Meeting Minutes 8/20/2020
Task Force for the Future of Baruch
Thursday, August 20, 2020
ZOOM Video Conference
Meeting Convened: 1:03 PM
1. Reports from the Subcommittees:
- Subcommittee #1 (Course Delivery): If we think about social distancing in the classroom and keeping students and faculty six feet apart, we can only accommodate five-six students in an average sized classroom. Until both faculty and students feel comfortable coming to class again in-person, then all courses must be online. With the online learning experience that Baruch students and faculty members are gaining throughout this time, the subcommittee began to think, ‘What do we want Baruch to look like in the future with all of this new knowledge and these new experiences?’ There is clearly still a desire for in-person classes, but it was suggested that maybe Baruch can think about developing new majors that can be supported by a fully online program or Baruch can think about creating opportunities for some of our existing programs to be supported via a fully online or hybrid program.
- Subcommittee #2 (Faculty Support): The faculty support subcommittee has been compiling documentation of what the various schools have done in order to provide technical support and remediation to faculty. The members of the subcommittee are still discussing their final opinion regarding the video and attendance aspects of online learning. In their report, the second subcommittee will also address academic integrity issues.
- Subcommittee #3 (Technical Support): Success of Baruch college as it adjusts to the new normal beyond the Fall 2020 semester will hinge on a heavy investment in BCTC and CTL. Without a significant increase in investment, the college will experience a sharp and immediate decline in its ability to deliver instruction. The report from subcommittee three discusses how the College may be able to shift resources to these departments and what kinds of resources these departments may need.
- Subcommittee #4 (Student Support & Success): Students believe that it would be beneficial for faculty members to take some time at the beginning of the semester and have a two way conversation about how we are going to navigate through the semester and also, about the constraints that we are all facing. One of the students that met with the student support subcommittee explained that faculty members are viewed as authority figures, so it’s appreciated when faculty members are the ones that reach out to students and invite them to give feedback and voice their concerns. The subcommittee expressed that it can be beneficial for both students and faculty members if the first week of the semester is looked at as a transitional period. During this time, faculty and students can discuss the transition that they are all going through together. It’s important to note that many of the students’ concerns have already been addressed by some of the work the Task Force has already done. The College is working on providing “safe spaces” for students who need a place to work and these spaces will be available by reservation only. Going forward, we also need to think about where we need staff to help support some of our student support ideas and proposals.
- Subcommittee #5 (Staff Support): The staff subcommittee has been working on finalizing the Pre-Survey Announcement, which will be distributed at the beginning of next week. When developing their survey questions, members of the subcommittee asked Rachel Fester for her feedback on their survey questions. There is also a technology survey that the subcommittee has been working on. Mike Richichi provided some suggestions for this survey to the subcommittee. The technology survey is expected to be distributed before the end of the month and the Staff Experience Survey is expected to be sent out during the first week of September.
2. Next Steps:
- Final Subcommittee Reports should be as specific as possible. They will be due before Labor Day. The earlier the better!
- The Task Force will pause for reflection in September. This pause will also provide an opportunity for the Task Force to ensure that additional voices have the time and space to weigh in.
- During the pause, there will be another Town Hall meeting in September/Early October.
- Additionally, during the pause, the College will work on developing a strong communication plan so that the report gets out to all the constituents (students, staff, faculty). During the pause, individuals will be encouraged to submit feedback on the second report.
- Task Force Members – Think About: What do you picture for the Task Force going forward? Do we need new voices? Do we need a restructured activity?
Meeting Ended: 1:58 PM