SUBJECT: Peering Down the Road, with Prudence
Dear Colleagues -
As you will all know, we made the decision on March 16 to move all instruction in the Summer I/II terms to remote instruction. If you are teaching in the summer, and either have little (or no) experience teaching online — or if you want to brush up your skills and improve your courses — now is the time to act. Deans have been in contact with department chairs, and each college has identified ‘go to’ faculty or staff ambassadors who can assist you with any questions or concerns. The Hub for Teaching & Learning also stands ready to pitch in and offer guidance and advice.
The $64 Million Dollar Question, of course, remains — given continued uncertainty about the containment of COVID-19 — what about Fall 2020? I can assure you that this is a topic of thoughtful and ongoing discussion and consultation. President Schlissel said in his recent email that he remains ‘cautiously optimistic that we will be able to deliver a public health-informed Fall semester on our three campuses’. Certainly we will continue to monitor the situation and keep you fully informed as any decisions are made. We should be in a better position to assess and report back in late May.
What is clear beyond doubt, however, is that it is better to be prepared than not be prepared (or as my mother used to say, ‘better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it’). It is both wise and prudent to plan and prepare NOW for remote/online teaching for the Fall term. We must be ready for the eventuality that a full-scale return to campus might not be possible, or that we might have to pivot back to remote delivery if the pandemic situation changes, or that we might well have a hybrid of online and in-person teaching.
I urge everyone who is teaching — both in Summer and in Fall — to take this to heart and start to get ready. Reach out to faculty and staff ambassadors. Reach out to the Hub. Ask colleagues for advice. Don’t be shy (or embarrassed!) It is going to be essential that we continue to deliver, in whatever modality, the high-quality, robust educational experience that characterizes the University of Michigan-Dearborn. This is only what we owe our students, and ourselves.
I want to thank you for the truly Herculean efforts you have made already in this time of transition. And I fully realize this is asking another big lift, but we can and must do it. Please let me know what the Provost team and I can do to help!
With my very best wishes, and continue to take good care,