I have been pleased to see our incoming students and their families stroll across campus for the last few weeks as they attend our orientation programs. Their presence reminds me we are quickly approaching the start of the fall semester. We have worked closely with faculty and staff committees as we continue to plan for our students, faculty, and staff to return to campus this fall. I am writing today to provide you another update. Although I apologize for the length and detail of this message, I’m asking you to read it carefully since it contains important information related to our fall operations.
Stop the Tenure Clock
Current tenure-track, pre-tenure faculty members are automatically opted into the Stop the Tenure Clock for up to two years. All incoming tenure track faculty members are automatically opted into the Stop the Tenure Clock for up to one year. This results in a probationary period of up to eight years for current tenure-track faculty members and seven years for incoming tenure-track faculty members. Current tenure-track faculty members may opt-out of Stop the Tenure Clock by submitting their tenure materials on their regular timeline or up to one year later than their original timeline. Incoming tenure-track faculty members may opt-out of the Stop the Tenure Clock by submitting their tenure materials on their original timeline.
Faculty members who choose to opt-out of the one- or two-year Stop the Tenure Clock option will not be subject to the rare and extraordinary provision for tenure and promotion in the Faculty Handbook if they choose to follow their original six-year timeline.
Returning to Work
As we learn more about COVID-19, we continue to evaluate our guidelines regarding resuming on-campus operations for the fall 2020 semester. Our initial plan was to bring all employees back to campus by Aug. 17, but we have revised that plan. The CDC and Restore Illinois plan recommend maximizing physical distance by encouraging remote work, whenever possible. To lower the number of people on campus, employees who are approved to work in remote locations may do so. https://www.bradley.edu/sites/coronavirus/communications/20200716facstf.dot
Supervisor responsibilities: Supervisors should assess their workspaces in advance of their teams returning. If you need assistance making those determinations, the Return to Work team has created a supervisor checklist detailing office, personnel, and other factors to consider.
Returning to Class
As you know, we have invited students back to campus to participate in face-to-face classes this fall. Students are excited about returning to campus because they look forward to engaging with you and their classmates. This means, whenever possible, we must teach our classes in a traditional, face-to-face modality. I also understand, however, that because of social distancing, space limitations, and health issues or potential health issues for students and faculty members, that faculty members will have to plan for online/hybrid teaching. Whenever space allows, faculty members should plan on teaching their classes face-to-face. We understand, however, that many of our classrooms will not simultaneously accommodate all enrolled students under social distancing rules. In those cases, a portion of students may meet in-person one day, while others work remotely; these groups would reverse the next time their class is held. As an alternative, instructors could break-up longer class periods (i.e. classes meeting only once per week) into shorter periods, allowing groups of students to rotate through the class for a portion of the period while receiving the remaining content asynchronously. Members of the Back to Class workgroup developed a step-by-step process for faculty members to consider when developing online/hybrid courses. Regardless of which format instructors choose, the syllabus must clearly specify exactly when individual students will attend class and when they will participate remotely. All instructors must also be prepared to offer individual students who might become quarantined or students who have requested and have been approved for remote instruction, the opportunity to engage the class remotely. All instructors must also be able to pivot to 100% online, as we did in the spring if the need arises.
All faculty members will hold virtual office hours and virtual academic advising to reduce face-to-face contact. In the interest of minimizing the possibilities of COVID exposure, I encourage faculty members to minimize their presence on campus when they are not teaching.
Faculty opt-out teaching requirements: The faculty are an integral part of our plan to resume on-campus instruction. However, faculty members may submit a request to their respective dean if they would like to teach one (1) of their courses online. We recommend making these requests as soon as possible to give the deans appropriate time to assess the request and work with the faculty member, as well as allow for any necessary arrangements.https://www.bradley.edu/sites/coronavirus/communications/20200716facstf.dot
Technology Needs Assessment
Office Technology Needs: Supervisors and department chairs should capture their staff’s technology needs as employees return to work. IT has a stock of cameras and headsets/microphones for distribution to those who need a device. We ask each department to consolidate requests into a single document and send the employee name along with their needs to Mike Behrll. Any technology beyond cameras and headsets must be approved and ordered. Since devices are in high demand, please don’t wait to submit your requests.
Classroom Technology Needs: If you know of teaching and technology needs for fall, such as Zoom Pro accounts, cameras, microphones, and software, send those requests to Barb Kerns. Please identify other needed specialty items like document cameras or Casio keyboards, experiential class materials such as LED light panels and tripods. We will place orders as soon as possible as these devices are also in extremely high demand.
Pre-recording Fall Courses: Several classrooms with recording technology are available to faculty members who would like to pre-record fall class content now. You can learn how to schedule a room and find instructions for using the technology here.
Room Capacity Assessment
All classrooms have been assessed and assigned a COVID-19 capacity number, based on the number of people who can safely occupy a room according to CDC and State of Illinois guidelines. As students continue to enroll in classes over the summer, we will continue to assess the number of students registered per class. Faculty members, chairs, and deans will work together, while considering factors such as hybrid course capabilities, technological needs, etc., to assign appropriate spaces for every class. Faculty members wishing to change rooms will need to submit a room capacity modification to their department chair and dean’s office. Please do not submit changes in the doc soup system. A committee of representatives from each dean’s office is reviewing classroom spaces and enrollment; they will address room changes making the best use of classroom space for the benefit of all.
Additionally, large campus meeting rooms will shift priority to classroom space (Ballrooms, Markin Center, Hartman Theatre, Dingledine, etc.). Please be aware some of these spaces do not have upgraded network capability, making it difficult or impossible to simulcast classes to Zoom or other platforms.
Masks and Testing
Masks: Everyone will be required to wear a face-covering in classrooms, common areas, shared workspaces, labs, etc. We will not require you to wear a face-covering when alone in your office or outside with appropriate physical distancing. The university will provide each student and employee with one Bradley-branded mask or you can wear your own. Wearing a face covering is part of Bradley’s health and safety expectations and guidelines and all on campus are expected to follow these regulations. I recommend faculty members include this requirement in their syllabi. The Back to Class committee is developing suggested language for syllabi; we will share it with you soon.
Testing: Bradley plans to conduct COVID-19 PCR (polymerase chain reaction) surveillance testing of students, faculty, and staff who will physically be on campus in the fall. Approximately 250-260 individuals will be randomly selected each week — from Aug. 24 to Nov. 20 — for no-cost surveillance testing conducted through Bradley’s Health Services. We have received approval from the Peoria County Health Department on our testing plan. Additionally, we’ll conduct testing within Bradley’s Health Services for students (only) who exhibit symptoms associated with COVID-19. Several efforts are ongoing to develop a contacting tracing strategy, including training through Johns Hopkins and evaluation of technology supports. Testing is a component of Bradley’s health and safety expectations and guidelines and everyone on campus is expected to participate.
ADA process: Appropriate accommodations will be made to ensure compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Accommodation requests for employees with health issues should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org and should provide appropriate medical documentation or reference to documentation previously submitted. We are considering a process for exemptions for employees who may live with family members who are at risk.
Canvas Learning Management System
In June, we announced our adoption of Canvas as an additional Learning Management System (LMS) platform. Investing in a new LMS allows Bradley to meet the expectations of faculty and students and increases our competitive edge. The configuration of Canvas has begun and will continue through July.
Canvas features online test proctoring through Respondus Monitor, a speed grader tool, a mobile app, an outcomes tool, and modules for organizing learning content and activities. Bradley has adopted Respondus LockDown Browser and Respondus Monitor for online test proctoring. Faculty members intending to offer online exams with proctoring will want to use Canvas this fall, as Respondus Monitor integrates with Canvas, but doesn’t with Sakai.
Canvas will run alongside Sakai through May 31, 2021. Instructors will have access to both learning platforms through the 20FA and 21SP terms. Additional information about the Canvas implementation will be shared soon.
Again, I apologize for the length of this message but I also want to share that I am grateful for your ongoing commitment to Bradley University and to our students. I know you understand that we will have to continue to be flexible in our planning and operations through the remainder of the COVID crises.