The Cal Poly Pomona Academic Senate pushed for a one-time alteration to extend the 2020-2021 winter intersession during its Sept. 23 meeting. Acknowledging the difficulties of accessing courses and resources as a result of the virtual transition, the senate voted unanimously to adopt the resolution supporting the four-week intersession.
The resolution followed faculty concerns regarding the limited number of instructional days in the term, which was originally scheduled to run from Jan. 2 to Jan. 16.
The winter term — which is now planned to begin Dec. 19 and run through Jan. 21, 2021 — will only offer asynchronous courses to allow more time for students and faculty to cover the learning objectives while lifting the burdens of having to be present on campus during holidays.
“We thought it would make sense to have it be asynchronous so that it has a clear start and beginning, and we won’t have to juggle the holidays that fall in between that time frame,” said Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Sylvia Alva. “The goal is to give instructors and students more time, though there’s still the same number of contact and minutes required. But those are still stretched and not as compressed when we offer them in an asynchronous format.”
According to the resolution, the university has already been granted permission from the California State University Chancellor’s Office to alter the academic calendar. The resolution is now being distributed to the chancellor, President Soraya Coley and the vice presidents and associate vice presidents in the Academic Affairs division.
After receiving the resolution, Coley will be given 30 instructional days to approve, reject or modify the motion.
In related news, the Office of Student Success is making further effort to support students in their virtual academic journeys by asking instructors to report on students who are not meeting expectations. During October, professors may report out of concern for numerous absences, unstable technology, not hitting the ideal academic progress or showing low performance in class participation, Alva explained.
After the report is made, an intervention strategy team will gather to address the alert and connect with the concerned students. The team hopes to provide the necessary resources to potentially close the digital divide.
The next Academic Senate meeting is scheduled to be held on Oct. 14 at 3 p.m. More information on the previous and upcoming meetings can be found at https://www.cpp.edu/~senate/meeting-schedule/index.shtml.
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