Dear WVU Faculty and Instructors:
Congratulations! You have wrapped up an extraordinary semester, and I imagine many of you may be feeling fatigued, perhaps even depleted, and are ready for a well-deserved break.
We asked a lot of our Mountaineer community these past two months. I can’t say enough about how proud I am of the way everyone has rallied during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our faculty, staff and students have come together to focus on our educational mission, to serve those in need and to make the most out of this challenging time. You, too, should take pride in what you’ve been able to accomplish, adapting and pivoting to new forms of teaching and engagement within such a short timeframe.
As we close the Spring 2020 chapter and put the finishing touches on our first-ever virtual Mountaineer Graduation Day, I wanted to reach out one more time, as this will be my last regular email update for a while. I will, of course, continue to share information as needed and will likely ramp up communications as we near the beginning of the Fall semester.
Teaching MVP Awards
At the end of April, we asked students across the WVU system to nominate faculty and instructors who demonstrated significant creativity, support and compassion during this unprecedented time. In just 72-hours, more than 900 students nominated teachers from across WVU’s campuses!
My team and the review committee were blown away by the sheer magnitude of nominations and the heart-felt descriptions as to why each nominee was so deserving of special recognition. This week, we proudly announced 26 Teaching MVP Award recipients for Spring 2020:
- Ashok Bidwai - “Student Sanity Superstar”
- Daniel Brewster - ‘“Be Well’ Salutation Aficionado”
- Nancy Caronia - “Queen of Online Instruction”
- Amy Coburn - “COVID-19 Queen”
- Andrew Dacks - “More Than OK Zoomer”
- Danielle Davidov - “Most Compassionate Soul”
- Dan Defeo - “Yoda”
- Emily Dennis - “Pro Zoomer”
- Barbara Douglas - “Angel from Heaven”
- Erin Ellis - “Patient Cello Queen”
- Kimeran Evans - “Care Coordinator”
- Dan Follmer - “Statistics Sensei”
- Christopher Griffin - “eCampus Adapter”
- Jessica Haught - “Most Compassionate”
- Sharon Hayes - “Above and Beyond”
- Wade Huebsch - “Wonder Wade”
- Kevin Knoster - “Most Relatable”
- Lisa Lisauckis - “The Zen Zoomer”
- Macarena Llamas - “Best Spanish Teacher”
- Randy McCombie - “Professor Encourager”
- Bremansu Osa-Andrews - “The Online Learning Hero”
- Joshua Osbourn - “The G.O.A.T”
- Trina Perrone- “Periodic Chem Master”
- Brian Scaife - “True OT - Adapted and Overcame”
- Travis Stimeling - “Music History’s Own Apollo”
- Stephanie Young - “Coolest Prof Ever”
Please visit our website to see the list of award recipients. Learn the stories behind their award titles and read selected quotes from nominators. I hope you will join us in celebrating their extraordinary efforts this semester.
This week, we announced the new director of Humanities Center, Renee Nicholson, who will step into her new role July 1.
Professor Nicholson, an expert in narrative medicine, is a teaching associate professor and coordinator of the Multidisciplinary Studies program in the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences. Since joining the College in August 2013, she has made significant contributions in teaching, service and research and is a known and celebrated writer, educator and mentor. Nicholson will replace Rhonda Reymond, who has served as interim director since August 2019 and who will return to her role as associate director of the Humanities Center.
We are fortunate to have had Dr. Reymond at the helm this past year and appreciate her hard work in sustaining the Center’s awards programs and other events and activities, like the Campus Read. I am confident Professor Nicholson will continue the important, collaborative work to benefit the Center, the University and our communities.
Reminders for Your Calendar
I realize you are being bombarded with emails and updates and that sometimes important information gets lost in the shuffle. Below are a few pertinent reminders specific to our faculty and instructors that I encourage you to keep in mind. Be sure to check the Provost’s Office website, the WVU Faculty website and the WVU Coronavirus website for details, as well.
- Be sure to celebrate the Class of 2020 online for Mountaineer Graduation Day tomorrow, May 16.
- Check out the new ITS Knowledge Base category for eCampus. Beginning on May 18, instructors and students will have a more streamlined and searchable way to find how-to articles, videos, support and other information about the eCampus system.
- On May 13, the COVID-19 Faculty Survey from Ithaka S+R was sent to all instructors of record for Spring 2020. The survey will close on May 25.
- The deadlines to opt-out of the COVID-19 tenure-clock extension are June 30 for faculty on a 12-month contract and August 13 for those on a nine-month contract.
- The option to remove Spring 2020 SEIs from Digital Measures is available through June 30.
- The initial upload to the Libraries’ Research Repository will occur on July 1, 2020. Opt-outs for the initial loading must be received by June 30.
Pivoting to Fall
Even with the relief of wrapping up this semester, I realize many of you are anxious about what lies ahead for the next academic year. Please know that my team and leaders across the WVU system are carefully weighing the myriad of options and scenarios for safely and efficiently delivering instruction and for conducting research on our campuses.
Be assured we are taking into consideration your concerns around the schedule of courses, technological resources and support, course planning and expectations, and, of course, personal safety. Know that we are developing plans for COVID-19 testing, for purchasing and supplying personal protective equipment, and for reducing density and establishing social distancing protocols in our classrooms, labs and other campus spaces.
As soon as we are able to present a detailed plan that addresses each of these issues, we will share it with the entire WVU community. Please be patient as we work through what is still uncharted territory, not just for WVU, but for universities around the country. We realize that you need time to plan and prepare and will get this information to you as soon as possible.
Again, thank you for your hard work and exceptional dedication this semester. As we plan for a return to campus this Fall, those efforts will require new energy and a renewed commitment to keeping our campus moving forward. In the meantime, I hope you can take some time to recharge, refresh and regroup and know that each of you has made a difference in the lives of our students and each other — and to the entire WVU community.