The Bloomington Faculty Council discussed how IU is handling the global coronavirus outbreak at its Tuesday meeting. The council also addressed IU’s sustainability plan and how to consider non-tenure-track faculty for promotions.
IU’s response to coronavirus
Vice President of Academic Affairs John Applegate and Superintendent for Public Safety Benjamin Hunter spoke to the council about how IU is handling coronavirus.
There are no confirmed cases in Indiana, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There are no restrictions on where people can travel within the United States.
Applegate said IU’s top priority is the health and safety of students and faculty on all IU campuses, the continuity of academics and research and making sure students graduate on time.
“If there is a significant instance of coronavirus on one of our campuses, it will likely be very disruptive,” Applegate said. “There is simply no way around it.”
IU is trying to keep the virus out of campuses, but that won’t last, Applegate said. The university is working on how to limit the effect of the virus.
IU has restricted travel to Iran, Italy, China, Japan and South Korea. It is also requiring self-quarantines for people returning from those countries.
Applegate said students should watch travel restrictions as spring break approaches and take into consideration that they may not be able to come back. He said there is no plan in place if students aren’t able to come back.
IU has resources for teachers at keepteaching.iu.edu that provide ways for teachers to teach while students are at home if the university were to close. According to Inside Higher Ed, Lake Washington Institute of Technology in Washington state was closed Monday and Tuesday after a nursing professor and 16 students went to a nursing facility last week where two coronavirus cases were reported. Other West Coast colleges have canceled academic events, quarantined students exposed to the virus and recalled students and faculty from countries with high levels of transmission, according to the article. More information about the virus is available here.
Sustainability at IU
Faculty president Diane Henshel presented a proposed resolution to set goals for IU-Bloomington’s sustainability.
Proposed goals in the resolution include creating a campus-specific climate action plan by 2025, prioritizing the sustainability plan and climate change action plan and making IU a carbon-neutral campus by 2040.
BFC will go into more detail and vote on this resolution during the next meeting.
Promotion of non-tenure-track faculty
Council members discussed which types of evaluations are best for determining the promotion of non-tenure-track faculty instructional ranks.
IU currently requires six letters of recommendation to be considered for promotion.
Council members considered lowering the number of letters required or getting rid of the requirement to be considered for promotion. Council members said the discussion will continue into the next meeting.
The council’s next meeting is scheduled for April 7 in the Radio/TV building.