From Academic Affairs

Academic Affairs Messages

Fall 2021 Classes (Aug. 19, 2021)

Dear students,

The Fall 2021 semester is about to begin, and faculty are looking forward to greeting you! Per Dr. Monica Mendez-Grant’s e-mail message sent on August 14, I am writing to let you know that some faculty may be adjusting the format of their in-person classes for the first three weeks to reduce classroom density. Some of you may continue meeting in your in-person courses as planned, while others might have fewer meetings and participate remotely during the other class periods. Faculty will communicate these changes directly to you via email and class announcements.

The university is continuously monitoring the situation around COVID-19. We recommend wearing masks and getting vaccinated. This is the most effective way to protect you, your classmates, professors, family members, and vulnerable members of our community. Face masks were extremely effective at preventing the spread of COVID-19 on our campuses last year; there were no documented cases of classroom transmission. That success exemplifies our “Campus with a Heart” culture of caring for one another. Our aim is to continue that culture in this upcoming year.

Wishing you a safe and successful fall semester!

With Pioneer Pride,

Carolyn Kapinus, Ph.D.
Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost
Professor of Sociology
Texas Woman's University

Fall 2021 First Day of Class (Aug. 19, 2021)

Dear colleagues,

Per my “Flexibility to Flatten the Curve” message sent on Monday, August 16, we are giving faculty the flexibility to reduce density in their courses for the first three weeks of classes. Some faculty may be unable to lower the density in their course because of the setting or specific student learning outcomes. Others may feel comfortable with their class continuing to meet in person, as planned, with no alterations. If you choose not to make changes, please consult with and receive approval from your college dean to continue planned delivery and density with COVID precautions in place. If you are making changes to decrease density, please send a message to the students in your course so that they are prepared for the first day of class.

Students received this message from Dr. Monica Mendez-Grant, Vice President for Student Life, on Saturday, August 14, regarding vaccination clinics, being flexible regarding possible changes to course modality, and the importance of mask wearing. Of course, you are also welcome to reiterate the importance of mitigation strategies as outlined in the COVID-19 Precautions statement on the attached TWU Syllabus Template (Word). This template and other resources can be found on the Academic Affairs Fall 2021 Faculty Resources page.

I’ve been very impressed at the high level of participation (both in-person and online) in the variety of Welcome Week events. Despite the challenges, there is a positive energy to the start of the semester. Thank you for all that you are doing to support our students!

Warm regards,

Carolyn

CAROLYN A. KAPINUS, Ph.D.
Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost
Professor of Sociology
Texas Woman's University

Attachment

TWU Syllabus Template (Word)

 

Flexibility to Flatten the Curve (Aug. 16, 2021)

Dear colleagues,

As Chancellor Feyten shared in her August 13 message, we are empowering faculty with flexibility to reduce the density in their in-person courses, if needed, for the first three weeks of classes. We ask that you do the following: (1) have at least one in-person experience each week and (2) make available class materials covered during in-person experiences available to those who were not present. We prefer that you not pivot to fully online teaching as many students select in-person classes because they learn best in that modality.

For example, in classes meeting twice a week, faculty may assign students to in-person attendance days for alternating class periods. Some faculty choosing this option can offer use a hyflex approach to synchronously teach students in the classroom and via Zoom in classrooms with that capability (list of hyflex classrooms attached). For classes meeting once a week for three hours, faculty may opt to meet half the class in the first 1-1/2 hours and the remaining students in the second 1-1/2 hours. They may also provide online access to recorded in-person lectures through Panapto and/or provide digital class materials in Canvas. Teaching and Learning with Technology will offer some immediate hyflex trainings, and the Center for Faculty Excellence will offer Panapto trainings. A list of the training offered by TLT and CFE is attached. Instructional designers are ready to assist faculty as they change modalities.

Registration for courses will conclude on Friday evening. If you are making changes to decrease density, please send a message to the students in your course so that are prepared for the first day of class.

I realize that some faculty are unable to lower the density in their course because of the setting or specific student learning outcomes. If that is the case, please consult with and receive approval from your college dean to continue planned delivery and density with COVID precautions in place.

On the Academic Affairs home page you can find a Fall 2021 Faculty Resources link with helpful information for in-person and online teaching. In this section you can also find specific COVID-19 Classroom Guidance. In the Fall 2021 Faculty Resources you can also find a TWU Syllabus Template with an updated COVID-19 statement.

I have been extremely impressed with how creative faculty have been in meeting the needs to of students while maintaining health and safety practices. I have no doubt that many of you will find innovative ways to lower the density of your courses to help flatten the curve. Please accept my heart-felt appreciation for your continued dedication and resilience!

Warm regards,

Carolyn

CAROLYN A. KAPINUS, Ph.D.
Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost
Professor of Sociology
Texas Woman's University

Attachements

Teaching and Learning with Technology FACULTY RESOURCES August 16-20, 2021 (pdf)

Panopto Workshops (presented by the Center for Faculty Excellence) [pdf]

HYFLEX ROOMS (pdf)

 

Virtual Commencement Invitation – May 20, 2020

Congratulations, May 2020 and August 2020 graduates! Beginning at 9 a.m. on Friday, May 22, you and your family and friends will be able to access your virtual commencement; you may view the commencement whenever you wish and as often as you wish. Despite our sadness at not being able to celebrate with you in person, we are pleased to honor you virtually. We hope you will enjoy this opportunity to see your fellow graduates and read their inspiring messages.

You may access all five commencement ceremonies—one for each TWU college—along with your commencement program at the Commencement 2020 website beginning Friday. However, you will want to visit the website now because it leads you to a variety of social media fun and games to enhance your celebration. The website includes a graduation contest, GIFS and Facebook frames, banners, social posts, graduation games, gradgrams, and a great Zoom background. Remember to post to social media with the hashtag #TWUGrad20 as you join your fellow graduates in celebrating your accomplishments together.

Also on the commencement website, you will find stories about some of your fellow graduates, congratulatory messages from TWU alums, and a video of messages by TWU faculty. We all join you in celebrating your accomplishments. Again, congratulations and enjoy your commencement!

The TWU Commencement Committee

Faculty Professional Development for Online Learning (April 16, 2020, 6:28 PM)

Faculty colleagues,

I have been so heartened to hear about your experiences over the past few weeks. Although we have all been challenged by our rapid transition to online delivery, your attitudes and responses have been positive and inspiring as you have focused on the success of our students. In recent weeks, I’ve heard a multitude of descriptions of our new instructional environment including “emergency remote learning,” an “unfamiliar modality,” and “the great forced migration to remote learning” as various people have tried to define something none of us have faced before. Because this is a time of uncharted experiences, we want you to have professional development available to support you. The purpose of this email is to tell you about several offerings Teaching and Learning with Technology has planned for you, especially those of you teaching online this summer. In addition to the opportunities below, please remember that your instructional design partner is available to assist you individually.

Peer Sharing about Online Learning

We are so pleased that a group of 14 TWU faculty have volunteered to be a sounding board for their peers who are teaching online, many for the first time. If you would like to talk about your online approach, discuss successful and unsuccessful strategies, or seek advice from an experienced fellow faculty member, please contact Dr. Lynda Murphy (lmurphy@twu.edu) who will provide you a list of peers whom you can contact. These conversations are not meant to replace your work with your instructional design partner but rather to provide additional support and idea sharing.

Testing

Because many of you have indicated testing as an area of challenge, TLT offered a webinar to assist you. The video-recording of 8 Alternatives to Traditional Testing that will Change Your Mind about Assessment Webinar (offered live on April 2, 2020) is available to you now. With alternative assessments, students are encouraged to apply knowledge in authentic, novel ways rather than simply selecting from a given list of options. The 8 Alternatives to Traditional Testing webinar recommends alternative assessments and includes demonstrations on how to create them in Canvas; reviews a collection of best practices; and presents the use of student feedback to measure the effectiveness of alternative assessments.

Course Design

We moved quickly to our current online environment, and many of you have not had an opportunity to participate in professional development related to online course design. But you will with a live upcoming event, the Course Design Webinar offered Monday, April 23, 2020, at 10:00 a.m. You will learn how to approach your course planning using Backward Design, a process where the instructor begins with the course objectives and designs backward from there. Backward Design can help bring more intentionality, transparency, and efficacy in achieving learning outcomes to instruction. Join Zoom Meeting

Another self-paced workshop entitled Strategies for Designing Effective Online Courses will provide instruction in designing an effective online course with a focus on how to adapt an existing course for online delivery. Topics include writing measurable objectives, communicating with students, maintaining instructor presence, providing clear expectations for student work, creating alternative assessments, and focusing on course materials that align with course objectives. The Strategies for Designing Effective Online Courses workshop will provide tutorials, suggestions, and activities for you to complete in your Canvas courses. This is a two-week course delivered completely online, requiring a minimum time commitment of 3 to 5 hours per week. Workshop dates are April 27, 2020, through May 8, 2020. To learn more or to register for this workshop, please visit the Strategies for Designing Effective Online Courses Event Page.

Quality Matters

Quality Matters is a process for creating, certifying, and maintaining quality online course design. TLT is offering the Applying the Quality Matters Rubric Workshop to help you understand the Quality Matters Rubric and course review process. This online course is especially appropriate for those who plan to complete the QM Higher Ed Peer Reviewer Course. Participants will work interactively with the instructor, Dr. Denise Arellano, to learn the underlying principles behind the QM Rubric, identify critical elements of the QM quality assurance process, and apply the rubric to an actual course. The workshop is a two-week course available from May 11th – May 25th, delivered asynchronously and completely online, and will require a time commitment of 8 to 10 hours per week. This workshop is exclusively for TWU instructors of record. Upon registration, attendees will be provided a link to access the course. To learn more or to register for this workshop, please visit the Applying the Quality Matters Rubric Workshop Event Page.

Wishing all of you a strong ending to your semester as well as health and safety for you and your family,

Jennifer

Jennifer Martin, Ph.D.
Executive Vice Provost
Professor of Family Sciences
P.O. Box 425617
Denton, TX  76204
Phone:  940/898-3500
Email:  jmartin@twu.edu

Pass/DCR/No Credit Grading Option (April 9, 2020, 8:55 AM)

The following message is sent on behalf of Dr. Carolyn Kapinus, Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost:

Dear students,

Many of you have expressed an interest in a pass/no pass grading option for Spring 2020. Others have told us they want to keep their grades for a variety of reasons including a desire to get into second admit programs like nursing, plans to go to graduate school, or a goal to make the dean’s list. Thank you for your patience while the leaders of Academic Affairs explored a variety of options. Texas Woman’s University cares deeply about our students and we know many of you are facing unusual difficulties. I believe we have arrived at an option that allows undergraduate students who want to make the choice of an alternative grading system to have that possibility:

  • Undergraduates can opt to have all, some, or none of their classes graded according to a Pass/DCR/No Pass scale. A Pass reflects grades A – C, DCR reflects a D with credit, No Credit reflects an F. The Pass/DCR/No Credit does not reflect in the GPA calculation.
  • Students will have until May 8 to make this choice via a form they will email to the Registrar’s office. The form and information about the grading scale are available here: twu.edu/registrar/grades/spring-2020-undergraduate-pass-no-credit-grading-option/. The form is available here: https://twu.edu/media/documents/registrar/Pass-NoCredit-Request-Form.pdf.
  • Questions about these options can be directed to registrar@twu.edu. (Please review the website before submitting questions.)

Faculty members in our graduate programs are encouraged to be as flexible and supportive to graduate students as possible during this challenging time. To assist all students (undergraduates and graduates) in these trying circumstances we also have made these changes for Spring 2020:

  • The course drop deadline has been extended to May 1 to give students time to adjust to the new course modalities.  Dropping a course during Spring 2020 will not count against the six-drop limit established by the Texas Education Code for undergraduates.
  • Students who do not achieve good standing at the end of Spring 2020 will not be placed on academic probation.
  • Students who began Spring 2020 on academic probation will not be placed on academic suspension at the conclusion of the semester if they have not achieved good standing.
  • Transcripts will contain the following notation for Spring 2020 “The COVID-19 pandemic required significant academic changes. Unusual enrollment patterns and grading may reflect the disruption of the time, not necessarily the student’s work.”

While academic standing within the University will not be negatively affected by grades earned in Spring 2020, accredited and/or clinical programs may have specific requirements that must be met in order for a student to continue to progress in a particular program. Each program can provide specific information to students enrolled in that program. If you are not sure if you are in one of these programs, check with a faculty member or advisor.

Some of you may be having difficulty with the transition to online learning. Undergraduates and graduate students can use the Pioneer Center as a resource for academic coaching. Professional staff are offering coaching specifically on the move to a digital format, along with many other valuable topics. To sign up for a coaching appointment, visit twu.edu/academiccoaching/.

Please know that as an institution, we are committed to your academic success and doing everything we can to provide a continuation of services so you can maintain academic progress. We will get through this together!

With Pioneer Pride,

CAROLYN A. KAPINUS, Ph.D.
Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost
Professor of Sociology
Texas Woman's University

Congratulations, Ideas, and Support for Online Instruction (March 27, 4:00 p.m.)

Faculty colleagues, 

Congratulations on completing our first week of online instruction!  For many of you, it has been a week of new experiences, new ways of communicating, and new relationships with your students.  I have so appreciated your focus on our common goal of students’ successfully completing their courses in the midst of a very real example of the VUCA world you have heard about so often—volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity.  Despite the current circumstances, you are providing the stability our students need to focus on their education; and I applaud you for that!  

I wanted to share a few ideas that might be valuable to you as we all venture into the virtual world of instruction.  

  • First, please plan to overcommunicate with your students as they, like you, may be experiencing   new ways of learning.  Communication can help your students adjust to their new learning environment.  And, just as you do in a face-to-face setting, don’t be afraid to “sprinkle your personality” across your course. 
  • Second, remember that your students may be as anxious about their course as you possibly are.  Although we often think of our students as “tech savvy,” that characteristic may have not yet been applied in an educational setting.  Look out for areas where everyone in the class may need tutorials on items such as how to communicate with you, how to respond to a discussion board, how to submit assignments, etc.
  • Third, consider the pace of your course.  For both you and your students, this may be a learning experience.  If you or students think things are moving too fast or too slow, allow yourself to make adjustments—and communicate those to students.                                                                                        

I would also like to remind you of some resources that may help you:

  • Dr. Heidi Collins in Teaching and Learning with Technology (TLT) prepared a communication tip sheet that you might want to share with your students.  In some classes, professors communicate via TWU email while others communicate via Canvas.  This sheet will assist students with navigating the two.
  • Be on alert for a “just in time” webinar on assessment that TLT will announce next week.  Quite a few of you have expressed interest in this topic, and TLT is preparing the webinar to provide you a variety of principles and ideas for effective assessment in a virtual learning environment.
  • TLT has received many requests for Canvas shells for summer and fall courses.  These will be automatically generated and available when registration for summer and fall opens on Tuesday.
  • TLT instructional design partners remain available to assist with spring, summer, and fall courses.  You may sign up on their website. 
  • The Center for Faculty Excellence (CFE) staff are available to answer questions about Panopto, TWU’s lecture capture technology, via phone, email, or Skype.  Contact Ivan Lee (ILee@twu.edu; 940/898-3994) or Jorg Waltje (jwaltje@twu.edu; 940/898-3426). CFE also has a Panopto guide in the TWU Knowledge Base . While there, you can access two videos:  Getting Started with Panopto Part 1  and  Getting Started with Panopto Part 2  to guide you through the basic Panopto recording set up.  The CFE's *Toolbox* with tips, hints, and links that may prove helpful as you conduct your classes in a virtual environment.

Finally, I want to close with a request, a shout-out, and an uplifting article I read this week.

REQUEST:  If you are a faculty member experienced in online education and would be willing to visit with faculty less experienced in this environment about their course ideas and needs, please let Rhonda Reed (rreed3@twu.edu) know.  She will develop a list for Dr. Murphy to use in matching faculty who would like to brainstorm and consider ideas about their courses with an experienced faculty member.  You will be our TWU Team Online!

SHOUT-OUT:  My shout-out is to our dual-credit instructors who are teaching both their high school classes and their TWU classes in a virtual setting—quite an accomplishment! 

ARTICLE:  The uplifting article,  “How to Recover Your Joy in Teaching After an Online Pivot” by Flower Darby was published in the Chronicle of Higher Education.  I hope you will read this piece for an elevating look forward!

Wishing you a safe, healthy, and restful weekend,

Jennifer 

Jennifer Martin, Ph.D.
Executive Vice Provost
Professor of Family Sciences
Texas Woman's University
P.O. Box 425617
Denton, TX  76204
Phone:  940/898-3500
Email:  jmartin@twu.edu

Ongoing communication in the TWU community (March 25, 2020, 7:15 a.m.)

Dear Colleagues, 

There is an ongoing web of communications that is connecting the TWU community.  As faculty and staff directly serving our students, you are on the front line of daily communication.  We hope that you will continue to share your experiences within your academic component, across programs, within your college, and to others that might benefit from and be encouraged by your situation.  Also, we need to hear from you regarding questions and concerns that arise.  Your academic component administrators, deans, and/oe supervisors are a great way to provide such feedback. 

The Faculty Senate has suggested that I share with you information about how the administrative work of the university is occurring while we are no longer on campus.  The university administration remains engaged with one another on a daily basis.  Every morning at 9 am, I meet with the Chancellor, members of the Chancellor’s Cabinet, and Risk Management to discuss campus operations and concerns.  Throughout the day I have a variety of meetings via Google Meet, Zoom, and phone with various university leaders. There are also ongoing, recurring meetings of the Emergency Management Planning Committee, within each College and academic component or program, as well as within our academic support organizations reporting to various Deans and Vice Provosts.  Academic Affairs is well represented on the Emergency Management Planning Committee by Dr. Jennifer Martin, Mr. Ron Hovis, Dr. Annie Phillips, Dr. Nila Ricks, Dr. Shelley Hawkins, and Dr. Peggy Gleeson.  

Based on feedback from across the institution, I know that many of you have questions such as:

When will campus re-open?

How will we handle summer?

What will we do about clinicals for our students? 

As you know, the situation beyond TWU continues to change daily.  The TWU leadership team has discussed these issues, but we don’t have definitive answers yet.  We continue to consider the best interests of the TWU community alongside the guidance from government officials ranging from the communities where we work and live to the federal government.  We also give attention to guidance from the health community, including the CDC. When we know more, the information and plans will be shared as quickly as possible. 

Please continue to share your questions and concerns within your organization.  This input is most helpful to us as we attempt to determine the best path forward for the TWU community. 

While there is some uncertainty, what is crystal clear to me is how the TWU community rises to the occasion in times of crisis.  I am so proud of your collective efforts to move courses online and work remotely to keep the university going while we stay at home.  Many of you are doing this while you are home schooling your children, caring for family and neighbors, and juggling a variety of new roles.  Many of our students are in similar circumstances, and internet connections may be unstable or spotty.  Please be flexible and make adjustments to deadlines and assignments when appropriate.  Now more than ever, we need to give each other (and ourselves) some grace. 

I’d also like to share some good news: 

  • Dr. Fuqin Liu (Nursing) is working with the DFW American Epidemic Relief group.  They have raised almost $100,000 for medical safety products for local hospitals. 
  • Drs. Jyutika Mehta and Cynthia Gill (Communications Sciences) and Dr. Tina Fletcher (OT) received autism grants from THECB.  The grants are for $291,847 and $267,477 respectively. 

During crisis people are told to look for the helpers.  TWU is a university full of helpers!  I appreciate how you are caring for students, each other, and the community. 

Keep yourselves well, safe, and sane. We will get through this together! 

Warmest regards, 

Carolyn 

CAROLYN A. KAPINUS, Ph.D.
Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost
Professor of Sociology
Texas Woman's University

Follow up message about May Commencement (March 24, 2:55 p.m.)

Dear students, 

This is a follow-up email to the message that was sent last week about COVID-19 and May commencement.  First, my hearty congratulations to those of you who are nearing the completion of your degree!  Many of you have had to overcome personal challenges and adversity and were very much looking forward to walking across the stage to celebrate the achievement of finishing your degree.  Not having the May in-person ceremony is a disappointment.  We all agree that there is something very special about walking across the stage and celebrating this accomplishment. 

Some of you have written to me and others in university administration to request that we offer the option of an in-person ceremony at a later date.  We have to wait to see how the situation with COVID-19 continues to unfold before we can share definitive plans for an in-person ceremony. However, we are looking at options for August ceremonies in addition to the planned December ceremonies. Please know that we very much want to celebrate this achievement with you in person.  

Some of you have told me you would prefer an in-person ceremony rather than a virtual ceremony.  To clarify, we are moving forward with plans for a virtual ceremony as an addition and not a replacement for an in-person ceremony.  May graduates could participate in the virtual ceremony, and then walk across the stage when we can safely have an in-person ceremony – hopefully in August. 

As we work through the logistics of alternative options, know that the faculty and staff are committed to your success and looking forward to honoring your achievements! 

My warmest regards, 

Carolyn Kapinus 

CAROLYN A. KAPINUS, Ph.D.
Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost
Professor of Sociology
Texas Woman's University

Attn: Student Assistant Supervisors (March 20, 2020 at 12:48 p.m.)

Dear Student Assistant Supervisor,

First of all, I want to acknowledge the difficult task you have in front of you as you determine whether and how to design telecommuting plans for your student assistants. This is not an easy task; we are facing this challenge in my department too.

Here are just a few creative ways we have brainstormed to design telecommuting projects/work for student assistants:
monitoring and responding to the department’s general email account

data entry

research/benchmarking projects

organizing the department’s Google Drive

tasks related to preparing for next semester

reviewing/providing feedback on the department’s website

“rainy day” projects we have been waiting to have time for

social media/blog updates

peer mentoring for students in your department

ask your student assistants what tasks/projects they think need to be done that they can complete from home

This is an opportunity for our student assistants to grow as independent, self-motivated professionals. As is common practice for full-time TWU professionals telecommuters, student assistants must also track and record their work from home. These reports are subject to verification by departments or Human Resources upon request. Students should provide supervisors with daily reports of their activities and tasks.

Second, please remember that our international students can ONLY earn income from on-campus employment. Therefore, I am asking for special consideration from all of you who supervise international student assistants to attempt to find ways for these students to work from home.

I know that it may seem like an insurmountable challenge to think of and assign work student assistants can do independently from home, but we simply need to be creative and think outside of their usual everyday duties. Use this opportunity to attack some of the projects/tasks that typically there is no time for. As we know, many of our student assistants rely heavily on this income and not having it will negatively impact their success.

Be well,

ANNIE PHILLIPS, PhD
Executive Director
International Affairs

How to Access Online TWU Courses (March 19, 2020 at 2:02 p.m.)

TWU Students,

As you may already know, TWU is moving most of its courses to online delivery for the remainder of the semester. For those of you who are new to this methodology, online courses at TWU are delivered through a learning management system called Canvas. Please read on for important information regarding Canvas

How to Log Into Canvas

Canvas can be accessed on the TWU My Courses website.

  1. Go to the My Courses page (https://twu.edu/my-courses/). Please bookmark this page, or you can navigate to it by selecting the My Courses link at the bottom of the TWU website. You can also enter “My Courses” in the search engine on the TWU site.
  2. Once you are on the My Courses page, click the login button for Canvas and enter your Pioneer Portal username and password.

The Guide to Online Learning

To get an idea of how online courses work at TWU, we encourage you to go through the Guide to Online Learning (https://twu.edu/guide-to-online-learning/). Here, you will find helpful information on how to get started, what to expect, how to be successful in your online classes and more! Bookmark this site or find it later on the Canvas login page or in the Information for Students section of the Teaching and Learning with Technology webpage.

Canvas Help Resources

If you are unfamiliar with how to use Canvas, visit the Canvas page of the Guide to Online Learning for assistance.

Free Online Resources during the Coronavirus

The TWU Libraries have put together a guide of free online resources for college and K-12 students as well as information on accessing the Internet and TWU Libraries. The guide is available at https://libguides.twu.edu/c.php?g=1013858.

The Office of Teaching and Learning with Technology

The Office of Teaching and Learning with Technology is here to assist you. If you have any questions about online courses—how they work, who you can go to for help, what services are available to you, etc.—please contact us at twu.edu/TLT, 940.898.3409 or TLT@twu.edu. We are here to help you successfully transition to online learning.

Lynda

LYNDA MURPHY, Ed.D.
Director, Teaching and Learning with Technology

 

Semester adjustments for Spring 2020 (March 19, 2020 at 7:20 a.m.)

Dear TWU colleagues,

Thank you for all that you are doing to help our students move forward in completing the semester in the face of COVID-19. I know that many of you are also dealing with personal challenges such as having your children home from school, worries over a loved one’s health, and other concerns. Life is more complicated all the way around. What are you are doing to care for our students, and each other, is appreciated!

I write to let you know about some of the things we are doing to reduce stress:

  1. We will not be administering course evaluations in Spring 2020. After discussing the evaluations with Institutional Research and Improvement as well as other academic leaders, we agree that evaluations this semester would not be an effective assessment of teaching.
  2. We will not be doing core assessment this semester.
  3. ORSP is postponing reports until Summer.
  4. Because we recognize that the pivot to online classes and the personal disruption that many people are experiencing will affect research productivity, faculty scheduled for a tenure and promotion decision in academic year 2020-2021 may request an extension until 2021-2022. According to the URP on promotion and tenure, a tenure-track faculty member who believes that personal circumstances merit a longer tenure-track probationary period may make a written request to her or his AC administrator specifying the reasons and including supporting documentation. Requests should be made at the time that circumstances warrant but not later than the end of the spring semester before the faculty member’s sixth year of full-time probationary service. Faculty who are further away from the tenure decision and who feel that events related to COVID-19 have set them back may request an extension of the tenure clock at the appropriate time.
  5. Those of you who had presentations accepted and scheduled at cancelled conferences may list them on your CV, and they will count in performance reviews, including tenure and promotion.
  6. We will not charge a rollover fee for students who did not meet the graduation deadline in Spring 2020. This is particularly relevant for graduate students. In addition, the rollover date has been extended to May 9.
  7. We will extend the thesis and dissertation deadline by two weeks to April 24.
  8. Proposals for Faculty Development Grants, originally due on April 17, are now due on April 24 to the Office of the Executive Vice Provost.
  9. Proposals for Uhlir Endowed Fellowships in Higher Education Administration, originally due on March 20, are now due on April 3 to the Office of the Executive Vice Provost.

Please do what you can to care for yourself and your loved ones at this time. The semester certainly doesn’t look like what any of us had envisioned. Nevertheless, we are resilient and we will make it through this by working together and caring for each other. I am so proud of the work you are doing!

My warmest regards,

Carolyn

CAROLYN A. KAPINUS, Ph.D.
Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost

Update about May Commencement (March 18, 2020 at 12:15 p.m.)

Dear TWU community,

In light of the CDC recommendations regarding COVID-19, we made the difficult decision not to have May commencement as we originally planned. This is disappointing for all of us, especially for our graduates and their loved ones. We certainly want to celebrate our graduates and their accomplishments! Thus, we are considering having a virtual ceremony and/or an August Commencement for our spring and summer graduates. We hope to make that decision during the next few weeks.

You may be wondering about the graduation fee. The $40 graduation fee is not associated with the commencement ceremony. It is a fee that everyone pays, whether they attend commencement or not; and it is associated with the personnel and processing costs of conferring the degree, including the costs associated with the professional printing of the diplomas and shipping in special protective containers. Since the graduation fee is not related to the commencement ceremony, it is not refundable.

Regalia that was purchased at the book store can be refunded. If you ordered your cap and gown online, we are getting the link to use for refunds and that will be made available to you shortly. Unfortunately, if you ordered invitations, those cannot be refunded.

We realize many of you have questions that may not be answered in this email. TWU has created a Coronavirus website specifically focused on providing additional information to the university community: twu.edu/coronavirus. Be sure to check out the Frequently Asked Questions section regularly for updates.

The faculty and staff of TWU are committed to our students and their success. Faculty are working hard to move their courses online so that students can finish the semester, students can graduate, and we can keep everyone safe.

The TWU community is strong. We work together. We will make it through these challenges. We want to honor our graduates and we will find an alternative solution to celebrate their academic achievement!

Warm regards,

Carolyn Kapinus

CAROLYN A. KAPINUS, Ph.D.
Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost
Professor of Sociology
Texas Woman’s University

Preparing for online delivery of courses - Faculty (March 17, 2020 at 7:47 p.m.)

Dear faculty,

Many of you may have heard from students who received a message from the Chancellor that spring break has been extended. Please understand that we are all working in challenging conditions and I acknowledge the timing of this communication before informing faculty and staff may have been confusing.

Consistent with the Chancellor’s message, I am writing to enlist your aid. For the remainder of this semester, Academic Affairs will be focused on accomplishing two things at the same time:

  1. Complying with CDC guidelines regarding actions which will help limit the spread of the coronavirus, AND
  2. Providing opportunities for students to successfully complete the educational experiences that are underway this semester in support of their personal and professional goals

As we attempt to meet both goals at the same time, we will need to make changes in many of our traditional methods of instruction and academic operation. In order to limit the coronavirus risk to our campus, and support the students in meeting their educational and learning outcomes, we are extending spring break for students to give faculty time to prepare an alternative delivery format for courses-- in most cases means moving online. Campus will be open next week and staff and faculty are expected to be available and working to support this move.

This means the following:

  • All classes will resume on Monday, March 23. The end date of the spring semester remains the same.
  • Online courses should extend due dates for assignments due next week by at least one week. Students in online courses can continue to access the material, and work ahead, but the due dates will be adjusted to be consistent with how we are handling face-to-face classes.
  • As with any broad guidelines, there will be some exceptions for specific types of circumstances. For example, clinical, practicum, internships, and student teaching will continue for now. Deans and academic component administrators can provide specific information to faculty teaching these classes.
  • To the maximum extent possible, courses will be migrated to an online delivery format, effective March 23, with the goal of completing the semester according to the current academic calendar. (https://twu.edu/media/documents/registrar/Calendar-at-a-Glance-2019-2020.pdf). The last day of scheduled classes is May 1 with final exams during the following week.
  • Your efforts to transition should assume that we will be using online delivery to the maximum extent possible for at least the next month (April 20). If it makes sense for your courses, you may plan to finish the semester in that mode.
  • TLT has training and resources to help with the transition, and instructional designers will be available to help.
    Think about how you might adjust the expected course outcomes to focus on the most significant. In the end, we want to do the best we can for our students and not delay their graduation if at all possible given the less than ideal circumstances.
  • Admittedly, for studio and lab courses the move online might be difficult. Consider which of the experiences can be moved online and which might be delivered when face-to-face classes can be resumed.
  • Consider flexibility in your syllabus: how you handle office hours, readings and assignments.

More information will be forthcoming about specific plans for next week. All faculty and staff are expected to be engaged in the transition. The situation is complex and we are working through different scenarios and questions about campus operations. You will also receive more information from ITS, TLT and CFE about remote options. Importantly, we need to test the systems and bandwidth next week so we are ready to be fully online.

I am reminded that TWU faculty have adjusted on short notice to external events in the past. In recent years, there have been ice storms and flooding which disrupted ongoing operations for days or even weeks and people have risen to the occasion. I am asking for your assistance in this situation. Our students need your best thinking, your flexibility, your adaptability, and your compassion if we are to address both health concerns and successfully complete the semester. Thank you for all that you do for our students.

Stay safe and healthy!

Warm regards,

Carolyn Kapinus

Page last updated 8:44 AM, August 20, 2021