CUA Faculty Assembly
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You don’t have to wonder – just check out “AU Forward: The Plan For Fall 2020 | American University, Washington, DC”
How does CUA’s proposed handling of next Fall compare with American University’s? I would expect AU is similarly tuition-dependent.
I don’t know if anyone saw this article: https://www.chronicle.com/article/This-Will-Be-One-of-the-Worst/249128. Thankfully, Catholic is not on that list, but here is a sad quote: “By the end of July, most colleges will have announced plans for a primarily online fall term, with only critical classes being held in person and limited residence-hall capacity for students who do not have other safe options. The need to prepare for the fall is beginning to outweigh any potential benefits of outwaiting competitors, especially as students expect a better online experience this fall than what they received under emergency conditions in the spring. Wealthy liberal-arts colleges… Read more »
I assume that you are unaware that one has to be a paid subscriber to the “Chronicle of Higher Education” to read the full article.
If you sign in with the CUA VPN, you will be able to access it for free using the University’s premium subscription. That’s how I read it, so yes I knew that, and no, I don’t pay for it.
Current faculty, staff and students can also set up their own personal account either through the university VPN or the Libraries’ proxy server. From https://guides.lib.cua.edu/az.php?a=c Chronicle.com On campus and remote access to the venerable publication, The Chronicle of Education, several e-newsletters, job listings, a blog, and forums for discussions. This is the essential resource for those who want to keep up with the latest news, trends, facts and figures in higher education. To set up a personal account that allows you to select newsletters and features that will automatically be received on your desktop, ipad, smartphone, or tablet, go to… Read more »
Thanks for the clarification. CUA alumni don’t qualify
“…desperate for survival…” How many lives are worth the mere “survival” of an institution that, 125 years into the effort, has achieved, overall, no better than mediocre standing? Consistent with Catholic’s position that every single human life matters, shouldn’t the school close down before it imperils even one person?
FYI – “If you’re over 75, catching covid-19 can be like playing Russian roulette”
Also, check out the COVID-19 Risk Calculator at
CNN: Coronavirus cases in the US South and Southwest are rising so fast that contact tracing is no longer possible, according to a health expert. And because infection numbers never dropped to where officials hoped they would, the nation’s top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci said the rapid rise is considered a surge – not a second wave. In Texas, at least 1,300 people have tested positive from child care facilities alone. As national case counts hit new records daily, at least 24 states have paused or rolled back reopening plans. Florida’s Miami-Dade County decided it was done playing… Read more »
Did anyone have an opinion on Georgetown’s plan? Is this something we should follow?
Thanks for posting the latest Georgetown COVID-19 plan.
It is excellent and should be a model for CUA.
I hope that President Garvey will read it.
They have the right Catholic values. At least they’re living up to the idea of protecting faculty and students. Just lip service at CUA.
There’s some major complications for our international students that were just released by ICE if we go to 100% online education :”Nonimmigrant F-1 and M-1 students attending schools operating entirely online may not take a full online course load and remain in the United States … Active students currently in the United States enrolled in such programs must depart the country or take other measures, such as transferring to a school with in-person instruction to remain in lawful status. ”
FYI – “Georgia Tech Professors Revolt Over Reopening, Say Current Plan Threatens Lives Of Students, Staff”; 4 July 2020
Think the pandemic is a problem? Wait ’til the current cultural moment catches up with the university’s connections to Christopher Columbus, as in the Knights, the Columbus School of Law…Koch will become a non-issue.
FYI – “If You’re Asked to Sign a COVID-19 Waiver, Use This Road Map to Help With Your Decision”
Here’s a great article about faculty concerns across the country. Being a clinical, this quote really sums up how I am feeling right now – “But people fear speaking out, he said: “If the university knows they are high-risk, and they have to go remote, are they not going to renew their contracts?”
The latest email sent out by David Long, Assistant Provost, is a headache to try to parse and understand. Please shed some light on this as you can, as many other Catholic professors are texting and emailing me in a confused state. To recap the current situation of those of us who cannot teach due to a health concern and/or a justified fear: We were FIRST told to talk to our chairs to discuss the possibility of teaching only online, and that this would suffice for arrangement making. It seems that overall, most of the chairs were quite supportive of… Read more »
We should flood his email to figure out what he is saying! He’s usually pretty quick in answering, but you’re right. Totally confusing!
[Note from the FA Moderator: I deleted the last sentence of this comment. Please avoid mentioning individual staffers’ names. Thanks!]
Except for David Long of course…
We left the comment about David Long’s e-mail because it was not directed at him personally, but rather the e-mail he sent to all faculty. The comment that was edited brought in two other names unnecessarily.
We strive to moderate comments without censoring them, but if anyone has concerns please feel free to write us at email@example.com. Thanks.
The confusion generated by this email was widespread. I share in that confusion. We were asked to immediately fill out the survey and I complied. Now we’re being told something else if there is a medical issue involved. The stress this is creating for vulnerable faculty is overwhelming.
This isn’t about reopening but I would urge faculty to read the posts on the instagram account blackatcua https://www.instagram.com/blackatcua/?hl=en Clearly there are some serious issues with faculty and students that are impacting our students of color.
FYI – Harvard’s New Online Tool Shows Just How Serious COVID-19 Is Where You Live
Faculty from the James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA are circulating the following petition regarding the opening of universities in the State of Virginia. It might be of interest to faculty at Catholic.
There are adjuncts, particularly in professional schools like law and architecture, who don’t need the token compensation from part-time teaching. Their risk calculus is different. I wonder whether schools may confront a shortage of these instructors.
Here is a compelling argument by a trio of Georgetown professors that it is too dangerous for universities to reopen this fall for face to face learning and residential student living: https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2020/06/30/there-is-no-safe-way-reopen-colleges-this-fall/
An article in the Post Written by three Georgetown colleagues: There is no safe way to reopen colleges this fall
I am starting to come to the same conclusion. The virus trends are not looking good and portend pauses to reopening or even move back to phase I. For now, DC is under control but it may be a matter of time. 50k infections yesterday nationwide. Fauci anticipates 100k daily infections is possible. The intersection by the time Fall arrives in 6 weeks is not pretty.
I just read an interesting article on the Boston Review, entitled, “Higher Education in the Age of Coronavirus – The Right Not to Work”; 30 Apr 2020 Here are a couple of key paragraphs. (1) One of the most urgent questions we face is how decisions are going to be made, and by whom. (2) The decades-long trend of administrative bloat, combined with increasing reliance on temporary faculty, appears structurally predisposed to minimize faculty input. (3) Private matters like health are difficult to air publicly, and I fear that faculty voices and rights are being marginalized. (4) The marginalization of… Read more »
I hope we as a faculty are prepared for the University to declare financial exigency and then to start laying off tenured faculty members.
I don’t think anyone is prepared for us to declare financial exigency. That is an action of last resort and has consequences on our debt. We may get there if the leadership continues it’s course but I think there are more immediate clouds over our heads to deal with.
Interesting question whether financial exigency sufficient to permit firing of tenured personnel would necessarily trigger debt covenants — one might imagine that the former could obviate the latter.
Everybody has a right not to work. There’s also a right not to pay somebody for not working. And you can add “under certain conditions” to the ends of both the preceding sentences.
Just in case you don’t regularly read the CUA Tower newspaper, see
“Catholic University Releases Operational and Financial Update, Plan for Faculty Salary Cuts “Off the Table” for Now”; 28, 2020
The only complaint from faculty reported in this story — the FA president’s gripe that the announcement should have been made two weeks earlier — sounds petty.
We agree that the FA quote does not add much to the story. The question asked was whether or not FA was happy with the university’s announcements. The response was merely to state there was no new information that was not already known. It was not meant as a criticism.
Bleeding the law school for “overhead” money will only succeed in maintaining its relatively low ranking while doing little more than help keep the university’s head above water. I suppose mediocrity loves company.
A piece that could have been custom-crafted for this audience: https://www.mcsweeneys.net/articles/a-message-from-your-universitys-vice-president-for-magical-thinking?fbclid=IwAR1y5MjYMHL-c1B2bpDz4XyJnYY97Mr456Fk-2291Lmfn7EZogCRw3OXH4M
I think that this candid opinion piece really captures the current situation at CUA and I hope that President Garvey and his senior administrators will react accordingly.
“US university presidents and chancellors, enough already. Reopening this fall is recklessly putting faculty members’ lives in danger.”
I enjoyed reading this article.
We should go all online except for those that need hands on activities using special equipments.
A combination of Sealed air and active, asymptomatic young students pose great health risks to relatively old faculties and staffs in a university.
Has anyone modeled numbers for the financial impact of various possible enrollment and revenue shortfalls?
The university has. If students do not return to class, our losses will be on the order of $60M instead of $30M. THAT is what is driving the decision, plain and simple.
Endlessly. The same financial PowerPoint appears at every meeting or town hall. The catch is that the graphs and charts look exactly the same, but the numbers in them, including the numbers about compensation reductions, change around constantly. Obviously, the input keeps shifting, so naturally the reaction is going to have to shift too. We’re not going to know what the fall will look like money-wise until students have moved in. And even that won’t tell us much about the spring, or about the three subsequent years of fallout from the entry and attendance of a smaller freshman class, or… Read more »
FYI – “New Survey: College Students Disappointed with Online Learning Experience, Optimistic of Improvement”; 26 June 2020
The US saw nearly 40,000 new coronavirus cases yesterday — a single-day record. As cases skyrocket, some states are hitting the brake on reopening plans. The governors of Texas and Florida put a pause on relaxing restrictions any further. Younger people are feeling the impact across much of the US, the CDC says. That’s especially true in Florida, where Gov. Ron DeSantis said the median age for positive Covid-19 cases has dropped to 35 years old. Though young folks might be at a lower risk of severe infection, health officials remind people that doesn’t mean they’re immune. Meanwhile, several sheriffs… Read more »
This is an excerpt from the CNN page.
Our institution is voluntarily going into a forest fire, without enough protective equipment. Until we can test and trace in adequate numbers, it is madness to subject our students, staff, and faculty to so much danger.
Right. And to be clear, we are not forest fighters! We are like residents reentering a burning building before the professionals have put the fire out.
The recent COVID data over the past week have been indeed troubling and it indicates that, as states are reopening, COVID infections are increasing dramatically in some areas of the country (Florida, Texas, Arizona, California; https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/data/new-cases-50-states/florida). For now, MD/DC/VA are still under control. At this point, it is difficult to assess where COVID cases will be by August. This situation warrants monitoring.
I was not happy about how the President, in his most recent email to faculty, described the DC region as “recovering” from the pandemic, in an apparent effort to justify the University’s reopening plan. How can the region be properly characterized as “recovering” from a pandemic for which there is no vaccine or proven treatment, and for which the vast majority of the population has no immunity? We really are not in a very different state to where we were in March as far as the virus is concerned. I see no way that we will not experience student infections… Read more »
CUA is Not Alone
There are several articles in this week’s edition of the George Washington University’s student newspaper that should be of interest to CUA faculty members.
If you have not already seen it, the document, “COVID-19 Planning Guide and Self-Assessment for Higher Education” was updated on 20 June 2020. It is an impressive document and its authors are from: • Tuscany Strategy Consulting • Center for Health Security Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health • Council for Higher Education Accreditation It should be of interest to individual faculty members. And hopefully, one of you can forward the document to whomever at CUA is in charge with developing and executing CUA’s plans to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. See: https://www.centerforhealthsecurity.org/news/center-news/2020-06-15-higher-ed-report.html
Given all that you are dealing with these days, I hesitate to upset you any further.
But this article makes the point that the CUA Administration and the CUA Faculty absolutely needs to be working together – or they will likely be working separately…..somewhere else.
See The Decline Of The American University
One guy just left a big job at Villanova to become dean of CUA’s School of Arts & Sciences, and another is leaving a successful New York City architecture practice to take the deanship of the School of Architecture, so somebody thinks there’s going to be a viable university in the Fall.
Can we really teach with correct pronunciation through a mask for an hour and half without suffocation?
Can we speak loudly in a large classroom through a mask for an hour and half?
Ask president or VP to try teaching of 3 to 4 courses on a mask for a week with real students in a classroom. Ask them to record lectures on YouTube and share the lectures with us. I want to see if they can do it.
Try it before you order us to do it. !
I agree. Because it is so hard to speak through a mask, I have noticed that many people tend to lift their masks to speak, which defeats their purpose.
Hello, I am a nurse who is also faculty. Yes you can speak through a mask for extended periods. It is done daily in operating rooms, hospital rooms and procedures without any difficulty. If you lift the mask from your face or wear it without covering your nose, it is ineffective.
Sorry. I disagree with you.
Faculties should speak loudly for an extended period of time while doctors and nurses do not have to speak loudly or continously..
Faculties should inhale large amounts of air while they speak, but masks dampen the air flows.
This raises an interesting question: Nursing faculty are the only ones with any medical training. What do they think about resuming in-person instruction in the Fall?
“Upside down priorities cripple higher education: faculty, students left behind” The author writes that the Covid-19 crisis has shined a bright light on the routine and typical mismanagement of our private and public universities. The pressure to treat our public colleges and universities as though they were corporations designed to produce profits does a great deal to undermine the academic mission and take attention away from the institutions’ reason for existing. Top academic administrators are thoroughly sucked into this vortex for several reasons, including that their training is designed to make them fit the corporate model. I think this commodification… Read more »
Several faculty members have contacted us about the “Safe Return” survey that was sent to all faculty this week. There were concerns over privacy of health information as well as the lack of information regarding what health and safety measures will be in place. Without this knowledge, it is difficult if not impossible to respond to the survey. We have reached out to the Ethics office regarding the concern. In the meantime, if you have a concern regarding the lack of information, we might suggest that you 1) “request alternative arrangement” (since you will not be able to change this… Read more »
In reading this latest post together with all the others on this site, one might get the impression that CUA faculty will never be satisfied; that they are inordinately high maintenance and really enjoy finding things to complain about it. Are there legitimate grievances, including the historical and continuing below-market comp? Of course. But the righteousness of those grievances is drowned out by an overall tone that comes off as constant kvetching, a non-Catholic but entirely fitting descriptor.
CUA faculty are actually much lower maintenance and more self-actualizing than most people I know at other schools. But my anxiety for the personal safety of myself and others has now drowned out any remaining energy that I might have to make my tone nicer.
I’ve long noticed that those who are most sensitive to the tone of others are generally quite deaf to their own. Maybe look up “supercilious”? It’s not a pretty style.
Sure sounds like a (current or former) dean or provost wrote this comment:
“In reading this latest post together with all the others on this site, one might get the impression that CUA faculty will never be satisfied; that they are inordinately high maintenance and really enjoy finding things to complain about it. Are there legitimate grievances, including the historical and continuing below-market comp? Of course. But the righteousness of those grievances is drowned out by an overall tone that comes off as constant kvetching, a non-Catholic but entirely fitting descriptor.”
If you have not seen it, there is a great article in the current issue of the CUA student newspaper entitled, “Underpaid Catholic University Faculty and Staff Facing Additional Salary Cuts Amid COVID-19 Financial Crisis”
I hope that President Garvey and his senior administrators will read it and then do something about it.
While it is important to have our needs heard and our views expressed, I think some credit should be given to the faculty, staff and administrators who have been on campus since the beginning of the pandemic and the work from home directive. They have been heroes in keeping the lights on and the rooms open, and they have not been given proper recognition in their role as essential. As a faculty member working on the instructional continuity and research teams, I have seen some of the same small group of staff members in our Zoom meetings working on campus… Read more »
We absolutely share your sentiment of appreciation towards our dedicated staff and faculty who are working to prepare campus for a safe return. While the Faculty Assembly champions issues that can benefit all our colleagues across campus, our charter restricts our focus to faculty related issues. We hope that many of the issues FA discusses will also benefit staff across campus. We would support working with a Staff Assembly if one forms.
If certain sectors of the CUA leadership were not so entirely committed to opening in person in the fall, there would be much less danger to staff. Some staff could be furloughed in order to collect unemployment; others could be allocated work-from-home duties. It is only this insistence on in-person activity that deprives many staff of the same right to personal safety that is under discussion here.
Being on campus and accomplishing work are not always the same thing, depending on the nature of the work. Working from campus on a computer is not more noble or more difficult than working from home on a computer. But those who insist on being on campus on a computer are consequently insisting that someone else has to be there to clean for them and maintain climate control for them and ensure IT support for them.
My partner works for a big regional corporation that is heavily impacted financially by the coronavirus crisis. They have cut salaries as follows: everyone below $70K gets 0% reduction, $70 to 100K is 3%, $100 to 200K is 7%, above $200K is 15%. My partner was shocked to hear that proposed salary cuts are not tiered at CUA. “Tone deaf” was the phrase they used to describe the cuts. Faculty and staff understand that we may need to sacrifice even more than we already have. But as others have pointed out below, cutting the salaries of people who make $40-70K… Read more »
We believe there is a precedent in the US tax code for a graded salary cut scale which is more equitable than the flat cuts currently proposed. “To those who have been given much, much will be required.” Lk 12:48.
According to the university web site, the capital campaign had raised $310 million of its $400 million goal before the pandemic shut everything down. If that report is true, at least some of this money must have been in the form of unrestricted (and unbudgeted) cash available to mitigage COVID-related financial shortfalls, right? How much?
The Faculty Assembly along with the Senate’s Budget and Planning Committee has made the same recommendation. To date, the university HAS NOT committed to tapping these funds any more than what was requested BEFORE the COVID crisis impacted campus. A great article in the NYT supports your suggestion. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/06/opinion/sunday/colleges-endowments-covid.html
Not surprising that the university is non-committal. From all appearances, the capital campaign is ongoing. Donors to a capital campaign — even one that solicits money for unrestricted purposes — do not want to contribute funds that will be quickly expended for routine operational purposes; that’s just not the psychology of a donor to a capital campaign. But that doesn’t mean that the use of unrestricted money collected already can’t be explored discreetly, in a way that doesn’t compromise the ongoing campaign. Of course, if the reported progress of the campaign is actually less than advertised, that’s a different issue.
How reliable do we think are the capital campaign numbers reported by the university? After the whole “endowment versus designated funds” fiasco, it’s hard to have confidence. If the numbers are true and reasonably current, some of the units — notably the Rome school — appear to be hopelessly short of their goals. Do such shortfalls affect dean compensation?
Some Thoughts regarding Georgetown and CUA During These Troubling Times Background In my opinion, one of the best presidents in the history of CUA, was Dr Edmund D. Pellegrino who served from 1978 to 1982. He was the second layman to hold the position of President of Catholic University. In addition, Dr Pellegrino was an expert both in clinical bioethics and in the field of medicine and the humanities. In fact, he helped pioneer the teaching of humanities in medical school. Upon his departure from CUA in 1982, he returned to Georgetown University and was appointed the John Carroll Professor… Read more »
Pellegrino indeed had the professional standing to be an outstanding president, but, alas, he bailed out after just four years, far too short a tenure to make meaningful change in an already lagging institution. Maybe he underestimated the challenges; maybe he just lacked the passion for the long slog. Garvey, on the other hand, has shown such commitment. A merger of GU and CUA? GU might be interested in picking up some assets in a bankruptcy sale, but why in the world would it want to dilute its franchise? You can be a great university without gaining admission to the… Read more »
Dear Anonymous – Thank you for your response. It was a bit pejorative but I would still like to address a few of your comments. (1) CUA was not “thrown out of the AAU”. CUA quit the AAU rather than paying its dues. (2) CUA’s assets are considerable as I tried to enumerate – they are not fire sale items as you unfortunately chose to state. Regarding Garvey’s “Commitment to CUA” (1) Garvey has succeeded in assembling an incredibly highly compensated administration worthy of a very successful university (2) Garvey’s main impact on CUA is in moving it to the… Read more »
While a merger between Georgetown and CUA is an interesting hypothetical, the Faculty Assembly believes this is beyond the scope of our assembly. We do concur with several of your conclusions about the numerous strengths and unique characteristics of CUA. Unfortunately, we also concur with some of your assessment of our weaknesses, many of which was instrumental in the faculty’s vote of no confidence on the leadership in 2018. In response, our Board of Trustees “blessed” us with 5 more years of the same leadership.
New announcement, as of today, on the university web site regarding early start to Fall semester and Thanksgiving break.
I am concerned about the growing number of unpaid obligations/training that are creeping into our summer schedules.
The Faculty Assembly does share your concerns about the growing need for faculty to prepare for the “new” campus environment and teaching expectations. So far, the planning discussions have not considered these unpaid obligations. We expect that faculty already have made summer plans that extend into August. We are concerned that without a well-articulated plan and carefully laid out schedule, many faculty will not be readily available for any training that gets rolled out. We hope the leadership is considering how they will compensate faculty and also communicate training plans soon so that faculty can make appropriate plans.
I am growing increasingly concerned that the University will require faculty to teach face to face even when faculty have expressed concerns for their safety and that of their students. I personally do not believe it is safe to teach face to face this fall, nor safe to have students return to live on campus and eat in communal dining facilities. So far, I have not seen any concrete plan on the part of the Administration that provides me with reassurance that faculty, staff, and students will be reasonably protected. If students are to be given the flexibility to choose… Read more »
Several of the faculty are on the Fall Instructional Planning WGs. For myself, I am NOT under the impression that faculty will be forced to teach in-person if they are vulnerable. I believe the intent is to provide reasonable accommodations. Yesterday, the Provost’s Office sent a questionnaire to begin to assess how many faculty are apprehensive about returning to campus. Since there is tension between faculty needs vs. teaching needs, I suggest you speak with your dean (or chair). Communication is key. Doing so now provides time to make reasonable accommodations when there is time. In August, it may be… Read more »
What about faculty who do not fall into the CDC categories but still are concerned that the University’s return to campus plans (or lack thereof) are insufficient to protect the health and safety of anyone. The survey said that accommodations may not be granted. I appreciate that communicating concerns to deans or chairs on an individual basis is necessary, but I think the official position should be that the University should permit all faculty who feel unsafe to teach remotely, mirroring their position that all students who feel unsafe can learn remotely. Otherwise, the clear message the University is sending… Read more »
The problem is that there is no decision-making method set up for this. My chair says that chairs have NOT been told they can allow online teaching on their own. Otherwise we could just get this over with, let people teach however they prefer, and move on.
If all teaching needed to be in person, then the spring should be counted as a total failure. Instead, we were constantly told what a great job we were doing. Anyone else sense the inconsistency?
The issue is the economic viability of the enterprise. The Spring caught the students by surprise; they had little choice but to complete their courses online. They have a choice in the Fall. Without the on-campus experience, the tuition is way overpriced. Without the room and board revenue, the debt that financed the dorms defaults.
One fundamental issue is that although online teaching went well in spring, students discovered that the online teaching is not worth their tuitions. The upper ministration do not want the students to know that CUA tuitions are overpriced. They also want to RIP off the students for rooms and boards..
Just a thought..
I have been involved with CUA for many decades – as a student, adjunct faculty member, corporate advisor, research collaborator and modest financial donor. My affinity for CUA is based on my sincere appreciation for the members of CUA’s faculty (including school deans and department chairs) that I have been priviledged to know over the years. Unfortunately, I have been underwhelmed by CUA’s senior administrators and Board of Trustees over the years. President Garvey talks a good game but he has woefully under-compensated CUA’s faculty and staff while drawing a big salary and living on the CUA campus. I’ve read… Read more »
Thank you for this relevant link to our history. If our history is correct, the Faculty Assembly initially came together in the late 1960’s because of the Fr. Curran case and played a key role. We are proud of the FA’s 50+ year history at CUA. It seems several have made similar suggestions along the same lines of demonstration. Primarily, the Faculty Assembly prefers to work alongside the current governance structure when possible. The time may come where more is needed.
At this point, the CUA administration’s behavior requires the faculty to organize a collective action of resistance, whether it be a sit-in or other form of protest. As faculty, we have participated in the administration’s numerous Town Halls, where our voices were co-opted or ignored. As faculty, we have organized thoughtful responses and offered solutions through the Faculty Assembly. However, the administration still takes it upon itself to make all decisions on our behalf, from how and when to return to face-to-face teaching to unnecessary salary and benefit cuts. After all of the sacrifice and overtime that professors across the… Read more »
The writer’s argument about the deductibility of retirement contributions is grounds on its own to ignore his post. “Tax deductible for the employer”? Not if the employer is a non-profit that doesn’t pay taxes. Really, that’s just embarrassing. From what I can tell, public and private universities across the nation are implementing pay cuts, suspension of retirement contributions, and furloughs to deal with pandemic-related financial shortfalls. The same actions by CUA are thus not remarkable, however unfortunate. And you can’t sell the land. That’s the kind of extraordinarily desperate move that signals doom to potential donors who don’t want to… Read more »
If I am not mistaken, retirement contributions (whether made by the employer on account of the employee or by the employee herself/himself) are not taxed FOR THE EMPLOYEE. Thus, the actual, net value of these contributions for the employee is actually higher than an equivalent amount in salary (likewise, the actual loss). At the same time, it is true that retirement contributions do not help with current expenses, while salaries do, and for some of us a cut in salary now would be more painful than a cut in future retirement savings. Could the administration at least ask faculty about… Read more »
The problem with what you propose may be that retirement contributions are capped, so that “opting” for suspension of a retirement contribution rather than a salary reduction would not achieve all the savings the university needs. Simple example: the relevant legal limit on the retirement contribution is $5. The employer needs to save $10. Where is the other $5 going to come from?
When would they begin the implantation of the salary cuts and the reduction of retirement contributions? I am not told its specific start date yet. Is it from this Fall or next Spring? I am concerned..
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/15/opinion/coronavirus-college-safe.html A Fascinating Read. Important.
How many questions here and elsewhere boil down to this one:
Can I teach online because under current circumstances I believe it is best for me and/or my family and/or my students?
I am on the Fall Instructional Planning group. There should be a survey going around soon (hopefully) that will ask faculty this very question. The current thinking is to assess how many are in this camp and how that impacts teaching assignments. The current thinking (at least from the faculty) is that we should allow faculty flexibility to teach how they are most comfortable. Of course, there may be an institutional directive to have certain courses taught face-to-face (i.e. for frosh). This tension needs to be addressed unit-to-unit. My personal advice is for you to discuss your concerns with your… Read more »
I appreciate the information here, which is much more than we have received so far. I assume that the faculty members in the planning groups are emphasizing to the non-faculty that instructors may not be hot-swappable between courses? To take a field that is not mine, the professor of German who is willing to come to campus cannot necessarily teach Chinese if the professor of Chinese prefers to teach remotely.
The situation is not solvable if it is not discussed. Every day that goes by without creating some certainty about course delivery (or flexibility therein) means one less day to prepare adequately for the fall. The spring was a rush job nationwide. The fall does not have to be, but CUA seems to be trying its hardest to make it that way.
I appreciate your work and that of other faculty colleagues on the Fall Instructional Planning Group. I believe, though, that it is a mistake–with consequences measured in human lives–to think that we can reduce a global health crisis into a set of logistical challenges that can be adequately addressed by smart and hardworking people on campus. We have the competence to figure out how to handle a bigger-than-expected entering class or a classroom building being taken offline (two actual “crises” that we dealt with effectively in the last decade or so). We do not have the competence to stop a… Read more »
First, thank you to all who are serving on the working groups. You are giving your own time to a very good cause, and I appreciate the hard work you’re doing. Something that needs to be addressed quickly is the occupancy of the rooms we teach in, especially the rooms for high enrollment courses, labs, studios, and performance spaces. No real planning can take place until we know how many people can safely/legally be in these spaces at one time. Armed with this data, we can plan for the worst and hope for the best, but kicking this can down… Read more »
I would like to add an additional concern to those already expressed in the comments and it regards how the kind of “blended instruction” would actually work and whether it would support student learning better than online learning. Under normal circumstances, my preference, and I believe the preference of most of us, is for face-to-face classes. Yet, the kind of face-to-face interactions that can be generated in a classroom where everyone is wearing a mask and is sitting 6 ft. apart are not the ones that we are used to imagine, especially if we are expected to make such experiences… Read more »
This is an interesting line of thought. Does blended learning with the COVID-19 interventions substantially diminish the learning experience that perhaps online may be better? We have learned that teaching the classroom experience is different across campus. How one teaches in mathematics is different than a course in FYE or the humanities which is even much different than in nursing or music. Giving faculty some flexibility regarding how they deliver their courses would seem to allow for some creativity and nuanced delivery of instruction. Some academic units are governed by external accreditation bodies which may also have guidelines regarding in-person… Read more »
Agreed. The atmosphere in the classroom is going to be bizarre. At least if we are online we can actually see one another’s faces and expressions!
Last weekend, my family and I went to church (first week back after reopening) where everyone was wearing masks. I must admit, it was a little bit harder to concentrate. Seeing it from a student’s perspective was very helpful for me. Perhaps this gets better as things become a bit more routine.
I WISH everyone at my church wore masks! The priests don’t even seem to understand that they need to wear masks for the sake of others.
To mitigate the uncertainties and the effects of possible class interruptions, perhaps smaller than usual teaching loads should be assigned in the Fall 2020 semester. Hopefully, by the time we start the Spring 2021 semester, things will be more clear.
With social distancing, I am not sure how the teaching load will get smaller. If anything, we might be asked to pick up MORE classes if more sections are needed… or if a colleague gets sick midstream.
By a smaller teaching load I meant that if your normal teaching load is three sections, let us bring it down to two. If we need to divide each section into two subsections in order to enforce social distancing, your two sections will become four. But if we insist on assigning your normal load of three sections, the enforcement of social distancing will double those three sections and you will have to teach six subsections, which is an impossible load (not to mention the difficulty of finding enough classrooms!) Hopefully by the time we start the Spring 2021 semester, we… Read more »
No one actually thinks that this kind of sub-sectioning for social distancing is actually going to happen, do they? We do not have the infrastructure to even plan that, let alone implement it. And I do not know anyone who is willing to increase workload to this extent in return for less pay and more personal hazard.
Let’s do some self experiment. Wear a mask and give an hour lecture. I am sure we will be almost suffocated..
Has the administration said whether they will provide masks and other PPE to faculty, staff, and students? I listened (but with only half an ear) to recordings of the safety and faculty town halls and didn’t hear an answer.
For employees, having to pay for masks ourselves would obviously be unwelcome at a time when our salaries and wages are being cut.
As for students – I heard in the safety town hall that students might be asked to leave an in-person class if they showed up without a mask, but nothing about where they’re supposed to get them.
I believe they said that they would give us a little bottle of hand sanitizer and something around 2 masks. Doesn’t sound like enough supplies to last more than a week…
If you folks have not already seen this article, it’s worth a read. Hopefully, Garvey and his senior administrators will read it as well.
“The Risks When Colleges Reopen”; 13 June 2020
I can only speak for my colleagues and myself but yes, we are reading all of these articles and our concern for student and faculty health only grows. I have had some very bizarre conversations with President Garvey since the spring about the virus, in which he has stated completely unfactual – and frankly dangerous – things. He didn’t seem keen about my polite corrections; rather, he seems to be glad to remain oblivious to what’s going on. That is partly at the heart of the problem that we’re facing.
I think it is important to distinguish between re-opening the campus and teaching classes in person. There are other universities that are letting students live there voluntarily, but delivering many or even most courses online. How much of “back to school” to our student body means in-person living (which for them spells personal freedom and independence), and how much means in-person teaching? Have we surveyed them to try to find out?
This could actually be an interesting model to explore, together with the flexibility proposed by Arpad, since there are classes with few students that could be more easily and safely be taught in person.