Texas State faculty urge administrative action on campus return

A+person+walks+through+the+Quad%2C+Tuesday%2C+March+31%2C+2020%2C+at+Texas+State.+

Jaden Edison

A person walks through the Quad, Tuesday, March 31, 2020, at Texas State.

Daniel Weeks, News Editor

Texas State’s Faculty Senate addressed a letter to President Denise Trauth and Provost Gene Bourgeois urging them to take action on amending the campus Roadmap to Return.

On July 22, the senate released results from a survey addressed to all faculty to gather concerns and perceptions related to the university’s Roadmap to Return. Nearly 700 faculty members responded, with 92% indicating they were somewhat, fairly or extremely concerned about students and others not adhering to safety guidelines, and 88% expressed they were somewhat, fairly or extremely concerned they will be at risk of contracting COVID-19 while on campus.

Trauth announced July 2 the majority of summer II classes would be transitioned online based on the growing number of COVID-19 cases in Hays and Williamson counties, respectively. The letter states the COVID-19 situation within these counties has not changed since then and that central Texas still remains a hotspot.

The letter states: “Requiring faculty to return to campus for face-to-face instruction places unnecessary risks on the health and wellbeing of many faculty members and staff, and by extension, the students who must attend classes in person.”

The requests in the letter include:

  • “Provide the utmost flexibility in course delivery and truly give faculty the choice of course delivery method independent of limits for online courses offered, department chair or college dean decisions. Faculty are in the best position to make decisions about their own course modality with considerations of personal health, pedagogical approach, subject matter, and learning objectives.”
  • “Prioritize moving all large classes (>200 students) online, especially in classrooms where four feet of physical distancing cannot be maintained.”
  • “Consider a flexible face-to-face return to campus. Most K-12 school districts in the region are beginning their semester online and reevaluating their return to campus by continuously monitoring the COVID-19 situation.”
  • “Actively promote the benefits of online learning so that students hear the message that they will receive a quality education that is in some ways better than in-person instruction, as per the evidence and the university’s spring 2020 experience.”

The senate requested a response from Trauth and Bourgeois by July 30. According to Dr. Rachel Davenport, the Senate is in contact with the president and the vice provost, and they are currently considering the requests.


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