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Moravian College
Office of the Provost

Provost Communication


May 29, 2020

Dear colleagues,

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

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

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

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

Scheduling:

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

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

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

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

About your planned classes:

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

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

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

Be well and safe!

As always,

Cynthia

Teaching and Learning Center and Online Education -- Reading Group

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

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 : Monday, June 1, 3:00-3:30pm Log on

  Wednesday, June 3 , 3:00-3:30pm Log on

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

Professional Instructional Design and Technologists Workshops

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

Have a restful weekend!

 


May 22, 2020

Dear Faculty colleagues,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Both apps are free. 

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

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

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

Thank you all for your patience and good will!

Be safe and well,

Cynthia

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

Great news:

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

Diamond Writing Prize Winner Video!.mp4

 Congratulations to these students!

Academic Nonfiction:

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

Creative Writing Prizes:

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

Readings, blogs and other things of interest

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

Suggested Readings for Best Practices for Online Teaching

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

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

Breaking news:

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

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


May 15, 2020

Dear colleagues,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As always,

Cynthia

Announcements and odds and ends…

A pretty cool resource for online books

May Online and Canvas training reminders:

June Professional development Workshops For Instructional Design of Online Courses:

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

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

May 8, 2020

Dear colleagues

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Be well, stay safe!

Cynthia

Promotions, awards, other good stuff, and workshops:

Tenure, Promotion and Emeritus

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

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

Emeritus(a) status:

Dr. Frances Irish, Associate Professor, Biological Sciences
Dr. John Reynolds, Professor and department chair, Political Science, in memoriam

Breidegam Faculty/Administrator Award 

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

Lindback Distinguished Teaching Award

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

Shoulder cords for 20 years of service

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Keynote speaker

Bernie Cantens

Associate Provost of Online Education and Innovation

9:00-10:30

Facilitated Zoom breakout discussion groups

10:45-12:00

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

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

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

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

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

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

Accessibility for Canvas  Thurs May 28 - 1PM David Castenada

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

Wed May 13 - 10:00 AM

Tues May 19- 1:00 PM 

Wed May 27- 10:00 

June dates TBD

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

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

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

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

6.    Additional Resources on our Websites:

https://www.moravian.edu/cat

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

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

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

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

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


May 1, 2020

Dear Faculty colleagues,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Be well, stay safe,

Yours,

Cynthia


April 17, 2020

Dear faculty colleagues,

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

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

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

Incoming Freshmen and Summer FAIR

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

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

Moravian Statement for Summer Activities

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

Those requesting an exception please demonstrate that the exception:

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

Other news and thoughts:

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

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

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

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

Stay safe and healthy!

Cynthia


April 10, 2020

Dear faculty colleagues,

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

I do have a few brief updates on academic matters.

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

Communications opportunities:

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

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

Warmly,
Cynthia