As we finish this first week of online instruction, I continue to be impressed—though not surprised—by the compassion and dedication you have shown your students and one another. Every day in the nearly two years I’ve been your provost, I have seen the commitment of our faculty to your work and to our campus.
I appreciate the time and effort the move to online teaching and collaborating has demanded of you. Many of you are juggling this transition with the unforeseen demands it has brought with it, including caring for family members and managing households.
Thank you for everything you have done and will continue to do.
As you focus on the success of your students, my office is focused on your success. I want to update you on a number of initiatives:
- This afternoon the UT System Board of Trustees, recognizing these unique circumstances, voted to allow tenure-seeking faculty to extend their probationary period by one year. Tenure and promotion cases currently in process for the 2019–20 academic year for both tenure-track and non-tenure-track faculty will be completed as planned.
- Though the UT System has given campuses the option to suspend or delay this year’s periodic post-tenure performance reviews, because about 80 percent of our committees have completed their work we will complete PPPR as planned.
- Because of the disruption to normal activities, I have asked deans to adjust performance expectations for tenure-track and non-tenure-track faculty, including expectations with respect to delivering online instruction. Faculty may choose whether to include TNVoice end-of-course student survey results in their evaluations. Deans and department heads will be cautioned against using TNVoice results if faculty choose to exclude them, and my office will closely monitor this.
- As the country continues to battle this public health crisis, we understand the significant impact the current circumstances can have on our mental and emotional well-being. The Employee Assistance Program, offered through Optum Health, has updated its services to include resources specific to the current COVID-19 pandemic. Find out more about these services, which are available to all benefits-eligible employees, spouses, and dependent children.
The creativity and flexibility you have shown this week give me incredible confidence that we will not only emerge from this challenge but will do so as a stronger academic community and a university that is even better positioned for the future.
I am extremely proud to lead this group of dedicated faculty.