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The University Star




The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

Administration addresses in-person instruction concerns at Faculty Senate

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Texas State’s Faculty Senate expressed concerns to university administrators about the return to in-person curriculum, in its Feb. 3 meeting. 
Faculty Senate Chair Janet Bezner believes members’ concerns stem from feeling as if they have no alternative options but to return to face-to-face instruction.
“Basically, the bottom line is we feel like we should have the choice, and we don’t feel like we have the choice,” Bezner says.
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Gene Bourgeois says faculty members who did not feel comfortable with in-person instruction had the opportunity to request to remain online. Therefore, he says there should be little to no reason as to why faculty should be worried about teaching face-to-face.
“There has clearly been no evidence of transmission in our classrooms, our offices, our laboratories, and it’s safe to be on campus in-person with all of the mitigation protocols that we have in place,” Bourgeois says. “And to me, this would be no different than a regular semester in which if you started teaching in person.”
Bourgeois also cites students’ expectations for in-person learning as reasoning to continue with in-person class delivery.
“It goes back to what the students signed up for at the very beginning of the semester. Not to say that some students who signed up for online or face-to-face prefer one over the other because some of them were restricted in some of the offerings, but the reality is that they signed up for this in-person class or this online class or this hybrid class,” Bourgeois says. “What we keep hearing from students is that they are preferring to basically be more or less what they’re in. We did hear from the Student Government; it was a 14 to five vote and the senators who responded said they preferred that we return to in-person instruction and in-person extracurricular activities.”
Texas State President Denise Trauth also says classes should remain in-person to honor student expectations in regards to the courses they signed up for.
“Students sign up for a course expecting it to be in one modality. Now obviously, if there is a surge [in COVID-19 cases] you have to acknowledge that and make some changes, but when you’re in a time [where] there’s a downward trend here, it’s hard to make the argument to students as to why we can’t give them the modality that they signed up for,” Trauth says.
Trauth agrees that faculty members should feel comfortable teaching in-person because of the current number of student cases reported on campus.
“The bottom line here is what [Dr. Emilio Carranco] said yesterday, which is that there is no transmission that our contact tracers can trace to the classroom,” Trauth says. “If that changes, then, of course, when we have our Monday meetings, we would make some decisions but right now, there’s a steady downward trend.”
Although Bourgeois believes Texas State faculty have nothing to worry about in terms of contracting COVID-19 in the classroom setting, he mentions there are still alternative options for those who feel that it is necessary for them to return to online instruction.
“There still is opportunity for faculty members to have conversations with chairs or directors, if necessary,” Bourgeois says.

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