George Washington University continues to prepare for the fall semester in person, prioritizing health, safety and a strong residential academic experience on campus, management said at a meeting of the Faculty Senate Tuesday.
The Senate heard updates from faculty and leaders involved in planning for GW’s return to campus, including Ray Lucas, COVID-19 university coordinator; Terry Murphy, Vice-President, Academic Affairs; and Professors Phil Wirtz and Jason Zara.
Vaccination compliance among students, faculty and staff at GW is high, and the COVID-19 positivity rate on campus is low, Dr Lucas said, and vaccines remain effective against the virus, including including the Delta variant.
GW has a layered approach to health and safety in place for the fall, including vaccine requirement, surveillance testing, indoor mask requirement, and active monitoring of COVID parameters campus and region and the evolution of science, added Dr Lucas, who is also an associate. professor of emergency medicine at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
Even with this safe environment, it is important that professors are prepared to assist students who may need to be absent due to a positive case, and professors should familiarize themselves with recording technology and Blackboard with the help from IT and the pedagogical core. Murphy said. She also said that continued use of certain office hours or virtual gatherings could come in handy this fall as the community moves to its new normal.
“We expect that we will have safe and immunized classrooms when school begins,” said Dr. Murphy, stressing the importance of providing students with a rewarding in-person teaching experience.
In his remarks, President Thomas LeBlanc expressed his gratitude to the faculty and said he looked forward to traditional fall milestones in person such as move-in, new faculty meetings, orientation, graduation and festivals Proud to be GW.
“I want to thank all of you and your colleagues for the work you have done this summer to prepare for the fall. It’s a team effort, ”said Dr. LeBlanc. “I am very confident that we can open in person…, we have set up a lot of good structures and we have a lot of expertise to bring, so I am convinced that we can open successfully. “
Acting Rector and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Christopher Bracey also provided updates and said he looked forward to working closely with faculty and others in his new role.
“We have really started and worked hard with the Faculty Senate and the schools to develop an inclusive and collaborative approach to manage the reopening on the academic side of things,” Mr. Bracey said.
With the return to in-person learning and many newcomers to campus, Mr. Bracey also encouraged the community to support each other.
“Let’s be a community that rises as it rises, and a community that looks out for one another,” he said.
In other news from the Faculty Senate:
- Mr. Bracey said fall enrollment rates for students are on track in most programs and plans to recruit faculty into schools are progressing. In addition, Bracey indicated that he will make a brief presentation to the Board in October on academic priorities for the coming year, and that he will discuss ideas with Deans and Senate committees at the meeting. over the next few weeks. The structure of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Review is progressing and Mr Bracey said he will share another update soon.
- The Senate passed a resolution detailing the selection process and criteria for the faculty’s advisory committee that would provide input on the search for the next president.