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California State University, Fullerton
Titans Return: COVID-19 Recovery

Message to Faculty from the Provost and Academic Senate Chair: Returning to Campus this Fall

Monday August 16, 2021 10:51 am

Hello Faculty,

This return to campus for fall semester is not like other returns from summer. We are experiencing a mix of excitement, apprehension, and concern for the unknown. Therefore, we want to share information that may help you as you complete the last stages of planning your classes and as you are thinking about your experience this coming semester.

First, each of us and Higher Education across the country has questions about what it will be like on campus and how our society’s ongoing experience with COVID might shape that experience. We have these questions as educators but also simply as people in such a challenging time. In order to help us, we have worked with a number of people to produce these FAQs especially for faculty. We produced these based on questions that have been coming to us from faculty, staff, and students. The FAQs also have information about the campus protocols, in general. We tried to put in one place all of the things that may be arising as questions for you or your colleagues. Likely, there are questions some of you have that are not answered here. If such questions or situations arise, please consult with your chair, associate dean, or Dean to ask for guidance. We will continue to update these FAQs throughout the semester. Also, after the semester begins we will re-start the faculty monthly forums we held all last spring. Look for a save-the-date announcement coming soon.

All of us have been thinking about what it will be like to welcome students back to class after so many months of virtual learning. This is true for all of us but especially those students who are entering our campus as first years and transfers and new faculty and staff hired during this time who might be on campus for the first time. Remember that in addition to the normal issues our first-year students and transfer students face when shifting to a four-year college, these cohorts face these issues with their normal preparatory High School and Community College years in a Zoom environment during a national health crisis. Whether our students are returning sophomores, juniors, and seniors or incoming students, this fall will be a time of adjustment. For some, it is also a time of processing loss and trauma. 

Keeping this in mind, you may want to review the fundamentals as you reach towards the learning outcomes you want to achieve. We are all in this profession because we care about the education and well-being of our students. You may want to share directly this support for students and also remind them where they can find resources beyond your care, should they need them. You also might be interested to know—and remind your students—that there is now a page that links to support services imbedded in the Canvas sites for all of our courses. This site will be built out this semester and will also include mental health and academic integrity resources. Students can see it by clicking on the “Student Support Resources” tab which will take them to this site:

http://itwebstg.fullerton.edu/canvassupportresources/.

It may also be helpful to indicate that you understand the circumstances many students are experiencing by referencing it on the syllabus. In case an example is helpful, Irene Matz graciously agreed to let us share part of her syllabus for this fall with you, here:

Dear students, we have all been through an unprecedented time in our lives – unexpected, unpredictable, and unimaginable. I hope that you and your family and friends remained healthy throughout this time.  Returning to campus and our normal lives will be another transition for all of us.  I want you to know, without hesitation, that I am here for you to help you navigate through this period. For some of you, it may be seamless, and yet, for others more challenging. Listed below are resources for you to contact – do not hesitate if you need support.  I’m not a trained therapist, but I’m a good listener because I care; and if I’m unable to help you, I do know the services that we provide for our students and can direct you there – personally walking you to the facility if needed.  

Campus services:

CAPS 24/7 crisis phone services for students: (657)278-3040

YOU@Fullerton: A free and confidential wellness portal that connects students to academic, physical and mental health resources. Student visit: https://you.fullerton.edu

CAPS appointments for students: (657) 278-3040 or visit https://www.fullerton.edu/caps/

Please call 911 for any and all emergencies. 

We also want to remind you that an Employee Assistance Program confidential counselor will be available for you at no cost, in the Faculty Commons (PLS-239), each Tuesday and Wednesday from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. from August 24 through September 29, 2021. The purpose of this is to provide support to you, as faculty, as you navigate the unique experiences of your own return and the continued challenges of this time. Faculty Support Services will send out an email to all faculty with additional details about how to access this important resource.

While most of you have been away this summer, we have been putting in place a number of programs to support our returning students this fall and make it easier for you to support their academic success. We have dramatically increased resources for tutoring across our colleges; this will enable you with confidence to encourage your students to use them. We have added places for students to sit and study or participate in an online or hybrid course: you’ll find these new areas in the library, outdoors across campus, and in a list of classrooms that we are reserving for students who need to shift from in person to online/hybrid learning in the course of a single on-campus day. And we have support to offer faculty for in-person teaching technologies. More information on this can be found in the FAQs.

We’ve also been reflecting on what we have all learned teaching virtually for three semesters—something few of us would have thought possible in February of 2020. Many of our faculty found ways to teach material that weren’t possible in-person (check out the VOICE award-winners for a small sense of what you and your colleagues created). This year, look for discussions in the Senate and across the colleges about how we can continue to support faculty to integrate technology where it makes sense across our degree programs. We want to keep the best of what we learned, even as we return to the largely in-person student experience at the heart of a transformative education.

In case you did not see the information elsewhere, CSUF and the OC Health Care Agency have partnered to offer an on-campus Vaccine Clinic at the Titan Gym at 8 am – 5 pm on August 16 – 20. Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccines will be available. This COVID-19 vaccine opportunity is available to all CSUF employees, students, and their family members. Sign up for an appointment by clicking the link or scanning the QR code below. Walk-ins will also be welcome.

<image003.png> OC Health Care Agency On-Campus Vaccine Clinic
Foyer of the Titan Gymnasium
Cal State Fullerton
Directions to the Titan Gym
Monday, August 16 – Friday, August 20
8 am – 5 pm
Appointments: Signup for an appointment through Othena, here or scan the QR code with your mobile device’s camera. Walk-ins will also be welcome. 
Parking: Park at the Dumbo Downs parking lot, no permit required. Directions to Dumbo Downs.

Thank you all for your work preparing for this semester, and your commitment to our students. As we head towards September 30, when vaccination will be required for our community members, we can be confident that our protocol for weekly testing for those who do not upload vaccine records, combined with contact tracing and clear safety guidelines will keep us pursuing our twin touchstones of health and safety and transformative educational experiences. It is our hope that ever-more of our Titan community members will avail themselves of the opportunities to become vaccinated, and, in doing so, ensure that we can continue to be together, and thrive, in the months ahead.

Best wishes,

Carolyn Thomas, Ph.D.
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Steve Stambough, Ph.D.
Chair of Academic Senate