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Kevin Carman, Ph.D.

Provost and Executive Vice President

carman-300x328.jpgKevin Carman serves as Provost and Executive Vice President of the University of Wyoming. In this capacity, he is the chief academic officer and has oversight of all undergraduate and graduate academic programs. He is a Professor in the Department of Zoology and Physiology. Prior to his UW appointment, Carman was the Executive Vice President and Provost at the University of Nevada, Reno and Professor of Biology from 2013-2020 where he oversaw UNR's nine colleges and schools, the Graduate School, the Division of Extended Studies, the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension, the University of Nevada Press, and the Office of Information Technology. During his tenure at UNR, the university was recognized as an R1 research university, the highest classification by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, and as a Carnegie Engaged University. He championed a freshman academic-orientation program – NevadaFIT – that received recognitions from the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities (APLU), the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU), and the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) for its positive impact on retention and graduation rates. Carman served on the Nevada Statewide Medical Committee, charged with overseeing the transition to two medical schools in Nevada. He served on the "What's Next Nevada" advisory board, which was charged with identifying and promoting best practices in K-12 education in Nevada. He served on the Board of Directors for the Association of Chief Academic Officers. Prior to his UNR appointment Carman was at Louisiana State University for 24 years where he was a professor of Biological Sciences and Dean of the College of Science for nine years. Carman’s research expertise is in marine and freshwater benthic food webs and the ecotoxicology of contaminants. He received approximately $10M in research funding from agencies such as the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, the Office of Naval Research, and the National Institutes of Health. Carman is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Messages from the Provost


2021

Dear Colleagues,

It is my honor and pleasure to write you on my first full day as Provost and Senior Vice President. I still have some unpacking to do in Old Main. Susan and I are getting settled into our new home but still have many boxes staring back at us. We have enjoyed being in Laramie and on campus the past couple of weeks. I am slowly getting familiarized with campus (including a tour of the amazing new Science Initiative Building!) and meeting the wonderful people who work and learn here.

I hope you are having a relaxing and productive summer. I know that we are all glad to be returning to life and work that more closely resembles pre-pandemic conditions. I am enjoying shaking hands again and even an occasional hug!

As a first order of business, I would like to thank Dr. Anne Alexander for her gracious and extraordinarily helpful support as I have transitioned into my new role. I’m pleased to announce that Anne will be staying with the Academic Affairs team for the next two years as Vice Provost for Strategic Planning and Initiatives. In this role she will lead the update and implementation of the UW strategic plan, which will include a plan for implementing the four pillars identified by President Seidel. The updated plan will lay the groundwork for achieving ambitious goals for UW, including a new School of Computing and recognition as a Carnegie R1 research university. We will also initiate plans to apply for and be recognized as a Carnegie Engaged university.

Anne will also lead the launch of two major initiatives related to our renewed commitment to student success. The first is the implementation of the Navigate advising platform, which is used by over 400 universities nationwide. It provides sophisticated and nuanced use of institutional data to maximize student progression toward their degrees. The second initiative is the launching of a UW version of academic “boot camps” for incoming students that are similar to those implemented at my previous institution (NevadaFIT).

As you all know, we face challenges with implementing budget reductions in the near term. While the reductions will certainly be painful, we are committed to positioning the University for a bright future.

I begin my appointment knowing that I have much to learn about UW traditions, culture, strengths and opportunities. Next fall I look forward to going on a “listening tour” and visiting as many departments and programs as will have me. I’m also eager to engage in regular and meaningful interactions with the Faculty Senate, the Staff Senate and ASUW leadership. In the meantime, I hope to meet as many of you as possible over the summer.

Sincerely,

Kevin Carman, Provost and Senior Vice President

Dear Colleagues,

As we close the weird and wacky academic year that was 2020-21, I know many of you are wondering how strategic portfolio review will roll out in the coming weeks and months.  The strategic portfolio review (SPR) committee completed its work and sent it to me on April 28.  The bulk of their report - the portion focusing on methodology - is posted here

So, what happens next with this? Here are some FAQ’s.

Q) What criteria will you be using to formulate recommendations?

A) Using the SPR report as a baseline to start, I’ll be looking, with the President and incoming Provost, at a number of factors, including margin contributions (fancy economist-speak for “how much do you generate in revenue from tuition vs. your instructional costs?).  I’ll also look at scholarly productivity and reputation; donor, alumni, and other external support; and contribution to the future of Wyoming’s workforce and economy. I'll weigh student numbers, and I’ll also weigh programs’ ability to serve both undergraduate and graduate education missions

 

Q) Will the final recommendations be fully aligned with the SPR report?  

A) Probably not.  But their work will give us our starting point.

 

Q) When will we know what programs are up for further review?

A) You’ll hear no later than the week of June 21. There will be a report released specific to each program that will be undergoing review that week.  The campus and our stakeholders will be notified after faculty, students, and staff of any directly impacted program.

 

Q) When will reviews officially start?  

A) They’ll begin on July 19.  According to UW Regulation 2-13, within 120 days of a review going official, a recommendation has to be put in front of the Board of Trustees for a vote.  That puts the vote at the November 17-19, 2021 Board meeting.  Starting the process in mid-July will mean you have an opportunity - whether you’re directly impacted by the recommendations or not - to provide feedback to us when we return in the fall.  Comments and feedback will close by Oct. 15, 2021.  By the way, if we started these reviews this month, the process would unfold over the summer.  This July 19 date was picked so you will have every opportunity to engage in this process.

 

If you’d like to take a look at the interim Pillar Team reports, as well as watch or download a presentation given by Pres. Seidel on them on Thursday to the UW Board of Trustees, click through to this site.  Read at your leisure, come back with notes in the fall, and help us dig into them further.  They will help us with jumpstarting strategic planning.

On the COVID front, here’s a gentle reminder that if you will be working off site this summer, or you’re an AY employee, you should put yourself on the testing exemption list so you won’t get nasty-grams from me when you miss your surveillance test!  Surveillance testing will continue through the month of June, and both it and the COVID Pass sunset on July 1, 2021.  

And now, my friends, we come to the end of the semester, and transition to a new Provost.  Dr. Kevin Carman will begin officially as UW’s next Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs on June 7, 2021. He is going to be an incredible leader for UW.  Welcome him warmly. Help him, and show him the same kindness and grace you have shown me. 

Before I go, I take one last provostial liberty.  Allow me to gush a little.

You have been heroes this year.  It’s been the most difficult year of most of our lives, with much volatility and uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. We built the plane in the air without blueprints, with very little material, and with multiple changing destinations. It’s not been easy, perfect, simple, or linear. We’ve made mistakes. But what you’ve accomplished - what we’ve accomplished together - is something to be incredibly proud of.  I’m convinced UW has the most talented, loyal, hard-working, honest, and kind faculty members of any university out there. You put your students and our community above yourselves all year long.  So, as we enter summer, be good to yourselves. Unplug and enjoy the beauty of the Wyoming summer.  Read a good (or a terrible!) book. Watch the sun rise. Play with your kids or your dogs or your grandkids all day, so hard that you’re all happy-exhausted by the time the sun sets.  Run headlong and happily into your summer writing or field projects.  Whatever you do, come back rejuvenated and refreshed in the Fall.  I can’t wait to see you IRL again, soon!

Via con dios, amigas y amigos,

Anne

Dr. Anne M. Alexander
Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
University of Wyoming

Dear colleagues,

Our last bi-weekly faculty community check-in of the semester will be from 12-1pm today. Let's have an informal ZOOM session where we can connect, listen to each other, answer questions and exchange ideas!

Please join at ZOOM ID: 994 4014 8784.

As always, we are here to support you and remain grateful for the heavy lift you are making,

Anne

 

Dr. Anne M. Alexander
Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
University of Wyoming

Dear Colleagues,

Recently we have heard stories from some of you about your students being eager to get vaccinated but unsure (or unaware) of how to get it done.  There were great suggestions on the faculty list-serve this past week about ways to inform students about how to get vaccinated without pressuring them to do so. Our final touch point with many of our students will be next week during finals week.  It’s probably too late to include a question on your final exam about how to get vaccinated, but there are other ways to help your students navigate the vaccination path.

If you will be meeting your students next week in person or virtually, I encourage you to take a few minutes in class to inform them on how to get vaccinated.  If your last contact with them is asynchronous and/or through WyoCourses, you could consider including a final email or announcement in your course shell. 

You could include the link to the UW COVID-19 vaccination website (https://www.uwyo.edu/alerts/campus-return/vaccination/index.html).

You might also include the following top 10 Things to Know about Getting the COVID-19 Vaccination.

  1. Vaccines are now available to anyone over age 18.  (Pfizer is available to anyone over 16.)

  2. There will be a walk-in clinic at the Old National Guard (located at the corner of 30th Street and East Armory Rd, across from Jacoby Golf Course) on Wednesday, May 5th from 9am-5pm. 

  3. You DO NOT need an appointment.  Just show up with your ID and a copy of your insurance card, if you have insurance.  DON’T WORRY if you don’t have insurance! The vaccine will not cost you anything!

  4. You can also make an appointment to get vaccinated at many locations in Laramie.  You can call any of the numbers below, or schedule an appointment online at Pole Mountain’s, Walgreen’s or Walmart’s websites. 

    1. Pole Mountain Pharmacy: 307-460-4080

    2. Walgreen’s Pharmacy: 307-745-1557

    3. Walmart Pharmacy: 307-745-6112

    4. Albany Community Health Clinic: 307-766-3313

    5. Ivinson Medical Group: 307-755-4540

    6. Family Physicians of Laramie: 307-742-3242

    7. Laramie Pediatrics: 307-745-3704

    8. Stitches Acute Care: 307-721-1794

  1. If you want a particular type of vaccine (i.e., Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson), call ahead.  Not all of these locations will have the same type.

  2. If you are leaving Laramie at the end of the semester and won’t be able to come back here when your 2nd dose is due, you will need to schedule your 2nd vaccine in your new summer location. Make sure to let them know you need your 2nd dose when you schedule.

  3. Keep your vaccine card that you will get at the time of your first shot and take it with you when you get your 2nd shot.  Your card will show the type of vaccine you received, which is important since both doses must be the same type. (If you get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, you are done after your first shot.)

  4. It takes at least 2 weeks after you receive your final dose until you have the maximum amount of protection from the vaccine.

  5. Make sure you upload a copy of your vaccine card to the UW Student Health Service Patient Portal (found here:http://patientportal.uwyo.edu), by logging in with your UW ID and password, go to the “Immunizations” tab, scroll down to the “Recommended” vaccines, and enter the dates of your doses in the section that corresponds with the type of vaccine you received. You can also upload a photo of your vaccine card using the “upload” tab at the top of the screen.

  6. Have a great and safe summer!!

 

Anne

 

Dr. Anne M. Alexander
Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
University of Wyoming

Dear Colleagues: 

University of Wyoming President Ed Seidel invites you to the annual spring faculty meeting Thursday, May 6, from 12:30-1:20 p.m. in virtual format. We are only distributing the ZOOM link via this email to verified faculty email addresses, and ask that you not share/forward to keep the link secure. 

The meeting is available via ZOOM for all those wishing to actively participate:

https://uwyo.zoom.us/j/92057445698

Dial by your location: 1-669-900-6833
Meeting ID: 920 5744 5698

If you only wish to stream the meeting you can do so via WyoCast at https://wyocast.uwyo.edu/WyoCast/Play/649e7aca9338462db0c5d11c89fcd92b1d or YouTube at https://youtu.be/cTAqEOEc5S8.

President Seidel will provide an overview of accomplishments from the first year of his presidency and priorities moving forward, including updates by some members of his cabinet. A question-and-answer session will follow.

For questions and additional information, call the Office of the President, 766-4121.

 

Anne

Dr. Anne M. Alexander
Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
University of Wyoming

Dear colleagues,

Our bi-weekly faculty community check-in will be from 12-1pm today. Let's have an informal ZOOM session where we can connect, listen to each other, answer questions and exchange ideas!

Please join at ZOOM ID: 994 4014 8784.

As always, we are here to support you and remain grateful for the heavy lift you are making,

Anne

 

Dr. Anne M. Alexander
Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
University of Wyoming

Dear Colleagues,

As we head into the weekend of spring break and Easter, I have a few updates for you on the budget, vaccinations, and - for a little fun - a plug for The Lodge!

On the budget front, I have some relatively upbeat news. I’d told you earlier this week that our expected “Step 3” reduction in state funding was around $10 million.  This week, the Wyoming Legislature reduced our budget for the upcoming fiscal year by around $1.1 million, rather than the expected larger amount.  This is a one-year, one-time abeyance in our expected reduction. However, by next July 1, 2022, we will be expected to further reduce our budget by $8 million.  So, this is a “good news, but…” situation. We must continue to explore ways to reduce our spending and enhance our revenues. It’s expected that the legislature will have a special session this summer to discuss the distribution of funds from the American Rescue Plan (ARP). Our VP of Government Affairs, Bill Mai, will keep us posted on those conversations.

As you may have seen earlier today, Friday April 2, HR provided some guidance for conversations and the work environment as more members of our community are vaccinated. You might be wondering how this crosswalks with our discussions with students, especially those of you planning field courses. Here are some quick FAQ’s for you:

Q: Will the COVID-19 vaccine be required for students or employees?

A: It is not required at this time, but is strongly recommended.  The vaccine is still emergency authorized, and there are still access issues we need to be mindful of.  We are asking employees and students to self-report if they have received it (employees through HCM, students through student health portal), as this will help us track numbers and determine vaccine uptake.

 

Q:  Can faculty ask their students if they’ve been vaccinated?

A: NO - vaccination information is considered medical information and is protected. But you may ask if they are willing to disclose whether they’ve been vaccinated for COVID-19.

 

Q: Can students (or employees) voluntarily tell their professors/supervisors they have received the COVID-19 vaccination?

A: Yes, but it must be voluntary. It’s important to recognize the power dynamic between faculty and students, as well as supervisors and employees.

 

Meanwhile, as we see our friends’ and families’ smiling faces on social media in selfies holding up their vaccination cards and see the joy as people emerge from their vaccination appointments, I also want to thank, with all my heart, the UW vaccination team including Kem Krueger, David Jones, and Brant Schumaker, along with the Vaccine Team and their multitude of campus volunteers who help set up appointments, guide foot traffic, check people in, and (carefully) elbow-bump people as they bounce out of the Armory. Thanks also to Will Laegreid and his entire team for the incredible work all year with our COVID testing. Thanks to you, UW has weathered this incredibly challenging time.

While we wait for our vaccines to kick in, I also want to highlight the efforts of Student Affairs (all year, all heroes) in their latest effort.  If you’re wondering what the gigantic white tent structure on Fraternity Mall is, it’s The Lodge! To give our students and campus community a cool, new venue to hang out or study, The Lodge, in the

field between sorority and fraternity row, will be open until April 9th. It’s free to students, faculty, and staff to go inside, and there are a variety of places to relax, games and activities to partake in, and even daily competitions to win prizes.   The Lodge is 100% free for students and the campus community members to use. In compliance with COVID guidelines, they are currently accommodating up to 100 people inside The Lodge – and as always, please make sure you fill out your daily COVID Pass and mask up. Both are required upon entry!

Clear skies, smooth seas, and happy Spring Break, friends!

Anne

 

Dr. Anne M. Alexander
Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
University of Wyoming

Dear Colleagues, 

There’s a lot going on. You’re hungry for information, but you also suffer from information overload and exhaustion. This email covers a lot, so read as much of this as you’re interested in - but also know that I understand how hard it is for you to just keep your head above water. I remain indebted to you for everything you’ve done this year.  The world needs more of you. 

 

What’s the Budget Situation? 

As you all probably know, we’ve been navigating through a significant budget reduction that was implemented in July of 2020. That budget reduction, known in state budget circles as “Step 2,” reduced our UW state aid monies (block grant) by 11.8%, some of which was shored up one time with reserves and CARES funding. In effect, this means we’ve lost around $52 million for this biennium in operating budget (including state funding cuts to things besides the block grant)  and nearly $12 million in major maintenance funding. In the process so far, we used the levers we could pull - elimination of 45 vacant faculty positions (about 4% of our faculty positions), 23 administrative positions, 12 staff positions, and slashing spending generally where we could. These positions and use of one-time funds got us through this year, fiscal year 2021. All told, in the last 10 years, UW has lost about ⅓ of its state funding, inflation-adjusted, and over the past 5 years, about 25% of its state funding.  

And yes, the state will likely cut our budget for fiscal year 2022. The best guess of trustworthy sources is that we need to prepare for another $10 million in cuts to the block grant, in addition to cuts to the other state sources of revenue at UW. We have already identified some one-time methods of dealing with these cuts. 

But - but…. This is not a situation we can wait out.  We can’t kick the problem down the road any longer. This is a chronic problem - we can’t expect those state revenues to come back.  This time *is* different.  We can continue to simply respond by eliminating positions as they come open, randomly. This is how we’ve responded to previous cuts, primarily.  This is also why you feel terrible. There’s fewer of us doing the same amount of work. Something’s got to give. This is why we’re doing strategic scenario planning right now.  

 

Tell me more about this Strategic Scenario Planning. 

Over the past 6 weeks, over 100 members of the UW community have been working on our strategic scenario planning exercise, which is aimed at laying the groundwork for starting a new strategic plan in the next year and responding to our revenue constraints. Hundreds of you have given us feedback along the way. Here’s a quick status update on next steps.   

The core SSP team has just finished conducting over 15 hours of listening sessions with students, parents, alumni, staff, and faculty and WYSAC is synthesizing the data from these sessions. The core team will begin drafting the scenario plan report which pulls together threads and crosscuts we’ve heard. The team will get a report out to campus for discussion and this will get us teed up to start a planning process more fully in the next academic year. The SSP is intended to point us in the right direction, but we have a lot more work to do together to build our plan for the next 5 or more years. 

The Strategic Portfolio Review committee has been meeting intensively for over a month now, and they are beginning their analysis of the entire academic portfolio.  This large endeavor was made in response to budgetary considerations as well as the need for the university to adapt to and help with the state’s economic circumstances and future. Following an initial review of select programs earlier this semester, I charged a committee of faculty, administrators and students to review all academic and non-academic units within the Division of Academic Affairs. For info on their charge and membership, check out this page.  

Draft reports from four Pillar group starting to analyze what it means for us, for UW, to be more entrepreneurial, more inclusive, more interdisciplinary, and more digital, were turned in to me and the President on March 22. These reports will provide the baseline thinking for us to dig into timelines, other sources of funding, and explore big ideas. The final reports will be in on April 30, and will lay the groundwork for strategic planning. We want the faculty to really dig into these reports, think what they mean and how they resonate, and come back to the Fall ready to explore them together as a campus.   

You can always check out news and updates at our SSP teams news site. And if you would like to complete our survey on the future of UW, it’ll remain open until April 2. 

I can’t thank everyone who’s serving on these various groups enough. You have invested your time and energy in a year when you have very little of either to spare.  Thank you! 

 

Wait, aren't we still in a pandemic? 

Yes. We’re in a much brighter spot than before - vaccines are available to all UW employees because we fall in the 1c3 category of priority vaccinations, and 1c3 is NOW. Get poked, Pokes!! The more of us, and the more of our students, getting those shots, the more likely it is we’ll get to a more “normal” cadence of life. 

Yet, we cannot let our guard down. Between newly-emerging variants and the fact we’re all just really tired of this pandemic, I have it on good authority from the epidemiologists and public health experts on campus that this is the most dangerous part of a public health crisis. We let our guards down at our own peril. So keep washing those hands, wearing those masks, and elbow-bumping your friends. For those of you teaching post-spring break f2f, I have some KN-95 masks for you - your deans are getting me stats on who needs them as we speak.   

You’ve really delivered on offering courses in person next Fall. Our preliminary numbers show that our in-person course numbers are back to where they were before the pandemic. THANK YOU!   

That’s more than enough for one note. But there’s so much going on - and I did not hit all of it. For now, please know I’ll keep you updated as often as I can on how all of these things are unfolding. 

 

Better days are coming,

Anne

 

Dr. Anne M. Alexander
Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
University of Wyoming

Dear UW faculty and instructors,

Important news! On Friday, UW announced its plan to allow in-person classes to continue after spring break. Requirements for the wearing of masks, social distancing and COVID-19 testing will continue.

As we anticipate students, parents, and guardians' questions regarding the changes, we ask that you please refer them to UW Spring Semester — Student FAQS page. Students will continue to receive communication encouraging them to reach out directly to their instructors for details about their course’s modality post spring break. As such, we have one request for EACH faculty member and instructor:

  • We would like you to send a message proactively to each of your students to let them know what the modality option(s) will be for each course after spring break.

Faculty members were given the opportunity to continue in-person instruction through semester’s end. In all cases, faculty members will be required to accommodate students opting to attend virtually, even if the instructors have chosen to continue with or shift to face-to-face instruction.

We thank you for your cooperation and support of this opportunity.

Anne and the AA team

 

Dr. Anne M. Alexander
Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
University of Wyoming

Dear colleagues,

In order to make sure you feel informed and supported, I will continue holding regular bi-weekly faculty community check-ins that all faculty are invited to attend. I have now held two of these and will continue to do so through the rest of the semester. 

We will start these on Friday, March 26th, and they will be from 12-1pm and every other Friday thereafter. The last one this semester will be Friday, May 14th. Sometimes these sessions will have a specific topic, and sometimes they will be wide-open to address your interests. Let's have an informal ZOOM session where we can connect, listen to each other, answer questions and exchange ideas!

There’s a standing invitation to join. Please do at ZOOM ID: 994 4014 8784.

As we move through the semester, I will continue examining ways we can support faculty. If you have suggestions, I am all ears.

 

As always, we are here to support you and remain grateful for the heavy lift you are making,

Anne

 

Dr. Anne M. Alexander

Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

University of Wyoming

Dear Colleagues,

 

It has been a solemn week here at UW. This past weekend, we lost one of our students, Ashton Singer. We were all deeply saddened to hear this, and our community has pulled together to offer support to Ashton’s friends and family. If you, or any of your students need support, please contact the University Counseling Center at 307-766-2187, and employees may seek assistance through our Employee Assistance Program. Our heart goes out to Ashton’s family and friends. I urge you to reach out to your students, regardless of your class modality, and let them know that you are there for them and that they are not alone. Host an open office hour for them. Give them a space to connect, with you and with each other. The isolation they may be feeling right now is acute and painful. If you can, give them some human connection, even if it is on Zoom. 

Our heartache continues as we near the end of the week. As you may have read yesterday in the attached announcement, members of our UW community were subjected to a vicious, intolerable, and revolting virtual attack as they came together to celebrate Black History Month with a ZOOM discussion. My executive team and staff in Academic Affairs join our President, Vice Presidents, Board of Trustees, Deans​, and Directors in condemning the behavior of those perpetrating the virtual assault. Leaders across UW have an unbreakable commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, and this type of behavior has no place at our university.  

We will continue our support for upcoming activities ​during Black History Month, focus on the education ​and accountability of our own campus community, and advance UW in being a more inclusive and welcoming place for ALL. In an effort to achieve these goals:

 

  • I will host a community check-in this coming Friday at 10:30am. Come as you are; to talk, to listen, or to just ​stand in solidarity. (ZOOM link here). I will be joined by professional UW counselor, Dr. Julio Brionez.  Dr. Emily Monago from the UW Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion will join us briefly as well.

  • We are dedicated to ensuring that, as our state’s only four-year public university, we reflect and welcome the diversity of society in our faculty and programs. To that end, I will continue to expect and demand that every search on the academic side, from staff to professors to administrators, actively recruit diverse candidates. In addition, we will work with the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion to implement our new pilot Search Equity Advisors program to ensure that we not only advertise and recruit from diverse networks, but ensure that our hiring and onboarding is inclusive. 

  • Since early October a dedicated team of faculty, staff, and students have begun the challenging work of defining our Next Generation University Studies Program. The spirit of our general education program is that we believe every graduate of the University of Wyoming should have mastered a set of general and high-level essential skills, techniques, and habits of the mind, no matter their major. The committee is committed to exploring and understanding the diversity of student populations that UW serves, and the variations in scaffolding these populations may need. This team will be listening to you and your feedback is needed on priorities for infusing inclusion, equity, and diversity into our USP program.

  • Please do not ever hesitate to contact me directly if you need an ear to listen and a shoulder to lean on. We are a community of learning, discovery, and creation. You all belong here.

Through these times, I urge us to come together. Support each other in times of grief, and stand strong in the face of aversion. My team and I stand with you.

 

Anne

 

Dr. Anne M. Alexander
Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
University of Wyoming

Dear Colleagues, 

 

Join me soon! I am hosting a virtual Brown Bag/Chat Session at 12:00pm today (details at the bottom), so let’s check in and catch up. 

Please drop in and out as you are able. 

 

Looking forward to connecting,  

Anne

 

Dr. Anne M. Alexander
Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
University of Wyoming

 

Virtual Brown Bag/Chat Session with Provost Alexander

UW Faculty: Let's have an informal ZOOM session where we can connect,

listen to each other, answer questions and exchange ideas!

February 5, 2021 | 12:00-1:00pm

All UW Faculty are invited to "drop in" to the ZOOM session

ZOOM ID: 994 4014 8784

Dear Colleagues,

 

It’s time to connect! I am hosting a virtual Brown Bag/Chat Session this coming Friday at 12:00pm (details at the bottom), so let’s check in and catch up. 

 

Please drop in and out as you are able. 

 

Looking forward to connecting, 

 

Anne

 

Dr. Anne M. Alexander
Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
University of Wyoming

 

Virtual Brown Bag/Chat Session with Provost Alexander

UW Faculty: Let's have an informal ZOOM session where we can connect,

listen to each other, answer questions and exchange ideas!

February 5, 2021 | 12:00-1:00pm

All UW Faculty are invited to "drop in" to the ZOOM session

ZOOM ID: 994 4014 8784

Dear Colleagues,

 

Classes officially started yesterday, and some of you may be back in the saddle. 

If you’ve made it through your inbox backlog, you’ll know that the university is now sending “The Big Picture”, an email sent to all employees at least weekly. The Big Picture contains campus-wide information, much of which will be relevant to you. I will continue sending my Friday emails with faculty-specific info as well. Quick links to support and key resources are listed beneath my signature.

The big items this week are: mental health/wellness resources, vaccination info, campus operations to combat airborne COVID, a new studying/community building app for students, and answers to testing/compliance questions that impact face-to-face instructors.

Mental health/wellness resources

We’re still in it for the long-haul with this pandemic, please tap into campus services to get support if you need it. The UW Employee Assistance Program outlines support for employees. Students also have access to the University Counseling Center and Wellness Center.

UW vaccinations

Current info is available here, and we will stay in contact about vaccination access. 

Campus operations to combat airborne COVID.

See this document for details on what UW Operations is doing to combat COVID on campus this spring.

CircleIn: New app for community building/studying for students.

Please encourage your students to use CircleIn, which is totally hands-off for faculty. Students can hop on a video call with classmates, create study groups, share helpful content, and earn points and rewards for helping and collaborating with classmates. Students can Download the App or visit the App’s Desktop Version. They simply search University of Wyoming, enter their school log-in credentials, and select “Authorize” to get started. Visit the Student Informational Website for more info.

Testing/compliance topics for face-to-face instructors.

Here are answers to several questions face-to-face instructors have asked us. 

  • Do I need to be testing through UW’s program? If you’re not teaching f2f, make sure you are flagged correctly in HCM and thus exempted from on-campus testing requirements. If you are not exempted through HCM, you will need to test according to the university’s policy and testing calendar.

  • When will we know if students are compliant for testing? According to the Spring Plan, students will have a “limited contact” period from January 25th to January 31st; limited contact does mean that students will be allowed to attend class. Students will receive a notification prior to the start of classes to schedule their two mandatory tests the first week of classes. Compliance will be run that week, but faculty will not know a student is non-compliant until the week of February 1.

  • If a student is indicated as not COVID-testing compliant on a class roster, what are the restrictions on that student? A UW student who is identified as non-compliant may not enter campus for class or other activities until the student takes the COVID-19 test. Students are able to attend classes and access campus resources virtually.  When a student is cleared, this will be reflected on WyoRecords and students will have their COVID Pass cleared.  After three instances of non-compliance a student will be restricted from campus for the remainder of the semester. For more guidance, see the Syllabus Guidelines developed last fall.

  • What info do instructors receive about student COVID testing compliance? What is it the student's responsibility to report to their instructor/ vs. what things does UW report to instructors? (For example, those that need to isolate for confirmatory tests, and those who may be quarantining from an exposure or may be sick themselves). As we did last semester, WyoRecords will be updated to reflect the most current and accurate information we have on whether a student is compliant or not.  Weekly compliance will be updated on Friday afternoons.  As exemptions are processed and students become compliant throughout the week, IT will update WyoRecords to reflect this. WyoRecords does not report positives, quarantines, or isolations. It is the responsibility of the student to reach out to their faculty in these situations. For more guidance, see the Syllabus Guidelines developed last fall.

Looking ahead,

Anne

 

Dr. Anne M. Alexander
Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
University of Wyoming

 

Quick Links

Help

Teaching support | Anonymous Feedback Form | AY 20/21 Tip Sheet

Policies

Covid policies | Syllabus & Field Course info | Travel policies | ADA compliance resources & expectations 

Covid-specific

Spring 2021 campus plan | UW vaccine info

Welcome to 2021, everyone!  

 

I hope that you have all been enjoying a peaceful, restful winter break these past few weeks.  As promised in my last 2020 message, I wanted to highlight the Spring 2021 temporary policies available to you on the Academic Affairs website at: 

https://www.uwyo.edu/acadaffairs/announcements/temp-policies.html

These policies include field trip and field course guidelines, syllabus posting recommendations, exceptions to course enrollment minima, and the exception request process for having your course continuing to meet in person after spring break.

ECTL and Academic Affairs will also be hosting sessions this month to help you get ready for the Spring 2021 semester, including highlighting some research and innovative resources we have on campus to promote student engagement with your material, you, and fellow students. You can see a draft of the schedule below, and more to come:

Schedule of events

Workshop

Date/Time

Zoom

DTL Course Opening Session

1/6, 8:30-10 AM

https://uwyo.zoom.us/j/94730860722

Padlet

Tuesday, 1/19, 11-12am

https://uwyo.zoom.us/j/9752776376

Rapid Course Design

Monday 1/11, 1-3 PM

https://uwyo.zoom.us/j/97662064575


Vidgrid

Monday, 1/11, 2-3pm

https://uwyo.zoom.us/j/9752776376


Perusall

Thursday, 1/14, 2pm

https://uwyo.zoom.us/j/4179437991


Engaging Discussions - synchronous

Wednesday, 1/13, 1-2:30 PM

https://uwyo.zoom.us/j/94730860722

Engaging Discussions - asynchronous

Tuesday 1/12: 11-noon

https://uwyo.zoom.us/j/2168180890


Zoom

Tuesday, 1/19, 3-4 PM

https://uwyo.zoom.us/j/97662064575


Gradebook/

Speedgrader

Tuesday 1/19, 11-noon

https://uwyo.zoom.us/j/2168180890

Labster - How to use and integrate into your course

Thursday 1/14 - 10-11am

https://uwyo.zoom.us/j/9752776376

Quizzes in WyoCourses

Wednesday, 1/13, 4-5 PM

https://uwyo.zoom.us/j/97662064575

Managing your Online Course

Tuesday, 1/19, 2pm

https://uwyo.zoom.us/j/4179437991

Google Docs

Wednesday, 1/13, 3 pm

https://uwyo.zoom.us/j/4179437991

DTL Course Closing Session

January 20, 1-2:30 PM

https://uwyo.zoom.us/j/94730860722

As we head into the spring, we can, of course, expect Wyoming to bring us spring snowstorms and mighty winds.  We also can expect that the pandemic will remain a major factor in our operations. But we also see the light returning, the days lengthening, and a quickening of our souls as the new year brings new hope.  Hold on to that hope. 

I continue to say it, because I believe it – better days are ahead, Pokes. Here is a video to thank you for your unbending dedication to UW.

 

Anne

 

Dr. Anne M. Alexander
Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
University of Wyoming

2020

Dear Colleagues,

 

Welcome to the end of finals week! 

I know we all have much grading yet to do, but let me say again how very, very proud I am to work with you. 

A colleague asked the other day in a meeting - how do we define success in these COVID times? That is the question of our time, complex and complicated, and will mean 3 different things to 2 different people. To me, success this semester has meant that you guided your students through content and materials and through an unprecedented time that is psychologically and sociologically difficult, exhausting, and seemingly-never ending. You commiserated with your colleagues and hacked your way through, no doubt missing opportunities but also building extraordinary memories. 

It does not mean we were perfect. I don’t think there is any “perfect” right now. Historians will tell us later what went right and went wrong. But we tried everything we could and gave our best. Right now, that is success.

Some of you may have questions about the Spring 2021 plan. 

The UW Board of Trustees has heard and discussed President Seidel’s plan this week, and they are set to vote on the final plan on Wednesday, December 16. We will have as much as possible ready to share with you after that. You can anticipate syllabus posting guidelines, exception request processes pertaining to project-based/activity-based courses and research, and other policies to give you all the tools you need to prepare for the Spring. We will post details here on the Academic Affairs website, and we will email you on January 6, 2021 with a link to that information.

Now friends, we can’t expect that when the calendar clicks over to Jan. 1, 2021, our lives will magically change. Calendars don’t change our lives. Only we can do that. Just remember -  take time to keep yourself balanced and healthy. And then, together, we’ll put one foot in front of the other. Breathe. We made it another minute.

In January, we will host support sessions for you.

After the winter break, Academic Affairs invites you to join your colleagues for weekly listen-learn-share sessions on some lessons-learned from Fall 2020. Our themes for these events are still being solidified. If there’s a topic you think would be interesting and useful for others, please feel free to propose it!

Meanwhile, we know we will cover:

Toolkit for Student Engagement:

What have we learned from our peers, ourselves, and our mentors about ways our students can be better engaged in this time of distancing and stay-at-home? (Discussion co-hosted with the ECTL)

Exam Integrity Solutions:

What solutions, beyond using HonorLock and Respondus, have you found that boost deeper learning on exams when we’re restricted to online environments?

The First Day:

We’ll share some ideas on content that’s being built right now to help your students better navigate Canvas and their online environment. Our thanks to Faculty Senate for this idea!

Computer skills are surfacing as a key factor in student success. If you know of students that need assistance with basic computer and technology skills, Alec Muthig from UW IT suggests the following options:  

GCFLearnFree

  • Offers quick, easy-to-navigate tutorials on Windows, Mac, Microsoft Office, email, and more. Alec frequently recommends this site as a great place to sharpen essential technology skills.

LinkedIn Learning

  • Offers more extensive training for UW employees and students. More information on how to access this platform can be found here.  On LinkedIn Learning, full courses such as Windows 10: Organizing Files and Folders or Computer Literacy for Mac are available but can be lengthy. (The courses mentioned are each about two hours long.) 

Though our winter holiday will be, likely, different and complicated – just like all of life right now – I wish you peace, joy, light, and love in the days ahead. You are extraordinary people, and it’s my honor to work with you. Happy holidays (and take a break!).

Until 2021,

Anne

 

Dr. Anne M. Alexander
Interim Provost and Sr. Vice President for Academic Affairs
University of Wyoming

Dear colleagues, 

You have a lot on your plate right now. And one of those things is how to keep students engaged at the end of the semester. 

You and your students may now be relying more on video than earlier in the semester. This past week, the ECTL and UW IT shared a few resources that may be helpful. In case you missed them, we're highlighting them here.

  1. IT has a variety of multimedia recording equipment available for students to check out. The equipment varies from standard camcorders to GoPro Action cameras to DSL cameras. In addition to recording equipment, we also have accessories such as tripods, microphones, and camera mounts. Students can check out the equipment from the IT Walk-in Service center located on the first floor of the ITC.  Additional information and a list of available equipment can be found at: http://microlab.uwyo.edu/services/mme.asp.

  2. 20-Minute Resource: Build Engagement in Online Classes through Student-Created Videos. By incorporating student videos into online classes, students can feel connected to their classmates and more engaged with course content. Online instructors may encounter some challenges when incorporating student videos initially. This program provides practical ways to avoid them. Access: http://mondaymorningmentors.com/category/traditional/. Password: videos321

  3. VidGrid and FlipGrid are readily accessible video platforms which can be integrated into classes. VidGrid is built into WyoCourses, and FlipGrid is free online and very user-friendly.

We hope these tools will come in handy these coming weeks.

Again, my deepest gratitude to you for all you do.

Anne

 

Dr. Anne M. Alexander
Interim Provost and Sr. Vice President for Academic Affairs
University of Wyoming

Dear Colleagues,

I write today with deep gratitude for you. For the work you have done, and the work you have likely set aside, this semester. For the extra time you have spent, and the time that you re-allocated, and the time -- no doubt -- that you have delayed using for hiking, biking, fishing, napping, binge watching, or in other ways taking a break. I hope you get that time back very soon. I am also grateful for the extraordinary effort you have made to support our students and staff this semester.

I am also grateful for the caution you have applied to reduce exposure and transmission on campus and in our community. We are seeing record case numbers, but we know you have done your best. Thank you. We couldn’t do this without you.

As we go fully into Phase 4, there are a few things you may want to be aware of:

  1. Testing in Phase 4/Winter Break will be through our Surveillance program: Testing will NOT be conducted next week (November 23-27), but will resume the following week (November 30) for those employees who are identified to be on campus and are not able to socially distance, and for students who opt in. You can opt in by following these steps.

  2. Spring Return planning: Spring semester begins on January 25, with Residence Hall move-in still scheduled for January 22. There will be surveillance testing required for students and all other UW employees as we return to campus, and details of this will be coming soon. We will not do pre-return testing (like in August), because we will have rapid testing scaled up by the start of next semester.

  3. A spring plan will be presented to the Board of Trustees by the President in December. We are currently scenario planning for the Spring return, so if anything changes (from point 2 above), we will keep you up to date.

Again, thank you. May you find peace and rest in the coming days.

Anne

 

Dr. Anne M. Alexander
Interim Provost and Sr. Vice President for Academic Affairs
University of Wyoming

Dear Colleagues,

As you have transitioned to an early Phase IV (fully remote instruction) this week, please be aware of the following:

  1. All Campus Buildings will be open during Normal Business hours except as noted below:

    1. The Library Hours are set by the Library staff and are posted on their website (http://www.uwyo.edu/libraries/).

    2. The Classroom Building and ENZI Building will be locked with limited access (card access).   If you need access to the Classroom Building or ENZI Building to provide online instruction and do not have card access, you should call UWPD to assist.  If one of the officers is available, he or she can meet you there to assist with accessing the building.  (It might be wise to call ahead.)

    3. The College of Business will be locked, but available with those who have card swipe access. If additional instructors need access, please contact business@uwyo.edu

    4. Visual Arts building is open but will not provide access to studios or classrooms, these rooms will be locked. 

  2. All Campus Buildings will be locked with limited access during Winter Closure (December 24th thru Jan 3rd).

 

Take care and stay warm!

Anne

 

Dr. Anne M. Alexander
Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
University of Wyoming

Dear Colleagues,

For the past several months, you have, like the Mandalorian, watched over and cared for our student population.  While they are not as young as “The Child/Baby Yoda,” they too are vulnerable, yet mighty.  Together, you have had many adventures - and you’ve helped them make it through some extremely tough spots.  

You’ve done this while caring for your families, keeping yourselves as safe and healthy as possible, AND doing your creative activity and research, service, and extension.  

Now the in-person part of your adventure is coming to an end.  It’s a testament to your hard work and dedication that we’ve been able to deliver seven weeks (or nine weeks, if you’re an FYS instructor!) of face-to-face experiences for our students.  That’s pretty amazing and worthy of commendation. Again, thank you.

Here are some things to keep in mind as we shift to online environments next week.

  1. The post-face-to-face world for your students: For all of our students, and especially your first-year students, they are completing a semester of college unlike any generation before.  In many cases they will soon be moving back home – and they may feel as if they have to backslide in their pre-college, high school life.  They may have to compete for WIFI bandwidth with their family, and their space will be completely different. UW IT is available to support students trouble-shooting tech and hardware issues. As in the spring, UW IT can also provide laptops and other equipment for students to checkout through the end of the semester. In any case, give students some grace as they navigate and negotiate their needs in their new home life. Please note: for students who need to remain on campus until winter closure, most buildings and facilities, including Coe Library and computer labs, will remain open through the end of the semester as originally planned. 

  2. Testing before departure: Please remind your students to complete their COVID test this week, so that they can have a clear NEGATIVE before travelling home.  We do not want to be a source of super-spread. 

  3. Flexibility is key: We understand that our abbreviation of the in-person semester has likely shifted your syllabus again.  Take a look through and see what in-person pieces can be moved to online environments.  Give yourself and your students the grace you gave this spring. Consider: what is essential for the rest of the semester? Is there anything you can simplify, adapt, or make optional? Also, note that students are not required to leave this weekend; we are giving them the option to leave. If a student can work independently in a space (no groups) to complete an assignment before going home, give them the flexibility to do so. If a student needs an extra day to get back online, let them have an extension.  And, as a reminder - do not change your class time.  Finally, do not change your final exam time if you’re administering it synchronously - those times are carefully orchestrated by the Office of the Registrar to minimize time conflicts.

  4. Students should continue testing while at home, if possible.  Wyoming offers free at-home COVID-19 testing using VAULT Health, the same company the UW has partnered with to support our fall testing program.  Students living in Wyoming are encouraged to order their free at-home test; tests are available weekly.  More information can be found here. Testing will continue next week as scheduled for those students who must remain on campus. Students and UW employees can opt-in here (the opt-in options are near the bottom of the page).

  5. Spring Return planning:  Spring semester begins on January 25, with Residence Hall move-in still scheduled for January 22.  We are currently scenario planning for the Spring return. At this time, we do not plan to require pre-return negative results from Vault.  There will be surveillance testing required for students and all other UW employees as we return to campus, and details of this will be coming soon. 

 

Take care and stay warm!

Anne

 

Dr. Anne M. Alexander
Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
University of Wyoming

Dear Colleagues,

Soon, or already, you will have a message from your dean or department head providing details on a campus-wide Thanksgiving Break intervention. This intervention provides students the opportunity to safely return home for the holiday, and will include moving to fully online instruction starting this Monday, November 16th.

Please keep an eye out for that message, and/or preview what I sent earlier to our Associate Deans and Department Heads in the attached. And, if you’re a supervisor, department head, etc., please consider adapting the message and passing it on to anyone you think will need this information moving forward.

Thank you again for everything you have done to make this semester a success. We want everyone to have the safest and healthiest holiday possible. If we all do our part, we can stay safe and protect those we care about from COVID-19. 

Anne

 

Dr. Anne M. Alexander
Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
University of Wyoming

Dear Colleagues,

Soon, or already, you will have a message from your dean providing details on Phase 4, Thanksgiving and winter breaks, testing plans in those periods, and more. This message also contains our projections for how the spring semester is likely shaping up - more or less like Fall 2020. 

Please keep an eye out for that message, and/or have a look at it here. And, if you’re a supervisor, department head, etc., please consider adapting the message and passing it on to anyone you think will need this information moving forward.

Here’s wishing you all a moment of calm this weekend!

Anne

 

Dr. Anne M. Alexander
Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
University of Wyoming

Dear Colleagues, 

Today is election day, and I want to thank Dr. Monago and the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for this fantastic resource: Civic Engagement Resources: Before, During, and After the 2020 National Election. You may find it useful inside and beyond your classrooms.

I’m also writing to clarify a few things: 

  1. Supporting custodial staff, 

  2. When Phase 4 (all online) starts, 

  3. Who to coordinate with if you move your course online before Phase 4, 

  4. COVID-19 testing clarifications - who is in the pool, when that is decided weekly, etc.,

  5. Budget reduction process, and

  6. Spring semester calendar

 

  1. Supporting custodial staff

During the time between classes, please give the operations staff the time to do their tasks

As a friendly reminder, we moved to a modified schedule in Fall 2020 to allow our operations team to clean between class meetings. The cleaning is required to achieve CDC and OSHA recommendations regarding cleaning and sanitizing. Most importantly, the cleaning helps to minimize the coronavirus threat.

Additionally, if your class has been moved to online due to COVID precautions/procedures, please let your unit custodial staff know so they can adjust as necessary. Otherwise, we are wasting their time and cleaning resources by having them clean a room that isn’t in use.

  1. When Phase 4 (all online) starts

Phase 4 runs from November 23-December 11. We ask all students and instructors to prepare in advance for in-person coursework to end on or by November 20. Please prep your students to take along course materials, etc., which they may need to work off-campus. More details are available in this UW communication (October 26).

  1. Who to coordinate with if you move your course online before Phase 4

You must discuss moving your course modality with your department head and dean, and they must agree that it’s in your students’ and your best interest.  Make sure it does not put any of your students in a tough spot with respect to in-person residency requirements, and do NOT move the time of your course. If all of these things are attended to, please let Lynn Wheat (lwheat@uwyo.edu) in the Office of the Registrar know that your course is shifting modality and the effective date.

  1. COVID-19 testing clarifications

  • Wastewater testing: You may have heard that UW will start testing campus wastewater for COVID-19. More information is available in this UW communication (October 26).

  • Campus testing pool: HR recently sent out an update to supervisors about COVID-19 testing classifications for working on/off campus. They also clarified when and how the testing pool is decided for each subsequent week during Phase 3. Details are available in our Tip Sheet here.

  • Phase 4 testing: In Phase 4, testing will return to a surveillance protocol (random sampling) like we used in Phase 1. Those who were in the testing pool in Phase 1 will be in the pool for Phase 4, which will run until school starts again on January 25, 2020. If you were not in the Phase 1 pool, but want to be in the Phase 4 pool, you can opt in by following these steps.

  1. The budget reduction process

We need and want your feedback on the budget reduction process. You can submit anonymous feedback here

As you know, in response to a 10 percent cut in state funding that resulted in an immediate reduced distribution from the state earlier this year, the University of Wyoming’s administration has identified a plan to address a $42.3 million budget reduction in the current biennium to present to the UW Board of Trustees during their meeting November 11-13. The plan is due to the Board of Trustees on November 1. More details are available in this UW communication (October 27).

  1. Spring semester calendar

The complete, updated calendar is available here, and an October 23 UW communication provides details. The short story is that we start a week later (January 25), do not have a spring break, and get an extra holiday (February 15).

 

If you have any other questions, please send them our way! We will get answers to you asap.

 

As always, thank you for all you do!

Anne

 

Dr. Anne M. Alexander
Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
University of Wyoming

Dear Colleagues: 

The Office of Academic Affairs and the COVID Hub have been receiving questions about student attendance policy and expectations for making up assignments and tests when students are unable to attend class – either in-person or virtually.

On September 7, 2020, the Office of Academic Affairs provided guidance on student attendance policy and impacts of COVID-19. (See excerpt below. For full guidance document, go to: www.uwyo.edu/acadaffairs/announcements/temp-policies.html)

Coronavirus Pandemic Addendum to Attendance Policy: During the fall of 2020 and for the duration of the coronavirus pandemic, the attendance policy applies as noted below:

  • Self-Quarantine and Isolation: Any student notified that they have tested positive for covid-19 or that they have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for covid-19 may need to isolate for up to two weeks at a time.

  • Students will not be penalized for having to self-quarantine for exposure to a known positive. Students who test positive will be told to isolate and should continue to complete course work online for the duration of their isolation as they are able.

  • Illness: Under no circumstances are students to attend in-person classes if they are experiencing any symptoms of covid-19. Illnesses are covered under the Authorized Absence program managed within the Dean of Students Office.

Some of the questions we are receiving relate to the COVID testing non-compliance intervention that impacted in-person class attendance this week. We recognize this intervention was disruptive, particularly in classes where students must complete in-class assignments and tests. And, we also understand the challenges of rescheduling assignments and tests during a time when in-person opportunities are limited due to social distancing requirements. 

Guidance: Course absence policy should apply to all students who failed to complete the required testing last week.  However, special arrangements to make up assignments or tests should be made for students who requested an exception to testing prior to last week and were still in the queue for approval.  Students who have submitted an appeal for review may not return to class until they have a communication from the Dean of Students Office that the student is cleared to return to class.  Otherwise, the student will be out for the week and encouraged to only come to campus to participate in bridge testing.

We also received questions about making up assignments and tests when students are in quarantine or isolation.

Guidance: If students are absent because they are in quarantine or isolation, faculty should make every effort to accommodate the students by providing virtual opportunities. If virtual opportunities are not possible, rescheduling or modifying assignments and tests is expected. 

In addition to these questions, the Office of Academic Affairs has heard numerous accounts of how faculty are going above and beyond the call to help their students be successful.  Thank you for your patience and flexibility during these difficult times.

 

Anne

 

Dr. Anne M. Alexander
Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
University of Wyoming

Dear colleagues,

I hope everyone has had a safe return to campus and classes this week! As more students and faculty were making their way around campus, it has become even more imperative that we follow the new guidelines in place, for everyone’s health and wellbeing. 

We know you want to talk with your students and answer their questions at the end of class.  I’m asking you to take those conversations outside the classroom when your class time is complete out of consideration for our custodians.  As you know, our Operations staff is doing an incredible job of carrying out additional cleaning between courses, and if we impede them, we’re putting the next class to use the room at risk.  Please gently guide your students to a different location – an atrium, the lobby – for after-class questions, and let them know at the beginning of class that you’ll answer their questions there.

Secondly, I need your help in keeping your classrooms public-health oriented and safe. Classrooms have been carefully laid out to allow for 6’ distancing between students. There is also a 10’ distance from the front wall of the classroom to the first row of students. This is your space.  Please help us enforce the seating guidelines in your classroom. Don’t move tables and chairs. We have sleeves on the seats in the auditoria that say “Please sit here” to identify where students can sit. Tables are strategically 6’ distanced from each other, and are marked with green “go” tape.  If we can’t adhere to these rules, we may have to decrease the capacity of the classrooms to make sure that students can maintain the proper social distancing.  

 

See below for a visual:

c19_classroom_spacing.jpg 

Staying healthy together

  • Being able to continue with Phase 3 requires everyone following all health and safetyguidelines at all times with no exceptions. 

  • Only by remaining vigilant and following the UW safety guidance do we have a chance of operating successfully on campus.

  • Please continue to use COVID Pass daily to assess your symptoms before coming to campus. If you feel sick, or fail COVID pass, please do not come to campus.

Thank you for all you do. Here’s wishing you a great rest of the week!

 

-Anne  

Dr. Anne M. Alexander
Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
University of Wyoming

Dear colleagues,

We are looking forward to Phase 3 beginning on Monday, September 28. Today, I write with a couple of clarifications and some resources for folks who may be teaching students in a classroom and virtually at the same time.

 Phase 3 clarifications

There have been a lot of good questions about Phase 3, and many of you have focused on testing. Here are a few direct clarifications:

  1.  Testing - 

    1. The bridge testing program through Vault Health will continue until mid-October (~6,000 tests administered weekly). All UW undergraduate students who have been identified as attending a course with face-to-face instruction are being asked to submit a weekly sample during the next three weeks. This will be increased to twice weekly when our surveillance program begins. 

    2. In mid-October, students in Albany County, and employees who are on campus and not able to maintain physical distancing, will be required to be tested at least once per week. Other employees will be able to opt in to the surveillance testing. Those saliva tests will be processed at UW’s Wyoming State Veterinary Laboratory, allowing for faster results.

    3. Additional details are available in this UW press release.

  2. Rationale for continuing to Phase 3 - UW is in a much stronger position in our current phased approach than most other universities which have attempted to reopen.  We have access to sufficient numbers of Vault tests for us to sample a considerable proportion. The logistics for scaling up the bridge testing as we await supply chain resolution are already set.  President Seide’s epidemiological and advisory teams meet twice each day, and on the weekends as needed, to review the indicators and thresholds for targeted actions.  UW will remain vigilant and keep your health as its lodestar as he makes decisions around what actions to take each week, each day, and each hour.

  3. Positive notifications process - approved 9/24, this process will be followed for any UW affiliated people who test positive, either through UW-administered testing or external testing labs.

  4. What to do if someone doesn’t wear a mask (over their mouth and nose) or otherwise follow Phase 3 policies? See this brief document for guidance.

  5. How to work with graduate students (TAs, RAs, etc.) who have concerns about f2f teaching? See this brief document for guidance.

 

Teaching resources for hybrid classes (face-to-face & virtual)

I anticipate that you will have students who cannot come to class in-person, even during Phase 3. Here are a few resources to help you juggle students in both settings simultaneously.

  • Advice from a few First Year Seminar instructors already teaching F2F in Phase 2 

1) At some point in the next eight weeks, you will probably have some students in quarantine, so be prepared to handle that situation and offer the material to them. See the resources below for advice.

2) Make sure you get there early to simultaneously record and give lectures, as it takes a while to set up.

3) If your classroom doesn’t fit everyone, plan ahead for Monday: How you will rotate the students and let the students know beforehand so they know when to come, etc.?

  • How Do I Convert a F2F Course to a Hybrid Course? - This 20-minute video is part of the ECTL’s university-wide subscription to Magna. For Magna access info, click here.

  • Capturing a Zoom Lecture with VidGrid - This 4-minute video resource is among many resources provided by the ECTL here.

  • More 20-minute online teaching resources - This search link directs you to numerous Magna videos on aspects of online teaching from discussion boards and creating community online to engaging lecture strategies. For Magna access info, click here.

 

As always, thank you for what you do! Here’s wishing you a smooth transition back to campus on Monday.

 

Anne

Dr. Anne M. Alexander
Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
University of Wyoming

Dear colleagues,

If you were teaching in-person this past week, my gratitude and high fives to you! I was in the classroom with my first year seminar class myself, and it was both exhilarating to be with them and somewhat sobering. This is not the new normal; it is still our best effort in a challenging time. Thank you.

For all of us, here is a round up of campus resources to support your teaching (online and in-person) at several levels. Please tap into these resources as much as your bandwidth allows. 

Triage and One-Off Options: The Ellbogen Center for Teaching and Learning (ECTL) offers drop-in hours. They also offer weekly webinars on a wide range of topics. These are announced on Mondays through targeted announcements and the faculty listserv.

On-Demand Resources: The ECTL offers 20-minute webinars and other on-demand support through a campus subscription to Magna, a top-notch educational resource. They also host an online teaching resources webpage loaded with helpful materials on Zoom, Canvas, Honorlock, VidGrid, and more.

 Full-Scale Support: 

  • The ECTL is offering another two rounds of their course on Digital Teaching and Learning. The October 26-November 20 session is still open for application until Wednesday October 21. 

  • The ECTL also offers consulting and course observations.

  • Any of the ECTL’s trainings, along with external trainings, can count toward their Certification in Teaching and Learning. Details here.

  • Thanks to the CARES Act, Academic Affairs was able to offer $4.1 million in instructional design support from two external companies. Deans and other representatives from all major units, along with the ECTL, were involved in identifying programs and individual courses that would most benefit from this support. That support has now been allocated and relevant faculty will begin working with their dedicated instructional design consultants.

Clear skies and hope you all have had a good weekend,

 

Anne

Dr. Anne M. Alexander
Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
University of Wyoming

Dear colleagues,

I hope you’ve had a chance to enjoy the return of warm weather! If you’re anything like me, you’re looking forward to connecting with students more directly as we move into Phase 2.

Good news - the pause is definitely ending today. After reviewing the latest data, we plan to lift the pause and enter Phase 2 operations on Tuesday, September 15, 2020. 

To help students better understand expectations, we recommend using this template to notify your students how to attend your class after the pause is lifted.

If you’re not slated to be on campus during Phase 2, scroll to the bottom for quick links about other topics that may be helpful. And, please continue filling out the COVID Pass each day.

Otherwise, today, I write to you with a brief clarification of how in-person classrooms are set up. 

Classrooms have been laid out to allow for 6’ distancing between students. There is also a 10’ distance from the front wall of the classroom to the first row of students. Podiums, when possible have been adjusted to be 3’ from the front wall. This space is the safe space for the instructor or faculty to teach, while maintaining 6’ distancing from the students. Area in front of the podium and to the front row should be avoided for use. See below for a visual provided by Jennifer Coast, Deputy Director of Safety and Facilities Engineering with UW Operations.

c19_classroom_teaching_space.jpg

If you have any questions, Jennifer and her team can be reached here: uwyo.edu/uwops/ or 307-766-2537 (anytime number).

Staying healthy together

  • Being able to continue with Phase 2 requires everyone following all health and safety guidelines at all times with no exceptions. 

  • Only by remaining vigilant and following the UW safety guidance do we have a chance of operating successfully on campus.

  • Please continue to use COVID Pass daily to assess your symptoms before coming to campus. If you feel sick, or fail COVID pass, please do not come to campus.

Thank you for all you do. Here’s wishing you a great Tuesday tomorrow, whether you’re teaching in person or online!

 

 -Anne  

Dr. Anne M. Alexander
Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
University of Wyoming

Colleagues and friends,

As you no doubt have heard, UW entered into a 5-business-day pause this morning.  These days will give President Seidel some time to find out whether this is a small brushfire (a small outbreak of symptomatic cases that we can contain) or a large wildfire (an outbreak we need to take more long-term action on).  Normal is such a strange word right now, but know that we’ll get back to something resembling it when the pandemic is over.  For now, we need to let public health and science dictate our course of action  Your leadership is critical – your good humor is critical – your untiring efforts are so appreciated.

Let’s be role models.  Do not come in unless you need to grab something quickly.  If you’re a bench scientist, work on a grant proposal or writing up your results this week.  Don’t congregate in public places.  Have a Zoom happy hour. If you’re not sure about whether you should be on campus or not, see the image below.

 c19_campus_pause_flow.jpg

And, stay positive. Multiple changes and responses are necessary and are being done in our faculty, staff, and student’s best interest. For more information on the Pause, see this link or this quick video I made to outline what the Pause is and how it works.

Please keep filling out the Covid Pass every day (even if you’re not on campus). Follow this link for an update on testing around campus.

Need help?

Please contact us for any support you may need. See below this email for quick links that may help, too. 

 

How you can help

Ensuring all personnel are aware of the “pause” is critical. We need your help communicating to your teams if you are a supervisor, whether that’s a supervisor of a lab, a team of GA’s, work-studies, or a whole department. To help you get the word out quickly, we have created this template for you to customize and send out. It includes a reminder that the Bridge Testing program will continue, and we should all continue to complete the COVID pass. Please update and distribute this message immediately, if you have not already done so.

We understand that this situation will cause uncertainty and difficulty as you shift to a virtual work environment. We are committed to providing updates as quickly as possible. We will also provide further guidance as it becomes available.

As always, reach out for help if you need it!

 

Anne

 

Dr. Anne M. Alexander
Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
University of Wyoming

Colleagues and friends,

 

This week’s check-in includes some graphics. They should help you and students understand:

  • What a campus pause is and why we might need one this fall (link); 

  • Who should come to campus during a pause (link). Short story: almost no one

 c19_campus_pause.jpg

c19_campus_pause_flow.jpg

 

Please keep filling out the Covid Pass every day (even if you’re not on campus). Follow this link for an update on testing around campus.

This week and onward, you can find a set of quick links in the footer of these weekly updates. The links direct you to essential policies and resources.

As always, reach out for help if you need it!

 

Anne

Dr. Anne M. Alexander
Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
University of Wyoming

Colleagues and friends,

 

We’ve reached the end of week one, and the midpoint of phase one, of Fall 2020! CONGRATULATIONS! 

See below for a few check-ins and points of clarification as you end the week.

  • Update on the rollout of testing around campus: If you are in the Phase 1 cohort of our bridge testing, you may have already been notified of (or will be soon) that it’s time to schedule your appointment. When you receive that email, please login using your UW credentials to the scheduling tool.  Follow the simple directions on the form and then follow through and keep your appointment.  Please know how critical it is to follow through on this – this is how we will keep our campus safe.  If you don’t follow through, you’ll be getting a call from me.  FWIW, my first testing appointment in the Gardens is scheduled for next Tuesday.  

  • COVID Pass reminder:  Just a friendly reminder that, if you are coming to campus you should fill out your COVID Pass each day.  It takes very little time, and even if you aren’t coming to campus, it’s good to do it to get into the routine.

  • Reach out for help if you need it:  I have reached the COVID cliff.  I reach it every day.  I know you do too. If you need help, the following may be for you:

    • Counseling (mental health, legal, financial): UW offers an Employee Assistance Program that provides benefited employees and their household members with professional counseling, as well as legal and financial assistance. UW partners with MINES and Associates to provide services at no cost to UW employees. Access any of the services by visiting the MINES and Associates website or by calling 1-800-873-7138.

    • ADA compliance for your course delivery: ADA expectations are applicable online and in-person, so please attend to these considerations in all content delivery modes. The Disability Student Services (DSS) office is our go-to. See the attached document (or this link) for details about DSS, support for making course materials accessible, and where to refer students.

    • Ongoing pedagogical help:

      • We have in-house and external consultants available to help you this semester. If you’d like support overhauling a course or program to be online, contact Jayne Pearce (jpearce@uwyo.edu).

      • For individual courses, the UW ECTL continues to offer amazing assistance, long and short term, for you as you adjust to these new times.  They are an asset, and they will help you.  Just reach out and ask: www.uwyo.edu/ctl.

  • Course times/dates:  Another friendly reminder – when you change your course times without consulting the Office of the Registrar, you are likely creating significant course time conflicts for your students, thus creating more stress than they need and problems they didn’t ask for.  Don’t do it.  Please.

  • Summary of enrollment:  We have good news on enrollment numbers.  We are currently at 98% of our enrollment numbers from last year, and as of Day 3 (Wednesday) we had 11,903 students enrolled!  The generous funding from the CARES Act no doubt had a lot to do with that; many of you reading this also worked tirelessly to call and email and text students to urge them to come back or come to UW.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

I’m also linking to a quick tip sheet to help you locate some important policies and recommendations from both the COVID teams and Academic Affairs.  I hope it’s helpful to you. 

Most importantly, THANK YOU for all you are doing, and will continue to do.  The world needs more people like you.  Happy Friday, 

Anne

 

Dr. Anne M. Alexander
Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
University of Wyoming

Colleagues and friends,

 

Today, we mark the beginning of an academic year unlike any other.  As we begin Phase 1 of UW’s phased reopening plan, the vast majority of us are teaching online and by Zoom from today through September 4.  Our students are likely still at their homes, with their families, spread nation- and worldwide.  The first thing you’ll do in the morning, after waking up and greeting the day, is take your temperature and self-assess your wellness on COVID Pass. The few of us on campus are isolated in our offices, or wearing masks and standing 6 feet away from those we meet and greet.  If we are physically on campus during Phase I, we will respond to random sampling COVID-19 test calls from our epidemiological and public health colleagues.

But some things won’t change.  Our students will learn and grown, and feel those first day jitters as they embark on their new courses, no matter where they are.  We’ll review syllabi, check in with each other and our students, and embrace the new year with gusto.  The joy of learning, discovery, and innovation will still be felt by all of us.

During this once-in-a-generation event, you have risen to the challenges you’ve faced.  You’ve adjusted plans for your courses with professionalism. You’ve wrestled with these changes and tried new things, and because of your efforts our students will receive a high quality education. I’m confident that, when history looks back at how UW handled this incredible event, it will judge that you did an outstanding job.

I miss our students.  I miss you.  But I know that our revised plan is the best possible way to get us to and through a safe and successful semester.  I also know that new data and information will rapidly emerge in the coming weeks, and we’ll need to continue to be flexible and patient and adjust to what the science tells us.  I thank you for all your hard work these past months, and for your patience and professionalism as we make our way through this very different start to an academic year.

Academic Affairs be putting out several more communications and opportunities for dialogue in the next days and weeks.  You can also stay up to date with temporary policies for everything from syllabi to student attendance to field course policies by going to the Academic Affairs COVID-19 site. Meanwhile, happy AY 2020-21 to you all.  May we see the end of the pandemic soon, with your help.

 

Anne

 

Dr. Anne M. Alexander
Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
University of Wyoming

2019-2016

Dear Faculty and Academic Staff:

This message is intended to provide guidelines for conducting searches for faculty and staff in academic units, and academic administrative in the Division of Academic Affairs. (Note: Decisions for searching for non-academic positions will be made by the appropriate vice president.)

Requisitions and early-stage search efforts: Please proceed as normal with requisitions and early-stage search efforts, including advertising. 

Preliminary stages and semifinalists: If you have just started your search or have already started screening finalists, it’s likely you’ve done so by Zoom or other tele-conferencing options. Please proceed as normal with your screening by tele-conferencing. 

Finalists for faculty, department head/chair and staff searches positions: Searches may proceed using Zoom or other teleconferencing options unless the dean, department head or faculty have significant concerns about conducting the interview this way.  

If you are in the midst of interviewing finalists and some, but not all, of your candidates have completed their on-campus interview, you may proceed with interviewing any remaining semifinalists by Zoom or other teleconferencing options. It is important that you are transparent with the candidates and inform them of the change in interview method.

If it is deemed critical for an on-campus interview so that the university and finalist candidates have the opportunity to visit and interact with our campus, community and state, this final phase of the search may be postponed until after the spring semester concludes. Search committee chairs should communicate with finalists in such searches to let them know that the process is delayed, and they will be invited to campus when current efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 are no longer needed.

College dean searches: Search committees for the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and the dean of the Haub School of Environment and Natural Resources will continue to review applications and conduct preliminary interviews through Zoom or other teleconferencing options, with the assistance of Summit Search Solutions and in consultation with President-Designate Seidel. On-campus interviews with the finalists will be postponed temporarily until current efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 are no longer needed. The dean of the College of Engineering and Applied Science search has been postponed until further notice.

Before proceeding with ongoing faculty and academic administrative searches, please consult the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for additional guidance. All other questions should be directed to your HR recruiter/employment partner.

 

Kate Miller, Provost

As we make this adjustment to an online and distance environment for the Spring 2020, I wanted to underscore some ideas and resources for you and your students. 

Asynchronous delivery and a little compassion. ECTL’s Instructional Design Team has a wealth of resources posted to help you make this shift.  I’d like to highlight this one, Teaching with Compassion and Focus Amidst Disruption, which is a compendium of ideas from the University of Vermont.  I also found this piece on how to think through designing asynchronous course delivery very useful.  Asynchronous delivery will help students (and you) when data bandwidth is overburdened or when many time zones are between you and your students, so this is especially important for international students who may have gone home and students in rural areas. If you want to record a demonstration, lab technique, or lecture, at this time you can use campus facilities and technology, to do so.

Redesigning Exams. Exams can pose a particular challenge in a situation where everyone is on their own. Using HonorLock and Respondus will be useful, but there is no perfect solution.  In order to minimize incidents of academic integrity violations for online exams while still ensuring they accurately reflect student learning, consider the following principles in creating and modifying exams:

  • Allowing exams to be open-book/source: Try a new approach: let your students use research resources when taking an exam. Design questions that probe deeper levels of knowledge and understanding, enabling students to apply, assess, and evaluate concepts and facts in meaningful ways. Have students to share and cite where they get information from and what resources they use.

  • Encourage students to collaborate/share questions and ideas: Students will likely work together when they are stuck or confused. You can encourage working in small teams and ask them to include who they work with and in what ways.

  • Focus on solving problems while showing work and explanations: In many cases, students may get the same answer, but showing their work reveals meaningful differences in understanding. Sometimes there may only be a few ways to show work, so you may ask for brief prose explanations, or have students record a video of them talking through the process to solve a question.

  • Use student-generated questions with explanations: Instead of trying to ensure everyone answers your limited number of questions on their own, ask every student to create their own question with an explanation of how it would assess a certain topic or skill in a meaningful way. You can also assign students to answer each other's questions and state whether those questions actually do assess these skills in appropriate ways.

  • Ensure clarity in questions and prompts: Especially if your test is timed, your students may not have a chance to ask a question and get a response. It is vital that questions and prompts are clear to novices so your assessment measures what you want it to. Even if not timed, you do not want to be spending your limited time answering clarifying questions.

  • Consider question formats leading to essays, videos, pictures, and other personal responses: If your class lends itself to it, having students express their learning through essays, videos, pictures, or other personalized forms of writing/speaking/communicating means that everyone needs to create their own. You can also have students post their responses for each other and assess each other's work through peer grading. Rubrics can help guide students as they develop such work, give each other feedback, and, of course, allow your teaching assistants and you a consistent method of assessment.

  • Respect your own time: Most of these ideas take time to grade. Try to determine what is feasible in your situation, and use feedback-based or hand-grading intensive assessments sparingly.. Many times feedback can be created for the whole group based on common challenges or problems, as opposed to individual responses.

Resources for students to help them succeed in this environment. As you are adjusting to this change, so are your students.  For some, it may be the first time they’ve had a fully-online educational experience, so providing them with some structure and compassion will be key to helping them manage through this time.  Some great resources include this short post and this set of principles to help them get structure back into their lives. I encourage you to reach out as soon as you can to your students to help them – and you – in redesigning your course to achieve your learning objectives and help them succeed.

What if my students don’t want to finish my course this way? If a student asks for an incomplete, you and they should make an explicit agreement about what still needs to be completed, by when. You will enter the grade of incomplete at final grade submission time, and you and the student will have 120 days from the date of assignment to complete the work and evaluate it. If this deadline needs to be extended by mutual agreement between you and the student, it can be done so easily. The incomplete grade will not affect their full-time status.

If a student seeks to drop your course, please work with Scholarships and Financial Aid to help the student understand the financial aid implications if it impacts their full-time status.  International students should consult with the International Students and Scholars office prior to dropping a class, as that may affect their immigration status.

Our faculty are used to balancing an enormous number of things. Now, we are asking you to take a leap into online and distance modalities in a short period of time in the interest of our community’s public health.  We understand that it isn’t going to be perfect, and that is ok.  You are the touchstone to normalcy and a little bit of structure that our students need.  Thank you for all your creative and good thinking as we work through this situation together.

 

Kate Miller, Provost

Dear Faculty:

This morning, the President presented the university’s plans in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to the UW Board of Trustees. The plans include moving all instruction to online delivery for the remainder of the spring semester. Spring break is extended one week for students, so that faculty can use that time to prepare for online delivery.

Those following breaking news undoubtedly realize that many universities are responding to the pandemic in this way.

The remainder of this message contains important information regarding UW’s transition to online instruction, as well as resources available for support of faculty in this process. 

 

Logistical Details – First Steps

  1. Faculty members should send email to students enrolled in their courses as soon as possible, but no later than 24 hours before the scheduled meeting time of your first class session after the extended spring break, with plans for course continuation and access to WyoCourses. If a faculty member does not have complete plans ready at that time, the message should let students know when they can expect further details.

  2. Spring break was extended by one week to allow faculty members to transition to alternative delivery modes as soon as possible. 

  3. No distance classes should be reconvened until March 30, 2020.

 

Key Guidelines for Online Delivery

  1. Students’ progress toward graduation should not be impacted by the change in instructional delivery mode. We recognize that some hands-on laboratory or performance courses might be difficult to conduct remotely. For those courses, we urge faculty to think creatively and consult colleagues to discuss ways to fulfill learning outcomes using alternative delivery methods.

  2. Courses must comply with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Student information, including grades, may not be shared via email. It is recommended that students use their university credentials to access course materials and instruction through WyoCourses.

  3. If you have students requiring disability accommodations, please work with UDSS (www.uwyo.edu/udss/) to ensure accessibility of your course.

  4. Students may NOT be asked to pay for additional fees related to course delivery. This includes proctoring service fees. You can use the LockDown Browser quicklink within your WyoCourses shell to deploy the application, Respondus, and lock down access to web browsers during your exam. Honorlock, a proctoring application, is also readily available now in all WyoCourses shells; simply move it into the active menu and integrate it with your exams. An onboarding document is forthcoming -- meanwhile, you can contact Jeff Miller at jmiller@uwyo.edu or 307-766- 3726.

  5. As you redesign your courses, we strongly recommend that you focus on the learning outcomes of your class, and that you consider using an asynchronous instructional approach. Please recognize that your students are coming to terms with as much uncertainty and change as you are right now. So an expectation that you will conduct and students will attend synchronous class sessions may be unrealistic. In addition, some students have technology and other limitations. We are working to get guidance to faculty on these situations as soon as possible.

  6. Faculty can use synchronous course sessions (via Zoom) when necessary. Our recommendation is that faculty use this mode primarily for interactive discussions, during your regularly scheduled class times or office hours. Please be mindful of how teaching assistants (TA) are incorporated in the alternative delivery plan. Current guidelines and restrictions on TA time and workload should be maintained.

  7. Please try to use the lowest-bandwidth option that meets your instructional needs. For example, use Zoom only for interactive discussions. Do not use Zoom for classes of greater than 150 students. Use video, audio or text options for lecture delivery whenever possible.  

  8. If faculty already have online section(s), you may want to consider consolidating face-to-face sections of the same course into other sections now being delivered online. 

 

Support Resources

  1. Academic Affairs has published a website and Action Plan that provide additional guidelines. 

  2. Our instructional design and faculty development groups in the ECTL continue to provide consultations, web trainings and sharing national best practices on teaching online.

  3. Please visit www.uwyo.edu/workteachremote to learn more about how to do your work and teaching remotely in response to this disruption.

  4. Some departments, schools and colleges have additional resources and support for their faculty. Please look for additional emails from your department, school or college.

  5. The University has created a website that provides resources, communication, and FAQs about COVID-19.

 

The Academic Affairs team and I very much appreciate your efforts to ensure instruction continues for our students. We also appreciate your flexibility and understanding with students who will be rapidly adapting to new instructional circumstances.

This is a singular time for our institution and our world. I thank each of you for your leadership, your creative approaches and your dedication to our students and our missions.

Be well,

Kate Miller, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

When I sent my first message of the semester in September, campus was whirring back to life after the long summer break. In these seemingly shorter days before winter break, we can all see things winding down again. Students and faculty are taking and grading finals, and staff prepare to suspend most operations for the holidays. I hope that you have plans for a restful winter break and take the opportunity to recharge for the spring. I also thank those of you who will remain in Laramie to keep our campus safe and secure over the break.

This has been an eventful and productive fall semester. The most significant highlight is the University’s successful site visit with the Higher Learning Commission as we pursue reaccreditation. We are currently reviewing the site visit team’s draft report and expect the full report later this month. The draft report from the site visit team is very positive, and I want to thank every one of you for the roles you have played in ensuring the University of Wyoming works to realize its mission for our students, community and state every day. This outcome is the direct result of your hard work and commitment.

In collaboration and consultation with colleagues in the Faculty Senate and others, we worked with the Board of Trustees to pass two new regulations: 2-16: Sabbatical and Professional Development Leave and 2-9: Workload Policy. Regulations 2-2: Academic Personnel Dispute Resolution and UW 2-15: Academic Freedom are currently under review by board committees and expected to be reviewed by the full board in January and March, respectively. Additional UW Regulations and SAPPs are currently moving through the review process with Faculty Senate, committees and the administration and will be advanced in the coming months.

The Board of Trustees also approved new academic programs in American Sign Language and Computer Science Education, and notices of intent were presented for programs in Neuroscience and Early Childhood Education. An International Advisory Council that I appointed in the spring, which is co-chaired by AVP Anthony Ogden and Dean David Sprott, has been working to develop a new strategic framework for prioritizing UW’s global engagement investments, examining the intersection of UW and Wyoming interests by world region, themes of interaction, and current or prospective partners across the globe.

The spring semester is already shaping up to be as momentous as the fall. I wanted to take a moment to share some news with you as we look ahead to the semester to come.

 

Next Gen University Studies Program

I am excited to begin a discussion about the next generation of general education for UW students in the spring. Our current University Studies Program (USP) 2015 general education program had its beginnings in a similar exercise that began in 2011. Given accelerating disruption in workplaces and society, it’s time to think again about the way we prepare all UW students for full participation as citizens in an increasingly complex world. You will begin to see information from our office in the coming months about beginning this conversation.

 

WyoVita

WyoVita is the second module in a suite of online platforms that help faculty, academic units, colleges and the university maximize the quality and accessibility of faculty data, while eliminating outdated redundancies. The first module, WyoFolio, was launched last year. This new module allows faculty to create and customize their CVs and biosketches for a variety of purposes without having to enter data multiple times in multiple platforms. WyoVita has flexible and time-saving tools that can be used for data input and data output, such as integrating citation data and other analytics from bibliographic databases and reference management software and transferring data from other software applications (e.g., course evaluation systems and grant databases).

WyoVita will launch by the end of December. Since WyoVita and WyoFolio are part of the same online platform, CVs and other reports required for reappointment, tenure and promotion reviews, sabbatical reviews, and annual reviews can be generated directly from WyoVita and transferred to WyoFolio. And, the platform will be utilized to conduct annual reviews for calendar year 2019, which will begin February 1, 2020. Each faculty member will be asked to verify and update information for calendar year 2019 no later than January 31, 2020. Virtual training sessions will be available in the Employee Learn Center starting January 2, 2020. There will also be in-person and zoom training sessions open to all faculty and staff in Health Sciences 205. Dates, times and additional details will be provided in a forthcoming email.

 

Interviewing the Next Class of Trustee Scholars

Shortly after the spring semester begins, we will welcome more than 100 of Wyoming’s best and brightest students to campus to participate in the selection process for Trustees’ Scholars Awards. The Trustees’ Scholars Award is the top academic award and recognition given by the University of Wyoming. This fall, students selected earned an average high school GPA of 3.92 and an average ACT score of 32.

We are seeking faculty members to participate in interviews to select the next class of Trustees’ Scholars. Interviews will take place on Friday, January 31, and Friday, February 7, from 10 a.m.-noon at the Marian H. Rochelle Gateway Center. Faculty members who are interested in participating can sign up for timeslots by going to: survey.uwyo.edu/TakeSurvey.aspx?SurveyID=76LHml41H. Questions can be directed to Shelley Dodd, Director of Admissions, at shelley@uwyo.edu or 6-4273.

 

Statewide Common Course Numbering Work Continues

Work will continue on common course numbering. As part of the statewide initiative to enhance Wyoming’s educational attainment, a working group from the state’s higher education institutions has been collaborating on a common course numbering project. The goal is to harmonize course numbering protocols between UW and the seven community colleges, and to make certain that transferrable courses are easier to transcript across the state. Since mid-November, a group of UW faculty and staff, along with a statewide group with representation from each community college, has validated nearly half of the courses that are most commonly taught, have well-articulated learning outcomes, and are transferred frequently. Both the University Course Committee and USP Committee chairs are facilitating this process, along with AVP Alexander and Registrar King, and they’ve been consulting with the affected departmental faculty at each turn. Our goal is to have around 65% of all courses completed for the fall 2020 catalog, and the balance done in time for the fall 2021 catalog.

 

Graduate Teaching Assistant Allocations

Over the course of the current academic year, the Office of Graduate Education and the Graduate Council are reviewing the allocations of Graduate Teaching Assistantship funding to colleges and departments. The end goal of this process is to develop transparent criteria for making GTA allocations in the future. During the spring semester, both Graduate Council and the Office of Graduate Education will be seeking input from faculty, students, staff and administrators. AVP Ahern will meet with department heads at their February workshop, and additional opportunities for input will be announced once scheduled.

 

Transitions in Academic Affairs Leadership

Before I close this message, I also want to acknowledge two transitions in the leadership of the Office of Academic Affairs.

Dr. Anne Alexander has announced that she will step down from her role as Associate Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education in May 2020 after five years leading one of the largest units of the Division of Academic Affairs. Over the last several months, she also led efforts to secure the reaccreditation of the University of Wyoming with the Higher Learning Commission. Anne will join the College of Business as Associate Dean and Director of the Center for Business and Economic Analysis.

Special Assistant to the Provost for Strategic Initiatives Dr. Dan Maxey has accepted an appointment as Chief of Staff at the University of Northern Colorado and will begin his new role in the new year. Among the many tasks he was responsible for, Dan has been helping me to develop a plan to grow our capacity to service distance education and offer additional online programs. We will launch a search for a new director to carry those plans forward in the spring.

Anne and Dan have brought so much energy and enthusiasm to their work with the Division of Academic Affairs, and they have provided exemplary leadership to the University community. Please join me in thanking them both for their service and congratulating them on their new assignments.

In closing, thank you all for your contributions you make to our university -- your ideas, your effort, your energy and your commitment to our students, university and state. Wherever you find yourself this holiday season, I hope that you find time to reflect on all the good works we do every day -- to provide accessible and affordable higher education of the highest quality; carry out rigorous scholarship that we share with the world and seek to apply toward its improvement; promote economic and community development; and in service as responsible stewards of our cultural, historical and natural resources. And, I hope that with the dawn of a new year, you will come back reinvigorated and refreshed, with your sights set on all that we will accomplish in the spring semester.

 

Happy Holidays! And, GO POKES!

 

Kate C. Miller, Ph.D.

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Good afternoon, colleagues: 

Since we began the fall semester, the campus has been abuzz with activity. It is hard to believe, but we are well into October—nearly six weeks into the term—and experiencing the season’s first snowfall today. On Monday afternoon, I provided reports to the Faculty Senate on two key initiatives in Academic Affairs related to educational access, attainment, and affordability: Graduate Wyoming, a new effort to enhance ease of transfer into the University, and the status of Distance Education at UW. In the same spirit as last month’s message, I wanted to share additional information with faculty and staff colleagues so you are apprised of current developments in Academic Affairs in service of our common mission. 

I hope that your fall semester has been productive and enjoyable so far. I welcome your feedback on the efforts outlined below and look forward to sharing further developments as they emerge. 

Go Pokes!
Dr. Kate Miller
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs 

 

Graduate Wyoming

Graduate Wyoming is a new umbrella initiative developed in partnership with the state’s community colleges to expand support for transfer students. In recent years, UW has worked with the community colleges to establish program-specific 2+2 plans to facilitate the transfer of students with an earned associate’s degree. These have been an important tool and will continue to be administered, but do not meet the needs of a significant number of students who wish to transfer to continue their education at the University. To ensure that we serve those students who are not supported by 2+2 plans, Graduate Wyoming is developing additional tools and services to meet the needs of all prospective transfer students. These include: 

  • Transfer Planning Guides, or TPGs, will offer side-by-side guides for course articulation for students at the community colleges who plan to transfer to UW. This information will help prospective transfer students to “self-select” into courses with an upfront understanding of how their coursework will transfer to the University of Wyoming, allowing them to identify the courses that will be most beneficial to their progress toward completion of a bachelor’s degree. Many of us have encountered students who arrive on our campus frustrated that UW “didn’t accept” a significant share of their transfer credits. Often, these students have simply taken courses that don’t articulate to satisfy course requirements or just aren’t necessary for degree completion. The new TPGs are designed specifically to support students who are not eligible for 2+2 plans, who comprise 40% of UW’s transfer student population. These resources will ensure that transfer students can efficiently move through the community colleges and University toward a UW degree.

  • Reverse Transfer, the process of awarding associates degrees to students who transfer to UW in pursuit of a bachelor’s degree before they have completed requirements for an associate’s degree at the community college, will be elevated. We are developing an MOU to formalize a robust and collaborative approach so that once students have completed the remaining requirements at UW toward an associate’s degree from a community college, they will be eligible to receive the appropriate credential. This means they will have a valuable associate’s degree in hand even while they continue work toward their next milestone—a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wyoming.

  • Peer Mentoring to connect incoming transfer students to current UW students, who will place outbound calls to welcome them to the University, host them for a luncheon during Cowboy Connect, and serve as contacts when transfer students visit Laramie and get started as bachelor’s degree-seeking students.

  • A State-Wide Transfer Advising Group serving as a professional network to connect advisors from UW and all of Wyoming’s community colleges. The advising group will include a listserv facilitating communication about issues affecting transfer students.

I want to stress that as these new efforts launch, our 2+2 plans will not go away. In fact, we are streamlining the manner by which these plans are reviewed, amended, and developed as we proceed. Through the efforts above and others to be developed collaboratively with the community colleges, we will better serve all prospective transfer students—and better position them for success in attaining a bachelor’s degree from UW. I want to thank the representatives from UW and the community colleges who convened on our campus last week for the annual Wyoming Articulation Summit. By continuing to work in partnership, our institutions are expanding access to higher education for Wyomingites, facilitating the attainment of our state’s educational attainment goals, and preparing the workforce necessary to grow and diversify Wyoming’s economy and communities. 

Online Distance Education

I also gave the Faculty Senate an update on the status of online Distance Education at the University of Wyoming. Even though we sunsetted the Outreach School three years ago, today UW offers 40 unique credentials—undergraduate completion degrees, graduate degrees, and certificates—through online modalities, and has several more lined up for launch in the coming semesters. This is on par with or exceeds the offerings of our close peers. And, thanks to the contributions of hundreds of UW instructors, we offer more than a thousand courses online—around 1,200-1,300—annually. As a result, approximately 14.6% of UW’s students this fall are able to complete their coursework via distance education. 

While we are doing exceptionally well in this area, our mission as Wyoming’s four-year, research, and land-grant university, as well as the educational attainment goals of the state  call on us to expand our efforts to serve Wyoming’s place-bound students, adult learners, and others whose life circumstances do not allow them to come to study on campus in Laramie or Casper. It is important that we continue to develop and launch new online degree programs that meet students where they are regardless of their geographic location or stage of life, help those students to advance personally and professionally, and contribute to the state’s needs for a citizenry and workforce prepared to meet the demands of Wyoming’s future. 

To this end, Academic Affairs and Distance Education have invested in a number of tools and programs that expand our capacity to provide services such as 24/7 online tutoring, assessment of online course quality and student learning outcome development, and reliable online exam proctoring. These tools will also aid us in in our efforts to continually assess and improve upon the quality of the educational experience students receive in our online courses and programs. 

To further incentivize the development of additional online courses and programs, beginning this fiscal year, the share of tuition revenue generated from online enrollments provided to the colleges has increased from 50% to 70%. These funds will a) help the colleges and departments to hire instructors and teaching assistants to support growing enrollments in online courses and b) provide funding for colleges to invest in the development of new online courses and programs to ensure we can serve the needs of our students well and address the attainment priorities of our state. We look forward to continuing our work with partners in the colleges and departments to expand our online course and programmatic offerings to best serve the needs of our students and the state.  In the last academic year and at UW’s request, the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) conducted a strategic consultation review of graduate education at the university, including the administration of graduate education, graduate enrollment management, and the assessment of graduate student learning outcomes. In its report, CGS made a number of recommendations that Associate Vice Provost Jim Ahern and his team are in the process of reviewing and implementing. In addition to working to rebuild and better support graduate education at UW, the Office of Graduate Education is also leading an effort to review how allocations of state-funded graduate assistantships are made in order to make sure that allocations align well with Academic Affairs’ strategic plan. As plans are developed over the coming months, members of the faculty and the Faculty Senate will have opportunities to discuss these issues and contribute input.

 

Dr. Kate Miller

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

With the whirlwind of the first days of the fall semester behind us, I wanted to take a moment to welcome you all—new and returning faculty and staff—as we begin a new academic year. Wherever your summer journeys took you, I hope you found the right balance of restfulness and productivity, and feel recharged and invigorated, as I do, for the year ahead. This is an exciting time in the academic year, when we reconvene to pursue our common mission. I appreciate the energy and commitment that each of you brings to your work for our students, our university, and the state.

The 2019-2020 academic year will be a time of transition for the University of Wyoming, but also a period of continued progress. Acting President Theobald has established his priorities for the University and the expectation stands that we will press ahead on key efforts that will advance the University’s mission and strategic plan, and continue to build upon our strength as the state’s flagship and land-grant university. These priorities include ensuring affordability and excellence in student preparation, an expansion of our physical and digital presence throughout the state through our academic programs, and fostering excellence among our faculty through recruitment and retention efforts, as well as facilitating their pursuits in research and creative endeavors, teaching, and service.

Yesterday afternoon, I provided the Faculty Senate with a report on several initiatives that are underway within the Office of Academic Affairs aligned to these priorities that will significantly shape our activity in the coming months. These include the University’s HLC reaccreditation, an expansion of Distance Education offerings, the expansion of WyoFolio and launch of WyoVita, a new Graduate Wyoming initiative supporting transfers to UW, a revised approach to delivering financial aid, and changes in Graduate Education. I wanted to be sure that these efforts were communicated to those of you who were unable to attend yesterday’s meeting. In each instance, we plan to share additional information and engage our partners across campus as these initiatives advance and plans are developed or implemented.

This is just a sampling of the many exciting efforts underway as we begin this new academic year. I look forward to the opportunity to reconnect with each of you—or perhaps connect for the first time—and discuss these efforts with you at upcoming meetings, events, or as our paths cross on campus.

Go Pokes!

Dr. Kate Miller

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Aiming to improve student enrollment, retention and completion, the University of Wyoming is moving forward with a reorganization that will bring campus units focused on student services together with the university’s academic functions.

Additionally, in an effort to expand its off-campus offerings, units of UW’s Outreach School will be assimilated into a new structure within the Office of Academic Affairs.

“The new structure will not only retain, but in many cases greatly enhance, existing functions at the university, including those currently residing in the Office of Student Affairs and the Outreach School,” says Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Kate Miller. “From my perspective, perhaps the most exciting aspect of this change is the way it will foster expansion of the mission of our Outreach School, including distance education programming and community college partnerships.”

The plan, outlined in a message from the provost to the UW community today (Thursday), has an overall objective of fostering academic excellence and careful stewardship of public funds. The administration’s timeline calls for examination of the restructuring, including feedback from university stakeholders, between now and March, with implementation taking place from March to the start of the new fiscal year July 1, 2017.

The restructuring will bring together functions focused on students -- from recruitment and enrollment to graduation and job placement -- under the provost and Office of Academic Affairs.

Functions that directly involve enrollment management -- including Admissions and Recruiting, Registration and Records, Scholarships and Financial Aid, Summer School, and Summer Outreach Programs -- will report directly to the provost through a new associate vice president. A number of these units currently reside in both the Office of Student Affairs and the Outreach School.

Student retention efforts including STEP, Student Educational Opportunity, and the Center for Advising and Career Services -- which currently reside in both the offices of Student Affairs and Academic Affairs -- will be brought under one umbrella under an associate vice president for academics.

“These moves are designed to provide focused, intentional infrastructure that more effectively promotes success for all student populations,” Miller says. “Simultaneously, the Center for Advising and Career Services is undergoing a redesign to work with colleges to coordinate and train all student academic advisers in better working with first-year, transfer and continuing students; provide a more immersive approach to career development; and shepherd exploratory studies majors.”

The associate dean overseeing UW’s branch campus in Casper and the regional centers, who currently reports to the Outreach School, will report directly to the provost.

“This will boost our efforts to provide a seamless transition across higher education in Wyoming and reinforce our ability to both work with Wyoming transfer students and to provide more educational opportunities to students who choose to pursue their education outside of Laramie via UW distance courses online and other technological delivery methods,” Miller says. “We will examine the possible addition of new degree programs, certificates, endorsements and not-for-credit opportunities that enhance workforce development and reach new populations of traditional and nontraditional students.”

Existing units and programs in Student Affairs and the Outreach School that have an international focus, including the English Language Center, International Programs, and International Students and Scholars, will be brought together under one executive director who will report to the provost.

“This will strengthen our ability to provide students, faculty, staff and extended UW community members access to transformative international opportunities -- and help them share and build the knowledge and skills needed to lead and excel in a globally interconnected world,” Miller says.

With respect to graduate education, Interim Associate Vice President Ann Hild will soon assemble a task force that will conceptualize a newly designed Graduate School. This task force will be composed of university leaders who are committed to research and graduate education and have insights into the types of support needed for graduate student success.

The objectives of the reorganization include:

-- More directly tying student recruitment, retention, learning and success to the work of faculty and academic administration, and significantly increasing enrollment, retention and graduation rates.

-- Ensuring that the university fully embraces the 21st century instructional environment including online, hybrid, distance and outreach teaching approaches, along with strong partnerships with community colleges.

-- Expanding opportunities for transformative learning experiences that extend beyond the classroom including internships, research and international experiences.

-- Strengthening support for research and economic development by promoting new degree offerings and graduate and undergraduate student experiences that align with state, national and international demand for research of societal importance and graduates who are well prepared to enter the workforce.

-- Improving efficiency and effectiveness of operations to include achievement of budget reduction targets for the 2017-18 fiscal year.

-- Encouraging innovative and entrepreneurial approaches to funding the university’s mission.

“We expect that this reorganization will lead to an overall reduction in cost, and, importantly, we expect that UW students will retain, persist and graduate at higher rates, and our faculty will be better supported in their instructional and research activities,” Miller says. “Most employees will retain their jobs; we will rely on their expertise as we move forward.”

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