Columbus State University’s Faculty Senate unanimously voted to move forward with an open letter to make online classes the default for fall classes

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Columbus State University’s(CSU) Faculty Senate unanimously voted to move forward with gaining more control on how faculty and students return in the fall.

All 25 faculty senators voted to move forward with an open letter asking for virtual classes to be the default mode when students enroll in the fall. 

“It feels really great that we were able to come together and raise our voices and come together and raise our voices in this situation. We’re disappointed that we still haven’t found out if we’re going to have what we’re asking for which is to be able to make decisions at the local level for the safety of ourselves and our students, and our surrounding communities,” Joe Miller, associate professor at CSU said.

Miller is one of over 100 faculty members to sign this letter. In the letter it says they don’t think it would be safe to return until:
1. New COVID-19 cases in the Chattahoochee Valley show a steady decrease
2. Until it’s protocol to have large-scale testing in place
– and a plan designed for students and faculty that need to be quarantined.

Miller says his writing class is usually conducted in a computer lab so much wouldn’t be different to do the entire class virtually.

“The safest and easiest way for me to address this is to do it online. I have experience doing that and I can’t teach students in a computer lab obviously because you can’t have 88 different students coming in and using computers and getting the keyboards all contaminated and that sort of thing,” Miller said.

Miller says by the senate agreeing with their open letter, CSU’s president Chris Markwood was able to take the letter to the chancellor of the University Systems of Georgia.

As of the last faculty senate meeting:

  • 33% of 1889 classes are ‘Classic Face-to-Face’. Classes with 10 students or less automatically defaulted to this format since they met social distancing requirements. We were cautioned that this number may be high because student internships, clinical rotations, and student teaching assignments are included in this number even though they will not necessarily be on campus
  • 36% (683 classes) are ‘Extended Classrooms’. These are classes where faculty members will divide students and alternate the days students are on campus for instruction. In-class instruction will utilize physical distancing and face coverings.
  • 27% (503 classes) are ‘Fully Online’
  • 4% (71 classes) are officially listed as ‘Hybrid’

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