PROVOST MESSAGE: faculty updates

Southern Oregon University , Public Updates

  • Sent 04/06/2020 16:23 PDT via
  • web

Dear Colleagues:


Good morning!


In collaboration with Provost Walsh, we bring you a series of campus updates relevant to all faculty. I’ll begin with a list of the topics covered within:


  1. Covid-19 Main Website

  2. Information Technology

  3. Resiliency In Remote Teaching

  4. New Channel For Faculty Communication

  5. Instructional Requirements: Executive Order 20-09

  6. Sou Cares

  7. Zoom Privacy And Security

  8. Covid-19 Impacts On Promotion & Tenure

  9. Library

  10. Student Access To Computer Labs

  11. Cancellation Of Soar



Please check for the latest information about SOU’s response to COVID-19 at:



Please review the special COVID-19 resource guide developed by the IT staff:



The Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning (CATL) has created a fantastic array of resources for teaching remotely:

If you cannot find what you are looking for, contact Clay Austin or Hart Wilson for assistance.



Some have expressed concerns about recent use of the all-faculty email list, while others have voiced the need for an unofficial communication channel for faculty to discuss issues related to SOU’s COVID-19 response that do not fall within the parameters of what we would normally deem appropriate for the all-faculty list. For the official SOU policy on all-faculty emails, please see and note that the following content is prohibited from all-faculty emails:


  • Advertising or marketing of campus programs, activities, or events. Other mechanisms are available for this purpose.

  • Personal content or opinion.

  • Political content or commentary.

  • Commercial advertising for merchants or service providers external to the university, except for notices of services and discounts arranged for members of the university community by the university.

  • Solicitations for contributions, charities, or participation in personal activities not related to university purposes or not sponsored by the university.

  • Solicitations for non-university businesses operated by university faculty, staff, or students.

  • Surveys or solicitations to members of the community selected on demographic characteristics, such as to selected groups or individuals identified as candidates for research subjects.

  • Targeted audiences that might appear discriminatory or may appear to be an infringement on privacy.

  • Offensive material.


Provost Walsh and I conferred with CIO Tom Battaglia about these matters, and our discussions have resulted in the creation of a new Google Group called “Faculty Forum” that will be linked to the email address An invitation to join this group will be sent to the all-faculty list subsequent to this message. The Faculty Forum is an opt-in/opt-out list, so faculty will have the option of joining or leaving the group at any time.


Some have asked whether the all-faculty list could simply be moderated, as the classified employee list is moderated. This would require a change in the existing university policy posted above, and it is our hope that by providing an alternative venue for unofficial communication between faculty, we will have alleviated the need for such a change.



Faculty are instructed to refrain from assigning any instructional activity, assignment or labs that require in-person contact with others (unless it leads directly to completion of a health-care related certificate, license, or degree).   


The governor's order provides a broad prohibition and a very narrow exception.  "[I]t is ordered that colleges and universities shall be prohibited from conducting in-person classroom, laboratory, and other instruction...through April 28."  Exec Order 20-09 (March 19, 2020).


The very narrow exemption allows for "in-person instruction for the purpose of providing clinical, laboratory, or other in-person instruction associated with courses required for completion of a health-care related certificate license or degree, other certificates, licenses or degrees that are essential to emergency response and resiliency efforts."   Exec Order 20-09 (March 19, 2020).


Please know that there are multiple orders from the governor. In addition to the order described above, Executive Order 20-12 (March 23, 2019) directs Oregonians to stay at home and orders the social distancing guidance at work and other places in the community.  This is the order with which most citizens are familiar. Importantly, Executive Order 20-12 also expressly directs us all to minimize travel outside the home.


Read together, we are able and required to implement social distancing in office work spaces and office work assignments (Exec Order 20-12) but we are prohibited from providing in-person instruction (Exec 20-09).  That prohibition of in-person instructions stands with or without the implementation of social distancing measures.  In other words, social distancing does not relieve us of the prohibition on in-person instruction. We cannot hold socially distanced in-person classes or labs.  Even assignments that require students to leave their homes are inconsistent with the governor's directive to minimize travel under Exec Order 20-12.



Students may experience heightened concerns or distress related to the current situation and unfamiliar learning environments. Please use the SOU Cares system to connect students with staff members who can provide support for mental health, wellbeing, legal and financial concerns, family concerns, harassment, assault, study skills, time management, etc. Please also refer to the Office of the Dean of Students for information regarding remote case management and other support services  while on-campus restrictions are in place. You should also continue to report any concerns regarding academic integrity, harassment, bias, or assault using the SOU Cares system or Sexual Misconduct and Equal Opportunity Reporting.



Many of you are using this technology as a means by which you can have substantive interactions with students. Recently there have been reports about privacy and security issues regarding its use. Please take a minute to check this recent message from zoom:

Zoom, like SOU GMail or Moodle, is an authorized communication platform purchased by SOU for your use. The Zoom platform is safe and secure, and as an attendee you have many controls over your experience including the ability to share or not share your computer’s webcam, microphone, audio or screen. The instructor can limit anyone and everyone's access and ability to share anything at any time. However, for increased security do not share a link to a teleconference or classroom on an unrestricted publicly available social media post. Also make sure you have a recent download of the Zoom application as increased security measures were made in January 2020.



At today’s Faculty Senate meeting, we will discuss the potential impact the pandemic could have on Spring term student evaluations, colleague & chair evaluations, and faculty scholarship and creative activity. The Faculty Senate will be engaging with the Provost’s Office, the Faculty Personnel Committee, and the Inter-institutional Faculty Senate (IFS) to explore how we can best mitigate negative impacts on faculty applications for tenure and promotion in the coming year and beyond. Please rest assured that the Provost and Senate Advisory Council are committed to flexibility in finding the best way to support all faculty in their tenure and/or promotion process.



The Hannon Library will be open to faculty, staff and students only. Please see the Library website for regular updates on hours of operation and available services. Students will have access to a certain number of computers on the first floor, and may also check out Chromebooks for scheduled periods of time. Please contact Jim Rible if you have specific questions about access to the building. 


Faculty can arrange to meet with their subject librarian via Zoom. A complete list of subject librarians and their contact information is here.  Faculty, staff, and students will not have access to Summit resources for an indefinite period. Interlibrary Loan services are still available for articles and book chapters


A number of new electronic resources are available. For more information about new resources, contact your subject librarians and/or visit  ttps:// 


Remote tutoring services will be made available to students. The remote services guide is linked in several places on the library website. including here: 



Most academic buildings will be closed to the general public. Signage will be placed on buildings with varying degrees of information, including contact information related to each academic program.


Students who do not have access to the technology necessary to successfully complete their coursework can use the computers in the labs listed below. Each lab will maintain appropriate levels of social distancing and cleanliness per the CDC’s standards.

Marion Ady (by appointment)

Ed/Psych 110  (M-F 10:00am-4:00pm) 

CS 206 (to be determined)

PC West (M-F 8:00am-5:00pm)

Digital Media Center (M-F 10:30am-4:30)

Hannon Library Main Floor (check the Library website)



The 2020 Southern Oregon Arts and Research (SOAR) conference has been canceled. To protect the health, safety, and welfare of our conference participants, attendees, volunteers, and campus community and comply with Oregon’s “Stay Home, Save Lives” order, we must call off this year’s conference. 


We’ll miss seeing all of our students, faculty, and staff’s passions and accomplishments this year, but we want to do everything in our power to keep our community safe and healthy. 


With this time, SOAR organizers will continue to work behind the scenes to bring SOAR back in 2021 when we can all congregate safely. We thank you for your understanding and support. If you have any questions, please contact us at



We know this is a lot of information to digest, but we thought it would be better to send out one communiqué with many messages than to clog your inbox with nearly a dozen updates. Even with all this information, we know in the midst of this environment of constant change, we will not have answered every question on your minds. Please feel free to reach out if we can assist you with additional questions.


Best wishes for a fantastic if unusual Spring term, and thank you for your time, attention, and all your hard work getting us here.




Andrew Kenneth Gay

Associate Professor & Faculty Senate Chair


Susan F. Walsh, PhD

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

This is an announcement-only group. Only group administrators can post and make edits.

Post Updates (0)