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UO Prof posts results of UO Covid-19 Fall reopening survey

Full results and open-source docs, so that other universities to use the survey are now posted here.

The survey was done by Melissa Graboyes, Ph.D., MPH
Associate Professor, Medical History & African History Clark Honors College.

Here’s the gist from her website:

The UO Fall Survey ran from June 3-11. The anonymous survey had more than 2,300 University of Oregon students, staff, and faculty participants providing feedback on a range of topics, including their views about opening for an in-person, on-campus Fall term, but also asking about their experiences with remote teaching and learning, and their levels of trust and confidence in the UO administration to make safe, wise, responsible decisions in relation to Covid-19. We want to thank so many of you for taking time to provide your thoughts. There is a great deal to be learned from the survey results, and I was particularly struck by the more than 1,200 comments people took the time to write: impressively rich, thoughtful, nuanced, and indicative of what a complex issue the university—and all of us—are facing. ..,

1. There are wide differences in opinion between undergraduates, graduate students, staff, and faculty about whether it is wise to return to in-person instruction in Fall term, their level of concern about the health risks, and their levels of trust in the University administration to act in their best interest and the best interest of thew idea community. Overall, undergraduates are more enthusiastic about an in-person Fall and less concerned about risks; faculty, staff, and graduate students were more hesitant about on-campus instruction and expressed more concern about personal and community-level risks.

2. There are wide differences in the levels of trust people have in the University administration to act in their best interest, or the best interest of the wider Eugene/Springfield area when making decisions about Fall term plans. Undergraduates have the highest levels of trust. That differs significantly from employees: only 32% of responding faculty and staff stated they trusted the administration to make decisions in their best interest.

3. There was general agreement between responding faculty and students that overall outcomes with remote learning and teaching in Spring term were disappointing. Faculty judged their efforts with remote teaching slightly more successful than students did. Over 75% of the 900 students participating in the survey reported their spring classes were more difficult to complete, and that they learned less compared to an in-person class.

4. Employees from across the university, of all types and rank, have concerns about job security, reduced FTE, and changing work expectations. More than 70% of the 1000 surveyed employees agreed that they are concerned about job loss or FTE reduction. Few employees feel secure in their job given the current climate on campus.

I want to acknowledge the great assistance and support of United Academics in producing the survey and report, and the partnerships with SEIU SubLocal 085, the GTFF, and numerous student organizations to help distribute the survey. It is my sincere hope that the time spent organizing this survey, the time people spent taking the survey, and now the widespread dissemination of results will result in more transparent and inclusive decision-making, and wise and safe decisions in the coming months.


  1. Has Anyone Met UO Undergrads? 06/22/2020

    Such a generous act of a professor to do this for the university.

    Also see this Inside Higher Ed article:
    “Simulating COVID Spread in College Setting”

    From the article:

    “Peck and Gressman also concluded that it will be extremely important for students to refrain from all contact with one another outside of academic and residential settings. (In a residential setting, the study assumed students will each have one close contact — their roommate.)

    ‘Even very small rates of contact in large group settings like dining halls or parties may be sufficient to sustain an outbreak on campus regardless of any other protective measures which have been put into place,’ they wrote in the paper.”

    So we are counting on 18 and 19 year-old students not to party or hang out with friends? Hello?

    • Dog 06/22/2020

      by far the big issue is college football …

      • charlie 06/22/2020

        I went to a local sports bar and watched the Pac12 Network. As expected, most programming is reruns of football and some basketball games. What struck me was the near abscence of any paid advertising. Mostly PSAs and promotion of other Pac12 Network programming. Maybe it was the fact it was a weekend when I did this unscientific survey. But I can’t remember a time when I saw so many non-revenue cable ads.

        I’m not in that business anymore, but shouldn’t sponsors have begun their ad campaigns by now? Is this an indicator that advertisers have given up on this year’s football season? If so, this is ominous for Wazzu, CAL, USC, because these are ADs that are in serious financial trouble…

        • Fishwrapper 06/22/2020

          With the exception of a few bottles of snake oil for curing chancres, very few products other than upcoming Pac12 programming have been in the ad rotations for quite some time now. Only lately, with the forced Covid re-runs (we’d be in re-runs anyway, but roll with it…) does it look “normal”.

          • charlie 06/22/2020

            One of the advertised products I did see was for a toy car selling at $19.95. Obviously, that price must cover the cost of ad time. I’m guessing that if a product is given heavy rotation, as this was during the time I was watching, in a normal market, it would have cost the producer several thousand dollars per day. That would mean they’d have to move hundreds, if not thousands of units, in order to warrant the marketing costs.

            No way in hell are they selling that many toy cars. That indicates the networks pretty much are giving away the time. Just get anything up there so that we don’t need to broadcast yet another PSA. That cannot portend a lucrative football sponsorship revenue season. The networks, I must believe, are going to ask for a portion of their broadcast revenues to be returned. If so, Wazzu, Cal, USC, are going to be forced to make some drastic cuts in their AD budgets. If you folks aren’t aware, Wazzu projected a more than $100 million AD deficit within a couple years. I don’t see them surviving as presently configured..,

    • The Mediocre Opinion Man 06/22/2020

      > So we are counting on 18 and 19 year-old students not to party or hang out with friends? Hello?

      Yeah, considering that right now, you can take a drive around downtown and see at least half a dozen large parties happening, it’s a bit scary to think about what things will look like when all the students return…

      • They are DEFINITELY partying 06/22/2020


        Living near campus, I can tell you that the students have DEFINITELY been partying.

        Phase 1 reopening? Better have a dozen people on the front lawn.
        Midterms? Time to get in a group. Extra people after finals too.
        Arbitrary day that ends in ‘y’? Well, you get the picture…

        It’s totally no surprise that these are the same folks unconcerned with in-person classes in the fall.


        I was going to leave another comment here before I found one it made sense to reply to, but the survey comments on disappointment with it being harder to learn with remote teaching.

        I wonder what we would find if we did a better job splitting that between classes taught by faculty who decided to go synchronous or bust (Zoom lectures all the time, 2h exam availability) and faculty who understood that asynchronous approaches would be dramatically better given the circumstances (taking a page from flipping the classroom, smaller pre-recorded broken-up lectures, flexible exam availability)?

        I feel like 75% might, actually, legitimately be *low* for the ones who demanded we adhere to schedules as if our physical spaces still worked like they did before, and it’s probably more than the actual percentage of people disappointed in asynchronous classwork.

        I’ve been learning throughout the term (in no small part because of how much the support is geared towards this unspoken yet plainly made assumption) that some particularly extreme extroverts are suffering under staying at home, and I can at least *imagine* how much that sucks, but it feels like we’re putting *everyone* at risk just to make those folks happy again? It feels like the campus had a big push for how to do synchronous work on the assumption that this is implicitly better for everyone (pro tip: it isn’t, ask anyone in a shared living arrangement trying to coordinate that over Wi-Fi).

        I guess I don’t have formal understanding to “guarantee” anything on this topic, but I’d be willing to bet if we’d instead spent our time encouraging instructors to go asynchronous as hard as we actually did with synchronous approaches, we’d see some *very* different results. I can think of only a couple examples of where synchronous is truly *necessary* (most second languages?), so why was nearly everything sent that way?

        • Dog 06/22/2020

          short answer
          I think any course under about 40 students can be effectively done on synchronous ZOOM

          over that asynchronous ON line is probably best

          I did say to several early on in this process is that the admins don’t understand the difference between the two choices above
          hopefully student responses will help bring the reality home that the first choice above, is not really good for most classes above
          that number (40 or so)

    • Anonymous 06/22/2020

      yeah not good
      1 last week
      next week maybe 6-7 …

      not looking food, unfortunately

      also the situation in california is dreadful

      • honest Uncle Gangsta 06/23/2020

        Look on the bright sude. It is called “exponential growth.” Students (and non-math type fac and staff) will finally get it. Math 111 performance goes through the roof. An online triumph for UO.

  2. honest Uncle Gangsta 06/22/2020

    It is not looking good. Lane County has been relatively unaffected, now the students are going to cause an explosion of corona cases. All the faculty over age 50 probably going to try to bug out from campus. It will be the usual maturity level, but without the influence of the old codgers to suppress the exuberance of the youngins! And then the bar scene at night. With no classes to go to, hangovers won’t count. Without the Pioneer Father and Mother watching their behavior.

    I predict the City Council will be begging the Gov to “quarantine” UO. The U. goes completely online, and the students go completely bonkers. It is going to be a fun scene.

    • uomatters Post author | 06/22/2020

      Congratulations on being the first to link the Pioneer Mother’s watchful gaze and the Pioneer Father’s bull-whip to our campus’s low coronavirus test results. I’m no econometrician, but a quick ocular regression discontinuity test supports your hypothesis. I forecast that after the Trustees de-name Deady on Thursday we’ll see another spike. In fact, the simplest explanation for these new cases is that the virus is capable of backwards induction, and has already moved preemptively.

      • honest Uncle Gangsta 06/22/2020

        It would be nice to say that you get it, one of the few enlightened ones in our sad age. But I was talking about the future, not the present or the past. Next fall, when the students go bonkers and spread the virus everywhere. When 150 Columbia is a field hospital, and the Phildo is used to store masks and ….

  3. uotechmatters 06/22/2020

    HR rejected hiring an LMS support staff (internal hiring only for that other staff jobs) but approved the hiring an associate cio

    One of the recommendations ( was to improve future remote teaching so I think having more staff would be useful and hiring outsider brings in much needed diversity than internally rotating people. I think hiring an associate cio should be tabled for now. Thoughts?

    • heraclitus 06/22/2020

      I’m 10 days and counting on an unanswered CMET/Canvas ticket. And once again major Canvas changes are taking place during summer courses with minimal warning for instructors (sure do love testing this stuff out and finding the showstoppers in the middle of my 4 week intensive online course). So yes, we should probably be hiring 5 new LMS support staff. Not going to happen, though, is it…? And how exactly does that new CIO fit with the hiring freeze? Will s/he be answering support tickets?

      • uotechmatters 06/23/2020

        Good questions. HR said there was a committee making decisions about the hiring. Maybe uomatters can find out more and instructors could put pressure on IT to makes hires for their interests.

      • Parmenides 06/23/2020

        It’s always the same river at the UO.

  4. uomatters Post author | 06/23/2020

    The Daily Emerald report on this is notable for distinguishing between the University of Oregon – i.e. the faculty and the students – and the UO Administration, which likes to call itself “The University”, but is not:
    The University of Oregon released its survey results regarding its response to COVID-19 on Monday. The survey provides input from nearly 2,300 UO community members, including students, staff and faculty. Professor Melissa Graboyes conducted the survey independently from the UO administration, with support from the United Academics faculty union and two other unions on campus.

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