Faculty

Faculty

Useful Links and Resources

COVID-19 Safety Procedures Enforcement

Guidance for In-Person Classes

The best practices in maintaining a safe classroom and campus space are encouraging completion of the daily screening and wearing a face-covering. Ultimately it is not the role of the faculty or staff to enforce safety protocols. However, faculty and staff are encouraged to manage these situations with tact and de-escalation practices. Steps a faculty or staff member may take to help keep their classroom safe:

A. Prior to the start of class, faculty should consider doing the following:

  • Reinforce the face covering requirement in any announcements or introductions that they send prior to the first meeting;
  • Post a statement about the face covering requirement on Blackboard;
  • Include a statement about the face covering requirement in the class syllabus: See suggested language;
  • Familiarize yourself with the Office of Community Standards, to whom you can report mask covering conduct violations.

B. On the first day of class and upon receipt of these guidelines, faculty should consider doing the following:

  • Remind students about the CSU systemwide vaccination policy and the face covering requirement;
  • Inform students where they can get masks should they forget to bring one. If students forget to bring a mask to campus, they may obtain one at the Library or in the Office of the Division of Student Affairs (WH-410).
  • Reiterate to students that the university has determined that face coverings are a safety requirement necessary to protect individual and public health, similar to other safety requirements in campus laboratories and similar facilities.
  • Start instruction when everyone has a face covering.

C. What if there is a Face Covering Violation During Class?

  • Students who refuse to put on a face covering or to properly wear one may be asked to leave. If the faculty member isn't comfortable asking, then faculty may temporarily dismiss the class for an appropriate pause, or for the day if needed, and should report the non-compliant student to the Office of Community Standards.
  • The non-complying student will not be permitted to attend class until they comply with the face covering policy. They also may be disenrolled from the course, depending on the severity of the issue.

D. If you or your student feels symptomatic:

  1. Remove yourself from campus immediately
  2. Contact the reporting hotline at 310-243-2076 if you are a known close contact to a positive or have recently tested positive.
  3. For all new symptoms (within 24 hours) related to COVID-19 call the reporting hotline only if it is determined these symptoms are as a result of or related to a known COVID-19 case.
  4. For chronic symptoms related to another illness, allergies or similar, remove yourself from campus as you are not feeling and return when you feel better. You do not need to call the reporting hotline.
  5. Discontinue any face-to-face activity with anyone who may have been in contact f. Resume face-to-face activity in 10 days after positive test result or confirmed symptoms of COVID-19. Remain in isolation if fever (100.4 or greater) persists, for 24 hours after fever is reduced without the assistance of fever reducing medications.
  6. Resume face-to-face activity in 10 days after positive test result or confirmed symptoms of COVID-19. Remain in isolation if fever (100.4 or greater) persists, for 24 hours after fever is reduced without the assistance of fever reducing medications.

See the full list of safety responsibilities for everyone on campus. 

Student Conduct Procedures

The Office of Community Standards (OCS) at CSUDH, should be consulted when all educational avenues have been exhausted and students repeatedly fail to comply with communicated campus safety protocols.

1) Student Conduct Code Violation

Students failing to comply with the communicated campus safety protocols and procedures are subject to discipline pursuant to CSU Executive Order 1098: Student Conduct Code Procedures, (rev. 3/29/19). Title V of the California Code of Regulations Section 41301, Student Conduct Code, describes the grounds on which a student can be disciplined, including:

  • "Conduct that threatens or endangers the health or safety of any person within or related to the University community, including physical abuse, threats, intimidation, harassment, or sexual misconduct."
  • "Violation of any published University policy, rule, regulation or presidential order."
  • "Failure to comply with directions of, or interference with, any University official or any public safety officer while acting in the performance of his/her duties."

Students failing to comply with campus safety protocols and procedures, including in connection with on-campus instruction, are subject to discipline based on the above grounds.

2) Reporting Procedures

The following are behaviors that may warrant consultation or intervention by the Office of Community Standards:

  • Repeated and intentional failure to wear a mask after multiple and clear warnings
  • Repeatedly and intentionally violating any safety directives established by the university after fair and clear warnings
  • Repeatedly failing to complete or receive appropriate clearance through the health self-screening survey before arriving at class
  • Repeatedly failing to complete the vaccination certification process
  • Repeated failure to complete required testing

Students should be allowed to correct the behavior without consequence. Students who forget, engage in unintentional carelessness, or act in haste should be given verbal warnings. A non-compliant student should be reported to the Office of Community Standards through the Student Conduct Reporting Form only after refusal to follow and comply with campus safety protocols.

3) Sanctioning

On the first occurrence, a student will be allowed to correct the behavior through education. A student who engages in unintentional carelessness or willful noncompliance should be given a verbal warning. After addressing the issue with the student, any individual responding to student non-compliance is asked to complete the Student Conduct Reporting Form, which is routed to the Office of Student Conduct (OSC). It is critical that all warnings and incidents are memorialized in writing for record-keeping and escalation of complaints and ensure due process of disciplinary proceedings.

On the second occurrence, a student who has violated the safety protocols and procedures will be referred to the OCS. The office will conduct a review and consider the circumstances in totality to determine appropriate action.

On the third occurrence, a student may be disenrolled from class, removed from housing, placed on interim suspensions, and in rare cases, students may face more severe sanctions. *If student gets into this process 3 times, they will be removed from housing, and may be disenrolled from course(s).

Below is a list of actions that are typically considered. There is no pre-determined order or sequencing of the sanctioning as the circumstances, and severity of the incident(s) are taken into consideration. An educational approach will be taken toward addressing non-compliance; however, egregious violations could escalate student behaviors through the formal student conduct process.

Typical Progression of Actions

1st ViolationThe Reporting Party should fill out the Office of Community Standards (OCS) Reporting Form. A written warning letter is sent to the student from the OCS. The student will be informed of potential sanctioning for repeated noncompliance, including disenrollment, suspension, or dismissal. In very minor mask violations that are then immediately ameliorated, students will simply be given a verbal warning.
2nd ViolationThe student is sent a formal Student Conduct Notice of Conference initiating student conduct procedures and is required to meet virtually with the OCS before attending the next face-to face class, meeting, or interaction.
3rd ViolationDisciplinary actions may be pursued in accordance with CSU Executive Order 1098, rev. 3/29/19: Student Conduct Procedures.

4) Interim Suspension

Under severe circumstances where it is determined that there is a threat to any individuals in the campus community, an Interim Suspension may be considered. Under Article VI. of CSU Executive Order 1098 (revised March 29, 2019), per Title 5, California Code of Regulations, section 41302, an interim suspension may be considered and evaluated, "where there is reasonable cause to believe that separation of a Student is necessary to protect the personal safety of persons within the University community or University Property, and to ensure the maintenance of order."

Download the COVID-19 Safety Procedures document here [PDF].

External Resources for Remote Teaching
Lecture Capture @ DHTV (Location: Welch Hall D114)

DHTV is offering lecture recording time on a first-come, first-served basis for any instructor who would like to record in a studio setting. If you are interested, please click the link below to book time in the studio.

Lecture Capture @ DHTV Signup Page

Independent/Remote I.T. Training

I.T. has curated a collection of self-paced resources for those who prefer independent learning. These collections include quick guides from our Service Portal and full-length videos and collections from LinkedIn Learning (requires CSUDH username/password and activation).

Key Faculty Updates

Vaccine Self-Certification Required for Faculty

All faculty teaching at CSUDH have certified their vaccination status. If you will be teaching with us and still need to self-certify, please do so on myCSUDH.

 

 


Statements to Faculty (most to least recent)

November 22, 2021: Relying on the Company and Comfort of Others

To: CSUDH Faculty
From: Michael E. Spagna, Ph,D. Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Dear Colleagues,

As we prepare for the final weeks of the fall semester, I want to express my gratitude for all of your efforts to fulfill our educational mission this term. Thank you!

We knew that this fall would be a time of transition. The time has been well spent as we have implemented a variety of safety protocols to ensure that the university is a safe place for teaching and learning: as of 11/15/2021, 93% of students and employees have self-certified their vaccination status; we maintained an indoor and outdoor face-covering mandate; we have upgraded all of our building HVAC air systems to hospital-grade MERV 13 filtration; we hired more campus safety ambassadors; and we established a modified Toro Welcome and Information Center to better serve our internal community. None of these new safety policies and campus upgrades would really matter if you had not continued to lean in and do what you have always done—stand tall as the premier educators that you are.

Amid all of this transition, we remain a university on the rise. We staged a fabulous Grand Openings event in October to celebrate our new learning and living spaces; we received unprecedented support from the State of California in the form of a $60,000,000 earmark to invest in our campus infrastructure, we received the largest single donation ($5,000,000) in university history to establish a new institute that “will serve as a leader in computing education research, teacher preparation, and curriculum development centered around equity and access”; and Dr. Hamdan continues to elevate CSUDH to new heights through his work with Apple, Toyota, and the USDOE. I recently shared an email with Academic Senate from a student that says it all: "I just wanted to extend congratulations and a huge THANK-YOU for your hard work in making this possible and attainable! It seems as though this campus is truly a place of dreams, success and wonderful surprises." Again, none of these achievements would have been possible without all of you standing shoulder-to-shoulder during these challenging times. We should no longer be surprised by the notion that good things are happening at CSUDH. We should expect it. We should demand it!

As we look forward to the spring of this academic year, we aspire to a much higher face-to-face presence on the campus. This is important because it really does come down to creating a community of teaching and learning, infused with a dedication on the part of all of us to a culture of care—for staff, students, faculty, and each other. To successfully get to where we need to go as an institution of higher education, especially as we engage in the reimaging of CSUDH in a post-pandemic world, we need more than ever to rely on intra- and inter-divisional supports. Several examples come immediately to mind:

  • Under new leadership, Student Health Services and Student Psychological Services are ramping up the supports they provide to students as we return to campus. See https://www.csudh.edu/shs/.
  • For employees, Human Resources Management has added specific COVID-related information and resources to its webpage: https://www.csudh.edu/hr/.
  • Aware that learning happens in all campus settings, CSU Foundation, and our auxiliaries have considerably expanded on-campus dining hours, even ahead of actual demand: https://www.csudh.edu/together/campus-services/dining. If you’re coming back for spring, please stop in to give them your thanks and maybe throw some business their way. They add a lot to our commitment to being fully ready for next semester.

There are plenty of Toros working hard between now and January – all of them recognizing that our formal courses represent only the most intentional learning in college. We also owe our students the fullest opportunity for incidental learning, the unplanned, often transformative experiences that we facilitate by giving people a shared, safe, and attractive space where they can meet, talk, and work together.

No person is an island. We will need to rely on the comfort and company of each other as we navigate the remainder of the academic year.

So, as we prepare to reconnect with treasured family and friends, and in the spirit of thanksgiving, I hope you will engage in some well-deserved self-care, reflecting on the fact that we are moving forward as a university. Moving forward to a very bright future here at CSUDH.

August 24, 2021: Faculty COVID-19 Vaccination Self-Certification Announcement

To: CSUDH Faculty

From: Academic Affairs

As we welcome back faculty, staff, and students to campus to support student learning and success, the health and safety of our campus community remains the highest priority.

As you may know, on July 27, the California State University (CSU) system announced that all faculty, staff, and students will have to be vaccinated against the coronavirus. Though medical and religious exemptions will be honored, everyone else must be vaccinated to work, attend classes, or engage in other campus activities. Therefore, all faculty will be required to complete the self-certification by September 30, 2021 through the myCSUDH portal. Please view these instructions on how to complete the self-certification and/or use the attached COVID-19 Self-Certification Quick Reference Guide.

On Monday, August 23, the California Faculty Association and the CSU reached a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) regarding COVID-19 Surveillance Testing. CSUDH has opted into the MOU in the following ways:

  • Effective August 25, 2021, faculty must participate in the campus' weekly surveillance testing program.
  • Faculty who upload proof of vaccination may opt out of surveillance testing.
  • Weekly surveillance testing will be available to all employees on Wednesdays or Thursdays regardless of vaccination status; these appointments are available through the myCSUDH portal.
  • Faculty who work on campus or enter campus grounds are subject to the Testing Program.
  • Complete details are available at the Toros Together Faculty page and Toros Together Staff page

Getting vaccinated is a safe, easy, and effective way of stopping and slowing the spread of this virus. It is important for each and every one of us to do our part.

To assist in providing vaccination access to the CSUDH campus, a pop-up clinic will take place on Thursday, Aug. 26, and Sept. 16, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The campus will be providing first and second doses of the Pfizer vaccine on both dates, as well as the single dose Johnson & Johnson. Individuals receiving their first dose of the vaccine on Sept. 16 will be redirected to the nearest Rite Aid for their second dose of the vaccine. Adolescents aged 12 and up will only be offered the Pfizer vaccine and must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.  

Appointments are encouraged but not required. To schedule an appointment, visit the CSUDH Vaccination Appointment portal.

The university strongly encourages unvaccinated individuals to get vaccinated as soon as possible—even if you are not planning on returning to campus in the fall. Every vaccinated person makes the Toro Nation stronger, safer, and healthier.

If you have any questions, please contact the office of Human Resources by emailing hrm@csudh.edu or calling (310) 243-3771.

August 18, 2021: Student Vaccinations and What Faculty Can Do

To: CSUDH Faculty

From: Ken O'Donnell, Vice Provost
Matt Smith, AVP for Student Life and Dean of Students

Dear CSUDH Faculty,

To maintain the health and safety of our campus community, all students are required to complete the COVID-19 Self-Certification form available from their mycsudh.edu portal. To complete it they will have to submit proof of vaccination or request an exemption, consistent with CSU policy.
 
All students who are currently enrolled in any kind of class – whether online or not – and who fail to complete the Self-Certification form by the deadline will be directed not to return to campus for any reason (e.g. for classes, on-campus jobs, clubs and organizations, or a place to study). We will place a registration hold on their accounts for spring 2022, until they complete the form.
 
Students who fail to complete the Self-Certification form by September 30th will also be disenrolled – dropped – from any classes with face-to-face components. We're letting them know that disenrollment comes with serious consequences:

  • Their financial aid may be adversely affected, reduced or in jeopardy.
  • They may not be able to take all their courses in the online format, and their expected graduation date may be delayed.
  • They will not be able to access on-campus services, events, and engagement opportunities.

As members of our faculty, you can help us get this message out:

  • In your syllabus, include the September 30th deadline for students to complete the self-certification form, whether or not your classes will be taught face-to-face. (Students have many different reasons to come to campus, even if all their courses are online.)
  • In your syllabus and in class announcements, remind students to get tested weekly regardless of their vaccination status.
  • Make a class announcement to remind students that they will need to log into their mycsudh portal and upload their vaccination card, or request a medical, or religious exemption by 5 p.m. on Thursday, September 30th.

These requirements and enforcements are the most serious available to us, but entirely appropriate: we are committed to the safety of our entire community, including you.

Finally, we want to express our gratitude. Our faculty is the reason we've been able to continue despite the extraordinary challenges facing our university; you keep our students learning, growing, and making progress to their degrees. That dedication benefits entire families and communities, by the learning you cultivate and the example you set. Thank you.

You and your students can get the most up to date information at the Toros Together webpage: www.csudh.edu/together.

Ken O'Donnell, Vice Provost
Matthew Smith, AVP for Student Life and Dean of Students

August 13, 2021: CSU Policies on Virtual Learning, FERPA, and Student Privacy Rights

To: CSUDH Faculty

From: Dr. Michael E. Spagna, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

As the semester begins, I would like to direct you to the CSU policies on virtual learning, FERPA, and student privacy rights: https://www.csudh.edu/registrar/ferpa/. During virtual instruction, students have the same privacy rights as they would in a face-to-face class. Any recordings that are made that involve student participation is considered a private record and can only be viewed by the registered members of the class. Examples include but are not limited to recordings made during a synchronous class, recordings of invited guest speakers that involve student participation, and recordings made by students for assignments and class participation. At the end of each semester or term all recordings should be erased as outlined by the Chancellor's Office.

If you plan to reuse recordings, you will need to secure a written FERPA consent from any identifiable student in the recording. This includes visual and audio content.

Additionally faculty should only use campus licensed software for teaching to protect student privacy. Any non-university licensed software would need approval by the Academic Technology Committee.

If you need assistance in designing FERPA compliant courses, please reach out to the chair of your department and/or to the Faculty Development Center.

Sincerely yours,

Dr. Michael E. Spagna
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
California State University, Dominguez Hillsl

May 17, 2021: Finishing Strong

To: CSUDH Faculty

From: Dr. Michael E. Spagna, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Colleagues:

As we close out the academic year and prepare to celebrate our graduates next week, I wanted to express my heartfelt gratitude for all that you have accomplished during the pandemic. At the end of the day, you collectively met the challenge and persevered in fulfilling our educational mission here at CSUDH. Every student I encounter has expressed sincere appreciation for the understanding, flexibility, and support faculty and staff have shown during the past many months.

For the graduating classes of 2020 and 2021, YOU made it possible for students to realize their dreams of obtaining a college degree and moving forward in their personal and professional lives. For our continuing students, YOU are the reason they persist in pursuing their educational and career goals. And I encourage you all to continue to lean in when it comes to our preparation for the upcoming fall semester.

In the meantime, please take satisfaction in a job very well done and practice some well-deserved self-care over the summer. We have new buildings which are set to open, we have continued strong enrollment, and, most importantly, we have faculty and staff who are second to none.

Go Toros!

Sincerely yours,

Michael

March 26, 2021: Update on Fall 2021 Planning

To: CSUDH Faculty

From: Dr. Michael E. Spagna, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Dear Colleagues,

Thank you for the work you've been doing this semester to protect and sustain our core educational mission in such challenging times. This email summarizes what we've done and learned so far and how we're applying that to our planning for the fall.

At the suggestion of Academic Senate and Associated Students, Inc., we started this semester with a set of college-based symposia, bringing together faculty, students, and staff to share impressions of our mostly online lives. We heard that the prioritization of teaching and learning has mostly worked: although few of our classes meet face-to-face this semester, students are still learning what they need to and making progress to degree. But the interpersonal side of what we do is much more complicated now. We miss the free exchange not only of ideas but of people, faces, and conversation. We're grateful that tools like Blackboard, email, and Zoom give us a way to carry on, but they collectively exhaust us.

This semester the challenges are complicated by rapid developments in the fight against the pandemic and shifting guidance from the CDC, local health agencies, WSCUC, and the CSU Office of the Chancellor. These conflicting expectations reflect genuine uncertainty – in this context, we should expect some zigzagging – but they make long-term planning very hard.

Here are the things we know about next fall:

  • The pandemic will have eased but not disappeared. Aftereffects will prove psychologically and physically significant; many of our communities were especially hard-hit, and people will need time to reacclimate to campus life.
  • At the request [PDF] of our vice provost, faculty have now prioritized their fall classes for face-to-face instruction. Courses in the top three of the four priority levels – that is, the ones coded in PeopleSoft as P1 through P3 – make up about 20% of the total. If we draw the line there, then the other 80% of our classes – those prioritized as P4 plus those that have always been online – would be delivered virtually.
  • Our regional accreditor, WSCUC, is letting colleges and universities remain mostly online for the rest of this calendar year on a temporary basis without petitioning for formal approval.

Taken together, these are promising developments, and they give us a margin of flexibility. But we're constrained by other factors beyond our control, namely how much social distancing local officials will require and how many people our campus can hold.

To that end, I've asked staff in Academic Affairs and other divisions to prepare for a Fall 2021 return under several scenarios, calculating the space and staffing levels we would need at social distancing requirements of six feet, three feet, or none. Managers are thinking now about the on-campus presence their offices would need to support students at different population levels and how much work can continue by telecommuting.

Within the next two weeks, I would like to present faculty with a proposed cutoff line for in-person instruction. If we find we can safely conduct 20% of our classes on campus, we may propose drawing the line between P3 and P4. If health conditions continue to improve, we'll explore moving more P4 classes to face-to-face.

Wherever the line first lands, faculty will have the chance to recategorize their classes before we call it final. And under any conditions, we will not "pivot"from virtual to face-to-face delivery after the semester has started.

Our students will begin registering for their fall classes on April 19. By then, we will have agreed on the extent of face-to-face instruction, and our class schedulers will have used the faculty's priorities to change most class locations from physical classrooms to "Alternative Instruction." But given how quickly the public health situation is improving, things could change soon after April 19. Most of our community will have been vaccinated within a few more weeks. And we may find that as students and staff return to other venues like movie theaters and restaurants, they feel readier to come back to Dominguez Hills. As sentiment changes, we have to be ready to change with it.

So my commitment to the faculty and others at Dominguez Hills is that I will take my cues from you. The Toro Team for Learning and Instruction now meets weekly with representatives from multiple constituencies to stay in constant touch with all who work and study here at CSUDH. My staff and I have standing briefings with the Academic Senate and meet twice weekly with college leadership to keep our planning as informed and nimble as possible.

And my commitment to students is that any significant revisions to the fall schedule will be completed by June 1. As public health improves in late April and May, faculty may want more classes to come back, taking some of the weight off Zoom, email, and Blackboard as we struggle to connect with our students.

But after June 1 – no matter how much better things get this summer – we'lll need to keep our schedule mostly unchanged. Our students, and their employers and families, will require that time to prepare for whatever level of return we commit to going forward. And so will we.

As President Parham has pointed out, these times of crisis challenge our community's ability to respond and stick together.

Thank you, again, for rising to that challenge.

August 17, 2020: Welcome Back

To: Faculty
From: Michael E. Spagna, Ph.D., Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Dear Colleagues,

Welcome to a new academic year--one unlike any that we will have ever experienced in our careers. For those of you that are joining us for the first time, I am sorry that I can't greet you in person, but I will do my best to make sure that I see you in our virtual boxes over the next several weeks welcoming you to our community and our family.

The message I have for all of you as we start this academic year is "Begin with the End in Mind." Over the past couple of years, we have established a relatively new tradition here at CSUDH: As we embark on another school year, we welcome our students back to campus with a new student convocation. And at that event, we have set up large boards that serve as blank canvases for students to inscribe their hopes and dreams for the coming college years on one section, and to express their aspirations for the lives they want to live upon graduation on the second section.

By embracing the notion Begin with the End in Mind, I encourage you to live in the spirit of hope embedded in that message. The dreams of new and continuing students are our dreams, and we invest in our students just as we should invest in each other. Our students have exhibited tremendous courage in pursuing their education and dreams during a pandemic. And I urge all of us to meet them at this moment to fulfill the promise that is higher education. As teachers, each of you - including staff, faculty, and administrators - touches every part of our community through a steadfast commitment to developing an engaged and informed citizenry.

We have prepared for this moment since the disruption in spring, and all of you have been rising to the challenge by learning new pedagogical techniques, adapting to different business procedures, and adjusting to the whole idea of a virtual campus. To that end, our colleagues have put in place plans to navigate many of the challenges we will face during this academic year as we focus on delivering the academic programs and co-curricular experiences we are known for here at CSUDH. The good news is that we're ready; now let's use that preparation to ensure that our new and continuing students have the "first-in-class" educational experience we promised them when they made their commitment to join the Toro Family.

There is much that we have to look forward to, even in this most unusual and challenging of years. Our resourceful faculty have continued to attract national attention and funding with their cutting-edge research. Our students and the offices supporting them have also found ways to perform - and outperform: this spring, we congratulated another record number of graduates, and our fall enrollments are at a record high. And those of you who interact directly with students should know this: the biggest gain since last year is in the number of continuing students. More are coming back and then enrolling in more courses per student than ever before. This is in stark contrast to enrollment rates at nearly every other college and university in the country, including many in the CSU. It's the strongest possible proof that we're doing something right. And finally, we just concluded a record-breaking recruitment of new faculty. Thirty-one (31) searches made it all the way to the offer stage, and every one of them resulted in a successful hire. This tells us that, despite the challenges we now face, Dominguez Hills remains the place to be. Even virtually.

Finally, we are currently in an election year. And with such an occurrence, we play a vital role in what our country will become in the coming months and years. In South Korea, educators are referred to as "nation builders." Every one of you at CSUDH fits that title. Our students are the leaders of tomorrow, and they will individually and collectively shape the world we will all live in.

As we face the crises of this moment, there is plenty such shaping still to do. Our students will graduate into a world facing urgent, painful challenges to public health, to the state economy, and most of all, to social justice, grappling with the racial reckoning that touches our community in particular, and our origins as a Minority-Serving Institution. The work we do at this great university is critical in accomplishing that mission. Remember: Begin with the End in Mind.

Our students will look to us for comfort, support, understanding, and inspiration as they--and we--navigate this most unusual of academic years. And I am confident that as we engage in being our best selves as educators, researchers, artists, performers, and so much more, we are up for the challenge.

I end by sharing my heartfelt gratitude for all that you have done since the pandemic disrupted our spring, and for all you will do during this academic year here at CSUDH.

Go Toros!

May 5, 2020: Finishing Strong and Fall 2020 Planning

To: CSUDH Faculty
From: Michael E. Spagna, Ph.D., Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Dear Colleagues,

First, let me commend you all for your incredible efforts over the last several weeks to ensure that we fulfill our critical mission at CSUDH: to provide high-quality instruction to our students, assuring them of a pathway forward in realizing their dreams and thriving in their lives beyond their time with us at the university.

And you achieved these accomplishments in the face of unparalleled adversity - with all of you managing unbelievable distractions and disruptions to your personal lives as you cared for family, friends, and loved ones in your communities.

As we enter our next sixty years as an institution of higher education, I am honored to be associated with CSU Dominguez Hills at this pivotal moment. When this chapter of our history is written, the self-efficacy of our community will stand out, in a moment when our students needed us most. I am extremely proud of all of you. Thank you.

Second, and most importantly, as we enter the month of May, I urge you to do everything in your power to finish strong by submitting your course grades on time. As you know, we have made some significant adjustments in our university grading policies to support students during this most unusual of academic semesters. By submitting your grades on time, you fulfill our commitment to our students, and we ensure that they can take advantage of any grading adjustments they might choose to initiate by June 1 .

Now, on to Fall 2020 planning and by extension some thinking related to the upcoming 2020- 2021 academic year. As we heard from President Parham at a town hall this morning, planning for Fall 2020 has been underway for the last couple of weeks. He has now formed a Fall 2020 Recovery Planning Committee, co-chaired by Dr. Cheryl Koos and Dr. Ruttanatip (Dang) Chonwerawong. The committee will use the latest information on COVID-19 recovery strategies, applying California Critical Indicators for Reopening as a guiding framework, to design a multi-phased instructional delivery approach for Fall 2020.

The committee will seek broad consultation across campus stakeholder groups, including the Academic Senate, Associated Students Incorporated, and our labor unions, as it does its work. Given that summer is right around the corner, the committee will present some preliminary plans, including opportunities for professional development in June and July, to guide us as we approach a new academic year.

Our overall goal is to recover the momentum we were building before the pandemic, as soon as we can. At the same time, we recognize the high stakes of this work:

  • the pandemic has had a differential impact on our students and poses ongoing challenges in widening equity gaps we have worked so hard to diminish over the past several years;

  • now more than ever, we must strive for building up the "job resilience" of our graduates, ensuring that they not only obtain degrees but that they also apply the knowledge and skills they have acquired with us to thrive in their personal and professional lives after college;

  • and we recognize that "we are all in this together" by embracing the notion that interdependence will be a crucial ingredient for our success, specifically through our commitment to internal and external partnerships to jointly solve challenges that we will undoubtedly face in the year ahead.

Again, thank you for your commitment to our students, your collegiality with your peers as we have navigated unprecedented disruptions in your personal and professional lives, and your dedication to our university and its mission.

April 1, 2020: Alternative Instruction

To: CSUDH Faculty
From: Michael E. Spagna, Ph.D., Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Dear Colleagues,

I have no specific business to transact with this communication—other than to express my gratitude for all that you are doing to meet our mission of providing quality instruction and promoting student success.

As we learned in a press conference yesterday, the next two weeks are going to be particularly difficult for all of us as the various measures we have taken across the country stand as a bulwark against the spread of COVID- 19. But even as we navigate this difficult stretch, I wanted to let you know directly how incredibly impressed I have been by all of your efforts to deliver alternative instruction. The level of peer-to-peer support, sharing of expertise in providing online and virtual education, and overall commitment to our university and our students have been unbelievable.

As faculty members, you set an important tone in times of intense stress. Many of our students are employed in the very sectors hit hardest by the pandemic – the retail, restaurant, and gig jobs that disappeared a few weeks ago. Their hardships can be unimaginable. But I've seen you rise to that repeatedly, with gestures of understanding, guidance, and compassion.

I also want to acknowledge all of the efforts of the deans, associate deans, chairs, area leads, and staff. Every person has made a difference in meeting the seemingly endless challenges that confront us daily. One of the best gifts anyone can receive is a communication of appreciation and thanks. (I still treasure receiving such notes—whether it be from middle school students I taught years ago or from teachers that I worked with as they pursued their credentials in educator preparation programs.) So, go ahead and engage in thanking our colleagues.

Finally, as Martin Seligman, the father of Positive Psychology, reminds us, the most satisfied, upbeat people [are] those who [have] discovered and exploited their unique combination of signature strengths such as humanity, temperance, and persistence. I know that many of us are actively discovering strengths we didn't think we had in the age of COVID-19. In my career as an educator, I rejected a deficit mindset a long time ago; instead, I urge you to spend these next two weeks in "strengthening strengths" - in yourselves, in your students, and in those you love.

Be well, stay safe, and thank YOU for working together for our collective good as a Toro community.

Michael E. Spagna
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

March 27, 2020: Teaching Remotely Quick Reference

To: CSUDH Faculty
From: Emily Magruder, Ph.D., Director of CSU Institute for Teaching and Learning

Dear Colleagues,

As the CSU and institutions of higher education across the country and the world have quickly pivoted to virtual instruction, the faculty development community has generated a tremendous amount of resources.

The Institute for Teaching and Learning and the CSU Faculty Development Council have created this quick reference for Teaching Remotely During Disruption. It is adapted from one of the many guides for online teaching that the faculty development community has generously shared, and it incorporates what we have learned so far as faculty across our system keep teaching and supporting our students during this disruption.

This quick reference is intended to help instructors decide which strategies and approaches to try at this unprecedented moment.

We have a tremendous amount to learn together. Suggestions for improving this guide can be emailed to csuitl@calstate.edu.

Sincerely,

Emily

March 20, 2020: Alternative Instruction Begins Monday, March 23

To: CSUDH Faculty
From: Michael E. Spagna, Ph.D., Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Dear Colleagues,

Thank you for your resilience, flexibility, and dedication. We'll be counting on you to balance access with quality as we seek to finish the semester for the greatest possible number of students.

Based on President Parham's message on March 17th, some things are now clear:

We will not resume face-to-face instruction this spring.

  • We will not resume face-to-face instruction this spring.Instead, we will be employing "alternative instruction," which connotes a wide range of delivery options (e.g., online, virtual, synchronous, asynchronous, etc.) for the rest of the term.
  • Our response to the pandemic is at an inflection point. Going forward, expect more communication from your department chairs and deans as we navigate a variety of instruction-related issues.
  • As we move into this next phase, safeguarding the integrity of our degrees is more important than ever. This means making appropriate, discipline-based decisions about optimizing our available resources.

For the last week or so I've been in twice-daily meetings with the President and other members of the Cabinet, and daily meetings with your deans and associate deans. We've also received frequent direction from the system and state levels. Given the sobering news we received from Governor Newsom and Mayor Garcetti last evening, the "Safer at Home" emergency order is a reminder of how serious our situation is, but it's not unexpected. It's just the latest in a series of tightening restrictions, and it probably won't be the last.

But remember, we've essentially been preparing for this over the past week. All your hard work during this pause in instruction is more important now than ever.

Faculty are pulling together to make the best of our new reality. I've especially appreciated your messages on the campus listservs, and the way you've outlined your messages to students. We should prepare for heightened scrutiny of this unusual semester. As faculty, you should consider how you'd like to handle your tenure and promotion clock, perceived teaching evaluations, and open recruitments. Faculty Affairs and Development, CFA, and your deans and department chairs can help address any questions or concerns you have.

In the same spirit, students will want to know they're fairly evaluated. If you haven't already, you might take note of your students' grades as of March 12, before we suspended face-to-face instruction. Frequent grading and feedback have always been an educational best practice; its value is even higher now. Above all, we'll be counting on you to remind our students they can do this. In lives already busy and stretched thin, many will see these new pressures as a reason to give up – out of stress, confusion, or exhaustion. We have to be there for them and each other.

As we prepare for next week, I wanted to share a contribution from my 17-year-old daughter Sophia who was inspired to create the message below--and appearing on the sidewalk in front of our home. (She was lamenting a lost senior year in high school with all of the canceled events and missed opportunities to connect with close friends.)

Chalk message: We are all in this together

Instruction begins again on Monday. We know what's at stake. Let's do this!

Please accept my heartfelt gratitude for all you do to ensure the educational success of our students.

Michael E. Spagna
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

March 12, 2020: Instructional Continuity

To: CSUDH Faculty
From: Michael E. Spagna, Ph.D., Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Dear Colleagues,

Consistent with President Parham's message to the campus community yesterday (March 11, 2020), I wanted to provide some options to consider as we explore opportunities to engage in alternative instruction starting next week on Wednesday, March 18th. In assembling this information, our deans, associate deans, chairs, and faculty have contributed many of these ideas, and I encourage our entire academic community to continue to work collaboratively towards ensuring that we maintain the highest quality of instruction going forward.

First and foremost, "alternative instruction" does not imply that all educational activities need to be converted or adapted to online learning; instead, alternative instruction offers a broader range of delivery options, including online, virtual, synchronous, asynchronous, and a myriad of other instructional models.

As we engage in thinking about how we might prepare for such alternative delivery of instruction, I have synthesized a list of ideas and suggestions from a variety of sources, including the incredible expertise of our colleagues. This list is by no means exhaustive, and I will continue to post additional articles, instructional resources, etc. on our alert page (https://www.csudh.edu/alert/) under the heading of "For Faculty: Instructional Continuity Planning." One of the better pieces recently appeared in the Chronicle of Higher Education, entitled "Going online in a hurry: What to do and where to start" (see https://www.chronicle.com/article/Going-Online-in-a-Hurry-What/248207).

A Working List of Guiding Principles for Alternative Instruction:

  1. Communicate with your students routinely and frequently. Be available by email, BlackBoard, and video conferencing. State our shared commitment to students often and without equivocation. Take time to listen to students and respond.

  2. Start by reviewing your course learning outcomes. How can these be achieved without meeting in person? Think outside the box. Be creative and don't be afraid to experiment.

  3. Crowdsource your strategy. We already have a wealth of instructional expertise right here at CSUDH. Additionally, faculty at our sister CSUs and around the country are experiencing the same challenges. Use your disciplinary contacts and CSU colleagues to build a network. Google docs and digital crowdsourcing platforms are rapidly expanding—learn from your colleagues and contribute your own good ideas.

  4. If in-person instruction is unavoidable or if students need to come to campus to use labs or equipment, consider strategies to reduce their time on campus. Reduce group sizes and stagger hours. Additionally, when considering alternatives to offering laboratory classes in a face-to-face format, think about using online simulations, instructor demonstrations (possibly live via Zoom) and videos to convey knowledge and concepts that address student learning objectives, which, when combined with previous hands-on experience during the semester, may be sufficient.

  5. Take advantage of existing digital resources— both internal and external to the campus. That includes resources from publishers, online videos, podcasts, and more.

  6. Retool your pedagogy. We have already provided a schedule of upcoming Academic Technology workshops under the heading of "More resources" on the aforementioned "For Faculty" section of the CSUDH alert page. Additionally, consider opportunities to explore best practices for modifying assignments by conducting internet searches using terms such as alternative online assignments.

  7. Remember: You are already an effective instructor. That's why you work at CSUDH! And now is the time to demonstrate your strengths.

Thank you for your commitment to academic excellence here at CSUDH, and please accept my gratitude for your dedication to our students and their educational success.

Michael E. Spagna
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

March 9, 2020: Instructional Continuity

To: CSUDH Faculty
From: Michael E. Spagna, Ph.D., Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Dear Colleagues,

In order to respond to and make preparations for instructional continuity due to the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19), we need to ensure that CSU Dominguez Hills faculty are prepared for the possibility that our campus community may be impacted in the coming weeks and months.

As you know, the situation with COVID-19 is fluid and is changing by the hour and day. This email is likely to be only the first in a series that addresses instructional and educational continuity plans in the event that it is recommended that we move to instructional alternatives, as Stanford University and the University of Washington did last week. Academic Affairs is working collaboratively with Information Technology and its Office of Academic Technology to ensure support for faculty, staff, and students.

Given the current circumstances, we ask you to be ready to move your class meetings, assignments, and exams to our online environment. We recommend that departments and colleges discuss the best and appropriate approaches for their disciplines and discipline-based pedagogy. We also ask you to work together for our students' success and safety.

The Office of Academic Technology has prepared a website, "Emergency Remote Teaching Guidelines": https://at.csudh.edu/remote_guidelines.html. Please see the Pre-Planning Preparation Tips below for more resources. Academic Technology has developed hyperlinks that will connect you to relevant information, including a series of Blackboard/Academic Technology Open Lab and Zoom-based workshop sessions designed to assist you. We have also included PDFs of the FAQs for Faculty and the Academic Technology workshop schedule in this email.

All of this information can be found under the heading "Instructional Continuity Planning" at the following link: https://www.csudh.edu/alert/. Please add this link to your bookmarks in order to follow regular updates that we will be posting in the coming days and weeks.

If you have been assigned to teach this semester, you have automatic access to our Blackboard Learning Management System.

Pre-Planning Preparation Tips:

  • Practice accessing Blackboard from home (https://toro.csudh.edu);
  • Upload syllabus, content, assignments into Blackboard if you have not already done so;
  • Establish a complete and frequently updated grade book;
  • Academic Technology will host a series of open lab and workshop sessions to utilize our technology tools to facilitate instruction online;
  • Consult Remote Teaching Guidelines FAQs;
  • Blackboard/Academic Technology Tutorials for faculty and students are available at https://at.csudh.edu/docs/;
  • Adjust attendance policies so as not to penalize students who become ill or are placed under quarantine;
  • CSUDH has a laptop checkout program for students and faculty. Please let your students know they can register for the program at https://techcheckout.csudh.edu/.

Please remember that our students look to you not only as mentors but also as role models. As we plan for potential COVID-19 impact, we need to remember that we are a welcoming, equity-minded community that respects all cultures and communities. We ask that you make every effort to accommodate students and their needs at this time.

Once more, for up-to-the-minute news of the CSUDH response, we encourage you to visit https://www.csudh.edu/alert/.

Although the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has presented a multitude of challenges for us as an educational community, the Toro Nation will be up to the task, working collaboratively to ensure the health and safety of our community and the educational success of our students.

Michael E. Spagna
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Charles E. Thomas
Associate Professor of Business Law Chair of the Academic Senate