Akron AAUP Protecting Academic Freedom For a Free Society
The University of Akron Chapter |
American Association of University Professors

Dear Colleagues,

Welcome back to the next stage of the Spring 2020 semester! This is a day or two later than we would have liked to have communicated with you, but just like you, we’ve been taking care of our families, working to learn new teaching strategies, adapting our classes to their new online format…and adjusting our lives to this radically changed world.

Thank you for all of your hard work over the past twenty days. At a time of uncertainty, worry, and news cycles changing by the hour, you’ve attended seminars in distance education, adapted your curriculum and been there for your students. We know this wasn’t easy.

We are happy to report that unlike many campuses across the nation, our administration sought faculty input as they dealt with the ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic. We hope that this made your lives a little easier. We also recognize that nothing of this scale could have been accomplished without some hiccups, so please contact the Grievance Committee at grievance@akronaaup.org  if you have any significant, contract-related problems. Any issues to do with the curriculum or its delivery should, as ever, be passed to your representatives in the Faculty Senate.

As you have hopefully heard, the situation we are in this semester will qualify as a legitimate extenuating circumstance justifying a one-year extension to the tenure clock for any tenure-track faculty member who makes the request. You do need to notify the administration prior to the April 15 deadline to submit your letter of intent that you intend to request this extension.

Our Negotiations Team and the various sub-committees were working right up until we broke for (the original) Springbreak, and we hope to be able to share some news soon.

As you’ve probably guessed, Faculty First Friday, our social event on the first Friday of each month has been put on hold. But we can’t bear to not connect with each other somehow, so we are creating a group page on Facebook, which is private. It’s for UA faculty to share news, selfies with the pet, and war stories and successes from online-teaching-for-the-first-time. We’re calling it “The Faculty Lounge” and we hope it’ll be a bit like Faculty First Friday, but 24/7 and BYOB. Follow this link, and request to join. Once we verify you are UA faculty, you’re in. We’re kicking it off with a happy hour meet-up beginning at 5:00 pm this Friday, and we’re asking that you take a selfie of you and your pet, or your beverage of choice (or both, if your pet is cooperative!) and post to the group with an update on how you are doing. Now, more than ever, we need to keep in touch and support each other.

We’d also like to invite faculty to post any of the lectures or other class content that you’ve been creating to this group – this would be a great way for us to break down those silos and learn about each other’s fields, and we know you’ve got some good stuff! With your permission, we may post some of the content to the chapter’s Facebook page so that the general public can see the good work we’re doing (and, of course, we will credit the authors!).

That’s all we have for now, except to say have a great week, and please, stay safe and take care of yourselves!

In solidarity,

All of us at the Akron-AAUP

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