Updates from the Provost
- Monday, April 13th, 2020
I hope that you and your families are doing well and have had the opportunity to enjoy some time outside. Spring is the most beautiful time in Kentucky and the new life of this spring is truly symbolic as we enjoy the warm weather and the blooming trees, flowers, and gardens. While we navigate these interesting times, celebrating and acknowledging our successes is particularly important. To that point, I am thrilled to announce the WKU Faculty Award winners for this year.
University Faculty Award for Teaching
Dr. Erin Margarella, Assistant Professor, School of Teacher Education, CEBS
University Faculty Award for Public Service
Dr. Richard Gelderman, Professor of Physics and Astronomy, OCSE
University Faculty Award for Part-time Teaching
Cody J. Turner, Part-Time Faculty - Department of Marketing, GFCB
University Faculty Award for Research & Creativity
Dr. Farhad Ashrafzadeh, Associate Professor, School of Engineering & Applied Sciences, OCSE
University Faculty Award for Student Advisement
Dr. Amy Brausch, Associate Professor, Psychological Sciences, OCSE
A celebration is being planned for early in the Fall semester. Many thanks to the five awards committee members for their service - especially virtually.
As we work hard at teaching our courses and navigating our regular work from home this semester, our priorities of flexibility, student learning, student success, and completion remain key. Many of you have bent over backwards to be flexible and supportive in an effort to allow students to complete their courses this semester. As you know, many students have struggled and will continue to struggle for many very different reasons. Still, I believe that we must continue to be sensitive to their challenges, listen to them and their concerns, and to be flexible to help students succeed. Kind words and genuine questions of concern will help us all get through the toughest days.
To also help get through the tough days, we have worked hard to loosen some policies and practices for this semester to help students and faculty. These are:
- Lift financial holds to allow students to register for the Fall 2020 semester. Many students will need extensions to manage their finances. However, we do not want that challenge to hinder their ability to register. As much as possible, please be available for students that need advising and other guidance.
- Delay multi-semester registration for first-year students until 2021.
- Give faculty extra time at the end of the semester by extending the deadline for final grade submission from noon on Tuesday, May 19, 2020 to noon on Thursday, May 21, 2020.
- Make the use of Spring 2020 course evaluations (SITE) optional for annual evaluations and continuance, promotion, and tenure. While all courses should be evaluated as usual, faculty may choose whether or not to include them for consideration in their portfolios. (The Faculty Welfare Committee worked with Academic Affairs to develop questions related to the transition of courses to remote teaching methods. These questions have been added to the end of the SITE evaluation form).
- Allow faculty to extend probationary period for tenure and promotion by one year if they wish. Work with department heads and deans to request the option.
I know this has been a challenging time for many of you. Please take care of yourselves and your families. It is so important to practice self-care. Eat well, rest, exercise, enjoy the outdoors, and keep in touch with your community of people - even if electronically. If you are struggling, please consider reaching out to the Employee Assistance Program for support, https://www.anthem.com/wps/portal/ahpeap?content_path=eap/noapplication/f1/s0/t0/pw_ad065914.htm&rootLevel=0&label=Welcome. Finally, if there is anything that my office can do the assist you, please let us know.
Cheryl L. Stevens, PhD
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs