Learning at LU, Fall 2021

 

 

DATE:
April 16, 2021
TO:
Lamar University Faculty and Staff
FROM:
The Office of Academic Affairs 
Dr. Brenda Nichols, Provost 
Dr. Dann Brown, Associate Provost 
Dr. Poonam Kumar, Associate Provost, Digital Learning 
Dr. Jerry Lin, Associate Provost, Research 
Dr. Katrina Brent, Assistant Provost, Enrollment Management
RE:
Learning at LU, Fall 2021



We’ve experienced so much since the Covid-19 pandemic arrived in 2020. Hurricane Laura and Tropical Storm Delta led to area-wide evacuations last fall and a devastating winter storm arrived in February 2021. Nonetheless, Lamar University continues to meet and exceed many goals for student success as it demonstrates its resilient spirit. 

As we prepare to celebrate commencement outside in May, we look ahead and provide an update regarding planning for fall 2021. Faculty requests to teach this summer with updated social distancing requirements are welcomed. 
 
The availability of Covid-19 vaccinations and rapid decline in positive tests and infection rates means we are able to return to operations in our classrooms and laboratories much more similar to that we enjoyed in fall 2019. Extensive in-person instruction at full classroom capacity will be our goal. As has been discussed in a variety of settings, our goals are that at least 80% of lower-division and 60% of upper-division courses will be taught in face-to-face classrooms with full capacity seating. Our objective for spring 2022 will be to achieve 100% face-to-face instruction with no social distancing for on campus courses. At this time, we ask departmental and college leadership to actively plan for face-to-face instruction and work with the Associate Provost and Registrar to make necessary changes to the fall class schedule as soon as possible with the goal of completing schedule updates by May 1. 

Lamar University’s robust online programs and course offerings will continue to thrive as we return to fall 2021. Goals for face-to-face instruction do not include those programs that have been developed for the online space. To support teaching and learning in all modalities, opportunities for how faculty can incorporate greater student engagement and use retention tools in the learning management system will be provided. Information from the Associate Provost for Digital Learning is forthcoming that will describe these professional development opportunities. 

Our research laboratories will operate at full capacity in the fall as they strive to meet the expectations of funding agencies and achieve goals for elevating research productivity at Lamar University. Many research settings are currently operating at full strength and achievements required for annual reports to federal, state, and private agencies are a primary focus. Questions regarding research operations as we prepare for summer and fall should be directed to the Associate Provost for Research. 

You may have observed an exciting and promising development over the past weeks as students and families are returning to campus for prospective student tours with LU Crew members from Undergraduate Admissions. Events are planned over the coming weeks to assist families as they make these final and important decisions regarding college attendance. Information obtained through personal contacts and surveys describes the extent to which new and continuing students want to return to our face-to-face classrooms and their decision-making process will, no doubt, include course modality considerations. Be on the lookout for friendly faces on campus as our Assistant Provost’s enrollment management team leads our progress toward achieving enrollment goals for fall 2021. 

Lamar University will monitor progress and local indicators as we receive continuing guidance from the Texas State University System and State of Texas. Our students, faculty, and staff have done an amazing job at remaining healthy during the past year and safety protocols for free testing and the disinfection of spaces will continue into the fall. We remind everyone that all Texans age 16 and older are now eligible to receive the Covid-19 vaccination and we are working to provide more opportunities to receive the vaccine on campus for those who would be interested in doing so. 

Staff in the Office of Academic Affairs are available to assist the LU community as we prepare for fall 2021 and contact information for key personnel is provided below. Thank you for all that you have achieved this past year under challenging conditions. Your dedication to Lamar University establishes the foundation for greater successes in 2021-2022 and beyond! 

 


 

Contacts for Questions


General Covid-19 information, go to https://www.lamar.edu/return/index.html


Course modality or changes: 

            Dr. Dann Brown           dbrown109@lamar.edu

            David Short                  wdshort@lamar.edu 

Online teaching and learning: 

            Dr. Poonam Kumar      pkumar8@lamar.edu  

Continuation of the research enterprise: 

            Dr. Jerry Lin                 lincx@lamar.edu  

New and continuing student enrollment: 

            Dr. Katrina Brent          kmwappler@lamar.edu