Whether a student is learning in person or online, we know that a great teacher makes all the difference. In these challenging times, we recognize that the work of our faculty members has never been more essential – and we are here to support them in their efforts to help our students succeed. The following information includes guidance and resources for faculty in the coming semester.
It is recommended that faculty develop a syllabus statement outlining expectations for course participation. In classrooms that will involve some face-to-face interaction, the syllabus should address health and safety expectations. The following is an example.
Where appropriate, instructors should make it clear that during official institutional activities taking place off-campus, such as clinical experiences, students might be required to follow additional public health guidelines.
In offering a mix of fully online, face-to-face, hybrid and staggered-attendance courses, we remain committed this fall to the health and safety of our community and to preserving our academic mission. Faculty members who might have concerns with face-to-face teaching should collaborate with their department chairs to find amenable solutions. As much as possible, classroom activities that require mandatory attendance should include multiple modes to accommodate students who might not attend or those who would rather remain virtual.
Our Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning (CITL) stands ready to assist faculty in creating resilient, flexible courses that will be successful in any mode of delivery – face to face, online or hybrid. We’re calling this effort “flexible teaching,” and it relies on the same learner-centered principles that our faculty have long used in their course designs, albeit adapted for a digital environment.
Our new Flexible Teaching website includes:
CITL will continue to provide a Help Hotline (815-797-2477), opportunities to connect with knowledgeable experts, sign-ups for online teaching workshops and more.
We encourage faculty members to be accommodating in their classroom attendance policies.
If an instructor cannot be present in a physical classroom due to illness, the instructor should notify the department chair, in addition to following other university protocols.
We will make academic support services such as advising, tutoring and career services available through a variety of delivery methods. In many cases, services will be virtual, but physical offices will be open on campus. There will be some optional face-to-face interactions offered with careful consideration of health and safety guidelines. Many of our academic support services will have extended hours.
Both the pandemic and social issues this year took an emotional toll on everyone, and we understand that the future is unpredictable. With that in mind, we will practice patience with our faculty, staff and students, and ask that faculty do the same as we continue to work through decisions for the fall. We are all working together to create a caring and safe place to learn, in an environment that prioritizes individual well-being.
More detailed information and guidance will be provided to faculty and staff closer to the start of the school year. We also ask that you continue to monitor communications, as well as our Coronavirus FAQ.