I sincerely appreciate the heavy lift from all faculty and staff this semester – especially in light of the unrelenting pressure since the pandemic interrupted our lives in March. As we complete week six with an extremely low case count, face-mask-wearers across campus, and, as of this writing, no COVID-19 transmissions traced back to classrooms, I look optimistically to the spring.
A student affairs survey is showing that students are grateful to be able to continue their education during a pandemic. They are also starved for in-person engagement. I feel this way also.
Please Consider On-campus Teaching
For those who are able to teach on campus in the spring, let’s seek ways to make it easier. I offer the following to those considering teaching on campus in the spring, particularly freshman courses.
- Academic Affairs will pay $300 per on-campus course for a student engagement facilitator. I’ve heard great testimonials of students helping faculty navigate the technology, as well as focus on engaging students online (e.g., alerting when a hand is up, answering chat questions), freeing the professor to focus on course content.
- For large lecture sections, please consider breaking off one section to be taught on campus. (I hear that this is cumbersome within our system. Let’s work through that.)
- Academic Affairs will pay faculty overloads and adjuncts needed to support additional sections created for on-campus students.
- For classes or labs with place-based equipment, let’s consider moving the equipment to another location.
I hear that faculty are struggling with students moving between online and in-class (not due to self-isolation or quarantining). I encourage you to establish attendance protocols next semester.
Due Dates for Spring Preferences
The deadline to inform the registrar of your spring course preference and teaching modality choices is tomorrow, Sept. 25. This allows the registrar to undertake the lengthy process of building the online schedule. However, changing your teaching modality preference can easily be updated in the system up until Oct. 6.
Between now and Oct. 6, please consider on-campus teaching. Send me any other ideas that you have about making on-campus teaching less difficult.
Teresa Abi-Nader Dahlberg
Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs