VPAA to Deans/Depts: Stop granting your damn faculty’s requests to teach remotely!

Thanks to an anonymous source for the leak:

From: Janet Woodruff-Borden <janetw@uoregon.edu>
Date: June 16, 2020 at 7:05:16 PM EDT
To: Brad Shelton <shelton@uoregon.edu>, Bruce Blonigen <bruceb@uoregon.edu>, DD Humanities <ddhumanities@uoregon.edu>, Gabe Paquette <paquette@uoregon.edu>, Hal Sadofsky <sadofsky@uoregon.edu>, Janet Woodruff-Borden <janetw@uoregon.edu>, Juan-Carlos Molleda <jmolleda@uoregon.edu>, Karen Ford <fordk@uoregon.edu>, Kate Mondloch <mondloch@uoregon.edu>, Laura Vandenburgh <lkvanden@uoregon.edu>, Marcilynn Burke <maburke@uoregon.edu>, Mark Watson <mrwatson@uoregon.edu>, Patrick Phillips <pphil@uoregon.edu>, Philip Scher <pscher@uoregon.edu>, Randy Kamphaus <randyk@uoregon.edu>, Sabrina Madison-Cannon <smadison@uoregon.edu>, Sarah Nutter <snutter@uoregon.edu>, Tim Inman <tbinman@uoregon.edu>
Cc: Missy Matella <mmatella@uoregon.edu>, Ron Bramhall <rcb@uoregon.edu>, Julia Pomerenk <jpom@uoregon.edu>
Subject: Fall schedule changes

Dear colleagues,

I am writing to ask that we pause on any fall schedule changes and that you work with department heads to maintain the current fall plan. The schedule was created based on faculty input on who could and could not be on campus for in-person classes. As of today, over 12,600 students have registered based on that information. We have been receiving a number of anecdotal reports of faculty now requesting to teach remotely and departments granting those requests. While those decisions may be appropriate at some future point, the process we followed to create the current schedule was planful and accommodated all remote requests received by HR via the survey. None of this is to say that we may not be able (or need) to make additional changes at a future time, but for now, requests should be catalogued but not acted on, so that we can have more discussion in a thoughtful manner about how to address any changes that may need to be made. Thanks so much for all you are doing in this unusual time.

Best,
Janet

Janet Woodruff-Borden, PhD
Executive Vice Provost for Academic Affairs
janetw@uoregon.edu | 541-346-8994

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29 Responses to VPAA to Deans/Depts: Stop granting your damn faculty’s requests to teach remotely!

  1. Environmental necessity says:

    CSU schools already committed to remote learning and now the UC schools have mostly moved in that direction: nearly all their fall classes will be online.

    https://www.mercurynews.com/2020/06/19/university-of-california-campuses-plan-to-offer-most-classes-online-this-fall-2/

  2. Anonymous says:

    So we have to learn about fall plans from the student newspaper? When was Schill gonna email staff and faculty? https://www.dailyemerald.com/news/schill-outlines-fall-term-class-sizes-virtual-final-exams-in-person-sports/article_095a0a3e-b0ee-11ea-8333-cb41a206f2cd.html

    • Dog says:

      yet I imagine that student tuition will be for a 10-week
      term even though its now going to be 9-weeks …

  3. Anon says:

    Here is the URL, that was sent in email to everyone on June 16th: https://oregon.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_eaZuRK5ysVBJJyJ

    _______________________________________________

    You will have to give up your Name, UOID, and employment information to fill out the survey.
    _______________________________________________

    Do you need to request to work remotely beyond June 12 (the current end date of the Governor’s Executive Order for institutions of higher education)?

    yes/no

    *If you pick yes, you get the following questions*
    _______________________________________________

    Remote Work Requests

    It is clear that remote work arrangements will continue to be an important part of the university’s phased approach. In fact, you should fully expect a large number of employees who are already working remotely to continue to do so. This remote work is essential to our planning and will allow us to provide for the safety of those employees who want or need to return to campus for their work.

    With that said, we are prioritizing the needs of employees at higher risk:
    We are particularly mindful of the concerns of our employees who may be at increased risk of serious illness from COVID-19 and want to understand and prioritize their needs, to the extent as possible, through the reopening period.
    At this time, Human Resources is not requiring medical or other documentation to confirm that an employee may be more susceptible to serious illness from COVID-19. However, the university may need to follow up with a request for medical documentation in the future and/or request more information from the employee.
    I am requesting to continue working remotely because:

    I meet the CDC criteria for someone who is at great risk of serious illness from COVID-19.

    https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/people-at-higher-risk.html

    I do not meet the CDC criteria, but I would like to work remote for the following
    reason. (Do not provide any medical information.)
    [Text box for you to explain]

    We recognize the sensitivity of the information we are requesting and do not take the request lightly. Submissions will be received and managed by the Office of Human Resources and will be treated privately, maintained securely, and only accessible to those with a need to know to perform their work. Employees requesting remote work will be protected from retaliation based on their work from home request.

    _______________________________________________

    Consistent with university policy, all employees are expected to ​demonstrate honesty in communication and conduct. Accordingly, I attest that, to the best of my belief, the information submitted in connection with this request is true and correct.​

    [Button to click that you attest to the above]

    What Happens Next?
    After collecting employee responses, Employee and Labor Relations, HR will provide supervisors with the names of employees who have requested a continuation of their existing remote work arrangement or an alternative work schedule so that their requests can be appropriately taken into consideration during planning.

    Responses to this survey will be maintained privately by the ADA Coordinator & Associate Director of Employee and Labor Relations and will only be shared on a need to know basis.

    Retaliation is Prohibited

    Retaliation for requesting a flexible work arrangement or raising concerns about returning to work on-campus is prohibited.

    _______________________________________________

    Thank you for completing the Remote Work Request Form. Your request has been submitted to the Office of Human Resources

    Responses to this survey will be maintained privately by the ADA Coordinator & Associate Director of Employee and Labor Relations and will only be shared on a need to know basis.

    We’re working diligently to process your request, the ADA Coordinator or your Department will reach out with additional information on your request.

  4. Gosplan says:

    The plan must be fulfilled, including the quota for the number of faculty to be punished for not meeting the plan’s quotas.

  5. honest Uncle Bernie says:

    If they would assure no second wave, students all trained and obedient to social distancing — like you see now at Rennie’s and Max’s — then ok.

    Otherwise get ready for faculty strike or just not showing up.

    • John Snow says:

      Second wave? We haven’t yet even had the brunt of the first wave, which was put to sleep by the lockdown. Our hospitals were never more than empty, we had minimal background levels of cases. Now that it is lifted, we can just sit back and wait for it. (As you point out, with the partying from students I see about town, lack of facial coverings at stores, and general disregard for any amount of social distancing on the part of a substantial fraction of the population.) Of course, nobody seems to have the will to go and take the handle off the water pump.

  6. charlie says:

    What’s remarkable is they’re gettin 12k students to show up..,

  7. marmot says:

    The science changes. The public health situation and our understanding of it changes. People’s personal health changes. People’s life circumstances change. It’s crazy to say that if you make a request half a year in advance we’ll honor it, but we have no mechanism in place to do anything after that. To call that a “planful” approach is absurd, and department heads are doing what needs to be done.

  8. John Snow says:

    The University is playing a game of chicken with students; telling them there will be in-person classes, and making planful plans to have them. Hopefully they swerve away at the last minute. Maybe they will be forced to by the state, the CDC, or some other public health entity that finally decides to fulfill its job description. Of course once all these students are on campus, it is a tinder box waiting for a match. And when that match comes, no amount of testing and contact-tracing will prevent the spread of COVID-19 in time. So fasten your seatbelts, fall is going to be a total shitshow.

    • honest Uncle Bernie says:

      I don’t think much choice, if campuses din’t “reopen” they will go broke.

  9. Per Se says:

    “Planful”? What does that mean? Your plan was full of planning? Well your plan may be sickful, riskful, and deadful.

    • uomatters says:

      plan·​ful | \ ˈplanfəl \
      Definition of planful
      1: full of plans : RESOURCEFUL, SCHEMING
      a latter-day robber baron, planful, secretive, ruthless
      — Wolfgang Langewiesche
      .
      https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/planful

      • cdsinclair says:

        The Provost started using the word (obviously before looking it up) and the little ones have taken it up in mimicry. Awww.

      • Per Se says:

        I’m surprised it’s a real word. And it looks rather appropriate. Maybe we should start a admin vocab sheet. It could include planful, brand identity, best practices, career legible….others?

    • Hart says:

      It’s the new huge buzzword in Johnson Hall, like utilize for use or something. It’s coming out of all their mouths pretty constantly because I guess thoughtful, purposeful, deliberate, considered, or intentional are all not cool any more.

    • Anonymous says:

      its a typo;
      they meant painful, not planful

  10. Dog says:

    This may well be all and good, but the fact of the matter on paper is some scheduled in person classes are done, in the mind of the faculty, in spaces that have too many students so that individual faculty don’t perceive to be safe.

    Now here is the lawsuit waiting to happen:

    Faculty teaching rooms are deemed to be safe by the Institution for physical classes.

    Elder professor X teaches in one of those safe classes.

    Elder X contracts the virus that later is traceable to a student in class, in that “safe” space. (The student may or may not have been symptomatic)

    Elder X dies.

    Family of elder X sues the institution.

    This is occupational risk and there are entire agencies that determine this and set policy – the UO should listen to them
    (and the State) and no one else.

    • solidcitizen says:

      But, the university pulls out the emails they sent in May where they gave Elder Professor X the ability to opt to teach remote and the lawsuit is in trouble.

      Another problem is that their risk management division and the state are just as captive to the need for the UO to make money as admin is.

      • Dog says:

        Maybe; perhaps Elder X just didn’t pay any attention to the e-mail
        way of being informed or given an option. For instance, we have not received any form that we can actually sign stating our preference.

        Profit vs Public Health is a decision, I hope, made by informed people. Obviously in America we have made Profit our God for some time, now that is threatened at some scale by a larger issue.

      • Canard says:

        Or maybe it is pointed out that the two criteria allowed for in the May survey are not really in line with other criteria that are generally accepted. Such as the cut-off of age 65 by the UO, whereas the state sets a line at 60.

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