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Moravian College
Office of the Provost

Provost Communication


July 31, 2020

ANNOUNCEMENT: 

The first faculty meeting will be on August 18, zoom, at 3:00-4:30pm

The most important part of the agenda, as always, will be the introduction of new hires and an introduction to this genuinely unique semester. Please join us via zoom: Join Zoom Meeting; https://moravian.zoom.us/j/97722855005

Meeting ID: 977 2285 5005

Dear faculty colleagues,

As the summer moves rapidly towards the fall semester, I realize that anxieties are high and every one of you is feeling increased stress personally and professionally. Please remember to be kind to yourselves and one another through this exceptionally difficult time. This also seems like an excellent time to acknowledge once more all the work that has been occurring behind the scenes, by all of you, by all the staff, and by our administrative colleagues. Many of us have never worked so hard and believe me, I appreciate, so very much, the work you are doing. 

Several of us noticed a Chronicle article that you might enjoy reading. "In Dispiriting Times, It Helps to Get ‘Lost in Thought’" The article reminds me of why I was drawn to this academic work in the first place and helped me pause for a moment.

We continue to plan for opening in the fall. I know, too, that the world around us remains very fluid and dynamic. However, because we have had in-person teaching and learning and faculty-student research on campus over the summer, there has been an opportunity to learn from this phased campus reopening. We have had some successes and some glitches, but overall, there has been good "self policing" and various groups on campus have talked with their staff about compliance. Student life and academic affairs representatives meet regularly to discuss student compliance and consequences if they don't. 

We can never totally predict human behavior. And of course, we want faculty to reinforce CDC guidelines and the rationale for all the measures we are taking - mostly by reminding our students and colleagues about how a community should take care of its most valuable resource - its members. Thus, as we bring more students and employees to campus, we will be doing self-monitoring via a Qualtrics survey/app. Any employee or student coming to campus will need to do this quick check daily. We heard from Sharon Maus that this is almost ready to be piloted by a few of us before distributing widely.

I also understand that you have been overwhelmed with information, workshops, updates, but I promised to keep you informed…. So in that spirit, listed below are some online/canvas updates and there are some more opportunities for you to consider (or not). Also please check the COVID webpage for details and updates regarding rules and responsibilities. A COVID training module is nearly ready and completion of this module will be available and it will be required of all members of the community to complete.

Items of interest:

Good news: there is now an embedded Student Resource Module in our Canvas Shells: OEI in collaboration with TLC and Student Success has created a new Student Resources Blueprint Module, created using the Quality Matters Rubric and best practices. It includes links to technical support services, academic support services, accessibility policies and services, and other essential student resources such as Reeves Library, Health Center, Student Life, Writing Center, and Counseling Center. These services are essential to help our students succeed in your courses and in their career paths. This module will appear in every Canvas shell.

Coaching for Full-Time and Adjunct Faculty Now Available For Teaching Online.

Extension Engine -- the team that helped Moravian launch its online MS in Predictive Analytics -- is joining efforts with Moravian’s Online Education and Innovation group to help support the needs of faculty who will be teaching online this fall. Their instructional designers will be available for half hour, one-on-one, coaching sessions to address specific needs for your Fall 2020 online or hybrid courses. To sign up for a session, please click here! We know there are many unknowns about what this fall will bring, but we are here to support you. If you have any questions please contact Bernie Cantens at cantensb@moravian.edu, or the Extension Engine team at extensionengine@moravian.edu.

Enrollment updates and budget implications

This enrollment year is turning out, unsurprisingly, to be increasingly fluid. A number of students are choosing to live off campus or take leaves of absence, which will have an impact on our budget. There is some “melt,” which is related to the impact of COVID. If you recall the scenarios that we shared in the town hall, we are essentially in our COVID 1 situation in terms of overall new student numbers, discount rates, and other revenue generating opportunities. 

Other important updates:

  • Tents will be available for class scheduling, stay tuned for more information!
  • We continue to try to find ways to offer testing to our community. Please be patient for a while longer. 
    • The college has been working with the local health networks on COVID testing options, but there are two major problems right now.
      • 1) The shortage of reagents needed for widespread testing: The major companies that produce the reagents and analyzers are receiving orders from the federal government as to where to send reagents, and right now, prioritization is to the states in the south which are considered “hotspots” for the pandemic.
      • 2) The backlog in getting testing results: In PA right now, there is a 7 - 10 day delay which almost renders the testing useless in terms of protecting the community.
  • Of all of our fall course sections, 57% will be in person or offered in hybrid format. Some of our students, due to health concerns, or the fact that they are in another country, and other circumstances, will need to do their courses remotely. Please help us to accommodate these students. Last fall, this same situation occurred with the mumps outbreak and we saw some incredibly creative adaptations! We are happy to connect you to faculty members who found a way to make the difficult circumstances work.
  • An updated syllabus template was sent in an email yesterday from Carol Traupman-Carr. As you are planning your course, here are a few suggestions as we deal with the uncertainties of this fall:
    • Whether your class is online, hybrid, or face-to-face, it would be helpful to embed a video introduction in your Canvas shell to make sure that students have a sense of how you plan to run your classroom (whether virtual or in real life) before the first day of class. This is also a nice way to set any parameters or expectations that you have for the group.
    • If you have any students engaging in your courses online, take the time at the start of the semester to hear and note where they are Zooming in from, as part of the getting-to-know you process. This could be helpful if we need to reach out to the student during the term. In addition, it helps to build a community within your virtual classroom.
    • For classes that are in-person, keep aware of where students are seated in relation to one another. This could facilitate contact tracing as the definition of “close contact” evolves.
    • Because everyone should be wearing masks, classroom etiquette recommendations should include “no food or drinks in classrooms during classes.”

Good news and more video and workshops information follow my signature line.

Diane Husic shared these beautiful quotes with me and I share them with you. This, from yesterday: "That's where real courage comes from. Not from turning on each other, but by turning towards one another. Not by sowing hatred and division, but by spreading love and truth. Not by avoiding our responsibilities to create a better America and a better world, but by embracing those responsibilities with joy and perseverance and discovering that in our beloved community, we do not walk alone." Barack Obama, July 30, 2020. 

And these words from John Lewis that can guide us into this uncertain future: "When historians pick up their pens to write the story of the 21st century, let them say that it was your generation who laid down the heavy burdens of hate at last and that peace finally triumphed over violence, aggression and war. So I say to you, walk with the wind, brothers and sisters, and let the spirit of peace and the power of everlasting love be your guide." Opinion | John Lewis: Together, You Can Redeem the Soul of Our Nation

Peace,

Cynthia

Good news section:

From Christopher Shorr:

I don’t know if you’re familiar with the Lehigh Valley song project, but you may have seen various communities across the country come up with songs and music videos that celebrate community during this time of political, social, and physical distance. Our community did one of these as well, and Touchstone organized the endeavor. I participated in the process, and it was a lot of fun. (You might not know this about me, but I play ~at~ the theremin.) Here is the result—Perhaps we could share it around. Enjoy!

https://youtu.be/hLf3UI2LELI

We hosted a live, safely distanced event In the Touchstone parking lot on Friday night – “songs of hope and resistance” – which also served as a release party for this video. It was great to have the community together, face-to-face celebrating in a safe manner. 

More publication news:

New publication Crystal Fodrey and Meg Mikovits “Theorizing WAC Faculty Development in Multimodal Project Design” in Across the Disciplines: A Journal of Language, Learning and Academic Writing https://wac.colostate.edu/docs/atd/volume17/fodrey-mikovits.pdf?fbclid=IwAR3V_dOJwZMDeW8iSDVf6PaTaCGMo3oJ34yuTnKyGTqYvJZxDuzPZi4QrsU

Dual Modality/Classroom Zoom Video and Workshops

There are Zoom capabilities in almost all classrooms.  Craig Underwood has created an instructional video that demonstrates  how to begin a Zoom session in the classroom:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gd9xL8x2Jd4&feature=youtu.be

Hybrid Classroom “Dress Rehearsal”: Please join us for an open “dress rehearsal” in a Moravian classroom while we practice simultaneous face-to-face/Zoom teaching. The first two rehearsals are scheduled for Thursday August 6th, 11-12 and Friday August 7th, 10-11 in Dana Lecture Hall. Additional rehearsals will be announced via email. Please wear a mask and bring a laptop and earphones. Space is limited to 15 people per in person session and will be first registered, first served.  Remote zoom participation is unlimited. Please RSVP with the date and whether you want to attend in person or remotely to teachlearn@moravian.edu .  You will receive an email to confirm your spot.

Quality Matters Rubric Workshop

Moravian faculty are invited to attend and participate in the Quality Matters Rubric Discussion every Thursdays at 3pm. Starting on July 9, Bernie has been holding a discussion group on applying the Quality Matters Rubric to online courses. 

Continuing next week:

  • Thursday, August 6, 2020 Standards 4, 5 and 6. Register in advance here.
  • Thursday, August 13, 2020 Applying the QM Rubric. Register in advance here.

Online Education and Innovation Website

Please visit our new Video Library  page where you will find recordings of this summer’s workshops. Please visit Resources for Online Teaching page where you will find the following: Moravian College's Quality Standards for Online Courses, Moravian College's Quality Standards Checklist, and Online Classroom Community Standards.


July 24, 2020

Dear faculty colleagues,

Finding ways to work in the new normal (i.e. constant disruption) continues to challenge us, but fortunately, also provokes creativity. I am impressed with your willingness to work harder than ever over the summer, your adaptability, and your patience. Thank you.

Please remember that we need you to work through the deans on any change in schedules. The Registrar's office is inundated with requests and they need to get schedules finished for our incoming students. Thank you for your compliance with this request.

In the news:

Everyone saw the announcement from Lafayette about going remote and, let me clarify that their decision does not impact our plans. In addition, Lafayette will also have some students on campus even in their largely remote mode. We will be relying on state and federal guidelines and requirements, and the extensive careful planning work that has been done since spring involving many members of the campus community. Many schools like ours, with robust education, health, and undergraduate research programs are doing their utmost to maintain in person experiences, which are in fact required by accrediting and certifying agencies.

PA expands travel advisories. “Pennsylvania has added two more states to its coronavirus quarantine travel advisory, bringing the total to 20.”

Latest news from Washington. Discussions in the Senate continue about what the next relief package might look like. We will all need to wait and see, but contacting your representatives about your views, could not hurt.

Here are the answers to some of the life at Moravian questions that you have been asking:

Updated Fall Calendar:

Here is the updated calendar for the 2020-21 academic year. Please note that the calendar for spring ‘21 could still change.

Matriculation and Convocation:

Convocation will be in a zoomed Town Hall like format. More details will be forthcoming soon.

Matriculation: We will “Live Stream” Matriculation on Thursday, August 20 at 8:00 p.m. Jennika Borger is putting together a program for students and their families. We are asking you all to participate! Short speeches will be pre-recorded.

Student concerns about online classes: As students are reviewing their schedules, many of you are getting questions about whether they “have” to come to campus if most of all of their classes are online. Please remind students of the value of the on campus experience beyond specific class meetings: opportunities to connect with peers and faculty, ongoing activities in student life, dedicated campus space for study and research. Commuter students already make their own choices about coming physically to campus. Resident students who wish to change their status (ie: who decide they will not come to campus) need to get approval from Housing. Before getting that approval, these students should consult with Kevin Hartshorn, who can work with the appropriate offices to address the student’s concerns. 

Students with schedule conflicts: Thank you for working with our students that have found themselves with schedule conflicts due to the change in our course scheduling for the fall semester. Your willingness to find creative solutions for these students is greatly appreciated. As a reminder, if you as the instructor are willing to have the student remain in your class and work with you despite the scheduling/time conflict, you do need to submit the Time Conflict Authorization in AMOS. This authorization needs to be submitted by the instructors of both courses that are causing the time conflict. This may be done on the AMOS Faculty tab under Course Authorization.

A few policy/procedure changes you need to know about:

We had a practice of rounding 31.75 units up to 32 units for students finishing their final semester. For all new undergraduate students (both first year and transfer students) entering in Fall 2020 and beyond, we will no longer round up from 31.75 to 32 units (or from 32.75 to 33 for B.Mus. students). Students will need to earn 32 units or more in order to be awarded a bachelor’s degree.

The Center for Global Education now has all current application information for students and faculty involved in study abroad or faculty-led travel courses on an AMOS site.  Of course, we hope that in the near future, we can actively encourage and pursue international travel experiences for our students and faculty.  The site, which also contains a lot of useful information for our international students, can be found here (your login required):  https://amos.moravian.edu/ICS/Campus_Life/Center_for_Global_Education/  (Please note that this is still a work in progress, and more information and updates will be posted a later dates, but this will now be the single location for all such information.)

The Center for Global Education shortly will be sending a survey to all faculty and staff to collect information on what languages other than English are spoken among our community.  Having this information handy will help when we need assistance with students and families whose primary language is not English.  We appreciate your cooperation in completing that short survey when it is sent to you.

The Academic Standards Committee made some modest changes in language to the academic code of conduct to reflect your concerns over student behavior in the online environment. (The update will appear in the 2020-2021 catalog, when that is published on our website.)  While students doing things like turning off the Respondus Monitoring alarms or leaving the view of the camera are not evidence of cheating, such behaviors do create suspicion of cheating.  Thus, we have added a section to the policy about appropriate behavior and expectations in the online environment.  We encourage you to have a conversation (that is, do more than point to the policy or include a statement in the syllabus) with students early on in your classes about your expectations of student work and academic honesty in the context of your courses (particularly given our changing modalities), as well as why it matters to you, as a scholar and educator.

We will be looking forward to comments and suggestions on our processes and procedures. Stay tuned for more information on that.

Plenty of good news to share:

This week Sarah Johnson shares an update on SOAR with photos of students at work! Please notice their physically distanced workspaces and masks. Thanks to all the faculty and students participating in this especially challenging format!

Mark Harris recently received a Leadership Award from the Green Burial Council, an international nonprofit organization that promotes sustainable deathcare practices. The news release is here. Congratulations Mark!

Karen Groeller and colleagues, Pamela Adamshick and Kristine Petre recently published a paper together, “Embracing evidence-based nursing and informational literacy through an innovative undergraduate collaborative project” which is a longitudinal literature-based study (scoping review) as we teach our senior nursing students nursing inquiry. AND Karen has also been selected to receive the 2020 Cedar Crest College Distinguished Nursing Alumni Award for Nursing Education. Congratulations Karen, and Pam and Kris!

Dana Dunn collaborated with colleagues on an article, which deals with Disability, Medical Rationing, and COVID-19. The article was given an expedited review and will appear in the flagship journal of psychology, the American Psychologist, in a special issue on the Coronavirus. Dana also finishes up his year as President of Division 22 in early August--and this is a fine way to finish. Here is the link to the Online First publication through the American Psychologist--the article is titled “No Body Is Expendable: Medical Rationing and Disability Justice During the COVID-19 Pandemic” by Erin E. Andrews, Kara B. Ayers, Kathleen S. Brown, Dana S. Dunn, and Carrie R. Pilarski. Online First Publication, July 23, 2020. https://doi.apa.org/fulltext/2020-54103-001.html

Congratulations to Claudia Mesa! She has been awarded a fellowship at the Herzog August Bibliothek at Wolfenbüttel. The title of her project is: From Transatlantic to Global: Emblems in Imperial Spain (1531-1716). It is a two-month fellowship and it requires residence in Wolfenbüttel. Claudia expects to be in Germany when traveling is back to normal in 2021.

Last week I neglected to thank Kin Cheung for his Morning Call Op ed (THE MORNING CALL, JUL 14, 2020) about international students. Thankfully, his position won the day! At least so far...

Carol Traupman-Carr,  Dana Dunn, and Deborah Wetcher-Hendricks had a chapter accepted to a book on assessment (we were recommended by MSCHE for participation -- so kudos to all of us for making progress on academic assessment!  Keep up the good work).  The book, Exemplars of Assessment in Higher Education, will be published in 2021 by the Association for the Assessment of Learning in Higher Education.

I would like to acknowledge once more the daily sacrifices that you have made and that are to come for us all and encourage you to forge ahead knowing that we are bearing these sacrifices together. Our task really is noble: we are educating for the future, and if this moment in history has taught us anything, it is that we need an educated citizenry.

Peace and safety to you all,

Cynthia


July 17, 2020

Dear colleagues,

The news from the pandemic continues apace. With increasing rates in many states, including Pennsylvania, we will see new measures emerging here in the valley over the coming days and weeks. We remain vigilant on campus and continue to limit access to the buildings and grounds. Our current plan in academic affairs is to keep meetings virtual, using zoom whenever possible. Working virtually, generally, is encouraged when you can. Also, obviously, wear masks and wash your hands often.

Happy news for international students! It was a roller coaster few days for our international students and us as the federal government planned to return to online restrictions for international students in place before COVID. The plan was abandoned because of outcry and suits (Moravian signed the Amicus Brief in support of our students). We are grateful that common sense prevailed. 

A number of questions have arisen lately, and I will try to address each of them. Several questions about COVID testing have emerged, and I do not yet have the answers to those—I hope to soon. Feel free to contact me or any of our academic leadership group and I will try to make sure you get the answers that you need!

Calendar updates and clarifications:

  • No Heritage Day this fall. It will be postponed.
  • No class on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving
  • No in-person undergraduate classes after Thanksgiving.

Black Lives Matter, planning/actions and events: 

In this time of cultural reawakening and social upheaval, words are imperfect tools of expression. Nevertheless, letters, facebook posts, instagram posts, listening events, conversations, are clear and passionate pleas for change. Let me state with absolute clarity: I agree. Change is needed. Racism must cease. Racism is cruel and abhorrent — as is discrimination based on gender identity. The structures that support racism and discrimination must be rebuilt. Black, brown, and indigenous, and LGBTQ+ peoples must be finally afforded absolute and genuine equality, free from abuse, aggression, and neglect. All of us at Moravian College need to start in our own house “to make the change we want to see in the world.” 

We continue to listen and ask questions. But we are not sitting still and merely collecting data. The two listening events held this week will result in a shared plan of measurable actions and we continue to work closely with our equity and diversity consultants at ICC. The DEI team will be providing updates in the coming weeks. Some of the requests for change we are already acting on: The Associate Provost for DEI will sit on the President’s cabinet and have regular meetings with the President. We have an excellent group of candidates of color. And we will give the new member of the team the support that they need to succeed. The salary is competitive. We will be expanding the personnel support for the DEI team in the fall. Many of the requests for change in admissions are already in place (e.g., we no longer require SAT/ACT), or in process (e.g. we are planning for the hire of a second multicultural recruiter; finding new ways to support financially our underrepresented students). I am personally supportive of, and excited by, some of the suggestions from faculty, staff, alumni, and students regarding curricular change and you will have my full support in making these happen.

I remain committed to the work and to the entire community of Moravian College.

Schedules and Fall 2020 Course Plans

I probably don’t need to remind you, but here I am doing it: things are still in flux, and we don't have all the answers at the moment (e.g., in which space your classes will be, or when budgets will be finalized and published). Remember, too, that schedules are not yet built for well over 100 first year and transfer students and we have not yet registered the dean's scholars. Thus, we don't know the course sizes for many 100 level courses, which further impacts where they will be scheduled.

Important request: We understand faculty concerns about health and safety and about quality of teaching for fall given all the uncertainty. While room assignments for courses are not yet complete, such decisions are being based on a) the number of faculty who indicated in the survey a preference for on-campus teaching for fall, b) course enrollments, and c) spacing of 45 sq. ft - 65 sq ft per person for physical distancing. We also need rooms for students who are on campus to use while participating in synchronous online courses. Thus, we are asking you to refrain from requesting a change to your course delivery modality at this time unless you have emergent health issues or you have been working with your school dean to help solve other space or curricular issues. Scheduling has already been extraordinarily challenging for the Registrar's office. Please work through your school dean, rather than the Registrar, if you have concerns. Thank you!

Many students (and, yes, parents) are raising concerns about class shifts in modality and are expressing concerns about a primarily online fall semester. It will be important for faculty as instructors to engage with Bernie and his team to prepare to deliver the same high quality courses you always have in person, while online, whether through choice or space constraints. As academic advisors, you may also be hearing from students with concerns. For students with current course conflicts driven by the schedule change, flags will be raised in Momentum next week asking advisors to help adjust fall schedules. Some students have lost courses to cancellation after registration in the spring. These and all students not enrolled in four units for the fall will receive notification in early August, also through Momentum. Please watch for those notices and work with your advisees, as you are able. If you need support as an advisor amid these changes, please reach out to Monica Jacobe.

Sports: 

The Centennial Conference, as I mentioned last week, has cancelled their sports for the Fall. The Landmark met yesterday and decided to postpone their decision “for a couple of weeks” though they did decide not to allow the athletes to return to campus early. Thus, we do not yet know what the Fall will look like for many of our teams. The Academic Administrative Team is already working with Mary Beth to discuss ways to support our student-athletes and encourage them to continue with their studies this coming academic year. For these students, athletics is a critical part of their identity and thus, their overall well being. We must be cognizant of this sense of loss they will likely experience, even if they gain an extra year of eligibility.

Good news to share and celebrate:

Message from Sarah Johnson and CUR: For photos and videos and an update please click on the link!!

Please congratulate Dr. Dana S. Dunn, in his new role as: Incoming Editor of Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Psychology (STL).

Moravian College is one of 11 collaborating institutions on a newly awarded 5-year National Science Foundation Research Coordination Network grant from the Undergraduate Biology Education Division. The grant is titled Youth Environmental Alliance in Higher Education.  The grant involves a multi-institutional international network focused on providing students with real-world experience in collaborative, evidence-based approaches to global sustainability. Participating students will be part of an on-line virtual classroom international network and will learn how scientific principles are applied in national and global decision-making followed by the opportunity to participate in international environmental negotiations. Dr. Diane Husic will chair a subgroup of the steering committee on self-assessments for the project.

Please send me your good news to share in these Friday letters!

Online updates and preparations:

The Online and TLC folks, with the support of Extension Engine, are performing heroic feats of work and support. I cannot thank them enough for the planning, research, teaching, and learning they are doing. And I cannot thank you all enough for taking advantage of all these opportunities. A phenomenal number of human hours has been invested in preparing for the fall. Thank you.

Following my signature line, as I have done before, I am including important information on scheduling for TLC and Online events for your information. I so appreciate your continued patience as we work through preparations for the fall semester and beyond. Please stay safe and well.

With thanks to you all,

Cynthia

Some reminders:

Moravian faculty are invited to attend and participate in the Quality Matters Rubric Discussion every Thursdays at 3pm. Starting on July 9, Bernie has been holding a discussion group on applying the Quality Matters Rubric to online courses. 

Continuing next week:

  • Thursday, July 23, 2020 Standards 7 and 8. Register in advance here.
  • Thursday, July 30, 2020 Standard 2 and 3. Register in advance here.
  • Thursday, August 6, 2020 Standard 4, 5 and 6. Register in advance here.
  • Thursday, August 13, 2020 Applying the QM Rubric. Register in advance here.

Trauma-Informed Teaching and Learning for the Whole Student, co-sponsored by Student Success and TLC

For more information about trauma informed teaching, please see: Trauma-Informed Teaching Blog, this article from the Chronicle of Higher Education on Trauma-Informed Teaching


July 10, 2020

Dear colleagues,

I will keep this note fairly short and will update you henceforth as needed and as things change. Personally, I am back in Bethlehem and in a two week self-quarantine following my travels. It was nice to leave the computer at home for a bit, read fiction, walk, eat, and walk some more. I hope you all find at least little time to relax with your families as well.

Not a day goes by without some new development that impacts you and our students. As many of you already know ICE has issued new orders regarding International students and online education. Our Center for Global Education has been working directly with our international students, and our plans for the fall are supportive of our international student population and already are, or will be, in compliance with the new ICE guidelines. However, there are some larger concerns about the implication of these orders. This letter from Tom Foley at AICUP does a nice job of outlining this particular issue and the resulting higher ed responses. Our own Dr. Kin Cheung was interviewed on Wednesday, July 8 about the ICE orders. I am sharing this link to the NAICU Washington Update from July 10 by Barbara K. Mistik as well for other news that concerns higher education.

The Centennial Conference has suspended Division III sports for the fall semester (that means no football for us) and we are awaiting the decision of the Landmark Conference to learn the fate of the rest of our competitive sports. 

Enrollment deposits remain at 428 new traditional undergraduates, 84 transfers, and 15 new international students. Our discount rate is still slightly under last year at this time, but with appeals, we are not yet near to knowing with certainty what our final number will be.

The scheduling task force has been meeting to plan for the spring and beyond.   We will be broadening the conversation over the coming weeks to your departments. 

Please also remember all the events coming up from DEI and from our Online and TLC teams. I hope to see you at these.

Stay dry in this blustery weather, and safe,

Cynthia

From Bernie Cantens: Online Education and Innovation (OEI)

Dear Colleagues, 

I hope you are all having a safe and relaxing summer. As you know, COVID-19 has been challenging for all institutions, and we are no exception. In an effort to get ahead of the Fall 2020 curve, Moravian’s instructional design team and Extension Engine, a leader in online course design, are teaming up to provide additional support for faculty interested in improving their online or hybrid courses.  This initiative will have the following goals:

  1. Assess risk and status of current courses to determine where support is most needed
  2. Provide faculty with a support structure for shaping their courses for Fall 2020 delivery
  3. Create opportunities for collaboration between faculty and OEI for continued improvement on online course design

Below is a link to a new form to help the Extension Engine team capture your support requests and questions, and most importantly, give you an opportunity to start self-assessing your current course status. Once you complete this form, a new report will be created and shared with you (to the email address you provide) moments after you submit! This is a new, living document that you and our team can work on together in an effort to make targeted and timely improvements to your Fall 2020 courses inside the Canvas environment. 

Additionally, we will be creating a new Faculty Course Development area inside of Canvas. The purpose of this Canvas shell is to guide you in your course design for Fall 2020, and contains both instructional and technical guidance for teaching with Canvas. We start with information on syllabus building, grade book management and student orientation guidance. As the summer progresses, we will continue to expand the resources of the Faculty Course Development shell.  

We know that the challenges ahead are large, and we know our students’ success in these times is paramount. We believe this process of working collaboratively and targeting improvement areas for your courses will help keep student success in the forefront, and help make your work more manageable in this fluid environment. 

We are here to help you! 

Thank you.

Fall 2020 Course Evaluation: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdyeQ6PTTOR35cXMk43RzRAVZnL6Z1KgjGrDeLsg3aaaLBLeA/viewform

 


June 25, 2020

Dear colleagues,

Because we have been thinking so much lately how the past informs the present, I googled this day in history. Two items struck me:

1947 The Diary of Anne Frank is published. The Jewish girl's account of her life in hiding from the Nazis has become a well-known work of world literature and made Anne one of the most prominent victims of the Nazi regime. She died at age 15 in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.

1967 The world's first live global satellite TV program is aired. The BBC program “Our World” featured artists from 19 countries. The Beatles premiered their song “All You Need Is Love” on the show. Some 400 million viewers tuned in.

The connections between these events and now are pretty clear. Technologically our world has transformed from the days of the first global satellite program, but we have not moved as far as we should have in terms of treating all of our fellow citizens with care, concern, and equity. Our hope is that we can continue to work on that task together with enthusiasm. Thank you in advance for your willingness to help in these critical common projects. Stay tuned as our DEI and BRIT teams are leading our work on campus during the summer and we hope that you will be able to participate in the various conversations and workshops that are being planned.

Updates and additional information:

The first of two virtual Summer FAIR sessions began June 15 and is well underway delivering academic advising and programming on campus services to 313 of our first-year students. These students had course plans developed by advising staff and enrollments began for this group today. Incoming first-year students who take part in the second sessions of Summer FAIR, beginning July 13, will be enrolled in courses in July, as many are still depositing and completing their pre-registration survey. After those enrollments take place, we will also be enrolling Dean’s Scholars, who will participate in Fall semester courses virtually. So, course enrollments will continue to evolve across the summer.

As a reminder, we have adjusted the fall calendar and class schedule, and I appreciate how quickly you have worked with Daniel and Diane, so that we can make the shift as seamless as possible. We plan to have changes for the fall finalized and in place by July 2, but many students will need help resolving scheduling conflicts that arise, whether between classes or with class and other commitments. If you receive a notice that your advisee has a schedule conflict, please reach out to the student to offer assistance. Daniel, Diane, Carol, Kevin, and Monica Jacobe are all available to lend support, as needed. Please don’t hesitate to reach out.

Enrollment update: Currently our incoming freshman class is holding pretty steady. As of 6/23/2020 there are 428 traditional undergraduates deposited, 80 transfer students, 7 international students. Our revised deadline was July 1, 2020, so there is still room to move on these numbers. We are hoping for strong retention numbers as well. While cautious optimism is in order and tremendous thanks goes to our admissions team and all the faculty and staff who help with recruiting, do remember that there are still many uncertainties ahead.

We have said it many times, but once again, we want to acknowledge all of the hard work and flexibility of the faculty under these unprecedented circumstances. You have adapted your modes of teaching and now your course schedules. For months, departments have been holding discussions on how to best serve students under the different color scenarios of COVID-19. You are fielding concerns of colleagues including adjuncts and staff members and from students. This comes at the expense of your time for scholarship, time with your family, and your own personal time. There is no sufficient way to thank you for these sacrifices.

We also want to acknowledge and thank all of the staff who are working during these stressful times. Their contributions are many: keeping the campus both beautiful and safe; collecting data and revising schedules (sometimes numerous times); running Summer FAIR; finding new and creative ways to not only fill the new class for fall ‘20, but for the subsequent year as well; restructuring our campus physically and administratively for the new COVID reality; responding to concerns and anxieties from students, parents, and members of the community, and many other ways of creating a safe and effective education environment!

Next week I will take a break from the normal weekly letter. Of course, any critical or time sensitive updates will be shared as needed.

Friday we go green and that still means MASKS! You know, they are, or can be, stylish:-)

Thank you to all, 

Cynthia, along with Carol, Bernie, Daniel, Diane, Kevin, and Jane 

More resources:

From Meg Mikovitz: I highly recommend the podcast series Scene on Radio season 2, "Seeing White" and season 4, "The Land that Never Has Been Yet." Both are extremely well-researched and presented in such a way that is accessible for people who are engaging with these ideas for the first time, but still really captivating for people who already have some background understanding. 


June 18, 2020

Dear colleagues,

I want to be sure that we take time this week to consider how we as a campus are responding to black lives matter and the protests occurring around the world. This very long letter is being sent today in recognition of tomorrow’s importance. The letter begins with sharing issues of national importance, but ends with matters of time-sensitive importance to the performance of our jobs, such as fall scheduling and online professional development. Please try to get all the way to the end.

Tomorrow is June 19th (Juneteenth or Freedom Day). The Emancipation Proclamation was issued in 1863, but it was not until the Civil War ended that all slaves were freed in the United States. On June 19th, 1865, Union General Gordon Granger announced in Texas “General Orders no. 3,” which proclaimed that “all slaves are free.” The decades that followed Order no. 3 saw regular celebrations, which diminished in the twentieth century until Martin Luther King Jr. revived it. Forty-seven states and Washington D.C, observe this as a holiday. Hawaii, North Dakota, and South Dakota do not observe Freedom Day. Pennsylvania has made June 19th a state holiday and state services are suspended on those days.

It feels like every letter needs to acknowledge yet another horrific death of one of our black citizens. This week it is the murder of Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta that we mourne. So, today my letter, like the President’s, concerns the issue of race and how we, here at Moravian College, will begin to address the structures and attitudes that keep us from making the progress that we must make to bring our world closer to a state of justice. I am sharing some of the things that we have been working on as well as the beginnings of an attempt to understand the history that we share.

In the Fall of 2019, the office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion requested support to bring in a diversity and equity consultant to move us forward on these critical issues. Agreeing fully that this was the right thing to do, we brought in Inclusive Community Consulting. This organization, led by Dr. Daisy Purdy,  is a cooperative with a strong social justice focus. On their web page, and in our interactions with them, they speak explicitly of justice, of decolonization, and of specific contributions from various minoritized groups and cultures toward just growth. In one statement on Education, they note: “ICC offers curriculum development services for educational organizations and programs that seek to elevate equity and inclusion within their educational communities. Our curriculum development support helps students, faculty, and staff co-create learning environments that foster greater engagement, creativity, and personal and group growth.” We have been working with them directly since February, when members of the team came to campus to do an initial interview with several faculty, staff, and students. Their intention was to return to campus, but, as you know, a pandemic intervened. Nevertheless they continue to advise, seek data, and support our efforts. They will be submitting a report to us and when that is done, I will share it with the community.

Currently, DEI is finalizing the details for two 2-part workshops for students, staff and faculty regarding the trauma of racism. These will be led by Dr. Hasshan Batts. Dr. Batts is a community epidemiologist, community-based participatory researcher and leading expert on trauma-informed care, reentry and community engagement.  The first workshop is titled “StoryHealing” and is intended for those impacted by the trauma of racism.  It will be held on Tuesday, June 23 and Thursday, June 25 from 6 to 7:30 PM. Please click here to register for StoryHealing.

The second two-part workshop is titled “Radical Welcome” and will focus on responding to the trauma of racism and building community.  This will be on Monday, June 29 and Wednesday, July 1 from 6 to 7:30 PM.   Click here to register for Radical Welcome. 

Following Dr. Batts’ workshops, starting in July, BRIT and DEI will begin hosting “Conversations on Racism,” which will address how to be an anti-racist and what Moravian College can do as an institution to redress and combat systemic racism.  The first step of these conversations are listening sessions, one for students and alumni and a second for staff and faculty.  These beginning conversations will provide members of the college’s administration an opportunity to listen to the thoughts, concerns, hopes, and action items proposed by the various constituencies of the college community.   

The listening sessions will be divided into two parts.  During the first part of these Zoom meetings, participants will have the opportunity to talk in breakout rooms with a small group.  Staff and faculty will facilitate these discussions, and they will keep the conversation on topic: we will be discussing racism and anti-racism. Students will be divided into randomly assigned groups, and staff and faculty will be grouped in the following way: groups of staff members, adjunct faculty, tenure-track faculty and tenured faculty. 

Following the breakout rooms, each group will have an opportunity to report back to the larger group.  President Grigsby and other members of the College’s administration will listen to what has been discussed--but not respond with anything other than a thank you and a pledge to reflect deeply on what’s been said and begin imagining changes we can make.  

These opening conversations will be followed by additional opportunities for dialog that will occur during the remainder of the summer and continue into the school year.  Our goal is for the conversations to prompt open and honest discussions that will lead to concrete and measurable steps that the College can take to redress and combat systemic racism.  We intend to pair action items that the College can pursue with timelines and envision a collaborative process in which decision-making is transparent and accountability is promised. Dates and times will be announced soon. 

In a welcome move, the Bethlehem Police Department has published their use of force policy. As you will see, our Moravian Police is also publishing their use of force policy (see the President’s letter today for the policy).

Our communities have been galvanized in ways that I have not seen before. There are many ways for you to get involved or get educated on the issues facing us.

In Washington DC, the Supreme Court has been active in surprising ways in the last couple of days. The Court determined that “Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which makes it illegal for employers to discriminate because of a person's sex, also covers sexual orientation and transgender status.” In addition, “The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that the Trump administration may not immediately proceed with its plan to end a program protecting about 700,000 young immigrants known as Dreamers from deportation.” Chief Justice Roberts wrote the majority opinion. These decisions are legally complex, but support our own efforts to educate and work with all people regardless of origin, orientation, or race.

TODAY: There is a free Town Hall webinar available: “We Are Not OK.””America is on fire in many ways. This didn’t happen overnight.  Now is the time to listen to learn.  It’s time to face some ugly truths and fix them. We must increase understanding of diverse perspectives in order to build alliances that will lead to systemic policy change. Register here for this town hall TODAY AT 6:30pm featuring Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania activists and leaders: Dr. Hasshan Batts, Executive Director of Promise Neighborhoods Lehigh Valley, Rodney Bushe, Activist/Organizer, Camilla Greene, Promise Neighborhoods Board Member, Heather Harlen, Teacher & Writer, Roberta Meek, Professor, Muhlenberg College, Disley Mendez, Black Student Union, Allen High School, Yamilesa Taveras, Founder of The Unidos Foundation.”

TOMORROW: Several groups including ‘Promise Neighborhoods of the Lehigh Valley” and “Lehigh Valley Stands Up” are holding  a “Junteenth Freedom Day Event: A Day of African Freedom,” from 5-7 pm, Friday, at the Resurrected Life Community Church, at 144 N. Ninth Street, Allentown. The event will be in the parking lot, social distancing measures will be in place and masks will be available. “The Muslim empowerment group Emgage, along with other religious and civic organizations, is hosting a candlelight vigil at 8 p.m. at Seventh and Hamilton streets Allentown in remembrance of George Floyd, the Black man whose death during an arrest in Minnesota set off weeks of protests. Participants are asked to bring their own candles.” Other local events can be also found here. You may also be interested in the Diversity in Education Summit: A Virtual Summit to Address Culturally Relevant & Sustaining Education in Pennsylvania. The information and registration link is here.

You might also appreciate the  Virtual Interactive Juneteenth Event with Sweet Honey - This Friday!

Education is our mission and should include our own personal education. A recent article in Diverse Issues in Higher Education, by Dr. Patrice Rankine, Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences and Professor of Classics at the University of Richmond outlines the steps needed to move to relevant actions. And I quote:

  • First, we must know our history. 
  • Once we know our history, we must work against our own implicit biases.
  • We must work toward anti-racism, once we are awakened to social realities and our own role in them.

Step one: know our history

Below are several resources for learning something more about our shared American history. Some of these use mature language and graphic images. Please be aware if you open them. These are the tip of the iceberg. I selected videos and interviews that might give a hint about the experiences Black Americans have been living with for centuries.

And here is a useful resource with 10 ways for non-Black academics to value Black lives.  

In addition, I asked Craig Atwood, interim Dean of MTS, to share some of his thoughts as a scholar of Moravian history on the history of the Moravians and race. 

He writes:

“There is no institution or locale in the United States of America that has not been tarnished by racism, colonization, and the notion of white supremacy. Thanks to the Black Lives Matter movement and other activism for racial justice, we who live in the US in the 21st century are taking a critical look at our history and our attitudes about race and systemic oppression of people of color. For many years, Moravian College has celebrated some of the most progressive aspects of the religious and cultural heritage of the Moravians who established this institution. The Moravian Church in the 18th century was controversial because of the many ways it challenged the norms of Euro-American society, such as educating women and learning Native American languages. Moravians were also pioneers in establishing predominantly black congregations in the British, Danish, and Dutch colonies. Today, more than 85% of members of the church are people of color, primarily in Africa. But for over two decades historians have been bringing to light just how deeply Moravians, like many Europeans, were invested in slavery and how much their thinking was shaped by notions of European or white supremacy. This is a painful legacy that both the Northern and Southern provinces of the church have been addressing through public apologies for slavery and racism and through programs aimed at racial reconciliation. 

Historian Jon Sensbach wrote of the 18th century Moravians: “The Moravian story is a parable of America – of dreams for a regenerated world, of the battleground of race, of the pressures of assimilation, and the promises left in ashes. White Brethren never renounced slavery or even questioned its morality. But they share with black Brethren a common language, whose vocabulary was the foot washing, the Communion cup, and the kiss, that gave some basis for mutual empathy and respect – for a breathtakingly brief moment.” [A Separate Cannan: The Making of an Afro-Moravian World in North Carolina, 1763-1840 (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1998), 296.] Moravian College also has a history of racism and discrimination that continues to affect the institution. It is built on land that was fraudulently taken by Pennsylvania proprietors from the Lenape (or Delaware) tribe and sold to the Moravians. Until the 1970s there were rarely students of color on this campus, and those were often Moravians from other countries. 

The first student of color to graduate from Moravian was a Delaware Indian named John Killbuck in the 1870s, but he was an anomaly. Looking through the yearbooks of the 20th century shows that this was virtually a “whites only” campus long after the school secularized. Even now in the 21st century, our faculty, student body, administration, and Board of Trustees are overwhelmingly white, and our curriculum reflects primarily a Euro-American perspective. We study history not to glorify the past or to whitewash it; we study history to learn from both the successes and mistakes made by those who went before. We also study history to give voice to those who were marginalized and silenced because of oppression. Most of all we study this history so that we can do better in our time.” 

Also, the Seminary Faculty have endorsed a statement on Black Lives Matter: 

Black Lives Matter

A statement by the faculty of Moravian Theological Seminary

In response to the Black Lives Matter protests and calls for reform that are sweeping the United States in the wake of continued violence against African American citizens, the faculty of Moravian Theological Seminary reiterate our opposition to racism and renew our commitment to the pursuit of justice with mercy. As the only accredited seminary of the Moravian Church in America, we endorse the Moravian Church’s Covenant for Christian Living, which states:

Because we hold that all people are God’s creatures (Genesis 1:27) and that he has made of one blood all nations (Acts 17:26), we oppose any discrimination based on color, race, creed, or land of origin and declare that we should treat everyone with love and respect.

We look back on the history of the United States with horror and grief over the systematic dehumanization of African peoples who were captured, enslaved, and sold to work in the Americas. Although the Civil War brought an end to slavery in this country, the legacy of racially-based enslavement and oppression continues to impact African Americans in tragic ways. African Americans are three times more likely to be killed by police than whites. African Americans are much more likely to be unemployed and live in poverty than whites.

Both the Southern and Northern Provinces of the Moravian Church in America have issued formal apologies for their participation in slavery, segregation, and complicity in racism. For many years now, the Seminary has tried to overcome its historical lack of diversity and has worked to become more diverse not just in terms of the student body and faculty but also in our instruction. But we have much more work to do to overcome the blinders of white privilege and institutionalized racism. We stand with those who are calling for reforms in our society, and will pray with those in all churches who lift up their lamentations to heaven. We are committed to further work in our community and to advocate for racial justice. 

The Moravian Church’s Ground of the Unity states: We oppose any discrimination in our midst because of race or standing, and we regard it as a commandment of the Lord to bear public witness to this and to demonstrate by word and deed that we are brothers and sisters in Christ. We, the faculty of Moravian Theological Seminary, individually and collectively commit ourselves to using our words and actions to further the cause of racial equality and reconciliation. 

I concur with the MTS faculty and commit to work for justice. 

Following my signature line, I am including important information on scheduling and TLC and Online events for your information. Thank you again for your patience as we work through preparations for the fall semester and beyond. 

Sincerely yours, stay safe,

Cynthia

Changes to the Fall Schedule

First, I want to thank all of you for your deliberate and careful feedback throughout the process of weighing necessary changes to the fall schedule. You have shown how seriously we all take the education of our students, and I appreciate your willingness to be flexible and focus on the essential outcomes needed for our students to be successful.

After much consideration of faculty and student feedback, we will be moving forward with the following schedule for classes:

Period 1: 7:30-8:30
Period 2: 9:15-10:15
Period 3: 11:00-12:00
Period 4: 12:45-1:45
Period 5: 2:30-3:30
Period 6: 4:15-5:15
Morning labs: 8:00-11:00
Afternoon labs: 2:00-5:00

You will already see in AMOS the changes that reflect your choices for teaching in-person or online (synchronous or asynchronous). You can also see time shifts per the above for classes scheduled in periods 1 through 6. We are working through final details, including adjustments to the small number of period 7 classes, as well as impacts those changes may have on some of other classes and scheduling. So, you may well see additional adjustments to scheduling to address conflicts that arise in teaching schedules or conflicts that create unmanageable barriers for students in certain course sequences.

All the changes will be finalized by July 2, as much as we are able and with few exceptions. Daniel and Diane will work with department chairs to resolve any individual issues that arise for faculty schedules. Student schedule conflicts and changes for reasons beyond class schedule conflicts will be real. For students who have schedule conflicts created by these changes, both the student and their advisor will be notified. When you get such a communication, please reach out to that advisee. However, you may also have advisees who reach out to you for help in changing their schedule. Please be as available as you can for our students to support a successful fall term for them. If you need support in advising, please email advising@moravian.edu for help navigating the changed fall term and schedule demands. As you know, our students are just as anxious as we are about the fall semester. The more we can do to assure them that we are here to support them, the smoother these next few weeks will be for everyone.

TLC and Online Education

 A Free Workshop on the Apple Pencil Presented by Dr. Karen Groller,Assistant professor of Nursing and Apple Distinguished Educator (please see flyer) Tuesday, June  23, 2020 2-3pm. Please register in advance.

 Moravian Reading and Discussion Sessions (June 3-24, Wed 3:30-4:30 pm) Register in advance.   Community Book Read &Virtual Learning Session with Author of Small Teaching Online, Flower Darby (June 30, 2:00-3:30)   Registration coming soon. 

June Professional Development Session

  • Organizing Content in Canvas Tues June 23 - 9:00 am Sarah
  • Best Practices in Video Creation Thurs June 25 - 11AM David 
  • Organizing Content in Canvas  Mon June 29 - 1PM David
  •  Facilitating Zoom Sessions Tues June 30 - 2:00 pm   Sarah and Craig
  •  Instructional Technology Boot Camp - This session is designed for new faculty at Moravian College.  This will give an in-depth overview of functionalities available in Canvas, YuJa and Zoom. Fri, June 19th 1:30-3:00pm  Register
  • Canvas - Managing Student Discussions - This session will explain the different types of discussions and how to set them up.  It will also cover viewing and sorting, group discussions and grading discussions.  Mon, June 22nd 3:00-4:00pm  Register
  • Canvas Gradebook & SpeedGrader - This will be a quick tour of the Gradebook and SpeedGrader. Tue, June 23rd 7:00-8:00pm  Register
  • NEW:  Exploring the Canvas Teacher App - The mobile app provides quick access to grading, communicating, and updating through Announcements, Assignments, Discussions, and Quizzes. Wed, June 24th 1:30-2:30pm  Register
  • NEW:  Google & Canvas - Two Greats Tools That Play Nice Together - Learn how to use Google Docs for dynamic course content, let students edit a Google Doc, distribute a Google Doc template via Canvas and grade a Google Doc using SpeedGrader.  Also, works with Google Sheets and Slides.   Fri, June 26th 9:30-10:30am  Register

June 12, 2020

Dear colleagues,

Be sure to read the letter from Bryon to be sent today with the reopening Guide. Please feel free to ask questions or make comments and add these comments to the google doc. The Guide is an “evergreen” document, which means it is set up to be easily updated as new research emerges or circumstances change. There is also a frequently asked questions document (FAQ), and this is also an evergreen document.

A reminder, that for the moment, most work is still being done from home. If you need to come to campus, please let your chairperson and respective dean know. Plans to slowly bring some aspects of our work and some employees back to campus are being developed.

Recent events are reshaping all our thoughts and plans. The coronavirus, yes, but even more so the laying bare for all to witness, horrific racial injustice and the systems that support injustice. For me, these next many months will be a time for listening. While we are still working on the search for an Associate Provost for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, and we have several very impressive candidates, and actions cannot cease, I know that I also need to listen. 

In a recent first faculty meeting, I talked about listening. That skill seems more relevant now than ever. There is a need to listen to our colleagues and students of color with respect and an open mind and heart; to listen to learn and understand rather than respond. The country is, I believe, at a pivotal moment in its history. And it is time to seize this moment by looking inward and listening particularly carefully to our black colleagues, students, and friends. I subscribe to the online journal “Diverse Issues in Higher Education.” Next Friday (June 19, 1:00-2:30 EDT) they are offering a free webcast: Addressing Racism and Structural Inequality in America - What Role Does Higher Education have to Play? If you can join, I would encourage you to do so. Racism is not just a personal issue, but it is a structural one and higher education plays a role in building and transforming structures. If you want to think about where you, personally, are in terms of bias try this series of tests. You might be surprised at what you discover. DEI has been consulting with students and faculty about next steps for programs and opportunities as well as organizing events. Below, I have added a sample selection of our plans, developed by the DEI team, for action this summer and in the coming semester.  The members are Interim Dean Jane Berger and Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Training and Education Carol Moeller, Senior Diversity Officer, LaKeisha Thorpe, and thank you to the students, faculty and staff who have met with them. Please remember to look for much more on this critical topic in the coming weeks. Also below are further links to websites that can help you understand or do more to further the cause of social justice.

Updates regarding fall:

Like other campuses in the Lehigh Valley, and elsewhere, we are suspending non-essential travel in the Fall. If you believe your travel is essential, please communicate with your dean and me. We are also suspending study abroad for the fall and spring, though we have NOT decided on the May term yet. Please be patient a little longer on that particular decision.

Items connected to scheduling: Two surveys

The Faculty Teaching Preferences AMOS survey is still open for last minute input.  Please take just a couple minutes to complete your preference for teaching on-line or in person, and feel free to use the free-text option to provide context. The survey will close Monday, June 15 at noon so that the Registrar and the Scheduling Committee can begin to move class times and room assignments. If you have any problems submitting the survey you can email your answers to Sharon Maus at mauss@moravian.edu.  

As we begin to shift schedules, it will be important that students are connected with those who can best support them and ensure that they are able to stay on track for graduation. Ideally, students should be working with their advisors if they find that they must reconsider their schedule for the fall. Because I recognize that summer is an important time for you to recharge, address your research needs, and otherwise prepare for class, I am asking that you complete this survey for advisors to indicate whether you will be able to provide assistance to any of your advisees who may find themselves with schedule conflicts for the fall term. No student will be left to fend for themselves in this process. Please complete this survey by next Friday, June 19.

Regardless of the modality, we will continue to provide an excellent education for all of our students. We are committed to high quality and rigorous courses, so it is important that we take extra time to prepare this summer for our work in the fall semester. I fully acknowledge that this is an unusual burden, but my hope is that this time will be well spent and give us the flexibility we need in the coming years. We must continue to maintain our high expectations, while supporting students “wherever” their course may be. Regardless of whether you are teaching fully on-line or in a blended format, you will need to meet the expectations that were shared in a previous letter. All the materials regarding course development and standards thereof can be found on the TLC/Online websites.

Selection of Anti-Racism plans for the summer and fall:

There is no doubt that change on behalf of racial justice is strongly warranted at Moravian--as in the nation and world.  Meaningful changes result from dialog, and so right now, we are both taking immediate steps to address some of the many pressing issues we need to confront, and we are opening a dialog. What follows is a list of initial action items, and there are multiple additional steps that are under consideration.  

  1. We are about to begin a multi-phased “Conversations on Racism” at the college, how to be an anti-racist, and what Moravian can do to be an anti-racist institution.  We will start with a Zoom meeting that is open to all current and incoming students and alumni.  We are working out the technical aspects of this, and a date and time will be announced shortly.  During the first part of the meeting, participants will have the opportunity to talk in breakout rooms with a small group.  Staff and faculty will facilitate these discussions, and they will keep the conversation on topic: we will be discussing racism and anti-racism. 

Following the breakout rooms, each group will have an opportunity to report back to the larger group.  President Grigsby and other members of the College’s administration will listen to what has been discussed--but not respond with anything other than a thank you and a pledge to reflect deeply on what’s been said.  The administration will be there to listen--and only listen--because we value what students have to say, and we all listen best when we are not busy formulating a response. 

This opening conversation will be followed by additional opportunities for dialog that will occur during the remainder of the summer and continue into the school year.  We would like to also provide opportunities for the administration to listen to faculty and staff and are working on ways to do that in a manner that ensures that participants feel safe to engage.

  1. The College will be sponsoring two virtual workshops on trauma.  The first is intended for those in our community who have been directly impacted by the trauma of racism.  The second workshop is for faculty and staff and will help them to prepare to deal with that trauma that students have been experiencing this year.  In this case, the trauma refers both to racial injustice and the experience of living through a pandemic.
  2. Beginning in the fall, we will hold workshops open to all members of the campus community on what it means to be an anti-racist and how to achieve anti-racist change. 
  3. The General Education Task Force has been deeply concerned with diversity and equity throughout their process, but we will be asking them to include explicit curricular responses to this moment--and to this history.  
  4. We will be reviewing our Faculty and Student Handbooks and Student Code of Conduct for bias.  
  5. The New Faculty Orientation program will include a new session on diversity, equity and inclusion.
  6. We are examining our employment practices to ensure that everyone who works at Moravian directly or via contract is paid a living wage. 

Thank you all for being willing to work through these multi-faceted and lengthy Friday letters. I know that there is so much work for all of us to do both in terms of our day to day activities as teachers and scholars, but also as human beings committed to genuine, deep, and meaningful equality. To repeat: I am committed to listening and learning, but also to action. There is a song (actually more than one) from the 1960’s that speaks to this moment in time: Oxford Town by Bob Dylan. A second song that inspires me in this moment is "Ella's Song" sung by Sweet Honey in the Rock.  Heartbreaking that the world remains so dangerous for our citizens of color even now. 

I wish you all well.

Cynthia

Links and readings

Anti-racism

Coronavirus and reopening

Online updates

A note from Bernie and Nicole:

Dear Colleagues,

Moravian is a member of "Quality Matters" in support of our online teaching. Their goal is to: "provide a system to help you deliver on that promise: with review, improvement and certification of quality." Thanks to those of you who attended today's introductory QM info session, which was recorded and is available to view. As members, our faculty and instructors have access to all of their online instructional resources. Please reach out to Bernie cantensb@moravian.edu to learn more about how this resource can support your course design. In addition, below find information about the upcoming 'Tech and Trek Conference' which is an "an opportunity for all educators (K-Higher Ed) to explore The Mindful use of Technology, Mobile Technology, Creating High-Impact Student Experiences, and Innovations in Teaching and Learning." https://www.hiram.edu/academics/the-new-liberal-arts/tech-and-trek-the-new-liberal-arts/tech-and-trek-conference/ sponsored by Hiram College, a member of the CIC-funded consortium for online humanities, of which Moravian is a part. 

Please let us know if you have additional questions about 'Quality Matters' or any aspects of online teaching and learning. We are here and happy to help.

Sincerely,

Bernie and Nicole 


June 5, 2020

Dear colleagues,

Thank you to all of you who attended town halls and other meetings this week. I appreciate your willingness to share your hard questions, ideas, and concerns. Clearly, I was not able to answer all of your questions, but hopefully over the coming weeks our future will become increasingly clear. 

Before addressing several specific actions and decisions, I want to talk briefly about the importance of personal responsibility, especially in light what this pandemic has revealed about our society, its institutions, practices, and concomitant weaknesses. As I have said in other contexts, we must be responsible not only for ourselves, but for each other. The values that we encourage: mutual respect and accountability, diversity, inclusion, along with our appreciation for one another and the work we do, must guide us to make good choices that benefit our entire community, all members, all races and ethnicities, and all orientations. We will be expecting the same sense of responsibility to guide our students.

Now…  apologies in advance for another long email.

First, many of you have asked whether you can come to campus and start teaching. No. Not yet. We must have our reopening plan and it is required that it be shared first with the department of health. 

There are some circumstances in the health sciences that are exceptions to this general rule. Laboratory research is also in a more liminal position and we are working to get guidelines in place as quickly as possible to allow those experiences to begin. My hope is that by the end of next week we will be able share clear decisions and plans for bringing faculty and small numbers of research students back on campus. Research scientists, please keep in touch with Diane and Daniel about using your labs or other research spaces. We will get you access as soon as possible.

We will be staggering the return of staff and we will be working with the President’s cabinet and council to help create return to work plans. The Library will be providing book check out services starting next week and the Library hours and restrictions will be announced in a separate space.

Second, I have been unclear about our approach to face-to-face versus all online with respect to your own personal sense of safety. After listening to you at the two town halls, and reading the recommendations from PDE, I am accepting requests to move all of your classes entirely online for personal reasons as well as for health reasons. Please remember that you, as faculty, are in a particularly privileged position. Our FMPC staff cannot request to work remotely for most jobs, nor can our dining staff, residence hall staff. What I tried to say, rather inelegantly, at the last town hall, is please use your privilege with care. 

Third: the scheduling decision. Please read this whole section carefully.

We are going to do a modified 16 week schedule in the Fall. 

Remember, we will nevertheless be reconstructing the schedule in major ways, including moving rooms and times. There may well be situations where we also need to switch days for certain classes to utilize our room resources appropriately. I am requesting your patience and flexibility (the operative words these days) as we work through this reconstruction. 

Please take a few minutes to fill out the AMOS survey now to identify which of your own courses can be online in part or as a whole. You may want to update your choice from last week in light of the decision to use a modified 16 week schedule. There is a new option to identify classes that could work well in an 8 week format. If you have further questions, are team teaching, or have some other exceptional circumstance, please contact your chair and dean as soon as possible. 

For the past few years, we have discussed the changing demographics and learning styles of college students of the future. Over the past year, the need for change and more flexibility for all students has been made clearer as we dealt with an outbreak of the mumps and a global pandemic. While the picture of this “flexibility” is not yet in clear focus, we know that we need to consider not only traditional undergraduate students, but a more diverse student body that includes adult (post-traditional) learners and international students. These students may enter a program at multiple times during the year, rather than just in August and January. Students who encounter health or financial challenges will also benefit from flexible scheduling. What we have learned in working with adult learners is that flexibility, both in terms of modality and in terms of length of course offerings, has great benefits to their enrollment, persistence and completion. Thus, the need for change becomes obvious. How this flexible schedule will look is not yet clear, but would like to be able to make progress in this direction as early as spring 2021.

Every year, we offer 8-week classes in the Fall 1 and Fall 2 (these sub-terms currently exist). We would like to work with the chairs and faculty to identify more courses to offer in this 8-week timeframe to reduce pressure on spaces.  We are especially looking for 200 or 300 level courses that would work in this format.  We need to have a sense of this by June 12, so chairs should discuss this option with Diane or Daniel this week. Because Summer FAIR starts June 15, please note, we are not asking for Fall 2020 changes in modalities or length of time in the current 100-level courses on the 16-week schedule, in order to provide our first-year students a schedule in time for their onboarding experience. So as noted above, in the longer term, we want to move towards a more flexible sub-term model and we will be working with you all over the coming months to collaboratively design what this will look like. 

Fourth: for searches that are ongoing, please let us know where you are in the interview stage. We may be able to bring candidates in for a visit to the campus, even if we are still primarily interacting in the virtual format.

Fifth: On Monday, June 8th those of you scheduled to teach a fall class will receive a COVID-19 Faculty Survey from Ithaka S+R. This survey is completely anonymous. We will receive a report from Ithaka S+R, but will not have access to the raw data. The questions about the transition to remote work, institutional resources and your needs will help us prepare for fall 2020.

Sixth: A tip for you. Remember that by clicking on "Help" within the left side navigation in Canvas, you have access to help guides as well as live 24/7 support, including online chat and a phone hotline. Moravian pays for this extra level of support from Canvas, and I would love for you to leverage it during this time! Liz Tate is only one person and is currently our only Educational Technologist.

Finally, this has been a uniquely difficult period of time for all of us. Obviously because of the virus, but also because of the social and political upheaval we are experiencing as a country. I want to remind you that everyone is working as hard and earnestly as they can to create a safe place that allows on-going Moravian education. Even when we disagree, I genuinely believe we all have the same ultimate goal, educating our students as safely and effectively as possible. Personally, I find it is a challenge, but is also a necessity, to try to balance everyone's desires, needs, rules from the outside world, current events, best practices in public health, best practices in face-to face pedagogy, best practices in online pedagogy, with everyone's physical and mental health and safety. I am sure you feel the same.

Please be generous and understanding to one another and yourselves. The stress is real. Remember that we will not always have all the answers. And know that public health conditions may change that would once again redirect our work. Always, I urge you to find ways to relieve pressures and enjoy the things that remain dear to you.

Warm regards,

Cynthia

Below:

  • Readings of possible interest to you
  • Updates and reminders from TLC and Online Education and Innovation

Readings

In favor of opening colleges and universities

Opposed to reopening colleges and universities

General 

TLC and Online Education and Innovation Reminders
Moravian College is participating in the LVAIC Summer Reading Group which is focusing on the text Small Teaching Online: Applying Learning Science in Online Classics, Flower Darby with James Lang. You can register in advance for the LVAIC Reading Group here. A free copy of the book is available to all Moravian professors: Small Teaching Online: Applying Learning Science in Online Classes.

Moravian Reading Group TLC and Online Education will continue the conversation around Small Teaching Online at Moravian College. We will meet on Wednesdays,  3-4pm. We are looking for discussion leaders, so if you are interested please sign upYou can register in advance for the session.

The author, Flower Darby,  will be present (virtually) on June 30, 2020. 

Professional Development Workshops

As we get ready for online teaching for Fall 2020, TLC and Online Education & Innovation  continue to offer faculty professional development workshops throughout the month of June.  Please visit the website for a list of workshops and advance registration information.

Instructional Technology Boot Camp - Highly Recommended for those new to online teaching. This session is designed to give an in-depth overview of functionalities available in Canvas, YuJa and Zoom. 

Fri, June 19th 1:30-3:00pm  Register

Quality Matters

On Tuesday, June 9 at 3:00 pm we will have an introductory session to Quality Matters (QM) resources. As members of QM, our instructors have access to their   online teaching resources which will be very helpful in preparing for online teaching in Fall 2020. The purpose of the session is to provide  Moravian faculty with instruction on how to create their own personal account, log-on, and navigate the QM website to access its online teaching resources. Register in advance for the introduction to Quality Matters session.

QM is a “global [non-profit] organization leading quality assurance in online and innovative digital teaching and learning environments.” More than 1,300 colleges and universities participate in its online professional development programs, and it has trained over 52,000 online instructors and professional educators.

QM’s Mission: Promote and improve the quality of online education and student learning nationally and internationally through:

  • Development of current, research-supported, and practice-based quality standards and appropriate evaluation tools and procedures.
  • Recognition of expertise in online education quality assurance and evaluation.
  • Fostering a culture of continuous improvement by integrating QM Standards and processes into organizational plans to improve the quality of online education.
  • Providing professional development in the use of rubrics, tools and practices to improve the quality of online education.
  • Peer review and certification of quality in online education.

May 29, 2020

Dear colleagues,

Many of you saw Bryon’s hopeful letter about opening in the fall semester. There is still a tremendous amount of work to do to get ready for classes and I will need your help and advice and, in some cases cooperation, in the coming weeks and days to do the best we can safely to accommodate your needs and concerns, while ensuring that our students have a successful and fulfilling fall semester, whatever the outside world brings to our communities. I also want you to know that there is a Faculty-Workforce subcommittee working with HR and they have ideas and questions that I will be sharing next week. In addition, I will be communicating more very soon about summer safety measures and any potential on-campus summer programming.  Summer 1 courses begin Monday, of course, and those will continue online as previously announced, as will courses slated for Summer 2.

This week, we need to talk about scheduling. You all know that we are constantly reading about, in the news, and through our various networks, what other schools are doing, thinking, and planning. We are doing all we can to follow CDC and other governmental guidelines faithfully. In the Lehigh Valley, the six colleges of the LVAIC group remain in close communication and have been sharing ideas about all aspects of reopening to students in the fall. What I want to share with you today are some of the ideas that we have been considering regarding scheduling in the fall and beyond. These are ideas that our colleagues in LVAIC are also considering. So, at this point, I urgently need feedback from you on two things: 1) Your thoughts on our scheduling models and 2) Your specific plans and hopes with regards to your classes for the fall. These questions will be explained in more detail below.

We all recognize the importance and deep value of face-to-face educational interaction. That is at the heart of the Moravian experience. Because of our commitment to these experiences, which we hold to be fundamental to educating our students effectively, we are doing all we can to be able to offer such opportunities, while remaining committed to the health and safety of all our community. Nevertheless, I will continue to ask you to be prepared for online teaching and learning. There will be many, many opportunities throughout the summer for you to get the help you need to design courses that are flexible (hence the comments about “dual-modalities” and the “HyFlex” model). 

Here is the first place I need your cooperation: please take advantage of the opportunities that are offered. If your courses end up entirely online, I want to ensure that both you and your students have an experience that is satisfying. At the end of this letter, you will find more opportunities for learning about online pedagogies and online practices.

Scheduling:

As I noted last week, there must be changes to our schedule for the Fall and these changes will have an impact on when, and perhaps how, your courses are offered. We need to be thinking longer term as well. Most experts agree that the coronavirus is here to stay and, given human behavior, we are likely to see other such pandemics in our lifetimes. A question to ask yourself is how do we increase the flexibility and effectiveness in the offering of our current curriculum, while reducing health risks to our community? Our current model of scheduling results in numerous classes at once, significant movement across and around the campus, quick movement between classes and a relatively narrow band of hours to offer the majority of our courses. That model intermixes faculty and students in dozens of ways that increases the difficulty of tracing contacts, should we need to do so, and increases the number of people with whom each person comes into contact. In addition, it makes accommodating the flow of people difficult and does not allow for enough time between classes to effectively clean the spaces we have used. Over the past several weeks, the academic administration team has examined several scenarios, including different scheduling options. We recognize that any model comes with some risk (to health, for the economic status of the institution, and for student success), and that any change to what we are familiar with comes with disruption. We will not eliminate risk, but we hope to manage it. And as we all know, we must adjust to (and perhaps help to create) the “new normal.”

The scheduling group, led by Carol Traupman-Carr and Kevin Hartshorn, was tasked with thinking through these specific scheduling problems and offering solutions. Many of you have been contacted over the last week or so for your input already. Thank you for your help. 

Some change is inevitable, because, as you can imagine, in order to accommodate the flow of people in buildings, and to properly clean classrooms between classes, at a minimum we will need to have more time between classes (we are currently thinking in terms of 30 minutes, but that time frame might be unrealistically short). The models designed so far are here: Fall 2020 Scheduling Models. The model that I currently prefer is the split semester version (2 classes/sub-term). I lean towards that in part because I believe students will benefit by concentrating on two rather than four classes. I also believe it gives us the best chance of reducing the number of young people that faculty come into contact with during the term (which increases the chance of keeping the adults safer). If all courses are fully online, two classes, rather than four, at one time will be more manageable for students. And one or two rather than three or more is more manageable for faculty. An added potential benefit is that this model is also being seriously considered now by three other valley colleges. I say all that so you know what I am thinking. Nevertheless, you need to weigh in. I might be missing something so very obvious to you!

Here is the second place that I ask for your cooperation: Please comment! I, we, genuinely want your feedback, which you can provide on the document shared above. More minds are better than fewer. 

About your planned classes:

To fully understand what we will need to do physically to move safely around, it would be helpful to know your specific plans and preferences.  Some faculty have already informed me that, due to underlying health concerns of their own or a close family member, they would prefer to offer their courses online for the entire fall semester. And this is the third place for which I ask for your cooperation: I am asking all faculty to complete this form on AMOS so that we can best plan our schedules.  (You will need to be logged onto AMOS for this link to work. The link will take you there). This information will also help us determine which scheduling scenario is best for our college.

Thank you for your attention to this lengthy and multifaceted, multi-document, Friday letter. After my signature line, you will also find more on training and reading opportunities through the TLC and Online Education offices.

Finally, I keep reminding you to find the moments of joy in your lives. This online article spoke to me, and those of you that know me know it was the bird photo that pulled me in. The other day I saw a small blue-grey Gnatcatcher on my Sunday walk - my first sighting of this pretty little bird. That and things like that are among the things that lift my spirits. If you would like to share with me and one-another what brings you joy, please do so! 

Be well and safe!

As always,

Cynthia

Teaching and Learning Center and Online Education -- Reading Group

Moravian will be participating in the LVAIC Summer Reading Group (June 9-30, 2020).  Moravian faculty is invited to attend and participate. We will be reading, analyzing and discussing Small Teaching Online:Applying Learning Science in Online Classes.  The E-Books are available to all faculty for free:  ➠ Small Teaching Online: Applying Learning Science in Online Classes   and  Small Teaching: Everyday Lessons from the Science of Learning. In addition, the author, Flower Darby, will be presenting on June 30, 2020. If you are interested in attending the regular group sessions and the author session you may register.

Moravian Reading Group TLC and Online Education would like to continue the conversation around Small Teaching Online at Moravian College. Our goal is to help further faculty online pedagogical reflection, create a stronger faculty online community, and develop more faculty mentor relationships. We will meet on Wednesdays,  3-4pm. We are looking for discussion leaders, so if you are interested please sign up hereTo attend the reading/discussion group, please register here.

Small Teaching Online has received a lot of praise as an excellent introduction to online teaching. It is grounded in good pedagogical theory and research, and it provides many excellent practical tips for designing online courses. Here is one of many excellent reviews the book has received: “What faculty members teaching online need most of all are research-based, but very practical strategies they can use in their online environments tomorrow.” Darby and Lang’s book, Chock full of great ideas that faculty can use right away, is just the resource we have all been waiting for. Larry Gallagher, Northern Arizona University.
Apple Professional Learning Team

Scheduled Sessions :

Virtual one-on-one coaching sessions with Apple Professional Learning specialists are available for free to help educators hone their approach to online student learning and workflows. Send an email to appleprofessionallearning@apple.com to request a virtual coaching session. As you explore features of Apple Pencil, there are a couple of apps that will be helpful for you to have downloaded in advance. These apps are:

Professional Instructional Design and Technologists Workshops

  •  May Report
    • 88 Moravian instructors attended. 
    • 252  total attendees, averaging about 50 people per week.
    • Congratulations to David Castañeda, Sarah Rentz and Liz Tatefo all of their hard work!
  •  June Workshops 

Have a restful weekend!

 


May 22, 2020

Dear Faculty colleagues,

This week, I have several documents and links to share with you as we move into summer and even more serious planning for the fall. Please be sure to read to the end of the letter and links section! 

We have been tasked by the president with seriously rethinking scheduling for the fall, and beyond, and some changes will clearly have to happen, even if we move to expand our multimodal approach to teaching to include online/hybrid teaching. (There has been a resurgence of interest in what is known as the HyFlex model of teaching - also called multimodal - and you will start to see references to that term.) 

Some schedule items to note as you think about your classes: We will have class on Labor Day. We will not have a Fall break. We may schedule classes on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. No classes will be held on campus after Thanksgiving (we can still think about either fully online after that time, or online finals after that break, but students will not be coming back to campus. (The scheduling group noted below is looking at this.) 

We will need to have longer times between classes for health-and-safety reasons including cleaning and the fact that we will need to regulate the comings and goings into classroom spaces. We need to rethink labs and safety (there is a working group for that). We may have to move smaller classes into larger classrooms. I have asked the “Scheduling” sub-committee to address the suggestions made at recent meetings as well as to come up with ideas and plans that we can vet with as many of you as possible before implementation. The lead members are Kevin Hartshorn, Carol Traupman-Carr, Monique Davis, Sharon Maus, David Brandes along with Cynthia Kosso, Diane Husic, Daniel Jasper, Craig Atwood, Bernie Cantens, Nicole Loyd, and Liz Yates. Please be attentive to emails from these members when they are asking for your input. We will need to have decisions in place soon so the work of adjusting schedules where needed can take place expeditiously.

Many of you have asked about Vespers. Not surprisingly, there is a sub-committee (or working group, I often use the terms interchangeably) for a rethought Vespers. The members are: Bryon Grigsby, Jennika Borger (Chair), Cynthia Kosso, Paula Zerkel, Neil Wetzel, Daniel Jasper, Carol Traupman-Carr, Jill Anderson, Lisa Brand, Craig Underwood and we will consult with our instructional design team.

Also, many of you have been asking for guidance on developing courses for the fall. I will continue providing resources and information each Friday, and all of these Friday letters are now available on the Office of the Provost home page under Communication. Please continue to work closely with the chairs and deans on any questions about specific courses or programs. For the actual design and structure of our courses, TLC, our instructional designers, and Bernie Cantens have been offering workshops, providing one-on-one advice, and posting online resources. Please continue to utilize these resources, and don’t hesitate to reach out with questions.

We will also be engaging several instructional designers from Extension Engine over the summer to help you design the courses that you imagine. Bernie Cantens will be managing that project and once we are further along in planning, we will provide information about what services they will be providing.  We have also been working on an abbreviated version of the Quality Matters rubric for online design, a working draft of which is attached. There is a check sheet at the end of the document to help you keep track. I have given you all comment access, so if there are things that are unclear or there are things you think should be added that can aid us in our quest for excellence, feel free to comment. We plan to post the final version on June 15, so we encourage you to make any comments before then. We have been paying members of the Quality Matters consortium for several years and you all have access to their materials, of which there are plenty. You can access these materials here.

There will be two sessions next week with an Apple Professional Learning Senior Specialist for those interested in learning more about the uses and application of the Apple Pencil: Tues. May 26 at 2:00 pm and Thurs. May 28 at 2:00 pm. As we explore features of Apple Pencil, there are a couple of apps that will be helpful for faculty and staff to have downloaded in advance. These apps are:

Both apps are free. 

Our enrollment numbers for traditional undergraduates and our graduate students remain solid, so we are going into the summer with a feeling of cautious optimism. Unsurprisingly new international student numbers are down, and this population will remain challenged for the foreseeable future. Getting student visas to the US is next to impossible. 

Regarding staffing, our plan remains to bring back our staff who have been furloughed. We realize the extra burden this places on those who are still working and thank you for that. Please know that we are committed to supporting our trusted and valued colleagues!

As Bryon said in his letter on Wednesday, this Memorial Day holiday weekend offers time for reflection and I hope you are able to take advantage of this psychological break from the new routine. While the weather is predicted to be variable, there are supposed to be some sunny moments, which I hope you might enjoy.

Thank you all for your patience and good will!

Be safe and well,

Cynthia

And keep reading for great news, breaking news, links, blogs, and humor

Great news:

The English Department, Manuscript, and Writing at Moravian Committee are excited to announce the 2019-20 Diamond Writing Prize results. Select the video below to watch Dr. George Diamond announce our winners! Thanks to everyone who participated and helped make this year's Diamond Writing Prize a success! Stay tuned for details about submitting your writing for the 2020-21 Academic Year. Thanks to everyone who participated and helped make this year's Diamond Writing Prize a success! Stay tuned for details about submitting your writing for the 2020-21 Academic Year. 

Diamond Writing Prize Winner Video!.mp4

 Congratulations to these students!

Academic Nonfiction:

  • First Prize: Molly Talarico - "Prison Reform Needed: Criminalization of Health Issues"
  • Honorable Mention: Shelby Codd - "The Other Side of the Stethoscope"

Creative Writing Prizes:

  • Poetry: JP Appel - "Masseuse" 
  • Creative Nonfiction: Anna Litofsky - "Into the Dungeon"
  • Short Story: Seth Rappaport - "The Eyas" 

Readings, blogs and other things of interest

Blog series by Scott Moore, our main contact with our partners at Extension Engine

Suggested Readings for Best Practices for Online Teaching

  • Free to us, ebook, Small Teaching Online: Applying learning Science in Online Classes. Flower Darby with James M. Lang. Jossey-Bass, 2019. Janet added the book to the homepage. The only password protected site we have for the community is our Amos presence. This ebook is behind proxy authentication. 
  • Online Teaching at its Best: Merging Instructional Design with Teaching and Learning Research. Linda B. Nilson and Ludwika A Goodson. Jossey-Bass, 2018.
  • The Online Teaching Survival Guide. Judith V Boettcher and Rita-Marie Conrad. Jossey-Bass 2016.
  • Thrive Online: A New Approach to Building Expertise and Confidence as an Online Educator. Shannon Riggs. Stylus Publishing, 2019.
  • Reach Everyone, Teach Everyone: Universal Design for Learning in Higher Education. Thomas J. Tobin and Kirsten T. Behling. West Virginia University Press, 2018. 
  • Minds Online: Teaching Effectively With Technology. Michelle D. Miller. Presidents and Fellows at Harvard College, 2014.

Teaching and Learning Center (TLC) and Online Education and Innovation (OEI) invite you to the  LVAIC Community Book Read & Virtual Learning Session 

Breaking news:

The latest from the Morning Call on the Lehigh Valley and reopening this region, along with news from this afternoon and this as well.

And because it is important to laugh… Check this out.


May 15, 2020

Dear colleagues,

A warm weekend beckons and I am looking forward to it. Some gardening is in my future:) I hope you have some plans that include outdoor activities!

We continue to wait for guidance from the state and the PA Department of Education regarding reopening of the campus at whatever level. I continue to ask you to prepare your courses so that they can be on-line or held remotely. We continue to work to find ways to enable hands-on experiences where safe, legal, and necessary. The deans are working closely with your departments to ensure that our curriculum provides what the students need. We are also very concerned that you do not prepare a course that is not likely to make its enrollment. So we are working as rapidly as we can to connect with faculty whose courses might be at risk. If you think yours is at risk for some reason, please contact your chair and dean.

PBC is currently working on ideas for budget savings in our operations and as ideas become fleshed out, we will share them for discussion and input. The faculty members on PBC are Carl Salter, Christopher Jones, Eva Leeds, Neil Wetzel (outgoing member), and Bernie Cantens. Administrators on the committee are Cynthia Kosso, Mark Reed, and Nicole Loyd. Contact any one of us if you have ideas to share

On Tuesday, I held a Town Hall for untenured faculty that was very well attended. Thanks to Michael Bertucci and Dietlinde Heilmayr for organizing it and managing the questions! We discussed budget issues, job security, faculty reviews, morale, the process of requesting a tenure clock extension, as well as other issues. I have offered to have town halls during the summer as things develop and if there are important and urgent issues to address. Feel free to contact me, Diane Husic, or Daniel Jasper with your questions and concerns for any such meeting. Untenured faculty may contact Michael Bertucci and/or Dietlinde Heilmayr if they prefer.

I also have some great news in addition to what we shared last week:

Today, Moravian College announced it was named to the Phi Kappa Phi Honorable Mention list for the 2020 Excellence in Innovation Award which, according to the Phi Kappa Phi website is “given once per biennium, recognizes one institution of higher learning for achievement in finding powerful answers to important local, regional, national or global challenges.” Thanks to the great work of Kelly Denton-Borhaug and her team!

Here’s hoping that you find time for peaceful reflection over the coming days. Stay safe!

As always,

Cynthia

Announcements and odds and ends…

A pretty cool resource for online books

May Online and Canvas training reminders:

  • Converting Assignments to Online  
    • Mon May 18 - 11AM  David Castenada
  • Group Work in Online Courses 
    • Wed May 20 - 10:00 AM Sarah Rentz and Liz Tate
  • Strategies for Active Discussions 
    • Tues May 26 - 9:00 AM Sarah Rentz and Liz Tate
  • Accessibility for Canvas  
    • Thurs May 28 - 1PM David Castenada

June Professional development Workshops For Instructional Design of Online Courses:

  • Design Options for Online Exams and Assessments
    • Mon June 1 - 11am    David and Liz
  • Design Options for Online Exams and Assessments
    • Wed June 3 - 10:00 am  Sarah and Liz
  • Accessibility for Canvas 
    • Tue June 9 - 9:00 am   Sarah
  • Strategies for Active Discussions
    • Thurs June 11 - 6pm  David
  • Group work in Online Courses
    • Mon June 15 - 1pm  David and Liz
  • Converting Assignments to Online 
    • Wed June 17 - 5:00 pm Sarah and Liz
  • Organizing Content in Canvas
    • Tues June 23 - 9:00 am Sarah and Liz
  • Best Practices in Video Creation
    • Thurs June 25 - 11am David 
  • Organizing Content in Canvas 
    • Mon June 29 - 1pm David and Liz
  • Facilitating Zoom Sessions
    • Tues June 30 - 2:00 pm   Sarah and Craig

Weekly Pedagogy Discussions organized around pedagogical matters grounded in evidence-based practice with Bernie Cantens and TLC.

  • Tues May 19- 1:00 PM 
  • Wed May 27- 10:00 

May 8, 2020

Dear colleagues

Thank you for attending the final faculty meeting of the semester. Thank you for all the questions and comments throughout the meeting. Though Zoom definitely has its limitations, and I very much miss seeing you all in person, I have appreciated the way the Zoom lets more people participate and allows for a wider variety of views to be expressed. And many of you stayed for the zoom party afterwards. Thank you! I enjoyed moving from breakout room to room, though the first experience of being mysteriously moved was both a bit jarring and magical. 

Congratulations again to all the award winners, tenured and promoted faculty, grant winners, and newsworthy faculty and students of all sorts! I have listed many, but surely not all of you, below.

At the end of the meeting yesterday, I also remarked that I hope that our work over the summer will evolve in satisfying ways so that we can offer what we have repeatedly promised to our students and ourselves… an excellent, high quality, Moravian education in whatever mode of delivery we use. The summer gives us an opportunity to think through our pedagogical practices, find ways to blend modes of delivery to give ourselves the flexibility that we need and to ensure we have the ability to provide, as much as humanly possible,  face-to-face and hands on experiences to our students.

In that spirit, I ask that the departments work with the deans and Bernie Cantens to articulate how you and your colleagues will keep Moravian educational values at the forefront of each and every class. Several departments have already articulated how they might do that in their own unique disciplines. 

At the same time, I am working with Bernie, Carol, and the deans on writing up clear advice for ensuring minimum standards to help you in the development of online, hybrid, or dual modality courses. Stay tuned for that. We are hoping to have a draft ready by the middle of next week that we will share with our own campus experts for review and then distribution.

As requested, I am adding the list of workshops and resources at the end of this note as well.

I hope the weekend is not grading every minute for you, but if it is… by Wednesday of next week, you should have a little bit of time to recuperate. Thank you all again for all your patience, efforts on behalf of our students, your support of your families and friends and colleagues. I am here if you need anything!

Be well, stay safe!

Cynthia

Promotions, awards, other good stuff, and workshops:

Tenure, Promotion and Emeritus

Tenure and Promotion to Associate Professor:
Crystal Fodrey, Department of English
Camille Murphy, Department of Art
James Teufel, School of Nursing and Public Health

Promotion to Professor:
Angela Fraleigh, Department of Art
Claudia Mesa, Department of Modern Languages
Nathan Shank, Department of Math and Computer Science 
Neil Wetzel, Department of Music 

Emeritus(a) status:
Dr. Frances Irish, Associate Professor, Biological Sciences
Dr. John Reynolds, Professor and department chair, Political Science, in memoriam

Breidegam Faculty/Administrator Award 

Given to a member of the faculty/administration who has unselfishly served the college community, following the example of Timothy M. Breidegam '78.  This year’s winner is John Reynolds.

Lindback Distinguished Teaching Award

The 2020 Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching went to Anatasia Thevenin.

Shoulder cords for 20 years of service

(Cords will be given once we can safely return to campus).

  • Michelle Schmidt. Congratulations Michelle!
  • Joe Shosh, who has also announced his retirement! Congratulations Joe!

An all out effort by the faculty and staff: MC has raised $9,606 to support furloughed employees? It was an incredible effort, and the outpouring of generosity is truly heartening. 

Funded by NASA, the Grants for Assessing the Benefits of Satellites (GABS) awards are part of the VALUABLES project administered by Resources for the Future.  Out of 41 pre-proposals, 12 were selected as finalists and invited to submit full proposals.  Sonia Aziz's proposal was one of three selected for $100,000 in funding.  This is a very competitive and prestigious grant. The project title: Quantifying Benefits of Using Satellite Derived Early Warning System to Predict Cholera in Bangladesh 

From today’s email from Bernie, Nicole, and Ruth:

1.    May Workshop: Monday, May 11th, 9:00-12:00 "Teaching and Learning in a Time of Transition"

The rapid transition to online teaching has been a catalyst for change and growth in our pedagogy and andragogy.  Please join fellow faculty as we take time to reflect on challenges, surprising successes, and lessons we may carry forward.  The day will include a keynote and Q&A from Associate Provost Bernie Cantens outlining his vision for the office of Online Education and Innovation entitled: “Creating a Vision, Fostering a Culture, and Cultivating Some Important Virtues for the Future of Online Education.” The second half of the workshop, beginning at 10:45A, will provide a space for facilitated discussion among faculty to reflect together on their work during this time of change.

Keynote speaker

Bernie Cantens

Associate Provost of Online Education and Innovation

9:00-10:30

Facilitated Zoom breakout discussion groups

10:45-12:00

2.    Ongoing Instructional Design Workshops: Teaching and Learning in the Online Space

Best Practices in Video Creation Tues May 12 - 2:00 pm Sarah Rentz and Craig Underwood

Organizing Content in Canvas  Thurs May 14 - 6PM David Castenada and Liz Tate

Converting Assignments to Online  Mon May 18 - 11AM  David Castenada

Group Work in Online Courses Wed May 20 - 10:00 AM Sarah Rentz and Liz Tate

Strategies for Active Discussions Tues May 26 - 9:00 AM Sarah Rentz and Liz Tate

Accessibility for Canvas  Thurs May 28 - 1PM David Castenada

3. Weekly Pedagogy Discussions organized around pedagogical matters grounded in evidence-based practice with Bernie Cantens and TLC.

Wed May 13 - 10:00 AM

Tues May 19- 1:00 PM 

Wed May 27- 10:00 

June dates TBD

4.    Weekly Office Hours with Bernie Cantens and TLC starting in June:

Bernie: Thursdays 3:00-5:00PM, please reach out to cantensb@moravian.edu for Zoom link. 

TLC: Monday, Wednesday, Friday 9:00-10:00AM, please reach out to teachlearn@moravian.edu for Zoom link.

5.    Online Discussion Thread: shared ideas with one another on the online discussion threads

6.    Additional Resources on our Websites:

https://www.moravian.edu/cat

https://www.moravian.edu/online-education

7. Coming soon in June: Online Pedagogy Communities of Practice

TLC welcomes you to a meeting on June 5th at 3:00-4:00PM to begin a new pedagogical Community of Practice focused on online teaching and learning in an age of transition. Please bring ideas, goals, and questions about the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) to this Zoom session. Dr. Krista Rompolski will lead this new initiative in partnership with TLC. The group will meet regularly during the summer based on a mutually agreed upon schedule. 

Join Zoom Meeting https://moravian.zoom.us/j/97439044531

8. Coming soon in June: There will be a new TLC pedagogy reading group forming in June to discuss recent articles about online teaching and learning. The group will meet regularly during the summer based on a mutually agreed upon schedule. Please reach out to teachlearn@moravian.edu if you would be interested in joining.


May 1, 2020

Dear Faculty colleagues,

I hope this letter finds you looking forward to a relatively peaceful weekend… perhaps graced with some sunshine:). Thanks to those of you that visited with me yesterday afternoon.  At the height of attendance there were 144 of you. I am grateful you are willing to share your time with me. Some of the points that we discussed are included below. I do hope that many of you were able to tune into the ODK ceremony where our colleague John Reynolds was honored by our students!

This is a long letter, with many links. Barring any unforeseen circumstances, I plan to make next week's letter a short one and I will refer back to this one, so you should keep this. (As I keep saying, we need to be flexible and increase our comfort with ambiguity and uncertainty.) In today's letter, I want to concentrate on the few decisions that we have made about planning for this coming fall and year. In addition, I am sharing some of our questions and possible ideas for solutions. In the coming weeks, we will be reaching out to you in various configurations for your input, ideas, and suggestions. Stay tuned to your email for a while longer!

CANVAS: First, please remember to use Canvas, at the very least to publish your syllabus. This is very important now more than ever. Even if you are using other tools and resources, make sure that they are linked from your Canvas shell, which you must publish for it to be accessible to students. Students are coming to expect that they can access what they need through that means. Let’s help them out!

And to help you out with all things Canvas: We have the “Summer 2020 Online Instructional Design Professional Development in Partnership with the Teaching and Learning Center.” As we approach the end of the Spring 2020 and get ready for Summer and Fall 2020 online teaching, here are some upcoming workshops in May (there will be more coming in June and July). For more online teaching resources please visit Online Education Resources.

  • Facilitating Zoom Sessions  Mon May 4 - 1:00 PM David and Liz
  • Design Options for Online Exams and Assessments    Wed May 6 - 11:00 am Sarah and Liz
  • Best Practices in Video Creation Tues May 12 - 2:00 pm Sarah and Craig
  • Organizing Content in Canvas  Thurs May 14 - 6PM David and Liz
  • Converting Assignments to Online  Mon May 18 - 11AM  David and Liz
  • Group Work in Online Courses Wed May 20 - 10:00 AM Sarah and Liz
  • Strategies for Active Discussions Tues May 26 - 9:00 AM Sarah and Liz
  • Accessibility for Canvas  Thurs May 28 - 1PM David

Course caps and enrollment: There are several other realities that we have to address, regardless of the status of campus opening. 

  • Because of our enrollment and budget stresses, course caps for fall, in many cases, will need to be increased. 
  • Currently we are looking carefully to create standardized logic to course caps.  
  • Since we will be cancelling low enrolled fall courses earlier than usual, we need to make sure there are seats available for all students, current and incoming. 
    • Thus the deans will be working with you to raise caps on courses and make other adjustments in the fall schedule.  
  • In addition, as you know from our discussion yesterday, we are also discouraging the use of adjuncts. Please also see the note to adjuncts at the end of this letter). That part of our operations budget is most at risk. I am especially concerned to see the high use of our adjuncts in the foundational 100 courses. Wherever possible, we should have our tenure track faculty in these courses.
  • In light of these realities, if you are currently scheduled for a course with low enrollment please reach out to your department chair and dean to explore your options.  
    • Please note, however, that freshmen and transfers have not yet enrolled. Many 100-level courses in particular have low enrollment and we are aware of that and sensitive to it!

Online planned start: As you know we are currently planning for an online start. Obviously, like you, I would like us to be able to meet in person, even with significant safety measures in place. My hope is that our state and nation will recognize the fundamental importance of the educational enterprise and allow this to happen in some meaningful form. If anything changes in our planning or thinking, you will be the first to know! But, please, let’s work with an online start in mind… 

What might this look like? How can we build a semester that we can be proud of and can benefit our students regardless of the means by which we deliver our classes: online, hybrid, or otherwise?

Here are some of the questions we are asking: How can we have the semester “open”from the start, but with physical distancing required? How do we handle classroom sizes, without lowering our current cap? Perhaps, half of the class one day and half the next, in person, the rest on Zoom? Hybrid with hands on work in smaller groups? What if the semester starts online, but half way through, we can be on campus. Start online, move to hybrid? What if the fall semester is online all semester and on campus resumes in spring? Might we add more late start or accelerated courses?

We are also doing a deep analysis of all classrooms for size, capacity, and resources in the hopes that we can be ready for any number of on-campus scenarios.

Scenarios and survey: Over the coming weeks we will be working on tiered academic scenarios and we will appreciate your input and advice about what is possible. Again, If you have not already completed the Online Teaching Survey, please do so now. Currently we are working with our instructional design team, Bernie Cantens, the Teaching and Learning Center, and Extension Engine to provide resources to help you succeed!

Reminders and links: I do want to provide a couple final reminders as we wind down this semester:

  • Pass/No-Credit: As of this morning, we have had 247 students request the Pass/No-Credit option for a total of 375 classes (so an average of 1.5 classes per student who has made the request). As a reminder, there are instructions here (including a helpful step-by-step PDF) for how advisors can approve the request by assigning the flag to Monique. 
  • Incomplete: Because of the volume of incompletes, and concern that students will need continuing advising and academic support as they finish the work for their classes, we have moved the process for establishing an incomplete into Momentum. Several of you have reported some challenges in completing the success plan, so we have updated the template and revised the instructions to make the process a bit clearer. If you continue to have trouble entering the Incomplete success plan, please don’t hesitate to set up a phone call or Zoom with Mindy Watson (studentsuccess@moravian.edu) or Kevin (hartshornk@moravian.edu). They will be happy to walk you through the process.

Also, I mentioned yesterday that I would share or reshare several links:

Final comments: As I noted yesterday, I am committed to making sure everyone is well informed. I will continue to do the Friday letters through the summer, sharing updates as I get them and generally checking in. We can also have the occasional Town Hall in the summer as needed or desired. Remember that you and your work is deeply valued, there is no education without the faculty. We have an opportunity in this time of stress to build, and Eric Klinenberg’s talk for InFocus was very moving in this regard. When we build social connections, when we connect with one another,  we increase the ability to survive stress and crisis. We mitigate our own risk by developing close communities and supporting one another. So let’s continue to connect in meaningful ways with one another, in this last week of the term, but over the summer as well. 

Remember too, as you are important to Moravian College, the College is important to the Bethlehem community and the Lehigh Valley. You have seen Moravian College in the news a lot lately, partly because of our long history here, but also because of what we do each and everyday to contribute to the community. Moravian College is fundamental to the identity of the Lehigh Valley. 

A special note to our adjunct faculty: I truly recognize your great value to this institution, now and in the past, and in the future. Your contractual relationship to the college in no way describes your value to the college, your abilities, your dedication to our students, and dedication to the institution. The contract does not describe the affection and respect your full-time colleagues have for you. Many of you have contributed to Moravian for a significant number of years. The reality is though that in the current budget climate operational budgets that are more flexible include the budget for contingent faculty positions. Already your chairs and colleagues are advocating for you and we will do our best to continue to utilize your talents as much as, and as best as, we can.  We are also looking for other ways to support your continued relationship with the College. Thank you each and every one of you for your service to Moravian College. The College is a better place because of you.

Once again, I thank all of you for the work that you have been doing this term and every term. I hope finals go well for you and your students. And I very much hope you find a modicum of down time to refresh and restore your own spirits!

Be well, stay safe,

Yours,

Cynthia


April 17, 2020

Dear faculty colleagues,

My hope is that you have had a successful week and that both you and your students are finding effective ways to negotiate this new way of doing things!

Thanks to all 140 of you that showed up yesterday for the “Town Hall.” I appreciated the frank questions and I am following up on a couple that I was not able to answer in the moment. 

  • I was asked about grants. We still plan to support grant writing, but, as always, we will look carefully at the potential of the grant to support our mission and the ramifications of any matching funds or other investments that we need to make. Any current grants in process should anticipate no changes from the College point of view.
  • I promised to share the charge to the General Education Task Force.  You can find it here, on the General Education webpage.
  • I was also asked if we had a date by which we will tell the community whether we are on-line or in-person in the fall. Currently the plan is still to prepare for being online in the fall. When I have more information on that I will let you all know! 
  • I also said that I would share the survey regarding what you may need to prepare for the fall semester online. The survey is NOT anonymous, because we want to help you achieve your specific goals for your classes. Please fill this out, even if you do not need anything in particular! Thank you.

Incoming Freshmen and Summer FAIR

Since we will be online in the summer and are planning for the same in the fall, some of you have asked about the “onboarding” of new students. Admissions is continuing to recruit virtually, and we are planning for an online Summer FAIR. Those of you involved with Summer FAIR as academic advisors or presenters will soon hear from Student Success staff about specific plans in the weeks ahead. They are already hard at work on creating an online version of this important part of our new student experience. Even online, Summer FAIR will continue to connect students to their academic advisors, offices that are key resources, and the larger Moravian community.

Many of you have asked about the summer internships, Honors projects, SOAR projects, and the like, regarding what we may and may not be able to do. Academic leadership drafted the following statement about the summer that is supported by the president and his leadership team. This should help guide you as you consider how to handle summer planning.

Moravian Statement for Summer Activities

In light of restrictions on travel and in-person interactions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Moravian College’s May and Summer term courses and programming will be online or otherwise remotely taught. Moravian programs generally, and summer programming in particular, are heavily dependent on human interactions and hands-on experiences. Nevertheless, the current context requires ingenuity and restraint in order to keep our community (and other communities) safe, while still meeting the core goals and outcomes of the programming. We ask that all programs find alternatives to in-person experiential learning.   If a particular learning outcome cannot be accommodated online, and extensions to requirements are not available, faculty should request an exception through their school dean and Provost; non-academic or co-curricular requests should go through the appropriate supervisor and Vice President.

Those requesting an exception please demonstrate that the exception:

  1. Is safe to all involved
  2. Is not a risk for liability. (we will need insurance information)
  3. Achieves learning outcomes and demonstrates that the learning outcomes cannot be met in the online environment

Other news and thoughts:

The board meetings went smoothly in their Zoom formats over the last few days. While we shared reports, as always, our main topic of conversation was the College’s response to the public health situation to date and what are the ramifications to us as a college (and the collection of humans in the college). For the first time that I know of, the board supported moving forward on a budget that is at this point unknown. We all agree though, that looking for ways to curtail our operations costs is an urgent necessity. We will be talking about what that actually means over the coming weeks and months.

Any change engenders fears and feelings of dislocation. The magnitude of the experience we are all having certainly today has increased the levels of these feelings, and understandably so. I cannot promise that we will come out of this the same as when we entered this unusual space. But I can promise that any changes that result will be thoughtful, will include input from the members of the community, and will be as transparent as possible. We have now, and will always have you and our students at the heart of any decision that is made.

Finally, are there actions that you can take? Yes. I have asked for your help in finding ways to curtail costs. For example, consider your curricular decisions. What is necessary, what is not, in order for our students to progress? Are there courses that can be increased in size? Do you have ideas that can be transformed into ways to increase revenues? Have you saved money on events that were cancelled? Since you now have experience teaching on-line and are preparing to do so, might you consider a course that can enhance our adult students' curriculum and ability to graduate? Has your department thought about participating in the adult completion programs, but  hesitated? Now is a good time to act. In addition, I have to express my enthusiastic gratitude to the many of you that are already thinking about how to make budgetary changes in your departments and units. Indeed, some of you are already acting. Thank you.

We have made it through another week of synchronous and asynchronous classes, zoom meetings and google hangouts, planning, thinking, grading, reading, cooking, eating, hopefully sleeping, taking care of our families and students and one another. Congratulations on this achievement!

Stay safe and healthy!

Cynthia


April 10, 2020

Dear faculty colleagues,

This will be a fairly short note, mostly wishing you a relaxing weekend, and for those you celebrate Easter and Passover, enjoy! For those that celebrate other things, please also enjoy. Also do, in so far as it is possible, make time for some fiction, Netflix, gardening, cooking, or whatever brings you pleasure today!

I do have a few brief updates on academic matters.

  • New online summer courses have been added.  Let your advisees know that there are options for May, Summer I and Summer II. May term courses with fewer than 6 will be cancelled by April 27.
  • Chairs and deans will be working carefully to cancel low enrolled courses for summer and fall. Please let them know if you have questions.
  • Many of you have raised concerns about students in your classes — students expressing anxiety, sharing financial hardship, showing odd or changed behaviors, etc. There is a new Teaching the Whole Student page, which includes a link to a helpful document for you to identify the right resources for your students. 
  • And from Dana: In light of the Covid-19 pandemic and its disruptive effects on normative course delivery, we understand that both (1) departmental assessments and (2) Learning in Common (LinC) assessments may be disrupted for this year and for spring 2020, respectively. As a result, if neither department or LinC assessments are available this spring, simply plan to reintroduce them in fall 2020 and spring 2021. Naturally, even partial assessment reports for academic year 2019-2020 will still be welcome--but please don't stress about them.

Communications opportunities:

There will be a Town Hall with me next week on Thursday from 4:30-5:30 after an abbreviated Chairs meeting.  Please forward your questions in advance to Diane or Daniel. They will be organizing them and giving me time to seek answers to questions that require data. A zoom invite will follow next week!

Remember to take care of yourselves as well as your families. I hope this weekend brings you some measure of joy and peace.

Warmly,
Cynthia