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FSU Letter To Provost on Teaching Modality- Spring 21


Dear FSU Members,

Below is a letter that the FSU just sent to the Provost regarding her recent memo/policy on teaching modality options for Spring 2021 (attached).  Along with many of you, we found the memo problematic for reasons stated below.  Although we recognize that students need to be informed as to how remote/online courses will be taught in the Spring, we do not think the particular teaching modality used by faculty is up to the Administration to decide or should come at the expense of limiting options available to faculty – who must decide what is best for their class and students.  We would encourage you to wait to fill out the Admin’s survey about your teaching modality until this is sorted out.  And please write the Provost about any concerns you may have (and cc


Faulty Staff Union



The FSU is aware of your prescriptive memo about teaching modality options for Spring 2021.  We are already hearing from numerous faculty members who are concerned that the Provost’s office has effectively taken away their right to determine how to teach their courses. The FSU shares these concerns, particularly since Article 13.1 of our contract states “the faculty will exercise primary responsibility in academic matters (e.g., curriculum, subject matter, methods of instruction).”  

The taxonomic logic of your memo represents a significant departure from the Fall 2020 semester and seems designed to push faculty into teaching synchronously. This is problematic both in (a) the principled sense that it is faculty who determine how to teach their courses and (b) in the practical sense that Option C states that faculty who want to teach in a largely asynchronous modality (and may have invested a lot of time doing so in the Fall) must now secure approval from their Chair, Dean and Provost by Oct 30th – something they are not required to do at all, certainly not in such a unworkably short time frame.  The time frame seems, in fact, designed to take this option away or at the very least coerce faculty members to make rushed and pedagogically unsound decisions. 

The FSU asks that you recognize, and positively affirm, that the faculty determine their methods of instruction without the administration’s permission. We also ask that you reinstate the fall 2020 modality typology that was determined by the ACTF to ensure academic continuity into Spring 2021.