An Academic and Research Working Group – led by leadership in UWG’s Academic Affairs division, in coordination and consultation with academic deans and departments – has reviewed UWG’s current academic operations in its fully online environment and examined issues, needs, and concerns related to UWG returning to on-campus instruction for the Fall 2020 term. Based on this review and feedback from academic units, UWG will execute the following plans to support the return of student on-campus instruction for the Fall 2020 term.

For the Academic and Research response plan, the term “faculty” will be used to represent any individual responsible for instruction for a course regardless of tenure or rank.

Academic Instruction

Instructor Expectations

All faculty will be expected to follow protocols and procedures identified in the Return to Work Plan’s three phases, including completing mandatory training, adhering to hygiene, workplace, meeting, and travel guidelines, completing daily self-health reporting (see the “Employee Self-Health Reporting” section under “UWG Campus Opening Plan”), and using any required PPE equipment based on role and interaction with other individuals.

Faculty will be expected to carry out their course duties as assigned. Courses will be taught in the delivery mode as defined in the Fall 2020 course bulletin. Any faculty member who meets the qualifications of a high-risk individual may work with their department chair to determine if course delivery modes may be modified.

Instructor Expectations
Scenario #2 – Start Fully OnlineScenario #3 – Transition to Fully Online
  • Deans and Department Chairs are working with faculty now to ensure each course is prepared to make the change to online instruction should it be needed. Faculty will be supported by the Center for Teaching and Learning to ensure effective, positive learning experiences for students.
  • Instructors will continue to fulfill their teaching responsibilities utilizing online tools and methods.
  • Deans and Department Chairs are working with faculty now to ensure each course is prepared to make the change to online instruction should it be needed. Faculty will be supported by the Center for Teaching and Learning to ensure effective, positive learning experiences for students.
  • Instructors will continue to fulfill their teaching responsibilities utilizing online tools and methods.

Classroom Expectations

UWG’s implementation of on-site classroom instruction will follow guidelines from governing and guiding agencies. Based on this feedback, UWG will assess each instructional space for maximum occupancy based on current social distancing guidelines. A review of all currently planned in-class and hybrid delivery courses will be used to determine what changes in classroom location or class delivery methods are needed.

Academic deans, in coordination with the Office of the Provost, will identify which courses might be converted to hybrid delivery and evaluate the impact on room scheduling. Faculty who may have their course converted to hybrid will be notified as soon as possible.

All classrooms will be evaluated for access to instructional technology that would support hybrid or remote learning. Based on need and whenever possible, technology will be added to classroom space, or as an alternative, non-technology classes will be moved into spaces that do not have hybrid or remote classroom technology available in order to promote social distancing.

Classes with a lab or clinical component that makes shifting the delivery model difficult will be identified. Every effort will be made to keep these experiences intact, but if not possible, the individual programs will work with licensure boards and accrediting agencies to develop acceptable alternatives, such as additional time in simulation.

Faculty will be expected to continue to offer appropriate office hours – both in-person (if social distancing can be maintained) and virtually – for student access. In office environments that do not support appropriate social distancing guidelines, alternative methods may be utilized to execute this service. Departments will  use the Workplace and Health Safety Mitigation Strategies listed earlier in this plan to guide any alternative methods for faculty office hours.

Classroom Expectations
Scenario #2 – Start Fully OnlineScenario #3 – Transition to Fully Online
  • Deans and Department Chairs are working with faculty now to ensure each course is prepared to make the change to online instruction should it be needed. Faculty will be supported by the Center for Teaching and Learning to ensure effective, positive learning experiences for students.
  • UWG Online courses already have methods for addressing access and flexibility for student/faculty interactions. UWG will utilize peer mentoring and support from Deans, Department Chairs, and the Center for Teaching and Learning to extend this model to current in-class/hybrid courses.
  • Deans and Department Chairs will examine whether there are alternative sites/experiences that fulfill the requirements associated with programs that require significant clinical, lab, or practicum experiences and will work with licensure boards and accrediting agencies to develop acceptable alternatives, such as additional time in simulation. Additionally, UWG will develop plans to accommodate students who are required to continue to participate in clinical/simulation and alternative clinical rotations.
  • Faculty and staff have already planned for and completed a transition online mid-semester. This plan will be communicated in the course syllabus along with all student accommodations that will be afforded to students. Deans and department chairs  are working with faculty now to ensure they are prepared to make this change should it be needed. Faculty will hold virtual  office hours with students.
  • UWG Online courses already have methods for addressing access and flexibility for student/faculty interactions. UWG will utilize peer mentoring and support from Deans, Department Chairs, and the Center for Teaching and Learning to extend this model to current in-class/hybrid courses.
  • Deans and Department Chairs will examine whether there are alternative sites/experiences that fulfill the requirements and will work with licensure boards and accrediting agencies to develop acceptable alternatives, such as additional time in simulation. Should transition in the middle of the semester arise, UWG will develop plans to accommodate students who are required to continue to participate in clinical/simulation and alternative clinical rotations.

Momentum Year/Momentum Approach

UWG has proactively implemented many initiatives associated with Momentum Year and Momentum Approach. These initiatives are being delivered in a manner that will not be significantly impacted by implementing social distancing practices. At this time, there are no specific initiatives that need to be adjusted  or alternate arrangements or additional technology that would need to be implemented. For specific details related to advising and instructional support, please see Academic Advising and Instructional Support in the Enrollment Management working group area.

Momentum Year/Momentum Approach
Scenario #2 – Start Fully OnlineScenario #3 – Transition to Fully Online

First- and Second-Year Academic Programs (First-Year Seminar and Learning Communities) will follow academic instructional support guidelines. First-Year Seminars will have online components / modules designed in CourseDen that will allow students to engage in Academic Mindset and Career Exploration as well as learn about other academic support services.

First- and Second Year-Academic Programs (First-Year Seminar and Learning Communities) will follow academic instructional support guidelines. First-Year Seminars will have online components / modules designed in CourseDen that will allow students to engage in Academic Mindset and Career Exploration as well as learn about other academic support services.

Co-Curricular Expectations

UWG will continue to implement planned co-curricular activities for courses that include this component. Examples of this include bands, choral groups, theatrical performances, etc. All co-curricular student expectations will follow guidelines from governing and guiding agencies.

Co-Curricular Expectations
Scenario #2 – Start Fully OnlineScenario #3 – Transition to Fully Online
  • Co-curricular activities that can be transitioned to virtual or online methods will do so.
  • For activities that cannot be transitioned to virtual or online methods, students will be given alternative learning opportunities.
  • Co-curricular activities that can be transitioned to virtual or online methods will do so.
  • For activities that cannot be transitioned to virtual or online methods, students will be given alternative learning opportunities.

Academic Personnel

Faculty Development

UWG has developed a mature online instructional delivery environment over the past two decades. UWG has implemented the Center for Teaching and Learning to support faculty in delivering academic instruction through online methods.

UWG will continue to utilize the resources developed through the Center for Teaching and Learning to assist faculty with skills and tools to support delivering instruction in a hybrid/online environment. At this time, UWG does not anticipate the need for faculty development opportunities outside of what the institution is able to provide.

The Center for Teaching and Learning will continue to connect faculty new to online teaching to peer mentors. The Center for Teaching and Learning will be holding three forms of development activities across the summer:

  • Two-three workshops per week, focusing primarily on best practices in the LMS;
  • Three four-week “crash course” cohorts, with staggered start dates, each built around best practices for online instruction; and
  • An online version of our annual teaching and learning conference, which will largely include sessions on good/better/best methods and practices for online and remote instruction, along with diversity, inclusion, and high- impact practices.

Additionally, in preparation for the Fall 2020 term, UWG will provide faculty development modules to aid in the following areas:

  • Maintaining the integrity of exams
  • Providing best practices for teaching online
  • Maximizing CourseDen (Brightspace/D2L) features
  • Integrating multimedia into online teaching
  • Applying lessons learned from Spring 2020’s move to online courses.

Departments will be encouraged to create a depository of their online resources (e.g., lectures and activities, assuming no copyright claims) to share with colleagues in their department.

UWG’s rapid response to the COVID-19 event precipitated the need to rapidly support faculty who were transitioning to online learning for the first time. Due to UWG’s already expansive online offerings, the Provost's Office and the Center for Teaching and Learning reached out to all faculty, asking for experienced online faculty to volunteer as mentors in key areas, along with asking faculty  with little to no online teaching experience to identify areas of need. Both sets of faculty were invited to respond via a Qualtrics survey. We had a 5:1 ratio of peer mentors to mentees. Given the abundance of volunteers, the Center for Teaching and Learning then lined up specialties with needs, connecting two mentors to each mentee.

UWG Resources for External Entities

UWG would welcome faculty from other USG institutions to participate in professional development opportunities if capacity is available. UWG currently has a limited capacity for non-UWG faculty to participate in synchronous workshops remotely (in Collaborate Ultra). The Center for Teaching and Learning would not be able to offer individual support to participating non-UWG faculty beyond the workshops because our team is at or near capacity for assistance currently and because each campus has a different instance of D2L with variations in tools and platform setup.

While UWG has a wealth of mentors to assist its faculty with moving to online learning, the decision for mentoring non-UWG faculty would be up to each peer mentor, depending on individual commitments and capacities. UWG administration will need to assess if there is capacity to support mentoring faculty at other USG institutions.

UWG Resources for External Entities
Scenario #2 – Start Fully OnlineScenario #3 – Transition to Fully Online
  • Deans and Department Chairs are working with faculty now to ensure each course is prepared to make the change to online instruction should it be needed. Faculty will be supported by the Center for Teaching and Learning to ensure effective, positive learning experiences for students.
  • UWG will implement the following initiatives to ensure the development and ability to quickly move to online instruction:
    • Continue and expand peer mentor facilitation and review of online instruction
    • Collaborate with instructors,
    • Department Chairs, and Deans to encourage faculty engagement.
    • Apply instructor intervention steps to engage students who are not active in coursework
    • Continue to utilize Student Evaluation Instruments (SEI) to improve learning.
  • Deans and Department Chairs are working with faculty now to ensure each course is prepared to make the change to online instruction should it be needed. Faculty will be supported by the Center for Teaching and Learning to ensure effective, positive learning experiences for students.
  • UWG will implement the following initiatives to ensure the development and ability to quickly move to online instruction:
    • Continue and expand peer mentor facilitation and review of online instruction
    • Collaborate with instructors,
    • Department Chairs, and Deans to encourage faculty engagement.
    • Apply instructor intervention steps to engage students who are not active in coursework
    • Continue to utilize Student Evaluation Instruments (SEI) to improve learning.

International/Domestic Travel

UWG will follow all guidelines implemented by the USG associated with travel, both domestic and international. As part of UWG’s Return to Work Plan, all non- essential travel is currently not authorized. In the event travel is required by a faculty member, the faculty member will require approval for the travel through submitting the Essential Travel Request Form documented in UWG’s Return to Work Plan.

International/Domestic Travel
Scenario #2 – Start Fully OnlineScenario #3 – Transition to Fully Online

No changes to our primary plan.

No changes to our primary plan.

Academic Research

Research Expectations

Faculty engaged in on-campus research will follow the UWG Return to Work Plan and Workplace and Health Safety Mitigation Strategies in order to implement appropriate health and safety measures. For faculty members who are dependent upon their research as part of the tenure process, the institution has developed a process to pause the tenure clock to aid these faculty members. The institution will continue to provide professional development opportunities over the course of the year, such as preparing research grant applications, identifying funding opportunities, and more. These opportunities will be provided remotely, thus allowing for appropriate social distancing. The Office of Research and Sponsored Projects is well-positioned to fully function remotely to support faculty in their research grant endeavors.

Faculty and students engage in a variety of research. Both faculty and student researchers will follow the protocols established by the individual disciplines, the institution, and governing and guiding organizations.

Currently, the research that faculty and students do in schools and medical facilities is survey- and interview-based. Those who planned to conduct in-person interviews will submit modifications to the Institutional Review Board to interview remotely instead. Those who had planned to observe lessons in classrooms will modify their work so that they will be examining lesson plans instead. All students and faculty who plan on doing face-to-face data collection are being advised to develop a contingency plan to collect remote data based on their district and state guidelines.

Field research will be conducted according to the guidelines for essential travel and other protocols developed by the individual disciplines, the institution, and governing and guiding organizations.

In the case of grant-funded research and projects, we have been able to secure no-cost extensions from funding agencies to allow time for researchers whose work may have slowed or had to be adapted due to COVID-19.

Research Expectations
Scenario #2 – Start Fully OnlineScenario #3 – Transition to Fully Online

No changes to our primary plan.

No changes to our primary plan.

Communication Plan

UWG will implement the following communication plan to support Academics and Research’s return to campus for the fall 2020 term. Greater detail about this communication plan can be seen in the supplemental Communication Plan document submitted with this plan.

Communication Plan
Content TopicAudienceTimeline

Return to Campus Guidelines for Faculty and Staff in Academic Affairs

Academic Affairs administration, faculty, and staff

July 1 at the latest with follow-up communication at designated intervals following

Faculty Offices and Common Areas COVID-19 Protocol

Academic Affairs administration, faculty, and staff

July 1 at the latest with follow-up communication at designated intervals following

Changes in the Fall Scheduled Courses for Social Distancing

Academic Affairs administration, faculty, and staff

July 1 at the latest with follow-up communication at designated intervals following

Changes in the Fall Scheduled Courses for Social Distancing

 

Students

July 1 at the latest with follow-up communication at designated intervals following

COVID-19 Hygiene Protocol for Classroom – Faculty

 

Faculty

July 1 at the latest with follow-up communication at designated intervals following

COVID-19 Hygiene Protocol for Classroom – Students

 

Students

July 1 at the latest with follow-up communication at designated intervals following

COVID-19 Hygiene Protocol for Research Labs

 

Faculty and students

July 1 at the latest with follow-up communication at designated intervals following

 

COVID-19 Hygiene Protocol for Library

 

Students, faculty, and staff

July 1 at the latest with follow-up communication at designated intervals following

Expectations for Clinical Experiences and Internships

 

Faculty and students

July 1 at the latest with follow-up communication at designated intervals following

COVID-19 Hygiene Protocol for Field-Based Research

 

Faculty and students

July 1 at the latest with follow-up communication at designated intervals following