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Provost's Update for Week of November 9-13

Course Design Clinic: Designing for community, engagement

As colleges and departments plan for the spring semester, the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) is helping faculty prepare for instruction against the backdrop of lessons learned from spring, summer, and fall of 2020. Students and faculty alike continue to adapt to the challenges of new course modalities and creating connections and community within their classes.

In support of this process, CETL is offering an abbreviated version of their Course Design Clinic, which will focus on how to prepare for engagement and build a strong sense of community. Using lessons and feedback from both students and faculty, the clinic will explore strategies for creating interactions and fostering community in the current teaching environment, and within the four primary course modalities. By applying a lens of positive psychology, participants will explore features of their syllabus, Canvas site, and course-based activities that can be designed to consider both student learning and student engagement.

The Couse Design Clinic will take place December 17-18 and registration is required. For more information on this and other professional development opportunities, visit the TLOS website.

Graduate Education Task Force: Report and recommendations

The Graduate Education Task Force has conduct a comparative analysis of Virginia Tech’s research-based graduate education programs relative to peer land-grant universities across the nation. With representation from faculty, staff, and graduate students from across the university, the task force focused their efforts on two main questions: how to help raise the stature of Virginia Tech through graduate research and education; and how to raise the quality of that education and improve the educational experiences of graduate students.

“The Graduate Education Task Force has identified a number of opportunities for Virginia Tech to enhance its graduate programs and position itself as a globally-competitive and influential institution. We have created a strong foundation for graduate education at Virginia Tech and now must expand our vision and capacity to serve students to build new programs and partnerships.”
– Provost Cyril Clarke

The recently released task force report presents findings regarding comparisons of Virginia Tech’s graduate programs to those of other institutions, and recommendations aimed at further improving excellence, while addressing shortcomings.

Read the VT News article announcing the Graduate Education Task Force’s full report and view the recommendations and presentation slides on the Graduate School website.

Acceptable use of video platforms

The Division of Information Technology reminds faculty and academic departments that users of Virginia Tech’s Zoom, Kaltura, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, and all other sponsored platforms are required follow the policy on Acceptable Use of Computer and Communication Systems (Policy No. 7000) and the Acceptable Use Standard when planning meetings or sharing video recordings.

The Acceptable Use Standard states that users must not:

  • use university systems for commercial or partisan political purposes, such as using electronic mail to circulate advertising for products or for political candidates.
  • use the university's systems or networks for personal gain; for example, by selling access to your user name or to university systems or networks, or by performing work for profit with university resources in a manner not authorized by the university.

The use of Virginia Tech’s video platforms for professional service, research, and other related purposes is allowed. In addition, personal use, as defined by Commonwealth of Virginia policy, is allowed as long as it does not interfere with the user’s productivity or work performance and does not interfere with any other employee’s productivity or work performance.

Faculty or department heads with questions regarding this policy or these guidelines should contact 4Help online or call 540-231-4357.

ICYMI: Campus operations following Thanksgiving break

In accordance with the Fall 2020 COVID-19 Operational Plan, Virginia Tech will continue to maintain sustained operations at all campus locations following the Thanksgiving break and the transition to all online instruction and academic activities, and through the start of the university’s winter break (December 24-January 1, 2021). This includes financial, human resources, information technology, health and safety, and other services critical to the academic, research, and engagement missions of the university.

In following the principles and procedures in place for the fall semester, the university is committed to carrying out the highest standards of cleanliness across all campus facilities to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Also essential is the ongoing implementation of construction and renovation projects set to boost innovation, discovery, and accessibility for students and faculty at Virginia Tech.

Details on the range of campus services and operations provided for the remainder of the fall semester including building access and cleaning, mail services, parking and transportation, and dining are available through VT Ready.

Recent resource and information updates

Please visit VT Ready and the Provost’s website frequently for new and updated university information. All members of the campus community should also read their VT Daily email for further important updates, notices, and resources.