The Sam Houston State University Faculty Senate held a meeting Thursday to talk with Vice Provost Christopher Maynard about the results from a faculty and student survey and focus groups used to determine the structure and goals of SHSU for the spring 2021 semester.
There will be four modalities for the spring, face-to-face, online, split week and flex.
“Split week would meet at least once a week and the reason we wanted to make that definition very clear is for students,” Maynard said. “So, when they see our four options, they see face-to-face I’m getting face-to-face instruction, split week I’m getting at least one face-to-face learning opportunity that week, flex I’m going to need to check with the instructor to see how that course is operating because it may be that I don’t get weekly contact, online, obviously I wouldn’t get any face to face contact.”
A document that discusses the lessons learned from the surveys and focus group suggests faculty and advisors should encourage face-to-face classes for incoming freshmen. According to the surveys, in general, students and faculty felt safe in the classroom coming back, but there were not enough large classrooms for many freshman classes to meet, Maynard said.
For one semester, the Lowman Student Center White Ballroom will be converted into a new classroom able to seat 90 students while being socially distanced and following COVID-19 protocols. The LSC Theater will also become a new classroom for the spring only, Maynard said.
“Really, it’s just a way to try to take off some pressure of some of our other spaces,” Maynard said. “So, for the classes that want to meet fully face-to-face, or even hybrid option, where any time they meet face-to-face they want to meet with the full class instead of rotations, we’re trying to make sure there are more options for that.”
The goal now is for deans to have discussions with their departments about the plans for the spring and which courses, up to 32 sections, will move into the LSC spaces. This week the main focus is to find out which classrooms are in need of moving to the larger spaces to accommodate more students for face-to-face instruction, Maynard said.
Maynard encouraged faculty to have discussions with their departments and colleges over the next couple of weeks to see what adjustments they want to make for their classrooms, meeting times and different modalities.
“The goal at the end of the day is to make sure that when registration opens, students have clear choices, students have clear expectations and the faculty members who are looking at their classes have time to make adjustments now,” Maynard said. “So, we can then relay those expectations to students so that students know what to expect.”