Provost Woodruff-Borden wants faculty to dumb down courses now, in prep for possible Grad strike

The Senate’s Academic Council has not even approved an Academic Continuity Plan yet – unless they’ve done so in secret – but Provost Woodruff-Borden is already encouraging faculty to trade academic rigor for administrative expediency. Full email here. A snippet:

Instructors and research groups are strongly encouraged to develop coverage plans for work performed by GEs. Refer to the frequently asked questions for academics and research for guidance.

As noted in the academic continuity FAQ, faculty lecture instructors of record with associated labs and discussions should be prepared in case GEs are absent for a period of time during the winter 2024 term, potentially beginning in Week 1. Potential strategies to prepare for GEs who might be absent from labs or discussions include: 

  • Modify lectures to incorporate material from labs and discussions.  
  • Use existing or create asynchronous Canvas modules that could replace labs and discussion content. 
  • Adjust course grading rubrics to reduce reliance on lab/discussion grades.
  • With any strategy, ensure consistency across lab/discussion sections associated with the same lecture because some discussion or lecture leaders might be present while others are absent.

Deans continue to work with the Office of the Provost to evaluate winter courses with GE IORs to identify coverage needs and strategies to reduce impact. 

Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Provost Woodruff-Borden wants faculty to dumb down courses now, in prep for possible Grad strike

  1. Observer says:

    I’m backing the GEs, but I don’t see that any of these things necessarily dumbs down the course. They just shift the assignments to aspects of the course not taught by GEs. Of course that lessens the disruption the strike is meant to cause. So in effect this would dumb down the strike rather than the course.

    • Uomatters says:

      I apologize. Dumb down was poor wording. I should have said “right-size your educative expectations”. I”m sure you can get a perfectly fine chemistry education without the expensive and often dangerous lab work that GE’s supervise.

      • honestly! says:

        I’ll bet our chemistry colleagues would agree that “the expensive and often dangerous lab work” is not an important element of their education for students who want to become working chemists, Ph.D. research students, medical students, and the like. We surely wouldn’t UO chemistry students to have training in how to handle dangerous substances!

  2. honestly! says:

    “administrative expediency” seems like kind of a strange term for “a grad student s****.” [UOM: No doubt you meant to write “labor action”. The S word has been banned by UO StratComm.]

  3. vhils says:

    I have no idea what the Provost actually feels about the GE contract, but she has a job to do, which is to attempt to minimize the impact of a strike by making these kind of ‘suggestions’. Meanwhile, faculty have their jobs to do, and they don’t include adding to our existing workload, unless individually we want to. And, not really sure how UOMatters feels, but all faculty, union or not, should hope the GEs get a big fat % number out of it, so our own union can’t so easily fall for a 3% merit pool over 4 years again. So while I have five GEs working for me in the winter, I’m kinda really hoping they strike and fuck my course up proper.