Thank you. While the landscape continues to evolve, I appreciate that all of you are continuing to evolve as well. This has been a busy couple of weeks. Let’s launch right in to updates.
Shout it from the rooftops!
“I’m not throwing away my shot...” One of my favorite songs from Hamilton is running through my head. We’ve got one shot to tell our students and their parents how totally awesome your courses will be this fall whether they are fully online or on-campus/dual. Students and parents are buzzing right now as they see classes moved online, including some first-year students who now have all of their classes online. We know that all instructors will have undergone formal online training and complete course redesign. I personally have yet to hear of any other university doing this! We know that your courses will provide personal, engaging learning experiences – in some cases better than large, physically distanced classrooms. Now is the time to ensure that students and parents know this also. Central marketing and communications is highlighting specific examples, but students really want to know about their particular courses.
My recommendations: Instructors, please contact students enrolled in your courses to tell them what you have planned. Perhaps embed a video or some selfies to show them your enthusiasm and leadership as we navigate life-during-a-pandemic. Department chairs, please contact students enrolled in your programs telling them about the extra- curricular engagement and support that your department will provide students this fall, on campus and virtually. Deans, please contact students enrolled in your college telling them of all the great experiences you have in store for students. Include videos of your spaces and of you. If you need assistance creating or embedding a video, please feel free to connect with our colleagues in the Koehler Center and Information Technology.
Our students love their professors and love being in class! This message has come through loud and clear, and thank you for being one of the most important ways we connect with our students. For the first-year students enrolled in five online courses (yes, I’ve heard from some), let’s bombard them with love and instill confidence. It will surely make a difference!
What Else is Happening with Student Registration?
I’m pleased to share with you the results of the virtual advising and registration process. We had a total of 2,421 students (incoming first-year and transfer students) complete our Pre-Advising Modules online, receive individual advising virtually, and successfully register for classes for the Fall 2020 semester.
Our students now have the ability to indicate their intention to enroll fully online for the fall semester. By doing so, students confirm that they will not attend a class in person, regardless of teaching modality. They will select this option by submitting a simple form in the Student Center section at my.tcu.edu. Once submitted, students will be identified as being fully online on your Class Roster in the Faculty Center. That functionality required a system modification and should be in place by the end of next week. Until then, lists will be distributed to associate deans in each school or college. As of Wednesday afternoon, we’ve had 152 students choose to be fully online.
Registrar Mary Kincannon and her incredible team have now updated the online course schedule to show which courses are designated as online. While I had given early August as a deadline to “change your mind” about online or on-campus, students want to know right now if their courses will be online. Students have until July 20 to make their decision about campus housing, and many are making their decision based on availability of their courses being on-campus. So, while changes are always possible due to changes in your health or that of your family, if you are thinking of changing your mind, please do so as soon as possible. Please work with your deans to submit any new changes or corrections to the Registrar’s Office.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)
To remain compliant with the July 6 ICE announcement regarding the Student and Exchange Visitor Program, international students studying in the United States need to be enrolled in at least one “on-campus” course to remain in the country.
In response, we will ensure that all international students at TCU will be able to take one of their courses in a face-to-face on campus mode.
Graduate program directors will make sure that graduate students are able to take at least one of their graduate courses in on-campus mode. For undergraduate students, a special 1-credit hour on-campus course is being created and offered to all students who need an on-campus option. All international students who are studying in the country are being advised to register as an “on campus” student.
Is 30 a magic number?
Let me clarify my messages about classes with enrollment over 30. To enable physical distancing while filing in and out of classrooms, please refrain from having more than 30 students in a classroom at the same time. If you have less than 30 students enrolled as “on-campus”, then you’re fine. If you have greater than 30 on-campus students and really want to teach on campus, please develop a mechanism whereby on-campus
students take turns attending lecture in the class and virtually. Instructors can determine how to best facilitate this for your courses. If you need to go a little over that number, create your course design and ask your Dean to confirm.
Information and Resources
As always, I want to redirect you to important information that is updated online, for our use. The microsite has been updated with improved navigation and function. Some highlights:
- Protect & Prevent information has been updated.
- Campus wide statements have been relabeled and appear in chronological order. Faculty and Staff Decision Trees
- Provost messages are archived here
- Messages to Horned Frogs are archived here
You can expect us to send most information several times, including these updates that were sent earlier this week, reiterating safety practices and updated information. Hopefully the updated navigation will make these topics easier to find in the volume of information being provided.
As we near the beginning of the fall semester, I’m excited to see us channel our positive energy and intellectual effort to the benefit of our Horned Frog community. I am really energized by what we have to offer in person and online, and can’t wait to see us in action!
Your emails and calls of support hearten me daily; please know they matter so much. Thank you.