Innovating Education

Posted in: Admin Notes | COVID-19

Dear Mizzou College of Education Community,

Business as Usual?

We know that many activities have been and may continue to be disrupted. Travel is at a near standstill, and you are working from home. We know you may be juggling your work responsibilities with child care, homeschooling, or taking care of and checking in on neighbors and loved ones. We are making different decisions about how we prioritize our time.

Historically, some people have used the term “business as usual” during disruptions. Some examples found online:

This term originated as an announcement that a commercial establishment was continuing to operate in spite of fire, construction, or some similar interruption.

It was extended to broader use by 1914, when Winston Churchill used it in a speech and it became a slogan for the rest of World War I.

“Business as usual” is not a message we will send as everyone is changing how they work, socialize, teach, and conduct research. In the College of Education, we are well positioned for these challenges because we have a talented team equipped with agility, creativity and resolve.

Innovating Education

We continue to innovate how we work and do business. For example:

  • Faculty shifted courses in record time to accommodate remote instruction and are reaching out to their students in personal and effective ways to support them.
  • Staff are working diligently at home to support every aspect of our organization.
  • Our IT infrastructure is more important than ever. Everyone working to meet technology needs are heroes on a daily basis.
  • Many are working to create new experiences for undergraduates and graduate students whose clinical, research, and teaching have been disrupted.
  • Staff in the engagement units are compiling resources to support our communities and expanding options for professional development and K-12 learning.
  • Many are working to identify new opportunities (e.g., summer online courses for post-secondary and learning opportunities for PreK-12 students.)
  • Staff and faculty are working to effectively recruit and retain our students.
  • Staff and faculty are pursuing research opportunities and different ways to collect data.
  • We are generating solutions in response to the changes our society faces.

Important Reminders

As we move forward, recognize that the situation will remain fluid and be patient as changes continue. Please keep in mind the following:

  • Display empathy to all and take care of yourself.
  • Flexibility and support for our students are priorities. Contact your Chair, Director, Program Coordinator, DGS, Student Advisors, or Associate Dean John Lannin if you want to discuss options for student accommodations.
  • Support for our community is very important at this time. Be respectful, especially for those who become sick, or are impacted by others who are sick.

We are grateful for everyone stepping up and assuming “other duties as assigned.”

Those Who Are Teaching

We appreciate the time you have dedicated to go above and beyond. Your immediate response to the transition online was professional and outstanding. We recognize you will continue to make thoughtful adjustments to your courses throughout this semester. As an example of what instructors around the nation are facing, see the article from the Chronicle of Higher Education, Nobody Signed Up This: One Professor’s Guidelines for an Interrupted Semester.

The professor highlighted in the article included the following principles in his syllabus:

  1. Nobody signed up for this.
  2. The humane option is the best option.
  3. We cannot just do the same thing online.
  4. We will foster intellectual nourishment, social connection, and personal accommodation.
  5. We will remain flexible and adjust to the situation.

Researchers

We recognize that your research, grants, and writing may be significantly disrupted. Some faculty have shared their challenges. For example, graduate students did not have sufficient internet connections at home to complete analysis and hot spots were ordered. Christi Bergin can support your conversations with federal agencies if grant changes are necessary. We have a team devoted to working with you to think through issues and find solutions.Tenured faculty, we need your leadership more than ever to support your colleagues.

Pre-tenured faculty, we know this situation may be particularly stressful. Know that:

  • The potential disruption in your work will be recognized as a valid reason for extending the tenure clock, if needed: https://provost.missouri.edu/promotion-and-tenure/extensions/
  • Campus will add language to external reviewer instructions to acknowledge the disruption of academic activities.
  • Your unit leaders (Chairs/Directors, Dean) and Academic Personnel Committees will also acknowledge these circumstances in their letters for promotion and tenure.
  • Here is APA’s guidance on cancelled conference presentation formatting.
  • Our advancement team will continue working to match donor interests and gifts to support research teams.

Connect with Your College Representatives

There are a number of activities that are occurring behind the scenes to solve problems. For example, I meet with the Deans and Provost Ramchand every evening. Rose Marra meets every morning as the College’s representative on the campus Academic Preparedness Committee. The College’s Leadership teams meet multiple times a week and units gather in different ways to connect. The department chairs attend office hour sessions with the Provost.

We say this to let you know we are working to represent our College, students, staff and faculty. If you have ideas or concerns, share them with your supervisor or email MizzouEdCommunity@missouri.edu. In addition, you are encouraged to connect with the Professional Staff Council, College Faculty Advisory Council, and your representatives on campus committees.

Thank you for your initiative, dedication, patience, and empathy. Your impact is felt throughout our communities.

Sincerely,