To: All faculty and staff
Sent: Monday, May 11, 2020

Dear Colleagues,

For the past month President McConnell has been leading us in developing a solid plan for navigating next year and beyond, both financially and operationally. Those of us in academic affairs are planning intensively for the best-case scenario for the fall, which includes in-residence students and face-to-face instruction, albeit under COVID-19 health and safety protocols. This will involve some online sections, hybrid course designs, creative use of space, and extending instructional time into evenings and Saturdays. Constructing the fall curriculum will be a difficult jigsaw puzzle to assemble; much more on these plans soon.

Even so, it is prudent for everyone to prepare for all-online instruction. Part of the puzzle will be to use online instruction entirely in selected courses.  In addition, some students will not want or be able to come to campus. And if at any time the virus does not permit us to implement the best case, we may need to pivot at short notice to alternatives. There is much uncertainty still, and many different needs to consider and accommodate.

As we prepare for doing this in the fall, we enjoy more time, experience and resources than we had in the spring – and it’s time to take advantage of that. In addition to supporting instruction through new educational technologies (specifics coming soon), we’re planning on providing six levels of professional development support for faculty designing courses for online or hybrid delivery: full online course builds, an 18-hour virtual asynchronous online design course, a six hour course of effective online instruction, webinars on inclusion and success for faculty and students during this time, a suite of Best Practices in Teaching modules, and a Do It Yourself website.

We’ll be working hard over the next week or two to match faculty expertise with the capacity we have to execute these training experiences, and the needs of the jigsaw puzzle. Meanwhile summer teaching will be upon us soon also, and Recommendations for teaching 4-week courses online and Recommendations for converting residential courses to online or hybrid delivery will be immediately useful for instructors starting shortly.

We’re about to finish one of the strangest semesters in the history of U.S. higher education. Now, thanks to the efforts of many, summer session credit hours are trending ahead of last year. In the fall we face a spectrum of possibilities, and that demands that we develop online experiences, even as we expect an in-residence curriculum for most of our students. Much is riding on how we prepare for this fall, and I expect nothing less from all of us than our best efforts as we continue to face down this crisis. I know that we share the values that guide us, the belief in our students’ future, and the energy that will propel us to a successful next year.  We’ll need to continue to lean on each other; let’s remember as we work largely at home that we’re not alone.

Thank you again for your work this spring, and for your commitment to the future. Stay healthy, and stay tuned,

-Rick

Rick Miranda
Provost and Executive Vice President
Colorado State University