Dear Colleagues:

I’d like to begin by thanking you for all of your astounding work this past Winter and Spring. The way everyone pivoted on a dime and shifted their classes to virtual mode was testimony to how deeply you care about our students and their learning. Without exaggeration, I can honestly say I’ve never seen anything quite so inspiring in my decades in high ed.

I hope the coming weeks offer everyone an opportunity to breathe a little, to dive into your research, spend some time with family and friends, read some books for fun, catch up on your favorite series. I understand, of course, that the last thing anyone wants to think about is the uncertainty surrounding next fall, but I did want to let everyone know about a number of events CARPE and Academic Technologies have planned over the course of the summer to allow us to process our recent experiences, and to strengthen our abilities to implement Fall courses that are both responsive to the current crisis, and that adhere to the best traditions of the liberal arts.

Descriptions are below. If you have any questions, please let me know. And if you’d like to sign up, you may do so by going to

One final note: I’ve received several e-mails about glitches in the survey we sent out earlier this week, namely, that people seemed to be getting timed out of particular questions, and that their answers are not saved when this happens. We’re very very sorry about this. We’ve made some adjustments to allow more time for each question, and Kristy Crickenberger actually got on the phone to speak with the Qualtrics people about the problem. They’ve assured us that everyone should have up to 30 minutes to answer each question. At this point, though, we’re struggling to confirm that the system is working the way they say it should. This in mind, please simply do your best, keeping your answers relatively short if need be, and sending additional thoughts along to me or Kristy if there’s further feedback you feel comfortable sharing with us. Again, we apologize for these glitches, and simply ask you to do your best.

Many thanks, all. Please get some rest.


Summer Academy Sessions

  1. Wednesday, June 10th, 12-1:30 pm EST: What Worked, What Didn’t, What I’ll Carry Forward.March, April, and May were about coping: given the sudden shift to distance education, how do we make sure that our students still learn what we need them to learn. Summer gives us the opportunity to pause, reflect and deliberate: what did this upheaval reveal to us about our courses? About our role as teachers? About our students? About learning? About our mission as advocates for the liberal arts? This session will begin with reflections from three colleagues, then open up for broader conversation, collaboration, and problem-solving.

    Panelists: Dr. Brian Alexander, Dr. Nadia Ayoub, & Dr. Sarah Horowitz

  2. Thursday, June 18th, 12-1:30 pm EST: Transparent and Effective Communication in the Virtual ClassroomAs educators, we seek to create learning environments that foster community, encourage persistence, promote collaboration, and motivate student engagement. Achieving these goals in a virtual classroom requires well-planned communication practices that emphasize relational components of learning and make visible significant learning processes. In this workshop, we will explore communication strategies to enhance learning for all students within the context of one of your courses.

    Dr. Pamela Tracy is the Director of the Center for Faculty Enrichment (CAFE) and Professor of Communication Studies at Longwood University. In her 18 years at Longwood, she has created and taught courses in face-to-face, hybrid, and online environments. Her faculty development work on course and assignment design, core curriculum, and new faculty programs has been published in a variety of journals. Dr. Tracy is a Quality Matters course reviewer and a certified Seven Habits facilitator.

  3. Wednesday, June 24th, 1-2:30 pm EST: Beyond Imagination: Trauma-Based Pedagogies and the Fierce Urgency to Reclaim the Heart of EducationThis workshop will interrogate what it means to teach for purpose and empowerment. How do we leverage the neuroscience of now to help our students learn and thrive in times of trauma?

    Mays Imad is a neuroscientist and the founding coordinator of the teaching and learning center at Pima Community College where she studies stress and emotions and their effect on students’ learning. Her writing and work during the COVID-19 crisis has garnered her attention from around the world.

  4. Tuesday & Wednesday, June 30 & July 1, 1-4:00 pm EST: Designing For Agility: Creating Powerful Courses that Flex (Parts I & II).If uncertainty is becoming the new normal, how do we prepare for our courses in the fall? This pair of “bring your own syllabi” interactive sessions is designed to help us rethink our courses in ways that leave us capable of responding to any situation-and ensure that we are able to maintain the level of high quality, liberal-arts community that makes our work at Washington and Lee so rewarding.

    Facilitators: Dr. Jeanine Stewart and Dr. Paul Hanstedt

  5. Tuesday, 7 July, 12-1:30 pm EST: Active Learning and Virtual InstructionActive learning strategies cannot only make face-to-face learning more compelling, they can also make virtual learning more engaging and effective for students. Five professors will discuss their virtual learning experience using student debates, collaborative teamwork, case studies, problem solving, digital stories, breakout discussions, online written discussions, and more.

    Presenters: Dr. Elicia Cowins; Dr. Megan Hess; Dr. Diego Millan; Dr. Matt Tuchler; Dr. Julie Youngman

  6. Tuesday, 14 July, 9 am-12:00 pp EST: Creating Effective VideosCreating short lecture videos for students to view before class is an active learning strategy that frees up valuable class time for students to engage with content and each other. It can also serve as an important resource for students who cannot attend class in person. In this session, we’ll examine strategies for creating and using videos effectively.

    Presenter: Dr. Jeff Rahl