Three topics to amplify: Instructional breaks; managing stress; State of Academic Affairs.
OFFICE OF ACADEMIC AFFAIRS
Monday, March 15, 2021
This weekly newsletter for academic leaders is designed to share information of interest to the university community.
Three key messages to amplify
This is the 10th week of spring semester, and there's much to feel optimistic about as we start thinking about the end of the academic year and the improving state of the pandemic.
At the same time, we are all feeling the toll of living during the COVID-19 era. Stress, anxiety and depression are on the rise, and we all need to practice self-care and to take care of one another.
With that in mind, we offer these messages to amplify in your academic community:
Honor the upcoming instructional break. The second instructional break is March 31-April 1, so no classes are to be held on those days and academic assignments should reflect that students are not expected to be completing work those days. Please honor the break, and remember that April 2 is a conversion day, so classes that normally take place on Wednesdays will be held that day. Please remind instructors and students alike about that scheduling nuance.
Take care of your faculty and staff. While students and 9-month faculty are not expected to work during the instructional break, many other employees will be on duty those days. In recognition of the stress that so many are feeling, managers should consider what they can do to lighten the burden — both during the instructional break and as a part of normal work cycles. Find ways to reduce the number of meetings, limit off-hours emails and consider what you can do to take care of your colleagues.
Mark your calendar for the State of Academic Affairs. Executive Vice President and Provost Bruce A. McPheron willpresent the State of Academic Affairs at the conclusion of the University Senate meeting on Thursday, March 25. The Senate meeting starts at 3:30 p.m. The provost's address and a moderated conversation will follow.
Drake Institute to launch new learning community
Faculty interested in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) and/or Discipline-based Education Research (DBER) are invited to join a SoTL and DBER Learning Community hosted by the Drake Institute. Participants will develop and implement a project relevant to instruction in their respective fields and meet monthly with their peers. Applications to participate are open through April 5. Participants will meet August 2021 through May 2022.
At noon Tuesday (March 16),Calling In: Turning Discomfort into Generative Moments will articulate strategies for handling disruptive comments before, during and after class conversations. This workshop focuses on how to "call in" students who create discomfort in the classroom and turn difficult moments into teachable ones.
At 1 p.m. Thursday (March 18),Using Qualtrics as an Assessment Tool will explore the basics of assessment and evaluation of student course learning outcomes using Qualtrics surveys and analysis tools. This workshop is a continuation of November's university assessment conference.
At 2:30 p.m. Thursday (March 18), Exams and Assignments for Your Online Course will consider alternatives to traditional exam and final formats and will share resources for modifying exams, finals and assignments for an online environment. Strategies will also be shared for grading and academic integrity.