University Senate - July 27, 2020 Meeting Minutes

Call to Order and Announcements

The University Senate was called to order at 3:30 p.m., via WebEx, on Monday, July 27, 2020. Attendance was not taken. The audience included members of Senate, members of the AAO Return to Campus Committee, and members of the University Community. There were approximately 330 people in attendance.

  1. Announcements and Remarks by the Chair of Senate Executive Committee, Dana Cox.

    1. Senator Cox explained the procedures and protocol and noted that senators and members of the Return to Campus Committee would be prioritized during the Question and Answer Session..


  1. Campus Update – Jason Osborne, Provost

    1. Provost Osborne began by giving background on the situation. Administration has been working on these decisions since May in conjunction with the Butler County Health Department, the State Department of Health, the cities of Oxford, Middletown, and Hamilton, IUC, and the Governor’s Office. The goal is to look at the data and make decisions in a changing environment. When the decision was made to move the start of classes up from August 24 to August 17, the numbers were decreasing. We currently are navigating many unknowns. School districts are starting to make the decision to go online. Once we started phasing back in, the incidence rates increased. We have to take in account what the community needs are; the budget is less important. We did not expect to have to do 6’ distancing in the classroom.

    2. The start of classes was moved to August 17 to allow students to finish by November 20. Students will then have the week of Thanksgiving off followed by finals. The original discussion was to delay move in day until Labor Day similar to peer institutions. Now, the goal to have students on campus is September 21, which will give time to ramp-up testing. We are continuing to refine our models. The lag times for test results are more than a day.

    3. All undergraduate classes will be remote/online starting August 17. Graduate classes will be face-to-face or hybrid and will be held as planned. The campuses are open. Students will be receiving a letter giving them options. They can be completely online/remote, but have to look for classes that support that. Faculty are not being asked to redesign their classes, which could alter pedagogical decisions. Currently, 60% are online or hybrid. As a result, fees will be refunded. Students with accommodations will be handled the same way as normal. There will not be any accommodation approved that isn’t reasonable. It is at the discretion of the faculty.

    4. The audience engaged in the following questions and discussion:
      1. Are we requiring students to be tested prior to coming to campus? Not at this time. It would be a good plan if there was adequate rapid testing, but with such an explosion in demand, this is not currently possible.

      2. Move in week will begin September 14 and conclude by September 21. During this time, there needs to be continuance of coursework. The Office of Residence Life and Campus Services will be looking to align times for a smooth transition that will be spread out over several days. We cannot take the week off.

      3. Everyone’s hard work was recognized.

      4. Not all courses are required to make accommodations. Will students be forced to go to an in-person course or a hybrid course? We have to take a multi-pronged approach and work with advising groups to find another course.

      5. Should we encourage people to completely transition a course to be online? It was suggested to talk with the department chair.

      6. Each graduate course has a plan and has been working with Mike Crowder, Dean, Graduate School. Many graduate courses require face-to-face instruction due to pedagogies necessary to complete learning objectives.

      7. A brief IT update was given. There is funding to ensure that everyone has the technology they need for the semester.

      8. Are students going to be required to quarantine once they arrive on campus? Miami will be following the recommendations from the Governor. A policy will need to be in place; however, it will be difficult to ask students to stay in their dorms. Another issue will be finding who needs to be quarantined.

      9. A question was asked about having two different crns for a course to distinguish the online portion from the face-to-face portion. While it is not possible to have two crns for one course, it may be possible to do something within Canvas to accommodate the need. The suggestion was made to work with e-Learning to set up another Canvas site.

    5. There are a lot of general impacts that needed to be examined more closely. There will be three or four working groups within Senate to look at differential needs and how faculty are being impacted. Senator Jen Green (Psychology) and Senator Dana Cox (Mathematics) will examine policies and practices. Jeffrey Wanko, Associate Provost and Kimberly Moore, Dean of Students, will be examining ways to support undergraduate students, while Mike Crowder, Dean, Graduate School will be working with Graduate Council concerning the needs of graduate students.  Senator Troy Travis (IT Services) will be assisting with the evaluation of staff needs.

    6. The credit/no credit policy and attendance policy will be more flexible as they were in the spring. Additionally, faculty seeking Promotion and Tenure can ask for two clock extensions. When there is an external reviewer, there will be a statement in the letter to contextualize the disruption. Course evaluations can be used, but will not be punitive. It was noted that Spring 2020 course evaluations were at least as good as Spring 2019 evaluations.

    7. The audience engaged in the following questions and discussion:
      1. How are these changes going to affect graduate students? TAs should coordinate things with the department chair. Accommodations are going to be handled in the same manner as for undergraduates.

      2. Can graduate students switch from face-to-face classes to online? The Graduate School has sent an email to students with direction. A student will have to coordinate with the program director and department chair.

      3. How are annual reviews being handled for those who are tenured? We need to consider what makes sense.

      4. Faculty have been given an extended clock for tenure. Are graduate students being given the same consideration? Reasonable accommodations will be made. Requests are to start at the department level and then will go to the Graduate Dean. Summer funding will remain for those promised.

      5. Community leaders have been made aware of the new schedule. Dana Cox and Gwen Fears, Co-chairs of the Safe Return to Campus Committee, have been meeting with city officials regularly. This has included Chief Jones and Chief McCandless. They are considering holding an information session for landlords and business owners.

      6. Will there be testing available at the Student Health Center? We are working through a testing protocol and are working with Tri-Health.

      7. How is the administration going to provide lead-time for those who are going to teach face-to-face? It may get to the point that it’s too late to do online.

      8. Research labs and studios will be open.

      9. A lot of students have made travel plans based on the original on-campus start date (August 17). Will the University provide any reimbursement to those students. Miami will try to refund the change fee. In March, we were ordered to clear campus by the Health Department, so it was out of our control.

      10. What is the timeframe of opting in/out of online classes? Students will have until August 14, 2020.

      11. What about graduate courses with undergraduate students (400/500 level courses)? Not all graduate courses will be face-to-face. Guidance will be given to faculty in those situations.

      12. Senator Liz Wardle, Director, Howe Center for Writing Excellence, indicated that the HCWE will be working with faculty during the transition to online coursework.

      13. How do the options relate to students who are living off campus? The options are similar.

      14. Can students take a gap year/semester? Yes, and communication was given to incoming students so they know this is an option and they won’t lose their financial aid. 


  1. The Regular Session of University Senate was adjourned at 5:13 p.m.