President Jackson speaks with Faculty Senate over virtual teaching
Editor’s note: Grace Caswell is a student of Journalism Department Chair Vicky Sama. Almost the entire staff of The Lumberjack has also had Sama as an instructor in journalism courses.
Tuesday, May 19, President Tom Jackson of Humboldt State University resurfaced from his hiatus to discuss the Fall 2020 semester instruction plan with the Faculty Senate due to COVID-19.
The transcripts of the meeting between Jackson and HSU Faculty Senate were provided in an email by Journalism Department Chair Vicky Sama. The meeting regarding online instruction for the Fall 2020 semester built off of CSU Chancellor’s Timothy White’s recent statement.
“The chancellor’s statement last week, which we were pretty sure was coming, we knew that was the direction he wanted to take, that leads us in this position as a university that we are 100% virtual,” Jackson said in the email transcripts. “That’s done. We are 100% virtual but we also knew we would have an opportunity to ask for an exception.”
The exception will be sent to the Chancellor requesting face-to-face instruction for classes that are unable to make the direct translation to online instruction. About a quarter of HSU’s classes are hands-on courses, Jackson provided examples that would be included in the request.
“One of which was our labs– labs activities-based work– studio, art, ceramics– those elements that can’t easily be converted to a virtual modality but is a really strong core of who we are as a university, could be a reason to make an exception,” Jackson said in transcripts. “Another one, in general, would be the continuation of very specific research or farms or agriculture, forests, oceans, rangelands, other things like that.”
The request is almost finished and asks that HSU be considered for hybrid instruction. HSU Interim Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Lisa Bond-Maupin stated that the request for hybrid instruction would still operate and emphasize online curriculum with little in-person contact.
“We are preparing a request, in response to the Chancellor’s statement, that HSU be allowed to establish a hybrid approach to instruction in the fall,” Bond-Maupin said in an email. “That would include virtual instruction, and very limited face-to-face instruction where it’s safe to do so per county health guidelines. This planning requires extensive work, and no final decisions have been made yet.”
Jackson elaborated on Bond-Maupin’s emphasis of following and abiding by county health guidelines. Fall instruction really depends on the Chancellor’s decision to approve or dismiss HSU’s exception request which is estimated to take a day or two. Then, if permitted by the Chancellor to proceed, a chain of discussion will occur between administration, faculty and department chair members.
“With that decision we will know if we are 100% virtual or if we have been permitted to develop face-to-face curriculum based upon on our request,” Jackson said in the email transcripts. “It then shifts to the faculty and the chairs of those specific sections, which are 593, as far as lab-based activities going into the fall, that’s a rough number, and it may change here or there. And then specifically what items need to be taken care of in terms of a safety protocol in accordance with public health, and that will occur very rapidly over the summer.”
Over this coming summer, HSU will enact development plans for professors and lecturers. Those teaching lecture classes that can operate in tandem with online instruction will continue developing those skills. Those who teach labs or studio classes have a chance of having to develop hybrid teaching methods over the summer.
“If you’re scheduled to teach a lecture class, the answer is already there. We’re in virtual mode,” Jackson said in the email. “But if you’re scheduled to teach a lab or studio art or something like that then I encourage you to give it some thought and chat with your chair because there is a 50-50 chance.”