21 Dec Follow Up on Remote Work Announcement
- First Two Weeks of Spring Term are Remote: Per the recent email announcement this morning to all faculty, most classes are now expected to meet remotely for the first two weeks of Spring Semester.
- Consultation with the Union: While UICUF was not directly involved in this policy decision, we are pleased to say that Provost Reyes did consult with us before releasing it. We concur with the general intent to pursue the safest return to campus possible.
- Questions and Concerns: Upon reading the announcement (the first we’ve seen of the actual policy) we believe there are both questions and potential concerns to address regarding implementation. We highly encourage members to reach out with your own thoughts at UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com so that we can share them with the Administration.
Since our last message on Friday, we’ve learned that most classes will be moving back to remote formats for the first two weeks of Spring Semester. An official announcement from the administration this morning confirmed some of the details of this decision. Though some types of classes, such as labs and clinics, will be exempted, we are operating on the assumption that the vast majority of students and faculty will be off campus through this initial period.
Though UICUF was not involved directly in the decision-making process, we were consulted before release of the announcement, and offered some input. The union agrees with the broad strokes of the decision and its efforts toward our shared goal of ensuring the safest possible return to classes after the winter break. We do, however, have a number of important questions around the specifics of implementation, which we intend to follow up on, sharing any response as soon as possible.
Notably, the decision-making process related to such policies remains somewhat unclear, and though the union and the Senate were consulted, those consultations occurred only briefly before the announcement was made. Nor did we have an opportunity to see the specifics of the announcement before it went out. We are pleased that the administration has opted for transparency with the union at this stage. At the same time, we hope to move closer to genuine shared decision-making on issues that affect conditions of work for our members.
We also see no specific indication of how or when a decision will be made to extend, or end, this remote-work period. As our members must plan and prepare class materials in a potentially quite different way based on such a decision, we believe a clear set of contingencies–and as much advance notice as possible–are the minimum necessary to ensure classes can proceed without any more disruption than necessary.
Finally, we’re aware that there will be questions and concerns about certain exceptions to the general policy, such as the Library, along with other specific details from the announcement. We strongly encourage our members to email us ASAP with your thoughts so that we can pass on concerns to the administration. UICUF will, of course, continue to represent our members on this issue as events develop. We will monitor our email over the holidays to keep on top of this, though there may be a short delay in responses due to limited staff coverage through the winter break.
If you have any thoughts or questions, please share them with us at UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com or your unit representative.
UIC United Faculty
We issue regular updates via email, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and on our website. We encourage everyone to like and follow us on social media. If you want to contribute your story, pictures, video, or other content related to the activities of the union, email us at UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com. With your support, we are making UIC an even SAFER place to work and learn!