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Senate COVID-19 Update
April 20, 2020

Dear Colleagues:

These are perilous and uncertain times. Everyone – faculty, instructors, researchers, medical personnel, administration, staff, teaching assistants and others – has been working diligently to keep the University operating under the difficult conditions posed by the novel coronavirus. We have done so with grit and aplomb, even as many of us are under personal and occupational strain. Alongside faculty efforts, the Academic Senate has been extremely active at the policy level, and has been working with (and checking on) the Administration in adapting temporary policy exceptions. We are all in this together, but we retain our different stations in the undertaking of shared governance of the University of California.

This note is designed to communicate in specific ways some of what the Senate has been doing. Senate committees have been meeting using remote technology nights and weekends, both at the systemwide and campus levels, endeavoring to mitigate the effects of the current crisis. Senate input and approvals have been sought by, and have been delivered to, the Administration in an active and expedited manner with notification that these are time limited and will need to be re-examined at quarterly intervals.

Examples of Senate engagement include:

  • Ensuring that difficulties encountered in research and teaching during the spring quarter will not negatively impact faculty reviews.
  • Evaluating the Senate-Administration Taskforce report on holistic teaching evaluation to expand teaching evaluations beyond CAPEs.
  • Creating exceptions to policy to allow classes to be taught remotely, while endeavoring to safeguard privacy in remote instruction and the faculty’s intellectual property.
  • Extending the deadlines to add and drop courses and to select pass/no pass or satisfactory/unsatisfactory grades to provide students with more flexibility.
  • Removing courses completed pass/no pass in spring quarter from the limit on pass/no pass courses that may apply towards the bachelor’s degree.
  • Encouraging departments to relax letter-grade requirements.
  • Extending time limits by one quarter for all current doctoral students.

Senate committees continue with the day-to-day business of the University (approving courses, programs, curricula, academic file reviews, etc.). Senate leadership wishes to recognize the extraordinary efforts of the committees and especially their chairs.

Clearly, this crisis is not over, and the work of the Senate has not ceased. There will continue to be Representative Assembly meetings at which proposed actions and policies will need discussion and votes from Assembly representatives. Shared governance continues and is defended. To remain informed about ongoing Senate business, we urge you to visit the Senate website.

Maripat Corr
San Diego Divisional Academic Senate

Steve Constable
Vice Chair,
San Diego Divisional Academic Senate

Robert Horwitz
Immediate Past Chair,
San Diego Divisional Academic Senate