Summer 2020 SART Digest Archives

Tuesday, May 12

Dear colleagues,

Welcome to the first of a series of summer digest messages to our community with important information regarding teaching and learning at Furman during the COVID-19 outbreak. Previous digests are archived online (scroll to bottom of page). Please continue to check the University’s website with information about our response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the Faculty Development Center’s frequently asked questionsPlease note that beginning next week, you’ll receive just one weekly digest each Friday afternoon.

 

Key Updates and Reminders for Today

  1. Faculty Survey Reminder – Christopher Hutton, Faculty Chair, and the Faculty Development Center posted a letter to Box that included a link to this end of semester faculty survey. As Carolyn Dever and George Justice highlight in this recent Chronicle of Higher Education article, consistent, frequent, and transparent two-way communication among University leaders and faculty will be an essential component of our planning efforts in the months ahead. The deadline to submit responses is Monday, May 18th.
  1. The Furman University Libraries will cease spending for FY20 on Friday, May 29th in preparation for migration to our new library system on June 1st. We will not resume spending until Wednesday, July 1stIf you need new library resources for your summer classes, please use the forms available here to request materials prior to May 29th. If you need assistance in identifying resources for your summer class, please get in touch with your library departmental liaison.
  1. The Diversity & Inclusion Committee invite the faculty to provide feedback to Michael Jennings’ (Chief Diversity Officer) on the development of our Strategic Diversity Plan. The goal of the plan is to provide a shared vision for advancing diversity and inclusion efforts at Furman and it is meant to serve as a tool to encourage transparency and accountability. Please save the date and plan to join us in a Zoom Meeting on Friday, June 5 at 10:00 am. Meeting details will be forthcoming, where a draft of the plan for review will be provided.
  1. Please help us continue to honor our talented class of 2020. The Furman Alumni Association unveiled a virtual tribute board to celebrate the Class of 2020. You are invited to contribute to the board via social media posts and share in the celebration!

Faculty/Staff Support Opportunities

Coffee and Conversation Chat Series – Join FDC facilitators and colleagues for informal conversations this summer around topics of interest that impact our teaching and learning practice during the global pandemic. Each chat will focus loosely on a theme from which our conversation will begin. Drop in on the informal conversation when you can, for as long as you can, with your favorite morning beverage. Conversations begin at 9:30am here. Our chats for the month of May include:

  • Wednesday, May 20th – Building Community Online
  • Wednesday, May 27th – Providing Meaningful, Time-Efficient Online Feedback

Student Support Updates

  1. Students Not Graduating: All students with an anticipated graduation date of May 2020 who did not meet graduation requirements have received communication from the Academic Deans, and academic advisors have been notified of changes in anticipated completion dates. If you advise one of these students, you are encouraged to work with your student to ensure that they are planning accordingly to meet any missing requirements.
  1. Email Contacts for Graduating Seniors – For members of our community who would like to keep in touch with our graduating seniors, please note that email accounts belonging to graduating seniors will be disabled on September 1, 2020. However, graduating seniors may opt-in to receive a permanent Furman alumni email address. These do differ from Furman student email addresses and are not visible in the Furman address book. Faculty and staff wishing to stay in touch with students post-graduation may wish to collect information from them about their preferred permanent email address.

Today’s Tip

Our commencement experience was unlike any in years past. If you are looking for words of encouragement to share with a recent graduate, National Public Radio has you covered. In 2014, the pubic broadcast network compiled a “best of” library of 354 commencement speeches going all the way back to 1774. The resource has a quote generator, as well as a full database of speeches searchable by name, school, or year. One notable database quote comes from George Saunders, speaking at Syracuse University in 2013, who imparted one central message – to “err in the direction of kindness.”

Sincerely,

The SART & Jeremy

Friday, May 15

Dear colleagues,

Welcome to today’s edition of a series of summer digest messages to our community with important information regarding teaching and learning at Furman during the COVID-19 outbreak. Previous digests are archived online (scroll to bottom of page). Please continue to check the University’s website with information about our response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the Faculty Development Center’s frequently asked questionsPlease note that beginning next week, you’ll receive just one weekly digest each Friday afternoon.

Key Updates and Reminders for Today

  1. International study away programs for Fall 2020 have been canceled. See this campus communication for details.
  1. Out of an abundance of caution, and to protect the health and safety of our students, faculty, staff and the Greenville community, the Furman campus remains closed to the public until further notice. This includes the walking trails around the lake and the Physical Activities Center.
  1. If you are scheduled to teach a summer 2020 course, please review the following information:
    1. If you haven’t yet done so, please check the course listings in MyFurman to monitor enrollment in your summer courses.
    2. You will be notified by May 25 or shortly thereafter if your course has met the minimum viable enrollment. At that two-week mark, if your course is to be offered, it would be immensely helpful if you could post your syllabus (even if it’s not finalized) along with all required materials (including textbooks) on your course Moodle site, so that your students can have an accurate understanding of the course and so that they can begin the process of obtaining textbooks and other materials, which might take longer than normal this year.
    3. As you prepare to launch your courses online, consulting Universal Design for Learning principles may help with your design process. This interactive self-assessment tool provides prompts for determining how well your course and materials engage multiple learners. Please keep track of your “Would Like Training” responses and forward any specific needs to FDC@furman.edu.
    4. As you build your summer syllabi, The Faculty Development Center has compiled a customizable Furman Syllabus Template with key information about student services and University policies.
    5. Tutoringconsulting, and research assistance services will continue online this summer. Please encourage your students to take advantage of these resources. In addition, the Counseling Center is offering mental health support to students through its virtual office.

Faculty/Staff Support Updates

  1. Peer learning can be a powerful tool to explore, experience, and advance our teaching practice as a learning community. The Faculty Development Center (FDC) is pleased to facilitate a Summer Online Open Classroom Network during Furman’s two summer 2020 academic sessions. If you are teaching a summer course and would be willing to invite colleagues to join as auditors or if you’d like to audit a summer course to explore course design models/promising online learning practices, we invite you to sign up here.
  1. Join FDC facilitators and colleagues next Wednesday, May 20th for the first of an informal Coffee and Conversation Chat Series around topics of interest related to teaching and learning practice during the global pandemic. Our first chat is focused on Building Community Online, an important task for online course instructors and research mentors. No registration is needed. Come when you can with your favorite morning beverage and leave when you must.  Conversation will begin at 9:30am here.

Student Support Updates

  1. Please keep in mind that the deadline for using the pass-no pass grading option for May 2020 degree candidates is next Monday, May 18th.
  2. To keep you informed about messages our students are receiving during the pandemic, you can access the third weekly Student Life DINformation newsletter to students here (scroll to bottom of page).  

Today’s Tip

As you launch research projects with your student collaborator(s) this summer and work to implement Furman’s Best Practices of Engaged Learning like building relationships and providing feedback, you are likely considering a variety of ways to accomplish that remotely. Because of Furman’s relationship with Microsoft, you might want to consider Microsoft Teams to help facilitate student engagement and interaction. All faculty, staff, and students have a Teams license, and anyone can download Teams from the web client of Office 365. In addition to project management and video conferencing, Teams has a chat feature that keeps chat history. This free resource is available for all community members to support one-on-one, group, or small group engagement this summer.

The SART & Jeremy

Friday, May 22

Dear colleagues,

Welcome to today’s edition of a series of summer digest messages to our community with important information regarding teaching and learning at Furman during the COVID-19 outbreak. For a repository of previous digest messages, please visit here. Additional information and answers to many of your important questions about the University’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic can be found on the University’s website and the frequently asked questions section maintained by the Faculty Development Center.

Key Updates and Reminders for Today

  1. Please mark your calendars for an opportunity to participate in one of two virtual forum opportunities next week to address your inquiries about recent decisions about the University’s ongoing responses to the public health and financial challenges the pandemic brings. While responding to every question in these initial forums may not be possible, you are invited to propose questions to be asked via the links below.
    1. On Tuesday, May 26, at 4:00pm President Davis, Vice President for Finance and Administration Susan Maddux, Athletic Director Jason Donnelly, AVP of Human Resources Sharon Beaulieu, and Provost Peterson will participate in a virtual forum for staff.  Submit your questions at this anonymous link. Please register for this forum here.
    2. On Wednesday, May 27, from 4:00-5:30 p.m. President Davis, Provost Peterson, and Vice President for Finance and Administration Susan Maddux will participate in a virtual forum for faculty. Submit your questions at this anonymous link (please submit your questions by noon on Tuesday). No registration required.
  1. As President Davis recently communicated, the University continues to respond and adapt to the fluidity of the ongoing pandemic with as much foresight, creativity, inclusivity, and compassion as possible. This graphic highlights the organizational structure of those groups currently working diligently to plan, prepare, and support implementation related to Academic Affairs. (Of course, many other groups are involved in broader campus response planning and implementation as well.) In an effort to ensure that as many perspectives, opinions, and ideas are part of our collective Academic Affairs response, representatives from across the University community are included in our planning efforts.
  1. Both Furman summer sessions look very strong! Almost all courses offered in the first session have met minimum enrollments, and contracts for these courses should be available next week. One unanticipated benefit of our online summer courses: several students have reapplied to complete their degree program. Not only does our robust summer enrollment reduce the overall financial stress on the institution, but it also reaffirms our ability to pivot quickly during challenging situations to fulfill our academic mission.
  1. A letter from Christopher Hutton, Faculty Chair, was sent to all faculty earlier today, with a copy posted in Box.

Faculty/Staff Support Opportunities

  1. The Summer Writing Challenge I (June 1 – July 3, 2020) provides structure and support for faculty across all departments as they develop a daily writing practice and write for publication. Virtual writing groups can provide scholars with a much-needed anchor. Register to participate here by Monday, May 29th, 2020.
  1. If you are teaching a summer course and would be willing to invite colleagues to join as auditors or if you’d like to audit a summer course to explore course design models/promising online learning practices, The Faculty Development Center invites you to participate in the Summer Online Open Classroom Network by signing up here.
  1. Join FDC facilitators and colleagues next Wednesday, May 27th for the second of an informal Coffee and Conversation Chat Series around topics of interest related to teaching and learning practice during the pandemic. Our chat will be focused on facilitating meaningful, time-efficient online feedback. No registration is needed. Come when you can with your favorite morning beverage and leave when you must. Conversation will begin at 9:30am here.
  1. Are you interested in learning more about Microsoft Teams, the free communication and collaboration platform that is part of Furman’s Office 365 suite?  Resources for exploring and utilizing this resource are available here, including a recorded workshop overview of the platform and a “Quick Start” guide.

 

Student Support Updates

To keep you informed about messages our students are receiving during the pandemic, you can access the third weekly Student Life DINformation newsletter to students here (scroll to bottom of page).

Today’s Tip

Many of you may be finding creative outlets to process and make sense of the challenges associated with pandemic living. A Canadian Your Morning newscast recently picked up this story about a music educator who has utilized her love of music to express how she has coped with the sudden transition online this spring. The short lyrics may resonate with you at the end of a long semester.

Sincerely,

The SART & Jeremy

Friday, May 29

Dear colleagues,

Welcome to today’s edition of a series of summer digest messages to our community with important information regarding teaching and learning at Furman during the COVID-19 outbreak. For a repository of previous digest messages, please visit here. Additional information and answers to many of your important questions about the University’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic can be found on the University’s website and the frequently asked questions section maintained by the Faculty Development Center.

Key Updates and Reminders

  1. Beginning Monday, June 1, limited on-campus admissions tours and library services will resume. Please see this note from President Davis about these developments.
  1. Thank you to everyone who attended the faculty and staff forums with senior administrators this week. Notes from each of these meetings will be disseminated as soon as they are available. Faculty may also be interested in this Clarification Document shared prior to the Faculty Forum.  If Faculty have additional questions that were not answered at the recent forum, please submit those to FALC.
  1. The Diversity & Inclusion Committee invite the faculty to provide feedback to Michael Jennings (Chief Diversity Officer) on the development of the university’s Strategic Diversity Plan. A draft plan will be shared on Monday, June 1st. The goal of the plan is to provide a shared vision for advancing diversity and inclusion efforts at Furman and it is meant to serve as a tool to encourage transparency and accountability. Please register for the forum scheduled for Friday, June 5 at 10:00 am. Jennings will present the plan with opportunities for faculty to ask questions during the forum. Co-chairs of the Diversity and Inclusion committee, Natalie The and Neil Jamerson, will moderate.
  1. Proposals for Community-Engaged courses for Summer and Fall 2020 are due by June 1, 2020. The application and additional details can be found here. If you have any questions about this process, please contact Mike Winiski.

 

Tips and Tools for Online Instruction

Whether you are gearing up for a summer course that begins next week or thinking ahead about options for your fall courses, below is a brief snapshot of suggestions and resources for online instruction.

  • For a quick pocket guide of the elements that comprise an effective online course, you can consult this Measures of Online Course Development Success Checklist document.
  • Please ensure that you have posted a course syllabus (see sample template here), technical requirements for course participation, required materials for the course, and instructions about how to access additional learning platforms in your Moodle course prior to the course start. It is recommended that this information be shared early to ensure enough time for students to procure the required materials and test technical connections before the first day of class.
  • You might consider querying your students about their readiness to engage in online learning to help identify situational factors that might impact course engagement as a means to help your students identity strategies and resources to enhance their online learning. A pre-course Online Learning Readiness Questionnaire self-assessment is available here.
  • If students in your courses require accommodations, you will be notified by the SOAR office as students request those. Please keep in mind that some accommodation processes require timely submission of material or information, like requests for the delivery of printed materials.
  • A repository of online learning and digital collaboration resources is available on the Faculty Development Center’s website, including an overview of some of the major online learning support tools and tutorials available at Furman, tips for online instruction and learning, and information on how to effectively prepare your students for online learning.
  • Don’t hesitate to reach out for support. Members of our community have expertise to share as a part of the Online Redesign Corp and consultations are available through the Faculty Development Center.

 

Faculty/Staff Support Opportunities

  1. The Summer Writing Challenge I (June 1 – July 3, 2020) provides structure and support for faculty across all departments as they develop a daily writing practice and write for publication. Virtual writing groups can provide scholars with a much-needed anchor. Register to participate here by Friday, May 29th, 2020.
  1. Join FDC facilitators and colleagues on Wednesday, June 10th for the next informal Coffee and Conversation Chat Series around topics of interest related to teaching and learning practice during the pandemic. Our chat will be focused on managing work-life balance in the midst of a pandemic. No registration is needed. Come when you can with your favorite morning beverage and leave when you must. Conversation will begin at 9:30am here.
  1. As Furman’s learning management system (LMS), Moodle is central to instructional delivery of online or hybrid courses. Join facilitators from Moodle Certified Partner eThink Education to dig deeper into two frequently use Moodle features in the following online workshops. Please register for these learning opportunities here.
    • June 4th – 2:30-3:30pm: Moodle Forums
    • June 5th – 2:30-3:30pm: Moodle Quizzes and Gradebook
  1. The Collaborative for Community Engaged Learning and the FDC invite you to participate in a two-part Introduction to StoryMaps workshop series. StoryMaps is a powerful web-based platform that allows students to use text, media, and maps to create interactive stories across disciplines that can be shared with specific groups or be made publicly available. Furman faculty focused on the Digital Humanities, the EnvironmentArtMusic, and People and Society have utilized StoryMaps. Participants in this series will engage in one of two tracks. The first track runs during the morning of Tuesday June 23rd and Thursday June 25th. The second track (which covers the same material) runs during the afternoon of Tuesday June 23rd and Thursday June 25th. For more information, or to register, visit here.

Today’s Tip

We hope that some of you have turned your attention to a beloved hobby or home-improvement project during our increased time at home. For many of you, this may involve a bit of peace and quiet around your favorite bird feeder, that is, until the squirrels show up… For a creative and over-the-top approach to addressing this problem through mechanical engineering, you might enjoy this video. Happy building!

Enjoy the weekend,

The SART and Jeremy

Friday, June 5

Dear colleagues,

Welcome to today’s edition of a series of summer digest messages to our community with important information regarding teaching and learning at Furman during the COVID-19 outbreak. For a repository of previous digest messages, please visit here. Additional information and answers to many of your important questions about the University’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic can be found on the University’s website and the frequently asked questions section maintained by the Faculty Development Center.

Key Updates and Reminders

 

  1. A sincere thank you to faculty who have worked very hard to ensure our students have collaborative and high-impact undergraduate research experiences this summer. After safety restrictions were imposed, and research shifted from on-campus to remote this summer, some of the 280 planned projects (up 70 students from a 2019 high) had to be canceled, but Furman still retained 232 student researchers working with just over 100 faculty mentors, which represents more student research fellows than any other year in the university’s history! Faculty mentors exhibited great dexterity in pivoting their projects to entirely remote experiences, often by incorporating interdisciplinary methodologies outside their immediate expertise and working with The Faculty Development Center through a series of workshops and planning courses.  A silver lining of this transition has been the creation of virtual communities among research teams from differing departments and disciplines, as both faculty and students have reached out to one another for advice and support for their evolving projects. If you’d like to consider creating a virtual community of your own, please find a list of summer research projects on the UR website.
  1. Wednesday’s message from Christopher Hutton, Faculty Chair highlighted a new one-question Qualtrics survey created to solicit anonymous questions and concerns for the Faculty Administration Liaison Committee (Tony Caterisano, outgoing Chair; Gretchen Braun, incoming Chair). Your inquiries are welcome.
  1. Scott Henderson, incoming chair of the Faculty Status Committee, reminds you that only the following faculty will submit dossiers/self-evaluations for review by the Faculty Status Committee during the upcoming year:
    • Probationary faculty (who might or might not also be requesting consideration for tenure or tenure & promotion)
    • Tenured faculty who are requesting consideration for promotion (otherwise, tenured faculty will not be submitting dossiers/self-evaluations)
  1. On Monday, June 8th the Furman University Libraries will restart physical item interlibrary loan for Furman employees. Please keep in mind that some libraries are not yet loaning materials due to COVID-19, so availability may be limited. Use your interlibrary loan account to request materials as normal; when they arrive, you will receive an email including a link where you can schedule curbside pickup of your item. We hope to restart PASCAL Delivers later in the summer.
  1. Find It @ Furman, the library’s new system for searching books, e-resources, and articles is now live! This new library management system replaced the Library Catalog, a system which was over 15 years old and has reached end-of-life. Find It @ Furman will allow for searching print and electronic resources, a more intuitive user experience, and streamlined methods for ordering, describing, and checking out library materials. Questions or comments about Find It @ Furman can be sent here: LibrarySystems@furman.edu.

Important Updates on Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Efforts

 

  1. Thank you to everyone who was able to attend the Strategic Diversity Plan Forum earlier today. The Diversity and Inclusion Committee invites your feedback on the draft plan. Whether you were able to attend the forum or not, please share your feedback using this form. There could not be a more critical time to advance this vital work.
  1. Furman Justice Forum seeks to continue national conversations about justice by hosting a book club on James Forman Junior’s Locking Up Our Own on Wednesdays, June 17, June 24, July 8, and July 15 from 7-8 p.m. through Zoom. Asha Marie ’22 will lead the discussions. Interested faculty, staff, and students can sign up here and can read more about James Forman Jr. and his book here. Please register to participate by Wednesday, June 10th.
  1. Do you identify as white? Is it hard to know how to navigate conversations and feelings about racism? Do you wish you understood yourself better or wondered how to become more anti-racist? Join us as we read and discuss Robin DiAngelos’s book White Fragility, in which she explores why it’s so hard for white people to talk about race. Let’s learn together how to engage racial inequality more constructively. Separate small groups for students (Thursdays 8 pm) and staff/faculty (Wednesdays 8 pm), led by different staff and faculty for six weeks- starting next week! Email kate.taber@furman.edu by Monday 6/8 to sign up or to get more info. Participation is limited.
  1. The libraries will be celebrating #RainbowBookMonth throughout June by featuring ebooks by LGBTQ authors, with LGBTQ characters, or about topics relevant to the LGBTQ community. All ebooks featured are available for checkout. Follow the Furman Libraries on Instagram (@fu_libraries) and Facebook!

Staff/Faculty Support Opportunities

 

  1. Join FDC facilitators and colleagues next Wednesday, June 10th for the next informal Coffee and Conversation Chat Series around topics of interest related to teaching and learning practice during the pandemic. Our chat will be focused on managing work-life balance in the midst of a pandemic. No registration is needed. Come when you can with your favorite morning beverage and leave when you must. Conversation will begin at 9:30am here.
  1. The FDC has a few spots left in our two-week Redesign with Flex in Mind course focused on redesigning your courses for flexible instruction. The course involves a series of self-guided planning tasks and interactive synchronous sessions (beginning Monday, June 8th) as we work through a step-by-step process designed to build a thoughtful, pedagogically sound online or hybrid course informed by the transformative power of liberal learning. Please email FDC@furman.edu if you would like more information or to be added to the course. Once we reach capacity, we will add you to a waitlist.

Student Support Opportunities

 

  1. For those teaching in the first summer session beginning on Monday June 8th, please utilize flags in Success@Furman within the first week of your course if students aren’t engaged or aren’t communicating with you. By the end of the first week of classes, a student will have missed 20% of the course if they aren’t engaged. Academic – General Concern’ flags can be raised by anyone for any reason.  If a student is not responding to communication or not “attending” class, please raise this flag.
  1. Given our record number of students taking summer courses this year, please encourage your students to utilize University support servicesTutoringconsulting, and research assistance services will continue online this summer.  In addition, the Counseling Center is offering mental health support to students through its virtual office.
  1. The Writing & Media Lab student consultants will be available during both summer sessions to help students with writing and multimedia projects through online consultations. When students make an appointment at https://www.furman.edu/wml, they will receive a Zoom link in their confirmation email. Please share this resource with students in your summer classes.
  1. To keep you informed about messages our students are receiving during the pandemic, you can access this week’s edition of the Student Life DINformation newsletter to students here (scroll to bottom of page).

Today’s Tip

 

In the face of the long-standing legacy of racism, discrimination, and injustice that is the focus of events across the nation at the moment, there is no better time to invest deeply in the educational mission of our community to find ways to expand understanding of the root causes, broad-scale implications, and meaningful actions we can take to ameliorate these serious and painful realities for members of our community. In addition to the numerous opportunities highlighted above to engage in dialog and policy development around our diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts, the Faculty Development Center is assembling a list of pertinent resources to support your efforts to facilitate informed, compassionate, and civil learning about this topic.

Resources are available on the FDC Commons Moodle site under the Fostering Inclusive Learning Environments folder (available here). If you don’t currently have access to the site and would like to request it, or if you have additional resources you’d like to share, please email FDC@furman.edu.

The SART & Jeremy

Friday, June 12

Dear colleagues,

Welcome to today’s edition of a series of summer digest messages to our community with important information regarding teaching and learning at Furman during the COVID-19 outbreak. For a repository of previous digest messages, please visit here. Additional information and answers to many of your important questions about the University’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic can be found on the University’s website and the frequently asked questions section maintained by the Faculty Development Center.

Updates and Reminders for This Week

  1. Please see this note from Rev. Kate Taber about ongoing efforts to support anti-racist education and action among our community. Rev. Taber highlights opportunities to participate in two virtual book clubs this summer, as well as other avenues to engage.
  1. Thursday’s email message to faculty from Christopher Hutton, Faculty Chair, highlighted a new one-question survey for you to provide feedback regarding Tuesday’s public announcement of a date for Commencement for the Class of 2020 (anonymously, if you wish). Responses will be read by the members of the Faculty Executive Committee and then shared anonymously with administrative leadership.
  1. If you have questions or concerns about other University issues, including planning for fall, please share them in this form created by the Faculty Administration Liaison Committee (Tony Caterisano, outgoing Chair; Gretchen Braun, incoming Chair). The FALC monitors those submissions and is planning at least two meetings with administrators this summer, hopefully one in late June and one in July.
  1. If you missed the training sessions offered by eThink on Moodle, our LMS system, you can now view recordings of those sessions online. To access the session on Moodle quizzes and gradebooks visit here and for the session on Moodle forums visit here.
  1. The Staff Advisory Council has posted a FAQ page to provide a summary of the Virtual Staff Forum that took place on May 26.
  1. Are you ready to get your step on?  Join the step challenge this summer!  In person events may have been cancelled, but you can get steps just about anywhere.  Between June 15 – July 19, join the Furman community in a healthy challenge by meeting step goals. For more information, or to sign up, visit here.

Today’s Tip

As our community is busy making plans for the fall, one thing is for certain: flexibility will be paramount in our efforts to facilitate a safe return to campus. As this recent article in The Chronicle of Higher Education notes, flexibility is one aspect of designing a more inclusive learning experience for our students. In fact, instructional strategies like Universal Design for Learning hold adaptable, flexible course design as a hallmark of efforts to increase access and enhance participation of members of our learning community with diverse needs. Thankfully, resources to support your planning around active learning in flexible learning environments are growing significantly as we prepare for the fall.  While the pandemic has forced us to consider such flexibility to maintain a safe learning environment more immediately, it is a practice that will enhance the inclusivity of our curriculum over the long-term.

The SART and Jeremy

Friday, June 19

Dear colleagues,

Welcome to today’s edition of a series of summer digest messages to our community with important information regarding teaching and learning at Furman during the COVID-19 outbreak. For a repository of previous digest messages, please visit here. Additional information and answers to many of your important questions about the University’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic can be found on the University’s website and the frequently asked questions section maintained by the Faculty Development Center.

Updates and Reminders for This Week

  1. Join FDC facilitators and colleagues next Wednesday, June 24th for the next informal Coffee and Conversation Chat Series around topics of interest related to teaching and learning practice during the pandemic. Our chat will be focused on lessons learned from your research/course redesign efforts. All are welcome to share your experiences and insight. No registration is needed. Come when you can with your favorite morning beverage and leave when you must. Conversation will begin at 9:30am here.
  1. The Collaborative for Community Engaged Learning and the FDC invite you to participate in a two-part Introduction to StoryMaps workshop series next week. StoryMaps is a powerful web-based platform that allows students to use text, media, and maps to create interactive stories across disciplines that can be shared with specific groups or be made publicly available. Furman faculty focused on the Digital Humanities, the  Environment,  Art,  Music, and People and Society have utilized StoryMaps. Participants will engage in one of two tracks. The first track runs during the morning of Tuesday June 23rd and Thursday June 25th. The second track (which covers the same material) runs during the afternoon of Tuesday June 23rd and Thursday June 25th. For more information, or to register, visit here.
    • Session 1:  June 23rd and June 25th (8:30 am – 11:30 am)
    • Session 2:  June 23rd and June 25th (12:30 pm – 3:30 pm)

 

  1. Academic Progress Surveys – due to summer session enrollments, we have decided to send the academic progress survey instrument that we typically use in the fall and spring semesters. The survey will open for summer session one courses on Tuesday, June 23 and remain open through Thursday, June 25. In this fast-paced environment, any feedback you are able to provide to your students is tremendously helpful. As a reminder, academic support resources are available to assist students this summer, and the last day for a student to withdraw from a course is Monday June 29.
  1. To keep you informed about messages our students are receiving during the pandemic, you can access this week’s edition of the Student Life DINformation newsletter to students here (scroll to bottom of page).
  1. The Associated Colleges of the South (ACS), a consortium of 16 liberal arts colleges in the southern United States, of which Furman is a member, is hosting a series of summer virtual workshops on a range of topics of relevance to teaching and conducting research in the midst of a pandemic. Registration for these Pandemic Pedagogies is available here and we encourage you to register early as they may fill up quickly.

Today’s Tip

As the second week of summer online courses is wrapping up, we are hearing encouraging stories from many of you about the inventive and engaging mechanisms through which you are supporting rich learning experiences for our students. Thank you for your momentous work to ensure that our students are able to explore new ideas, examine their values and beliefs, and advance collaborative and integrative thinking no matter how and where that learning takes place. As this opinion piece from the Tomorrow’s Professor blog at Stanford relates, the past couple of weeks have demonstrated, through your dedication to teaching, that robust learning and development can occur even when we don’t “share the air” with our students. Thank you for exemplifying the rich creativity and commitment of our Furman community.

Sincerely,

The SART and Jeremy

Friday, June 26

Dear colleagues,

Welcome to today’s edition of a series of summer digest messages to our community with important information regarding teaching and learning at Furman during the COVID-19 outbreak. For a repository of previous digest messages, please visit here. Additional information and answers to many of your important questions about the University’s reopening plans for the fall can be found on the Furman Focused website.

Updates and Reminders for This Week

  1. You’ve received a number of critical communications this week. For a quick recap of important developments concerning fall instruction:
    • Furman Focused Website Launch – As we prepare to return to in-person instruction this fall, a new website has launched, Furman Focused: Fall 2020, that replaces our COVID-19 site and lists policies and procedures we’re implementing to increase safety and decrease the risk of spreading the virus.
    • This roster of Fall Planning Subcommittees outlines the breadth and depth of fall planning efforts to date. The subcommittees, many of which have been operating for weeks, vary in size according to the nature and urgency of their assigned work and the timeline for its completion.
    • Remote Teaching Options for Fall: Faculty with documented health concerns and/or documented caregiving needs may be permitted to teach their courses and conduct their work remotely for the fall 2020 semester. If you believe that you require an accommodation to teach or work remotely during the fall 2020 semester, please send an email to humanresources@furman.edu. Additionally, faculty who do not qualify for remote work based on documented health concerns and/or documented caregiving needs, and who are interested in teaching and working remotely for the fall 2020 semester, should provide more information here as soon as possible but no later than Tuesday, July 7.
  1. The Associated Colleges of the South (ACS), a consortium of 16 liberal arts colleges in the southern United States, of which Furman is a member, is hosting a series of summer virtual workshops on a range of topics of relevance to teaching and conducting research in the midst of a pandemic. Registration for these Pandemic Pedagogies is available here and we encourage you to register early as they may fill up quickly.
  1. Join the Furman Humanities Center for a summer humanities lecture and discussion series: Tolle, Lege* (“Take, Read”). This virtual lecture series is free and open to the public as will be the live Q&A sessions each week. See the enclosed flyer for Q&A registration information and more details about each talk.
  1. Furman University’s Institutional Review Board will be closed for two weeks beginning July 13th through July 25th.  No new, modified or renewal applications will be accepted during this time.  All protocols received before July 10th will be reviewed and approved before July 13th.  Any protocols received during the two-week shutdown, will not be looked at until Monday, July 27th.

Today’s Tip

Our experience with remote learning this spring required many of us to consider and experiment with alternative assessment approaches to evaluate student learning in our courses. As we prepare for the fall, it will be necessary again to re-evaluate our assessment approach, focusing on the learning outcomes we have for our students and the best approaches to evaluate if and to what degree students can demonstrate the attainment of those objectives. These adaptations are timely, as they occur within a broader context of work to support more equitable assessment strategies on college campuses. Highlighted in this recent article, the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment has just released several in-depth case studies of promising practices to advance inclusive assessment. As you redesign and revision assessment practices for your fall courses, we have an opportunity to incorporate lessons from these case studies to support a more equitable campus culture and curriculum.

On that note, we wrap up our digest messages for this academic year and will take a brief hiatus in July. Look for these messages to return in August.

Sincerely,

The SART and Jeremy