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Flexible Teaching

OU Together The University of Oklahoma

Flexible Teaching Guidelines

As we enter Phase III of our instructional plan, we are now able to determine how we are able to respond to faculty requests, beyond ADA accommodations, for flexibility in the teaching mode for the fall semester.  We will assess these guidelines and adjust as necessary as more information becomes available.

 

Parameters:

  1. Ensure that our students have a primarily in-person experience, within the health and safety guidelines of governing bodies and health professionals.
  2. To the extent practical, exercise discretion toward instructional faculty and graduate teaching assistants who are at high risk or who are the primary caregiver for someone at high risk for severe illness due to Covid-19, but who are not eligible for legal accommodation through the ADA process.
 

Process:

1)   Faculty* may make a written request via email to the department chair and Committee A to adjust their mode of teaching. Faculty who are making such a request should indicate whether the request involves:

a.   An increased risk for severe illness as defined by the CDC due to COVID-19 of the individual faculty member. Instructional faculty indicating this must also make a request through the ADA process in HR if they have not already done so. This is to ensure that the ADA covers all who can be covered, while also identifying those who do not qualify under ADA so that discretionary flexibility can be applied.

b.   An increased risk for severe illness as defined by the CDC due to COVID-19 of a member of the faculty member’s immediate household or someone for whom they are the primary caregiver.

c.   Other

Faculty members must state the category (a, b or c) under which they are applying, but they do not need to provide additional health or personal information to the department when making this  request. The deadline for making a request is Friday, July 10.

 

2)   The department chair and Committee A will work to review and decide if the requests can be granted within the framework of course delivery currently scheduled for the Fall 2020 semester.

NOTE: the method of delivery for a particular course (i.e. in person, online, or hybrid) will not generally be altered in order to ensure a predominantly in-person instructional model. As such, granting faculty requests to teach online may require departments to shift course assignments in order to maintain the total level of in-person instruction. Adjustments in teaching assignments and/or mode of instruction will be made in accordance with the priority protocol described below.

In the event that the number of requests exceeds the department’s ability to respond to the request through shifting course assignments, department chairs and Committee A may propose an alternative teaching model (hybrid or online).  In responding to requests, department chairs will consider courses that have the greatest impact on student’s ability to receive in-person instruction. Additional information for possible hybrid models may be found here http://ou.edu/teachanywhere/in-person-hybrid-teaching-models.

Departments should prioritize requests as follows (in order):

a.   The request involves increased risk for severe illness as defined by the CDC due to COVID-19 of the individual faculty member.

b.   The request involves an increased risk for severe illness as defined by the CDC due to COVID-19 of a member of the faculty member’s immediate household or someone for whom they are the primary caregiver.

c.   Other

 

3)   Department chairs should send their recommendations for adjusting course instructors or instructional mode to the Dean’s office for review and approval. The Dean’s office will send recommendations to the Provost’s office for final approval. This process through final approval or denial is not expected to exceed ten days.

 

4)   Faculty members may request a review of any decision made by the Provost’s Office related to the above assignment of teaching duties to a panel of five members comprised of a representative from the Office of the Sr. Vice President and Provost, a representative from the Office of Legal Counsel, a representative from the Graduate College, a representative chosen by the Faculty Senate, and a representative chosen by the Dean’s office from the faculty member’s college.

 

5)   To the extent a request for flexibility is not granted through the above process, or the flexibility offered is not considered a satisfactory solution, the University may consider faculty requests for administrative leave without pay for the teaching portion of the faculty member’s distribution of effort for the Fall 2020 semester.

 

*Wherever instructional faculty are discussed throughout the document we are also referring to graduate teaching assistants.