BY JEFF CRAIG AND LINDA BAILEY
Last week’s snowstorm will affect classrooms across campus long after the snow and ice melt.
Inclement weather and hazardous road conditions forced the university to cancel classes for four consecutive days last week. Dr. Jeanine Varner, provost, said canceling classes for four days in a row was unprecedented
“Everybody I’ve talked to doesn’t remember this happening before, even those who have been here a long, long time,” Varner said.
Varner said despite the canceled classes, no days will be added to the end of the school year or subtracted from spring break.
“I think the impact is that each faculty member will have to make adjustments to his or her syllabus,” Varner said. “I don’t believe we can add any days or affect spring break because people already have plans or have bought tickets.”
Varner said faculty members might have to rework their syllabi, cut content from their classes or require more outside work.
“They may have to change an assignment or a project, or they may want to put more material online,” Varner said. “We can’t make up the actual time, but the material doesn’t all have to happen during class time.”
Dr. Phil Schubert, president of the university, said faculty should take this as an opportunity to work together as they try to figure out how to work through the time off from school.
“Be flexible. I know it’s hard in times like this,” Schubert said. “Everyone grows impatient as the uncertainty of schedules grows. As we work through this in the next couple of weeks, in terms of trying to handle what we’ve just been through, just try to be patient.”
Dr. Kim Pamplin, chair of the Faculty Senate, said the biggest challenge for faculty would come from determining where to make adjustments in curriculum.
“Some classes are prerequisites for other classes, and they need to cover as much as they can,” Pamplin said. “There are other classes where that class is not a prerequisite, so maybe if we cut a chapter out, it is not going to affect how a student performs in the next class.”
Pamplin, chair of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, said his advice for faculty was to be fair.
“We lost a whole week. I would hope that we will all try and be fair with students,” Pamplin said. “In some cases, it may be acceptable to ask students to do more outside work. In other cases, that may not be possible. My advice to the faculty members is to be as fair a possible.”