Interim Provost Heather Norris' Faculty Senate Comments
November 9, 2020
Greetings from the Provost’s Office.
1. The Spring Planning Group, led by VP Ece Karatan, submitted their final reports and recommendations to me a little over a week ago, and I shared those with the deans and Vice Provosts earlier last week. Deans will be in discussion with their department chairs in the coming days/weeks. In brief -
- The student survey designed by the Spring Planning Group generated 2782 student respondents. The majority of students were satisfied with seating arrangements, health and safety protocols, and resources and technology available. The Group determined that, while there’s no “one size fits all” preferred mode of delivery amongst our students (they are roughly equally divided on preference for online versus face-to-face classes), there was a strong desire expressed for more synchronous class interactions. The deans will be in discussion with their leadership teams regarding how to further enhance the academic experience for our students based upon the student survey results and associated recommendations.
- The faculty survey designed by the Spring Planning Group generated 700 faculty responses, representing just under half of the university’s faculty. The majority of faculty teaching face-to-face and/or hybrid classes rated student compliance, classroom/lab sanitizing products, student engagement, classroom/lab layout, classroom technology, and overall level of comfort “good” or “excellent.” Faculty teaching 100% online classes rated access to appropriate technology and reliable internet “good” or “excellent.” Faculty used a variety of available technologies, with the majority rating those they used as either “somewhat effective” or “very effective.” Faculty did indicate a continued need for professional development in both pedagogy and teaching tools. The CAE, as well as the deans, will be in discussion with their teams regarding ongoing support for faculty teaching.
- The Spring Planning Group also provided recommendations for wellness breaks for the spring semester. I encouraged our deans to discuss these with their leadership teams to determine the best approach to providing students with five scheduled mid-week wellness breaks throughout the spring semester.
- Please join me in thanking the members of the Spring Planning Group for their work:
- Jennifer Burris (Chair, Physics and Astronomy, CAS);
- Brian Davies (Chair, Applied Design, FAA);
- Jeremy Ferrell (Sustainable Tech. & the Built Environment, FAA);
- Donna Lillian (English, CAS);
- Quinn Morris (Mathematical Sciences, CAS);
- Rajat Panwar (Management,WCOB);
- Kathleen Rayman (Chair, Nursing, BCHS);
- Rene Salinas (Mathematical Sciences,CAS);
- Reeves Shulstad (Hayes School of Music);
- Krista Terry (Leadership and Educational Studies, RCOE);
- Jennifer Zwetsloot (Health and Exercise Science, BCHS).
2. While we’re still closing out our fall 2020 semester, Summer and Fall 2021 schedules are due in just three months. As such, I’ve asked Mark Ginn to lead a Summer/Fall Planning Group, with representation from both the faculty and Student Affairs staff. Our hope is that circumstances will allow for more of a traditional residential experience by summer and fall, and we will plan accordingly, with the ability to adapt to changing conditions along the way.
3. In closing, I’d like to remind you that both the Gen Ed Steering Committee (led by Ted Zerucha) and the Bridge Planning Committee (led by Lee Ball) are conducting listening sessions this semester that will inform working groups’ recommendations next semester. Your input is vital to both of these efforts.