MAY 19: Team developing options, scenarios for staff return in summer, students in fall

To the University community,

I know we all have questions about the future, including our return-to-work plans for administration and staff this summer and the shape and form that our return to on-campus instruction and operations will take for the Fall 2020 semester.

The diverse team of faculty, staff and community leaders, led by Provost Mark Byrnes, is wrapping up its work in developing options and scenarios on how we proceed when we reopen in the fall.

  • As I said previously, we will act quickly, but carefully, keeping the safety of our community at the forefront of our planning.
  • I look forward to reviewing their recommendations and I understand well the urgency in making our decisions so we can best serve our stakeholders.

Meanwhile, as you know, many of our employees are working remotely, which means some services we offer have been modified or are limited.

  • I recently announced that our current plan for working remotely was extended through May 31, in order for us to be consistent with Governor Lee’s Executive Order 30.
  • Our return to work will be phased, with details coming soon. We are working on an appropriate process, consistent with state and federal guidance, which will guide our actions.
  • Employees who are in high-risk health categories are encouraged to contact in advance with supervisors to discuss possible work scenarios that may address unique situations.

Yesterday, we began our summer sessions and I am pleased to report that we are on track to match last year’s enrollment for these great educational opportunities.

  • My thanks again to our amazing faculty who are delivering these classes either through MTSU Online or other remote means of instruction as part of our COVID-19 precautions.
  • Enrollment is still open for several of our summer terms. We are offering a broad range of offerings throughout the summer months in 10 different terms of varying length of weeks. You can browse the courses here: https://www.mtsu.edu/university-college/summer/courses.php

Also, MTSU Online, with the crucial assistance of Online Faculty Mentors and department chairs, continues to work with faculty to transition summer courses that were formerly on-ground to remote delivery formats. 

  • A checklist process, approved by the provost, is intended to provide faculty with the tools and support necessary for the successful transition of these courses.
  • MTSU Online has established a weekly newsletter for faculty with tips and tools to enhance online course creation and delivery. Faculty, please email Brian Hinote, our interim chief online learning officer, at Brian.Hinote@mtsu.edu if you’re having trouble getting these useful updates.
  • MTSU Online continues to provide support to faculty to further develop their online acumen, including:
    • Frequent “drop-in” events affording faculty the opportunity to meet with MTSU Online Instructional Designers and Leadership;
    • Several open meeting times with Brian Hinote and Cindy Adams to assist faculty who are moving summer courses to remote delivery, or have questions about online courses.

Finally, for our summer session students, here’s a few tips from Vincent Windrow, our associate vice provost for student success, on how to become a pro at remote learning:

  • P: Prioritize your class by creating space for it on your daily schedule.
  • R: Regularly connect with your instructor and classmates.
  • O: Observe exam times and assignment due dates. 

Stay safe and remain True Blue!

Sincerely,
Sidney A. McPhee
President
Sidney.McPhee@mtsu.edu