Process for Changing Course Delivery (SVPP COVID-19 Communication #18)


Date:        August 31, 2020

To:            Iowa State University Faculty

From:       Jonathan Wickert                               

                 Senior Vice President and Provost

Subject:   Process for Changing Course Delivery (SVPP COVID-19 Communication #18)

As announced previously in communications to faculty on June 17 and August 12, and discussed at today’s town hall, no instructor will be forced to teach in-person, and instructors have flexibility to modify a course’s delivery mode (in-person, hybrid, online, or arranged). Such changes can be temporary or for the remainder of the semester.

The process involves faculty consulting with their department chair (or, for teaching assistants and graduate student instructors, with the course’s coordinator or instructor of record, and the Director of Graduate Education), and with oversight and approval required by the associate dean for academic affairs within the respective college. In what I expect to be rare instances in which agreement on delivery mode cannot be reached through this process, college deans and my office are available to facilitate a fair resolution.

Faculty know their students, courses, and learning objectives best, and I trust each of you to make decisions about delivery modes that balance personal assessment of risk; the number of students in the class who are absent or known to be in isolation or quarantine; course level, content, and pedagogy; and the importance of students engaging with faculty and classmates for an enriched academic experience. These decisions also need to take into account program-level accreditation requirements and not adversely affect students’ timely graduation. Based on federal immigration guidance this summer, faculty and academic advisors should work with new international students to ensure that course schedules and delivery modes meet both their academic and personal goals. Recognizing pedagogy for graduate and professional instruction, I ask faculty to give special consideration for in-person instruction of these students.

I very much appreciate the example you have set for your students through the Cyclones Care initiative. Through my in-person and virtual visits to classes these past two weeks, I have been very impressed and energized by fall instruction at Iowa State. I want to thank you for your dedication to our students, and I’m confident we will adapt to and overcome the unprecedented challenges created by the global pandemic.