Faculty Senate 1/6/2022 Meeting Update

Dear NMSU Faculty,

Welcome Back! Lots of news the past few days; there is a lot to process, and a lot of work to do with the semester ahead. It has taken and will continue to take all of us to – first, stay safe, and second, provide safety, support, and high-quality education for our students.

This is a report of the Faculty Senate meeting last Thursday and some discussion about questions from Senators regarding COVID-19.

Faculty Senate Meeting: January 6, 2022


Standing Committee Reports

Committee Chairs and Committees are working hard to bring representation to university conversations. Note that Committee reports are archived on the Past Meeting Documents page.

Unfinished Business

  • Proposition 06-21/22: Family Friendly Employer – Aligning NMSU and Las Cruces Public Schools Spring Breaks (D. Bailey (A&S), E. Lehnhoff (ACES)) was approved.

Spring Semester Conversation

We left some time for Faculty Senators to share questions, concerns, and answers. Key questions were 1) can we ask students to get tested, 2) is there discussion about going remote, and 3) will we be provided with KN95 or KF94 masks.

The NMSU NOW Report came out soon after our meeting and has much of the information regarding the questions that came up.

These are my own personal additional thoughts:

  • Related to asking students to get tested – everyone needs to be following the guidelines. My own interpretation of these guidelines related to this is that students should not be singled out and asked to get tested. What I personally would do if I were teaching F2F:
    • As part of my syllabus and informational resources, I would provide the specific information about the guidelines and the resources to support keeping everyone safe, and
    • be prepared to pivot with flexible teaching strategies – see below. I have asked the Teaching Academy to consider providing this concept as a specific workshop.
  • I personally do not want to continue using the concept of “remote” teaching and learning, this indicates a lesser quality learning experience. We have spent almost two years with instructional design support and that support is still there to help us provide a flexible teaching and learning experience, which if done well, can be considered an equivalent learning experience. If we need to pivot by individual class or, as a whole, we have the resources to keep quality teaching and learning intact.
  • Per your questions, I asked about providing the KN95 or KF94 masks and they are already discussing this.

Teaching in a Pandemic: Strategies for Flexible Teaching  

This includes a basic canvas course setup to include:

  1. Homepage information including communication priorities i.e. how will everyone be informed if a change needs to occur – email, text messages, Announcements…
  2. Syllabus 
  3. Schedule and key assignment instructions – consider 1-2 months in advance until we are in the clear.
  4. Zoom setup for the backup to scheduling for LOCATION. The NMSU schedule has a day, time, and location for F2F classes. For safety and flexibility, students can be notified per number 1, if the location needs to switch.

Of note, the messages we received last week from Acting Provost Scott and Vice Chancellor Johnston focused on safety and flexibility. This was what I/we needed to hear. Let’s support each other to do everything possible to stay safe and provide the best teaching and learning experiences possible.

Julia and Jamie

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