Provost Update — October 2020

Thursday, October 8, 2020

A Message from Kathleen Plinske, Executive Vice President and Provost

I hope you are having a wonderful fall semester. I write with an update on the Spring 2021 Course Schedule, a request for input about our Strategic Impact Plan and an invitation to join a Focused Inquiry Team on Equity-minded Practice.

– Spring 2021 Course Schedule: Thank you for your feedback on the design principles for the Spring 2021 Schedule that were developed by an interdisciplinary Design team composed largely of faculty and deans. The Design team shared these principles with faculty leaders, deans, and campus presidents who in turn developed a recommended list of courses with face-to-face meetings for spring. This list of courses was reviewed by our Conditions to Reopen team and shared with Dr. Shugart for his approval.

As a result of this collaborative planning process, we are prepared to offer about 50 additional courses in a face-to-face or mixed-mode format this spring as compared to fall. Consistent with our design principles, these are courses that have learning outcomes or requirements that cannot be achieved online, courses with specialized equipment or software only available on campus, or courses that are part of academic programs in which students’ progression has been delayed because learning outcomes require a face-to-face experience.

While we are planning for a spring that largely looks like the fall, we are preparing to offer an increased number of Real-time Virtual (RTV) courses based on student and faculty feedback. Unlike our traditional online courses that are asynchronous, RTV courses include required virtual course meetings during designated time periods. To support this increase in RTV offerings, we are also prepared to accommodate a limited number of faculty who require an on-campus space to teach their RTV classes. We will not be able to accommodate specific on-campus locations or sophisticated technology requests; rather, this option is available for faculty who may not have reliable internet or a reliably quiet space from which to teach RTV at home. If you would like to explore the option of teaching an RTV class from campus, please contact your dean by the middle of next week.

Our students will receive this message about our plans for spring later today.

In addition to courses, we anticipate that most services will also continue to be offered virtually. On Friday, October 30, 2020, the Conditions to Reopen team is going to meet to review operations that may require some functions to reopen on the campuses. More information on campus operations, including student services, will be shared in early November.

– Strategic Planning Forums: Special thanks to those of you who have attended one or more of our Strategic Planning Forums. If you were unable to make the forums, or if you have additional ideas after reflecting on the forums, I invite you to respond to our online surveys about our four goal areas: AccessGraduationTransfer Success and Workforce Success.

At the next District Board of Trustees meeting on Wednesday, October 28, 2020, we plan to share a draft of our proposed high-level, aspirational goals with the board for its feedback. These goals are intended to describe the “What?” and the “Why?” for our work, viewed through a lens of opportunity and equity. After we finalize our Strategic Impact Plan this fall, we will continue our planning process in the spring by developing Institutional Plans that describe the “How?,” including the strategies and tactics that we will implement to make progress toward the goals articulated in the Strategic Impact Plan.

If you have additional thoughts or feedback about our goal areas or our planning process, please feel free to reach out to Brandon McKelvey, vice president, analytics and planning, at

– Focused Inquiry Team: Equity-minded Practice: Our Learning Council has commissioned a Focused Inquiry Team to help lay the groundwork for the College’s Equity Plan and Learning Plan by identifying evidence-based, equity-minded practices in both pedagogy and curriculum as well as key, measurable indicators of equitable student outcomes and experiences. If you are interested in serving on this Focused Inquiry Team, please complete this brief self-nomination form by next Tuesday, October 13, 2020.

I hope that you are doing well and continuing to take good care. Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions, comments or concerns.

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