Dear Faculty, I hope that you have been able to find respite from the unusually warm weather this week. Hopefully the coming week will bring us some relief.

I am writing with some important updates:

  • The Provost’s Office and the UVMStrong Faculty and Academic Affairs Working Group will be hosting a series of  UVM Faculty Teams Live events to share up-to-date information and expand the opportunities for you to ask questions and provide advice and feedback about Fall 2020 planning (format: 15 minutes presentation, 45 minutes Q&A). The first event will be held:

Tuesday, June 30

1:00 - 2:00pm

go.uvm.edu/covidinfofaculty

  • The Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is sponsoring its third Teach In event on Wednesday, July 1 from 12:00-1:00 pm. To access this third Teach In or review videos and presentations from previous events, visit the Amazing Grace: Finding Answers Together website.

  • I am pleased to announce the appointment of two new Provost’s Faculty Fellows who will begin their work this Fall:

    • Professor Pablo Bose, Faculty Fellow for the Catamount Core and General Education Curriculum, will provide essential leadership for establishing the processes and procedures for the implementation of our Catamount Core Curriculum.

    • Professor Emily Manetta, Faculty Fellow for Academic Program Review and Assessment, will support the university’s continued progress in building a strong, integrated, and faculty-led process of academic program review and assessment of student learning outcomes.
  • I extend my thanks to all of you who completed the questionnaire about Fall 2020 teaching modalities. Faculty entered their instructional modality preferences for about 79% of the undergraduate sections for which we would normally assign classrooms (excludes thesis, independent study, Z sections etc.). Faculty indicated that mixed or in-person modes were acceptable or preferred for 71% of these sections, while remote synchronous or online asynchronous modes were acceptable or preferred for 29% of these sections. The next step is to use these questionnaire results as the basis for modality and room assignments in a revised schedule of courses. Chairs will be working closely with faculty, Deans’ offices, and the Registrar to establish a new schedule of courses, expected in mid-July.

  • In keeping with our priority to ensure the health and safety of our community, the Faculty and Academic Affairs UVMStrong Working Group has collaborated with Human Resource Services (HRS) to create an equitable and streamlined approach to support faculty who wish to teach their fall classes remotely because they are at-risk, or live with an individual identified as being at-risk for severe illness from COVID-19, as identified by the CDC.  This process is in lieu of requesting an accommodation via the ADA Coordinator. Faculty who wish to teach remotely for this reason should complete the At-Risk Faculty Remote Teaching Request Form on or before July 15.  If you wish to teach online or remotely and have already contacted HRS or the ADA Coordinator, please complete this new form so that we can expedite your request.

    Faculty who would like to request accommodations other than an assignment for only online asynchronous or remote synchronous modes for their Fall teaching must still contact the ADA Coordinator, Amber Fulcher at accessibility@uvm.edu.

  • Many of you submitted advance questions for the prior Faculty Teams Live event held on Monday, June 22. The presenters embedded responses to many of your questions in their presentations, but feedback suggests that more explicit responses would have been helpful. Information in response to some commonly asked questions follows:

    • The university will always observe the Governor’s Executive Orders related to COVID-19.

    • The university will accommodate all employees and students at increased risk of severe illness if they are exposed to the virus, as defined by the Centers for Disease Control.

    • We are familiarizing new FTFY students with Teams and Blackboard as part of this summer’s virtual Orientation experience.

    • All classrooms will be equipped with technology to support remote instruction. Trained student support techs will be available to support faculty during the Fall semester.

    • The Center for Teaching and Learning and Continuing and Distance Education will offer faculty professional development opportunities throughout the summer, as well as during the week before classes begin.

    • Face shields for faculty use and Plexiglas barriers will be available.

    • All classroom capacities have been adjusted to account for 6-foot distancing. Seats that are not available for student use will be clearly marked or removed from the room.

    • Floor markings will provide guidance on the safe setup of rooms with movable furniture.

    • All students will be required to sign a pledge indicating their commitment to face covering, distancing, and other health and safety practices. Related sanctions and incentives are in development.

    • The Collective Bargaining Agreement currently allows for tenure clock extensions and those will be considered by the Provost’s Office.

    • Course evaluations will be considered in the larger context of the professional growth and development faculty demonstrate in response to shifts to remote and online learning.

I look forward to our conversation on June 30. For the next meeting in the series, we will invite the UVMStrong Student Experience Working Group to provide updates on measures related to students.  

I wish you all a safe July 4th holiday.

Best,
Patty

PUBLISHED

06-28-2020
Patricia A. Prelock, Provost and Sr. VP