COVID-19: Weekly Update (4/21)

April 22, 2020

Dear Department Chairs, Associate Deans, Deans, Vice Chancellors and colleagues,

This week’s topics are meant to support our community in the present, help faculty plan for quality online courses in Summer 2020, and begin to look ahead to the future. Before you click on the topics listed below I want you to know that our meetings with faculty groups in different formats – webinars, town halls, by department, by chair and dean groups, by school or college – have helped us think through, and refine our thinking on several issues. We hope these meetings are useful to you as they are to us.

We have also been meeting with student groups. These meetings are useful, informative and the follow up on specific issues sends a clear message that we are here to help. Several faculty have been key in responding to specific student concerns. The request that I continue to receive from students is for us to be understanding of unique situations associated with studying, and completing course requirements in an environment that is different from the one we are used to. I encourage all of us to continue to be flexible and understanding, and to look for ways to motivate each other – be it our students, our staff, our faculty and our alumni.

Teaching Evaluations from Spring 2020

The Provost’s Office recommends that, given the events of this semester (Spring 2020), chairs give faculty members the option of whether or not to include their teaching evaluations from this semester for use in merit and promotion and tenure decisions.

Virtual Celebration of Graduates

The online celebration of our graduates will take place on May 15 beginning at 2 p.m. The hub of information shared from our campus community will be the commencement website and on Mizzou social media channels. We are also continuing to plan an in-person commencement ceremony at a later date, and this is not a replacement for that event. This marks a special moment in time with a virtual celebration and 24-hour social media blitz. A save-the-date message will be sent to graduating students, families, faculty and staff.

Ongoing Support for Families

Boone County families with a child (aged 0-19) who are struggling to cope with stressors as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic can now get access to FREE counseling. With support from the Boone County Community Services and the Boone County Children’s Services Board (BCCSB), FACE will connect Boone County families with a child aged 0-19 to a local provider for up to 6 hours of FREE counseling services to learn new coping, parenting, or stress management skills to better manage stressors due to COVID-19. Contact FACE at 573-771-FACE (3223) or visit the FACE website and request a referral and FACE staff will contact you, complete a brief needs assessment, and connect you and your loved one with a menu of providers.

Upcoming Courses to Help Faculty Plan for Online Teaching

The last few weeks have demonstrated that remote instruction is more than a migration of course content into Canvas. In March, we did not have a choice as we transitioned over 7,300 courses into remote format. We however, have some time in the next few weeks to learn about using online tools to improve student engagement and learning. I recommend everyone sign up for courses that are being offered by the Office of eLearning (OeL)– I just signed up for one of these myself so know that this is an easy process. More importantly, and as shown below, OeL is offering three different kinds of courses to help instructors plan for online teaching:

Start Here: Online Course Design Basics
Workshop Dates: April 20 – May 18; May 4 – June 1; May 18 – June 15; June 1 – June 29
This is an asynchronous, four-week workshop with a focus on ensuring quality and student engagement. All instructors are encouraged to participate as they transition their summer face-to-face courses to online delivery; activities are designed to promote the rapid development of their online courses. This is not meant to train someone on how to teach an online course, but instead, to develop materials for a course that has not previously been offered as an online class or has not been through one of our quality review programs. Instructors will be provided with templates, resources, and helpful boilerplate language to aid in the quick development of their own online courses. The time commitment is 4 hours of Canvas content, plus 10 – 20 hours of instructor work spread over the 4 weeks.

Online Teaching Foundations
Run dates: June 8 – July 27 (Registration open date: May 26th)
This is an asynchronous, 6-week workshop for instructors interested in exploring teaching online or building on their previous experience. Participants will use digital tools that support teaching, explore pedagogy with other instructors and experts from MU, and discuss readings that can help form and develop their practice of teaching online. The time commitment is 6 hours/week, or 36 hours total.

Designed Online
Run dates: June 1 – August 10 (Registration open date: May 26th)
This is an asynchronous, 10-week online program for instructors where they will create an online course that meets the standards of the Quality Matters. Participants must come to the program with a course already identified for designing in an online format. This course is facilitated by instructional designers who will lead you step by step through the thought processes, exercises, and effective practice involved with designing a quality online course. The course is heavy on application as you actively apply the concepts taught each week into your own course and submit on a regular basis for review and feedback. The time commitment is 3-5 hours/week, or 30 – 50 hours total.

Teaching for Learning Center’s Weekly Workshops

I also recommend that you participate in the Teaching for Learning Center’s weekly sessions for pedagogical strategies to boost student engagement and inclusive learning in the online environment. They complement OeL’s longer Start Here 4-week workshop which focuses on course design through the Office of eLearning. If you are relatively new to online teaching and learning, please enroll in both.

Promotion & Tenure Call Information

The P&T call information for 2020-2021 is now available.


We are planning a webinar to share specific suggestions on budget cuts. The next few months and year will not be easy and we want to share and hear from you. Dates and times will be forthcoming.


Congratulations to Dr. Julie Kapp, Associate Professor, Department of Health Management and Informatics in the School of Medicine, for receiving the Shared Governance Award from the MU Faculty Council on University Policy. The individual award recognizes a faculty member who has made significant contributions to shared governance.

And to our students – we have three (yes, not one, not two, but three) AICPA (American Institute of CPAs) Elijah Watt Sells award winners for top scores on the CPA exam for 2019! We have Jen Meyer, Carson Paull, and Trevor Young among this year’s recipients. Click here to read more. Three in one year is an all-time record for us (and for most schools in the nation), and now places Mizzou at 7 years in a row of the AICPA EWS award.

As always, please let me know how our office can help you – send your questions, ideas, and input to Jade Elwess. Stay safe and thanks for all you do for Mizzou.

Latha Ramchand