With so many challenges, questions and concerns surrounding teaching during COVID-19, I cannot compliment you enough on the exceptional effort you are putting forth, whether teaching in person or online. I know that all of you are working hard to maintain TCU’s culture of connection while delivering an exceptional education. You are finding opportunities in the face of adversity. I applaud you.
Although I seek to incentivize teaching on campus, all instructors-of-record (faculty, adjuncts, graduate students, instructional staff) continue to have choice and will be able to change their choice throughout the spring semester – in the same way as this semester. To that end, herein are some additional guidelines for choosing your modality of teaching.
New Modalities for Teaching Spring 2021
You have until October 13 to choose or change your teaching modality. As previously mentioned, we added two additional modalities for Spring 2021. I encourage you to carefully consider all four modalities—In-Person (dual), Online, In-Person Only (no dual mode), AL (alternating at least one class held on campus)—to make your choice.
The Registrar is sending deans and department chairs information today about new options and changing faculty choice. On October 9, the Registrar will send the usual request for deans and department chairs to review your submitted classes. Modalities can be changed at that time. Follow the instructions provided for submitting all needed changes to your departmental schedule. All changes must be submitted by department chairs/associate deans back to the Registrar’s Office no later than October 13 to be included in Class Search for the spring semester.
Student Engagement Facilitators
To assist instructors with In-Person (dual) mode of teaching, we are providing paid Student Engagement Facilitators to assist with technology and engagement with online students. To request a Student Engagement Facilitator for Fall 2020 or Spring 2021, please consult your department chair. Detailed information for department chairs is forthcoming.
Health and Safety in Classrooms
While some instructors have asked for permission to remove face coverings while in the teaching zone, a greater number of instructors wrote advising against this change in practice. Therefore, all in-person instructors must keep masks or face shields on, even while in the designated teaching zone.
In-Person Office Hours
Faculty requested we create health and safety protocols to allow (not require) instructors to host students in their office space for academic purposes such as office hours or advising. We have done so. Guidelines are provided below. These will also be posted in the FAQs on the Provost’s website.
Doors should be secured or propped open to minimize contact at entry and exit. Office furniture must be arranged to ensure 6 feet physical distancing. Ideally, the student chair should be positioned near the door to minimize potential contact within the office. If physical distancing is not possible in your office space, you may designate a suitable alternate location.
Rules for Conduct
- Instructors must keep detailed records of student visitors to allow for contact tracing.
- Greet each other without physical contact.
- Both instructors and students will wear face coverings at all times when sharing the office space.
- No food or beverages served.
- Limit sharing supplies, materials and technology. Instructors and students will be expected to wipe surfaces with disinfectant wipes before and after use. Instructors will ensure that adequate supplies are present. To request cleaning supplies, administrative assistants can place a work order with physical plant in AiM system
Classrooms for Testing
Unfortunately, we cannot provide on-campus classrooms for administering tests to students in online-only courses. Please seek advice from the Koehler Center on best practices for reducing cheating during online tests. I apologize that I misspoke at last week’s faculty senate meeting.
Payment and Overloads
To ensure that instructors are purposeful in deciding how you will use your time next semester, I’ve asked deans to have you choose between two options: either accepting overload payment for teaching a course in addition to your normal faculty workload, or not accepting overload payment and instead teaching an additional course as a replacement to other work that is part of your normal faculty workload.
The Provost’s Office will reimburse departments for additional teaching costs incurred by breaking a large online course section into one or more smaller course sections to be taught on campus. Please work with your chair and dean to answer questions about guidelines for splitting courses into multiple sections, as well as payments for adjuncts and overloads.
In conclusion, rest assured that all information and decisions about teaching—in person and online—requires a great deal of discussion, confirmation, reviews and approvals. Most importantly, it requires everyone’s voice be heard: faculty, instructors, adjuncts, graduate students, instructional staff, administrative staff, leadership, parents, and students. Every Horned Frog voice is important. Your ideas, input and suggestions have helped craft an educational experience like no other.
Teresa Abi-Nader Dahlberg
Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs