COVID-19 Weekly Update (5/19)

May 19, 2020

(This message was originally sent on May 19, 2020. It is being published here for preservation.)

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

Congratulations – to our students, staff, faculty – to every one of you who made it through this semester. Our celebration this past weekend reminded us that the work we do is special – we lay the foundation for lifelong learning. This learning continues to grow in the students we graduate. When they succeed, we succeed. Thank you for making sure that the creative and innovative programs we offer thrived even in these difficult times.

This email provides an update on Show Me Renewal, our summer repopulation plan, and our plans for the Fall 2020 semester.

Celebration of Our Graduates
Hearty congratulations to our graduates and to everyone who put time into planning and executing the virtual celebration of graduations on Friday and Saturday. If you missed any of the videos, they are posted on the commencement website.

Show Me Renewal
As you read in last week’s email, we are beginning a phased approach to returning to campus called Show Me Renewal. Faculty and staff are asked to submit requests to return to work that will ultimately be forwarded to deans and division leaders for their approval. The Return to Work Authorization forms are available on the MU eCompliance website. Health and safety measures and other FAQs can be found here.

Program Audit and Restructuring Committee (PARC)
The Program Audit and Restructuring Committee, which was announced on May 7, is looking at our degree programs, academic units and other related entities to identify programs that can be modified, consolidated, suspended or discontinued. In doing this work, the committee will observe the following key principles: to maintain or improve the quality of educational programming, research and scholarship, clinical service, and administration; to improve the university’s ability to endure future negative financial events; and to follow best practices of transparency and shared governance. The committee will offer recommendations to the Provost on a rolling basis. Upon receiving recommendations, the Provost and Chancellor will invite input from the relevant department/dean before making a final determination. These decisions and the following actions will be shared with PARC, the department/dean and with the Mizzou community.

Fall 2020 Academic Guidelines & Recommendations

The Academic Operations Team has been at work for several weeks and has created general guidelines, as well as recommendations for Fall 2020. These have been approved by our office, and by our Interim Chancellor. Click here to read. This is a living document and the implementation calls for significant coordination across various groups. We encourage you to review these recommendations and begin thinking about how this will affect the academic operations of your unit. We will discuss the recommendations as well as any feedback and questions, starting, at the Chairs meeting this Thursday, May 21st from 2-3 p.m. and at meetings with Deans and Vice Chancellors. For now, please do not make changes in myzou to classrooms, class caps, or class modalities, as this will need to be a coordinated effort. The recommendations are based on the understanding that the test of our resilience as an institution lies in our ability to do everything we can to weather the pandemic. Absent a vaccine, we must adopt new learning modalities while preserving as best we can, the rich social experiences that our campus community affords. With the summer ahead of us to prepare, and by working together, we will be able to do what is best for our students.

Expanded “Online Teaching Foundations” for Instructors
Speaking of the summer and preparation, the Office of eLearning has opened up more sections of the 6-week “Online Teaching Foundations” class for MU instructors interested in exploring teaching online or building on their previous experience. The ultimate goal of the program is to help instructors examine how they will engage students through course design, deliberate use of digital tools, and communication. I have signed up for the first module and encourage you to do the same. Click here to register.

Celebration of Teaching
The Teaching for Learning Center is hosting the 11th Annual Celebration of Teaching on May 27th. This year’s event will feature topics relating to inclusivity, technology, research, grading practices, self-care, and much more. Register online at:

Promotion and Tenure on Hire
All Promotion and Tenure on Hire applications going forward will require documentation of teaching effectiveness. Examples of documentation would include: three to five years of teaching evaluation data from current university that includes student comments section, an on-campus teaching demonstration with students and faculty, or recent teaching awards.

MU Connect Champions Award
The MU Connect Champions Award recognizes excellence in teaching for learning and student success. Faculty, staff, teaching assistants and students involved in using MU Connect’s student success tools are eligible to be nominated for the award. More information and the nomination form can be found here. Nomination deadline is May 31st.

The Virtual Faculty Forum for the Faculty Institute for Inclusive Teaching (FIIT) is now live! FIIT brings together a cross-disciplinary network of faculty to explore promising practices around diversity and inclusiveness in the undergraduate classroom. Despite the considerable challenges of this COVID semester, the cohort did exceptional, brave, and innovative work that has already helped to make our Mizzou curricula and learning environments more inclusive. The 2019-2020 cohort members were: Alice K. Dade (A&S), Cassandra Kearney (A&S), Claire Horisk (A&S), Ilyana Karthas (A&S), Roberta Tabanelli (A&S), Jordan Brooker (A&S), Penny Smith-Parris (A&S), Travis Shaffer (A&S), Jasmine Chievous (Journalism), Kellie Stanfield (Journalism), Ryan James Thomas (Journalism), Lauren Arend (Education), Patricia Quackenbush (CAFNR), Robin Rotman (CAFNR), and Wilson Majee (Health Professions).

Missouri food insecurity rates have likely tripled during the pandemic and placed great stress on the organizations and individuals that comprise the state’s emergency food network. An interdisciplinary team of faculty, postdocs, and students with the Interdisciplinary Center for Food Security have a new award ($268K) to assist Feeding Missouri in conducting the public emergency food system throughout the state. The group represents three colleges and is lead by Darren Chapman (Rural Sociology, CAFNR), Fiorella Carlos Chavez (Human Development and Family Science, HES), Joan Hermsen (Sociology, A&S), Bill McKelvey (Rural Sociology, CAFNR), and Sandy Rikoon (Rural Sociology and HES). The group will focus immediately on COVID-19 challenges and responses of Missouri food banks and food pantries; agency organization, characteristics, and structures in Fall, 2020; and, a statewide survey of food pantry client households in 2021.

Because of Memorial Day next week, I will not be sharing this weekly update until Tuesday, June 2. I wish you and your loved ones a safe, happy, and healthy, holiday weekend.

Latha Ramchand