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VP's Office Hours Blog

August 18, 2021

Dear Faculty

The start of this fall semester is full of dissonance. The entire nation is returning to school, under a huge variety of social, political, economic, and public health conditions. And unlike most fall semesters, it’s not just our freshman class and our incoming faculty and staff hires who are new. In a real sense, we are all new.   As a father of an incoming freshman at KU, my own emotions are running high, and like any parent, I worry. In my role as Vice Provost, I try every day to ensure faculty have the best possible guidance, information, and environment to support their work. But there are no easy answers.  

Whether you have been working on campus ever since it was possible after the start of the pandemic, or you’ve been working from home since the university went remote, we’ve never been together like we will be this semester. I fully believe that connecting with and understanding one another will be key to finding our path through the challenges ahead. As I welcome you back at the start of this new year in whatever capacity your return entails, I hope you’ll not hesitate to reach out to me and my team in Faculty Development.     

We look forward to connecting with you and hope to be a helpful resource. 

 

 

 

 

 

August 2021 Blog

August 18, 2021

Dear Faculty

The start of this fall semester is full of dissonance. The entire nation is returning to school, under a huge variety of social, political, economic, and public health conditions. And unlike most fall semesters, it’s not just our freshman class and our incoming faculty and staff hires who are new. In a real sense, we are all new.   As a father of an incoming freshman at KU, my own emotions are running high, and like any parent, I worry. In my role as Vice Provost, I try every day to ensure faculty have the best possible guidance, information, and environment to support their work. But there are no easy answers.  

Whether you have been working on campus ever since it was possible after the start of the pandemic, or you’ve been working from home since the university went remote, we’ve never been together like we will be this semester. I fully believe that connecting with and understanding one another will be key to finding our path through the challenges ahead. As I welcome you back at the start of this new year in whatever capacity your return entails, I hope you’ll not hesitate to reach out to me and my team in Faculty Development.     

We look forward to connecting with you and hope to be a helpful resource. 

May 2021 Blog

Welcome to my first-ever Office Hours blog, from the Center of Faculty Development and Mentoring in Strong Hall. I want to use this space now and into the future to highlight how this office works to address the needs and concerns of faculty across campus.  I also hope this serves as an ongoing means for us to stay connected so you’ll feel comfortable reaching out at any time.

During this long and difficult year, the challenges we’ve engaged have centered primarily around evaluations of all kinds. Many of you have heard me say that ideally, our evaluations (annual, PTTR, P&T, PTR) are opportunities to tell our story about a successfully developing faculty career. Our statements and our reports are one way to connect with one another about our work, where we are headed with it, and what impact it is having. That's not always easy to achieve, let alone during a pandemic, when our routines are turned upside down. We've got to recognize the extraordinary circumstances we are under and make adjustments to ensure fairness, consistency, and documentation.

The pandemic required a rapid switch to remote learning, and it forced us to think about the role and administration of the student survey of teaching.  Like campuses across the country, we made it optional for faculty to include the reports from student surveys of teaching in their evaluation reports of all kinds. That option extends through summer 2021. An ad hoc committee of faculty from across campus led the development of a new standard student survey of teaching that was first administered this Spring 2021. And from here on out, our administration of the student survey of teaching will be done entirely online by our partners at AIRE using a new survey tool called Q-classroom.

On another front, it was important to enable faculty to document the impact the pandemic has had on faculty activities. There were automatic delays granted in the tenure-clock, PTTR, and PTR, sparked by our request that KBOR allow a tenure-clock extension that did not count against the two total extensions one can get for birth/adoption of a child or other extenuating circumstances. Our annual evaluation process in 2020 involved the addition of COVID-19 narratives, and we recently announced new guidelines for candidates to weave optional COVID-19 impacts into their candidate statements in their P&T dossiers. This guidance on the P&T process is currently posted on the faculty development website.

If you attended the Open Meeting on Promotion and Tenure (recording available), I acknowledged that weaving COVID-19 impacts into candidate statements is novel and will require some additional time and thought. Now is a good time to activate your network of mentors and trusted colleagues to workshop your candidate statements if you are going through P&T.  If you are not, hopefully you'll have the chance to provide some helpful feedback to a colleague who is. You may still be developing your network, and if you'd like some guidance, please reach out to us at facultydev@ku.edu.

I look forward to welcoming new faculty and continuing to work with all of you in the fall. Have a restful and productive summer. You deserve it!

 

 


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