The following message was emailed to faculty on behalf of Provost Rogan Kersh:
Greetings faculty colleagues:
Following on Dr. Hatch’s message to all Wake Foresters yesterday, I write to share with you our plan to maintain academic continuity as we implement social-distancing practices to deal with the dangers of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. Our core aims remain to protect the health and well-being of our community by lessening the potential spread of the virus through person-to-person contact on campus, and to ensure under the circumstances the best possible instructional experience for our students.
To reaffirm what President Hatch has shared: all in-person classes have been suspended for the forseeable future. In addition, we have cancelled in-person classes for the coming week (March 16-20) to allow us time to develop plans for teaching classes remotely, starting March 23. After consultation with our deans, faculty members and other academic leaders, and with colleagues at other universities, we are undertaking the actions described below. Let me emphasize that our University remains open, faculty research and creative work continues, and we do not at this point expect this disruption to lengthen our spring semester. Internal University operations will continue, although as noted on the University’s COVID-19 website, all indoor on- or off-campus WFU gatherings of 50 or more people must be postponed, cancelled, or held virtually.
To help support your teaching during this transition, a team of faculty and academic leaders from across our Reynolda Campus schools—working with staff members from IS, academic technologists, the Office of Online Education, and the Center for the Advancement of Teaching, among others—is finalizing a “Keep Teaching” website for our shared use, scheduled to be live by late this afternoon. This includes information on how to move courses from in-person to remote delivery, and features a menu of key resources and experts on campus who can help with questions and specific details. We will update this information regularly in the days/weeks ahead.
Our university crisis-management team continues to meet daily and consult around the clock, including regular updates from WF Baptist infectious-disease specialists and local/state public-health officials. We will alert you and other WFU community members to important updates via our COVID-19 website, also a repository for FAQ answers and information & guidance from other Wake Forest administrators.
I’m painfully aware (as a faculty member myself!) that these steps, while necessary, are most disruptive—and that delivering instruction remotely poses complex challenges for many courses and programs, especially labs and studios/ performances. Please consider the materials and learning resources your students will need during this disruption, and let them know as soon as possible what materials are essential. When resources can be made available online through ZSR Library, we should do so.
Our deans and I remain in constant contact about these challenges. Please direct comments or questions to your department or area chairs, or your dean’s office. I am in regular touch with provosts at our many peer schools working through these challenges; we continue to learn from one another. I ask for your patience and collaboration as we do so.
Finally, let me underscore my profound gratitude in advance for your efforts to ensure we continue to provide our students with the best possible educational experience at Wake Forest, under extraordinary circumstances. This semester is proving to be an unprecedented collective test for us all. Thanks to each of you, we will rise to the occasion.
Yours in deep appreciation,