Spring 2021: Requesting More In-Person Opportunities

From Anupma Prakash, provost and executive vice chancellor

April 5, 2021

Dear faculty and instructors,

First of all, I’d like to thank you all for doing your utmost to ensure academic continuity and support of our students during the unprecedented challenges this academic year. The pandemic has impacted everyone, though for some faculty members the challenges it posed were more complex and difficult to navigate than others.

Many students are also expressing feelings of loss in not being able to see and speak to their professors and fellow students face-to-face. This is more so for students in their senior year, who will soon part ways with their peer group. Any creative opportunity for some face-to-face interaction with their cohort and with you in these few remaining weeks of spring 2021 will go a long way in nurturing a sense of connection and belonging.

If you are willing, able and comfortable doing so, and when it is practical and feasible, please consider adding opportunities for some face-to-face interactions for your classes over the next few weeks. Please remember that masks are still a requirement, and for indoor face-to-face activities, a distance of 6 feet is still required unless you have a special, approved COVID-19 mitigation plan for the activity. Some suggestions on what you can do:

  1. If your course is set up with both online and in-person components, encourage the students who are participating online to attend in person with you, if they are able to and comfortable with doing so.
  2. Some departments have conference rooms and spaces that currently are not being used. If you have a class with low enrollment and you can safely meet back on campus, please explore that option. If you are teaching a course at a rural campus or at CTC, please work directly with the campus scheduler if you need to reserve a space to meet. If you are teaching a course on the Troth Yeddha’ campus, your department/dean staff scheduler can help you reserve a space or reach out to Sarah Barber or Janeen Culbertson in the Registrar’s Office on your behalf to explore space options, if needed. The best way to reach Sarah and Janeen for space scheduling is to email uaf-academic-scheduling@alaska.edu.
  3. Where possible, you can host smaller face-to-face study sessions.
  4. If weather permits, you can meet outdoors.
  5. If your students are on or near the Troth Yeddha' campus, encourage them to take advantage of study spaces such as in the Rasmuson Library, the Nook, ELIF and the Murie Building.

I recognize that due to conflicts, it may not be possible to find the preferred space that you’d like for an in-person interaction. At this time I am only requesting that you try to be creative and expand opportunities for interaction, where possible.

With gratitude for your thoughtfulness, care and consideration,

Anupma Prakash, provost and executive vice chancellor