Vice Provost Messages

Sept 17, 2021: Resources for Instructors from the Sexual Assault Prevention & Education Center

    

Dear Colleagues,

Many of you are aware that a sexual assault was reported in our community at an Interfraternity Council chapter house, which has inspired student protest and outcry this week. Instructors are often on the frontline of experiencing students’ complex reactions during a moment like this. Given your direct contact with, and care for students, you may have already found yourself in a position where you felt compelled to respond to students’ desire to address the protests and sexual violence during class. These conversations will likely continue throughout campus and may occur –planned and unplanned– in the space of the classroom. 

Although this is a difficult position for instructors, it also means we have an opportunity to engage with our students around this very difficult and personal topic in ways that promote healing and not harm. Toward that goal, we would like to equip you with some resources and information that you can provide to students and offer some essential tips for navigating these difficult conversations if they arise in your classroom. 

Resources and Information

Student Sexual Misconduct Policy: Title IX prohibits sex discrimination to include sexual misconduct: harassment, domestic and dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. If you or someone you know has been harassed or assaulted, you can receive confidential support and academic advocacy from the CARE Coordinator. The Sexual Trauma & Abuse Center can be contacted on their 24-hour crisis line, (785) 843-8985 and online. Alleged violations can be reported non-confidentially to the Office of Civil Rights & Title IX. Reports to law enforcement can be made to KU’s Public Safety Office and Lawrence Police Department.    

Conversation Tips

  • Please recognize that you may not be the best person to facilitate this conversation. KU has faculty and staff who are trained, well-informed and researched, who can guide students through these conversations and provide professional short and long-term support. 
  • Consider, based on your sexual violence knowledge and training, the content and length of in-class discussion. Without education and resources no matter how well intentioned, the default experience for our students is often one of harm due to victim blaming and offender justification statements.
  • Please recognize that survivors are in the room, always. All conversations, formal or informal will be experienced in a very personal way.
  • Emphasize that sexual violence is a community issue.
  • Promote understanding beyond harmful myths and victim-blaming statements.
  • Remind students that victims/survivors are never responsible for an assault and do not cause someone else to commit sexual violence. Clothing and alcohol do not cause sexual violence to occur. 
  • Strongly consider avoiding bringing your own experience into the conversation; make it a space to listen to students and direct them to appropriate resources on campus and in the community. See guidance from the attached document.

 

With great respect for all you are managing,

Chris and Jen

J. Christopher Brown

Vice Provost for Faculty

Development

Jcbrown2@ku.edu

Jen Brockman

Director, Sexual Assault Prevention and Education Center

jenbrockman@ku.edu

 
August 27, 2021: Managing Instruction and the Impact of COVID

    

Dear Instructors,

Thank you for welcoming our students to your classes. We know you’ve worked hard to prepare for this week and that some of you have questions on how recent changes in health and safety guidance, including the availability of vaccines, might affect how you respond. Below are some of the potential impacts on instruction that you may encounter this semester and resources to help you navigate potential situations.

Instructor Unwell or In Quarantine

If an instructor feels unwell and suspects COVID-19 symptoms:

  • Err on the side of caution and refrain from being around others to reduce exposure of the community.  
  • Inform your chair, dean, or faculty supervisor to ensure your classes are covered. 
  • If you have COVID symptoms you should get tested. Information about where to test can be found HERE.
  • Use the health assessment form found HERE to determine proper next steps.

COVID-positive Students

If a student in your class tells you that they have tested positive for COVID:

  • You may send an email or other written communication to your class letting them know someone has tested positive for COVID-19. You may not release the COVID-positive student’s name. A sample email you can use for this purpose is attached. 
  • You and your students are unlikely to be considered close contacts due to the fact that masks are required indoors. Therefore, you may not be notified by the Douglas County Health Department, Watkins, or any other medical agency as part of a contact tracing effort. There is still a possibility that you and your students were exposed, however. Anyone concerned about potential exposure can refer to the possible exposure decision tree document found HERE and follow the recommended steps.   
  • Those who have been potentially exposed to COVID-19 should test 3-5 days following a possible exposure. Information about where to test can be found HERE. 
  • It is not your responsibility to monitor whether your students will need to quarantine. However, be aware that if a student is NOT vaccinated and they are considered a close contact by public health to someone who tested positive for COVID, they MUST quarantine. If a student IS vaccinated and is not showing symptoms, they DO NOT have to quarantine. This is a reason to encourage all students to get vaccinated.   
  • Students can receive a free vaccine on campus at either a pop-up clinic or at Watkins Health Services. The schedule of pop-up clinics can be found on the Watkins website. 
  • Additional information related to instructional concerns and campus health safety can be found on the Protect KU website HERE.   
  • If you feel you need more robust PPE while teaching in-person classes, please let us know. More information on what is available and how to request it can be found here: PPE Requisition | Protect KU 

Quarantine of Dependents

If you find yourself in the difficult situation of having to care for a child required to quarantine by a local school district or daycare due to possible COVID-19 exposure, we ask that you take the following steps to manage your teaching responsibilities: 

  1. Inform your chair, dean, or faculty supervisor and work with them to find another instructor to meet with the class.  
  2. If another instructor is not available, then devise a meaningful alternative that could include:  
    • Engaging students remotely, but with students in the classroom and someone else designated to assist in facilitating course activities.  
    • Engaging students remotely until the end of the quarantine period. 

More classroom guidelines and a FAQs page are available on the Protect KU website.

None of us wants to be in these situations, but it’s also wise and important that we work together and have sound plans in light of our COVID realities.

With great respect for all you are managing,

Chris and Andrew

 
May13, 2021: COVID-19 and the 2021-2022 Promotion and Tenure Process

   

Dear Faculty, Chairs/Directors, and Deans,

As previewed at the Open Meeting on Promotion and Tenure last week, this message is being sent to confirm that the new forms for the 2021-2022 P&T cycle are now posted on the Faculty Development website, along with complete guidelines about how we will take COVID-19 impacts into account in the P&T process.

We recognize that faculty work has been affected since Spring, 2020 by COVID-19 disruptions:

  • As individuals, we experienced the impacts in different ways.
  • These impacts are not distributed evenly.
  • We can't assume we know the impacts across our faculty.

Therefore, as we move into the upcoming cycle for promotion and tenure in 2021-2022, it is important to enable our faculty to document any impacts arising from the pandemic, and have review committee members document how they took those impacts into account in their evaluations.

Thus, all candidates have the option to address the impact of COVID-19 disruptions on their teaching, research/scholarship/creative or artistic work (hereafter, scholarship), service, and professional performance in their candidate statements for P&T.  While not required, Faculty Development encourages candidates to supplement their candidate statements as applicable, given the challenges raised by COVID-19 disruptions, specifically:

  • It may be that some normally expected activities were simply not possible to accomplish or were drastically curtailed during the pandemic, especially, but not exclusively, in the area of scholarship.
  • The conditions of the pandemic may be directly related to a change in the pattern or types of activity faculty pursued in the face of the challenges.

For privacy reasons, candidates should not share any personal circumstances in their statements, but rather focus on the impact to outcomes that they want to address. The inclusion of this supplemental information about the impacts of COVID-19 disruptions will allow chairs, deans, and promotion and tenure committee members to carefully review faculty dossiers and conduct fair and contextual evaluations of whether, except for COVID-19 disruptions, faculty are meeting our standards for P&T (FSRR 6.2).

Complete guidance is now posted on the Faculty Development. It includes:

  • A non-exclusive list of some of the types of impacts faculty may want to address in their candidate statements.
  • How internal evaluators are expected to respond in each evaluation section of the form (teaching, scholarship, service, professional performance)to any impacts from COVID-19 mentioned by candidates.

Sincerely,

Chris

 

Jan 28, 2021: Guidance on annual faculty evaluations for 2020: Evaluating our work in a pandemic

Dear faculty, chairs/directors, deans, and annual evaluation committee members,

The current uncertainty and concern sparked by the recent KBOR announcement gave me pause in sending out this message. In the end, I decided to proceed with offering the guidance that follows as some measure of reassurance of the value of faculty work and shared concerns about the impacts of the pandemic. We know that:

  • As individuals, we each have experienced the impacts in different ways.
  • These impacts are not distributed evenly.
  • We cannot assume we know the impacts across our faculty.

Beginning last summer, Faculty Development, with input from the faculty success design team and faculty governance committees, sought to recognize the ways COVID-19 was impacting faculty work. We explored how to take the disruptions into account in our evaluation processes to promote equity and consistency through effective documentation.

One major outcome of this joint effort was to issue guidance from Faculty Development to support assessing faculty achievements relative to opportunity for 2020 annual evaluations. At the core of this approach is the recognition that faculty work and accomplishments in 2020 have been significantly affected by COVID-related considerations and demands. Adopting this perspective promotes equity and consistency, but also requires effective documentation.

A 4-page Faculty Development Guidance document outlining this approach is available here. In sum, it provides that:

  • Faculty members shall submit brief COVID-19 narratives as part of their annual reports, addressing disruptions and adjustments to the main components of their job description.
  • Evaluators must take the narratives into account, ensuring recognition of added or reallocated responsibilities.
  • Adjustments for the longer-term impact of COVID-19 should be made, because COVID-19 is very likely to continue affecting how we carry out our work and assess it. 

Please take time to read the guidance and send questions to facultydev@ku.edu

I look forward to supporting you in our ongoing efforts to carry out an evaluation process that is thoughtful and fair, and that promotes consistency and equity for all faculty. Next week I will seek your input on a draft of the new standard student survey of teaching.

Take care and stay well.

Chris

J. Christopher Brown

Professor

Geography and Atmospheric Science

Environmental Studies Program

Vice Provost for Faculty Development

Jcbrown2@ku.edu

University of Kansas

Center for Faculty Development and Mentoring

facultydev@ku.edu    785-864-6489

1450 Jayhawk Blvd. Room 145

Lawrence, KS 66045

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Dec 4, 2020: Course marking helps students assess the cost of course material

Instructors,

Beginning with spring 2021, KU has adopted a new strategy of marking courses that have low-cost or no-cost course materials. This strategy aligns with a growing effort among higher ed institutions to provide cost information as secondary criteria students can consider when selecting courses.

We have all heard the challenges many students face when it comes to affording college. Some students work two or three jobs, while others skip meals or make other financial sacrifices to pursue their education. Hunger and homelessness among college students has been on the rise in recent years, and these challenges disproportionately impact marginalized and vulnerable populations: low income, first generation and students of color.

Beyond tuition and fees, textbooks can be a significant cost that some students struggle to afford. Reports indicate textbook costs have increased 1000% — triple the rate of inflation — since 1977. Students, faculty and staff representing groups and units across campus have advocated for and used a variety of strategies for reducing and eliminating the cost of course materials for these students.

What is course marking?

  • Beginning with the spring 2021 semester, the Schedule of Classes will show “no-cost” and “low-cost” icons for courses that meet those criteria.
  • This effort to help students who are struggling financially does not require any additional effort by instructors.
  • Course marking provides increased cost transparency and student agency to make informed decisions and plan for the upcoming semester. Cost of materials is only one of many factors students will consider when choosing their courses.

How will courses be marked?

The Course Marking project team worked within existing platforms and created a process to automatically mark courses based on material adoption information instructors already provide every semester to the KU Bookstore. The Schedule of Classes will display:

  • No-cost icon — classes bearing zero course material cost (Ø)
  • Low-cost icon — classes with cumulative course materials cost less than $45 (L)
  • No icon — The absence of an icon can mean any of the following:
    • Information about required course materials has not yet been provided;
    • The cost of required course materials is greater than $45; or
    • The course type is typically not associated with required course materials, such as discussion sections.

Why was $45 chosen for the low-cost threshold?

The threshold of $45 was selected based on KU student and instructor responses to a survey earlier this year asking what they considered the upper limit for affordable course materials:

  • The more than 2,000 student responses averaged $42.50.
  • The more than 300 instructor responses averaged $48.50.
  • The combined average was $45.50.

What was the process for implementing course marking?

This was largely a student-initiated effort, with the collaboration of several campus partners.

  • In academic year 2018-19, student body presidents from Kansas institutions developed and presented an action plan to KBOR, which included marking the affordability of courses.
  • In fall 2019, Tiara Floyd, then KU student body president, requested that KU explore a course marking project.
  • A project team was convened in fall 2019, including KU IT, KU Bookstore, Registrar, Student Information Systems, KU Libraries, Office of Accessibility, Kansas Union IT team, and the Enterprise Project Management Office.
  • The project team researched the issues and engaged stakeholders, including the Academic Systems Steering Committee, the Textbook Working Group, the Academic Change Management Committee, Student Senate, Faculty Senate and University Senate.
  • In September 2020, a proposal was presented to Faculty Senate Executive Committee (FacEx), the Academic Systems Steering Committee, and the KU Advisors Network.
  • Based on feedback received from these outreach efforts, including from faculty, substantial adjustments were made to balance stakeholder needs and perspectives.
  • The proposal was approved and last month the first courses were marked for spring 2021.

What can you do?

Instructors don’t have to do anything new or different to support this effort. The course materials information you routinely provide each semester will be used to automatically designate courses as low-cost or no-cost.

If you want to learn more about how you might adopt low-cost or no-cost course materials in the classes you teach, reach out to the Course Marking team at marking@ku.edu. The team also is interested in your comments and suggestions for improving the program.

Learn more at marking.ku.edu.

Respectfully,

Chris

J. Christopher Brown

Vice Provost for Faculty Development

Jcbrown2@ku.edu

University of Kansas

Center for Faculty Development and Mentoring

facultydev@ku.edu    785-864-6489

1450 Jayhawk Blvd. Room 145

Lawrence, KS 66045

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Nov 24, 2020: Delay of Post-Tenure Review

 

Delay of Post-Tenure Review

 

Dear Faculty:

In response to the pressures and disruptions caused by COVID-19, the Provost office will exclude the 2020-2021 academic year from the seven-year period for post-tenure review. This exclusion will delay each faculty member’s post-tenure review by 1 year, including for those faculty who had been scheduled for review in the 2020-2021 year, excepting those faculty who have already had the 2020-2021 academic year excluded from their review period due to leave or administrative appointment as described in the University policy on post-tenure review.

No action from you is needed, unless you choose to be evaluated as previously scheduled. If you do so, please inform your departmental chairperson, unit director, and/or Dean to ensure that you understand and adhere to all internal processes and deadlines. 

If you have any questions, please contact me at 864-6489 or facultydev@ku.edu.

Sincerely,

Chris

J. Christopher Brown

Vice Provost for Faculty Development

Jcbrown2@ku.ed

 
Nov 13, 2020: End-of-semester student surveys of teaching

Dear Instructors,

I want to share with you several updates on the end-of-semester student survey of teaching and provide guidance on the inclusion of survey reports in all types of evaluations.

Online Administration of Student Course Surveys

  • Attached is the survey for Fall 2020 that our central administration will send to your students online, as has been done since the Spring 2020 semester.
  • It's the same survey used in Summer 2020, developed by an ad hoc committee of faculty representatives from across campus.

Timing

  • Surveys for regular semester courses are open to students during the last two full weeks before final exams.
  • Surveys for courses scheduled to meet for a shorter or longer calendar than the standard semester are adjusted to ensure timing of the survey at a comparable point in the term.

Protecting student anonymity

  • University policy requires that instructors be evaluated each semester by students voluntarily in all courses with five or more students.
  • Classes with fewer than five students may be surveyed, but will only have a report produced if combined with another class to total at least five.
  • Instructors will receive their survey results only after the semester ends and final grade submission deadlines have passed.

Surveys for Spring 2021 and beyond

  • The ad hoc committee is developing a new standard survey for use beginning Spring 2021.
  • Survey will be based in part on feedback we have already been receiving from faculty and departments.
  • A draft of the proposed new standard survey will be available for review and comment in late December or early January.

Instructor guidance: optional inclusion of student survey reports in evaluation files

  • Supervisors will not receive the reports unless instructors forward them. Our policies on evaluation and promotion and tenure require multiple sources of information be used to evaluate teaching.
  • Instructors have the option to include their Summer and Fall 2020 student survey reports in the files they forward to supervisors for annual evaluation, PTTR, P&T, and PTR.

How to evaluate teaching without student survey reports

  • In the coming weeks, we will be sending messages with tips on what instructors can do to provide supervisors with other meaningful sources of information for evaluation, such as documentation of the effort and intellectual work of adjusting to online and hybrid teaching this year and self-evaluations that could include reflections on student survey reports.
  • We will also introduce how supervisors can use rubrics to make meaningful assessments of teaching effectiveness in a time-efficient way. Much of this guidance will be based on the work of CTE's NSF-funded Benchmarks for Teaching Effectiveness Project.

I want to thank the Faculty Rights, Privileges, and Responsibilities committee of Faculty Senate, the Faculty Success Design Team, the ad hoc Committee on the Student Survey of Teaching, and others for their input on how our evaluation of teaching should adjust to the challenges presented by COVID.

Take care, and stay well.

Chris

J. Christopher Brown, Ph.D.

Professor

Geography and Atmospheric Science

Environmental Studies Program

Vice Provost for Faculty Development

Jcbrown2@ku.edu

University of Kansas

Center for Faculty Development and Mentoring

facultydev@ku.edu    785-864-6489

1450 Jayhawk Blvd. Room 145

Lawrence, KS 66045

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Sept 10, 2020: Instructor Update – Guidance and Answers to Your Questions

 

Dear Instructors,

Thank you all for your ongoing work into our third week of classes. I continue to receive your questions via facultydev@ku.edu, and I'm aware of other issues and concerns from the members of our faculty success design team and faculty governance.

Students, Covid-19, and Your Class

Some of you by now have interacted with students who have tested positive for COVID-19 or who have been identified by Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health as a close contact of someone who is positive. Thank you for working as quickly as possible to communicate with them and adapt courses while they are isolated or in quarantine. Students, their parents, and all of you are understandably anxious with our growing awareness of the virus in the community.

I've reached out personally to our public health officials to discuss your concerns about what to do and what to say to your class. Public health professionals are aware of our classroom configurations and our mask policy, which greatly reduce the risk of transmission in the classroom. Under current guidelines – in a classroom that maintains physical distancing, our classroom seating configuration and masking policy – health officials would not consider anyone as a close contact of a positive case from interaction in a classroom setting.

Here is some additional guidance:

  • If you have concerns about your own health, please reach out to your healthcare provider.
  • Please continue to allow our public health officials to do their job of contact tracing, and help protect student privacy by not sharing health information, unless the student has asked you to do so.
  • Please do not move your class fully online from another mode, unless officials have contacted you about a larger public health concern regarding your class. 
  • Please reiterate to students the need to self-monitor daily with CVKey, and follow the app’s instructions about whether they can come to campus. It’s an important way to positively impact the health of our entire community. Operations has arranged for kiosk monitoring staff to be stationed in campus buildings on a random basis to help support the expectation that the app and kiosks should be used as a matter of routine.
  • Some have asked if they can have students returning from quarantine or isolation present a negative test result. This is not possible from a privacy concern and not necessary from a medical standpoint. If a student has tested positive they only need to finish their isolation protocol (which includes being fever free for 72 hours without the aid of fever reducers) to be cleared for return to class. These individuals won't test negative for subsequent tests, yet they are no longer considered infectious. If the student has had to quarantine because they are a close contact, they still have to complete the quarantine period as defined by the state and county. This takes the student through the known infectious period. https://protect.ku.edu/quarantine-isolation.

The university is continuing to provide prevalence testing for targeted groups and for a sample of the KU community. Leadership is also exploring opportunities to expand testing capabilities on campus to ensure individuals who are experiencing the onset of symptoms can be tested as quickly as possible. More information will be available soon.

Instructors Testing Positive for COVID-19

If you tested positive for COVID-19, please follow the instructions of your healthcare provider or health officials. By all means, please do what is needed to take care of yourself and your family. If you are teaching an in-person course, please inform your chair or dean that you have been asked to isolate and that you will need to adjust your course. For example, if you are feeling well enough, you could transition the course to fully online for a brief period while you arrange with your chair or dean to hire a classroom technology assistant to meet your students and facilitate a video-conference with students in the classroom. If you are too ill to perform your duties, please inform your chair or dean so someone else can step in to maintain course continuity.

Please remember that the Family First Coronavirus Response Act ensures that all eligible employees (regular, temporary, full or part-time, faculty, staff or student) with active paid appointments, who are unable to work or telework due to a variety of COVID-related conditions and situations are eligible for some amount of paid leave.

Ending Class on Time

Just a quick reminder here, please do everything possible to end your classes on time. We want to make it as easy as possible for students to get to their next class, whether in-person, hybrid, or online.

I will work to offer regular messages to all instructors as the semester continues. Please send your questions to facultydev@ku.edu. This message, as well as previous messages from me, will be archived on the Faculty Development website.

Take care,

Chris

J. Christopher Brown

Vice Provost for Faculty Development

Jcbrown2@ku.edu

University of Kansas

Center for Faculty Development and Mentoring

facultydev@ku.edu    785-864-6489

1450 Jayhawk Blvd. Room 145

Lawrence, KS 66045

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Aug 27, 2020: Thank You and Updates for Your Questions

   

Dear Instructors,

Thank you.

Here we are in the first week of classes, and now your preparation is bearing fruit. I thank you for all you did to reach this point and recognize what an extraordinary achievement it was. Data from the Center for Teaching Excellence, the Center for Online and Distance Learning, and KU Information Technology show that you collectively devoted tens of thousands of person-hours in professional development over the summer in preparation for fall. Our students are now benefitting from this work as they continue their education.

In these first few days of classes, I have received questions on some important topics and want to offer guidance. 

Students Who Need to Isolate or Quarantine

It is important we continue to address the needs of our students directly affected by COVID-19. Our surveillance testing shows some students are positive for COVID-19, or are identified by Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health as a close contact of someone who is positive. These individuals have been instructed to isolate or quarantine. I can understand that this situation can increase anxiety in already challenging times. Please remember, many additional measures are in place at KU to help reduce the risk of transmission and testing was undertaken in part to help individuals understand their status and take appropriate action to help protect themselves, their friends and family and the larger community.

I want to provide some clarity on procedures related to test results, and it comes down to following the guidance of public health officials and adapting courses for students:

  • If a student informs you they must miss in-person class because of a positive test or that as a close contact they have been instructed to quarantine by a public health professional, please allow our public health authorities to do their job of contact tracing. No one else must quarantine unless they are personally contacted by health authorities and told to do so. If you have concerns about your own health, please reach out to your healthcare provider and follow their instructions.
  • To protect privacy, do not share health information about a student unless they have given you permission to do so.
  • Reach out to your isolating students and assure them you will adapt the course for them in the most engaging way possible so that they may continue to make progress remotely. If you need assistance in adapting your course for a student, revisit flexteaching.ku.edu. New on the site is some sample text to reply to a student who needs an adaptation. 

Changing Course to Online

While it may feel unsettling to learn that a student needs to isolate or quarantine, our instructional spaces have been modified to better protect you and your students. Research indicates that wearing a mask and appropriately distancing from others helps mitigate the risk of contracting the virus. Class participants who have been adhering to physical distancing guidelines, as in our modified classrooms, would not be considered close contacts by either Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention standards.

Please do not change modality of your course unless you have been personally contacted and advised by a county health professional that it is appropriate for the circumstances. If you have any concerns about your own health, please contact your healthcare provider.

Liability and COVID-19

Some instructors have asked questions regarding protections they have against liability claims. 

Under the Kansas Tort Claims Act (K.S.A. 75-6101 et seq.), the State of Kansas assumes liability for the negligent or wrongful acts and omissions of its employees (including KU employees) who are acting within the scope of their employment. Additionally, recent Kansas legislation provides that a person conducting business shall be immune from liability for a COVID-19 claim if such person was acting pursuant to and in substantial compliance with public health directives. You can view the full bill here.

Intellectual Property and Flex Teaching

Many of you have asked about how the university's Intellectual Property policy relates to the work done to develop new online and hybrid courses due to COVID-19. The current policy adheres to KBOR regulations concerning mediated courseware. It was not written with a pandemic in mind with the need to develop courseware that allows for seamless transitions across in-person, hybrid, and fully online modes of instruction. Faculty Development and Faculty Governance will partner to clarify that the courseware developed in response to COVID-19 is owned by the creator.

Recording of Online Class Sessions

Recording your online or in-person class sessions can be useful for a number of different reasons, including allowing asynchronous participation in hybrid courses. If you are recording just for students in your class, you do not need student consent to do so, although it is a good idea to let students know you’re recording. If you are recording to share the recordings with audiences beyond your class, please visit the Flexible Teaching website for guidance for gaining consent, sharing recordings and limiting student faces/images in your recordings. I encourage you to review this information and follow the guidance to ensure you respect the privacy of your students, as well as comply with FERPA and other regulations. 

New Faculty, Staff and GTA Testing

COVID-19 testing is still underway. New faculty, staff and GTAs can visit a mobile test site set up in the Naismith Hall parking lot at 19th Street and Naismith Drive for a free walk-up COVID-19 saliva test. No appointment is necessary.

Thanks again for all you are doing to engage with our students, whether they are here in person or connecting with you and their classmates remotely.

I’ll continue to be available for your questions (please send them to facultydev@ku.edu) and I will work to offer regular messages to all instructors as the semester continues. This message as well as previous messages from me will be archived on the Faculty Development website.

Take care,

Chris

J. Christopher Brown

Vice Provost for Faculty Development

Jcbrown2@ku.edu

University of Kansas

Center for Faculty Development and Mentoring

facultydev@ku.edu    785-864-6489

1450 Jayhawk Blvd. Room 145

Lawrence, KS 66045

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Aug 20, 2020: Additional Course Logistics Info -- New Student Dashboard and more...

Instructors,

Thank you for following these updates closely. I know you have a lot of new information to track as we approach the start of the semester, and I appreciate your diligence. Below you will find additional relevant course logistics information.

New student information dashboard

The “MyStudents Dashboard” allows all KU instructors to access data visualizations about their current students. The dashboard can help you craft activities, materials and assignments that speak to the needs of an academically and socio-demographically diverse classroom. Follow this link to visit the dashboard (you must be logged into KU Anywhere VPN).

The dashboard is the product of a year-long collaboration between the Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE), the Office of Analytics and Institutional Research (AIR) and more than 60 faculty at KU. A podcast on Navigating the New Student Dashboard is available on the CTE website. A CTE webpage with additional pedagogical resources will be available soon.

Feel free to contact AIR’s Corinne Bannon at corinne-bannon@ku.edu with any dashboard-related questions or concerns.

Course timing, capacity and room arrangements

Ending on time

It is imperative that classes end on time to allow sufficient time for everyone to move carefully and safely between classes and access buildings with the CVKey app. Time between classes has also been increased to 15 minutes to serve this purpose. Please plan accordingly and respect this time as it will be needed for travel between classes.

Course adaptations and enrollment capacity

Many of you are adapting courses to support students who are unable to be on campus.  Students who have approved course adaptions are included in class enrollment counts, however, they do not occupy a physical seat in the class. You can allow additional students to enroll up to the physical distancing capacity of the room by increasing the enrollment capacity and using permission numbers. Please contact your department scheduling officer for assistance.

Students switching sections

Students cannot switch between course sections until they have officially moved into another section in the course management system. This ensures that room capacity in the new course section actually exists. If a student needs to temporarily attend another section due to illness, to make up missed class sessions, etc., you can support this need as long as you ensure sufficient physical distancing capacity exists.

Room layout

Please do not move or allow your students to move furniture in classrooms. Furniture is arranged to ensure physical distancing. Additionally, furniture must remain in the classroom in which it is placed. Please note that students can turn in their seats (without moving them) to speak to their classmates in order to facilitate in-class discussion and collaboration.

Additional safety & syllabus info

In order to assist you in sharing/reinforcing relevant information with your students, attached are two slides you may wish to incorporate into your first class session. These slides (and many other helpful ideas for syllabi) are also available at https://flexteaching.ku.edu/syllabus-language.

Again, thank you for your cooperation and hard work as we prepare for this unprecedented semester.

Take care,

Chris

 

J. Christopher Brown

Vice Provost for Faculty Development

Jcbrown2@ku.edu

 

University of Kansas

Center for Faculty Development and Mentoring

facultydev@ku.edu    785-864-6489

1450 Jayhawk Blvd. Room 145

Lawrence, KS 66045

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Aug 12, 2020: PLS communicate distance learning platform information to students

Instructors,

A tremendous amount of work went into scheduling courses for the fall semester with the goal of providing as much clarity as possible regarding course meeting dates, times, locations and delivery modes. However, a technical issue resulted in all online class components being labeled as “ONLNE ZOOM” which caused confusion. This issue has now been resolved by indicating online components of classes, whether fully online or hybrid, are generically “ONLINE” to emphasize instructors have discretion as to what online platform to use.  Instructors can also employ real-time or asynchronous instructional methods. (See the links below for resources related to alternating cohort courses and in-person instruction options.)

To reiterate, student course schedules will not reflect each course’s platform (e.g. Zoom), and it is imperative that you tell your students how online class times will be facilitated. As in past semesters, instructors are responsible for creating any Zoom rooms, Microsoft Teams Rooms, etc., or setting up asynchronous activities in other platforms and sending the relevant links to students.

If your class only meets once per week and you are using an alternating cohort schedule (i.e. group A will meet on odd weeks and group B will meet on even weeks), sections were not created for each cohort. In these situations, you will need to split the students into cohorts and communicate group assignments to students.

To help ensure students retain this important information, we ask that you clearly reiterate and clarify course logistics for students during the initial class meeting. We also ask that you post the course logistics information on each course’s syllabus and in the learning management system (e.g. Blackboard).

Guidance on safety measures

Physical safety

Campus classrooms will be open starting Monday, Aug. 17. I highly encourage you to visit your classrooms before the first day of class so that you can practice and plan for the uniqueness of this semester. To gain access to buildings, you will need to use the CVKey app. While you are there you will notice physical distancing and personal protective equipment (PPE) measures that have been implemented this summer. Plexiglass barriers and other safety equipment have been installed in most classrooms.

Study Spaces

KU has erected outdoor tents that students can use when participating in online classes and studying. We are also in the process of identifying existing common spaces and specific rooms in buildings that can be used for these purposes. This work is still in progress, but an online campus map at rockcha.lk/study-spaces shows this information. If students ask you about available study space, please direct them to this site. (It is recommended you use Firefox to view this site.)

Help and Resources

If you have a concern about personal protective equipment measures or the distancing layout of any of your teaching spaces, please contact KU Operations at kuoperations@ku.edu. Someone will follow up with you as soon as possible.

Additionally, if you have a concern about any IT-related equipment, please contact your departmental IT support staff.

Finally, the Center for Teaching Excellence has collected information on alternating cohort courses and ideas for creating online options for in-person courses.

I want to acknowledge that all of you are working very hard to prepare for this unprecedented semester. Your commitment to your students and to KU is seen and it is appreciated. I am grateful to you for all you do.

Take care,

Chris

 

J. Christopher Brown

Vice Provost for Faculty Development

Jcbrown2@ku.edu

University of Kansas

Center for Faculty Development and Mentoring

facultydev@ku.edu    785-864-6489

1450 Jayhawk Blvd. Room 145

Lawrence, KS 66045

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Aug 10, 2020: Start-of-term syllabus tactics and mask guidance

   

Dear colleagues,

As you continue preparing for fall classes, we want to share syllabus strategies and language that may help you communicate with your students this fall.

We encourage you to:

  • Upload your syllabus to your course Blackboard/Canvas site so all your students know there is at least one place they can go to find the syllabus.
  • Articulate your course learning outcomes in the syllabus so students know exactly what they need to achieve this term.
  • Consider placing new elements in your syllabus you may have not considered before, including specific language about safety precautions in the classroom. Masks are required, and our guidance for enforcement procedures is below. The Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE) has a great resource on the FlexTeaching website, including sample language related to COVID-19.

Suggested syllabus language regarding masks:

“To protect all of us, everyone must wear a mask in the classroom as required by the Protect KU Pledge and by University policy. Violations of the mask policy in classrooms are treated as academic misconduct. If you come to class without a mask, I will ask you to put one on. If you do not put on a mask when asked, you will have to leave class. Violations will be reported, and consequences will follow, up to and including suspension from the course.”

Guidance regarding masks:

It is considered academic misconduct if a student is not wearing a mask in a classroom. We ask that you address it and report it by following these steps:

  • First, ask the student to put on a mask. If they do not, they need to leave the room. KU Operations will work to provide instructors with a few masks to have ready if a student forgets theirs, but it is not an instructor’s responsibility to have masks always available. If a student refuses to leave the room, instructors may dismiss class. If you must dismiss a class, please do what is possible and reasonable to make up for it online.
  • Please report incidents at unmasked.ku.edu by leaving your name and email and marking the box "student in academic context". A staff member will follow up with you if necessary, and the case will be turned over to your respective chair or dean for them to follow through with established academic misconduct procedures. Repeated refusals by a student may lead to suspension from the course. 
  • Human Resources Management, in partnership with Faculty Development, will follow through to assist departments and schools if needed. All parties want to ensure that instructors are not treated unfairly in evaluations by students, colleagues, or supervisors for helping enforce this policy and protecting everyone's health.

Please note: Students who fail to wear a mask, but who DO comply when asked to wear one, or students who leave the room without incident, will receive educational notices asking for compliance for the benefit of everyone’s health. Guidance on this procedure is forthcoming to chairs and deans.

Respectfully,

Chris

 

J. Christopher Brown

Vice Provost for Faculty Development

Jcbrown2@ku.edu

University of Kansas

Center for Faculty Development and Mentoring

facultydev@ku.edu    785-864-6489

1450 Jayhawk Blvd. Room 145

Lawrence, KS 66045

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Aug 5, 2020: Guidance on Grading Attendance for Fall 2020

Colleagues,

Class attendance policies can increase student engagement and many of us use attendance points in calculating the final grades in our courses. This fall, using attendance as part of grading will be complicated by a number of factors that make synchronous participation in lectures, activities and exams difficult for some students. These factors include:

  • Some students’ limited access to adequate technology.
  • Time zone differences for students participating remotely, especially international students.
  • Inability to attend classes in-person because of public health directives (quarantine).

University Senate Regulations are clear that instructors control attendance and grading policies for their courses. This semester, however, students are facing many unique challenges and we encourage you to take attendance not for grading, but as a way to monitor student engagement so you can reach out and help students who might be struggling. Consistent class attendance, whether in-person or online, is an important indication of engagement and student success. However, we do not want to penalize students who are facing health, technology or other challenges to synchronous participation.

Students who are ill or who are taking steps to protect their own health or the health of others should be given an excused absence (no doctor’s note required) from in-person class activities if they have COVID-19 symptoms or are following state or local quarantine guidelines. I encourage you to include clear health and attendance guidance for students in your syllabi. I have included some suggested language you can use or adapt.

The following is suggested language you can add to your course syllabus to communicate COVID-related attendance guidance:

Please use the CVKey app for self-screening to help determine if you should attend in-person class activities. If you choose not to use the app or do not have a compatible device, please use the paper health assessment form. The app and the paper form are available at cvkey.ku.edu.

You will be given an excused absence from in-person class activities (no doctor’s note required) if you answer yes to any of the questions in the app or on the paper form. Symptoms and other guidance in the app and on the paper form may change based on new federal, state and local health recommendations and requirements.

It is important that you spend the necessary time working in this course to achieve the expected outcomes by the end of the term. If you face challenges to fully participating at any time during the semester, please let me know, and please contact me if you expect to miss class. I am available and ready to support your success. Additionally, if you need to report an extended illness or serious accident, please contact Student Support and Case Management at course-adapt@ku.edu or 785-864-4060. A case manager will send email notifications to your instructor(s) on your behalf. When you are able, you will need to follow up with your professors to coordinate a temporary arrangement regarding missed instruction and coursework.

Faculty colleagues at the Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE) and staff at the Center for Online and Distance Learning (CODL) can assist you in strategizing ways to adjust the way you measure your engagement with students away from the traditional taking of attendance for a grade in class. KU’s new FlexTeaching website also has information on attendance and student engagement.

Qwickly Attendance Tool

With a mix of in-person, hybrid and online classes, knowing who is showing up and engaged is harder than ever. KU is expanding the capabilities of Qwickly Attendance, a tool you may have used in the past to manually take attendance in Blackboard. Now with Qwickly Attendance, you can allow students to check in themselves, whether they are attending a class in-person or online. Qwickly Attendance keeps track of attendance throughout the semester and provides a dashboard where you can see information at a glance. Students can also track their own attendance in each class.

More information about Qwickly Attendance is available on KU’s Blackboard website.

Responsibilities of Students

Students should contact their instructor(s) directly to report an absence. However, students who need to report an extended illness or serious accident should contact Student Support and Case Management at course-adapt@ku.edu or 785-864-4060. A case manager will send email notifications to the student’s instructor(s) on the student’s behalf. When they are able, the student will need to follow up with professors to coordinate a temporary arrangement regarding missed instruction and coursework. Please see studentaffairs.ku.edu/student-emergencies.

A Collaborative Effort

The guidance I’ve included here on attendance and student engagement was developed following input from a number of different groups that were asked in early July what guidance the University should provide instructors when dealing with the challenges they will face regarding attendance in fall 2020. Groups included the Faculty Rights, Privileges and Responsibilities committee of Faculty Senate; the Teaching and Learning Design Team; the Faculty Success Design Team; Academic Success; CTE and CODL.

Thank you for your attention and input.

Sincerely,

Chris

 

J. Christopher Brown

Vice Provost for Faculty Development

Jcbrown2@ku.edu

University of Kansas

Center for Faculty Development and Mentoring

facultydev@ku.edu    785-864-6489

1450 Jayhawk Blvd. Room 145

Lawrence, KS 66045

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July 30, 2020: Process for Receiving Student Requests for Online Course Adaptions

     

Dear Instructors (Faculty, GTAs, and other instructional staff), 

As you begin preparing your course for the fall, we know many of you are also thinking through the various scenarios and concerns that may arise amongst your students during the semester. There may be a number of circumstances that lead students to request an online adaptation to an existing in-person or hybrid course, including personal situations before or after the start of the semester.

  • Before the semester begins, it might be possible to get a student into a different course or section of a course that allows them to continue making progress toward their degree in the online format that they need.
  • After the semester begins, a student may have to leave campus because they are sick or need to isolate or quarantine, leading them to request an online adaptation to your in-person or hybrid course.

The various combinations of issues and solutions can be complicated, so Academic Success and Student Affairs have partnered to establish a process to facilitate communication among students, advisors, faculty and other staff to receive adaption requests and work to find the best way possible for us to help students continue their progress. 

An information sheet for instructors, GTAs, and departments about the course adaptations process can be found online.

Students who need a course adaptation will be directed to complete a course adaptations request beginning August 3. The info sheet and website also provide insight as to how students are being asked to communicate absences and the additional support available through the Student Support and Case Management team.

Bottom line is we are here to help you in preparing to provide online adaptations to your courses. CTE’s Flexible Teaching site is a great resource to assist you in thinking through possible adaptations.  Beyond that, no action is needed on your part in the adaptation process, until you are contacted through the adaptation request process.

Thank you for all that you do to support our students! 

 

J. Christopher Brown

Vice Provost for Faculty Development

Jcbrown2@ku.edu

 

 

Susan Klusmeier

Vice Provost for Academic Success

susan.klusmeier@ku.edu

 

 

University of Kansas

Center for Faculty Development and Mentoring

facultydev@ku.edu    785-864-6489

1450 Jayhawk Blvd. Room 145

Lawrence, KS 66045

 

 


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