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Updates, Next Steps, and Appreciation

Dear faculty,

Thank you again for your efforts on behalf of our students and mission. And thank you for your collective wisdom and continued input into our planning.

Our first priority remains serving our students and ensuring they have a high-quality education and the best possible virtual experience throughout the academic year. Several reminders:

Coping with Coronavirus. The attached collection from the Chronicle of Higher Education provides insights into student anxiety, including a good piece titled “Let’s Add Compassion to Our Online Courses.” In addition, please make sure that you schedule no mandatory meetings outside of regularly scheduled class-time.

Student Midcourse Feedback. To support faculty and students in adapting to online instruction, there will be a midcourse feedback survey of students April 11-17. The aim is to support faculty development and continued pedagogical excellence—it is not intended for summative assessment, annual reviews, or promotion and tenure portfolios. The results will be available to faculty through MyLaVerne starting April 22. It is the usual instrument with minor modifications for online.

Succession Planning. Please make sure that by Thursday you have assigned a faculty who may take over your classes should you become ill, as well as activate Blackboard to post your syllabi and enter all grades in the Grade Center feature. This will ensure educational continuity and also compliance with the federal financial aid policy should students stop attending. Deans and chairs will be following up.

Faculty Online Support. Information continues to be posted and updated on the Faculty Resources and Information webpage, including CTL Drop-in Hours and Faculty Coaching for Online Teaching and Learning links.

Finally, let me express my appreciation to the group of faculty and staff experts who have been working on helping the university assess draft scenarios for contingency planning. We appreciate their insights into potential timelines and possible benchmarks for national and regional public health, economy, and society. Please join me in thanking:

  • Juli Minoves Triquell, UGAP, political science, co-chair
  • Juan Regalado, dean of students, co-chair
  • Kathy Duncan, Grad Council / management
  • Christine Broussard, biology / immunology
  • Kanya Godde, anthropology / biostatistics
  • Margaret Gough, sociology / epidemiology
  • William Hippler, finance recession
  • Soomi Lee, economics
  • Gunyung Park, macroeconomics
  • Sarah Rodman-Alvarez, Lewis Center / public health
  • Keith Schildt, public administration / food systems
  • Jennifer Tsui, biology / community health
  • Allison Vicroy, Office of General Counsel / epidemiology

I remain confident that together we can overcome the challenges posed by the novel coronavirus.


Jonathan Reed