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October 14, 2020

Dear Colleagues,

I hope everyone had a restful holiday weekend, and for our Canadian colleagues, a belated Happy Thanksgiving! We have also just passed the midway point of the fall semester, and I hope that, despite the many challenges COVID-19 has presented, this still has been a successful semester so far for you and your students. 

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I must begin this newsletter with an expression of thanks for the positive feedback I have received about this new format where the faculty newsletter is delivered on the Provost Office website instead of through email distribution. 

My wish in making this change in delivery was that the newsletter could gain a longer shelf life as something discussed by you and your colleagues, perhaps even in virtual faculty meetings. 

I also don’t know about you, but I receive an extremely large amount of email traffic on a typical day, and if I do not read an email within a certain length of time, it gets buried under a stack of other missives and may never see the light of day again. This virtual delivery by website is meant to prevent that burial from happening!

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The Vice Provosts for Undergraduate and Graduate Studies asked to share the following letter with the faculty:

Dear Colleagues,

Thank you for all that you are doing this semester.  We know that this continues to be a challenging semester and we appreciate you and all that you are doing. 

We wanted to bring a few points to your attention as we continue with the fall semester and plan for spring.

Fall Semester

  • We are going to offer opportunities for some students, with a priority for seniors, to come to campus for classes this semester. We are working with the Registrar’s office to identify which courses and cohorts may have this opportunity. Details will be shared as plans are finalized.
  • We know students sometimes linger when classes are over; please remind them to leave the classroom when your class is over as this allows facilities to clean for the next class. If you arrive early for a class and facilities staff are cleaning it, please be patient and allow them to finish cleaning before you and your class enter the room.
  • We are continuing to work in conjunction with the Dean of Students (DOS) who is tracking positive COVID tests and suggesting for our consideration when classes should go online for two weeks. Some students also have been deciding to self-quarantine without having been asked to do so by Student Health Services or the DOS office and we do not want faculty to discourage this demonstration of concern for the University community.
  • The Student Government Association (SGA) passed a resolution to request that instructors not require students to print materials and hold them in front of their cameras; if you have been doing this, please consult with the Center for Teaching Excellence for other ideas on how to track student participation.
  • We are hearing that some students have experienced internet issues which may have an impact on their participation from time to time; please be understanding when this occurs and let the DOS office know if it is a resource issue.
  • We are asking midterm grades be reported for all undergraduate classes.  This is in conjunction with the previous SGA resolution requesting more transparency in reporting of grades to students.

Spring Semester

  • The class schedule is visible but not yet final, particularly in terms of modalities.
  • We will likely be making some changes to the Academic Calendar for the spring semester, including beginning the semester a bit later than previously planned.
  • We are currently planning to expand the number of In Person/In Person Synchronous Remote courses offered in the spring beyond the first year classes.
  • Following long standing practice, we will be enforcing class minimum enrollment numbers this spring; we are setting different numbers based on modality for spring in accordance with the need for social distancing in classrooms. In order for a course to not be canceled, it must have at least the following number of students enrolled:
    • In Person/In Person Synchronous Remote Classes
      • Doctoral: 5
      • Masters: 10
      • Undergraduate: 15
    • Online Classes
      • Doctoral: 10
      • Masters: 15
      • Undergraduate: 20

If you have any questions about these announcements, please contact Steve Brown (brownjs@cua.edu) for all graduate concerns, and Lynn Mayer (mayer@cua.edu) for all undergraduate concerns.

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The Center for Teaching Excellence is administering a brief survey which will help the center plan programming and services for the spring semester. This survey is anonymous, and can be completed by all full and part time faculty members, adjuncts, graduate teaching assistants, and teaching fellows. The CTE looks forward to hearing from you! The survey will be open through October 31st.

The next CTE event is scheduled for Thursday, October 15th at 1:30pm, where the center will provide training on grading and annotating in Blackboard - please register if you wish to attend this virtual event. The CTE will also have weekly sessions on Thursdays and Fridays called Connect and Collaborate, where instructors can meet up virtually to discuss triumphs and challenges they are experiencing while teaching in this unique environment. The entire CTE staff hopes you can join them - and remember you can always request a one-on-one consultation, if you would like individualized assistance.

Finally, if you would like to receive weekly updates from the Center, you may subscribe here

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The Office of Sponsored Programs has received information on awards and scholarships that are of particular interest to our faculty and graduate students.

On the faculty side, The Mellon Emerging Faculty Leaders Award supports tenure-track junior faculty as they work toward achieving tenure. Applicants must successfully pass their third-year review no later than January 31, 2021. 

The program is open to faculty in any field of the humanities or social sciences, with preference given to those working on 20th- and 21st-century American history, politics, culture, and society, with further emphases including African American issues, women’s issues, and/or higher education. The competition deadline is December 2, 2020, and all questions may be directed to facultyleaders@woodrow.org

For graduate students, the Woodrow Wilson Dissertation Fellowships in Women’s Studies encourage research about women and gender that crosses disciplinary, regional, or cultural boundaries. Recent Fellows have explored such topics as reproduction in the context of chronic disease, algorithmic detection of child abuse images, and changing feminist visions at the UN from 1975 to 1995.

The competition deadline is October 16, 2020, and questions may be directed to ws@woodrow.org.

The Charlotte W. Newcombe Doctoral Dissertation Fellowships are designed to encourage original and significant study of religious and ethical values in fields across the humanities and social sciences. The 2021 Newcombe Fellowships are available to Ph.D. and Th.D. candidates who expect to complete their dissertation between April and August 2022. The competition deadline is November 16, 2020, and questions may be directed to newcombe@woodrow.org.

The Center for Academic and Career Success also maintains a list of student fellowships on their website at https://success.catholic.edu/fellowships/index.html, and I encourage you to refer your students to this site to see what opportunities are available throughout the year.

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These are the last few days of National Hispanic Heritage Month, when the nation honors the cultures and contributions of both Hispanic and Latino Americans and celebrates the heritage rooted in all Latin American countries.

The Catholic University of America already boasts a strong Latin American and Latino Studies program through the School of Arts and Sciences. This program focuses on the appreciation and understanding of the Hispanic experience in the Americas. Specifically, LALS focuses on Latin American and Caribbean countries, Latinos in the United States, and migrations and other transnational processes in the Americas from colonial times to the present.

I am pleased to announce that the University has also stood up a new Institute for Latin American and Iberian Studies (ILAIS), which was approved by the Academic Senate this past June. 

The mission of this new institute is to advance the University’s international standing in Latin American, Ibero-American, and Latina/o Studies by showcasing the depth of our unique areas of interdisciplinary expertise and collections. The institute will also become a multidisciplinary intellectual forum for learning, research, and dialogue that will serve as an umbrella organization on Latin American and Iberian studies and initiatives for all students, faculty, scholars, researchers, and staff at The Catholic University of America.

ILAIS will draw upon the rich resources of various entities in the University and congregate offerings on degree and non-degree programs, courses, research, publication, scholarly events, study abroad, opportunities of internships and jobs, and activities related to Latin America and the Iberian Peninsula.

I have appointed Dr. Sandra Barrueco, Ordinary Professor of Psychology and Program Director of the Latin American and Latino Studies Program, to be the new director of the ILAIS, and Livia Lopes, Esq., Assistant Director of Latin American and Iberian Initiatives in the Office of Global Strategies, has been appointed the Associate Director of the ILAIS. I thank both Sandra and Livia for their willingness to take on these additional duties, and I know they both will be working hard over the coming months in standing up the institute. 

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The University Libraries have a number of announcements and news items for your attention:

Curbside pickup hours have been expanded. Though the Mullen Stacks remain closed, patrons may request materials through SearchBox. Once a library patron receives notification that an item is available for pickup, he/she may schedule pickup between the hours of 10am–12pm, Monday–Friday and between the hours of 4–5pm, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

Access to Mullen has been increased. Library users may now reserve study spaces up to two times per day for a total of 4 hours. The time slots are 11am-1pm, 2-4pm, and 5-7pm, Monday–Friday. Custodial Services sanitizes the reading rooms between time slots, so patrons must exit the building after each. All library users must submit a reservation request at least 12 hours in advance of the selected reservation time.

Quick Live Help. The Libraries virtual Information Desk is now open. Use this service to launch a Zoom session with library staff, Monday–Thursday, 11am–3pm, for quick answers to basic questions. For more indepth research needs, library patrons should schedule to Meet with a Librarian

Restroom renovation nears completion. The Mullen Library lobby restrooms are being renovated to increase capacity and accessibility. Two fully accessible restrooms will be available to library patrons in the next week.

Open Education: Access, Affordability, and Academic Success. On October 1, the Washington Research Library Consortium hosted a workshop on Open Education presented by Daver Ernst, Executive Director of the Open Education Network, and Cheryl Cuillier, Associate Librarian at the University of Arizona. Use of open textbooks can reduce expenses for students and helps increase degree completion. Open pedagogy is a teaching approach that actively engages students through the development, adaptation, or use of open educational resources. Look for more information about these opportunities soon. In the meantime, please see the blog posting on Open Education Resources from April.

Special Collections. As a reminder, all the special collections (Rare Books, Archives, the Semitics/ICOR Library, the Oliveira Lima Library) are open by appointment and provide online support for research and instruction. Please reach out to arrange virtual classroom visits.

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The Institutional Review Board (IRB), the University's Committee for the Protection of Human Subjects (CPHS), has released their fall 2020 schedule, and this is a reminder of the upcoming meeting and submission dates:

Meeting Date

Materials Due (4:00 pm)

October 22

October 16

November 12

November 6

December 1

November 20

December 17

December 11

The IRB/CPHS reviews faculty and student research protocols to ensure compliance with established standards for research involving human subjects. Guidelines to assist you in the preparation of materials required by IRB/CPHS to complete its review are available from the Office of Sponsored Programs. Strict compliance with these guidelines will facilitate approval of the research protocol for use with human subjects.

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The Office of Sponsored Programs has teamed with McAllister & Quinn (M&Q) to provide a one-hour "Grantsmanship 101 Webinar" about Grantsmanship to all interested faculty and staff at the Catholic University of America. M&Q will be joined by Alixanna Norris, Ph.D., a member of the M&Q grants network.

The webinar will cover information on general grantsmanship including:

  • Reviewing the benefits of grant-funded research
  • Walking through the basics and early steps needed to turn your idea into funded research
  • Identifying effective skills, strategies, and resources to prepare competitive proposals

When: October 28, 2020, 12:00 pm EDT

Please register for Grantsmanship 101 at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/2083142836725360141. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

You can also contact Ralph Albano (albano@cua.edu) for more information.

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As always, if you would like to share positive information from your academic department or school, I would love to include it in future newsletters as space allows. I ask you to send “good news” to Assistant Provost David Long at longdp@cua.edu, and I will try to share as many as these items in upcoming newsletters.

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Finally, let me share some important upcoming dates:

Monday, October 19

Pre-registration advising begins

Tuesday, October 27

Registration for Spring (Second) Semester 2021 begins (use Cardinal Students)

Sunday, November 1

All Saints Day

Monday, November 2

All Souls Liturgy - Memorial Mass for deceased of the university community

Friday, November 6

Last day to withdraw from regular session classes with a "W" grade (use Cardinal Students)

Friday, November 13

Last day to request pass/fail option (undergraduates only; must have dean's permission)

Tuesday, November 24

Last day of in person instruction for the semester

Wednesday, November 25

Thanksgiving recess begins

As you can see, we are only 6 weeks away from the end of our fall semester on campus. While the expression “Time flies when you're having fun” may not be the first one that comes to mind right now, the simple truth that these weeks have passed by quickly cannot be denied.

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Finally, and as always, if there is anything I or any member of the Provost Office staff can do for you to help make this a successful semester, please do not hesitate to contact me at provost@cua.edu.

Sincerely,

Aaron

Previous Faculty Newsletters from Provost Dominguez