Interim Provost Heather Norris' report to Faculty Senate

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: 
  1.  Jennifer Burris (Chair, Physics and Astronomy, CAS);  
  2.  Brian Davies (Chair, Applied Design, FAA); 
  3.  Jeremy Ferrell (Sustainable Tech. & the Built Environment, FAA);  
  4.  Donna Lillian (English, CAS);  
  5.  Quinn Morris (Mathematical Sciences, CAS);  
  6.  Rajat Panwar (Management,WCOB);  
  7.  Kathleen Rayman (Chair, Nursing, BCHS);  
  8.  Rene Salinas (Mathematical Sciences,CAS);  
  9.  Reeves Shulstad (Hayes School of Music);  
  10. Krista Terry (Leadership and Educational Studies, RCOE);  
  11. 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.

Published: Nov 13, 2020 9:20am