- January 15, 2021
- December 11, 2020
- December 4, 2020
- November 20, 2020
- November 13, 2020
- November 6, 2020
- October 30, 2020
- October 16, 2020
- October 9, 2020
- October 2, 2020
- September 25, 2020
- September 11, 2020
- September 4, 2020
- August 28, 2020
- August 21, 2020
- August 14, 2020
- August 7, 2020
- July 31, 2020
- July 24, 2020
- July 17, 2020
- July 10, 2020
- June 25, 2020
- June 18, 2020
- June 12, 2020
- June 5, 2020
- May 29, 2020
- May 22, 2020
- May 15, 2020
- May 8, 2020
- May 1, 2020
- April 17, 2020
- April 10, 2020
January 15, 2021
Dear faculty colleagues,
I hope you managed to experience some joyous family time, good food, and nature over the break. Everyone needed a rest from 2020, one of the all time most interesting and challenging years in my experience. And then 2021 started. The assault on the Capitol on January 6 has rocked the country and reveals flaws in our systems and structures. Our colleagues in History and Political Sciences have offered resources and perspectives to help us, as educators, move into the upcoming semester with students arriving physically and virtually on campus. Our job as teachers will be to help our students both understand the context of these historically critical and difficult events, as well as to find ways to process them and participate in creating a more just and equitable future for everyone.
There are several links here to resources that may aid you in preparing for the wide variety of emotions and perspectives that you are likely to encounter in the coming months. From Political Science: Statement on the insurrection at the Capitol, the organization Facing History and Ourselves has prepared detailed advice for teachers on how to approach teaching and initiate a conversation with students in the aftermath of the insurrection: Responding to the insurrection at the US Capitol. From History: The American Historical Association has launched a website that offers resources for educators to discuss and think about the current crisis of democracy not only in the United States but in the world.
The physical campus reopened last week, and we had a strategic planning meeting and there will be updates from that coming next week.
COVID: Campus specific COVID updates will be coming from the President’s office, but as you know our two major health networks are moving quickly to make the vaccines available in the Lehigh Valley. Educators are emerging as a top priority. Please keep watch for opportunities to obtain the vaccine and we will be sending updates from HR as they become available.
Spring semester notes
Consider adding to your syllabus: Tagore Distinguished Lecture Series this year will be virtual. The lecture series began in 2018 to honor Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore. The speaker this year is Eric Weiner. The lecture will be Thursday, March 11, 7:30 – 9:00p.m.
Welcome once more to Dr. Nicholas Creary and Dr. Daisy Purdy who arrived in Bethlehem in late December. They have hit the ground running and are planning numerous events and have perhaps even more meetings on their schedules that I do. Look for emails from DEI! Also, a special announcement and invitation regarding MLK Jr. day is below the signature line of this email!
Advisors: We need you! Regardless of the outcome of our ongoing conversation on the nature, practice, and promotion of advising on campus, we will have a first year class of incoming students in the fall. Can you all work with your department chairs and deans to identify advisors for this incoming class? Many thanks.
A reminder to faculty with students with hearing impairments registered for the spring semester: we have a host of resources to provide a course experience that is accessible to all of our students. Faculty are encouraged to reach out to the Accessibility Support Center (email@example.com) with any questions or concerns. Thank you for being supportive of all of our students.
Remember that the spring term starts on Jan.18th for graduate programs, Spring I courses, seminary and some undergraduate cohort courses (EA division Nursing). However, the majority of the undergraduate courses start on the 25th. The specific start/end dates always appear on AMOS for each course.
From TLC, IT, and OEI: Workshop on Wednesday, January 20, 9:00 am-10:00 am: What should be included in a good introduction to an online course? Bernie Cantens. Please register at Zoom Link. Also, support generally from TLC, IT, and OEI is readily available. Please remember to check your email for updates. Their webpage is also an excellent resource for discovering opportunities for professional development! OIE and TLC
Join us as we recognize a revolutionary figure:
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
What: Annual Celebration of MLK
When: Monday, January 18, 1:00–2:00 p.m.
Where: Zoom (moravian.edu/mlk)
Is Justice Too Long Delayed Really Justice Denied?:
The Maryland Lynching Truth & Reconciliation Commission
Associate Provost for Academic Inclusion & Innovation
- YWCA Bethlehem: Virtual MLK Day Celebration & Community Conversation
- Bethlehem Area Public Library
- Volunteer Center of the Lehigh Valley
- The Greater Philadelphia Martin Luther King Day of Service
- Allentown Art Museum: Live Virtual Performance by Philadelphia Dance Company
- Mennonite Central Committee & Kingdom Builders Network: Restoring Hope & Dignity (Akron, PA)
December 11, 2020
Dear faculty colleagues,
Well, it surely has been a semester. Nonstop work and nonstop change and a pandemic to manage. I am absolutely sure you are all in need of some genuine down time and my sincere hope is that you will take it.
Thanks to all of you who attended the last faculty meeting of this semester. We had a robust and valuable conversation about advising and I was struck by the many different ways of thinking about advising and its role in our lives that emerged. Of course, full time faculty all have advising as a regular part of their contract (currently in the faculty handbook, it sits within service), but how is advising valued? What are best practices in advising? How do, or do, we include non full time faculty? How do our staff partner with faculty in advising? And what should that look like going forward? These are some of the questions that were covered in the meeting. In general, I was gratified to see the value you all place on this important component of faculty work and a Moravian education. As we continue the conversation in the new year, it will be important to bring your own personal experiences and philosophical perspectives and also to consider conversations happening beyond our campus. If you can, please attend this AAC&U webinar next Wednesday that focuses on how a liberal arts education intersects with career readiness. You may also find this overview of the scholarly literature on academic advising and this study on faculty academic advisor perceptions interesting reading as we think about the structures and roles of faculty in academic advising. Both come from recent issues of the NACADA Journal, the open-access scholarly journal of the national organization for advising professionals, NACADA. In my previous life, I had an opportunity to attend a number of NACADA conferences and the work that they shared has been informative in my own thinking about my role as a faculty advisor. They have a lot to offer. We will continue the conversation in the new year.
I was asked at one point in the meeting about strategic planning, planning committees, and next steps and in my concern to reassure you, I think I was less than clear in some of my answers. So the next part of the letter is aimed at clarifying and informing.
College/University name change: The move to “Moravian University” in name next goes to the Board for approval. They are the only internal voting body for this process. We will go to PDE once they have approved (if they approve), followed by Middle States. PDE could approve by the end of the semester and Middle states shortly thereafter.
The name change is separate from the Carnegie classification of our institutions’s place in the community of colleges and universities. Carnegie classifications and changes to these are based on data from IPEDS. “The Carnegie Classification® has been the leading framework for recognizing and describing institutional diversity in U.S. higher education for the past four and a half decades.“ This is an external institution that places schools into categories based on the kinds and numbers of degrees they grant. We can only change the classification by changing what we actually do and which degrees we grant and in what numbers. We are very likely to move into the M3 category (Master’s colleges and universities, with a regional focus) this coming year.
There continues to be some confusion about the relationship between the recommendations from Art and Science and strategic planning and what is “due” when and to whom.
Art and Science and Strategic Planning: We have discussed the relationship between these two processes. But to clarify: fundamentally, the A&S recommendations are informing and will structure strategic planning. Our planning around these recommendations are still in the formative stages, especially with respect to how we as faculty want to see these recommendations play out in academic life and the curriculum.
Art & Science
As many of you have noticed that there is a press for getting something to the board by January. That is true :) but what we need to get to the board is a sense for how we can use the A&S recommendations to improve our enrollment outlook. Because so much of the conversation has been about that, it has understandably felt like decisions have been made that have not actually been made. I have asked Scott Dams to add a paragraph about the role that the A&S recommendations will play in the coming months for our recruiting efforts:
“It is important to understand that the recommendations the college received from Art and Science in regard to market positioning are being used to inform certain areas of the larger College Strategic Plan. While it may appear that we are getting too far ahead in our work on those recommendations, I want to be clear that we are moving forward in a purposeful way that will allow for input and participation. We are in the midst of an incredibly challenging year for college recruitment and we have a narrow window of time in which to leverage the market insight received from Art and Science into our recruitment messaging. As a result, we are working on a broad messaging and creative campaign about this new Moravian Experience that will be launched in late January. This campaign will not need to provide specifics to be engaging. Speaking about a distinct and comprehensive experience that will weave together the focus areas of Global, Teamwork/Leadership, Central Career Support, and Work/Research experience will be enough to capture the attention of our prospective students (and their parents). The general awareness launch will be in January, and we will continue to add detail to the Moravian Experience and communicate that detail outwards via what we call a marketing ‘drip’ campaign. For example, in our January launch we will mention that there will be badging involved, but will not need to provide any detail about the badges until later in the summer. In the meantime, our challenge will be to continue to work on synchronizing our existing work with current and future faculty efforts, such as General Education revisions and associated programming, with these new recommendations, as well as folding in this newly articulated Moravian Experience into the larger College Strategic Plan.”
Several groups have formed and are continuing to form around the A&S recommendations and I list these below:
Leadership and Teamwork: Nicole Loyd, Cynthia Kosso, Bob Brill, Katie Desiderio, Michelle Schmidt, Carol Traupman-Carr, Renee Hellert, Greg Meyer. This group has met several times and is starting to discuss how we might think about leadership and will be reaching out into the larger community for help as the new semester begins.
Pathfinding and Badging/Professional Experiences and Career: Nicole Loyd, Amy Saul, Kathleen Barr, Kevin Hartshorn, Monica Jacobe, Gillian Sharkey, David Brandes, Sharon Maus. This group has talked about the interconnections between NACE Career Readiness Competencies and AAC&U’s Essential Learning Outcomes as the foundation for a badging system, explored possible digital badging platforms including the platform used in this case study from University of Maryland, and recently met with the Mile Marker Gen Ed group to discuss collaborative work ahead—as curriculum, majors, and career intersect.
Universal/Global: Cynthia Kosso, Carol Traupman-Carr, Daniel Jasper, Diane Husic, Bernie Cantens, Craig Atwood, Greg Meyer (Support from Mark Reed and team, and sub groups to be added) - has not yet met, but plans to meet next week. A larger group of us -- the Provost’s Council -- are meeting today and chose “Global” our topic for the meeting to talk about (in this group meeting today: Cynthia Kosso, Carol Traupman-Carr, Craig Atwood, Jane Berger, Bernie Cantens, Monique Davis, Kelly Denton-Borhaug,Katie Desiderio, Dana Dunn, Diane Husic, Monica Jacobe, Daniel Jasper, Michelle Koch, Sharon Maus, Janet Ohles, Nicole Tabor, Carol Moeller, Manny Gonzalez).
Employment Guarantee: Scott Dams, Mark Reed, Kevin Hartshorn, Peter Albrecht, Frank Ravja, Sharon Maus. This group has begun conducting some risk analysis to understand the potential cost of such a guarantee, as well as to determine what sorts of metrics/activities a student must meet to qualify for the guarantee. They have also begun discussions of options for students post-graduation.
“The Moravian Experience” will be a cohesive platform built around the four domains of Central Career, Leadership and Teamwork, Work Experience for All, and Universal Global. The four domains are not developed in parallel, rather as parts of a larger whole, coming together to create a distinctive, comprehensive experience: the following are or will be invited as members of the team: Bryon Grigsby, Cynthia Kosso, Nicole Loyd, Mark Reed, Jill Anderson, David Brandes, Scott Dams, Jon Conrad, Mike Corr, Carol Traupman-Carr, Bernie Cantens, Katie Desiderio, Daisy Purdy, Nicholas Creary, Daniel Jasper, Diane Husic, Kevin Hartshorn, Dana Dunn.
There will be an update to the Strategic Planning web page next week, which will share some clarifications about where we are in the planning process and some timelines.
The following people are on the Strategic Planning Steering Committee. We have only met once as a whole group.
Strategic planning steering committee
Bryon Grigsby President
Cynthia Kosso Provost and Dean of the Faculty
Jill Anderson Vice President for Development and Alumni Engagement
David Brandes Chief Information Officer
Jon Conrad Vice President for Human Resources
Scott Dams Vice President for Enrollment and Marketing
Elaine Deitch Chief of Staff
Nicole Loyd Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students
Mark Reed Vice President for Finance & Administration, Chief Financial Officer
Craig Atwood Interim Dean of the Seminary
Jane Berger Interim Dean of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Michael Bertucci Assistant Professor of Chemistry
Rob Breckinridge Executive Director for Development
In-Chi Chow-Rivera Executive Administrative Assistant for Student Life
Michael Corr Assistant Vice President of Marketing & Communications
Nicholas Creary Associate Provost of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Karen Groller Assistant Professor of Nursing
Kevin Hartshorn Dean of Student Success/Associate Professor of Mathematics
Brian Martin Director of Graduate Enrollment
Rebecca May Fitness Center Director/Assistant Athletic Director
Benitta Ngobeni Student, Junior
Daisy Purdy Associate Provost of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Frank Ravja Executive Director of Financial Aid Services
Amy Saul Assistant Vice President for Student Life & Dean for Career & Civic Engagement
Those of us in this group have seen all the responses from the community, the board, and the leadership groups and it is my understanding that this material is nearing ready to share with the larger community. What I can say is that from what I have seen there is quite a bit of agreement around the issues that we all care about and would want to see in our strategic plan, ideas that you all, I already know, are interested in fleshing out in real ways as scholars and educators (these include, for example, equity, strengthening and supporting academic programs, partnerships, investments).
I mentioned the Communications Task force that was developed as a result of the COVID emergency and this group has been helping us in communications more generally: Scott Dams (Chair), Mike Corr, Jill Anderson, Elaine Deitch with consultants: Yasmin Bugaighis, Cynthia Kosso. We are discussing expanding this group in the Spring.
I hope these details are helpful in clarifying who is doing what for which purpose and adds the detail missing in my words earlier this week at the faculty meeting. Still missing is a clear sense of timing, but my hope is that by next week we will have more to share about the process and when various pieces need to be completed.
Spring semester: While we need to focus on closing out the Fall semester, we will need to gear up for the Spring remember and remember that the spring term will still start on Jan.18th for graduate programs, Spring I courses, seminary and some undergraduate cohort courses (EA division Nursing). However, the majority of the other undergraduate courses will start on the 25th. The specific start/end dates always appear on AMOS for each course.
COVID-19: You should take a look at this article in The Washington Post.
If you made it this far… thank you for wading through this lengthy letter! I do hope I filled in some gaps in the information that you had. Wishing you all the very best this weekend and always,
Among the stories is this week's Comenian:
- Vespers Goes Virtual in Quarantine
- Friday Forum: The Difficult Relationship Between Thanksgiving and Indigenous Peoples
- Console Crisis: The Shortage of PS5 and XBox Series X
- A Designated Space for Dancers Comes to South Campus
- Guest Op-Ed: Will Marine Ecosystems Cease to Exist?
- This Semester's Final Installment of Behind the Mask: Our Exclusive Comic Series
- A Senior Reflection
- Our Final Editor's Letter
- and more!
December 4, 2020
Dear faculty colleagues,
Finals are almost upon us and so the break inches ever closer:) Thank you so much for your perseverance and positive attitudes as we muscle through this challenging semester!
I have just a few updates and reminders today.
During the faculty meeting next week, we are planning another strategic academic planning opportunity. We will take some of the ideas generated in the previous meeting and explore them in more depth. You will be able to choose your breakout group and we will announce these groups at the beginning of the meeting so you may think about your interests prior to that part of the meeting. At the meeting two weeks ago we used the following brainstorming document to keep track of your ideas and you can look at this document whenever you wish and may add new ideas to tab 18 at your convenience. Also be on the lookout for the email advance sign-up for breakout sessions on Tuesday morning.
Remember, student course evaluations become unavailable at midnight on December 6th. So… you might want to remind your students to complete these.
Contact tracing needs
As we prepare to have more in-person classes in the spring, we have been asked by the health center to identify ways that we can facilitate close contact tracing in the classroom. The good news is that we have had no evidence for disease spread on campus from in-person classes, and this trend seems to also hold across the country. However, if a student in your class tests positive for COVID, we need to be able quickly to identify any students near the positive-tested individual.
We need your help: for example, is it better to have assigned seating, sharing the seating chart so that the health center can quickly identify who was sitting near the student? Perhaps we should classes have “pods”, or small groups of students that will be close contacts throughout the semester to facilitate group discussions? Are there other ways that we can help the health center identify which students were close to one another? Please share your ideas with Diane or Daniel, and when we return from break in January, we will provide an update so that we can ensure that close contact tracing in the class is quick and accurate.
Get Inclusive training. I copy here part of the email from HR regarding the training modules. If you have not yet done this, I urge you to carve out time to finish these three online courses before the winter break begins.
“As explained in the Annual Title IX Compliance Notice sent via email by Leah Naso, Executive Director for Equity and Compliance, Title IX Coordinator, to the Moravian College community on October 29th:
All current College employees (faculty and staff) engage in annual compliance training. Please note that during the first week of November, all College employees (unless completed as part of onboarding since March 2020) will receive email communication from our training partner Get Inclusive assigning three courses for completion to ensure compliance with both federal regulations and insurer requirements. The courses will be focused on Harassment and Discrimination Prevention, Title IX (Meridians), and Child Abuse Prevention. Training must be completed within 45 days, and non-compliance will affect raise eligibility and employment status.
On Monday, November 2nd as indicated above, all current employees received an email invitation to begin these courses...”
Also, as I have noted a couple of times, “COVID Alert PA is the official mobile app by the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH). The app uses the Exposure Notification System (ENS)Opens In A New Window provided by Apple and Google.
Many of us have now added the COVID Alert PA App to our phones. Consider adding the app to your phone as an additional means to keep you, your family and friends, and our campus safe.”
Thanks to Katie for sharing this: Reflections on the COVID Crisis—Transitions from Classrooms to Quarantine -- 17 essays that can apply across disciplines: https://cdn.ymaws.com/acbsp.org/resource/collection/587DEE08-4368-4671-B55D-95A2AB703358/TJB-Special_Issue-Reflections_on_the_COVID_Crisis-Fall_2020.pdf
It looks like a rainy weekend is in store! I hope you are able to find at least a moment or two of peace over the next couple of days and I look forward to seeing you all next week!
November 20, 2020
Dear faculty colleagues,
Thanks to all of you who were able to attend the meeting this afternoon. I very much appreciated the energetic and engaging conversations around the Art and Science recommendations and academic planning. For those of you who were not able to attend, the second half of the meeting was dedicated to talking about your ideas for Moravian’s future. As I mentioned in the meeting, we have some consensus emerging around goals based on the conversations over the last two months (I summarize these in my words as I did at the meeting): diversity and equity, inclusive excellence in new/existing academic programs and advising, global perspectives, career development and opportunities, leadership and teamwork skill building throughout the student experience. In one of my letters, I encouraged departments to begin thinking about how they could incorporate A&S ideas, so I knew that we had already started thinking, talking, brainstorming. Today, we built on those early discussions.
At the meeting we used the following brainstorming document to keep track of our ideas and the tab “Faculty: Group 18” is left empty for those of you who missed the meeting to add your ideas. The prompt we used in the breakout sessions is there, but you can also look at what the various breakout groups discussed. Please do not edit their entries:), but do add your own ideas! The names on the tabs reflect the session facilitators. This is the first of what I hope will be many conversations on the road to planning our future!
Faculty Meeting Schedule for SPRING. The scheduling committee has worked hard to help us organize the Spring semesters meetings. Because of the shortened time between classes, we are not able to have brief meetings as we did this fall. Meetings will be scheduled for 80 minutes and will occur on Tuesdays or Thursdays 8:00-9:20 or Fridays, 4:10-5:30. These times have been chosen to minimize the number of conflicts with scheduled courses. There will still be faculty with some conflicts. Two meetings--the first and last of the semester--will be scheduled outside of these time parameters. These meetings will begin at 1:30. We have added a significant number of meeting times to the spring calendar, especially during the beginning of the semester. This is to ensure that we have ample time to discuss and contribute academic goals and initiatives to the strategic plan that is currently being built and will be presented to the Board in April. If it turns out that we do not need all of the scheduled meetings, we can convert these to Chairs or School meetings, or cancel them. The meeting dates for spring term 2021 can be found here.
There are some other important dates in the spring that are worth keeping in mind:
- January 18th, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
- March 11th, Tagore Lecture, Eric Weiner to deliver a virtual lecture
- April 19th, The InFocus Town Hall
- April 20th, Scholars Day
Coronavirus: these are the new PA rules now in place. Until the country is able to get the virus under some semblance of control, we will continue to see changes in recommendations and requirements at the state and local levels. And I will continue to keep you as informed as possible as to what these are.
Faculty handbook(s): As many of you have noticed, there are sections of the Faculty Handbook that need to be updated. A recent external review of all of our main college handbooks (Employee, College Faculty, Seminary Faculty, Board By-Laws) by the Association of Governing Boards noted that our faculty handbook does not accurately present/reflect our current institutional structure, shows inconsistencies with other current policies and between the College and Seminary and Employee handbooks and does not fully comply with best practices in grievance and other procedures, presenting the college with potential legal difficulties. We have been formally charged by the board to revise and update our handbooks. The faculty members who have agreed thus far to serve on a “rewrite committee” for the Faculty, Seminary, and Adjunct handbooks include faculty in various elected roles: Axel Hildebrandt, Faculty Board of Trustees member, the chairs of TPRC, Michelle Schmidt, and CCH, Gary Kaskowitz, as well as Craig Atwood for the Seminary, and Jennifer Ostrowski leading a graduate accredited program. They will work with me on thoroughly updating our faculty handbook. If others would like to be involved in this important task, please let me know. Carol Traupman-Carr has already been working to update the Adjunct Handbook, which we will merge into the revised faculty handbook. Any revisions will, of course, be presented to the faculty for comment, further revision, a vote, and then, when ready, sent to the Board of Trustees for their approval.
Online form update: Next Monday, November 23, a new online form will launch in AMOS to smooth the process for students to declare their majors, minors, and certifications. When students login to AMOS, they will find this new form in the same place as the current email-based process instructions: the College Students tab, under forms. After students request to declare an academic program, the chair of the relevant department receives an email notification, approves or denies the request, and assigns the academic advisor if approved. (Chairs will be receiving more information shortly, and many thanks to John Black, Steve Dunham, and Barb Vinciguerra for helping in beta testing.) Please direct your students to that new form and away from both the paper form and more recently used email process. Many thanks to David Brandes and his IT team for working to make our lives better and our work easier to accomplish!
Last week, I mentioned the Lehigh Valley, Annual State of the Valley, event. You can access a copy of the report and view the recording of the event via this link.
Next week includes the holiday break. The CDC is encouraging all of us to avoid large gatherings and travel this break, but the break from our work routines still offers us the occasion to connect with those we love and be mindful of the many good things in our lives. It is always good to take some time to slow down, focus on our closest connections, and to reflect on our lives. Gratitude and thankfulness for what blessings we have is a choice we make, so take some time to appreciate that we get to work with and help shape the future generation. That is a privilege and definitely something for which to be grateful, and I am also grateful to be working with all of you on this lovely campus.
I am taking a few days off next week and so there won’t be a letter on November 27th, but I will be back for letter writing on December 4th.
Best wishes and stay safe!
From Tracie Marcella Addy, PhD, MPhil, Associate Dean of Teaching & Learning, Director of CITLS, Lafayette College:
“The LVAIC non-tenure-track faculty community of practice was recently highlighted by Adrianna Kezar in an interview with the Association of College and University Educators. [See link] The Pullias Center also recently contacted me about a case example description they plan to add to their website about the LVAIC CoP. When they post it, I will also send it along. Thanks to all for your support of our NTTF.
Among the stories in this week's Comenian:
- 2020 Election: The Moravian Community Reacts
- Visas and Travel Restrictions: MoCo’s International Students Face Unique Pandemic Anxieties
- Love in the Time of Corona: Can You Really Start a Relationship in a Pandemic?
- Club Spotlight: Moravian College Equestrian Team
- Professor Spotlight: Dr. Khristina Haddad
- Dom Reviews: “Positions” by Ariana Grande
- Applying to Law School Has Become Stricter During the Pandemic
- This Week's Edition of Behind the Mask: Our Exclusive Moravian Comic!
- and more!
Have a wonderful holiday break from the Comenian team!
Editor-in-chief, The Comenian
November 13, 2020
Dear faculty colleagues,
We are getting closer to the Thanksgiving respite and I am sure we are looking forward to that individually and collectively. The Lehigh Valley and the state have seen dramatic increases in the virus and it is time to be extra vigilant in your own lives and work. Hence the move to Tier 3 on our campus. Wear your masks. Wash your hands and maintain distance from one another. As you well know, these are effective defenses to prevent and slow the spread of the virus. Safety is genuinely our top priority and our hope is that everyone gets to be with their close family over the holidays well and safely. I recommended once before considering subscribing to: “‘Covid Act Now’ which provides a 4-color risk score for states and counties across the nation so citizens and government officials can better understand COVID status in their area. Learn more at covidactnow.org/about. Covid Alert PA also has an app that you can download and I recommend that you do that.
Those of you that will have continued interactions with students, please be extra careful for your sake and theirs:)
Because of the continued dependence on online modalities, some of you have asked about student evaluations and the stance of TPRC. We all recognize that the context and circumstances of our fundamental work has created extra stress and anxiety. Please know that everyone on the committee is participating in the same context that the rest of you are and they are intensely aware of the challenges you, and we, all face. Below is the recommendation from the TPRC.
TPRC recommendation on 2020-2021 COVID-19 teaching circumstances
It is the recommendation of the Tenure, Promotion, and Review Committee that teaching evaluations be administered during the 2020-2021 academic year and that these evaluations be turned in as part of any future review files. We feel that it is important both for students to share their experiences about their classes and for faculty to get feedback about their teaching.
We understand that the current times present challenges and, as always, we encourage faculty to reflect on teaching evaluations in any future personal statements/narratives.
On the political front, though there is not universal agreement about the outcome of the election, Higher Education leaders agree that Joseph Biden is the President elect and they are starting to consider how this election will impact Higher Education. Inside Higher Ed has a couple of articles that might interest you. “NAICU is hosting a webinar, Election 2020: Who Won, Who Lost, and What Does it All Mean? to discuss the impact the results of the 2020 Election might have on federal policy, the political landscape, and how higher education could be affected. The webinar is Wednesday, Nov. 18 from 2:30-3:30 EST.” Barbara K. Mistick, D.M., President of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, in her recent letter to Higher Ed leaders shared the following information that may well interest you:
“To illustrate the areas in which we could see change coming from the Executive Branch that will affect higher education, we have prepared a chart that shows some of the key actions taken by President Trump that President-Elect Biden could reverse once in office.
We have also produced a chart listing the key elements of President-Elect Biden’s Plan for Education Beyond High School, which is his 13-part campaign proposal for higher education. This chart illustrates the proposals that would need congressional approval to be enacted and those that could be done administratively.“
I am grateful that most protests and responses to the election remain localized and largely peaceful. Be aware, however, that the internet remains a place of considerable disinformation and controversy and your students may well have perspectives and “facts” that do not match the reality that we inhabit.
The Lehigh Valley State of the Valley Report was released today. A number of us attended and were able to watch our colleagues Dr. Sabrina Terrizzi and Dr. Cathy Coyne present their portions of the report. Well done, Sabrina and Cathy! When the pdf version is available, I will share that with you.
Back at Moravian College: The scheduling task force met yesterday and there was consensus that it is important to keep some stability in the schedule for the 2021-2022 academic year, particularly after having different schedules for 3 semesters in a row. We are proposing that for the 2021-2022 academic schedule, we keep to the scheduling system we are using for Spring 2021. In addition, 6th period on Tuesday and Thursday should be used only for courses taught by adjuncts so that we can have departmental (on Tuesday) and all-faculty (on Thursday) meetings beginning at 4:15 pm.
One of the presenters at today's State of the Valley event, Todd Hastings from Cedar Crest, made some comments that resonated with me. He described how these stresses that we are experiencing can help us adapt and innovate, and they can build strength and resilience in us. He was acutely aware of the nature of the stresses and their negative impacts. But in his remarks, he reminded me that there are areas over which, in our particular context, we do have control and we need to hold on to those. In that regard, I choose to focus on these positives for myself and I urge you once again to do the same. At the start of this pandemic we urged members of our community to help one another. And you showed up! We are now at the start of the holiday season, which always stresses some. But it is also a time of giving to the needier and isolated among us. Redouble those efforts if you can. Show up again.
Finally, happily, today is World Kindness Day! So, be supportive of one another, remember to be kind to others and to yourselves. Get some exercise. Eat well. And maintain a familiar daily routine!
November 6, 2020
Dear faculty colleagues,
This has indeed been a very long week, as I am sure you all agree. We still await the culmination of the democratic process, at least as of the writing of this letter. Perhaps by the time I hit send, there will be some resolution. I counsel patience and urge you to take advantage of the truly splendid weather today and this weekend to recover some equanimity. And on the subject of well-being: Katie shared the following and I am sharing with you all: “While votes for the 2020 election are counted, our contributors weigh in on what we as individuals can do now to preserve our well-being and our democracy: https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/what_can_we_do_now”
And thanks to all of you who joined the town hall yesterday. The original questions and a link to the notes from the town hall are here. The conversations about your classroom experiences and what is working and what is not was valuable and I am sure helpful to many. Thank you for sharing! I also have confirmation concerning one of the questions that I was asked. I followed up with Yasmin, and I am sharing her summary of the HVAC work:
“You are correct in your summary to the faculty town hall, FMPC did discuss air circulation with our HVAC consultant and we did take measures to enhance our indoor environments. In general, amongst those measures are:
- All HVAC units have been serviced and filters changed.
- In buildings with HVAC equipment that includes coils, all coils have been sanitized wherever possible.
- Wherever possible, we have ensured that the HVAC systems are no longer ‘set back’ and we are increasing air changes as much as possible whilst ensuring a healthy climate mix of humidity/temperature.
- Filter changes have been increased.
As for Comenius Hall specifically, it is an old building that does not have a central system. Heating is 'radiant' and does not involve any forced air movement. Cooling is provided by either window air conditioners in the offices and by Air Handler Units (AHUs) in the classrooms. All those units were sanitized and had their filters changed, also, they only run when cooling is called for. Comenius does however have fully operable windows. Those can be opened whenever fresh air is desired.” This information should help to put your mind at ease somewhat. Please let me know if you have other questions about this topic.
Another question that came up was about using a tracking app. We do not track our community members. We use the Covid survey to help us with contact tracing, which is very different from tracking. We do not have the legal authority to develop and use a tracking app. Please feel secure in that knowledge.
There was some important conversation about the challenges of doing the work of teaching in this pandemic environment. There were also some questions about how our students have been faring this semester compared to previous. We started the semester with 19 students taking a leave of absence and another 6 students withdrawing from the college for reasons specifically related to the pandemic. As the midterm grades came in, the data reflected what we were seeing in our classes. I asked Kevin to share this data, which indicates the proportion of students that received midterm warnings this year versus last year, as well as how midterm warnings varied with our different modalities. As you will recall the midterm grades are FM (failing), NM (no-show), UM (unsatisfactory) and S (satisfactory). Please feel free to follow up with questions to me or Kevin.
We talked briefly about the many, many initiatives going on all at the same time. I want to reassure you that the general education conversations and design are still ongoing and we will be developing a new timeline. The GenEd task force will be reaching out with new opportunities for input into the design of a new program. We also talked about strategic planning and its relationship to the Art and Science recommendations. I urge you to read the platform recommendations carefully and begin discussing these at the departmental level. Here, once again, is a link to the PowerPoint presentation by Art and Science given recently to the Gen Ed committee and full faculty. I agreed that we will dedicate faculty meeting times to these questions and I will be putting together teams of interested faculty to help respond to the recommendations and help us with strategic planning. There is already a group working together with student life to develop strategies for the incoming class. Finally, the name change train is gathering speed and I would love to have your questions, comments, and concerns about the name and any thoughts on its consequences registered as soon as possible.
Title IX Compliance
A reminder to complete the mandatory training through Get Inclusive as soon as possible. Please see the November 5th email from Jon Conrad. This statement speaks to the value of this (besides the legal requirement).
Now more than ever, our world calls for a new level of mutual respect and human understanding. At Moravian College, we believe that a diverse workplace is vital to our collective success, and we know that new perspectives lead to increased creativity, productivity, and ultimately, new solutions.
As we continue our work to be the best we can be in the classroom, whether virtually or otherwise, we have the following opportunity to share from Online Education and Innovation:
Complete the Applying the Quality Matters Rubric course - get $250!
As we work toward the goal of assuring excellence across online courses at the college, The Office of Online Education and Innovation invites any interested faculty to sign up for the Applying the QM Rubric course. The college will cover the fee associated with taking this course, and as an added incentive, those who successfully finish will be awarded $250!
Per the course description on the QM website: participants will “Learn the underlying principles behind the QM Rubric and the critical elements of the QM quality assurance process. Learn about drafting helpful recommendations as you apply the Rubric to an actual course.”
The course is two weeks long and fully online. There are several start dates to choose from between now and early 2021, and you may choose a start date that works best for you.
How do I register?
Interested faculty may sign up on the QM website. You may log in, or create an account at: https://www.qmprogram.org/myqm/. Once you are logged in, you may register for the workshop by:
- Click on “Workshop- Register” on the left hand side, and then choose “QM Training” from the dropdown.
- Under “Filter by Training Type”, choose “Applying the QM Rubric- APPQMR”, then click Filter.
- From here you will see a list of upcoming date options. Choose the session that works best for you, and click Register next to it.
- When registering, you should simply note that Moravian College should be billed for the course.
If you have any questions about course content or time commitment, or if you need assistance registering, please contact Sarah Rentz at firstname.lastname@example.org.
According to the NYT’s election coverage as of 1:19pm, we are still in limbo. So remember to breathe, drink plenty of water, stretch, meditate, and perhaps read some fiction. I will join you in those activities!
FYI, from Liz Tate:
If you are teaching multiple sections of the same course and would like to manage them all in one Canvas course please fill out the form below.
Cross-listing allows you to manage all of the content in one course but handle sections separately for announcements, assignments, attendance, discussions, grading, and quizzes. (For an example of how to manage section assignment due dates scroll down to Assign Different Dates to Section on this page How do I assign an assignment to a course section? in the Canvas Guides.)
If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact Liz Tate, Moravian's Instructional Technologist at email@example.com or call at 610-861-1633 or extension 1633 internally.
Among the stories in this week's Comenian:
- 2020 Election: Still Too Close to Call
- Whitehall Police Chief Talks about Careers in Law Enforcement
- Life Science Research Students Undefeated by COVID-19 Challenges
- Rant of the Week: The Plastic Pandemic Inside MoCo’s Dining Halls
- Opinion: Don’t Ask a Graduating Student What They’re Doing After College: Graduating into COVID
- Best Beats: A Comenian Playlist featuring Genesis
- Comic Corner: Behind the Mask
- Our new video segment: Critters of Moravian!
- and more!
Resharing these Web resources:
Of possible interest also are a number of articles on voting and covid-19 in 2020.
From our LVAIC colleagues, here are some election and voting resources:
Civic Alliance Post Election Day and Election Day Guide
American Counseling Association Post-Election Resources (2016)
Headspace – Election Anxiety
Institute for Democracy & Higher Education: Readiness for Discussing Democracy in Supercharged Political Times
Public Policy Lab – Election 2020: Results and Reactions – November 10, 2020
October 30, 2020
Dear faculty colleagues,
I am sure next week looms large in all of your minds, as it does in mine. Please do vote. If you are voting with a mail in ballot, I recommend turning it in by hand ASAP.
I also want to let you know that we will have a faculty town hall next week in lieu of the GenEd meeting, November 5, 7:30am. We will start at 7:30. Please share your questions and concerns with Diane Husic and Daniel Jasper. They will compile the questions and keep us on track during the town hall. We will send a reminder with the zoom link next week. The topics are yours to choose!
Tensions are clearly high as we move closer and closer to next week’s election. As you all know, we are unlikely to get results immediately, so anxiety and uncertainty are likely to persist for many days, and very likely longer, beyond Tuesday. It is worth waiting for the democratic process to work, but we are also facing the possibility the results might prompt protest and unrest. Let us try to prepare ourselves to the best of our ability. In light of these concerns, many of you have reached out personally with questions about post election activities. In this section of the letter, I am going to share several resources with you, as well as campus events and opportunities in the days and weeks that follow November 3rd. President Grigsby will also send out reminders on Monday of next week, adding any other resources that we have developed in the meantime.
Election and post election information
The Office for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, the Office of Spirituality and Inclusion, and the Bias Response Intervention Team are providing the following opportunities for students, staff and faculty.
Wednesday, from 9 am to 7 pm we will host an all-day brave-space meeting so that community members can easily find someone to talk to.
Topic: Election Brave Space
Time: Nov 4, 2020 9:00 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Join Zoom Meeting
Thursday from 10 am to 12 pm, DEI will host a safe space meeting simultaneously at the Diversity House and on Zoom (link below). This event is specifically for minoritized students, staff and faculty.
Topic: DEI Post Election Drop-In Hours
Time: Nov 5, 2020 10:00 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Join Zoom Meeting
Friday from 12 to 1 pm, we will host a Friday Forum on the election to provide an opportunity for open discussion (Zoom link below). Please feel free to share this information with your students.
Topic: Friday Forum on the Election
Time: Nov 6 2020 12:00 PN Eastern Time (US and Canada)
This year’s election is exceptional in its polarization, so regardless of the outcome, some students, faculty, and staff may feel fearful or concerned. Thus, we would also like to support faculty as you work to support your students during these challenging times. Indeed, the result of the presidential election might be announced in the middle of some classes. If the outcome is contested or protested, students will be reacting as we are teaching. As a result, as faculty members, we may want to prepare ourselves in advance of our class meetings for discussions related to all of the possible scenarios.
If the prospect of leading discussions on the election is daunting to you because of our deeply divided student body, and you would like some help, we have some to offer. You may use this form to request a facilitator attend your class to lead, or help you to lead a discussion on the election. The facilitators are the individuals who led the small-group discussions during our Conversations on Racism last summer, and they have each received training on handling difficult conversations. They will have some prepared questions that we hope can help make the discussions meaningful and respectful.
Of possible interest also are a number of articles on voting and covid-19 in 2020.
From our LVAIC colleagues, here are some election and voting resources:
Civic Alliance Post Election Day and Election Day Guide
Election Protection Hotline – text or call – 866-OUR-VOTE/866-687-8683 – this resource is up and running now if anyone you know has trouble with being able to cast their vote.
American Counseling Association Post-Election Resources (2016)
Headspace- Election Anxiety
Institute for Democracy & Higher Education: Readiness for Discussing Democracy in Supercharged Political Times
Public Policy Lab – Election 2020: Results and Reactions – November 10, 2020
From our NACU colleagues:
“The first two videos are ONLY FOR NACU CAMPUSES. (Please do not share these links.) The second two are from our 2017 Summer Institute and are posted publicly on our YouTube channel.
Dr. Bowen presents on “Inclusive Teaching” in both in-person and remote environments. He also includes specifics for managing post-election contentious discussions which begins at the 23:45 mark.
In this conversation moderated by Dr. Ruta Shah-Gordon of Wagner College, Dr. Tatum talks about strategies for creating inclusive campus environments and how to have conversations on equity and social justice. She talks specifically about curriculum around the 31:00 mark. Just after the 48:00 mark, she addresses how to stay open to diverse political perspectives while maintaining your values. At the 58:00 mark she puts our unsettled times into perspective.
Dr. Lawrence spoke about “The Contours of Expression: Free Speech and Civility” with content beginning at the 4:30 mark. He sought to answer the question: How do we balance seemingly opposing values to enable free expression, yet foster a climate of mutual respect and sense of personal safety in our discourse on important topics?
Dr. Roderick led a workshop on “Difficult Dialogues in Higher Education: Effectively Tackling the Tough Issues of our Times” with content beginning at the 3:15 mark. In her discussion you'll find some tools for conducting meaningful conversations on controversial topics.”
Other issues of importance:
Responding to midterm performances: I want to thank you all for how hard you are working to support the students that are struggling in your class: reminding them to turn in the work, referring them to academic support, reaching out to notify offices when a student expresses challenges outside the classroom. But as instructors, we should avoid telling a student that they need to withdraw from our class, regardless how far behind they are in the work. Rather, we need to make sure that students know exactly where they stand in your class to empower them to make an informed decision (in consultation with their advisor) about whether they can or should withdraw. Remember too that incompletes are a possibility, with the normal period of 42 calendar days for completion.
Registration for the spring: As you all know, registration for Spring 2021 courses began this week. I very much appreciate the number of you who have moved to hybrid or face-to-face modalities. More than 50% of our classes are now in those modalities and this will help with both enrollment and retention! Thank you!
Nevertheless, as always, students are beginning to raise questions about next semester. A common question that you may be hearing in advising is what exactly “hybrid” means for a class. There are a variety of hybrid formats students are experiencing this semester, so this question is unsurprising. If students reach out to you to ask about your spring modality plans for your hybrid course, please remember, that, like you, they are seeking to balance their health and educational needs and find courses in which they can maximize their potential for success. Please do help them find the information that they need in AMOS or by connecting with colleagues.
Faculty meetings: I still think we need music in the background at the start of the meetings to make the time seem less stiff. So if you share with me a favorite piece of music, I will make a playlist that we can use to start each meeting.
As the calendar turns to November this weekend (don’t forget to set your clocks back an hour!), let us take some additional time to reflect on how far we have already come this term, and how close we are at this point to sending the students home for an extended break from campus -- and a slightly longer winter break than normal. While some classwork and final exams remain, we should all appreciate how our students have been behaving, especially compared to other campuses that have seen enormous surges in COVID cases. I am proud of them, and of your support for them and our wider community.
This fact should delight you all -- November 4th is National Stress Awareness Day! I am pretty sure that will (not) be an entirely stress free day! Which reminds me that, over and over again mental health experts urge us to find our joys and to acknowledge to ourselves the things for which we are grateful. If that can become a habit for you, all the better, but in the meantime, I am here to remind you to find your moments of joy and be grateful for them. Remember that you are appreciated, not only by me, but by your colleagues and your students.
Yours in gratitude,
With greetings from Political Science!
Robin P. organized the presentation of this painting by an Alaskan artist for the entry space of Comenius Hall:
October 16, 2020
Good news (knock on wood): We still are holding our own in terms of our COVID numbers and that speaks volumes about our students, faculty, and staff colleagues. Everyone is taking their responsibilities seriously. And we must continue to do so: wearing masks, physical distancing, hand washing are imperative. I hope these successes might encourage those of you teaching fully on-line to consider a hybrid or face to face options. I have heard from some of you about the good experiences you are having with in-person classes. Many students and their families are hoping for this more traditional experience in the spring. Remember, as well, that hybrid courses, which meet in person once per week, may be easier for you to adapt to and they do increase the number of in-person interactions. And truthfully, offering more in-person and hybrid courses could have a positive impact on our enrollment. Please let your chair and dean know immediately if you are willing to teach in person or in hybrid format. There will be work impacts on the Registrar’s office. Priority registration begins on October 26, so it’s important that we have made any changes to modality before that point.
Thanks to all who participated at the October 13 Community Day. I heard that many attendees found the conversation valuable and stimulating. The President noted that the attendee number was high and the feedback was encouraging.
In Bryon’s letter to the community, he provided a video recording of Community Day (minus the breakout rooms; note: this file needs a few seconds to load) for those who were unable to participate due to other obligations. There was an introduction, description of process and in the breakout sessions, attendees were asked to contribute our ideas under the umbrella of four overarching themes (plus a fifth session where attendees could share any ideas that didn’t easily fall in the previous four)
If you missed the community day, or even if you have ideas that you were not able to share on Tuesday, we still want your input. Please submit your responses no later than Friday, October 23.
As you all know, the strategic planning process was begun at the same time that Art and Science is sharing its findings. This coming week Art & Science Group LLC will be presenting at a faculty and academic staff (formerly Chair) Meeting on Thursday, October 22 at 7:30 a.m. I know the school deans reached out to all faculty earlier this week, and we very much hope you can join this presentation! There will be an opportunity to ask questions and share impressions. Here is the Zoom information:
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 948 0252 9384
Feel free to take a look at the “flow-vella” of our previous strategic plan.
Reminder: Academic Standards Committee: For the foreseeable future, could you all please remember to send academic standards related matters, e.g. self-design majors and academic honesty questions, to firstname.lastname@example.org. Do NOT send Academic Standards matters directly to Carol. Some of you seem to have missed the negation in my request previously:) Thanks again to Kayla Holdridge and Maria Lucas for getting the new email address up and running.
Indicative of the world that we all live in these days, I opened the email with this announcement three days after World Mental Health Day, but I am sharing anyway. It is a good reminder that students are still dealing with illness and injury beyond COVID. Please remember that neither the health center nor the accessibility center provide “sick notes” for students that need to miss class unless the student is registered and working directly with those offices. Students who need to miss class for a doctor’s appointment, injury, or short-term illness are expected to work directly with their faculty about a missed class.
I know you are all also dealing with myriad stresses. We are thinking about how we can reduce these structurally, but in the meantime, if you are able, try to find time to interact safely, but in person, with others. Do whatever physical activities that you enjoy and spend time outside enjoying the natural world. Today marks the end of week 8 of the fall term, the exact half-way point of the term, including finals. There are only 8 weeks left, and every day of instruction, prepping, and grading is one more successful day leading to the end of the semester. Take some time to celebrate having made it this far.
It very much feels like fall today, but the weekend weather looks a little sunnier and brighter. Try to enjoy the sunny days as we have them!
Stay safe and well,
Karen Goeller shared these:
1. BLM statement on America's Got Talent by Brandon Leake.
2. Nearpod Demo - Karen worked with Bernie over the summer and at semester start to demo Nearpod. Some members of the Education department, along with the School of Nursing have begun the demo. Please note: Karen can add anyone to the trial, however, the end date for the trial will be November 8, 2020. Karen still has the google form so if this is still something that you would want to do please contact me or Karen, ASAP. The use in higher education with this company is cutting-edge. It has been mainly used in the K-12 education world and now ADEs in higher education and their respective institutions are trialing and using them.
October 9, 2020
Thank you again for rolling with the surprise “pop-up” break. I know many of you counted it more as a shock than a surprise -- though I hope some of you actually used it to enjoy the weather. There are some lovely photos populating our contest page. From my perspective, it was very nice to see the students out in countable numbers. They seemed truly to be enjoying themselves and it was the first time campus has seemed populated to me. I think the evidence shows that the students really have been taking their responsibilities seriously.
Related to that, I would suggest that more of you consider in-person modalities in the spring. I am sure both you and the students would appreciate more … mask-to-mask opportunities :-) I know that many students were, and are, hoping to be able to see you in person.
Academic Standards Committee: For the foreseeable future, could you all please remember to send academic standards related matters, such as self-design majors, to email@example.com. Do not send Academic Standards matters directly to Carol. Thanks to Kayla Holdridge and Maria Lucas for getting the new email address up and running.
One more time, a reminder: October 13, 2020, 1:00-4:00pm, Credo and community day. Please attend community day if at all possible. The cabinet had a day and half long meeting with the credo team and I was very impressed with their skill in communicating and helping us to communicate and their genuine understanding of the academic enterprise. Here is the link to strategic planning google doc. I look forward to working with Credo and you all over the coming year.
The DEI search is moving along well, but there is nothing concrete to share yet! We are working as fast as we can, while being responsible and sensitive to the candidates and potentially impacted departments. We are getting closer.
I also want to congratulate James Teufel! James recently contributed to an American Academy of Arts and Sciences report that resulted in seven recommendations to improve civil justice in the United States. He “previously received the national medical-legal partnership advocate award and has also advised the UK and Australia on health justice partnerships. The US has the lowest ranked civil justice system among rich countries and is ranked 109th out of 128 countries in access to and affordability of civil justice, and we sit at 115th out of 128 countries in discrimination in the civil justice system. The most common harm of civil justice events is health harm. The AAAS project was Chaired by Ken Frazier (CEO of Merck), John Levi (Board Chair of the Legal Services Corporation), and Martha Minow (Distinguished Harvard Law Professor and former Dean of Harvard Law School). And here is a link to the report and a short video linked to the report.
I would welcome an opportunity to share your success and projects here, so feel free to send them. It is also not too late to submit photos from Wednesday,
Once again, I deeply appreciate all of your efforts to make this semester a success. And I want to reiterate that I do know that you and your students are experiencing unprecedented stresses. Even when we try to alleviate some of these, we may unintentionally create new ones, and for that I am sorry. Please know that my intention always is to create a space where you all can feel and be successful -- whatever that looks like in your particular circumstances. Do not hesitate to reach out with your ideas for making this academic year work for all of us. Take care of yourselves and one another.
Other things to share:
Preparing for the upcoming election LVAIC event. Attend if you can!
A look at online courses from one teenager’s perspective.
A New York Times piece that is just beautiful.
A documentary that was recommended to me: Kiss the Ground
The new Inside Moravian has some great stuff in it! Check it out.
Among the stories in this week's Comenian:
- Arts and Entertainment
- Dom Reviews: “Nectar” by Joji
- A new edition of Anna Litofsky's Comic Strip, Behind the Mask and more!
October 2, 2020
I can now say that we have made it through September and six weeks of the semester! Congratulations to you all! I know it has been an immense amount of work, which is deeply appreciated by your students and me. The arrival of fall has felt gentle so far and all signs suggest a beautiful season for leaf watching. I hope you have some time to enjoy nature over the coming weekends.
In this note, I want to share brief updates on the work of our consultants Art and Science and Credo. Art and Science is wrapping up their work for us and will be sharing their recommendations with the Board of Trustees and the community in the coming weeks. In the meantime, I am sharing the link to their summary findings. Consider these as you are thinking about strategic planning and the questions that you might want to ask when we meet with them.
Credo and community day. Please attend community day if at all possible. The cabinet had a day and half long meeting with the credo team and I was very impressed with their skill in communicating and helping us to communicate and their genuine understanding of the academic enterprise. I will re-add link to strategic planning google doc. I look forward to working with Credo and you all over the coming year.
Moravian College recently implemented EAB’s Academic Performance Solutions (APS) software for easy access to data and visualizations about your various departments and programs. After first sharing it with Department Chairs, Program Directors, and a handful of administrators, we have now opened access to all full-time Faculty and the President’s Cabinet. This access is being shared for transparency and departmental planning purposes. We do not expect faculty who are not serving as program director or chair to use, or even want to use, this software. To access the software, log in to Okta and click the new EAB button. Over the summer EAB led a two hour software training session.
That is available at this link with the password: 9o.i2=?+
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Dean of your school or Sharon Maus.
Many of us have now added the Covid Alert PA App to our phones. Please consider adding this app to yours.
Flu shots : “Just a reminder, the third and final Flu Shot Clinic of the season is scheduled for Tuesday, October 6th. In order to ensure appropriate social distancing we are asking that you call the Health Center in advance at 610- 861-1567 to schedule an appointment.”
From our NACU colleagues: Thank you, again and again, for joining us for NACU’s first session in the Champions series. We hope you will attend the next conversation with José Bowen, October 28, 2:00p ET. Click here to register. The recording from Beverly Daniel Tatum’s session is available here for your viewing. Our agreement with Dr Tatum is that the video is for internal use only at NACU campuses, so please do not share it beyond our campus.
I look forward to the coming discussions about strategic planning and thinking about the years to come (hopefully soon post-Covid).
Have a restful weekend, stay safe,
Also for your enjoyment:
The lovely Comenius video that Christopher Shorr put together
September 25, 2020
Dear faculty colleagues,
Well, we have made it to the last Friday letter in September! Congratulations to all of you for getting this semester up and running despite the odds and the challenges and the exhaustion of doing things in completely new ways, for pretty much every single thing. In this letter, I share some updates and ask for your input on strategic planning.
Strategic planning: As you all know, the College has hired Credo to help us with the next strategic plan. They are essentially replacing Carole Reese’s role in organizing and facilitating this process. In addition, we are still waiting for the recommendations from Art and Science, and it is our hope that their research will help us build a better strategic plan. We will be scheduling a separate meeting for the faculty with Art and Science and I have asked the school deans to recommend times for that, sooner rather than later. In the meantime, you may have thoughts and ideas that you would like to share and so I created a google doc for that purpose: Ideas and comments. There is no limit to the number of times you may add items. I just ask for the normal rules of civility as conversations begin to emerge.
The DEI search process is nearly complete. And I hope to be able to make a definitive announcement soon. Thank you for actively and sincerely participating in this important process. Thanks also to search committee members Jane Berger, Gloria Chibueze-Azinge (now in law school!), Dior Mariano, Carol Moeller, Faith Okpotor, Yosung Song, Erika Zarate (student representative) for their heroic, and it turned out, very lengthy service on behalf of the college!
Absolutely related to our DEI work (and our sustainability and science work and history and healthcare and many other categories of our lives), is the upcoming election. 2016 was a tense election year, and this one will be more so. Feelings are already running high and you can see that in social media especially. Your students and colleagues may react strongly to things you and we say. Be prepared for that. In our own speech, we need to think about the consequences of our words, and we need to listen carefully to understand the perspectives of those with whom we work, study, commune. Be open minded, be compassionate, be empathetic.
TPRC has created recommendations for peer course observation. For faculty in need of peer evaluations and waiting for these recommendations for their CURRENT TENURE PACKAGE, please complete your peer evaluations prior to October 15, 2020, so the evaluations can be added to your files in a timely fashion.
Updates on Covid testing: There are no changes for faculty and staff, but as Bryon noted in his message this week to the community, there are changes for students: “Testing: After consultation with the Bethlehem Health Bureau and St. Luke’s University Health Network, we will be permitted to use the following “drive-through” locations for students who are identified as “close contacts” but are asymptomatic. Our Health Center will work directly with those students who will be impacted. If transportation to one of the testing locations is problematic, we will also assist our students with that need.”
Budgeting and scheduling: Now that we have a schedule for the spring, chairs are working to prepare spring course offerings. As you do this, please keep in mind that the Academic Support Budget still needs to be reduced for this year. This is the budget from which adjuncts are paid and our largest single budget line apart from faculty and academic staff salaries. Thank you to each and every department for making sacrifices this year to help balance the budget. I want to reiterate that these are one time reductions in your budgets.
The Spring schedule returns to longer class periods, but we still have considerable stress on our classroom spaces, because we will continue to follow guidelines regarding the number of people per classroom space. It is therefore critical that we spread our courses as evenly as possible over the days and periods 1-5.
Online update: We are finishing up our work with Extension Engine this week. It was great that so many of you took advantage of their availability. We thank them for their engagement with us and look forward to future projects.
Thanks to the Online/TLC/ID teams for their work with Extension Engine, but most especially for their continued, extensive, excellent work on our behalf.
General Education: Today is the first full presentation of the work of the general education task force. Thank you for attending and commenting. I know the Task Force members appreciate the time you are taking to review their work and offer constructive criticism.
Finally, enjoy the weekend. I frequently remind you to find the joys in your lives, the things that make you sing (in a virtual masked sort of way) and the things that help you make meaning in this world. It is the very beginning of fall, a new season, and so a good time to reflect on those joys.
This week in Comenian:
Among the stories in this week's Comenian, your student-run newspaper:
- Residence Halls Move to Phase B: What to Expect
- What It's Like to Have a Covid Scare
- Mark Pinsley Speaks About Writing as Activism
- Professor Spotlight: Dr. Daniel Proud
- Rant of the Week: Anti-Maskers
- Dom Reviews: "No Pressure" by Logic
- Our Weekly Installment of Behind the Mask: Our New Comic Strip !
- and more!
Plus, get in the Halloween spirit by submitting to our three newest contests. Winners will win gift cards!
More online news:
Online Education and Innovation Improving my Online Course There is no such thing as a perfect online course just as there is no such thing as a perfect in-person course. All courses are continuously improving each time they are taught. Online and hybrid courses can always be improved by making them more student friendly, accessible and effective. Moravian’s Online Education and Innovation instructional designers will be available for one-on-one coaching sessions to address specific needs for your Fall 2020 online or hybrid courses. To sign up for a session, please sign up here.
Why Quality Matters Matters?
Fri Oct 9th 2:30-3:30
Bernie Cantens: An Overview of the Quality Matters Rubric: Improving Your Online Course
We have consolidated our instructional resources into one Canvas Shell: Moravian Online Education and Innovation Resources. Here you will find extensive information on the following:
- Moving online fundamentals
- Getting started with canvas
- Syllabus (How to upload your syllabus to Canvas)
- Assessment and Measurement
- Student Orientation
- Accessibility and Usability
- Zoom and Video Conferencing
- Course Technology
September 11, 2020
Dear faculty colleagues,
Some of you may have noticed that the tree on the corner of the PPHAC open area is lit up. We do this every year in honor of those who died on September 11, 2001. ROTC cadets early this morning raised the flag to half mast for 9/11. We had about a half dozen students come out early to attend the small ceremony. Please take a moment out of your day today to remember and cherish all who have been lost through tragedy, violence, and disease.
Thank you all for getting up to zoom by 7:30 am yesterday morning. I continue to be grateful for the attendance at these meetings! There were some unanswered questions at the end of the meeting and I will address as many of those as I can today.
Health and wellbeing
Covid testing is currently not available for faculty and staff on campus. However, Highmark has extended its coverage and waiver of Covid related costs through September 31. Our HR office is working to see if we can extend the waiver further. Testing is available on campus to students showing symptoms.
Reminder: While I know the vast majority of us recognize our responsibility to one another in the context of a pandemic, some of you have asked who to contact if there are issues that could not be resolved in the moment. If you observe faculty or staff unwilling to wear a mask or maintain physical distancing, please let me know. Reports of student unwillingness to observe mask wearing and distancing guidelines need to go to Greg Meyer or Laura Mack ASAP. It is important, if possible, to name the non-compliant persons.
Please do not announce any student’s health status in class, because it is a HIPAA violation, and there is, of course, the real risk of sharing inaccurate information. This request applies globally to any student absence -- you cannot and should not assume a reason for a student absence. Remember too, that the message sent due to a Momentum flag indicating that students are not allowed to attend class, can be sent for a variety of reasons, including:
- a disciplinary restriction
- failure to respond to the COVID survey
- symptoms which may or may not be COVID and need more investigation
- some other communicable disease
Faculty development and evaluation
Some reassuring news:
The “travel” funds allotted to the departments ($500/FT faculty) and FDRC will remain accessible to you. I have asked that we pull these into a separate “professional development” budget line so that they are not considered in other travel reductions. Thus, they may soon look different in your departmental and school budget documents. I would like the chairs and school deans to work together to create guidelines on the use of the funds. Ideally we would be able to return some of these funds to the college at the end of the year to help with the budget stress. And, since non-essential travel is cancelled for the year, these funds should be made available to faculty for other professional development opportunities. Again, thank you for your patience as I worked through this process.
Many of you have asked about classroom observations this year. We understand teaching and learning conditions are difficult in our current and continuing context and there are many constraints to our normal work. With this in mind, TPRC will come out with a statement regarding classroom observations very soon. It was the topic for the committee’s work this week.
Other: New organization charts are coming soon. I will share as soon as possible. Also, below my signature line I share some other information and reading material.
Regarding DEI, thank you to everyone who has attended the interviews for your serious engagement and participation. Please remember to complete the feedback forms and please do attend the job talk next week, which is on Wed., Sept. 16 from 3:30 to 4:40. See you there!
Finally, enjoy the weekend. The weather is turning cooler and I can almost see fall about to happen. Stay well and safe!
- Now Available On-Demand: 21-Day Racial Equity Habit Building Challenge for Higher Ed Leaders
- Coronavirus Anxiety: Coping with Stress, Fear, and Worry
- Worth a read about the value of what we all do.
- In this week's Comenian, your student-run newspaper, see:
- Remembering 9/11 Through the Eyes of Moravian Professors
- Moravian officially has its first Covid-19 case of fall semester
- Jonathan Safran Foer at InFocus Event: Go Mostly Vegan to Save a Warming Planet
- Foer Talks Climate Change with the Comenian
- Mask Up in Style!: What Your Face Mask Says About You
- Forming My Pod: Making House Rules for COVID-19
- Dom Reviews: “Andy” by Raleigh Ritchie
- Best Beats: A Comenian Playlist
- Introducing our new feature: The comic strip Behind the Mask
- and more!
September 4, 2020
Dear Faculty colleagues,
Two weeks of classes under our belts! Congratulations! I hope you are all well and that more things are working than are not...
In this letter I am going to try to answer a couple the non-budget questions that have arisen this week and last. I will save the budget questions for next week, because I am sure we will have more of them by then:)
An important reminder: Please take the very few minutes it takes to fill out the qualtrics symptom survey everyday, even if you do not plan to be on campus. It is not difficult, it arrives in your email, and not doing so makes tracking much more difficult. Thank you!
Cleaning and disinfecting: Please remember that we are all responsible for wiping down spaces that we use (classrooms, meeting rooms, common spaces). Sanitation stations are available both in classrooms and in hallways. You can apply the sanitizing agent to the towels at that station in order to wipe down desks or other high-contact surfaces. Please use the provided garbage receptacles. If you run out of cleaning supplies, please contact Chad Royer directly: firstname.lastname@example.org
Cleaning the Technology. It is important to NOT use the sanitizer from the wall mounted unit for the technology. The appropriate wipes are those alcohol-based products that we clean our screens with and are being furnished by IT. Please remember that the technology wipes are limited, and should be only used specifically for the tech devices. For podium wipe problems or replacements email: email@example.com
College mandated absences (new flag): Some of you have received a Momentum email indicating that a student is not allowed to attend classes. There are a number of potential reasons for this mandate, which we cannot always reveal, due to the various privacy laws that may be at play. Rest assured that if there are concerns you need to be aware of, we will inform you through more direct channels.
If a student receives this flag, they are not allowed on campus, including to attend classes. At this time the alert cannot distinguish online vs in-person classes, so if your meeting is fully online, you can safely just archive or delete the email. If the student has a concern or feels that the flag was raised in error, they should reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org. The student success team will confirm (or not) that the student is cleared to return to class.
Reminder: The DEI candidates are coming!
- Dr. Daisy Purdy- September 8th from 10:30AM-11:30AM:
- Dr. Katherine Norris- September 10th from 1:30PM-2:30PM:
- Dr. Nicholas Creary- September 16th from 3:30PM-4:30PM:
Related to our DEI efforts, we share the following article, which you may find helpful: IS IT A MICROAGGRESSION?
Click here for updates from Online Education and Innovation and the Teaching and Learning Center
I just finished the faculty scholarship event and what a joy to hear about the work you are doing. The faculty present were able to share a few words about their past, current, or future projects, which were interesting to a person! Thank you to those who shared and to all of you who came and to the even more of you who keep our intellectual and creative lives vibrant at Moravian College.
As you finish projects, you can submit your achievements here. Please do!
Have a lovely weekend. Stay safe, stay well.
August 28, 2020
Dear faculty colleagues,
The first week of classes is nearly complete and I have managed to connect with many of you about your experiences, and with the exception of the country-wide Zoom failure, it sounds like most of you had good learning and teaching experiences, which is great news! All of you in the classrooms, labs, tents, thank you!! The work that went into this first week of classes was massive and everyone contributed. Thank you all!
Over the course of the week, we have had many conversations about remaining flexible for our students, while ensuring that the course content requirements are met. These have been difficult lines to walk as we balance our humanity with what is possible. We are encouraging students to reach out to you in a timely way if, for some reason or reasons, they need to work or meet with you virtually. I fully recognize that there are some experiences (e.g. labs and clinicals) that cannot be reasonably translated to a virtual format and still meet the learning outcomes. Let us know how we can help you help your students as we try to remain flexible in the uncertain time.
Remember that there are rooms available for those students taking classes online.
Enrollment update: We are still dealing with last minute forfeits, withdrawals, and leaves from our new student population, both first-year students and transfers. Many of these are directly related to the effects of COVID, whether financial or personal impacts on the family, or personal concerns for the student’s or a family member’s health. We have also had more returning students exit from the college this week than we like to see: some are withdrawals and some leaves as students choose to wait this semester out and come back in the spring. We will have a better sense for the impact of this and other enrollment dynamics next week.
Our first faculty meeting on the new schedule is a short one on this coming Monday. The primary goal of this short meeting is to go through the goals and meeting plans. Here is the meeting schedule. Amy sent out the agenda earlier today.
On a somber note, today marks 65 years since the murder of 14-year-old Emmett Till. This NPR story from yesterday reminds us of the progress that we have NOT made. Black people are still killed for no reason and all too often, the shooters remain free. A bit more hopeful is this article from Yes Magazine: “Can America Heal Its Racial Wounds? We Asked Desmond Tutu and His Daughter.” But, all of us need to acknowledge that Black Lives Matter and until we do, and genuinely act on that belief, all lives will never truly matter.
Bryon’s letter today addresses these current crises and social injustices that continue to rock our society. Today is the March on Washington, the 57th anniversary of the historic march on Washington where MLK gave his “I Have a Dream Speech.” There are many virtual ways to access this march: e.g. NAACP, Twitter, CBSNews. I encourage you to join if you can. You can sign up for updates at the NAACP website.
As you all know, the interviews are about to begin for our finalists for the Associate Provost in DEI position. I include here the zoom information and the link to the application materials for the candidates. It is so critical that you attend these job talks and do your best to “meet” the candidates. This position works more intimately with all members of our campus community than most, and this person will be tasked with leading our efforts to positively transform our community, so your feedback is critical in our decision making process.
Sonel Shropshire, JD- September 1st from 4PM-5PM:
Dr. Daisy Purdy- September 8th from 10:30AM-11:30AM:
Dr. Katherine Norris- September 10th from 1:30PM-2:30PM:
Dr. Nicholas Creary- September 16th from 3:30PM-4:30PM:
This excerpt from Bryon Grigsby’s letter today is also worth including (and repeating here):
Related, our membership in New American Colleges and Universities (NACU) does offer us many benefits and one, a webinar, is worth sharing with you now:
Dr. Tatum, president emerita of Spelman College, is widely known for her expertise on race relations. She has authored several books including the best-selling Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? and Other Conversations About Race and Can We Talk About Race? and Other Conversations in an Era of School Resegregation.
The webinar will address strategies for creating inclusive campus environments and spaces for having conversations about race and equity. Dr. Ruta Shah-Gordon, vice president for Internationalization, Intercultural Affairs, and Campus Life at Wagner College, will serve as the moderator for the session. There will be an open Q&A at the end of the session.
The weekend is upon us and as I have before, I counsel patience, empathy, and gratitude in our interactions with one another. I hope you find some quality time with your families and for yourselves.
Stay safe and well,
August 21, 2020
Dear faculty colleagues,
It has been a hectic few days, but it really is nice to see faces on campus, even if they are masked. Thank you for attending the faculty meeting this week, and again welcome aboard new faculty and staff! Thanks also to the many of you that made the Colloquium. While the Zoom format is not perfect, I have been appreciating the Q&A and Chat functions. Several of you asked about technology in the classrooms and about the upcoming faculty meetings. I would like to thank the meeting task force that took on the onerous task of determining meeting times in light of all the scheduling changes. In the spirit of transparency, I want to thank them by name, but if you have an issue with the schedule, could you please direct that to me and not them? Thank you Amy McHenry, Diane Husic, Daniel Jasper, Shannon Talbott, Nate Shank, and Akbar Keshodkar. That was not an easy task.
As we launch a new academic year, and as I have said more than once, we are all dealing with new challenges, schedules, and protocols. The change in class meeting times that was implemented to allow time for sanitizing classrooms and student movement between classes made necessary a rethinking of faculty meeting times in order to ensure that the work of the college, especially in academics, thrives even in this time of challenge.
Thus, we have developed a meeting schedule to work around class times as much as possible. Meetings will be held on different days of the week, and at different times during the day. It is important to have time for faculty discussion (e.g. for general education revisions), but we also want to be efficient in the use of your time. We are asking that
- all reports be done as video or written reports ahead of meetings,
- agenda items are received a week prior to a meeting,
- comments and questions about proposals be posted on shared documents, and
- we use the actual meeting times for discussion.
Voting will likely be done electronically in a 24 hour window after the meetings. FAC is investigating ways to accomplish that.
There were several questions at the colloquium yesterday about classroom technology and here I collect the information for your reference. Here is the letter from Craig Underwood about technology in the classroom.
Colleen Marsh has updated all of the room features in 25live to include whether they have, e.g., a camera, mic, so users can search by what features that interest them. (You already could search this way, just confirming that all rooms have been updated with the new tech.) When a room is selected, users will also get a small popup notification about the type of video conferencing available (rooms are also searchable by these categories):
A) Tech-Video Conferencing
Room's video & audio conferencing equipment operates from the computer in the room running Zoom; good mic pickup in most areas of the space.
B) Tech-Video Conferencing-Basic
Room's video & audio conferencing equipment operates from the computer in the room running Zoom; limited mic pickup, good within 6' of instructor station.
C) Tech-Video Conferencing-BYO
Room's video & audio conferencing equipment operates via USB connection to your own laptop running Zoom or other conferencing software.
On a lighter note, this great advice from Snoop Dog was shared with me and I share with you. It is good advice. Consider adding this to your canvas shell :) Snoop Dog
I read this Inside Higher Ed article with interest, mentioned it at the faculty meeting, and I thought you might appreciate it as well: Good news:
Princeton Review made their official announcement this morning and Moravian College has been included in Princeton Review's Best 386 Colleges, 2021 Edition:
The Princeton Review also ranked us #12 on their Election? What Election? list. Last year we were #17 on this list. In 2019 we were #18 for Most Active Student Government.
Supporting students needing to access your courses
Many of you have asked about spaces for students on campus to engage in your online courses. We have reserved a set of classrooms so that students can find a safe, quiet space to work as they engage with your online courses. Please refer to the Keep on Learning page for a list of classrooms available for students, and let your students know that this list is there. The rooms will also be searchable in 25Live under the event “Online Access Space.” “Keep on Learning” also provides rules for students wishing to use these spaces, and those rules will be posted on the door outside each classroom on the list.
We have had some students required to go into quarantine prior to the start of the semester — students that arrived at Moravian from high-risk states. Each time a student is required to quarantine, a flag will be raised in Momentum and you will receive an email notification from email@example.com. While we have instructed the students in each case to reach out to you themselves and that they are responsible for keeping up with their academic work, please understand the stress and anxiety a student put in quarantine is likely feeling. If you are teaching an in-person class, reach out to make sure the student understands what they need to do to keep up with the work of your course. When the student is cleared to return to class, you will receive a second email from firstname.lastname@example.org. Most quarantine mandates will last approximately two weeks. When possible, we will include the expected date of return to class when you are first notified.
We are also working on the best way to notify you if a student’s Qualtrics daily screening result prevents them from coming to class. For now, you will receive an email from email@example.com indicating that the student needs to remain off campus pending a review with the health center.
Also remember how much we value communication and let’s work together to communicate, clearly, intentionally, and often with students. Thank you!
News from the Seminary:
I am happy to report that we have formed the search committee for the position of Dean of the Seminary. The following Board members, faculty and a seminary student will serve with me on the search.
- Cynthia Kosso, Chair (Provost and Dean of Faculty)
- Elizabeth (Betsy) Miller (Seminary, Board of Trustees; President, Moravian Church Northern Province)
- David Guthrie (Seminary, Board of Trustees; president of the Provincial Elders’ Conference for the Moravian Church Southern Province)
- Nelson Rivera (Faculty representative, Seminary)
- Deborah Appler (Faculty representative, Seminary)
- Daniel Jasper (Dean, Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences)
- Jill Anderson (VP for Development and Alumni Engagement)
- Charles (Charlie) McDonald (Seminary student representative)
The seminary’s convocation for opening the term will be online Monday at 11:00 with Craig Atwood as the speaker.
Online Education and Innovation
Bernie Cantens has shared the following words regarding our online efforts over the summer:
Many of you have spent a good portion of this summer working diligently in preparing to teach online or hybrid during the fall. Many of you have been frequent attendees at the numerous professional development workshops offered by the Teaching and Learning Center and Online Education and Innovation. Therefore, most of you know of the immense workload that our instructional designers, Sarah Rentz and David Castañeda, and our instructional technologist, Liz Tate have taken on this summer. As the summer comes to an end, I would like to take a moment to thank them for their tremendous effort, dedication and commitment in helping faculty get their courses online.
Here are other important reminders:
Please do not forget to PUBLISH your Canvas shell before the first day of class.
Over the summer, with the help of Extension Engine, we have consolidated our instructional resources into one Canvas Shell: Faculty Resource Canvas Shell. Here you will find extensive information on the following:
- Moving online fundamentals
- Getting started with canvas
- Syllabus (How to upload your syllabus to Canvas)
- Assessment and Measurement
- Student Orientation
- Accessibility and Usability
- Zoom and Video Conferencing
- Course Technology
Finally, we would like to remind you that Extension Engine’s 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. This one-on-one online coaching is open to all instructors. We encourage you 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
In book seven of Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations, he says an approximation of the following: “You have power over your mind - not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.” Outside events have wreaked havoc with our norms. Remember that we retain a degree of power over our reactions to these events. Try to find peace within you.
I wish you well,
August 14, 2020
Dear faculty colleagues,
This week we are holding, and just finished, the August Board meeting. Several of our colleagues presented for the first time to the Board. Bernie Cantens discussed the online work that he and our instructional designers, David Casteneda and Sarah Rentz, have spearheaded. Sincere thanks also go to Liz Tate and the TLC team, Nicole Tabor and Ruth Malenda. I wish they could all join the meeting. Jane Berger was there as well, presenting on DEI matters, future planned actions, and to update the Board on the Associate Provost search. Thanks also go to Carol Moeller and to many, many, faculty, staff, and students and others who have moved us along in our efforts to become a better, safer, fairer place for the entire community.
Our ongoing work for diversity, equity and inclusion:
I asked USG if they would like to add any comments about their DEI efforts to the faculty letter this week and they shared the following statement: "Since its origin, USG’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) subcommittee has been promoting individual relationships with each of the cultural/identity clubs on campus. This has been done through the use of meetings (scheduled at the request of each organization’s executive board) which serve as healthy spaces for student leaders to earnestly voice any concerns they may have, as well as, share the work of their organization. In an effort to continue this relationship, and better address concerns that arise, USG’s DEI committee will begin to hold public meetings with representatives from each of these organizations, at least once monthly. These meetings, in their new format, seek to provide a greater opportunity for both transparency and collaboration. One of the first initiatives to be taken on by this group will be a DEI Town Hall, an event designed to connect the student body with appropriate administrators and to facilitate dialogue on DEI Issues. Given the unique circumstances of the world, in order to promote safety and participation, this town hall meeting will be USG’s first virtually held town hall. As time goes on, USG hopes to see its DEI subcommittee come to fruition as a working group for student-led change and proposals."
USG and many other clubs and affinity groups including the Woke Coalition have been active all summer in making their concerns known and in providing input into actions and changes they would like to see implemented. I have appreciated their input and clear, strong voices.
“Reopening” of the college:
At this point administrative offices are beginning to implement their return to the office plans. Do not expect everyone to be at full human strength because many people will be continuing to work remotely where possible. But offices are beginning to unlock their doors. At this point faculty may resume using their offices without informing us each time. I really appreciate your willingness to comply with my request to let us know. The cleaning schedules for all buildings are now in place. You may check your classrooms as preparation for the semesters. Follow up with your deans (who will let me know) if there are issues in the classroom.
A health pledge and required COVID training module are receiving their final touches and will be available next week to all of us (including students). Many thanks to the nursing students and faculty on designing the training module and Student Life staff and current students on the pledge.
A number of you have asked if we have “triggers” in place for moving fully online. The only two at this point are directives from the State Government, and such a directive is highly unlikely, or from our local Health Bureau, also unlikely. We have been consulting with health professionals about other triggers to put in place. We hope to have more guidance to you next week regarding these.
Screening and close contacts:
Many of you have requested our definition of “close contacts” for information purposes and tracing. We are using the CDC recommended definition: “For COVID-19, a close contact is defined as any individual who was within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes starting from 2 days before illness onset (or, for asymptomatic patients, 2 days prior to positive specimen collection) until the time the patient is isolated.”
The Qualtrics COVID screening survey is being finalized, and will be rolled out shortly. Bryon’s message will have more information about this, but starting early next week we will all be asked to complete the survey every day whether we plan to be on campus or not. When classes start on the 24th, faculty instructors and advisors will be notified by email if the screening requires any student to remain in residence, or if a student is required to go into quarantine.
Some of you have had questions about the Fall term calendar. Let me try to be clear about the changes to the fall calendar so that there is no confusion.
We have eliminated fall break. Classes will be held on Labor Day, as always. Classes will be held on the two days in October normally held as this break. The first break in the term will be at Thanksgiving, with no classes scheduled Wednesday-Friday that week. We are NOT shortening the term. Classes will still end on December 4 and exams will still begin on Monday, December 7. However, classes and exams after Thanksgiving, must be online.
PPE and keeping safe:
I am getting many questions about PPE. There are cleaning supplies in classrooms and administrative offices. There are sanitizing stations everywhere. Please remember though that washing your hands with soap and water is better. Remind your students that hand sanitizer is NOT a substitute for hand washing. The paper towels at the sanitizing stations are intended for wiping down surfaces with the sanitizing solution, not for drying your hands after applying hand sanitizer.
We have logoed masks! The masks come in two varieties, each showing our Moravian logo. Starting Monday, if you want a Moravian mask, you can come to the front desk in the Provost’s office to receive a mask — one of each style.
We also have partially see-through masks and some face shields available. We are working on the specifics of a distribution plan at this time, but requests will go through FMPC for these and other kinds of PPE. We would like to prioritize allotting specialty masks to faculty teaching students with relevant accommodations or other specific needs.
Message to the chairs from Information Technology: “To reduce the need to touch shared surfaces at classroom podiums, the IT department is providing two stylus pens to each faculty member for use on touch screens and panels. Based on the 2020-2021 full time faculty list, we are distributing a quantity that should be enough for your department. They will arrive via campus mail to each department to distribute as appropriate. If it is not the correct amount or there are adjunct instructors who also need stylus pens for coming to campus to teach, please email email@example.com to request more.”
We are putting up tents for outdoor classes. As of today all of the locations are in 25Live. 25Live is also updated with our new physical distancing capacities for all classroom and event spaces on campus.
Updates from advising and academic support:
Last week, I mentioned changes to Academic Support and specifically peer education. Peer educators will be employed to support a small number of gateway courses, mostly at the 100-level, where need for support has been historically high and outcomes demonstrate a historical barrier to student success, even with peer education support. Specific courses that will be covered are Acct 157; Biol 103 and 111; Chem 113 and 211; CSCI 120; Econ 152 and 156; Math 106, 107, and 170; Phys 111; and Span 100. Students will find and access peer educators related to specific courses in Momentum, and course faculty will have the opportunity to work closely with peer educators to provide targeted peer learning support in regular, small group meetings.
A variety of new and expanded academic support offerings will be available to supplement student learning in courses and fields not supported by peer educators, particularly as our students are adjusting to the new modalities. Staff in Academic Support are happy to work with you to tailor offerings to the needs of students in your classes and on your advising rosters. Please direct any questions to Monica Jacobe.
Momentum news: Many of you have noticed an increased use of Momentum flags and automatic flags that have come to you as an academic advisor. Because of the extraordinary spring term—including our first virtual pre-registration advising—and also in an attempt to clarify Fall 2020 enrollments, Student Success created flags for undergraduate students who are part time enrolled as well as those under the standard four units of enrollment. If you have flagged advisees who are making this choice intentionally and are on track in their studies, you are invited to make note of that as you clear the flag. With the many classes cancelled or schedule-shifted over the summer and other challenges students may be facing, we want to make sure that faculty advisors have an opportunity to work with students on schedule changes and challenges before the first day of classes, if at all possible. Let the deans or the Student Success team know how they can help.
In the next week, the Registrar’s Office will open the application for students who plan to complete their degrees between December 2020 and August 2021. As students apply, faculty advisors will begin receiving communications from the Registrar and Student Success that will help you smooth the path for degree completion for these soon-to-be alumni. Please watch for these messages, respond as needed, and ask any questions of the appropriate office, if needed.
Get out the vote!
There is an election coming up in November and, for most of our students, this will be their first opportunity to vote in a presidential election. Let’s help them know how to register and encourage them to participate. Some suggestions from Khristina, Stacey, and our new colleague Robin.
And to brighten your day a little bit, here is some advice from Andrew Ishak. (Some of his suggestions were alarmingly accurate:)
Students are coming to campus! Already, we have a full nursing cohort and rehab science students. Also RA’s and SRA’s, some student researchers, and works study students, and some athletes. I am seeing more faculty and staff as well, which is nice. Even physically distant and with masks, it is good to see you. I know you will continue to have questions. We are all trying to make sure we cover every possible base, but if something is needed that we have missed, let us know, forgive us, and know we will do our best to get you what you need.
Stay safe and well,
COVID info: As of August 6, 2020
Daily PA numbers:
- Total cases: 116,521
- Total deaths: 7,282
- New daily cases: 807
- New daily deaths: 38
- Negative tests: 1,183,730
- Recovery: 76 percent of those who previously tested positive have recovered
- Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C): 39 confirmed, 16 under investigation
- State unemployment rate: 13 percent
Further details: Data dashboard from the Department of Health
August 7, 2020
REMINDER: The first faculty meeting will be on August 18, zoom, at 3:00-4:30pm (Remember to respond to your deans about faculty meetings, please! We need to schedule the rest of these.)
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,
How did it get to be August? We are all a bit nervous about reconvening in the fall, including and especially our first year, first time, students. Everything will be new to them and we can help by providing a port in the storm. The information in today's letter is intended to help you feel that you can be such a “port” as well as to help you understand what has been done, or is in process, to welcome the students back -- as well as those of you that have been working off campus since March.
Thus, there will be numerous updates in this letter in response to your increasing number of (very reasonable) questions about opening plans. This is a very long email. I might recommend filing it for future reference. President Grigsby’s letter today also has a great deal of pertinent information, which is not reproduced here. So please take the time to read that as well.
I want to thank our deans, associate and vice provosts, many other administrators, faculty and their departments, our students, our student life leadership, and FMPC staff and leadership. The materials shared here is the result of tireless work by them, and you, all.
We have four finalists for our Associate Provost of DEI position. We plan to conduct virtual final interviews during the second and third week of the semester. We are in the process of putting together the itineraries for the interviews. Included in the interviews will be a job talk, probably pre-recorded, and a Q and A session that will be open to all members of the campus community. The search committee enthusiastically invites everyone to attend! In addition, we are planning for the candidates to meet with the President’s Cabinet and groups of the staff, faculty, and students. We are also scheduling one-on-one meetings with the President, Provost, Vice President for Student Affairs/Dean of Students, and Vice President for Human Resources.
We are also hard at work on a Draft Action Plan that will enable us to turn the many suggestions, demands, and ideas we gathered over the summer into a path towards advancing diversity, equity and inclusion at Moravian College and beyond. This must be a collaborative process that involves the entire community, so we hope to make the Draft Action Plan available as soon as possible. A critical goal in this process is to assign action items to the appropriate campus office and/or department, establish timelines for progress reports and establish protocols for transparent reporting.
Updates and information about classes and student support:
Department Chairs: Please work with IT if your courses normally make use of the computer labs, such as PPHAC 112/113 or Comenius 101. We are hoping to close those that are not being utilized by faculty and students. Contact David Brandes (firstname.lastname@example.org) about use of the computer labs as soon as possible.
Outside of some science labs, which have already made appropriate arrangements, assigned classrooms currently are adequate for students enrolled in them and faculty will not need to stagger students by days because of room constraints. Classrooms are being marked to indicate where and where not to sit, and we are asked not to move the desks/chairs in the classrooms. Signage is being added throughout our campus. By the way, this article offers some very helpful advice for those teaching face to face.
Rooms will be reserved for students engaging in online courses. More details on that will be forthcoming after all students have received their schedules.
In spring 2020, peer education in Academic Support shifted fully online and will remain online this fall. Before the online shift, however, tutoring in the spring had moved away from one-on-one, individual tutoring and toward more effective group learning. This practice will continue in the online environment this semester. What does this mean for our students? They will find available group peer education sessions for specific supported courses scheduled in Momentum, and we will no longer offer one-on-one tutoring or the kind of drop-in sessions faculty knew in years past. The budget for Academic Support is limited and the volume of peer education available in past years is no longer possible, but staff are working to create a variety of supports for our students to be successful in their courses. More specific information will come to you shortly before the term begins, but faculty and chairs will begin to hear about peer educators supporting specific courses and areas.
Remember that our Dean’s Scholars for Fall 2020 will take all of their Moravian courses fully online. We currently have 46 students confirmed for this dual-enrollment program, and Academic Advising staff are working on course placement right now. These students will have as their academic advisor one of our three Deans or the Vice Provost, and we will find ways to celebrate their early college work later this fall.
Other COVID updates:
Regarding COVID testing, I refer us to President Grigsby’s letter today: “Testing is also going to be crucial for a successful semester. We ask families to abide by the Pennsylvania Governor’s directive for quarantining if coming from out of state. We have been in discussion with the leading infectious disease doctor at St. Luke’s University Medical System and he, like the CDC and the PA Department of Health, does not recommend universal testing upon arrival. Since we are arriving in waves to prevent infection, universal testing really does not help us. Instead, we have installed the testing machine at our health center managed by St. Luke’s, and we have been assured that we will be able to quickly test all students presenting symptoms. Governor Wolf has also announced rapid testing sites in partnership with Walmart throughout the state to handle people presenting symptoms: our local testing site will be the Walmart in Allentown. We also hope to be able to do pool testing for our athletes so that they may continue to practice and play safely. We will be asking all students to complete a daily symptom screen. Students who report any symptoms will receive outreach from Health Center staff to determine if quarantine, testing, and/or isolation are appropriate. We will then follow all guidelines for contact tracing and isolation. We also encourage anyone not feeling well to remain home or in their dorm room.“
For all of our online courses, it is important to remember accessibility: e.g., ensuring that text is screen-readable and that videos have captioning. This semester we have an unusually large number of hearing-impaired students, so it is even more important that we remember to provide captioning when needed. Accommodation letters are still being sent as these students self-identify and provide documentation. The Accessibility Services Center is working with FMPC to provide see-through masks, and with IT for microphones for faculty with such students in their classes that need such equipment. Accessibility Services, in cooperation with the Instructional Design team, are here to support you to ensure that we provide equitable education for all of our students.
Student Life updates on the students moving back on campus:
Housing & Residence Life
COVID Residence Hall Expectations have been shared with and received well by students planning to reside on campus. Students also received information regarding a social distanced move-in that mirrors how they moved out last spring. Detailed information is available on the Residence Life & Housing website.
Mask & Hygiene Campaign
In partnership with the Nursing Department, the United Student Government (USG) and Marketing & Communications Office are creating a mask and hygiene campaign that will launch as students return to campus. Currently, a contest is being coordinated by USG to solicit themes and the Nursing Department students are creating educational materials/coursework that will be mandatory for students to complete upon their return. As a way of thanking students for being good members of our community, ambassadors will randomly award thank you gifts to students seen around campus wearing masks and physical distancing. More information about this campaign will be sent to our community in the coming weeks.
New Student Orientation & Matriculation
The Class of 2024 will begin New Student Orientation on Friday afternoon, August 21. Though much may look or feel different, our team is putting together an experience that maintains many of our new student traditions to welcome our newest community members. More information regarding New Student Orientation is available at moravian.edu/orientation.
Matriculation will be held on Thursday, August 20th at 8:00 pm Before the Class of 2024 arrives on campus, we will be inviting the entire campus community to watch Matriculation live and to engage for the first time with our new class. Please save the date!
The Crossing Ceremony for the Class of 2024, welcoming them as members of the Moravian College community, will be held on Sunday, August 23. As we practice social distancing, half of the class will cross between 3:10pm and 3:30pm. The second half of the class will cross between 4:40pm and 5pm. The new students will cross Main Street, between Colonial and Comenius Halls, ceremonially welcoming them as the newest members of our Moravian community. It would be wonderful to have members of the faculty and staff celebrate this important milestone with the new class. No RSVP is necessary. Join us at either time on Sunday afternoon if you are interested and available.
Our hope is that as a community we can welcome the Class of 2024 with the participation and involvement of all. Join us if you are interested and available.
Professional staff members in partnership with student groups including Moravian Activities Council (MAC) and USG have been building a robust student engagement model for this semester. There will be a lot of events and activities for students to safely participate in outside of the classroom including MAC’s popular bingo and paint nights. USG is working with clubs and organizations to assist them in preparing for the fall semester. Their goal is to ensure students have ways to meaningfully engage with each other.
Larger events such as Family Day will still take place but will adhere to College and CDC guidelines.
Offices such as the Center for Career & Civic Engagement, Chaplain’s Office, and the Counseling Center are open and continue to support our students with virtual meetings. Please be sure to keep a lookout for fall events and program updates. Events that are not virtual will most likely be held outdoors to ensure physical distancing as needed.
HUB & Event Management:
Please reach out to email@example.com for more information and support if you are interested in reserving space in the HUB, the outdoor tents that will be available, or a general outdoor space. Updated capacities for each room that allow for physical distancing have been added to 25Live and resources about event planning this semester will be made available online in the coming days.
A note from the OIE Team:
We encourage you to think as a department about your collective expectations for students and faculty in your program and courses, as our colleagues in Biological Sciences have done here: Expectations for Online Teaching and Mentorship. Thanks to the Biology Department for their willingness to share!
Moravian Online Education and Innovation Resources Shell Over the summer, OEI has partnered with Extension Engine to consolidate our library of learning resources to best prepare you for moving online. This reorganized shell will be a centralized resource to learn about and explore the various materials developed by the OEI. From this shell you will be able to do the following:
Find step by step guidance on a range of topics related to building online content and activities
Connect and share best practices with colleagues in our community discussion section
Sign up for individual coaching with the Extension Engine team
Sign up for workshops hosted by Moravian OEI instructions designers and technologist
Over the coming weeks, we will continue to grow our library of content and will communicate when we launch new modules. In the meantime, we encourage you to explore our first modules to learn the basics of moving your course online. We hope you find this resource useful as you make your transition! As always feel free to reach out if you have any questions.
Thanks, OEI Team
Readings that might interest you:
“One Word Spared Norway From COVID-19 Disaster: And what other countries can learn from its example” (and perhaps what campuses) can learn:
Dugnad (pronounced doog-nahd); a Norwegian cultural tradition where community members work together towards a common goal, for the greater good for all.
And from the “How to Go to College During a Pandemic” article in the New York Times:
“But what,” I asked Kanter, “about school spirit?” Does it survive a reliance on wireless ....?
“It’s reimagined,” she said. “It’s not sitting in bleachers and chanting.” It’s about being in an unconventional group of undaunted adventurers who are having an unfamiliar college experience, in part because they’re fashioning it themselves. “That definitely gives you an adrenaline rush,” she said — a rush that may even be immune to a pandemic.
Here is a reminder of the important roles that institutions of higher education play in a time of crisis shared by Lynn Pasquerella, President of AAC&U, in “The Future of Higher Education and Our Democracy in a Post-COVID-19 World”:
Colleges and universities across the country are fulfilling their civic responsibility by contributing academic, financial, and physical resources to their communities. From transitioning dormitories to hospitals and using 3D printers to produce face shields and other protective gear, to conducting clinical trials of medications (such as Remdesivir) that could potentially treat the coronavirus, the academy is helping lead the response to the current health-care crisis. Perhaps most importantly, members of the higher education community are providing accurate scientific information about the spread of the virus and the disparate impact it is having on poor communities of color amid misinformation campaigns and calls to reopen states at the risk of public health and safety.
On a lighter note in terms of presentation, but serious in intent, is this comic presentation of how we try to change one another's minds and why it is so hard. Warning: there is some explicit language. https://theoatmeal.com/comics/believe
Finally, it is worth acknowledging again that we are living through genuinely unprecedented times in higher education, in our country, and the world. Last Fall we were already facing demographic and economic pressures. Rhetoric in our society, and from many of our political leaders, has been hypercritical of the work we do. Add to that COVID-19 and then much needed social upheaval around equity and fair treatment of all human beings and we have the proverbial perfect storm of disruption. I won’t say things can’t get worse -- because who knows?! What I will say is that I believe we can manage this. It may not be fun or easy, but I believe we can. I have seen first hand all the effort and creativity that exists in the people on this campus. I remain grateful for you all everyday.
Stay safe, stay sane:)
July 31, 2020
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, or the Extension Engine team at email@example.com.
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.
- The college has been working with the local health networks on COVID testing options, but there are two major problems right now.
- 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
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!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org . 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,
July 17, 2020
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.
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,
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
- Monday, July 27, 3-4pm: Supporting Academic Success for the Whole Student: Hartshorn/Jacobe/DesJardin/Tabor, Zoom Link: https://moravian.zoom.us/j/93337577925
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
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,
From Bernie Cantens: Online Education and Innovation (OEI)
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:
- Assess risk and status of current courses to determine where support is most needed
- Provide faculty with a support structure for shaping their courses for Fall 2020 delivery
- 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!
Fall 2020 Course Evaluation: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdyeQ6PTTOR35cXMk43RzRAVZnL6Z1KgjGrDeLsg3aaaLBLeA/viewform
June 25, 2020
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
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
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. This town hall features 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.
- Amber Ruffin shares a lifetime of traumatic run-ins with police
- Chris Cooper’s experience in Central Park and the birds of the park. Mr. Cooper deals with this highly charged issue with grace. In the natural world, diversity and ranges of color are highly valued and viewed as exciting. The video also beautifully highlights black men in a very different way from how they are often depicted in the news.
- John Oliver discussing the history of policing and race in US (NSFW)
- Patriot Act (with Hassan Minhaj) on how Asian-Americans should respond to Floyd’s murder (NSFW)
- NPR article on American Police. Throughline looks at “the origins of American policing and how those origins put violent control of Black Americans at the heart of the system” in this one hour and four minute production.
- GlobalMindED regularly shares a variety of resources, webinars, and presentations
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.
“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,
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 email@example.com 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.
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
- 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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- We will be reviewing our Faculty and Student Handbooks and Student Code of Conduct for bias.
- The New Faculty Orientation program will include a new session on diversity, equity and inclusion.
- 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.
Links and readings
- “I was fed up”
- How Higher Ed can fight?
- 58 California Community Colleges unite against racism.
Coronavirus and reopening
A note from Bernie and Nicole:
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 email@example.com 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.
Bernie and Nicole
June 5, 2020
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.
- Readings of possible interest to you
- Updates and reminders from TLC and Online Education and Innovation
In favor of opening colleges and universities
- We’re Reopening Notre Dame. It’s Worth the Risk: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/26/opinion/notre-dame-university-coronavirus.html?referringSource=articleShare
- Case for reopening in the fall: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/05/29/case-reopening-schools-this-fall/
Opposed to reopening colleges and universities
- Colleges are not reopening in the fall: https://www.chronicle.com/article/Colleges-Aren-t-Reopening-in/248803?utm_source=cr&utm_medium=en&utm_source=Iterable&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=campaign_1239472&cid=cr&source=ams&sourceId=4876783
- The case against reopening: https://www.chronicle.com/article/The-Case-Against-Reopening/248785/?key=3nPk8ajeoU0Dy8ZoVQauExYNGfU7L6tR3XYaiqiHcmjsKg5gc0uGS5SNAs5idtNdUjY0bjBvczFuYU40MWZ1a2U3R054TS1IX3VqNGVKeFZWQUVCajlaT0NfNA#.XsJrX5Ja9mk.email
- What will college be like in the fall: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/03/magazine/covid-college-fall.html
- How can colleges reopen responsibly: https://www.insidehighered.com/views/2020/04/16/practical-advice-how-colleges-can-responsibly-reopen-fall-opinion
- The end of college as we knew it: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/04/opinion/coronavirus-college-humanities.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage
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 up. You 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
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
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.
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!
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 here. To 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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,
And keep reading for great news, breaking news, links, blogs, and humor
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.
Congratulations to these students!
- 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
May 15, 2020
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!
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
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!
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
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.
Associate Provost of Online Education and Innovation
Facilitated Zoom breakout discussion groups
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 email@example.com for Zoom link.
TLC: Monday, Wednesday, Friday 9:00-10:00AM, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org for Zoom link.
5. Online Discussion Thread: shared ideas with one another on the online discussion threads
6. Additional Resources on our Websites:
- If you have not taken the Faculty Survey, please do so.
- Quality Matters
- Virtual Learning Leadership Alliance
- National Standards For Quality
- CIC Consortium for Online Humanities Instruction
- Teaching the Humanities Online: Lessons from a Consortium of Liberal Arts Colleges
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 email@example.com 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Kevin (email@example.com). They will be happy to walk you through the process.
Also, I mentioned yesterday that I would share or reshare several links:
- The student Survey from Ithaka-S&R dashboards. The password required to access these dashboards is: MCIthaka2020
- New York Times opinion piece of the importance of colleges to the health of our nation.
- Inside Higher Ed article on planning for the fall.
- Our Liberal Arts Document for APPC
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,
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:
- Is safe to all involved
- Is not a risk for liability. (we will need insurance information)
- 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!
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.
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.