Dear OSU faculty and staff,
We have missed you.
With the arrival of the 2021 academic year a few weeks away, we are looking forward to seeing you our colleagues, and students, again. The excitement of starting is tempered somewhat by the uncertainty of the pandemic but OSU has safeguards in place, policy to guide us, and we at the CTL are here to help you prepare for classes.
We may not know what course the pandemic will take, but what we are sure about is that you have what it takes to succeed. You have shown it.
We know that the last year (plus) was a difficult one. Faculty, staff, and students adapted to remote working while also coping with health concerns, changes in caregiving and parenting responsibilities, and a range of other challenges such as the national unrest related to equity issues and the Oregon wildfires. Many of us are exhausted. The wear and tear of recent times has palpable consequences. While the summer months provided some respite, we know that undoubtedly, there is still residual tiredness and mental strain.
Oregon State rose up to the challenge. Faculty kept teaching. Students kept learning. Counter to hearsay suggesting otherwise, empirical data suggests that many college students still learned successfully, no doubt due in large part to your efforts, compassion, and flexibility. During remote learning, students and faculty endured in suboptimal situations. Faculty learned new skills and changed habits to best serve students, often providing notes, slides, and lecture recordings, learning and incorporating new technologies, and modifying assignments and assessments. We showed we could roll with the punches thrown by the pandemic.
It is clear we can evolve to face the adversity and right now, each of us has what it takes to succeed as we start the Fall. That said, you should know you do not have to do it alone. We have your back. The staff at the Center for Teaching and Learning are standing by and prepared to help you with all your course preparation needs. Together with academic technology and Ecampus, we have curated a concise list of pertinent class preparation aids. Most importantly, we have answers to some of the your major, teaching related questions as you plan for what Fall may be. Should you record lectures? Share slides? Allow Technology? Use open-book exams? What do you do if students need to quarantine? Need language for your syllabus? We have suggestions. Click here to connect.
We look forward to working with you, invite you to our resources, and are open to one-on-one conversation. If you are looking for ways to be effective and efficient while staying healthy and safe, we are here for you. Need language for your syllabus reflecting OSU policies? Try this. Want to write a warm-welcoming syllabus? Here’s how, and why it is a good idea.
Need policy guidance for teaching this fall? A diverse group of administrators, faculty, and staff, collaborated to provide you with clear cut information about how to plan for Fall 2021. The guidance document, Pathways to Fall, features information on face coverings, what to do if students are sick, and a lot more. We trust it will help you as you prepare for teaching. There are significant changes to classroom technology (watch this video for an overview) and you may want to schedule a class tech check to learn more about the upgraded technology in your classrooms.
We had to teach differently during the pandemic. We have learnt from our experiences. We are not just going “Back to Normal” but we are going Onward to Better.
Regan A. R. Gurung, Ph.D.
Associate Vice Provost and Executive Director, Center for Teaching and Learning
Professor of Psychological Science.