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Weekly Update: Celebrating Our Efforts

Dear WVU Faculty and Instructors:

Spring season has traditionally been the time of year when we celebrate faculty and staff achievements. While we continue to deal with the disruption and uncertainty caused by COVID-19 virus, there is no better time for us to recognize and honor our outstanding faculty who have demonstrated excellence in teaching, scholarship and service. Over the next few weeks, we will be announcing a variety of honors and awards and will continue to roll out academic affairs updates and announcements.

Outstanding Teaching

Today, we begin the awards roll-out with the announcement of the 2020 WVU Foundation Award for Outstanding Teaching, the highest University award for excellence in instruction.

Congratulations to:

  • Vincent Paul Cardi, the Bowles Rice Professor of Law in the College of Law
  • Dawn Hunter , associate professor in the School of Medicine’s Department of Pathology, Anatomy and Laboratory Medicine
  • Scott A. Myers , the Peggy Rardin McConnell Endowed Teaching Chair of the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Communication Studies

We honor these three faculty members for their dedication to student learning, creativity in the classroom and curricular innovation. Professor Cardi is known for his learning-by-doing approach to teaching and his clarity, enthusiasm and humor in preparing students for law practice. Dr. Hunter has an exceptional history of teaching innovations, student contact hours and contributions to the educational mission of the WVU Health Sciences Center. And finally, Professor Myers has a long-standing portfolio of major contributions to undergraduate and graduate curriculum and scholarship.

Recipients of the Outstanding Teaching Award must be nominated by the college leadership to be eligible and have an established pattern of distinguished teaching and/or innovative approaches to student learning. The review committee this year included former award recipients, as well as a graduate student, who reviewed the nominations independently and then met virtually to evaluate the nominees as a group.

WVU is fortunate to have such high-caliber faculty inspiring our students and future generations. These honorees, along with all 2020 faculty and staff award recipients will be recognized during an awards dinner at Blaney House, which has been postponed until fall. These and other award recipients can be found on the website.

Spring Semester Student Evaluation of Instruction Guidelines

We recognize the extraordinary circumstances that you are dealing with as faculty members, parents and community members. And we have heard your concerns about the impact of these unexpected changes on your spring semester electronic Student Evaluation of Instruction.

As student evaluations remain a vital platform for students to voice their opinions about their classroom experience, we will continue to require that students complete the standard eSEIs for their courses for May 2020 semester. Those results will be loaded into Digital Measures as usual.

However, faculty members will be permitted to remove their Spring 2020 eSEI reports from their faculty files. Likewise, faculty members can choose to include those numbers as part of their teaching portfolio for the semester. As Provost, I am waiving all college- and/or unit-level requirements to include Spring 2020 SEIs in annual productivity reports.

In the coming weeks, we will provide specific details on how to request removal of SEI results from Digital Measures. The request option will be available through June 30, 2020.

Faculty should be aware that if they choose to remove SEIs for a course, they still must provide evidence that documents their excellence in teaching for Spring 2020. Rather than relying on a standard one-dimensional metric of performance, begin thinking about how to document the creative, adaptive and innovative approaches you employed to provide students with a quality learning experience in this unprecedented situation.

Final Exams

As we head toward the end of the term, please make sure to visit the Registrar’s website to view the revised Spring 2020 final exam schedule for WVU-Morgantown undergraduate courses. Final exams will now run Friday, May 1, through Sunday, May 10, and include exams on Saturdays. Sundays are reserved for make-up exams only.

In addition to the searchable exam schedule, the webpage houses several important details, including “lockdown” time slots during which eCampus will be closed to all other course activity. Exams scheduled during those time slots also are likely to have more students with scheduling conflicts. Please work with those students to establish a make-up exam time that works for them.

And don’t forget – ITS is creating an exam template that will be pre-loaded into every course section on eCampus this weekend. Instructions on using the template are available in eCampus.

Summer School

As you know, President Gee recently announced that all instruction this summer will be delivered remotely. And thanks to the creativity and cooperation of our faculty and instructors, we have been able to move to online almost every course delivered during all parts of the Summer session. While everyone who worked on this effort deserves credit, I would like to recognize in particular those academic units who were challenged to transition their STEM courses, including those with labs, to an online format.

These include:

  • Math, who served over 900 students last summer
  • Chemistry, who served nearly 800 students last summer
  • Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, who served more than 440 students last summer
  • Physics, who served over 300 students last summer

While this certainly doesn’t capture everyone’s efforts, I am extremely proud of these groups for the “heavy lift” they have made to deliver a wide range of summer courses to benefit so many students.

Looking Ahead

And even though summer hasn’t even started, my team is already thinking about next fall – and what that semester might look like. We will begin to work with campus leadership to develop a variety of scenarios for delivering classroom instruction should the Coronavirus social distancing parameters still be in place. Those decisions will be made in the context of evolving government policies and public health imperatives. Be assured that faculty and staff will ultimately be involved in those discussions.

While we don’t know exactly what lies ahead, we do know that our faculty, staff and students will rise to the challenge. If I have learned anything from this experience, it is that, collectively, we have the power to adapt and pivot to a variety of situations and the ability to solve any problem, no matter how big it may seem.

Good luck with the remaining weeks of the semester.

Reed signature
Maryanne Reed
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs