Academic Update on Policies and Procedures

This message was sent on April 3.

Dear Faculty Colleagues,

My gratitude to you for getting your classes up and running is overflowing. Not only have you collectively prepped remote delivery of nearly 2,000 courses in a week’s time, which is nothing short of astonishing, but you have been teaching in this new modality while also virtually advising your students throughout the last two weeks to great success.

Your commitment to your students’ wellbeing above all else has been extraordinary. The ways you have gone the extra mile to ensure all your students have access and support have been nothing short of awe-inspiring. I could not be more appreciative. You have been patient as we developed a new Spring 2020 special Pass/Fail system and as we adapted to a new normal in planning for Summer Session. Your consistent communication with your chair and with the Office of the Dean of the College, with your ITG and the Center for the Advancement of Teaching, and with each other has allowed us to share resources, tools, and, most importantly, a powerful sense of mission-driven community and connection in this disparate time.

We recognize the need to examine our normal policies and procedures in this extraordinary moment to better support all our faculty. We share below several new, one-time-only directives, which are supported by the chairs and program directors, and in the case of the one-year tenure-track clock extension, by the Provost and the Senate Executive Committee, too. We hope these directives will afford you clarity and a sense of continuity, as well as convey our commitment to fairness in regard to faculty development support and faculty promotion and review. We conclude our message with an update on our 347 students still in campus housing and share campus life plans moving forward.

Faculty Leaves Awarded for AY20-21

We recognize that the personal and professional impact of COVID-19 may necessitate that faculty recently awarded Junior and Reynolds Research Leaves for AY20-21 reconsider the approved timetable for a Fall 2020 semester leave or a Full Year leave to ensure the most productive use of this important time. If a faculty member believes their Fall 2020 or Full Year leave for AY20-21 will be compromised because of the manifold personal and professional challenges created by COVID-19, it is imperative they consult with their chair and determine  whether they will be able to delay a Fall 2020 leave by a semester to Spring 2021 or need to postpone it until AY21-22. (Year-long leaves for AY20-21 must be postponed to the following academic year, AY21-22, rather than split between academic years.) The chair/program director must convey this information to Senior Associate Dean Tony Marsh and Academic Affairs Manager Anna Henley by April 30, 2020. It is essential that we hire visiting faculty for leave replacement coverage for the actual semester/academic year the faculty member will be on leave, hence the importance of the deadline.

Recently Awarded Faculty Development Funding

Faculty who were recently awarded Faculty Development Funds, Archie Funds, or Summer Research Awards are being affected by conference cancellations and travel restrictions.

First, if the activity for which a faculty member was awarded funding has been canceled outright and will not be rescheduled in the future (and, therefore, the funds cannot be used), Senior Associate Dean Tony Marsh and Faculty Affairs Specialist Leigh Anne Robinson need to know immediately. Second, if funds allotted for activities cannot be used by the date and terms indicated in the award letter (i.e., a Summer 2020 research trip), and the opportunity will reoccur next year, faculty must reapply for faculty development funds in AY20-21 with an updated budget. We expect airfares and hotel costs to change in the coming months, so rebudgeting will allow the Dean’s Office to fund as many proposals as possible. Faculty members whose plans were impacted by COVID-19 and who reapply will receive higher priority in the application pool. For faculty who will reapply next year, please work with your chair/program director so he/she can send this information to Tony Marsh and Leigh Anne Robinson in the Dean’s Office by April 30, 2020.

One-Year Automatic Extension of Tenure-Track Clock for Junior Tenure-Track Faculty (currently in their 1st-5th year)

The demand to transition face-to-face teaching to remote delivery in the middle of the second semester of AY19-20 has created significant new workload challenges (which may have been compounded by personal/family/health challenges in response to COVID-19 and the N.C. Governor’s Stay-at-Home order). The inability to access Wake Forest labs, archives, libraries, studios, community projects, etc., as well as the ban on travel to support research, scholarship, and creative work through the next several months will have a deleterious impact on all faculty production of knowledge and on junior faculty, in particular, who are under a strict 6-year timetable to develop a national/international reputation as scholars.

Rather than invite junior faculty whose research has been adversely affected by the COVID-19 challenge to request a one-year extension of the tenure-track clock, the College will give an automatic one-year extension with an opt-out provision. We believe this automatic extension protects those junior faculty who would not want any potential stigma attached to requesting a longer tenure-track clock.                               

Therefore, all junior faculty members currently in their first through fifth years in the College will be granted an automatic one-year tenure-track clock extension. Current first- through fourth-year junior faculty members will receive a letter conveying this extension by June 30, 2020, and will have until December 31st of their fifth year to opt out of this extension (thereby reverting to their original timetable). Junior faculty currently in their fifth year who wish to opt-out need to do so by May 1, 2020, to ensure the department has enough lead time to create a review committee and secure external reviewers. All junior faculty members should consult with their chair/program director on this choice. If a faculty member wishes to opt-out of the one-year extension, they together with their chair/program director must send an email to Tony Marsh and Anna Henley indicating the faculty member’s decision by the relevant date above.

One-year additional contract for Assistant Teaching Professionals (Assistant Teaching Professors and Assistant Professors of the Practice) up for renewal in AY20-21

We understand Assistant Teaching Professionals coming up for contract review in AY20-21 may be concerned, despite other forms of teaching assessment (i.e., assignments, syllabi, observations, self-reflections, etc.), that student evaluations of teaching (SETs) will not provide a true reflection of the faculty’s teaching abilities. We also know ATPs will have experienced a disruption of professional development activities, workshops, and teaching observations, and fewer opportunities for mentoring and feedback.

The College will grant an automatic one-year extension of the two-year review for Assistant Teaching Professionals coming up in AY20-21 who are in their first two-year contract. To accommodate this change, the contract for these Assistant Teaching Professionals will be renewed automatically for one year as well. Assistant Teaching Professionals may opt out of the one-year extension if they so choose in consultation with their department chair. If a faculty member wishes to opt-out of the one-year extension, they together with their chair/program director, must send an email to Tony Marsh and Anna Henley indicating the faculty member’s decision by September 1, 2020.

Summer Session

A revised Summer Session 2020, presented with the unanimous support of the Committee on Online Education (OLEC), will facilitate the expedited development and provisional approval of new summer online courses while maintaining academic integrity and creating opportunities for faculty-student engagement. Students have expressed a desire for more summer online courses at Wake, to fill the gap left by the cancellation of face-to-face Summer I classes and summer study-abroad programs, and by the relative scarcity of summer internship and employment opportunities. Additionally, this spring semester’s unexpected transition to remote instructional delivery and disrupted on-campus presence may leave students needing more options in the summer for scheduling flexibility and academic (GPA) recovery.

Please note that student registration for Summer Sessions will now begin on April 13, 2020.

A full overview of the revised Summer Session details was sent in an email to undergraduate students, chairs, program directors, and faculty already scheduled to teach this summer by Associate Dean Christa Colyer and Anna Henley on April 2. Please review that separate communication. Faculty interested in teaching a new summer online course must first consult with their chair/director as departments and programs consider revised summer course schedules, prior to submitting the Summer Provisional Online Course Notification form no later than 5:00 PM on Thursday, April 9, 2020. This form is necessary so that we can seek provisional approval from the Committee on Online Education (OLEC) in advance of all new online offerings for summer 2020. Additionally, all faculty instructors of new summer provisional online courses must complete the Online Teaching Professional Development Module prior to the start of their new class offering. This is a 25-30 hour, self-paced, online training module designed by the Office of Online Education (“Online Ed”) to be completed over the course of 3 weeks or so, introducing faculty to the fundamentals of online course design and delivery. The online training module will be available no later than April 27, 2020. Summer faculty instructors will also have a one-on-one virtual consultation with Online Ed and can attend virtual open labs to assist with course design and delivery.

Update from Residence Life and Housing

All students received an email from Residence Life and Housing on April 2 notifying them that Facilities members will be working to clean all unoccupied rooms, suites, and apartments on April 6, with a full retrieval of belongings plan to be announced April 30, and a prorated meal and housing refund to be announced April 17. President Hatch issued a statement on Monday, March 30, conveying the transition of the May 18 Commencement to a virtual conferring of degrees and an in-person ceremony to be scheduled at a safer date.

The 347 students still on campus who could not return to their homes have all been moved to singles; receive three “Grab and Go” meals a day from dining or on-campus meals or grocery delivery to their residence halls; and have daily check ins and support from Residence Life and Housing staff and volunteer faculty and staff.

I know we are all learning to navigate our new stay-at-home lives, and many of us are facing personal and family challenges that we are juggling even as we seek to master these new modalities of teaching and working from afar. Social media and the news press down on us all relentlessly. Please always make your health and safety, and that of your family, friends, students, colleagues, and community, your top priority. Take advantage of all the virtual resources across Wake Forest committed to your wellbeing. Please know that all of us in the Office of the Dean of the College, along with your chairs and program directors, are here to support and help you in whatever way we can.

Sincerely,

Michele

 

Wellbeing Resources

Employee Assistance Program, (336) 716-5493, https://hr.wfu.edu/benefits/care/#eap

Wellbeing Coaching: (including help with anxiety, sleeping, and self care): https://thrive.wfu.edu/services/wellbeing-coaching/

Thrive Remotely: https://thrive.wfu.edu/thrive-remotely-2/