Meeting Minutes 6/11/2020
Task Force for the Future of Baruch
Thursday, June 11, 2020
ZOOM Video Conference
Meeting Convened: 1:05 PM
1. The spokesperson for each subcommittee of the Task Force was announced and they shared their subcommittees’ suggestions and how they contribute to Baruch’s overall reopening plan.
- Subcommittee #1 (How do we start?): After surveying some members from the Baruch community, the members of subcommittee #1 believe that there is a strong sentiment for fully online classes in the Fall. Even if introductory courses were held in-person or in hybrid formats to give freshman students a “traditional” college experience, there may be students who don’t feel comfortable coming to campus for class. In this case, accommodations would need to be made for these students and online learning just seems like the most logical approach to support these students. There were some advocates for hybrid cohort-based programs, but again, we must consider how to accommodate students who don’t feel comfortable coming to an in-person class on campus. Hybrid courses could be considered, but criteria would need to be met before the hybrid course could be held in-person. Some criteria categories include the willingness of the faculty member to teach in-person and space availability in Baruch buildings. Before the hybrid course could be held, the college would need to go through a “decision tree” and meet all criteria. The subcommittee discussed an “online plus” alternative to basic online classes as well. The “online plus” alternative was specifically created because there are some students who may not feel comfortable conducting recorded presentations for their class assignments in their home. This alternative option would provide students with designated spaces in the NVC to conduct their presentations for class. The spaces would need to be reserved by making an appointment.
Spokesperson: Eric Gander
- Subcommittee #2 (Faculty Development): Support and assistance needs to be readily available to faculty members who experience issues with remote teaching. After reviewing surveys, the committee found that both faculty and students had limited bandwidth on their internet, which affected their internet capability. The creation of a “tip sheet” might help maximize faculty members’ internet capacity. Publishers’ support was also discussed, and members of the subcommittee will be reaching out to publishers to determine what support they can provide to faculty members while teaching remotely. There was discussion of the creation and implementation of a Faculty Mentor program or Master Teacher program where faculty members can speak to someone in their own department if they have questions about online learning. This program will allow faculty members to see how others in their departments have set up their online courses. It was also discussed that plagiarism rates were higher in some departments and that assessment scores were inflated. Members of the Task Force expressed a need for assistance in developing online assessments.
Spokesperson: Sam Johnson
- Subcommittee #3 (Technical): We need to identify faculty’s technology needs, especially adjunct faculty who don’t usually rely on Baruch technology. We also need to identify what standards of computing faculty members need to teach online, and we must bridge the gap between what we have and what we need. A huge factor to consider is instructional technology assistance. It’s beneficial to have staff who can help faculty members making the transition to online learning. BCTC is working on making the computer labs available remotely, which will allow students to access the software that’s on campus computers from home. We also need to make sure that new faculty are onboarded as quickly as possible so that they have access to their Baruch accounts and Baruch technology software to create their online learning environments.
Spokesperson: Mike Richichi
- Subcommittee #4 (Student Support): It’s important for faculty and staff to develop compassionate relationships with students. This could be done from the very start of the semester by asking students what challenges they may face during the semester (e.g., Do they have Wi-Fi? Are they sharing technology with someone else? Are they an essential worker?). This allows students, faculty, and staff to develop a relationship with one another, where students realize that the pandemic affects their Professors as well. Faculty members and staff should spend time over the Summer gathering resources and attending trainings to better understand how they can serve as a support system for their students. It was discussed that it can be helpful to reframe the narrative. While this experience is traumatic, we can reframe it as a positive experience to learn and grow from. The catch phrase that the subcommittee came up with is, “In the Spring, we sprung into action. In the Fall, let’s fall into new experiences.” It was discussed that we can use student clubs as “care communities.” It was also discussed that Team Baruch team members can be used as resources to connect students to campus to give them a more robust, virtual social environment. It would also be helpful to have resources and support available for students on the Baruch website homepage. This will make it easier for students to find information to help them while learning remotely. When students click on the resources and support link, it could take them to a “one stop shop” where they can find the answers to everything they may need while away from campus.
Spokesperson: Damali Tolson
2. Next Steps:
Continue to assemble resources that are relevant to the mission of the Task Force and/or to your particular subcommittee topic. Look for evidence and materials to support your recommendation(s) for Baruch’s reopening.
Continue to consult with people you respect and trust at Baruch to get their input on some of the ideas you are thinking about incorporating into our reopening plan.
Meeting Ended: 2:10 PM