Faculty: Instructional Delivery Update - Message from the Provost
Dear Faculty Colleagues,
I hope you all enjoyed some rest and relaxation during last weekend’s extended Fourth of July Weekend! Today, I write to you as a follow-up to my memo dated June 25, 2020 about plans for instructional delivery.
Please find a copy of the letter I sent yesterday to traditional undergraduate day students. In this message, you will find a list of the four instructional modalities which will be implemented in the fall semester:
- In-Person: Classes with enrollment that do not exceed the physical distance seating capacity will meet in-person, with accommodations for attendance via Zoom.
- In-Person/Connected: Classes with enrollment that exceed the physical distance seating capacity will blend in-person classroom attendance with a live Zoom(connected) classroom presence (In-Person/Connected). Students will rotate from attending in-person to attending via live Zoom. In this mode, all students (classroom and connected) are present in real time and attendance is taken, with a system that maximizes in-person attendance and minimizes connected attendance. Each instructor will inform students of the class rotation schedule on the syllabus which will be posted on Blackboard prior to the start of the course.
- Hybrid: In general, classes meet half of the time in the classroom and half of the time online (asynchronously). For example, a hybrid course meets in class on Tuesday with online coursework and assignments that complete equivalency requirements for total in-class hours.
- Fully Online: Classes are conducted online, with a blend of synchronous and asynchronous online activities, as outlined by the instructor.
As described in my last communication to you, decisions about modality are based on course enrollment numbers and the physical distancing capacities of instructional spaces, with a consideration of course-specific needs and instructor accommodations. Room assignments for in-person and in-person/connected courses are currently being finalized, and will be communicated to faculty as soon as possible. I am very grateful to Tom Mantoni and Bob Blumenstein who have been working extensively with division heads to complete what feels like a giant jigsaw puzzle with attention to seating capacities and course enrollments, in an effort to minimize the number of students attending via live Zoom.
Also attached to this message is an updated document with instructions for drafting a syllabus, which takes into account the multiple instructional modalities. The sample syllabus included in the document illustrates a numbering system for the in-person/connected modality which rotates students between in-person and connected attendance. Again, this minimizes the number of students attending via live Zoom. If you have any questions about the instructions for drafting a syllabus or this numbering system, please contact your division head. I am also available if you have any further concerns or questions.
Last week, Jerry Joyce communicated with the university community about the Return-to-Campus Guide. I call your attention to the guidance given for wearing of face masks, social distancing, handwashing, and self-monitoring of COVID-19 symptoms. All of this will impact our usual approach to instruction and teacher-student interactions which are critical to higher education and our institutional mission. All of us will be challenged to adapt, re-think, and learn new habits in our approaches to teaching, communicating, and collaborating. In the coming week, a COVID-19 Employee Guidebook will become available which provides more detailed policies and procedures about our return to work on campus.
Your preparations to be Ready for Anything are clearly going strong, as evidenced by the attendance numbers at the summer CERT workshops. I appreciate your hard work and diligence in learning new digital tools and methods which will fully engage our students regardless of the instructional modality. Updates continue to be made to the workshop offerings and schedule, so please review it again, and register for these learning opportunities.
As we look to the start of a new academic year, and prepare and plan for it, I recognize how overwhelmed we may feel – believe me, I do! Let us call to mind the advice of our patron Saint Francis de Sales, who recognized that in each present moment we can do “ordinary things extraordinarily well,” one step at a time, by practicing the “little virtues.” In his Introduction to the Devout Life (1609), he writes:
Occasions of practicing courage, magnanimity, and great generosity are rare. But gentleness, moderation, honesty and humility are some of the virtues by which every action of our life should be colored. The practice of these are more necessary, though there are virtues which are more excellent. … let us simply, humbly and devoutly exercise ourselves in small virtues the conquest of which our Lord has entrusted to our care and toil: such as patience, good-naturedness, mortifications of the heart, humility, obedience, poverty, chastity, tenderness toward our neighbor, bearing their imperfections, diligence and holy fervor.
I pray you remain safe and healthy, and that you can find time to rejuvenate in these summer days!
With best wishes and blessings,
Brother Daniel P. Wisniewski, O.S.F.S., Ph.D., Provost