Working to Address Faculty Questions and Concerns

Barbara A. Bichelmeyer Provost & Executive Vice Chancellor
Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2020, 12:44 p.m.
KU Lawrence Faculty

Sent on behalf of Provost & Executive Vice Chancellor Barbara A. Bichelmeyer, Dean of Education and Human Sciences Rick Ginsberg, Vice Provost for Faculty Development Chris Brown, Interim Vice Provost for Diversity & Equity Jennifer Ng, and Faculty Senate President Lua Yuille.

Dear Colleagues,

We knew that this was going to be an academic year full of uncertainties and challenges, so we’ve aimed to reach our students no matter where they are and no matter how they need to access their educational pursuits. This has been no small endeavor. As you know, faculty have worked throughout the summer to rethink their courses and learn new instructional technologies, many while simultaneously managing family obligations on top of their existing scholarly agendas and service commitments. A month into the fall semester, it is amply clear that the continuation of KU’s research, teaching, and service missions could not have been realized without faculty ingenuity, sacrifice, and willingness to adapt.

Through the stories you have shared, we recognize the many struggles faculty have faced and will continue to face:

  • Working from home while caring for young children, some with special needs, and providing instructional and technological assistance with remote schooling;
  • Caring for the wellbeing of spouses, parents, and other loved ones in medically vulnerable and high-risk groups;
  • Budgeting for ongoing and new expenses in the midst of lost income;
  • Revising research plans and projects to account for COVID exigencies;
  • Managing multiple approaches in your teaching (face-to-face, hybrid, online);
  • Juggling all the above while further tending to the needs of faculty and staff colleagues as chairs and directors.

Faculty personal and career circumstances are multifaceted. While we cannot address all possible needs, it is important to emphasize that faculty groups and deans are actively discussing how the breadth of faculty evaluations will be conducted in response to COVID-19 and its impact on faculty work. Faculty governance, the Faculty Success Design Team, and the Provost’s ad-hoc committee on student surveys of teaching are developing recommendations to address key aspects of evaluations:

  • Student surveys of teaching for this semester and beyond … what are those surveys, how will they be administered, and how will they be used?
  • How to take the disruptions of COVID-19 into account in annual evaluations, PTTR, P&T, and PTR?
  • Once we develop our procedures, how can we help ensure that evaluation committees, chairs and deans apply these changes consistently?

Please feel free to share your thoughts or concerns on these topics with your faculty governance representatives, Provost Office leadership, chair or dean:

Lua Yuille, Faculty Senate President,

Chris Brown, Vice Provost for Faculty Development,

Jennifer Ng, Interim Vice Provost for Diversity and Equity,

Faculty, thank you for all you do. We know these months have been particularly demanding in both personal and professional ways. Our hope is that through these efforts we can address some of your concerns so you can better focus on what you love and on pursuing your aspirations.


Barb, Rick, Chris, Jennifer and Lua

Barbara A. Bichelmeyer
Provost & Executive Vice Chancellor

Rick Ginsberg
Dean, School of Education & Human Sciences
Co-chair, Faculty Success Design Team

Chris Brown
Vice Provost for Faculty Development
Co-chair, Faculty Success Design Team

Jennifer Ng
Interim Vice Provost for Diversity & Equity

Lua Yuille
Professor of Law
Faculty Senate President