A Message to Faculty from Provost Reed
March 18, 2020
I write this letter with deep appreciation and admiration for how University of La Verne faculty and staff have responded to the novel coronavirus pandemic and the challenges it has posed to our students.
This week, over 200 faculty are participating in small group and virtual workshops through the Center for Teaching and Learning. More than 20 expert-online faculty volunteered to provide one-on-one support. And department and college leadership have worked non-stop to prepare full-time and adjunct faculty and students across all programs and colleges.
The task to move some 7,000 students to fully online is not done yet.
But thanks to you we are making great progress, and we will be ready. Some of you are learning in a single week what has taken others months or years to master. Some of you with years of online experience are sharing it patiently with your colleagues. Thank you for your commitment to our students and mission, and thanks to the Center for Teaching and Learning, chairs, and deans for their around-the-clock support.
What I have learned from listening to faculty, administrators, and particularly students this week is one overriding concern: How do we make sure that a personal touch, the hallmark of a University of La Verne education, can happen online?
Communicate frequently and show your face. Your students respect you and want to know you care. Short video clips or Webex sessions work well.
Be attentive and respond to individual concerns. Be clear on your communication protocols and let students know when they can expect responses. Maybe you will respond to emails during certain hours only. Let them know.
Don’t hide your concerns. Emotional openness is a great instructional tool. If this is the first time you are teaching online, tell your students. Assure them that you are learning together.
Be generous. Most students see this as the most disruptive time of their lives. Some have sudden childcare concerns. Others fear being out of work. Student athletes just had their season canceled. Seniors may just have said goodbye to life-long friends. Many fear failing in an online environment. All fear their loved ones or themselves contracting the virus. Be flexible and encourage students to be their best.
Finally, please stay up to date on developments to help you on the Faculty Resources link of the laverne.edu/coronavirus website, and remember:
- All Classes are online for remainder of the spring.
- Campus operations will mostly be conducted virtually.
- Faculty are expected to work from home but may come to campus briefly under limited circumstances.
- Emergency policies for students and faculty are being discussed through shared governance to reduce stress.
This continues to be a rapidly-evolving situation. Please continue to monitor your campus email as well as the University of La Verne novel coronavirus website.