Fall 2020 > Updates > Interim provost to faculty: Planning for fall—May 4,2020

Interim provost to faculty: Planning for fall

​​May 4, 2020 

Dear faculty,

We have made it through the first half of this unprecedented quarter. That is no small achievement and as always, I am grateful for your efforts. As we head towards the summer, I have been receiving many questions about the fall. What will our enrollment look like? Will we resume face-to-face instruction? If so, to what extent? What would that look like? How will the university help to ensure everyone’s safety? In the midst of this uncertainty, on Friday I received a clear call, in a collegial letter signed by many of you, for more explicit involvement of faculty in the decision-making process.

I write to you now with the full awareness that many of my answers will feel unsatisfying. That is simply the nature of this moment. The same debates you see on the news about when and how to reopen individual states are also happening within every institution of higher education. DePaul is no exception. Here’s what I know:

  • DePaul will follow guidelines established by the State of Illinois for how and when to resume modified activities. The health and safety of our community continues to be our first priority.
  • We will work together as a community to create plans (and back-up plans) for the fall. That process already does and will continue to include faculty. Faculty representatives will be invited to join additional groups convened to address issues facing us. This work will continue over the summer, so interested faculty must be willing to participate during those months. Here are some examples of current faculty participation:
    • Scott Paeth, as president of Faculty Council, serves on the COVID-19 Response and Planning Task Force, Joint Council pnd Academic Council, all of which meet multiple times each week.
    • Craig Klugman, professor of Health Sciences, also serves on the COVID-19 Response and Planning Task Force. They are routinely called upon to provide a faculty perspective on whatever issue is up for discussion. You can all help them be more effective by channeling your concerns through them.
    • Mary Ann Papanek-Miller, as chair of the Faculty Council Committee on Physical Environment, serves on the ad hoc committee charged with considering models for face-to-face instruction in a socially distanced environment.
    • Faculty Council appointed Ahmed Zayed to work on a newly established committee to determine how best to distribute the student funds that DePaul will receive from the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
    • Strategic Resource Allocation Committee (SRAC), with representation from Faculty Council, which typically has completed its work by this time of year, will reconvene to consider any budget adjustments that must be made as fall enrollments become clear.
  • We assume that come Fall Quarter, even in a best-case scenario, we will continue to deliver more classes than usual online, with the proportion of online versus face-to-face classes varying from program to program depending on curricular needs. To address the continuation into the fall of many Spring Quarter courses designated remote, over two hundred faculty have applied for participation in summer DePaul Online Teaching Series (DOTS) so that their courses can be designated online.
  • We will continue to be as transparent as possible with our decisions and the rationale behind them. To that end, Jeff Bethke and I will attend Faculty Council this week and be available afterwards to answer questions from any of you who would like to join us.
Please know that we are doing our very best to navigate these uncertain waters with as much input as possible from our faculty and staff. If you have ideas to share, please channel them through the various faculty representatives or reach out directly to me at provost@depaul.edu or to any of the associate provosts and associate vice presidents who are assisting me in this work.

l hope you enjoyed the spring weather we had over the weekend and you were able to enjoy some time outdoors, while maintaining social distance of course! We will continue this conversation at Faculty Council on Wednesday.

Sincerely,

Salma Ghanem
Interim Provost