This message was sent on March 12.
Dear College Faculty Colleagues,
These are extraordinary times, but we are an extraordinary community. We already help our students learn how to be adaptable, flexible, and resilient problem solvers in the face of 21st century challenges; now we can use these same skills to help each other meet the uncertainty created by the COVID-19 virus in the weeks ahead.
The news about COVID-19 changes constantly, which means we need your patience as we work carefully to make decisions that best address the impact of this international public health crisis on the College. As you know, we are in an unprecedented situation, and this necessitates making difficult choices to guide the College on a daily — even hourly — basis. We realize this is not how you expected to spend the next few weeks, and we know that what we are asking of you is difficult.
As President Hatch and Provost Kersh have underscored in their recent messages, our plans reflect our desire to ensure the safety and well-being of all our students, faculty, and staff. Let us, as a community, embrace the measures that will best allow us to continue our teaching mission and protect everyone who learns and works at Wake Forest.
Thank you all for approaching the challenges we face as college faculty with such calm deliberation. We know you are already preparing to move your courses to a remote instruction format for an interim period. This transition means substantial work on your part on short notice. It is not going to be easy to adjust from delivering our highly personalized face-to-face education to this different form of interaction, but it is certainly doable. We have excellent resources to support you, including a new website, Keep Teaching, and we are committed to helping you all along the way. At the same time, we must also continue our vital research and scholarship, as well as our academic service, adapting the ways in which we undertake this work to address this unprecedented situation.
We will continue to work with you and our staff to mitigate the impact of these necessary public health-based decisions. Please read this message closely; please adhere to the guidelines outlined in this letter; and please work with us to safeguard our collective health and well-being.
We are grateful to all the Deans; Betsy Barre and the Center for the Advancement of Teaching; Ana Iltis and the Online Education Committee; Allen Brown in the Office of Online Education; Rick Matthews, Adam Friedman, and the Information Technology Group; Hannah Inzko and Information Systems; and our own Office of the Dean of the College for working together round the clock to create the website Keep Teaching for faculty across the university. Whether you are a veteran of technology-based learning or a novice seeking simplified solutions, the website provides ample and realistic advice, strategies, and resources to help you make the transition to remote delivery.
One of the first challenges faculty may face is access to appropriate technology for all their students. As you ramp up for your first remote delivery class, please text or email your students to determine if they have the technology available to join your class. If you hold your first class and a student does not respond, please call them to determine if technology access is a problem. If it is a problem, the Help Desk will be the best point of contact for them to address their individual situation.
Another challenge students may face is access to course materials. We encourage faculty to develop plans knowing that students may not have textbooks or other materials. Some textbook publishers may be providing online versions for free during this time. Other materials may be available at public libraries. Faculty who require digitized course materials should contact the ZSR’s Course Reserves team to explore options for making physical items, including media, available online. We do not want students to feel the need to make a long trek to campus for textbooks. Nor do we want them to feel the need to repurchase texts they have in their dorm.
For those faculty teaching capstone/independent/or senior research projects that require on-campus presence, please adapt these projects to accommodate this extraordinary exigency. For faculty teaching labs and studio courses, and other kinds of face-to-face teaching, such as musical instruction, please see Keep Teaching website. Because so many other colleges and universities are also transitioning to remote teaching, please note the plentiful examples of professors sharing tips and resources through social media hashtags (#remoteteaching and #instructionalcontinuity).
The Center for the Advancement of Teaching, in collaboration with Online Education, ZSR, and academic technologists from across the schools, will offer Remote Teaching Open Labs at various times every day next week (March 16 – 20). This includes open labs available at Wake Downtown. We encourage you to attend an open lab; these labs will function as one-stop shopping for faculty who need help and guidance in making materials accessible, conducting digital discussions, using online tools, etc.
At this time, the university expects normal operations to continue for faculty and staff. Faculty, graduate students, and staff will be able to work on campus; meet 1:1 for research-related discussion; use classrooms to include demonstrations in their virtual classes; and conduct their research in laboratories.
Student Advising and Registration: Lower Division, Major/Minor, and Summer:
The advising and major/minor registration period will be extended by an extra week. It will take place from March 16 to April 3. Advisors should contact students by any of the suggested means on the Keep Teaching website. Major/Minor Registration will follow regular departmental procedures, modified as necessary to accommodate student absence from campus. General rounds of registration will take place April 6-12 (Round One) and April 13-19 (Round Two). Students will need to obtain their registration PIN from their advisor. OAA can assist with lost or inaccessible registration PINs. Please note: Summer Registration will be delayed one week and will begin March 23.
An additional advising note: Students should be aware that WFU academic regulations apply to remotely delivered courses just as they do to standard courses. Faculty and students can find additional advising resources and updates at advising.wfu.edu.
Meetings and Events:
We are cancelling the College Faculty Meeting scheduled for Monday, March 16, in light of the restriction on large gatherings of people. The action items on the agenda will be deferred to the next faculty meeting. In regard to future meetings, we will explore opportunities to conduct them remotely if necessary. Department or other committee meetings can and should continue, as long as attendance is kept under 50; a venue is chosen where members can spread out; and colleagues can be allowed to join remotely if they are ill, under self-quarantine, or part of the vulnerable health population group. If your department needs help finding a larger space to reserve for a meeting, please reach out to our office.
In respect to inviting academic visitors to campus, including speakers, workshop leaders, trainers, vendors, etc., please follow the guidelines on coronavirus.wfu.edu. It is important to note that all indoor on- or off-campus university gatherings of 50 people or more must be postponed, canceled, or continue virtually at this time.
Just like faculty members, your staff and graduate students working with you will be able to continue working under normal operations here on campus at this time. If individuals reach out requesting to work remotely (for self-quarantine measures, have preexisting health concerns that put them in the vulnerable population category, etc.), refer to the HR policies outlined on the coronavirus website to discuss working remotely.
We have several scenarios that apply to the hiring process during this time.
- Scenario 1: You were just about to invite your top candidates to campus for your teaching professional or tenure track search. Then the normal campus operations were interrupted. ODOC states that while you may conduct virtual interviews of all the candidates, you must suspend making an offer until such time as it is possible to conduct an on-campus interview of at least the top candidate. If you are unable to fulfill your teaching professional or tenure track line because of these exigencies, we will provide you with temporary coverage and it is our intention to preserve the permanent line.
- Scenario 2: You have interviewed one or two on-campus teaching professional or tenure track candidates. What do you do about the third candidate whose interview is already scheduled? ODOC states that you suspend the search, resuming when the campus returns to full operation.
- Scenario 3: You are hiring for a non-permanent position. ODOC does not require on-site visits for these positions, so you may rely on virtual interviews to make that hire.
Proactive measures regarding those who have recently returned from other countries is critical. All faculty and staff returning from countries with Level 2 and 3 travel health notices (this includes Europe, see the U.S. State Department website for a complete list) or from a cruise must self-isolate for a 14-day period. Anyone who has traveled abroad or returned from cities in the United States with widespread community transmission should complete a Travel Reporting Form. Please see coronavirus.wfu.edu for updated information on travel.
All Spring 2020 WFU-sponsored semester Study Abroad programs (classes and activities) have been canceled, and the remainder of the term will be completed remotely. These returning students will not be able to live on-campus until they have successfully completed a 14-day isolation. Additional details can be found here. As for students in non-WFU abroad programs, a special communication has been sent to them. Details for those in Wake Forest programs that meet in other U.S. cities — including Wake Washington and Wake West — will be forthcoming.
Student Housing, Safety, and Well-being:
Students who must stay on campus because they cannot return home for any number of reasons (international students, student athletes, etc.) will have dining choices and library access, although we can anticipate operational hours may be reduced. Our Campus Life partners are working on social engagement/social-distanced activities for our students staying on campus. Feel free to reach out to students who are here on campus; they will appreciate your reassurance and connection during this time. Additional information can be found on the coronavirus.wfu.edu website.
If any students reach out with questions regarding their financial aid, please send them to this FAQ list.
On-campus visits by external reviewers already scheduled for later this semester as part of departmental 10-year program reviews will be postponed until the fall semester. ODOC will work with departments, internal review committees, and external reviewers to reschedule the site visits; to ensure that reviewers have every opportunity to engage closely with faculty, students, and staff; and to observe facilities in-person as part of the review process.
These are trying times, but we are a powerful community that shares a common mission. We are also sending out a message to our College staff members shortly. We end our missive by thanking you and wishing you well.
Michele Gillespie, Dean of the College
Tony Marsh, Senior Associate Dean of Faculty
Rebecca Alexander, Director of Wake Downtown
Christa Colyer, Associate Dean for Planning
Laura Giovanelli, Associate Dean for Learning Spaces
Ashley Hairston, Associate Dean for Academic Advising
Tom Phillips, Associate Dean and Director of Scholarships
Erica Still, Associate Dean for Faculty Recruitment, Diversity, and Inclusion
Eric Stottlemyer, Associate Dean for the Engaged Liberal Arts