engaging in remote learning.

A: Student affairs is coordinating efforts to identify and support students with technology or other needs directly related to the COVID-19 circumstances. Please explore the following links.

Q: I’m a student and feeling overwhelming at the prospect of remote learning. How can I prepare for this?

A: Northwestern’s office of Academic Support and Learning Advancement has put together a helpful guide for students ahead of Spring Quarter. They offer resources beneficial to both students’ academic success and emotional wellbeing. 

Q: I am a faculty member/student unsure of how to organize and monitor virtual study groups. Any resources for this?

A: Indeed.

Q: I work in a research lab. Will I be able to continue this work remotely? Must I come in?

A: As with all lab attendance matters, please consult your PI. He or she will provide guidance about any possible suspension in research and/or what work can be done remotely. All research decisions are made in conjunction with guidance from Northwestern’s Office for Research.

Q: What about research funding and proposals? Any interruptions?

A: While the situation is rapidly evolving, federal funding agencies have issued some guidance already:



Generally, they seem to be very coordinated statements promising flexibility with deadlines, no-cost extensions, and travel cancellations.

The SoC Research Office will remain operational and planned submissions of proposals, progress reports will continue as usual. As the situation evolves, we may be working remotely. However, our commitments will remain unchanged. You can contact any of us using the following contact points:

Sumit Dhar –; 224 628 5704 (cell); 847 491 2470 (lab); 847 491 5380 (office)

Sheri Carsello --; 847 491 2425

Marysia Galent --; 847-467-0879

Q: I am a faculty memberwith IRB protocols. How will my work be impacted?

A: The Institutional Review Board issued a memo regarding research participants. Please review their guidelines.

Q: I am a staff member working on a spring event. Should I stop work on this?

A: Event organizers should review recommendations on Northwestern’s resource page. For any SOC-specific event-related questions, please contact Tricia David at

Q: What is the status of the Wirtz Center 2019-2020 Mainstage Season?

A: Like many organizations, we are currently evaluating the remainder of our season as well as the steps already taken to protect the health and well-being of our students, patrons, faculty, and staff.  Northwestern University leadership will continuously reassess the coronavirus/COVID-19 to determine when to return to in-person classroom instruction. The Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts plans to announce in the coming days how the season schedule maybe impacted and will provide updates via our website and Twitter and Facebook accounts.

All March and April screenings of National Theatre Live will be postponed until June.

Q: What about affinity groups like Waa-Mu and WNUR?

A: Waa-Mu news will be included in any Wirtz Center announcements, but since there is a curricular component, there are some larger implications in this decision making. As of now, WNUR programming will continue, but participants will upload their programming remotely. There will be no interruption in service. The facilities, however, are closed to staff through April 6, at least. There are contingencies in place that grant staff continuous access to the transmitter, if needed.

Q: Will the Cage be open? And can I access Louis Hall facilities to work on my film?

A: The Cage and editing facilities will be closed as of Saturday, March 21, for Spring Break (as is standard procedure). We will evaluate the timing of their reopening based on University recommendations.

Q: I am a theatre major. How do I take part in my acting studies while apart from other actors and audiences?

A: All of our students are currently facing unique and unprecedented challenges. Our theatre students, however, are grappling with the added wrinkle of engaging in a collaborative, physical course of study without collaborators physically present. The Acting Faculty have asked students to consider the following while formulating remote learning plans.

  • Do you have space to move around where you are staying?
  • Do you have access to consistent WiFi? Or an unlimited data plan?
  • Do you have access to a laptop/desktop/smart phone with a camera?
  • Does your operating system support Zoom or Canvas?

Please provide your acting teacher the answers to the above and what time zone you will be living in during the beginning of Spring Quarter. With this information in hand, the Acting Faculty will be better equipped to create a learning plan that they will communicate to you via email before the end of Spring Break.

Q: I am a graduate student in the School of Communication. How will these changes affect my work? What considerations must I make for final exams?

A: If you are a graduate student in The Graduate School, please refer to their helpful FAQ about what to expect. For all other graduate students, please contact your director of graduate studies for more information. Please also see the Provost's message on graduate student final exams.

Q: I have/I’d like to make a career coaching appointment with the EPICS team. Are these still happening?

A: Yes, you can request a virtual appointment through Handshake. Once approved, the EPICS team will send you the Zoom virtual meeting information.

Q: I am a faculty member/student with a piece of good news I want to share about my work/research. Can I still request help in publicizing it?

A: Please do. Contact Kerry Trotter at with any news. While COVID-19 is dominating the headlines and our lives, we still want to celebrate the achievements of our community. Please understand that there may be a delay in publicizing any news; we want to be sensitive and cognizant of the needs of our audiences by publicizing timely and appropriate material. Given how quickly news breaks and our lives change, we are trying to be mindful of what information our audience needs and when.

Q: I am a prospective student who was scheduled to visit campus but no longer will be able to. Is there a way I can get more information about the School of Communication?

A: Yes! We will be holding virtual information sessions on Mondays and Fridays at 3:30 p.m. CDT. Northwestern’s Office of Admissions will be collecting reservations soon; the link will be posted on this website, and you will receive an email from our Communications Director, Kerry Trotter, with instructions on joining the meeting with her via phone or web.

For all other questions, please contact Kerry Trotter at