Acting provost offers fall term welcome, classroom reminders

Acting Provost Janet Woodruff-Borden sent the following message to faculty and graduate employees on Sept. 20:

Dear colleagues, 

I am excited that in just a few days the University of Oregon campus will be bustling with students and academic life once again. We enter this year with new leadership and a renewed sense of hope and optimism about what we will achieve together.  

As mentioned in my first message as acting provost, I took on this role because I believe in this institution, our mission and our potential to impact the world around us. We have emerged stronger from the challenges of the last few years with new tools and resources, highly equipped to teach and support our students. 

I'm looking forward to working together to create an inclusive academic experience in our classrooms, labs and studios. Additionally, I want to enlist your support in continuing to create a welcoming, supportive and positive environment for our students and colleagues. 

It is wonderful that we will all be back together this fall. Thanks to access to vaccines, testing, treatment and wellness resources, the university has resumed all pre-pandemic instruction and activities.

Individuals will, no doubt, still occasionally get sick with COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses. The university continues to offer COVID-19 resources including free testing, access to masks, prevention education, and processes for addressing student and employee illness; and require COVID-19 vaccination. This fall, University Health Services will offer free on-campus vaccination clinics featuring the new bivalent (Omicron) booster for all faculty, staff and students. Details about the clinics will be shared widely with campus soon and on the COVID-19 resources website.  

In addition, Human Resources will share information this week about employee resources and opportunities to seek out professional growth, collaboration and support. 

As we begin the term, I also want to share the following reminders and guidance for our academic community: 

Classroom experiences

We have resumed all our typical expectations for instructors to manage their classroom in ways that balance academic expectations and rigor with compassion and support for student’s unique circumstances. 

The Office of the Provost has put together a Fall 2022 Classroom Expectation webpage that details all the current and updated classroom-related policies and guidance, including information on absences, makeup assignments, syllabus statements and other information.  

You will find links to all academic policies listed in this email. The policies of note include the new Course Attendance and Engagement policy and the revised Incomplete policy. TEP and UO Online offer fall course resources to help you enact these policies, including a syllabus 'starter' and attendance module. You are welcome to reach out for support and brainstorming.

Teaching and leadership development

The Office of the Provost will continue to focus on leadership development, mentoring and fostering diversity, equity and inclusion in our teaching practices. We provide numerous teaching and engagement resources, including consultations, workshops and development opportunities for faculty throughout the year. Please see the events and opportunities section for more information. 

Academic freedom conference

In October, the University of Oregon will host a conference on Academic Freedom, bringing together some of our nation's great minds on how we fortify and improve the foundation of the academy. As part of this effort, we continue to work with faculty to create resources and support for our fundamental commitment to the pursuit of teaching, research, and creative expression that advances knowledge. Visit the Academic Freedom and the Public University Conference webpage to learn more about the conference and the resources we have established for supporting faculty’s academic freedom.  

Regular academic updates

To continue to support our academic faculty, staff and graduate employees, the provost’s office will be sending regular updates through the year about teaching engagement, leadership development, professional development opportunities, diversity and inclusion efforts, activities for new faculty and other information. 

In closing, I invite you to join me for University Convocation this upcoming Saturday, September 24, at 10:30 at Matthew Knight Arena. We’re resuming this tradition of welcoming our new students and faculty to the university, and it is a wonderful reminder of why we are committed to the work we do.

Thank you for your dedication to the highest quality of scholarly activity and student educational programs. I wish you a wonderful fall term and an outstanding year. 

Janet Woodruff-Borden
Acting Provost and Executive Vice President