To: Academic Unit Leaders
From: Alix Gitelman, Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education
September 4, 2020
Dear academic unit leaders,
I’m writing to follow up the August 21 message Provost Feser and I distributed to faculty providing guidance for fall teaching. Below I offer some strategies for you to help your faculty and advisors be prepared for the start of fall term. If you haven’t already done so, I encourage you to:
1. Review the definitions of course modalities with your academic advisors. They can see the information that students see in the Schedule of Classes, and they can see the teaching guidance information provided to faculty here.
2. Remind all faculty teaching on-site/in-person or using a blended modality to be prepared for a switch to fully remote teaching at any time during fall term should the public health conditions deteriorate. Note that for those teaching in Corvallis, the university has already determined that all teaching will be remote after the Thanksgiving break for the remainder of fall term.
3. Review the student comments received through eSET in the spring to identify courses or teaching faculty that may need additional help with remote delivery. We are not requiring the use of spring eSET in promotion and tenure dossiers, but there may still be valuable information in the comments that can improve instruction in remote and blended modalities.
4. Identify at least one back-up faculty member for each of your course sections, in the event of faculty illness.
5. Contact teaching faculty individually to see if they need help preparing for their class and/or using the example syllabus that clarifies expectations for students. There are many resources, including a syllabus template, available on the Teaching Faculty webpage.
6. Encourage faculty to be in touch with students in their course(s) as soon as possible. Many students are stressed and uncertain about what remote or blended learning will mean for them.
7. If faculty are teaching in person, encourage them to visit their assigned classroom to practice working with the Zoom technology before the first week of class. If they are planning to deliver a remote course from their home, encourage them to test their home internet for home-based broadcasting. Please encourage faculty to contact Academic Technologies for assistance with Zoom through the TechKTA program.
8. For courses with lab and/or field components, encourage faculty to prepare a backup plan for their activities. Remind everyone that they are responsible for giving students the opportunity to attain all course learning outcomes.
9. Develop unit-specific guidelines for response to student illness or inability to participate in class activities.
10. Be sure to include all instructional support staff in these discussions, including GTAs and Learning Assistants.
The Center for Teaching and Learning and my office can assist you with any questions or concerns. I realize that it may be difficult to engage faculty who are on 9-month appointments prior to the start of their contracts, but I encourage you to reach out to them now to avoid a rush of concerns in mid-September.
Thank you for all that you are doing in these unprecedented times, and please do not hesitate to be in touch with me for assistance.
Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education