Hello, dear colleagues!
I hope this finds you staying afloat. Today’s e-mail will have a LOT of content–several folks have written to me asking to have information included, which I’m happy to do, so if you have something to share, please let me know.
That said, I thought a Table of Contents might be in order, just to help you find whatever you’re looking for without having to scroll all the way through. Section titles are in caps and bold. I’ve included two sections on wellness, because the news these days does not seem good, and we need to take care of ourselves in order to guide our students.
As with other sources and ideas, I encourage you to share this information with colleagues and friends.
As always, please take care.
Table of Contents
- CARPE Office Hours
- Upcoming VIA events with Dr. Jeanine Stewart
- Faculty Wellness
- Student Wellness
- Information about Library Resources
- Information about Spring Term textbooks
1. CARPE DIGITAL OFFICE HOURS
As I mentioned earlier in the week, we’ll be holding digital office hours next week for any faculty still working on the transition to virtual instruction. Please know that there is no issue too small to bring to the table. Over the past week I’ve continuously found that every time faculty come to me with a question, we both end up learning something. So come and use me–and other colleagues–as a sounding board! (I’m also, by the way, available for virtual one-on-one conversations, if you’d prefer).
Office hours (for next week at least), are Monday through Friday from 10 am to 12 noo at https://wlu.zoom.us/j/451041071.
2. UPCOMING VIA EVENTS WITH DR. JEANINE STEWART
Those of you who have been at W&L for a while will remember Jeanine Stewart as a positive force in the then-psychology department and as a successful Dean of the College. She’s since taken her background in psychology and neuroscience and branched out, helping multiple organizations (including Fortune 500 companies) to develop effective and productive organizational cultures even when online. Because so much of her work is on relationships and because she’s stayed true to her roots in the liberal arts, she’s offered to give a pair of talk as part of our Virtual Instruction Academy. As we all gear up to take our classes into the virtual realm, these talks may be crucial in helping us sustain product relationships with our students. Descriptions and times are below, and you can sign up here.
Monday, 23 March, 2-3:00, Elrod Commons 024: Liberal Arts Values in the Virtual Classroom
In a campus-based, liberal arts setting faculty and students alike value community and small group interaction. As courses and interactions move online, we need to find new ways to represent core values of personal connection and inclusive engagement despite the challenges of inter-personal distance and mid-term disruptions. Guest presenter, Jeanine Stewart will share specific suggestions and open a discussion related to techniques professors can use to maintain a sense of community and foster robust engagement in the virtual classroom.
Tuesday, 24 March, 1-2:30, Elrod Commons 024: Putting the Personal in the Virtual
Workplaces are communities that play a larger role in our lives than filling the time from 9-5 and offering a paycheck. This session will focus on providing a common language and framework for identifying and meeting our own social needs as well as supporting community members who are temporarily working remotely. The focus will be on how we might embed small but significant connection points into our daily work. Guest presenter, Jeanine Stewart will share specific suggestions and open a discussion related to how each person can contribute to a sense of community and foster robust engagement while working virtually.
3. FACULTY WELLNESS
Just a gentle reminder: we care deeply about our students and their learning. In moments of crisis like this, however, it’s easy to forget that we won’t be effective teachers if we don’t also attend to our own physical and mental wellness. That in mind, a few simple tips on how to retain some pleasure–and even joy–in your life:
- If, like me, your landing page is a newspaper or news site, change it to something else–the W&L page, the website for your favorite restaurant, the page of your beloved alma mater, the real estate site for that little town in the south of France to which you’ve always dreamed of retiring. The news will always be there, but you don’t need to be hit in the face with it every time you go to check your e-mail.
- Maybe now is the time to finally start that yoga practice? I mean, you’re at home, you’re already wearing sweatpants–why not? All of the routines in YouTube’s 30 Days of Yoga are between 20 and 35 minutes. That’s 20-35 minutes of reduced anxiety, lower heart rate, deeper breathing, and reduced pain from being hunched over your laptop all day.
- As someone who loves a fine Italian medium roast, I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but there’s some research linking caffeine to increased anxiety. Given how much anxiety we’re already living with, maybe it’s time to cut back, just a little–NOT COMPLETELY, MIND YOU, WE’RE NOT ANIMALS! But yeah: just a little. (For what it’s worth, I’m pretty sure there’s some sacred text somewhere that says that when weaning ourselves from coffee, we’re allowed to have as much chocolate as we want. Really pretty sure that’s true.)
- Finally, there’s also research showing the positive relationship between gratitude and subjective well-being. That in mind, it might be a good time to reach out to some of the people who’ve made your life powerful and meaningful and let them know how appreciative you are of what they’ve added to your world. Parents, maybe, undergraduate instructors, that college friend you used to chat with after class but haven’t seen in years. If you find yourself unsure where to begin, I’d suggest dropping an e-mail to Julie Knudson, Brandon Bucy, Helen MacDermott, and Dave Pfaff, who’ve worked tirelessly and continuously this week to put together the Virtual Instruction Academy, shifting us all from in-person mode to virtual instruction in just five days. What these four have accomplished in less than a week is nothing short of extraordinary. They deserve all the gratitude we can give them.
4. STUDENT WELLNESS
What follows are two links to recent essays about helping students deal with anxiety in this time of crisis. Feel free to read and share, but remember that no one of us will be able to save the world. Explore the techniques and options, implement a few that seem manageable for who you are as instructor, and just do your best.
5. VALUABLE INFORMATION ABOUT LIBRARY RESOURCES
Below is an e-mail from Emily Cook, Research and Outreach Librarian, about several library resources that can help faculty with their digital transition. Emily and the rest of the library staff are encouraging faculty to reach out with any questions–of if instructors are having trouble solving transition problems.
- Several publishers & databases are making academic resources temporarily free to help the transition to online learning. Librarian Kaci Resau curated a list to help W&L faculty access these ebook, etextbook, journal, & streaming media resources: https://libguides.wlu.edu/az.php?s=183117.
- Chat Reference will be available when classes resume for on-demand, online research support. We have subscribed to LibAnswers/LibChat which, in addition to being embedded on the library’s website, offers CMS integration opportunities: https://ask.springshare.com/libanswers/faq/2505.
- Finally, for those teaching media-rich classes, the library already subscribes to a variety of streaming services, see below. We can also investigate streaming content that is not available via the below vendors.
- Kanopy: https://wlu.primo.exlibrisgroup.com/permalink/01WLU_INST/r69n1a/alma991010323726304161 (under mediated purchasing)
- Films on Demand: https://wlu.primo.exlibrisgroup.com/permalink/01WLU_INST/r69n1a/alma991010505385504161
- BlueRidge PBS: https://libguides.wlu.edu/blueridgepbspassport
- Digital Theater Plus: https://libguides.wlu.edu/digitaltheatreplus
- BBC Shakespeare Plays: https://wlu.primo.exlibrisgroup.com/permalink/01WLU_INST/r69n1a/alma991010452826704161
6. FINALLY, SOME USEFUL INFORMATION ABOUT SPRING TERM TEXTBOOKS
Textbook Information for Undergraduate Faculty: UG Spring Term Textbooks and Course Materials: The University Store will collect all required textbook information from Spring Term faculty and post it online. Spring Term faculty should continue to send in their book orders, as before. Required books can be viewed by visiting the Registrar’s Spring Term Course Listings (https://managementtools3.wlu.edu/CourseOfferings/), then clicking on any course, and then clicking the “View Books Now” link. In general, the University Store will NOT provide textbooks for Spring Term courses. Students are encouraged to use the required listings from W&L’s site and purchase books on their own. However, the store’s staff will be researching any particularly hard-to-source textbooks and plans to offer those, along with course packs, for direct sale to students who need them. If you are registered for a course with one of these textbooks, or a course that has a required course pack, the University Store’s textbook staff will reach out to enrollees in your course before April 17th with information about ordering your course materials. If you are concerned about ordering your own textbooks or feel you will be unable to do so, please reach out as soon as possible to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will be happy to order books for any student and ship them to your home. In order for our staff to have adequate time to source your books and get them to you for the start of spring term classes, please make this request by Friday, April 3rd.