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Texas State University

Week Four of Remote Instruction: Roundup

Dr. Gene Bourgeois, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs | April 24, 2020

Email sent to Faculty, Staff, and Teaching Assistants


As we close the fourth week of remote instruction, I want to highlight the positive innovations that continue to result from Texas State University’s strategic and values-based response to COVID-19.  Thank you for your significant commitment to ensuring a healthy and successful spring semester for all.

Bobcat Cares

On Thursday, April 23, 2020, President Denise M. Trauth announced the launch of Bobcat Cares to help ease the financial strain many Texas State University students are experiencing.  This program provides funds directly to eligible students with COVID-19 related expenses, emergency grants to all 
students enrolled in summer courses, pro-rated refunds of certain spring semester charges, and a new scholarship to assist with fee and tuition costs for the fall 2020 semester.

Students may apply for the Bobcat Cares funding beginning April 27, 2020.  The emergency grants are based on student expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to COVID-19 and will be distributed directly to students as quickly as possible. President Trauth’s full message is available here: https://news.txstate.edu/inside-txst/2020/texas-state-announces-30-million-in-financial-assistance-from-bobcat-cares-program.html

Best Practices: Social Distancing and Facemasks

Texas State is encouraging faculty, staff and student employees working on campus, and whose work makes it difficult to maintain social distancing, to use cloth facemasks.  The university has secured approximately 2,000 cloth facemasks for employees who cannot obtain one from other sources and will 
provide up to two cloth facemasks upon request.  Facemasks may be picked up at the University Distribution Center located at 305 River Ridge Parkway in San Marcos, Texas or can be delivered by requesting them via the Requesting Catalog Delivery Form.  Read more about facemasks here: https://news.txstate.edu/inside-txst/2020/statements-regarding-coronavirus-covid-19/use-of-facemasks-on-campus.html

Final Exam Period

The transition to remote instruction for spring 2020 includes the final exam period.  This means final exams must be delivered in a remote format and may not be conducted on campus. For spring 2020, final exams begin on Wednesday, May 6, 2020.  The final exam schedule remains intact and students 
should be able to take class finals within the same day and time window originally published in the schedule: https://www.registrar.txstate.edu/persistent-links/final-exam-schedule.html  Faculty questions about the final exams may be directed to department chairs and school directors. Faculty may also 
be interested in learning more about alternatives to traditional exams: 

https://teaching.berkeley.edu/resources/improve/alternatives-traditional-testing

https://ruonlinecon.rutgers.edu/events/alternative-assessment-beyond-exams

Professional Development Requirements for Teaching Online

AA/PPS No. 02.03.20 – Maintenance and Improvement of Quality in Teaching requires instructors who will teach an online (INT) or hybrid (HYB) course to participate in an approved professional development program.  The Office of Distance and Extended Learning (ODEL) recently contacted 
faculty scheduled to teach a course in summer I and who have not previously been approved for online teaching. Questions may be directed to ODEL at (512) 245-2322 or via email at distanceedu@txstate.edu.

Other faculty are welcome and encouraged to participate in the program. Teaching arrangements in summer II 2020 and fall 2020 may be affected by continuing public health advice.  For this reason, all faculty are encouraged to consider the self-paced training program described here:https://www.distancelearning.txstate.edu/faculty/online-teaching-certification.html

Remote Classroom Behavior

On Thursday, April 16, 2020, all students received a message from the Dr. Joanne Smith, vice president for Student Affairs.  The message conveyed the importance of appropriate behavior in the remote classroom and reminded students about the university’s Code of Student Conduct 
and Honor Code.  Faculty questions about student conduct may directed to the Dean of Students at (512) 245-2124 or via email at DOS@txstate.edu.  Questions about the honor code may be addressed to Dr. Cristian Lieneck, chair of the Honor Code Council, via email at cl31@txstate.edu

Next Friday, I will provide an update as we enter the last instructional days of spring 2020.  I hope you, you family, and your colleagues remain resilient and healthy.