Interim Provost Heather Norris' report to Faculty Senate - October

Interim Provost Heather Norris' Faculty Senate Comments

Delivered by Dr. Jacqui Bergman, Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs, October 19, 2020

Greetings from the Provost’s Office.

• First, as it relates to Fall Semester,

  • VP Mark Ginn has been working with students to adjust their schedules, as needed. I want to thank him, along with the department chairs and faculty members, who have graciously provided our students with much-needed flexibility during the continuing global pandemic.
  • Last Friday, we announced a revision to the UNC System’s Policy 400.1.5 (R), Regulation Related to Fostering Undergraduate Student Success. Due to the impacts of COVID-19, the revision allows undergraduate students to drop courses in Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 without counting those towards their total allowable career drops. The last day undergraduate students can drop a class for Fall 2020 has been extended to Friday, December 18 at 11:59 PM.
  • This morning, we announced that December Commencement will be virtual. The Commencement planning team is hard at work to put the details in place, and we will share them via email, as well as at
  • As you may be aware, SGA is in discussion about a P/NC grading system for this fall. SGA representatives will be meeting with VP Mark Ginn to discuss this later this week.

• Second, as it relates to Spring Semester,

  • The Spring Planning Group, led by VP Ece Karatan, has prepared recommendations for: 
  1.  Spring class scheduling, which informed deans and their department chairs as they were preparing course schedules for the spring, and
  2.  How to further enhance student and faculty engagement. As part of their work, the planning group conducted surveys that were sent to all Appalachian State faculty and students. The group’s       summary report and recommendations will be finalized soon.
  3.  How to collaboratively work with students on self-care and mental well-being.
  • The Project Management and Implementation Team (PMIT), whose purpose it is to foster cross-divisional dialogue and problem solving, has been reconstituted as “PMIT 2.0” for the transition from fall to spring. VP Mike MacKenzie is coordinating the group, with VP Mark Ginn serving as the Academic Affairs point person this go-round.

• Third, 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.

• Fourth, I am pleased that Faculty Senate is embarking on a study of shared governance. It is my sincere hope that through this work, we will together develop a healthier, more productive meeting process that will build and sustain shared governance and collegial relationships for years to come.

• In closing, I want to encourage each of you to pause and find moments to reflect on what sustains you as an individual. Make time to take care of yourself, and if you are struggling, reach out to others who can help:

  • Free counseling services are available for faculty and staff through Counseling for Faculty and Staff or the university’s Employee Assistance Program.
  • Dr. Tandrea Carter, AppState’s ombudsperson, provides an independent, confidential environment for faculty, staff and students of the Appalachian community to discuss concerns.
Published: Nov 13, 2020 9:07am